J. Kurtz On The “Pennsylvania Tuxedo”
The story goes that after a few too many spruce beers, John Rich, founder of Woolrich, fell from the barn rafter and almost broke his neck. In fact, Rich described doing this more than once in his diaries. Just like the oldest outdoor wear company in the United States, piney homebrew warms the legends of Pennsylvania Dutch history.
Now finishing its third seasonal run, Pennsylvania Tuxedo is one of the best beers of winter. The partnership between Dogfish Head Brewery and Woolrich is a match made in heaven, with the former making “off-centered ales for off-centered people”, and the latter selling buffalo plaid suits to sportsmen of the Alleghenies.
Flannel-suited hunters adorn the bottle, clad in woolen suits you won’t ever see outside of north-central PA and upstate New York. You’ll sniff the spruce tips (hand-picked locally from Pennsylvania) right away as the beer pours a warm copper/red color. Although styled a pale ale, 50 IBUs and the bitterness from the spruce tips leans the Pennsylvania Tux towards an IPA. While Dogfish wanted to revive history, this beer weighs in at 8.5% ABV, much, much, heavier than John Rich’s homebrew of the 1840s.
If you’re ever snowed in at the hunting cabin, this is the beverage for you. Along with feeling like you drank a forest full of Christmas trees, a doughy kick from the malt makes for an easy sipper.
In part because of its exclusivity, I can’t get enough of Pennsylvania Tux. Snag any four-packs you find this time of year, otherwise, keep your eyes open in October.
– J. Kurtz