Posts tagged ‘Porter’

September 5, 2014

The Pint is Mightier: Schooner Exact Brewing

(Beer Connoisseur Eric Peters contributed to this post)

For out latest review we ventured to the South Seattle destination of Schooner Exact Brewing. While it would be easy it pass judgment on their business park location with airplanes from nearby Boeing field buzzing overhead, it would be a mistake to do so. Aside from a solid selection of beers and a cozy interior, it’s home to the best damn Reuben in Washington State.

Unfortunately we visited when the brewery was missing one of their most delectable looking brews: the Black IPA and the barrel aged Winter Warmer. Expect a follow up review in the future!

Schooner Exact Brewing Company

Eric’s first beer – Gateway Golden (3.5/5 on Untappd)

I don’t usually go for Golden ales, but our quest for great beers always pushes me to try new things – and in this case I am glad I did. I enjoyed this beer much more than I expected to.

The brew poured a golden color and had a mild hop aroma. It did not appear very carbonated.  At first taste I was surprised by the level of hoppiness, which was very apparent and pleasant. It is a shame that Schooner Exact was out of their Pale ale at the time of review, because it would have been very interesting to compare the two.  Strangely, there is almost a subtle creaminess in the aftertaste, hidden cleverly amongst the hop flavor, that added a good level of depth to this beer. The Gateway Golden would be a fantastic beer for a hot summer day.

Porter, Golden and Eric

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July 5, 2014

The Bracket is Mightier III: A Game of Beers

7:13 update – We have a victor! The Delirium Tremens is the official champion of the third annual(ish) beer bracket. Congratulations to Zach, who entered the DT!


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June 3, 2014

The Pint is Mightier: Reuben’s Brews

(Beer Connoisseur Eric Peters contributed to this post)

Recent followers of Rosemary Renaissance may not know this, but in addition to recipes this blog is also home to Quinn and Eric’s reviews of Pacific Northwest breweries. It’s been more than a year since we ran a post in our “The Pint is Mightier” series, but we finally got our act together and have a new write-up of local Seattle brewery: Reuben’s Brews.

Our tasting notes and Untappd scores for individual beers are below. Overall, we thought that Reuben’s was a strong brewery with an ample variety of consistently tasty beers. Their space was nice, with a neat loft area up top and covered outdoor seating. Out only wish was for the fortitude to taste more beers during our excursion. Consider this on our list of breweries to revisit.

Reuben’s Brews:

Reubens Brews

Eric’s first beer – American Rye (4/5 caps on Untappd)

I have had a few Reuben’s Brews beers in the past and so I was excited to try them out in a more official capacity. I went with what any patriot would choose: the American Rye. This beer poured an opaque golden yellow color and really lacked any sort of strong aroma. When discussing these beers, Quinn noted that the aroma was almost lager-esque in nature.

Upon taking my first sip, it was very apparent how carbonated this beer was. The huge rye flavor blasted my taste buds with a marvelous balancing act that tempered the hops. The beer had a great mouthfeel and went down quite easily. Interestingly, after drinking about a third of a pint, I could taste a bit of lingering yeastiness on my tongue from the beer. This was not a bad thing, and I think helped highlight just how delicate and well balanced this brew is.

This beer was great – anyone who likes rye beers should give it a try. If you are not used to the rye flavor, you might be put off by how bold this beer is, but I think you will quickly come to enjoy it. For me, this is a great standby beer. If I am ever in a pub and I don’t know what to order and they have Reuben’s American Rye – well, I guess I would know what to order at that point.

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December 7, 2013

The Bracket is Mightier II!

5:53 update – The decision has been made! In a 6-5 split, Black Diamond’s Peak XV Imperial Porter has triumphed over New Belgium’s La Folie. Kudos to all the beers entered!


5:28 update – The Championship Round is upon us! It’s New Belgium’s La Folie against Black Diamond Peak XV Imperial Porter. May the best beer win!

4:33 update – We have our elite eight! Still remaining in the bracket are:

  • Sculpin IPA
  • Alba Scots Pine Ale
  • Trois Pistole
  • La Folie
  • Wesphestanier Korbinian
  • Rodenbach Grand Cru
  • Flyers Pacemaker Porter
  • Peak XV Imperial Porter

4:02 update – First round of the losers bracket is up! Here are the results

Losers round 1

3:04 update – The first round of the winners bracket is over! We had a couple upsets, here’s where things stand!

