Looking into my fridge, this week’s case is a trio of lighter beers from the Church Brew Works. The CBW helped start the Pittsburgh beer renaissance and along with the Penn Brewery offers some of the most enjoyable and atmospheric pairings of food and house-brwed beer available in any city. I am not sure when they started offering their beer for wider consumption but this was the first sampler that I have seen from them.
Going from the lightest to darkest, I didn’t have much chance to sample the Celestial Gold German-style pilsner because my wife kept getting to it first. The beer pours like sunshine in a glass, clear pale gold with an enthusiastic head, and the taste doesn’t disappoint. Carbonation offers a peppy mouthfeel that balances the subtle grassy notes and a faintly toasted malt. This would make a great Hoegaarten replacement if you do a lot of hot patio dining but don’t like wheat beer.
The Pipe Organ Pale Ale filled in the designated role of the variety pack’s weak link. The carbonation, signaled by a fading head and bland mouthfeel, seemed unusually low and the weak hops definitely runs contrary to the escalating hoppy arms race that is consuming American ale makers these days. In fact, let me just hijack this review of a not-very-interesting beer and recommend strongly that you go read that link. Now you won’t feel like a complete n00b when your local brewpub unveils its shiny new Organoleptic Hops Transducer. No that name is not a joke, at least not mine. The general idea is that if you need more hops to reach your beer nirvana you can ask your bartender to pressure it through an industrial-grade water filter packed with a pound of fresh hops. Completely insane? Maybe, but it could do wonders for mild ales like the Pipe Organ.
Back to my CBW sampler case, the sublime Pious Monk Dunkel brought me back to happyland with aggressive hymns of toasted malt, phenolics and a hint of caramel. I admit that the dunkel style, which is basically a lager incorporating toasted malt, was new to me. Kostritzer introduced me to schwazbier, which you get when you toast dunkel malt to its rational limit, but rather than pitch black the dunkel pours a clear mahogany with a finer-grained head that lasted longer than the other two offerings from CBW. This brew more than made up for the limp pale ale. I enjoyed it with several dinners and found it to go perfectly well with each.
As always, read about the whole CBW line at BA. Prost!
Tom in Texas
Nuthin to do with nuthin, but whattya know — John Yoo is upset with the Hamdan Decision.
Oh and Bush is Lincoln, FDR, and GWash all rolled into one.
Late night greetings from Milwaukee, home of many fine beers, including my favorite, Riverwest Stein. Having no financial connection– other than buying lots they make–to them, I am happy to share the brewer’s website with y’all: http://www.lakefrontbrewery.com/
Mmmm … beer.
Here in KC, we’ve got the amazing Boulevard Brewing Company. I’m a big fan of the free tours (which, of course, include unlimited free samples at the end).
Their Zon (a wheat beer with a hint of orange) is perfect at the end of a hot summer day.
I don’t pooh-pooh the Pipe Organ Pale Ale as much as you, but the Dunkel is pretty much sublime. For some reason, I always think I taste tea when I drink a Dunkel. And I don’t like tea. But I love that Dunkel. Strange.
The church that the CBW is located in was my mom’s parish. She went to school there. Mom and Dad got married there. The folks who run it do a nice job of going out of their way to make people feel comfortable in what was, after all, once a place of worship. Which it still is, in a sacreligious way.
wow, five whole comments. oh… six including mine. This blog has come a long way hasn’t it. Cole couldn’t care less anymore as his embarassment mounts over having supported the worst President in history TWICE and supporting a war that will turn out to be one of the largest foreign affairs blunders of this country. John will say that its his academic duties that prevent him from blogging but we all know better. He was WRONG. Dead WRONG about this administration and more importantly the Iraq war. I guess its hard coming to terms with the fact that all of us that he ridiculed for being Bush Haters actually may have been on the money all along. How embarassing it must be for him.
Tim on the other hand writes his scintillating beer posts that no one reads. Interesting what has happed to Balloon Juice over the months.