Triumph Brewing Company – Philadelphia, PA

10-beer samplers make me horny. When that sampler is only $12, then I do not understand why more people don’t do beer samplers everywhere they go. What was I doing in Philly? My friend wanted to go for her birthday this year to do some historic stuff, and of course my condition was that we do beer stuff too. We visited Triumph Old City (they have three locations and the beer is actually brewed in Princeton, NJ) after a walking tour dropped us off at the Friendship Arch in Chinatown. For any craft beer loving Marines out there, the Tun Tavern historic sign is right around the corner at S. Front and Sansom. Here’s my review of the beer here.

They sell growlers of all their beers.

They sell growlers of all their beers.

Ginger Cream – if ginger ale soda was a beer. First impression is that this sampler is being served in the right order and the words ginger cream had me giggling like a 12 yr. old. This 4.3% session beer is a nice light beer with enough ginger – 3.5 lbs. in an 11-barrel system – to make it interesting and easy to drink. Served on nitro which adds to the creaminess (hee hee hee). I like it. Made with oats. I brewed a Ginger Saison from a kit based on Sam Calagione’s book Extreme Brewing that I did not like at all (The Hopfather DIPA kit on the other hand was AMAZING!). That’s just to say that I really appreciate that they were able to get ginger flavor into this beer without making it taste like plastic.

They had great notes on the menu which I always appreciate and have included at the end of this review with details on ABV and hops and malts and such.

Amber Ale – nice flavor punch. I’m also noticing that there are great fresh heads on all the glasses (see? That innuendo doesn’t make me giggle like ginger cream does). This is another great flavor profile that gives a cheer for malts while giving us a sour hop finish. Cascade hops.

English IPA – this is the beer I’d define as representative of what I’ve tasted so far in Philadelphia. Very British, very historic. This one is smooth and did I mention fresh? Compared to the lack of head on the sampler at Nodding Head, this was a relief. Nothing stands out in this flavor profile which makes it the quintessential British beer. Especially if it was a comedy. Dry. Get it? Never mind. Columbus and East Kent Golding hops.

Rye Porter – this is lovely. Creamy. A bit bitter. Chocolate even but I suspect that’s coming from the earthiness of the rye. At 4 oz. pours, we are blowing through this 40oz sampler. It’s hard to linger for too long. After the surprising punch flavors from the first, this is a nice palate resetter.

An Eye for an IPA – seems malty for an IPA. It’s so balanced that it doesn’t even register in my brain as a pale ale. It’s not bad. Tastes fine but I’d be disappointed if I ordered a pint of something I expected to be hoppy. 40 IBUs?! Does that even count as an IPA?! It’s not that it’s a bad tasting beer, it’s just a joke of an IPA. They use 20 whole pounds of hops in this brew. Is that a lot? Compared to the 3.5 pounds of ginger, it sounds like a lot? Zythos, Falconer’s Flight, Cascade, Centennial, and Columbus. It’s not for lack of trying, I just have to wonder if it isn’t a double. Description says ‘nearly an India amber ale.’

I can’t emphasize enough how much I’d order this beer against the fact that it’s confusing the hell out of me. This is like being attracted to an engineer that opens the door for you and softly licks your pussy after years of getting tied up and fucked hard by multiple bikers on a pinball machine though. I mean, are you disappointed or excited at the prospect of something new? I’ll stick to my standard pinball machine gang rape IPA’s thank you very much. But again, this is good foreplay.

Let’s pause here to discuss the significance of unisex bathrooms. They have them here. Public sex. You’re welcome.

Abbey Duppel – sweet. Glacier hops. Everyone knows Belgians aren’t my favorite. Raisin is my least favorite flavor and it’s prevalent in this style. My battery is almost dead on my phone, so let’s just skip it.

Philly Common – same Perle hops from the ginger cream. They really excel at giving subtle flavors a good mouthfeel. I suspect I’d be much more critical of this sampler if the beers weren’t so well made. Is that a coconut aftertaste? This is one to do a growler of.

At this point in the review, I had to look up how to undo typing because I had deleted this review. For you iPhone 4 users out there, shake your phone and an undo typing button comes up. Technology rules.

Belgian Pale Ale – another shoulder shrug. It’s good. It’s fine. It’s nothing new or impressive. Perle, Zythos, Falconer’s Flight, Cascade hops. I give it a single clap on a Fraggle Rock scale of dance your cares away.

Ordinary Bitter – nice temperature. Cask conditioned. 4.5% ABV. This is one of three that I could point to and say, ‘it’s good’ but in a ‘let’s just be friends’ kind of way. These are the nice guy brews of craft beer even though they have iron skeletons as part of the decor.

This is  the kind of thing hanging from the rafters in this place.

This is the kind of thing hanging from the rafters in this place.

Chili amber – one of the bartenders gave us a taste of this mixed with his Bloody Mary mix. The chili amber isn’t very much chili but added to the Bloody Mary mix makes a great michelada.

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