Bulls Head Bourbon County Event and Beer Reviews

The Preamble

BCBS Bulls Head BottlesI walk the mean streets of Lititz, PA with a bottle of Prairie Bomb in my pocket, a cold wind at my back and a mission to have Bourbon County Vanilla Rye in my gut by the end of the night. Can’t think of a better way to spend a Wednesday afternoon. I push through the double doors into the Bulls Head Pub and find it is busier than usual, already half-full of like-minded regulars. Regulars might be a bit generous as the promise of draft BCBS along with its Coffee and Vanilla bottled brethren has dredged up all the flexible work schedule casual and enthusiast beer drinkers from across the region.

Bulls HeadI sidle up to the smooth, lacquered bar top that I’ve sidled up to many times before and peruse the tap list. A coaster absently spins under my nervous fingers. It’s an hour and a half until the Bourbon County event kicks off, but there are worse places to kill time. The Bulls Head is one of the top beer bars in the North East (made official by CraftBeer.com’s user-voted Great American Beer Bars competition) and a British style pub, meaning no T.V., plenty of room temperature cask beer, bar only ordering, and a partially British menu to match. The décor follows suit; dim lighting, a mix of high top tables and booths, and wood covering every surface like a forest exploded. Just about every element of the bar was brought over from England to be as authentic as possible and it all adds up as one of the best places in PA to get some fish and chips with your craft beer.

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Bell’s Brewery – Venus Review

VenusAll You Need to Know

Brewery: Bell’s Brewery
Style: Blonde
ABV: 7.5%
Cost: $3 (12oz)
Glassware: Pint
Temp: 45°F
Availability: Limited
Purchased@: Hunger-N-Thirst

Quick Take: Venus tries to take the concept of the blonde and turn it into something you’ve never experienced before. In that regard, it’s successful. In making it a beer I want to drink again, it fails miserably. There is an audience for it, but I can’t say for certain who it is. All I know is that if this is what peace tastes like, I’ll take war every time.

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Last Week in Untappd – 12/8 – 12/14

A weekend made of an early family Christmas in Wilkes-Barre, PA and a night game of Eagles football viewed at a local brewery didn’t yield a lot of high profile Untappd (DrewsBrewsReviews) check-ins, but I had a few good ones this week. I shuttled some recent favorites up with me, Big Lushious and Bourbon County Stout, and hit my favorite local beer place, Sabatini’s Pizza, for whatever treasures lurk in their two fully stock coolers. This time, Sabatini’s was beyond my expectations as I got a personal tour of their amazing beer storage area and I’ll be reviewing the fruits of this trip in the coming weeks. Huge thanks to Lindo for showing me around and selling me some extremely rare beers. But that’s for another week. Here’s last weeks best:

7 SwansThe Bruery – 7 Swans-A-Swimming
Location: Bar
Style: Quad
Score: 4/5
Original Comment: Peaty raisin, plum, astringent alcohol aroma, soft, dark, dark fruit, toffee,not quite candied sugar sweet, dry, plum finish, no heat at all

Additional Comment: This is a case where sticking to the traditional elements of a style, in this instance a Quad, yielded some pretty great results. There isn’t huge depth past the layered sweet of plum, raisin, dark fruits, and toffee malt, but it’s a tasty sweet that isn’t cloying. Not a lot beyond the traditional Quad flavors, but also not a lot of heat. As a matter of fact, this hid the 11% ABV completely. No hot coal in the stomach, no chest warming, and no real indication of alcohol beyond the heavier mouth feel. Smooth, straightforward Quad that tastes as if it already has a few years on it. Good stuff and reasonably priced ($14).

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3 Fonteinen – Oude Gueuze Review

3 Fonteinen Old GeuezeAll You Need to Know

Brewery: Drei Fonteinen
Style: Gueuze
ABV: 6%
Cost: $22 (750ml)
Glassware: Flute/Champagne
Temp: 55°F
Availability: Year Round
Purchased@: Hunger-n-Thirst

Quick Take: I’ve never had a beer that marries an aroma and taste so perfectly like Drei Fonteinen’s Oude Gueuze. Amazing follow through creates a near perfect sour/barnyard Gueuze that goes to the precipice of excess and lets your taste buds dance along the cliff edge. This is my current sour benchmark and the absolute pinnacle of sours for me, even over Cantillon.

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Last Week in Untappd – 12/1 – 12/7

After that butt-kicking that was the Untappening, I took it a little easier this past week. Or so I planned. I had a pretty big beer on Wednesday (full review coming up soonish) and a beer-filled and rather painful football Sunday (being a Philly sports fan, I’m used to it). Thankfully, the sting of loss was soothed by the salve of new to the area big beers and a couple long journeyers via Kentucky and Maine. Big thanks to all the sharers for kindly including me on the pours. Here’s the most noteworthy of last week:

TweakAvery – Tweak
Location: DBR Manor
Style: Imperial Stout
Score: 3.5/5
Original Comment: Bourbon, coffee, malty RIS aroma. Syrupy, medicinal body/finish. Sweet, heavy malt and mild coffee, choco, char. Needs age

Additional Comment: Booze and syrupy thick malt dominates  Tweak, weighing heavily on the delicate touch of char, coffee and tobacco. Usually, I don’t consider those flavors to be delicate, but the medicinal alcohol is such a bruiser that everything else is dainty in comparison. I like the base beer, Mephistopheles, and the additions make it even better, but the bump up in alcohol makes this tough to drink young. This has potential to be aged into perfection, backing off the heat and blending into a luxurious coffee RIS with bourbon, deep, dark sweet malts and char. It’s a theory I plan on testing. As it stands, the balance is so firmly slammed down on the boozy heat side that the small pour I had is enjoyable, but enough.

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