Today’s Beer of the Month Club Review comes from Gourmet Monthly Club’s “Microbrewed Beer of the Month Club.” The two beer selections — Railbender Ale & Misery Bay IPA — are from the Erie Brewing Company in Pennsylvania.
Beer Club Review
There’s always something cool about repurposing an old, industrial building for a modern use. My urban friends covet apartments with exposed brick and steel ceiling beams in old factory buildings. The Source—a hub for local grub, breweries, and hip restaurants—recently opened in an old warehouse in Denver with much fanfare. It’s exciting to see an older, artsy space refurbished and put to a new use.
Erie Brewing Company started under just these circumstances—in Erie, Pennsylvania’s historic Union Station. While you can’t catch a train from this 1927-built structure, you can, as of 1993, get some great beers and food, to boot.
The Railbender is the kind of beer you’d want to sip while sitting upon some old railroad tracks, overgrown with plants and trees, on a sunny day in the midst of a hike. Those may sound like rare circumstances so you should note that it was also good on a chilly December weekday evening in my apartment.
This Scottish Ale pours a light amber into your glass. It has a light mouthfeel and is constructed around malt—caramel and chewy. Hops not a dominating force in the overall impression of this beer—they lend only a mild spiciness. Overall, the sweetness, hint of spice, and warming 6.8% kick make it a great choice for a lighter winter brew, too.
Or, you can also opt to stir it into your chili—that’s what we did. It was a great binding element for a ground turkey, black bean, and corn chili my boyfriend made for dinner the other night, rendering a delicious cohesive stew that I’ve enjoyed everyday since. Beer is always a great addition to chili and the Railbender is the perfect choice.
Misery Bay IPA
In my opinion, all IPAs can fit, more or less, into three categories: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. If skiing is on your mind, you might also box IPAs into green, blue, and black.
Black IPAs are a steep experience that will give you a run for your money. It takes a true, seasoned IPA lover to readily enjoy one (or three) of these. They are often precipitously high in alcohol with a serious risk of encountering bitter, robust hops the whole way down the bottle. California-style IPAs are often of this category.
Blue IPAs are somewhere in the middle and, in my experience, are often double IPAs—meaning they have more hops, but are also usually made with a larger amount of malts. So while they are typically high in alcohol with a strong hop presence, they are also well-balanced with a nice, sweet, malty backbone.
And finally, we have our green IPAs, which are great for new IPA drinkers. December’s Microbrewed Beer of the Month Club threw in a great green: the Misery Bay IPA, a bottle you can cruise through in no time with its initial onset of fruity flavor and mild finish. The malts in this beer assert themselves, too, providing a nice, caramel balance.
While I might make my way down double black diamonds on skis, I must admit that I’m only a blue IPA drinker at the bar.
The Bottom Line
Erie Brewing Company offers some great, unique brews. In two beers, I found great sips, an ingredient for chili, and more insights about the art of beer-drinking. Now, who can I give a Beer of the Month Club membership to for Christmas?
>>Learn more about the Microbrew Beer of the Month Club from Gourmet Monthly Clubs