Today I’m in total recovery mode. We had our yearly college buddy get-together party last night and I drank a ton of beer. Beer Olympics were held and it was a major blast. For how much I drank I’m actually doing fairly well today. Tomorrow we have a Halloween party at my sister-in-law’s house, and then the Patriots game at 4:00. In my hungover state I almost forgot to post today’s Slivio Saturday review…a double review of Yards brews.
I’ve been feeling very patriotic this week. Maybe it’s because Election Day is next week (don’t forget to vote!) or maybe it’s because the Rally to Restore Sanity is in D.C. this weekend, but whatever it is, I was immediately drawn to this week’s review beers at my local beer store.
Yards Brewing Company’s Ales of the Revolution are a series of beers that feature images and original recipes of the Founding Fathers. To me, that’s an awesome concept, and the label art and descriptions are pretty eye-catching.
Throw in the fact that Yards is a Philadelphia brewery (I grew up outside Philly and haven’t come across many Philly craft brews), and I went all in, picking up Thomas Jefferson’s Tavern Ale and Poor Richard’s (Ben Franklin) Tavern Spruce. Apparently there’s also a third brew in the “Revolution” series, General Washington’s Tavern Porter, but it wasn’t on the shelf.
I opened up the Tavern Ale first. According to the label, this beer is based on Jefferson’s original recipe, including ingredients specified and grown on Monticello, his Virginia estate. It’s got a very interesting pour, with cloudy amber color that’s quite dark at the top and very light at the bottom. The smell is malty and sweet with honey notes, and it pours a thick foam head.
The taste is absolutely incredible – it was very familiar but difficult to place at first. Eventually, I settled on almonds, cherries, and amaretto. You might think this would be too much, like Sam Adams’ Cherry Wheat, but it wasn’t overly sweet or syrupy at all, and I could definitely have had another one of these, even considering the big ABV at 8%.
After the first tasting, I couldn’t wait to see how Poor Richard’s Tavern Spruce turned out. This beer was brewed to celebrate Ben Franklin’s 300th birthday, and is again based on his original recipe. The pour was very dark but very clear, with a molasses hue, but very little foam. Interestingly, he used spruce essences and molasses because barley and hops weren’t abundant at the time.
If you’re like me, you may ask yourself, well what does spruce beer taste like? The answer, in a word, is delicious. The aroma reminded me a little of licorice, and this was another “wow” flavor. The taste is like a combination of rosemary and super-strong black licorice, with some sweetness on the end. I also picked up a little mineral taste, but not to the beer’s detriment. Best of all, the flavor really lingers on your taste buds. Drinking this beer reminded me a little bit of what a pine forest smells like. The ABV is on the weak side, at 5.0%, but the taste really makes up for it.
I’ve honestly never tasted beers like these before, and I effing loved them. Their flavor is unique and really enjoyable, and I can’t wait to pick up more of them. If any LIBA readers live near Philly, I’d love to hear what you think about these brews.