McGillin's Ale House was a lot of fun, but now it was time
for a brewery tour: off to Red Bell in the historic Brewerytown section of
Philly, it was quite interesting to see the row houses which used to be
occupied by brewery workers of days gone by who labored in the numerous
breweries which gave the
area it's name. Red Bell itself is located in a huge building which used to house the F.A. Poth Brewery (I'm sure they must have mentioned that along
the way, but I had to look it up. Sue me.)
We took a ride up to the fourth floor (all 40 or so of us adults plus two kids and two dogs) on the freight elevator to see the brewing equipment, listen to brewer Jim Cancro, munch on fresh Maris Otter malt (brought in from Slocum, RI! YAY!), and peer up through the huge skylight that marks the spot where the brewing equipment was dropped in.
We descended a floor to the fermenting area where the fairly clean and malty Red Bell American Pale Ale was waiting on tap for us. We also sampled the
best-selling Philadelphia Original Lager straight from the tanks as well as a superb Black Cherry Stout with only two days of fermentation behind it.
This one was still understandably sweet but showed lots of promise, I'd love to sample the finished product.
Red Bell Ahopolypse Now (enjoyed at Reading Terminal Market before the brewery tour) arrived a bright orange color with a thick foamy head, much more than I would expect from a cask beer. I have never been convinced that a big hoppy beer picks up much if anything in the cask, any esters produced in the conditioning process are overwhelmed by the hops. All the same, I was delighted to have this beer before me, with its big resiny nose, smooth malt palate, piny-and-bitter hop finish, it was a perfect aperitif.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.