Winners round 1

Original Post:

Veteran readers may remember the first beer bracket that we set up and liveblogged here on Rosemary Renaissance. Eric and Quinn both selected eight of their favorite beers and pitted them against one another until one – Firestone Walker’s Wookey Jack – emerged victorious.

It’s been a long time coming, but we are excited to announce our second annual(ish) beer bracket! We’ve made a couple changes this time though. It’s now a double elimination bracket, and we’ve opened it up for fellow competitors to enter beers as well!

Below is the bracket, the winners half at least, with match-ups starting at 2:00 pm Pacific. Be sure to stay tuned here or at the Rosemary Renaissance Facebook Page as we look to settle once and for all (but not really) what is the greatest brew of all time!

Beer Bracket II

The Beers:

  1. Ballast Point Sculpin IPA
  2. Firestone Walker Double Jack
  3. New Belgium La Folie
  4. Stone Double Bastard Ale
  5. Rodenbach Grand Cru
  6. Dogfish Head Burton Baton
  7. Unibroue Trois Pistole
  8. Weihenstephaner Korbinian
  9. Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro
  10. Schneider Weisse Original
  11. Peak XV Bourbon Aged Imperial Porter
  12. Iron Horse Irish Death
  13. Alba Scots Pine Ale
  14. New Beligum El Dorado Fresh Hop Ale
  15. Pelican Wee Heavy Ale
  16. Flyers Pacemaker Porter
  17. Schooner Exact Hoppy Holidays
  18. Wells Banana Bread Beer
  19. Iron Horse High Five Hefe
  20. Kulshan Trans-Porter
  21. Big Time 25th Anniversary IPA
May 14, 2013

The Pint is Mightier: Skagit River Brewery

(Beer Connoisseur Eric Peters contributed to this post)

We confess: this brewery review is from almost a year ago. It got buried in the to-do stack and we just got around to finishing it up. A blast from the past, and from Mount Vernon, WA…

Skagit River Brewery

Tired – and definitely not hung over – we were on our way back from Bellingham when we drawn in by the siren’s call of another brewery. Although occasionally disrupted by a loud train careening by right outside, Skagit River generally held the same sleepy, relaxed atmosphere as the town around it. Digging the laid back attitude, we settled in for some reviewing.

Our first beer was the Highwater Porter, which poured a thick, dark black with no head to it. The aroma was light, but carried hints of the roasted malt flavor that made up the base of the flavor. A sip revealed mild grassy and earthy notes as well, but not in any unpleasant sense. There was a hint of strength, but nothing to suggest the actual potency of the brew – 7.2 percent. Overall the Highwater was good and well fortified porter, but nothing to shout from the mountaintops about.

The next beer that we tried was the Sculler’s IPA, a dark amber beaut. It had poured with a relatively small head, and had a rather see-through appearance for an IPA. The beer had a characteristically fruity-hop aroma that was quite enjoyable. The first sip revealed an incredibly power hop flavor, a hop-hurricane (patent pending) you might even say. It wasn’t until the aftertaste that the citrus hops really shone through however. This IPA was tasty and strong, but somewhat unremarkable. You’ll enjoy it if you like IPAs, but it won’t hook you on the style if you don’t.

We were not very impressed with our first sip of the Gospel IPA, with it’s faint banana undertones and overly bitter finish. Something about the hops, malts and yeast were out of whack.  There wasn’t enough body to make up for the force of the hops, which themselves were too weighted towards floral tones without any hint of bitter or earthy notes.  Although we found that this deep amber, medium carbonation beer did grow on us somewhat towards the end, we think that probably had more to do with our taste buds acclimating than anything else.

We concluded our daydrinking session with the Farm to Market Bitter. We don’t often have the chance to review an ESB, much less a regular old bitter (if you don’t know the distinction, don’t be troubled, it’s minor). It poured an amber color with a delightful half inch of head, with a malty and mildly hoppy aroma. It lacked opacity and appeared quite bubbly and carbonated. Just as it smelled, this beer had a good malty flavor with a perfect level of bitterness to balance out the flavor. At 5 percent ABV wasn’t a weak beer, unlike other bitters. We were quite pleased with this beer, judging it to be better than the similar but more widely imbibed Redhook ESB and Mac and Jack’s African Amber. If you like either of those beers, you ought to give this one a try.

