Broke our self-imposed budget rules last Friday by checking out Kensington Brewing. We justified it by saying we had to explore the neighborhood a bit, but in reality, we have so much beer (mostly Chapman) in our fridge at home, there really wasn't a need to break our own rules.
Oh, wait. Oktoberfest. My husband was craving Oktoberfest. Right, so out to Kensington Brewing we went.
And wouldn't you know, they're late on brewing Oktoberfest, so it wasn't available that night. (Oh - not related, but there was a very noticeable off-smell when we walked in. Almost like sewage, or like someone had done unforgivably big business in the bathroom and left the door open to share with everyone else. It didn't dissipate while we were there, so I'm hopeful that it wasn't a plumbing line and that it's not in the air on our next visit.)
At any rate, the brewery was crazy empty when we got there, after 9 pm on a Friday night. There was one couple closing out their tab when we sat down at the bar, so we had unfettered access to the bartender - super friendly guy without being too hover-y - and all the beers on tap.
My husband started with a pint of their Irish Red Ale, while I started with a flight of four (basically every brew they had on Nitro!) Palisades Porter (this was the first stout I'd had in a while, so my first sip got me in the emotions. It had a lovely toasted flavor that perfectly paired with the dark color. The nitro smoothed the brew out and made it rather drinkable); Sussex Stout (you'll think I'm strange, but there was almost a flavor of Worcestershire Sauce in the mix - that tangy, bite-you-when-you're-not-looking note that snuck up on me. It was unexpected, but I enjoyed it); Coffee Stout (not my favorite of the nitro flight, it had a bitter coffee flavor that was off-putting); and the Nitro Cream Ale (lovely sweet notes, which was refreshing after the three dark and heavy porters and stouts.)
The hubs then tried a pint of the Sourweisen, while I moved on to two more tasters: Scottish Pale Ale (easy to drink, with a bright, fresh and crisp flavor); and the Hempstead Hazy (not as juicy or citrusy as I'd hoped, so not my favorite hazy. The flavor was good and it was easy to drink, though).
By that time, a few more parties had strolled in, so the bar started to feel a bit more lively. Our bartender, meanwhile, was expertly bouncing between the newcomers - answering questions, making small talk, sharing recommendations - while keeping an eye on our ever-dwindling glasses.
I am a fan of this little brewery, and am excited to sample their Oktoberfest brew, when it's released (hopefully soon!) The bartender did end up shutting down the four nitro taps while we were there, by the way. Apparently the mix was wrong, and the taps were spilling out more foam than beer. I'm so glad I got to sample my four before that happened!