A college reunion with some friends in Philadelphia landed me at Triumph Brewing Company. This definitely wasn’t the first brewery I was planning to review on this blog since I’ve barely heard of them and never had anything by them before but nonetheless the opportunity presented itself so I took it.
As stated in Lesson One: Cleansing the Palate, I have no idea how to properly taste beer, but after receiving a heartfelt pep talk from a fellow beer blogger, Joshua Dion of Lost in the Beer Aisle, I figured there’s no better way to learn than by doing it. Let me also add the disclaimer that I was completely unprepared and am basing this all from memory from a sleep-deprived weekend out with friends.
We did a flight of eight beers. The most notable were Johnny Sage, Smoked IPA and the Bengal Gold IPA.
- Johnny Sage – Herbed / Spiced Beer with 6.9% ABV. It went down easily but tasted like Thanksgiving stuffing. It seemed like it was trying too hard to be different and that didn’t help. Southern Tier Brewing Company’s Pumking does something similar – and much more successful – with the potent spices. I wouldn’t feel comfortable recommending this one unless it was the fourth Thursday in November.
- Smoked IPA – American IPA with 6.6% ABV. The first 4oz was awesome. All you could taste was bacon and hops. We had the option of getting a repeat of one sample and this was the one I chose. The second 4oz was well, boring. I had my fill of bacon and it again tasted like it was trying too hard to be different. I could do 12-18oz – maybe – but definitely not anymore.
- Bengal Gold IPA – American IPA with 6.5% ABV. I was too excited over the bacon-flavored Smoked IPA to appreciate the Bengal Gold IPA the first time around. I was fortunate to have a sample donated to me. It had a nice golden color and could taste the malt and wasn’t overpowered by hops like a lot of IPAs. This was the one beer that I would buy on a regular basis.
The group I was with – 2:11 male-to-female ratio – all seemed to agree that most of the beers we sampled weren’t anything special.
I only took in the atmosphere on a few trips to the men’s room. The artwork is definitely unique, interesting folkish art work on the walls, and there was a stage, but I was there mid afternoon, so no live music. Our server was friendly but didn’t share any knowledge about the beer, which left me disappointed. The food was good, I sampled their soft German pretzels with house-made Triumph Ale mustard and would order it again without hesitation.
3.5 out of 10. Seeing that this is my first review, maybe that rating categorizes me as a pretty tough judge, but the place was clean and served me beer in a timely manner with good food so I won’t whine too much.