by Matt Kelchner
As part of the week-long celebrations around the city celebrating the Craft Brewers Conference being held in Philadelphia, local stalwarts Victory Brewing Company hosted their fourth annual “Amber Waves” Thursday evening. On the fifth floor of the National Museum of Jewish History in Olde City, 27 different breweries from across the country came together for a pairing of beer tastings and brew inspired pieces of art. We were fortunate enough to get in on the fun!
Scattered around the room were local and regional breweries along with others from all across the country. Hometown favorites like Sly Fox and Yards were mixed along with the likes of Maui Brewing Company (who traveled all the way from Hawaii). Next to each offering was a piece, or pieces, of commissioned artwork that attendees had the chance to bid on. Proceeds from the auction went towards Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program.
As we made our rounds, we were almost overwhelmed with the bounties around us. Some brought known staples, such as hosts Victory providing their beloved Hop Devil, or Dogfish Head sampling their recently released Romantic Chemistry. Others offered up new brews, like an updated Denver Pale Ale from Great Divide Brewing.
Throughout the room, there was a common theme from many to incorporate rye into their selections. However that isn’t to say there was a lack of variety to choose from. Below are the top three suds that we tried Thursday night.
Session Rye Pale Ale – Vault Brewing Company (Yardley, PA): One of the many locals present, Vault Brewing Co. took rye in a different direction with a pale ale. To give things even more of a PA feel, malts from Deer Creek Malthouse (the first commercial malthouse in the Keystone State since Prohibition) were used. The result was a smooth, easy drinking beer that popped with citrusy notes.
Deimos – Ecliptic Brewing (Portland, OR): This Imperial Red Ale had our taste buds singing with it’s caramel sweet flavor. Four different types of Crystal malts take center stage while the combination of Simcoe, Columbus and Nugget hops bring in a bit of bitterness to balance things out. This was one of the most unique beers we tried throughout the night!
Session Rye IPA – Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (California/North Carolina): Out of all of the rye beers, this Session Rye IPA was one of the best. The beer is part of Sierra Nevada’s popular “Beer Camp” series. Made with hibiscus, there was a lovely sweet, fruity side to this brew that set it apart. Despite the overall lightness, there was still a rich, full body behind this one.