Rowhouse Red | Philadelphia Brewing Company

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Rowhouse RedRowhouse Red

Brewed by:
Philadelphia Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by HopDerek on 03-27-2008

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Reviews: 90 | Ratings: 153
Photo of jwc215
2.41/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours reddish copper with a thin tan head that leaves a touch of lacing.

The smell is of an odd yeastiness (funky-ish?) with a touch of burnt toast and some caramel. A citric/leafy hop note almost saves it, though it's out-of-character for the style.

The taste is an odd blend of something almost funkyish/barnyardish (but, not quite), with caramel and slightly burnt toast. A bitterness clashes with the sweetness. Sour notes mix in, as well as a peppery spice. This may seem, in writing, to appear to be balanced and complex. But, in taste - it is not. It's just "all over the place".

Light-to-medium bodied with an effervescence that softens.

The label says "Biere de Mars". Maybe Mars is where it belongs, as it is all over the universal map. I suppose it tries to be a saison and/or a biere de garde, with an American hop flair. Doesn't really have a "farmhouse" mustiness, though it hints at it. Sweetness and sourness and bitterness just don't meld well here. This one doesn't do it for me.

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Photo of u2carew
2.48/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle consumed 11/17
A) Pours with a two finger head. Settles slowly. Head and lacing are sticky and creamy. Reddish brown in color. Visible sediment.
S) light toffee and butterscotch. Some earthy tones mixed with mellow hop floral notes.
T) Bitter upfront. Very little malt to balance the body of this brew. The overall taste is weak and thin despite the color of the body. The bitterness lingers long into the aftertaste and beyond.
M) Crisp. Sharp. Dry. hop pucker factor. Light body.
D) Not a beer that I will drink again. Body and taste are thin with an overly robust, almost obnoxious hop bitterness.

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Photo of oline73
2.62/5  rDev -27%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a murky reddish amber color, not very attractive. There is one finger of off white head which dissipates quickly.

Smell: First I smell the rye and some Belgian spice. There is a bit of malt sweetness and some herbal hops.

Taste: The bitter rye hits the tongue first and stays there. In the background there is some Belgian spice, a very little bit of malt sweetness, and some herbal hops.

Mouthfeel: Kind of thin and dry, this is the best part of the beer.

Drinkability: I don't really like this one. Whatever they were going for here didn't seem to work for me. I found it confusing.

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Photo of BigMike
2.63/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: so this isn't really red in color. More of a dark coppery orange color. Clear with a 1 finger off white colored head.

S: Tons of rye and spicy pepper clove. A little caramel maltiness in the background.

T: Rye is in the forefront. A small amount of earthy grassy type hops. Some light caramel sweetness and black peppercorn.

M: light almost watery mouthfeel. Tons of carbonation.

Overall: Im not really sure about this beer. It's not terrible but I'm not really sure what they're going for. Probably not something I'd ever try again but I'm glad I did.

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Photo of jmdrpi
2.73/5  rDev -24%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

poured into pint glass this beer is a dark amber color with red highlights. thin whipsy head that dissapates into an off-white collar that stays to the end. smells of rye and a little hops. a bit funky. tastes of malt, rye, with a little sour tinge. higher carbonation with an average body. kind of an odd tasting beer that I'm not crazy about. wouldn't be seeking it again.

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Photo of barleyroad
2.81/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Red/amber in color with a cloudy sit in appearance. Smell is very heavy on the malts, very little hop aroma. Mouthfeel is that of an unfiltered brew with some hops. Taste is not anything to to write home about, but not offensive. Overall this beer is drinkable but not one we will go out of our way to get. But worth a try.

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Photo of jwhancher
3.03/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I like the general concept of this beer but I don't think the flavors work out together. Pours a clear amber color. Head fades a little quick. Smells mostly malty with slight citrus hops and some peppery notes. Rye is apparant but not a huge kick in the nose or on the palate. Also smells a little sweet, almost honey like. Tastes a tad sweet as well with honey notes, some caramel, and a little lemon-like citrus. Drinks medium with a dry-sweetness upfront then balanced by slight bitterness at the end. Overall, an average beer on par with other craft beers but a much better choice than anything mass produced. It's pretty unoffensive and would be a nice choice for the novice craft beer drinker. Was surprised to find out this is in the farmhouse category as described on the bottle label. I don't consider this a Saison by any means like other reviews. Seems more like an amber ale with some very faint farmhouse qualities.

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Photo of brantadid
3.03/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured a brownish color with ruby highlights. A thin off white head formed and diminished quickly. Some lacing but not much.

Not much smell to this beer. Slight cola aroma with very faint hops. Has a distinct brewpub quality to it (which isn't necessarily bad.)

Malty sweetness on the front palate. The beer dries out quickly leaving a nice hop profile mid to far palate. I think I taste some rye. Some sourness but I think that could be from overly excessive carbonation.

