I’m a cocktail guy. Beer normally is not my thing, and I am generally skeptical about most craft beers because there are so many of them out there and some that I have tried have been downright nasty. When Wallenpaupack Brewing Company reached out wanting to send me samples, I hesitated internally because maybe I was not the right person to review and give them a verdict. I ended up accepting the samples, and along with Justin, made my way through them over the last couple of weeks.
Wallenpaupack Brewing Co. is based out of Pennsylvania, and while this is a New Jersey-centered blog, I do a fair amount of writing about eastern PA. One day I hope to make the drive out to this brewery, as it seems they have quite a restaurant on the premises as well.
As for the beer, in short, it was the best craft beer I’ve ever had. The reason why I am not a beer guy now is because I spent many years searching for “the one” and came up empty handed. Remember the craft beer craze from about 10-15 years ago? It still rages on. It may not stop until every town has their very own brewery. And while beer is arguably one of the most important spirits ever invented, through my experience, you can indeed have too much of a good thing.
Where this company stands out is that it actually tastes like beer. Their Largemouth (and Smallmouth) IPA’s were more pleasant than bitter, resting lightly on the palate. Too many breweries try to make a statement by upping the bitterness to insane levels just because they can. Wallenpaupack, meanwhile, has concocted something which does not shock, but instead tantalizes the palate. It is great on its own, but works best before a meal much like an aperitif would.
Of all the beers I got to sample, the Jalapeno Cream Ale was quite the conversation piece. I did not know what to expect. Was this beer going to fall into the “novelty” category and therefore be worthless? Once again, I found myself pleasantly surprised. The Jalapeno aspect was understated—if I may say, barely there on the first few sips. But it increases slightly and becomes normal rather than a “Why would anyone put a jalapeno in beer?” moment. I enjoyed the fact that there was just a hint. I saved a second can of this to cook with— maybe fajitas or beer cheese sauce, I have not decided.
My favorite of the line was their standard Paupack Cream Ale. As someone who is not a beer guy, this was easy to drink. The hops and malt were there as was creaminess. I was only going to take a few sips and move on to another can, but instead I kept on drinking it and the other samples had to wait.
In short, I never thought I would be reviewing a beer on this blog. More than that, I never expected to say this was the “best” of anything. But in tasting a range of what Wallenpaupack Brewing Co. has to offer, I really enjoyed myself. Justin did too, saying that these samples may sway him to try more IPA’s in the future. Hats off to them for a great product!