Wow! The Lehigh Valley Brewers guild Brewfest was another smashing success. This year it was hosted by the awesome folks at Lost Tavern Brewing in our little home town of Hellertown, PA. For those of you who don’t know, this was the second annual brewfest held by the LVBG. All of the breweries in the Lehigh Valley join forces to put on an awesome festival with great music, food, and of course beer. The representative breweries were Yergey Brewing, Weyerbacher, Two Rivers, Hijinx, Sole, Hop Hill, Cave, Funk, Fegley’s, and Lost Tavern. (One of our favorites was unfortunately absent). Colony Meadery and Hardball Cider were also there with some great options just in case beer is not your thing. But beer should always be your thing.
The breweries turned out some of their flagship beers as well as a large sampling of some often surprising concoctions. Our favorite of the day was the Mosaic Dutchtown DIPA from Two Rivers Brewing in Easton, PA. While all the beers at the festival were great, this one was just a cut above the rest in terms of complexity and a full and rounded flavor profile. It is crisp with plenty of floral, citrus, and banana notes. The finish is predictably hoppy with just enough bitterness to round out the fruity, tropical, flavors from the Mosaic hops. The fun of this beer is that Two Rivers uses the same Dutchtown DIPA recipe and experiments with different hop variations. This one is triple hopped with exclusively mosaic hops. Two Rivers hit the mark on this one!
One of my other favorites was the Blurred Lines, a Zwickelbier from Sole Artisan Ales. If you’re anything like me, you have no idea what the hell a Zwickelbier is. (pronounce tzv-ick-el) Being a little bit of a beer nerd, I had to do some research on this one. According to that most reliable of sources, the internet, a Zwickelbier is a type of Kellerbier (although some sources use Zwickelbier and Kellerbier interchangeably.) No idea what the hell a Kellerbier is either? You are not alone. A Kellerbier (‘cellar beer’ in German) is a traditional German lager from the Franconia region of Bavaria. It is aged unbunged in, you guessed it, a cellar. This beer is on the lighter end of the spectrum and is a pleasant departure from the bold and biting IPA’s that tend to dominate a lot of craft beer lineups. It is very refreshing and sessionable at 5.0% ABV, but still incredibly complex. It’s light-bodied and pilsner-like but with a fruity, slightly tart middle. The finish is delicate and crisp with a pale ale level of hoppiness at the end. I loved this one and I really appreciated the nod to traditional German flavor profiles that do not lean so heavily on huge bold flavors and high ABV that American craft breweries seem to favor. The refined brewing skill that people have come to expect from Sole are boldly on display with this one. Not sure if they are selling this in at its taproom in Easton, but if they are it is a must-try.
Hijinx Brewing Co. from Allentown may have had the best overall lineup with three beers that were all very well executed. The Far Darrig Irish Red Ale was dark amber with chewy caramel malts and a hint of bitterness at the end. The Imperial stout was exactly what you want and love about imperial stouts with a coffee/chocolately nose and alcohol finish. The Kung Fu Gnome was a Belgian blonde with a little sweetness and peach flavors. All three were very tasty and demonstrated that Hijinx can excel at a variety of styles.
Some other great beers that we had were the Funk Double Citrus Imperial IPA and the Lost Tavern Cloud 7. If it needs to be said the Funk Double Citrus is, well, citrusy! It’s a west coast style IPA, jammed with plenty of juicy hops! Lost Tavern’s Cloud 7 was more of a New England style IPA with a piney, aromatic nose and tropical notes. Both are awesome and absolutely warrant a trip to the brewery!
What we loved about this beerfest was that at 3 o’clock many of the breweries brought out new special beers. Unfortunately, we could not stay after three so you are going to have to visit the breweries if you want to try them. But we love the idea and hope that is a feature that continues in future fests.
Overall, we had an awesome time and had some awesome beers. The Lehigh Valley brewing community is a vibrant one and it continues to grow so keep supporting your local breweries!