Iron Hill Craft Brewers’ Festival – Recap and Pics
Friend of The Full Pint and President of South Jersey’s Barley Legal Homebrewers Club Evan Fritz sent in this recap of Iron Hill’s Craft Brewers Festival along with some great pictures.
Our readers are more than welcome to submit write ups and pictures from craft beer events as well. You will be making thousands of our thirsty readers very happy. Cheers!
Media, PA – Friend Devin and I arrived about 30 minutes early to the side parking lot at Iron Hill in Media, PA. As we arrived, we could see volunteers and brewers hustling to get their tents and jockey boxes in order. There was already a short line of patrons so we joined the will-call line to see about picking up our tickets. Once we got our wristbands on, we entered the festival and headed to Nodding Head first, where they were pouring their Berliner Weisse and Marauder. The Weisse was super tart and delicious on the warm, sunny day. However, there was no Woodruff syrup available, which is quite common in their brewpub.
Next, we shuffled down the line and hit Weyerbacher before stopping to chat with a gentleman from Twin Lakes. I have a special connection with Twin Lakes after spending a whole day with them a few years back, promoting their solar/green brewery. They make a fabulous session Pale Ale called Greenville and have been gaining a growing following in this area. We chatted briefly with head brewer Rob Pfeiffer before moving on to Bethlehem (Fegley’s) for their super-hoppy Hopsolutley. I have had this beer several times now, including on tap at the brewery a few weeks ago, and although I realize I am going against the grain I am not a huge fan. It is overly-bitter and has some grassy notes that I don’t enjoy.
We crossed over to the adjacent side and said hello to our good friends at Iron Hill. Head brewer from Maple Shade and good friend, Chris LaPierre, snuck us behind the tent for some special “Mug Club Only” beers. There we tried his Caprice with Brett, Fred–a magnificent Flemmish Red, a bourbon-oaked stout and a few other amazing sour beers. It was really cool and Devin and I were sure glad we are Mug Club members and in good standing. A special perk we were happy to take advantage of.
In the next tent, Flying Fish head brewer Casey Hughes was pouring his summer favorite Farmhouse Ale and my personal favorite HopFish IPA. I have had both several times but could not pass them up on draft. We also hit Yard’s and even tried some of the new Sam Adams Latitude 48 IPA, which has a notable citrus aroma and flavor from Simcoe hops alongside the earthy East Kent Goldings. Perfect balance.
At this point, we were feeling good and met up with some friends and fellow Barley Legal Homebrewer Club members. We swiftly slipped through the growing crowd and made our way over to Manayunk Brewing’s tent to sample a “special bottle” as head brewer Doug Marchakitus so elegantly put it. It turned out to be their double-IPA, California Dreamin’ spiked with some Brett and aged in an oak barrel. It was by far my favorite beer of the day, although most of the beers I sampled after that were mostly blurry and as is typical for me at beer fests like this, my tasting notes no longer existed.
Again, we decided to move along the line of tents next to Manayunk and had some Sunset Grand Cru at Stewart’s and the delicious Gold Star Pils at Lancaster Brewing. I chatted it up with Brewmaster Bill Moore and learned that after the Pils kicked, which it was very close to doing, he was going to hook up the Rumspringa Golden Bock, their seasonal Maibock. It made me wish I had a fresh German soft pretzel. We finished up with some of Stoudt’s Heifer in Wheat, a golden delicious and smooth drin king Bavarian hefeweizen.
About this time, we made our way back to the Iron Hill tent to get some more of the amazing sour beers. Along the way, we enjoyed some Troegs Sunshine Pils and a couple beers from Sly Fox. After we made it to Iron Hill, a crowd started gathering and I knew it was time for their special 6-liter imperial stout. I pushed and shoved my way through the seas of tipsy beer drinkers and was able to raise my tasting glass up high enough to get a couple ounces of this delicious brew. It was a lot of fun to see the dark nectar running down people’s arms as Media’s head brewer Bob Barrar tried to balance the hefty bottle and pour into such small glasses.
By this time, the festival had come down to the last hour and being satisfied with the beers we were lucky enough to sample, Devin and I hung out behind the Iron Hill tent and continued to drink their special beers. I vaguely remember having a few pours of a Belgian Tripel spiked with vodka, that was being called Tripel-Sec. I am not a big vodka fan but it was absolutely spectacular and extraordinary. We ended our day on that note and I am already looking forward to next year’s event.
Having all of the local breweries and brewpubs that I frequent in one place makes for such a special day. I can honestly say that out of all of the beer festivals I attend each year, this one continues to be my favorite. I hope they never change a thing.