Light and watery mouthfeel. Very highly carbonated which is a bit of a turn-off.

Not a terrible beer but not a great beer. Worth a try however.

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Photo of brentk56
3.04/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a clear dark amber color with a sturdy tan head that retains nicely, while leaving some filmy lacing

Smell: Yes, there is some spice in there, cinnamon and clove, perhaps, but there is also an odd vegetal odor, not DMS, just a murkiness

Taste: Burnt caramel with cinnamon and clove jumping out and joined by licorice and tobacco elements at mid-palate; the bitter rye flavors really build after the swallow and divert the beer into a very bitter direction

Mouthfeel: Meidum body with moderate carabonation

Drinkability: What an odd beer; I cannot think of this as a Biere de Mars, to me it is more like a spiced, bitter American brown ale; can't say that I enjoyed it

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Photo of caddybuyer
3.06/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A-Deep red amber that fades to a lighter amber at the bottom of a large wineglass....interesting. Creamy light tan head that craters nicely. Very attractive.

S-A light funky malty sourness with a hint of sweetness.

T-Interesting...fascinating, but not necessarily in a good way. This one is all over the place. The initial sip hits you with an overcarbonated slightly sour sweetness, with apples mid palate and finishing with a rather astringent bitterness without direction. Does not seem well put together.

M-Overcarbonated with an overall light mouthfeel.

D-Not very. Glad I tried it, interesting and fairly complex, but not much order, and not really enjoyable.

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Photo of drcarver
3.08/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - deep amber color with an fluffy offwhite head that sticks around with some lacing

S - strong in a vegetable aroma that is almost overpowering but cuts at the end by some roasted goodness.

T - grass and vegetable flavors are strong in the beer with a stale smokiness.

M - soft but flat. smooth with little aftertaste to speak of

D - its okay and goes down smooth but dropping the temp a bit (had it at 45`) might make it more appealing

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.08/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Rowhouse Red should be called Rowhouse Orange since it isn't red and it isn't a red ale. The khaki colored crown is the best part of the appearance by far. The foam looks like a coffee milkshake as it melts, and does a bang-up job of decorating the glass with fantastic looking lace.

The aroma is full of medicinal, bandage and clove-like phenols. Saison/Farmhouse ale is a fairly broad and forgiving category, but RR smells like something else entirely. What else isn't clear. This could be either one of the most unique, interesting ales in ages... or it could be a total mess.

Actually, every one of those adjectives fits. The only problem is, unique and interesting doesn't necessarily mean good. In my humble opinion, whether PBC managed to hit their target or not, Rowhouse Red is not good beer. It may not be a total mess, but a partial mess isn't far off.

The base beer is somewhat red ale-like (work with me here). There's a well-toasted malt presence that provides just enough sweetness to keep bitter and spicy from having the run of the joint. The rye malt must have been used with a pretty heavy hand, given the flavor resemblance to rye toast... sprinkled with cinnamon? Weird.

A whacked-out yeast strain must be responsible for the lion's share of the phenols. Even those used to drinking Islay whiskey will find this one challenging to enjoy. And newbies will probably be thoroughly disgusted. Let's just say this is anything but a crossover or beginner's beer.

Given flavor oddness and style confusion, judging mouthfeel is difficult. In a general sense, it's medium, with a passable smoothness and a laid back amount of bubbles. Sounds pretty average to me.

If this bottle of Rowhouse Red isn't infected, and if this is the way that Philadelphia BC wants it to taste, then I'd be shocked and amazed if they sell much of it. Talk about brewing outside the box. The box isn't even in sight.

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Photo of dgb3
3.08/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Review this! Part 1

A: Poured with a fluffy off white head. More towards the orange than the red.

S: Lightly spiced. Rye. When opened, I picked up a bit of phenols. I thought initially thought this was supposed to be a red/amber ale and figured it had been infected.

T: Strange. Rye and toffee with a slight malt backbone. Finish is phenolic as well.

M: Strange. Finish is lingering and unpleasant.

D: Not to my liking. This beer is all over the map. Not really a how I like my saisons. Label reads as a biere de mars. Don't know if it should be that either.

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Photo of pvsob
3.09/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Brown color with copper highlights. Large fluffy head (lightest tan) that has freakish retention and average lacing. Carbonation holds up a 1 cm film. Clarity is slightly muddled due to sediment.

S- Bready malt, cherry, apple, and faint Belgian yeast aromas. Overall, a very sweet smelling beer.

T- Mainly malt, but with some sweet fruitiness, soap, and an herbal (medicinal) bitterness mixed with some spicy rye in the finish.

M- Medium feel with a moderate level of carbonation.

