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Wednesday, March 25
This was the last day of our trip. Weyerbacher didn’t open until noon, so we killed a little time at “beer heaven,” Shangy’s The Beer Authority in Emmaus, PA. What it lacked in bottle store cool factor, the distributor more than made up for in volume, selection, and pricing. I’ve rarely been in a position to buy cases straight from the distributor, but now I see the appeal. Shangy’s had cases of beer from nearly everywhere, at quite reasonable prices. We even saw a 12-bottle case of J.W. Lees Harvest Ale 2012 for $67.99 (they’ve apparently only had the ability to sell that quantity since March 9th)†. The lowest per-bottle price I’ve seen on Lees was between $8 and $9; Shangy’s case price was a steal. But we decided to wait for Weyerbacher.
We still had a couple hours to kill when we got to Allentown, so Ben suggested chilling at Coffee Works, the coffee shop run by Fegley’s Brew works. Only, they’ve closed it. Billy’s Diner, down the street, makes a very good cup of coffee; slightly sweet, with light acidity, and without an overly roasted astringent quality. The bagel and lox are killer, and their home fries are some of the most flavorful I’ve tasted in a long time. Sadly, I was too busy devouring the food to take any pretty pictures of it.
Weyerbacher brewery tours are free, but they only give them on weekends, so we didn’t get to take one. The Weyerbacher tasting room is small but roomy, and located sort of at the back of their brewery and warehouse. With its cement bar, gleaming taps (count’em; there’s 24), concert-style merch racks, and view of the stacked cases and kegs, the visitors center has a decidedly industrial feel. Given the lack of barstools or seating of any kind, it’s not exactly set up to relax and take your time. But that doesn’t mean you can’t.
Between us, we tasted ten of the brewery’s mostly high-grav offerings, necessitating a stay of close to two hours. The bartender who helped us for most of our visit was quite friendly and informative, and didn’t mind at all that we lingered over our 4 oz. tasting glasses (they no longer give free 2.5 oz. tastings, instead selling 4 oz. pours al la carte), paused to write notes, and browse the merchandise.
The reinterpreted PA beer laws meant we could come away from our visit to Weyerbacher with a mixed box of Merry Monks, Sunday Morning Stout, and a couple others. Which brings us to beer notes. Like the rest of this series, today’s post is a travel journal-esque overview, with more pics and fuller articles to follow.
Weyerbacher makes a wide variety of styles, including one or two quite good IPAs. But if there’s one thing they should be known for, it’s their strong, full-bodied stouts and Belgian-style brews. And if there’s one beer I’ve gotta tell you about right away, it’s the Sunday Morning Stout.
Released last Sunday, this American Imperial stout weighs in at 11.3%, and is bourbon barrel-aged. Fond as I am of Russian Imperial Stout (and Weyerbacher makes a few excellent examples), Sunday Morning gets my elusive ohmygodthat’sgood rating.
Peppery hints of coffee, an unmistakable bourbon barrel aroma, roast notes, beautiful pour, and full body make this a superlative coffee stout.
It was super tempting to buy a bag of the coffee beans they use in Sunday Morning, but I opted to buy more of the stout, instead.
† Russell, Don. “Stunning PLCB Reversal Allows 12-pack Beer Sales at Distributors.”Philly.com. Interstate General Media, 9 Mar. 2015.