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Friday, June 1, 2007

The Session: Support Your Local Brewer

The assignment for The Session this month is to drink local. The host is snekse of the Gastronomic Fight Club, and he laid down the rules:

You can pick anything commercially made within 150 miles of your house, but try to pick the brewery or brewpub closest to your house (NOTE: the average American lives within 10 miles of a craft brewery).

You can select any beer or even a sampler if you want.

If you select a single beer, let us know why you choose this beer (e.g. favorite, seasonal, limited edition, best seller).

Preferably you'll shy away from beers with wide distribution outside your immediate area.

I had planned to go out of one of my local brewpubs (Porterhouse, the Triumphs, Iron Hill North Wales, Manayunk, Nodding Head, Independence). But it turned out to be a wicked hot day, and I've got early commitments this evening (parking attendant at my son's high school's baccalaureate), and I've still got to get some work done, so...I went to the fridge.

And lo and behold, I got to speak. There was a blank-labeled bottle of Yards Sexy Sister in there. This is a one-batch draft-only special brew (I was down at the brewery last week to pick up beer for the Ortino's Summer Session of Love, and got a sixer of sample bottles), so I think I'm hitting all the bases on snekse's requirements. Yards is under 20 miles away (it's not the closest brewery to my house, but thanks to I-95, it's actually the quickest trip by car), I selected a beer I wanted (because it was in my fridge), the beer I selected is both a limited edition and limited distribution (pretty much draft only in Philadelphia County).

So I'm set, let's pour! Sexy Sister is a lightly filtered beer, roughly in the Belgian pale ale style, but not entirely. It's a "sexy sister" to Yards' year-round Saison, without the orange peel, and with a different Belgian yeast. It came out a bit higher in alcohol, according to Yards' John Rehm. "It's about 5.2%," he said.

Interesting beer. It's quite pretty, a translucent coppery-orange with a tenacious skiff of bubbles across the top. The aroma is fresh bread and the coriander, and there is a citrus-like tang to it, despite the lack of peel, but that's probably coming from the yeast. It's quick across the mouth, dry and spicy, on the edge of astringent. Hold on a sec...I want to try something. Ha! Just as you might think, this one tastes real darned good out in the humid heat. Just the thing it needed.

John said they were thinking about tinkering with it, but at this point, it's a one-shot. And that's okay. Regardless of like or not like, it's good to see Yards do things like this: one-shots, you taste them or you miss them, and if you miss them, well, you're that much more likely to get out and try the next one.

Local beer lives and dies on the bar trade, and the bar trade, as I've said elsewhere, is something you should be supporting; for the bar's good and yours. Going out to bars is where you meet people; going to good beer bars and brewpubs is where you meet good people, people like you. "Good people drink good beer. Good beer. No shit." as Hunter S. Thompson put it on the Flying Dog Road Dog label.

So get your local beer drinkin' butts out to where you can find Sexy Sister, and do it tonight or tomorrow: John is pretty sure the following Philly bars still have Sexy Sister -- Johnny Brenda's, McCrossen's, White Dog Cafe, Grace Tavern, Lost Bar, Westbury, and South Philly Tap Room.

Support Your Local Brewer!


Rick Lyke said...


Thank God for the Eisenhower Interstate System! Great review of Yards -- wish I could try one now! Check out my "Session" at



jim said...

london grill still has the Sister as well.

Anonymous said...

I was out at Cantina Los Caballitos in South Philly last night, and they had Sexy Sister on tap. Not usually my favorite style of beer, but it tasted really good -- and is great for summer drinking.

Another surprisingly tasty beer I sampled yesterday at White Dog Cafe -- Flying Fish Summer Farmhouse Ale. I have not always been blown away by Flying Fish beers, but this one was a winner. Really, really good.

Lew Bryson said...

Tim -- I've always liked the FF Farmhouse, but this year's is tasting particularly good to me. Just had one last night at Curran's on Bristol Pike.

snekse said...

The Session #4: Local Brews Round-Up is now posted!

Local Brews: A Field Guide