I dropped down to the Hulmeville Inn last night for a couple quick beers; not just any beer, but the new Flying Fish Exit 1 Bayshore Oyster Stout (thanks to big Tom Linquist for the tip on the Flying Fish Exit 1 firkin). I had dinner ready when Cathy got home at 5:45; 'Look, dear, casserole's ready in 20 minutes...but they're tapping a firkin of Oyster Stout at Hulmeville at 6 and those firkins never last long do you want to come along aw come on you can go oh gotta pack for Scranton okay see ya bye!' (If you talk fast enough, you can be out the door while the sound is still hanging in the air...)
So I walk in the door and there's big Tom sitting at the bar right across the room: Hey! I joined him, and the rest of the friendly pack of beer lovers at the Inn, and got a pint of Exit 1 off the gravity-pour firkin (you can see Tom tapping -- er, mostly -- the previous firkin, Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin, below; in Tom's defense, I'd use a bigger mallet). First off, the stuff's very dark, close to black. It was not what I'd call 'rich,' though there was a nice hint of bitter chocolate to it; this was dry stout, with a good nip of bitterness on the end, a kind of bite that did not get in the way of having another at all. Nice beer...exceptional beer? Maybe not, but a real good pint. Good enough that I had another (and paid for this one, thanks for the first one, Jeff!).
Then Jeff (Lavin, the owner) brought out some small glasses and a 12 oz. sample of harvest from the Hood, Philadelphia Brewing's new fresh hop beer, using hops grown at the brewery and Greensgrow Farms, Philly's urban CSA (just down the street from Memphis Taproom). The hop aroma was huge -- it oughta be, the label cheekily notes that it's "Sextuple Hops Brewed" -- but not what you'd call 'delicate' or 'refined,' more like "big." This one's about as subtle as the label: Hey, sailor! It's quite hoppy, and a bit rough around the edges, which I think fits the beer's Kensington roots perfectly. This beer's got terroir, dammit! Looking forward to trying it on tap (don't look for bottles, there were only about two cases made for bar samples).
At that point, I decided to go home and get some of that casserole. I sweet-talked Jeff into filling a 12 oz. "growler" for Cathy (a brown-glass flip-top I use for sampling; quite handy) -- thanks again, Jeff -- and headed up the hill to home.