09 March 2009

The RD Night Out - Brooklyn Event at London Bar and Grille

In our continuing coverage of beer week, the Responsible Drunk headed out to the London Bar and Grill in the Art Museum district of Philadelphia on Monday night to sample some brand new Brooklyn brews and chat with Head Brewmaster Garret Oliver (pictured on left).

Brooklyn Brewery has been admired on this site for its consistency and stylistic discipline. This concept of a devotion towards a German style reinheitsgebot rigidity must not be overstated, however. More accurate would be to say Brooklyn attempts to blend that sort of consistency and discipline with truly American flavors, and the best argument it has presented so far was on display in two new beers premiered this week for Philly Beer Week.

BLAST! is a new double IPA that showcases Brooklyn venturing into Dogfish Head territory. The dry hopped Imperial Pale Ale has a super foamy head, a bright complexion and features a blend of 8 different hop varieties, including the vaunted and popular new SIMCOE(r). In the opinion of Mr. Oliver, its a powerful beer (8%), and judging by his brewing selection, I'd say that is a reasonable assessment. Surly there are more potent IIPA's out there, but this is pretty much what you would expect from Brooklyn in that department.

Local 2 is the second in a new series of 100% bottle conditioned Belgian style ale from Brooklyn. Last year they released a smooth, citrusy Belgian white which was more or less by the book (as Brooklyn is wont...). This year, however, Mr. Oliver has taken it up a notch. This dark Belgian ale blends honey grown in a local apiary with dark roasted caramel and other Belgian malts with a Belgian yeast that lends a special spicyness to a beer that is otherwise rich in fruit and chocolate. Pulling this brew off with typical Brooklyn consistency is truly a feat. When I asked Mr. Oliver about his inspirations for this beer, he said, "definitely Chimay Grand Reserve, like it used to be in the 80's" as well as Achel Extra, but he stressed the importance of adding an American flavor, hence the locally grown honey and the dry chocolate malt.

I'm sure we will be getting around to full reviews of these beers, as well as the solid Blunderbuss Old Ale which was also on tap, as soon as they are more widely available. Stay tuned for more updates on Philly Beer Week activities!

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