The Skagit River Brewery was a fairly pleasant place. It has a good atmosphere, and we imagine that it’s a great local spot for those who live in and around Mount Vernon. While it would be worth your while to stop by if you’re passing through, we don’t recommend an expedition unless you’re as crazy about trying new breweries as we are.

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February 4, 2012

The Pint is Mightier: Naked City Brewery and Taphouse

(Beer Connoisseur Eric Peters contributed to this post)

From the heart of Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood, our next review is…

Naked City Brewery and Taphouse

Based on the film noir movie by the same name, Naked City is a cozy, dimly-lit establishment. They have a broad selection of delicious microbrews on tap, which alone would be more than enough of a reason to patron the establishment. More important for our purposes, however, is the handful of beers they brew in-house. Strolling in with our trench coats and fedoras (note: there were no actual trench coats or fedoras) we took a break from the crime beat for a nice cold one.

After looking over the in-house choices, we started with the Duplicity Belgian Dubbel style ale. This beer was served in a goblet and had a dark brown color with a creamy looking head. The aroma was mild, but distinctly Belgian. The beer lacked any sort of bitterness and was extremely malty, as Belgians often are. The minimal carbonation made drinking it incredibly smooth, and the taste was creamy, sweet and quite authentic. The one downside of this otherwise excellent beer was that it lacked much of an aftertaste. Overall this beer was a great Belgian style, done the way it should be done.

Next up was an out-of-the-ordinary brew: the Naked City Peach Hefeweizen. The beer had a golden hue and definite cloudiness to it, with no noticeable head. It had a strong peach aroma that wafted outward from the glass.  Despite the intense smell the flavor was actually quite subtle; it was heavy in traditional wheat flavors with faint notes of peach that frolicked about in the aftertaste. Fruit-infused beers should occupy a small middle ground between underwhelming and overly fruity; this beer definitely hit that (not-too) sweet spot.

Our third beer was the Night and the City Black Ale. The beer was very dark in color and almost entirely opaque, with a very dark roasted aroma. The flavor was an intriguing mix, akin to combining a porter and a brown ale. This black ale went down smoothly and consequently was quite drinkable. The profile was well balanced and, after drinking it a while longer, we noticed some of the roasts coming out and lingering in the aftertaste, a pleasant thing indeed. While this beer was good, it didn’t quite distinguish itself amongst the many that we’ve tried.

We closed out our evening with the Smoked Porter. For all intents and purposes it looked like a traditional porter – dark and vaguely opaque – but the first sip revealed noticeable differences in the flavor profile. The best way to put it: Damn, this beer is smoky. The initial notes of porter were quickly overpowered by char and hickory; it was as though someone had emptied a small vial of liquid smoke into the pint. It wasn’t until the aftertaste emerge that the flavors became more balanced, countering smokiness with sweetness and roasted porter notes. It was a bit too much like barbecue for us, but if you’re in the mood for some smoke then this is exactly what you’re looking for.

Naked City pairs a classic theme with some good in-house brews and dozens of microbrew taps to create a spot that’s definitely worth checking out. In addition to generally being a nice place to grab a pint, they regular host events and movies in keeping with the film noir atmosphere. If you decide to go, let us know. Chances are we might already be planning a trip back.

October 29, 2011

The Pint is Mightier: Scuttlebutt Brewing Co.

(Beer Connoisseur Eric Peters contributed to this post)

From the shores of Everett, WA comes our next brewery review…

Scuttlebutt Brewing Co.

The brewpub is located a hop, skip and a jump away from the naval base on the Everett waterfront. From the outside a very modern looking building, the inside of Scuttlebutt is rather generic. Eric and I slid into a booth near the window as it started to pour outside and readied ourselves for Everett’s best.

