Two growlers. Two beers. Two frosted glasses. One winner.
AleSmith Nautical Nut Brown Ale
The color on this San Diego-based brewer's English brown ale actually borders on black. It gives off serious malts as well as definite coffee notes. There is a bit of a spicy, peppery flavor and the first sip is both smooth yet vibrant and spiky. There is a bit of a sour, vinegary feel at points, but overall this brown is way better than run-of-the-mill.
This Keller Bier from the Meadville, Pa., brewers features a high level of complexity. It tastes heavy for a beer that you expect to be a bit light, which makes sense when you realize that it has a 6.7% ABV. The hazily golden colored beer has substantial hops, which can be picked up both in the scent and in a slightly more than usual aftertaste. There is all sorts of flavors wrapped up in this beer. There's a bit of a rustic wheatiness, a fruitiness that resembles citrus or melon, and even a little bit of a Belgian spice hint. It can, at times, seem a bit poorly defined, but there is no doubt that there is a lot there for the tastebuds to decipher.
It's official. Whole Foods Plymouth Meeting is the new growler hotspot. Their beers are consistently high quality. Plus, they seem to stay fresh for a very long time and they are very affordable ($12.99 is the highest price unless you start venturing into a barleywine or something). In this battle, I would say that both beers are very good, but I would go with the Voodoo Pilzilla. There were definite negatives to the beer, but I am giving it the nod based on its flavor complexity (the fact that it is hops-based doesn't hurt either; that just happens to be my palette). Won't lie though: I am definitely intrigued to try an IPA by AleSmith. They know their beer.
Growlers purchased at Whole Foods Plymouth Meeting.
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