Last time I did a beer post, I was promising to halt my (somewhat) expensive craft beer purchasing until I finished the case of more-sanely priced Yuengling Traditional that was sitting in my basement, ignored. I kept my promise, but by the time I finished that case I was ready for the fancy stuff.
So last month I headed out to Oaklyn Discount Liquors to pick up another case of Yuengling and a couple of sixes of craft beer. Picking the microbrews didn't take too long, but when I went over to get the Yuengling, all the cases they had were refrigerated. That's a good thing for most beer buyers, but it sucks for me.
I usually get my Yuengling at BJ's Wholesale Club for about $13. Not only is that a great price, but since the beer at BJ's is stored at room temperature, I can store it on my basement floor instead of having to keep it cool. That allows me to chill just a couple bottles at a time in the fridge. With a couple of sixes of microbrews already in there, there isn't much room for more than that. Oaklyn Liquors had some cases at room temperature, but when I asked about Yuengling the guy behind the counter tried to tell me that it's okay for beer to move from cold to room temperature and back again. Sure, if you happen to like skunky beer. I don't, so I looked over their cases and ended up spending $25 bucks on Flying Fish Farmhouse Summer Ale. When in doubt, go with the Fish.
Now, about the beers:
As much as I like some of Smuttynose Brewery's beers, their Summer Weizen (aka Weizenheimer) has convinced me to stay away from the weizen style of ale forever. I've had weisens from a few different brewers now and I don't think I've liked any of them. Smuttynose promised a great summer ale, but while the beer was light in color (almost bright yellow), the flavoring was not light. The taste of the spices was way too harsh and overpowering, prevented the beer from being good to drink while chilling on the porch or while eating dinner.
It definitely wasn't a summer style, but the Wayerbacher Raspberry Imperial Stout was just as disappointing. Like Smuttynose, Easton PA's Wayerbacher is well-respected by beer snobs like myself for the many different styles they produce. Their attempt at a fruit-infused stout, however, isn't worthy of such respect. The raspberry flavor never seemed to blend in with the beer, and was so strong that it had a perfume-like aftertaste. Just a "kiss" of raspberry my butt.
Lucky for me I had that case of Flying Fish. Their Summer Ale is a true "grass-cutting beer" - the type of beer you reach for after sweating your butt off working in the yard. It's light and goes down easy, but it's still has great flavor. Of course, there's only so much grass cutting to do, but luckily the Fish also goes well with a lot of summer meals, such as pretty much anything coming off the grill. Definitely one of my favorites.
When I went out last week to once again replenish my supply, I tried a different liquor store - Cherry Hill Fine Wine and Spirits. Despite their name, they have a very large selection of craft beers, many of them available chilled and unchilled. You can even get six packs unchilled, which saves us a little more fridge room. I ended up getting my Yuengling case, a six of Troegs Rugged Trail Nut Brown Ale, and I decided to give Smuttynose another chance, this time picking up a six of their Shoals Pale Ale. Here's hoping I made better choices this time.