Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A pint of Jersey fresh

What’s better than fresh beer? Fresh beer dry-hopped with freshly picked Cascades and Nuggets.

We spent some time Wednesday in the brewhouse at the Tun Tavern in Altantic City, where brewer Tim Kelly put on tap a special take on the Tun’s All American IPA, dialing up the beer’s aromatics with a few pounds of hops grown in South Jersey.

The beer’s a lightly filtered version of the Tun’s IPA, trending toward malty but smoothed out with the Cascades and Nuggets. The lighter touch with filtering gives the brew a hint of English real ale, however the carbonation is what you’d expect with American craft beer.

This is the first time Tim’s had a chance to use locally grown hops in a brew, but his preference is to be able to do it more frequently.

The cones came by way of Tim’s friends, Ray Gourley and Kathy Haney, whose small-space garden in Haddon Heights has produced an impressive crop of Nuggets, Cascades, Glacier and Goldings, among other varieties (check out the photo by Ray, cones as big as your thumb).

What got sacked up in a mesh bag and tossed into the serving tank smelled really great, so you can bet the beer’s worth moving up on your list of pint choices. (We took home a growler pulled early from the batch; haven't sampled it yet, but it will be more like real ale IPA, nice hoppy nose and low carbonation with the malty signatures.)

While waiting for the IPA to filter, we sampled a couple of the California brews – Lost Abbey Judgment Day and Moylan Brewing’s Hopsickle Imperial IPA – sent this way by the Thirsty Hopster.

Judgment Day, wow, the Cecil B. DeMille of beers, a quad as big as its biblical name. It’s got a warm alcohol kick (10.5% ABV) right from the start, in the nose and first sip, plus some chocolate notes before you get to the raisin flavors (it has raisins as an adjunct, plus some special B in the grain bill). Let it breathe and relax in the glass and some really big flavors unfold.

Hopsickle (9-something % ABV) was a beer that smelled better than it tasted, and that’s not a slap at its flavor, just an observation. You sort of expect an imperial IPA to be as bitter Paul McCartney’s ex, but the chorus of hop aromas were a nice preface to each sip from this pumped up IPA.

Looking ahead
Leather Neck stout, which has been off the Tun’s taps for a little while, is returning soon, and Tim plans to get rolling on an Oktoberfest (a Märzen fermented with Munich lager yeast) in a matter of days (just a tad behind schedule). Deeper into the fall, think spiced beer, and another lager will probably be coming back around.

Also, look for the Tun beers – four to six of them in fact – at a dinner at the Laguna Grill in nearby Brigantine about the third week of October. Plans for that were starting to take shape on Wednesday. Stay tuned.


althea said...
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Tom E said...

"as bitter as Paul McCartney's ex"

I love it. Keep up the good work and great reviews.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see you've found a chance to open the beers! I'm still holding on to mine, but will probably open a couple of them this weekend.