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The Manayunk Brewery: Craft Beer Searching for Identity

manayunk brewery The Manayunk Brewery: Craft Beer Searching for IdentityA Sushi Bar in a Brewery?

By Tim Rodgers

The Manayunk Berwery has been a staple of the Philadelphia Schuylkill River night life scene since 1996.  Formerly a converted textile mill known as Krook’s Mill, the historic Philadelphia landmark is now  bustling restaurant and brew pub.  The first thing I noticed immediately when I walked in was the sushi bar.  Curious I thought.  It seemed wildly out of place with the different sporting events shown on a number of flat screens behind the bar, the 80’s cover band that was about to take the stage, and the college aged crowd that had taken over at 10 o’ clock that Friday evening.

Nonetheless, it was all about the beer I reminded myself.  I thought it was appropriate to start off with the Dreamin’ Double IPA.  Inspired by the highly hopped beers from the west coast, the Dreamin double IPA is truly a hophead’s delight. Five varieties of American hops added throughout the boil create a wide range of flavors including pine and citrus, while generous dry-hopping in the fermentor provides the distinct aroma of fresh hops. The Manayunk Brew pubs guarantee that this is one of the freshest double IPA’s available.  8.5% ABV, 85 IBU’s.  I thought the hop varieties were out of place.  It seemed out of balance, too peppery, and over-spiced.

 

MANAYUNK LAGER (Oktoberfest) Marzen Style Lager

In strict accordance with the German purity law of 1516, they present this annually brewed festbier. Traditionally brewed in March and stored deep in the caves of Germany, this beer was brought to the masses to celebrate in October. It is a Vienna-style lager with a bit more malt and hops making a malty but balanced beverage. Copper-orange in color, it sports a toasty malt backbone that wonderfully compliments itself with many of our menu items.

6.2% ABV, 25 IBUs

I thought that the malt notes were way too heavy with coffee.  Had a metallic finish and missed the mark for me.  I was starting to get disappointed.  But as the 80’s music got louder and more obscure, the night started to get better.

 

KROOK’S MILL American Pale Ale

This is a well-balanced hoppy American style pale ale with a generous usage of fine 2 row pale and a touch of crystal malt. This beer is copper in color and is finished with “C” hops from the Pacific Northwest, which provide a wonderful floral aroma. This ale is a perennial favorite for the owners of the Manayunk Brewing Co.

5.3% ABV, 40 IBUs

This one is also a favorite of mine.  The balance was spot on.  Pale Ale is my favorite style of beer so I may be biased, but certainly hits the mark.  Homerun.

 

MUNICH DUNKEL Dark Lager

Brewed with high quality German ingredients, this dark lager is a great reminder that beer literally is liquid bread. The rich toasty flavor of Munich malt combines with a hint of roast from the dehusked carafa malt to create a wonderful aroma reminiscent of a freshly baked loaf of pumpernickel. 5.6% ABV, 20 IBUs.  The Dunkel went down a lot lighter than advertised here but yet still robust and flavorful.  The Manayunk Brew Pub hits the mark with the Dunkel.  Well done.

 

Overall, the Manayunk Brewery batted a .500 average which in today’s terms of restaurants and beers gets you in the hall of fame.  I did notice that they should probably clean their tap system too as well.  I think what’s indicative of many Brew Pubs these days is this notion that they try TOO hard to get novice beer drinkers on board by “OVER-DOING” each style of beer.  Whether it’s too hoppy for the IPA, or too robust in some of the malty styles, they “OVER-SELL” the style rather than just making GOOD BEER.  I mean dude, lose the Sushi Bar, the 80’s music, and make good beer.

Cheers.

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