This past weekend The Banshee in Scranton, PA had a Shawnee Craft Brewing Tap Takeover, which featured sampler flights and seven Shawnee varieties on tap. Shawnee is located on the ground of the Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort along the Delaware River. They produce small-batch, handmade beers and have a brewpub at their facilities with a “beer from here, food from near” motto that sources ingredients locally. Mark and I did a quick tasting of all seven beers offered on Friday. We sat at the corner of the bar, tasted each variety, and texted notes to ourselves like super nerds. Here is what we came up with.
Mark- Extremely smooth and yeasty, a great Belgian that is less sweet than the style usually is. I was definitely shocked to hear that it was 9.7% because it was so perfectly balanced. I think the Belgian Tripel may be my overall favorite of the bunch.
Tim- I thought this beer fit the Belgian flavor profile very well with a noticeable sweetness and spice. I was pleasantly surprised with its subtlety and clean finish. The finish really set this beer apart for me.
Mark- A good porter that packs a whole lot of taste into it with great carbonation. I don’t know if I’d call it a session porter at 5.1% but I do agree that I could drink a couple of these even in our current warm months.
Tim- This definitely is a drinkable porter and, much like the Belgian Tripel, the finish really sold me with nice, rich chocolate tones. Unfortunately, for me, the finish had a lot to make up for as I found the start to be too mild and bordering on watered down.
Mark- So, it’s a Belgian wheat beer. Admittedly, I don’t love the style but this was a decent interpretation. I’ve never really thought this about many beers, but the aroma on it actually was quite unpleasant. My nose found some citrus and earthy tones that were (thankfully) quite misleading as far as the actual beer was concerned.
Tim- I liked this one. I thought the citrus tones balanced the Belgian flavors of Biere Blanche well and made for a tasty, session, 4.8%, Belgian wheat. It wasn’t necessarily powerful in any one flavor, but its mildness made it drinkable.
Triple Pale Ale
Mark- Aroma was alcoholic. Taste was alcoholic. Finish was alcoholic. There were hops involved, but they were secondary. When I tasted the first sip of it I received a lot of the head and it was more tolerable then. The TPA isn’t really awful, I just think it would be good as a much less extreme beer.
Tim- I’m with Mark, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol. I think I anticipated a sweetness somewhere in the beer that I didn’t find. Sipping on this one felt like taking a shot to me.
Mark- An interesting pale ale that claims to use honey. It definitely is unique and not like many pale ales I’ve had, but I didn’t really love it overall. I’d say Apiarius is worth checking out because it really is something different. I think the taste that stuck out to me was strong honey minus literally all the sweetness.
Tim- I didn’t take many notes on this one. I thought at 5.5% it was on the lighter side of our tasting and it had a nice balance to it. I guess it didn’t stand out much to me one way or the other.
Mark- This is a Belgian that’s pretty unadventurous as far as the style goes, but it does nail the Dubbel style perfectly. It’s a little on the sweeter side and the aroma makes you think that you’re in for something quite strong, but it’s more subdued than you initially think.
Tim- This was very similar to the Belgian Triple to me. It’s sweet, but not overdone and very drinkable for 8.4%. Extremely well balanced in my opinion. I think this one was my favorite with the Belgian Triple close behind.
Bourbon Barrel Porter
Mark- The freshness of this probably contributes to this taste a great deal, but wow, the bourbon is extremely prominent. The porter underneath is good, but this is seriously powerful tasting stuff. I would have enjoyed it more if the bourbon taste were a little more subtle, but the Bourbon Barrel Porter certainly does exemplify the name.
Tim- Wow. This beer is flavorful, maybe to a fault. It is a 10.5% porter with a heavy alcohol content, aroma, and taste. I thought the beer (hop and malt) flavors got lost in the mixture and the result, to me, was a glass of bourbon with some dark chocolate syrup. It’s definitely an interesting flavor and it may not be my kind of taste, but if your palate leans more in this direction give it a try.
Overall, the Tap Takeover at the Banshee was a lot of fun. I hope to take a trip down to Shawnee sometime in the near future to try some more of their small batch creations. Have you had any of Shawnee’s beers? Let us know your thoughts!
Tim & Mark