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Beer Review #148 Sly Fox Oktoberfest

This Oktoberfest is brewed by Sly Fox Brewing Company of Royersford, PA. The brewery is actually a small chain of brewpubs that also has a production brewery. They currently have two locations and I believe they are looking to expand. Pennsylvania seems to be a good spot if you want to open a brewpub chain. The Iron Hill group of brewpubs, Sly Fox, and one of the Rock Bottom Brewery locations all call Pennsylvania home.

Unlike any other Oktoberfest that I have had before, this one comes in cans. It pours a nice light amber color and has a white head. The nose isn’t super complex, but expected. There is some malt mixed with caramel. In the background I also found some lager sulfur.

The first taste beckons what the nose promised, malt and caramel. Behind the upfront flavors there are some nice grainy flavors. The hops do a great job of coming in and kicking out the sweetness of the malt. I found this one exceptionally balanced compared to some of the other “darker” Oktoberfest beers that I have had.

So far this is my favorite Oktoberfest of the year. The malt isn’t super sweet and heavy on the caramel components like a lot of the other examples of this style. It is very fresh tasting and the grainy notes really add to the quality of the beer. Sly Fox Oktoberfest comes in at 5.8% so it is sessionalable. I could see myself drinking this year round if they offered it. (more…)


Portland Breweries: Rock Bottom

07-20-01Coming from the Philadelphia area I have heard of Rock Bottom Brewery before. RBB is the first brewpub chain to my knowledge and they have been pretty successful at it with 35 locations at last count. My previous most local one was in King of Prussia, PA, but I never visited. I heard a bunch of mixed reviews about the beer and Victory always seemed to win out if I wanted to make a little drive from home.

Smalls and I wondered around Portland our first night there and caught the MAX light rail (free in the majority of the city by the way) to the river. Almost immediatly we spotted Rock Bottom and decided to make it our choice for dinner. They have a nice coner location and have plenty of indoor, outdoor, and bar seating. We looked over the menu before going in just to make sure it wasn’t out of this world and also to make sure they had food that we liked. Prices check. Food check. Seat please!

07-20-02Our waiter came by and we ordered two glasses of water and a sampler. Their beers included a lager, wheat, IPA, stout, porter, and an amber. For another 79 cents a sample glass you could try the two beers on cask which I don’t remember what they were. The lager, Swan Island Lager, was pretty darn good, nice and light with tons of flavor. My parents would hate it as it was a lighter lager with more flavor than water.

The wheat beer, Volksweizen, had what you expect from a beer with that name. Lots of ginger and corriander with a decent amount of balance. Not the best I’ve had, but not the worst. Sunny Day IPA was on the piney side for me, so I wasn’t too big of a fan, but if you like that taste, you might dig it. The Maltnomah Porter, named for the Multnomah Falls located about a half hour outside of the city was excellent. By far the best beer we had there. Tons of flavor, great after taste, and was a bit more complex than your typical porter.

Morrison Street Stout switches by the season. In the summer they have a cream stout which was pretty typical. If you say cream stout on CO2, you can expect to taste this beer. The final beer that I remember (the other two were on cask) was the Oregonic Amber. It was good, just a bit misbalanced with too much hops and not enough malt, and the pine was back.

Overall it was a decent place, but not somewhere that I would drive to go to. A free train ride five minutes away sure, but nothing more. The food was excellent and I would visit again just based on that. Sorry I didn’t grab any pictures, it was too much of a hassle to bring the camera out everywhere and look like more of a tourist than I already did.