On Saturday, February 18, 2023, we spent the afternoon at a Philadelphia brewery and assisted in the making of a Golden Ale. The brewery is called My Local Brew Works and it’s located in the Frankford section of Philadelphia.
Here’s a bit more information about them, courtesy of the “About Us” section of their website:
From Home Brew To Brew House
My Local Brew Works brings together the award-winning brewing skills of Tim Montague and Wayne Humphrey with Philly’s brewing icon and author George Hummel of Home Sweet Homebrew. Our primary objective is to produce traditional European and classic American craft-style beers.
Awash in a sea of “flavor of the week” breweries, we are your lifeline to beer that tastes like beer!
Although not adverse to experimental brewing, after thousands of years of brewing, most of the flavor combinations that work, have been discovered. We brew beers that honor tradition with an eye to the future.
Our uber-nano brewery will produce brews for charities, events, house beers for pubs, and direct to public sales.
And here’s a not so brief chat that Limpd and I had via email about all that went down on that Saturday afternoon…
G-LO: You’ve made beer before, right?
Limpd: I wouldn’t call my end result a success; but, yes, I have made beer before. I was gifted an at-home brewing kit and made what can only be described as a poor version of light beer. Given the end result of my first brewventure, I was definitely looking forward to assisting the professionals and watching the blend of science and art during this little outing.
G-LO: It must have been a pretty terrible home brewing experience as I don’t recall ever trying it.
After our lengthy discussions with Tim Montague, Wayne Humphrey, and George Hummel at My Local Brew Works, I’d say your description of brewing as a “blend of science and art” is perfect.
I’m sure we’ve discussed it before, but it always amazes me that you can take four simple ingredients, i.e. water, yeast, grain, and hops, and create so many different beers by altering the variety of each ingredient. The combinations are endless!
And we haven’t even accounted for the possibilities once you start adding herbs, fruits, a whole carrot cake, or whatever other thing you can dream up. Based upon the few beers we sampled last Saturday afternoon, I’d say Tim, Wayne, and George definitely let their imaginations run wild. That’s a good thing by the way.
Limpd: They had us “help” with a Golden Ale and I couldn’t get over the use of three grains (barley, wheat and rice) and then the introduction of hops at 3 different stages in the process. They have the recipes nailed down and have timed the process to the minute (more or less). Looking at their efforts, it became pretty clear that my feeble effort lacked most of what the fellas bring to the table.
You mentioned what we tried. I thought the mashup of styles in the first beer, The Philly Phinger, was pretty unique. I hadn’t thought you could combine Kolsch, Sticke Altbier and West Coast Blonde Ale and get a beer that was that tasty. What stood out to you?
G-LO: “Help” is a spot-on word for what we did. While I appreciate that we were invited to “brew beer”, I don’t think dumping grain and hops into a pot of simmering water constitutes anything close to brewing. This is not a complaint by the way. While I have a basic understanding of how beer is made, keeping my effort to a minimum is a smart move on their part. Can’t have me spoiling the batch!
We tried quite a few beers while we “helped”, but given my efforts in documenting the event and speaking with the Lads, I can’t recall everything in great detail, but I will say this…
I really enjoyed Philly Phinger once my taste buds adjusted to the wacky mix of styles as it was really easy drinking and flavorful. As far as the other selections, the Brown Ale we tried was quite good, but not really my style. Now that Cranberry Meade is a whole different experience. Can’t say I have all that much experience with the stuff, but their version sure was delicious. And potent! Wasn’t it 12%?!? If so, it sure was sneaky as I never would guessed given how easy it was to drink. Yum is all I can say!
Tim, Wayne, and George were a fountain of brew making knowledge. Love the whole home brewers to brew pros back story. We hang out in our backyards and do this nonsense. They brew beer in their backyards and eventually start a business. Genius! We need to grow a couple pair as our day jobs are stomping on whatever little bit is left of our souls.
Speaking of the business, their location is pretty fascinating. From industrial building where fabric was dyed with god knows what kind of noxious stuff to a mixed-use facility that has a brewery, an ice creamery, event space, and so much more. We love it when they find new uses for old space!
Limpd: Yeah, keeping me to a limited number of tasks around open flames and boiling liquid insures the likelihood that disaster will not follow.
I agree, the Brown Ale was good. And I liked the origin story for the mead. Wayne asked George to make an alternative to beer and suggested a seltzer. While George could certainly produce a seltzer, he thought that they could raise the bar a bit and came up with a formula for mead. Now they make mead with cranberry, blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, mango and ginger. Again, the experimentation is remarkable. I liked how the tartness of the cranberry balanced the sweetness of the honey. And, yes, the ABV was 12%. The little tasting glasses were probably just right.
So, we got a tour, we got to assist in the brewing process, we got to try a bunch of specialty brews, we got lunch (Primos was a nice surprise) and then, we got some parting gifts. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday!
G-LO: You’re so clumsy! Sorry. Couldn’t resist. Isn’t that from a movie?
12%! That oughta make you feel pretty good. Really enjoyed that Meade and look forward to trying the blueberry version that they were kind enough to gift us. So happy they didn’t go the hard seltzer route as good ones are few and far between.
And yes to Brewing Saturday! While we didn’t do much in the way of actual brewing, our afternoon at My Local Brew Works was definitely time well spent. Great drinks. Hoagies. And some fascinating conversations about brewing and all of their VERY different back stories. Good times all around!
Speaking of back stories, it was really interesting to hear about how they ended up with their final logo. An homage to the Liberty Bell with the bell in the shape of a hop and the logo color that matches all the Philadelphia street signs. Love how they tied it all together! Now I’m REALLY looking forward to trying that Golden Ale we “helped” make.
Any final thoughts before we put a bow on this write up?
Limpd: I’m looking forward to our return where we will get to bottle some of the Golden Ale for ourselves and maybe get another bottle or two from those fine folks.
G-LO: Cheers to bottling and drinking (or is that drinking and bottling?!?) that Golden Ale! That’s a wrap, Folks!
Many thanks to My Local Brew Works and Punch Media for making this happen!
Leave a Reply