I chose the Dirty Blonde Ale for my first pint. Expecting some variation of a Hefeweizen, I was quite surprised when I took my first sip – in a good way. The roasting of the wheat and other grains created an entirely new flavor profile I had never tasted in a beer. Even after Eric tried it and we deliberated for some time, we couldn’t come up with a good way to describe the taste. There were notes of caramel interwoven lightly with vanilla and faint hints of root beer. Despite all the different components it came together in a surprisingly cogent way, extremely well balanced between malty, roasty and wheat flavors. I highly recommend this beer, it’s delicious and I haven’t tried anything else like it before or since.

Eric’s first pint was the Scuttlebutt Porter, a very dark colored brew that arrived with no head to speak of. His first sip revealed the flavor to be very roasty. As he progressed through the beer, Eric notice light chocolate notes in the profile. The porter tasted creamy, with earthy malts that added some character to it. Coming in at 20 IBUs, this beer lacked any sort of real bitterness. The maltiness was even more pronounced in the aftertaste, leaving the beer with a strong finish. This Porter was nothing remarkable, but was well crafted, full bodied and worth checking out.

Eric moved next to the Tripel 7 Belgian Style Ale. A seasonal ale at Scuttlebutt, the Tripel 7 was a a very true New World Style Belgian Ale. This brew was quite alcoholic, coming in at almost 9% ABV. It was light in color with some opacity and a mild, yet pleasant, sweet aroma. The esters in the beer came through to provide a sweet, somewhat fruity flavor that had definite hints of raisins and bananas. However, you shouldn’t let that description fool you into thinking this beer is some sort of fruity tropical bonanza; it still has a strong, fundamentally beer-y taste. It lacked a discernable aftertaste, which took away much of it’s depth. Overall it was somewhat boring compared to other Belgian Eric had tried, particularly those from native Belgium. Though not the best Belgian Eric has had, he noted that it is a good example of an American Style Belgian and might be good for someone wanting to try something new.

My second pint was the Tell Tale Red Ale. It was a coppery color, and the lack of head belied the mild carbonation of this beer. The flavor was akin to an amber ale combined with a pale ale; medium-light bodied with mild bitterness and nice malts. Typical of a red ale, there were noticeable rye notes in the flavor profile. This beer was a good example of a red ale, slightly above average for its class. If you enjoy the style, you will enjoy this beer.

All in all, Scuttlebutt was a nice brewery. The atmosphere was somewhat lacking, but the staff was friendly and they had several standout brews. Although irrelevant to the beer, they also have some ornate and awesome looking – although expensive – growlers that are definitely worth checking out. If you find yourself in Everett, or even in the general area, it would be worth your time to step in for a pint or two.

October 2, 2011

The Pint is Mightier: Foggy Noggin Brewing LLC

(Beer Connoisseur Eric Peters contributed to this post)

Today we review a whole different kind of brewery. Tucked away on a suburban side street outside Bothell, WA is…

Foggy Noggin Brewing LLC

Foggy Noggin can’t even be called a microbrewery – it’s a nanobrewery. Owner Jim Jamison converted the garage of his residential home into a tasting room, and his actual brewing equipment is in a shed in his back yard.

The brewmaster boasted that he has one of the smallest full production breweries in the world. Foggy Noggin has only four beers on tap at a given time, all in their signature style of traditional English ales. Don’t let the small size fool you though, these beers are bold and distinct and some of the best we’ve have to pleasure to taste.

After several free samples, Eric and I both opted to get the Christmas Duck Porter; his regular, mine on nitro. This beer was very dark with a small caramel colored head. It was very opaque; light did not penetrate this beer. The beer had a pleasant roasty porter aroma as expected. At first sip Eric and I both knew it was a winner. We both spent the next 45 minutes sitting in the driveway/taproom trying to articulate the different nuances. The malt flavors hit the tongue and gave way to a slight bitterness that lingers perfectly. This porter had no apparent chocolate or coffee flavors in the roast, but there were hints of molasses and other notes that even after our long discussion we couldn’t identify. It was also stronger than most other porters, weighing in at 6.6% ABV. After conferring we do recommend getting it on nitro, even though it takes about ten minutes to pour. The added smoothness perfectly compliments this porter and the extra head captures the flavors perfectly. Overall, the original English style made this ale memorable, distinct, and delicious. We both recommend that anyone reading this step away from the computer immediately, go find someplace serving this porter and bask in its glory. Yes, its so good we even recommend you stop reading this blog mid-post.

