Friday, July 06, 2007

Beer O' the Moment: QPC Edition - #3

Third in our quixotic Quest for the Perfect Can of beer is Phoenix Pale Ale from Philadelphia area brewer Sly Fox. The family owned Sly Fox Brewhouse & Eatery opened in the western Philly suburb of Phoenixville in December 1995. The brewery's name comes from the fox hunting tradition in the surrounding Chester County area. Head Brewer Brian O'Reilly came aboard in 2002, and Sly Fox has since experienced consistent growth, buoyed by several awards, included being voted third best brewpub in the country at a Beer Advocate event in 2003. As business continued to increase, a second location opened in 2004 in Royersford, PA, about 15 minutes northwest of the original location in Phoenixville. In addition to housing a brewpub, this new facility also added a bottling line, meaning that their beer could be distributed as far as Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, PA in both 22 oz. and 750 ml bottles. In 2006, they added the first canning line in the Mid-Atlantic region and, by the end of the year, were distributing into New Jersey, NYC and the Hudson Valley.

Phoenix Pale Ale is an American Pale Ale in a silver can, with a snazzy graphic depicting their fox logo rising from the ashes a la the mighty phoenix. When poured from the can into a pint glass, the beer gives off an orange-amber hue, with a healthy half inch of froth and a bit of bitter hop aroma. This one may be exactly the beer we've been looking for to accompany us to the race track. It's got enough balance, depth and complexity to keep us interested, but, at 5.2% ABV, it's not too overwhelming for a long session with the ponies. The clean, slightly bitter hop presence make it taste like an American Pale should: a cross between an ordinary Pale Ale and many IPA's. Sly Fox also puts their Pikeland Pils, Dunkel Lager, and most recently, Royal Weisse in aluminum. We've tried all but the Royal Weisse, and have been impressed. Nicely done, Sly Fox folk. And in a can, no less!

Contender: Sly Fox Phoenix Pale Ale
Style: American Pale Ale

Price: $8.69 for six 12 oz. cans

Verdict: Leader in the Clubhouse

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