I attended the PA Flavor festival, a celebration of Pennsylvania beer and food, on Saturday, April 9, 2011. Below are some tasting notes from the beers I had and some overall thoughts about the festival itself.
Voodoo White Magick of the Sun- The beer pours a golden color with a bubbly white head. The aroma consists of wheat and plenty of Belgian spices to knock your socks off. The taste is smooth and sweet with lots of lemon and spices that tickle the tongue. The alcohol content is 6.75% ABV. This is a great beer and a great addition to the Magick family.
Roy Pitz Truly Honest Amber- The beer pours an amber color with a bubbly tan head. The aroma consists of sweet caramel malts. The taste is sweet with spicy pepper and caramel malts. The alcohol content is 6.0% ABV. I thought that this was a really good offering in the amber beer category.
Church Brew Works Ambrosia Ale- The beer pours a golden yellow color with a thin filmy white head. The aroma consists of wheat, lemon, spices and herb. The taste is light, lemon, and sweet with a great overall earthy flavor. Surprisingly, there is a sweet and tart finish. The alcohol content is 5.5% ABV.
Marzoni’s Patchway Pale Ale- The beer pours an amber color with a bubbly tan head. The aroma consists of fresh lemon and fine hops. The taste is dry with some caramel and bitter hops rounding out the flavor. The alcohol content is 5.5% ABV. This was a decent beer, but not too memorable.
North Country Station 33 Firehouse Red- The beer pours a brown color with a filmy white head. The aroma is faint but there are hints of caramel in it. The taste is mostly caramel with some light faint hops and a night toasted malt finish. The alcohol content is 5.5% ABV.
Sprague Farm & Brew Works Rustbelt Amber Ale- The beer pours a red amber color with a thin filmy off-white head. The aroma consists of caramel and dry pine hops. The taste is smooth with lots of caramel and a lightly dry finish. There is a toasted malt after taste as well. The alcohol content is not available online, but I would guess it to be around 5.5% .
Otto’s Slab Cabin IPA- The beer pours an amber color with a foamy white head. The aroma is faint but has a caramel base and some lemon accents. The taste is dry and bitter with lemon and pine flavors, all leading to a sweet caramel finish. The alcohol content is 6.0% ABV.
Spring House Breakfast Porter- This is a a small batch one-off production, made from combining the Planet Bean Coffee Stout and the Hickory-Smoked Bacon Maple Porter. The beer pours a black color with a lofty and frothy tan head. The aroma consists of coffee, vanilla, and maple syrup with some bacon hints. The taste is big on dry coffee with some vanilla hints and a sweet maple finish. The are remnants of bacon in the after taste. This beer was my favorite of the day, and I hope to encourage Spring House to make this beer again in the future. Based on the alcohol content of the two beers this one is comprised of, I would estimate the alcohol content to be 7.5% ABV.
Bavarian Barbarian Twisted Steel- The beer pours a black color with a tan bubbly head. The aroma consists of chocolate, coffee and bourbon. The taste is mostly bourbon but smooth and not biting with a great chocolate flavor. This beer was smooth and enjoyable, and tasted like bourbon on the rocks with chocolate hints. The alcohol content is 6.0% ABV.
Bavarian Barbarian Bulldozer Golden Ale- The beer pours an amber color with frothy off-white head. The aroma consists of grass, pine, banana, Belgian spice, and caramel. The taste is banana and toasted malts with a creamy mouth feel. There were plenty of grassy hops on the finish. The alcohol content is 9.0% ABV.
Yards Saison- The beer pours a golden color with a frothy white head. The aroma consists of lemon, wheat, grass, and pepper. The taste is sweet, consisting of lemon and sugar. The after taste brings out grassy and earthy hops. Overall, this was a great beer. The alcohol content is 6.5% ABV.
Lancaster Rumspringa Golden Bock- The beer pours a golden color with frothy white head. The aroma consists of sweet malts, rye, and caramel. The taste is smooth and sweet with raisin, Belgian yeast, and a light pepper and spice bite. The alcohol content is 6.6% ABV.
Otto’s Apricot Wheat- The beer pours a golden color with a thin white head. The aroma is big on apricot with a little bit of wheat, but mostly sweet. The taste is huge on apricot on the front end, which makes it sweet, before some wheat flavors come in to play. I thought it was a little watered down on the finish, but had a good overall flavor. The alcohol content is 4.8% ABV.
My overall thoughts about the PA Flavor 2011 event were extremely positive. I was expecting to go to the event having had most of the PA breweries’ offerings, but I was surprised at the amount of new beers for me to try. Some breweries were a disappointment for me in the beers that they brought, such as Stoudt’s only bringing the Pilsner and Scarlet Lady; both are good beers, but I would like festivals to also provide something different for consumers to try.
My biggest props go to Spring House, especially since they created a new beer, albeit a mixture of two existing beers, for this event. The Breakfast Porter was the most memorable beer there, and I, along with plenty of people that I know, went back for several offerings of this beer. I hope this beer makes it into production again some time in the future. Furthermore, I would like other breweries to follow Spring House’s lead and create a beer next year for this event. Bavarian Barbarian also stood out because they brought their two newest releases, both of which I had not tried yet.
As far as the crowd, this was the perfect setting. There were roughly 750-800 people occupying an area that could have held double to maybe even triple that number. I did not have to wait in any lines for food or beer, and I left with a positive take on this event. The lines were so short that I visited everything I wanted to visit with about an hour to spare, leaving me time to go back to the stands that I really enjoyed. Next year, I would like to see a few more interesting beers at the event along with a few more people; but not enough that I have to wait in line for a long time.