Eric wanted to keep drinking the Christmas Duck Porter for the rest of the afternoon, but his duty to review more than one beer compelled him to get the Bit O’ Beaver English Bitter as his second pint. A bitter is a very English style ale, one that is uncommon around here, though many of you reading this will be familiar with the related style Extra Special Bitter, or ESB. The Bitter has a very low ABV at only 3.6%. It poured a cloudy amber color with no head. Eric could only discern a very minor malty aroma. The beer was very light-bodied and the flavor had a malt profile very similar to an amber. The bitterness was slight, but apparent. It had a lot of similarities with an American Amber style ale, however this Bitter possessed much more character and complexity than any Amber Eric had ever tasted. A unique and interesting brew unlikely to be found elsewhere, Eric recommended this as another beer by Foggy Noggin very much worth checking out.

I had similar feelings for the Porter, but opted instead to get the Rufus IPA for the sake of the blog. Being a true pacific northwest boy, I’m accustomed to the hyper-hoppy, in your face IPAs that we’re famous for out here. The Rufus was of a decidedly different pedigree. By appearance it was similar; coppery-amber colored with no head. However, one sip revealed the classic English stylings of this beer. The hops – all English variety – were unlike any other I had tasted before. In contrast to the bitter, floral and citrus flavors found in American IPAs, the hops in the Rufus were earthy and rustic. There were also a number of ester-like notes interwoven with the hops, giving the beer some characteristics of a Belgian ale. This beer was nothing like any IPA I had tried before, but I certainly enjoyed it. If you’re an IPA fan looking to change things up a little then this is the beer for you.

Whenever we get houses of our own, Eric and I will be opening breweries like this one. Jim is living the dream of every aspiring homebrewer; what started as a hobby has become a burgeoning business. He’s passionate about his beer, and it shines through with every sip of every pint. Foggy Noggin is only open for tasting on Saturdays and Sundays from 1-4 (though the hours change sometimes, stay up to date here) but their beers debut across the Puget Sound at places like Rooney’s on the Eastside in Woodinville and at Naked City in Seattle. This nanobrewery may be a little bit out of the way, but these highly unique and stunningly tasty beers are worth traveling from absolutely anywhere to try.

Good luck Jim, we’re rooting for you here at Rosemary Renaissance.

August 21, 2011

The Pint is Mightier: Harmon Brewing Co.

(Beer Connoisseur Eric Peters contributed to this post)

We’re back with another review! From Tacoma, WA we bring you…

Harmon Brewing Co.

Located in a very nice part of Tacoma with a view of the port, this brewery was a real treat. It had a large pub area, a game room located in the back and an unpretentious, beautiful nice beer garden. In the field of inconsequential – but nonetheless awesome – amenities, it also had the coolest sinks that Eric and I had ever seen.

Eric started with one of Harmon’s special brews: the Vanilla Porter. It was the same recipe used in their Puget Sound Porter with the addition of vanilla beans. If this sounds good to you, you’re right, because it was excellent. The added notes of vanilla were not overpowering and complimented the roastiness of the porter excellently. The beer itself was very roasty in flavor and texture that lingered pleasantly in the aftertaste. This porter seemed to be more carbonated than many others Eric has tried. There was little bitterness in the beer, which allowed for the creamier notes to merge seamlessly with the vanilla flavors. This porter boasts a good deal of complexity but isn’t overdone, a problem with many beers that try to add flavors. It is a good example of how to make a good porter and infuse it with unique flavors. (Which, if you weren’t paying attention, is carefully and subtly).

My experience at this brewery was an interesting one. I sampled a specialty fruit IPA – more on that later – but opted to go first with the Browns Point ESB. It arrived a rusty copper color and medium-light body; the carbonation was excellent. As I sipped it I tasted mild bitterness, citrus notes and some sweetness, and came to the conclusion that they must have poured me the IPA on accident. It was not until checking with the server after finishing the pint that they confirmed that I had indeed been drinking the ESB. Ultimately this was quite a good beer and I recommend getting it, but it was so far out of the scope of a traditional ESB that I thought I was drinking something else.

