Sometimes an acrimonious split can produce some good things. Other times, it can produce some downright awful things – just ask Pete Townshend.
Three years ago, the Pennsylvania craft beer scene saw a somewhat nasty split when Bill and Nancy Barton parted ways with Tom Kehoe. At that time, they were partners in the operation of Yards Brewery in Philadelphia. The split was looked at with some curiosity and some worriment – Yards was synonymous with Philadelphia beer. However, out of the split came two new companies – Yards, headed by Kehoe; and Philadelphia Brewing Company, headed by the Barton’s. Instead of being detrimental to the beer scene, the split produced two separate, viable, talented breweries.
One of the newest year-round beers to come from either of these companies is PBC’s Fleur de Lehigh. It is a beer that has drawn quite a split reception, that people seem to either love or hate. Some of this certainly stems from prior allegiances, but that can’t account for all of it. The aroma is a bit different from many golden ales due to the inclusion of a number of components from off the usual beer playing field. In play is flora such as lemongrass, ginger, rhubarb, rose hips and chamomile. The ginger stands out in the nose, but the taste is a mix of all the ingredients. It is thin-bodied, with a little more carbonation than is normally expected in a golden ale. The beer is also unfiltered, which leaves some sediment in the bottom of the bottle, an unwelcome surprise to those not alert of the fact.
Overall, Fleur de Lehigh is a decent beer, quite pleasant in the summertime. It will definitely not please everyone, but certainly needs to be tried. But much like the split that it was born from, you can’t judge it too much before giving it a shot.
Fleur de Lehigh is currently available in bottles for in-house consumption and 6-packs for take-out.