Monday, June 11, 2012

Great Beer, Nice Guys, and Some Borderline Creepy Tweets: A Night with Free Will Brewing Company

The other night (more like twelve days ago), I went to Chap’s Taproom for a couple of reasons. First of all, they had their Quizzo night going. Second, friends of ours were moving to Ireland for a decent stretch so we wanted to send them out with a good time. Quite frankly, the fact that the makers of Perkasie’s Free Will Brewing Company were going to be there had absolutely nothing to do with my walking through the doors on that late-May night.

Well, a few thoughts:
1)      We won in Quizzo and we didn’t even have to use our smartphones. Take that, technology. And cowardly users of said technology for Quizzo purposes.
2)      Our friends had a wonderful evening and have since touched down safely in the Emerald Isle, where I am sure they are having a swell time and eating lots of Lucky Charms.
3)      I sure am glad I got to taste the offerings of Free Will Brewing Company since the experience revealed them as seriously up-and-coming beer makers. Plus, they were darn nice guys.

A couple week’s remove from beer consumption will leave details about as scarce as ice sculptures in the Sahara so don’t expect much insight on the beverages here. Let’s just say their Destiny’s Wit was a crisp, refreshing wheat beer that I wouldn’t mind drinking several of on a warm summer afternoon. Their Citra Pale Ale, which has been reviewed on this site and beat Stoudt’s Karnival Kolsch in a hotly contested episode of Growler Wars, is a powerfully hopped specimen with notes of pine, caramel, grapefruit, and more. And the crown jewel of their collection – at least in this reviewer’s eyes – is the 7 Course Red Ale, a malty, smoky, almost stoutish monster that was so good it moved me to buy a growler of it two days after sampling it for the first time. It went on to beat Long Trail’s Double IPA, making the brewery the first ever to win two different segments of our Growler Wars series – an honor that unfortunately is worth about as much as a bunch of gold bricks would be to a man drowning in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
Needless to say, their beer is good. But the story doesn’t end there. I actually got to talk to the guys. When I realized that the guys from Free Will were going to be at the event, I threw a shout via Twitter, the incredibly powerful social media site for people who are naïve enough to think that other human beings actually care what they think. They returned with one saying they would like to meet me. After several missed opportunities and tweets back-and-forth, including one where I accidentally revealed that I had just returned from the process of urination, we were able to chat for a few minutes. Shockingly, considering the level of detail I passed along to Dominic Capece, co-owner and co-brewmaster (with John Stemler)of Free Will, he had no reluctance to shake my hand and he did not require that Chap’s Taproom supply him with armed guards before making my acquaintance.

Before I pass along some details about our conversation, you must realize a few things:
1)      It’s been a week.
2)      It was somewhat loud.
3)      I was somewhat drunk.
4)      I am somewhat socially inept.
5)      I am somewhat scared that Dominic could have considered our conversation off the record and that I could be sued or, worse, banned from purchase of 7 Course Red for the rest of my days above ground.

So here’s what I got. The guys got their start making beer at home and then they started making it for parties that a friend would host. The attendees at those parties enjoyed the brew so much that they decided to take it larger-scale. Right now, they have a small operation in Perkasie. They make the three beers that I stated above. They also do not bottle or can. The beer is only made for draft consumption. However, the gents are eyeing expansion (both real estate wise and beer genre wise) should growth continue at its current state. That growth includes not only the event at Chap’s, but the presence of their beer at establishments like Whole Foods Plymouth Meeting, where the Pizza Project purchased both growlers reviewed for the site. Although I did not ask what he does for a “living,” I also learned that Dominic has an actual day job. This is something that I was shocked to learn because, when you can make beer this endlessly drinkable, you really shouldn’t be wasting your time doing things as trivial as punching a clock or curing cancer. As I think back, I believe that is pretty much all of the details that I got out of Dominic before leaving due to my own borderline psychotic fear of pauses in the conversation. Other than the fact that he has wonderful, piercing eyes. Seriously, I’m glad my wife wasn’t there on this night. She probably would have left with him. The bastard!
So here is pretty much all you need to know about Perkasie’s Free Will Brewing Company: It’s very good beer made by very cool people. Try it if you see it on tap.

The Pizza Project
Just a nibble:
Single slice:
The full pie:


  1. Nice review Saucy! Good times that night.

  2. Sounds interesting. I shall definitely try the beer.