After the confusion I did get my hands on their Floridian IPA. This beer made no attempt at subtlety. Even before I took my first drink I could smell the fruit. It was infused with grapefruit, orange and pineapple, though the first was the dominant flavor of the three. The hop profile was citrusy and floral, which played perfectly with the fruity notes. Although the initial flavor of the fruit hit you square in the jaw, the hoppiness became more pronounced as I continued drinking. The beer itself was medium bodied with solid carbonation but very little head. This beer probably is not for everyone, but I definitely enjoyed it.

Eric rounded out the trip with a pint of the Point Defiance IPA. This IPA is dialed in at a bitter 70 IBUs, which is very apparent from the first taste. The IPA had a nice hop aroma that went well with the flavor. The citrus notes hidden in the big hop character were nice and carried over into a subtle but pleasurable aftertaste. The IPA lacked a lot of complexity that other IPAs possess. Eric did not have too much to say about this beer; it was a pretty good IPA, but there are better ones out there.

Harmon Brewing is unassuming and thus easy to pass without second thought, but you most certainly shouldn’t because it’s a brewery well worth checking out. The atmosphere is exceptional and the beer is unique and tasty. In particular, we recommend making the trip for their happy hour, when pints are only $3 each. Eric and I definitely recommend it.

August 3, 2011

The Pint is Mightier: Elysian Brewing Co.

(Beer Connoisseur Eric Peters contributed to this post)

The Pint is Mightier is back! Today we review local Seattle favorite…

Elysian Brewing Co.

Named for the Grecian final resting place of the heroic and virtuous – Elysium – the flagship brewery of Elysian is located in the heart of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.  We mere mortals journeyed to this mythical spot looking for some epic brews.

Eric’s first beer was the Perseus Porter, named for the legendary hero who slew Medusa. A bold name, he noted, but fitting of one of the most bold porters he’d tried. The beer was a lovely dark brown color that poured with a light head. Upon first taste Eric noticed that this beer was a bit hoppy for a porter; unusual, but quite pleasant nonetheless.  The different roasted flavors of the porter were harmoniously balanced, and after a few more sips Eric noted a hint of creaminess in the mix as well that brought the whole beer together. Overall this beer was medium bodied and extremely drinkable. Eric found this to be an fantastic and unique porter that handily lived up to its legendary namesake.  He highly recommends to anyone who enjoys dark beers

I couldn’t resist trying one of Elysian’s specialty brews on tap, the Rhubarbarella. It was billed as a wheat beer brewed with over 45 pounds of rhubarb in each batch. I was intrigued and interested, but unfortunately the first sip met with disappointment; there was not a single hint of rhuburb in the flavor profile. Instead, as I worked through the pint, I realized I was drinking a traditional – and rather generic – Hefeweizen.  As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, I’m a sucker for innovative and unique brews, but this one just never came together.

The Immortal IPA was Eric’s second pint of the afternoon. He rightly pointed out that whenever you’re out tasting beers you should always save the more bitter and hoppy ones for last, as they tend to distort the flavor of beers that follow. Simply put, Eric found the Immortal IPA to be a splendid beer. It had a nice light copper color with minimal opacity and a pleasantly hoppy aroma. For an IPA it was not very bitter, but the hop flavors really shone through and played well with one another. The beer also had a pleasant aftertaste that lingered on the tongue, daring one to take another sip. As far as IPAs go, this one was very good. Eric recommends this as one to try for those who are curious about IPAs, but also a little nervous about their hoppier flavor.

My second beer, The Wise ESB, came out looking like the twin of Eric’s Immortal IPA – and for good reason too. Compared to more traditional ESBs (Extra Special Bitters, a traditional English ale similar to an American Amber) it was much hoppier and lightier-bodied. In essence, it looked and tasted like a hybridization between an IPA and an ESB.  It poured a rusty copper color with a light head.  It was mildly malty but still light bodied, with hop flavors interwoven throughout.  Overall this is quite a good beer, but it will definitely surprise you if you’re expecting a classic, English-style ESB.

Elysian has some great tasting brews that are very unique in their particular style, although occasionally they overreach in their experimentation. The brewery itself has a stylish atmosphere and attentive staff.  Food runs rather expensive, so we recommend sticking to beer and heading to one of Capitol hill’s many delicious food joints if you get hungry.  All in all, we definitely recommend checking out this brewery.

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