In his third “Drinking with the Devil (Dick)” column, Tommy Southard puts his palate and his liver on the line against a range of craft brews in various locales and lives to tell the tale of a night spent with Schaefer and Thin Lizzy, which is about as close to an ideal evening as I can think of. Please enjoy:
Well greetings, Obeliskers…
It’s been a while but it seems like only yesterday I was trying to get the last installment of “Drinkin’ w/ the Devil” together. Man, where does the time go?
I’ve been way busy with lots of things, but still had time to sample plenty of beers. But let me say that beer in Pennsylvania is expensive! With that in mind, I’ve been tending to stick with some of the things I’ve liked, so I’m not spending money I don’t have on things I’m not sure about. A couple of the brews I’ve been frequenting has been stuff by Dark Horse, Southern Tier, Duck Rabbit (the dark beer specialists) and Dogfish Head. I’ve also been out and about drinking at some local joints. One around the corner from my house is Mickey’s Tavern.
Mickey’s is a bit of a dive bar and my kind of place. Full of locals and working class types who come to have a few beers after work and before they go home to the wife and kids. Recently we found out that they were trying to improve their beer selection. And when we drove by and saw a sign that said “Now Serving Over 100 Beers,” we had to go in and check it out. I’ve been there many times before, but always just for a cold bottle of PBR on the cheap. Well, the selection wasn’t all that I was hoping for so I went with a Revel Red, which was okay but nothing great, and then a Fuller’s London Pride and we hit the bricks. I give them an A for effort but when I go to Mickey’s it will be for the cheap PBR in bottles. I snapped a few pics with their plastic doggie tip jar…
Dark Horse is easily one of my fave breweries out there now and all of their stuff has been to my liking lately. We (that’s me and the wifey) always pick up some when we are on the beer hunt. Looks like they changed the label on their Perkulator Coffee Dopplebock, which is pretty fantastic, by the way. If you like coffee and beer this is a nice one if you have not had it before. Hell, even if you don’t drink coffee, you should try this. Nice and malty and the coffee doesn’t overpower the brew.
We also had some Dark Horse Too Cream Stout, which a milk-style stout (made with milk sugars). This was dark and smooth and sweet. Just like I like my ladies… Heh. And at 8.0 percent ABV, it packs a bit more wallop than one might expect. Another fine brew by this fine brewery.
Another brewery that I have not had a bad beer from is Southern Tier. The Imperial Choklat Stout is no exception. Brewed with chocolate, this is pretty awesome. Totally dark chocolate sweetness and drinks so smooth for an 11 percent beer. I could drink one thousand of these! If you have not had anything by this brewery I STRONGLY suggest you do so, post haste.
Duck Rabbit Brown Ale was a pretty typical American brown. This is an average brew, methinks. Nothing really stands out, but then again nothing screams, “This sucks!” Kinda weak in flavor compared to all the other Duck Rabbits. If I see this next to the porter or stouts, I’m going with the others…
Holy crap, their Milk Stout actually tasted a bit like milk. It was kinda off putting at first sip, but it got better and better with each. I guess it was a bit of a shock when it actually tasted like milk. A very smooth and drinkable milk stout that got better as it went down.
The Duck Rabbit Porter was exceptional. I love porters and this one was/is a fine example. If you are down with porters get your hands on it ASAP. A way above-average porter, in my humble opinion.
That said, the Baltic Porter was a bit of a bummer for me. I have heard people rave about it, but each and every bottle tasted of metal. Not sure if it was from the cap of the bottle but something went wrong in the bottling of this batch. A real shame because I know this is not how this should taste. I will revisit, hope for better results, and for now give it an incomplete until I’ve tried another batch.
Oh la la… Duck Rabbit Barley Wine. At 11 percent, this one packs a punch and has a bit of a booze smell and burn but the fruit and malty flavors balance this one out nicely! A+
One of my all time faves has been Dogfish Head Chicory Stout. I was lucky enough to find a few remaining six-packs of this luscious brew. It’s seasonal, and it disappears as soon as it hits the shelves, so I was lucky to find it. I’ve talked about it before, but this beer it is just awesome. This is the official description: “Chicory Stout is a rich, dark beer made with a touch of roasted chicory, organic Mexican coffee, St. John’s Wort, and licorice root. It is brewed with roast barley, crystal malt and oats and hopped just right with Glacier hops. We use fair trade Organic Mexican Coatepec beans roasted to our specifications by Notting Hill Coffee Roastery in Lewes, DE.”
I also spent a little time in my old stomping grounds of Jersey a little while back and hit an old spot that I wasn’t even sure was still there as it had been years and years since I last was there, but lo and behold another dive bar that still exists! “The Not Yet Famous” Sudsy Mug. Here is a pic of my good buddy and oldest friend on earth, Timmy Schoenliber, out front of the bar where we went in and had mug after mug after mug of Yuengling on tap. We then went back to his house and drank a shit-ton of Schaefer beers, Sailor Jerry Rum and root beer, built a fire and jammed Thin Lizzy, Black Sabbath, The Kinks, Neil Young and Lynyrd Skynyrd till the wee hours of the morn… That’s what friends are all about! Till the next time!