O- I don't know exactly what the guys at PBC were going for with this beer, but it did turn out to be a very interesting tasting experience. I think with a few tweaks, this could be a damn good beer. Worth a try. Cheers.

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Photo of beertunes
3.13/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to dwaz for this one. Poured into tulip. Poured a dark reddish-brown color with just about a half inch of light tan head that had low retention and minimal lacing.

The aroma was decent, if a bit different for the style. The expected earthiness was there, very grain forward, and had an extra tang of Rye. On the tongue the Rye had the forward spot and dominated the yeast, spice and other grain flavors.

The body was fuller than average, which for most styles I would consider a plus, but in a Saison I want it to be a bit lighter in the mouth. The drinkability was good, I'd have a couple of these. Overall, an interesting take on the style. Certainly worth trying when you get a chance.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.2/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear ruby hued brownish. Nose is of caramel sugars. Flavor is off. It's almost like there is a bite of alcohol, but I know this is at 5%. A pasty flavor is there that seems almost like it was mud or earth or something. There seems to be quite a bit of spice as well, much of it pepper. Feel is fine.

What it comes down to is this: Why do American producers feel the need to make saisons. I mean there are so many other styles American breweries are good at putting out, so why this one? Few can get it right and most just end up wasting their time. So brewers. Why waste your time? When I have a Fantome in my fridge, why should I be investing time and money on American productions that just don't work?

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Photo of tigg924
3.21/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: clear, redish-brown, small head, medium carbonation, lots of lacing

Smell:a mix of spice and hops

Taste: small hops, small caramel, some citrus, and for some reason I tasted a bit of agave

Mouthfeel:smooth, a sweetish start that rapidly turns bitter

Drinkability: This one is a sipper. I could have this again, but probably no more than two. Slightly bitter, but tasty

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Photo of MrOH
3.26/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear auburn with a single finger white head. Lots of lace.
Deep malt, some rye spice, typical saison yeast character.

Spicy and malty. Quite tasty. Could use a bit of acidity or some more fruitiness, though.

Light bodied, but could use a bit more carbonation.

I think that this would be a better beer for fall, but it is right tasty.

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Photo of SuperWhite92
3.29/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Gushed. Ouch. Pours a wonderful deep reddish brown with an obviously overcarbonated off-white head. Smells somewhere between an amber/red and a saison. Plenty of spice, but with an obvious caramel malt background. Tastes similar to the aroma, with some spice, a fairly weak malt backbone. Palate is somewhat watery, but acceptable. Aftertaste is unpleasantly yeasty. Glad I got to try it, but I can’t say I’m impressed.

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Photo of AltBock
3.31/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle with a colorfull label of a red urban Philadelphia house. To the right of the picture is the Government warning and to the left is the address and a paragraph explaining what style the beer is. No kind of bottle code or date anywhere on the label or bottle.

After a slow pour into a Maudite Snifter, this Philly beer is a cranberry red that a small tint of amber and orange mixed in with it. This beer had a good 2 inch fluffy head of white/tan foam. This head had great retention that left behind a ton of foamy rings and a decent amount of white spots of lace around the glass.

The aroma was too peppery with black pepper. Once my nose got passed the black pepper, it found a hint of lemon, a touch of dried apples, a few dried floral hops, and a splash of dried yeast at the end. It you couldn't tell already, it gets very dry after the black pepper.

The taste was very dry, but not as dry as an Irish Dry Stout. Behind the dryness was a drop of lemon zest, a hint of dried grapefruit, dried yeast, a small touch of dried green apples, and then the taste ends on the bitter side with dried floral/herbal hops. After the aroma, I was expecting some black pepper. I'm glad it didn't bother to show.

The mouthfeel is on the light side with a dry aftertaste of dired floral hops, yeast, and a small touch of dried grapefruit. This aftertaste won't stick around for too long.

In the end, it was just a very interesting dry beer. Would I drink it again? Probably not, but it is worth a shot.

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Photo of xnicknj
3.33/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into pint glass

Pours a clear amber color with cherry red hues. Thin crop of beige head rests on top, nice legs, some spots of lacing on the glass.

Scents of bitter citrus hops and sweet tropical fruit. Apple and orange peel. Bread crust and caramel.

Slight bitterness up front with citrus. Plenty of bready malt and caramel throughout the profile. Some cherry and other fruit tones. Finishes a little bitter and sweet.

Medium body, decent carbonation, clean and crisp on the tongue. Pretty drinkable and refreshing, although nothing special.

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Photo of matty
3.35/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark burgundy almost brown beer with a quickly fading head.Aroma is spices.Taste is malt and spices,the spice taste reminds me of an egg nog with nutmeg. This is by no means something that is going to blow you away,but it is a good beer that I would recommend.

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Photo of mjw06
3.35/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I gave this beer a chance over and over again. It was like I wanted to fall in love with it, because I liked the concept, yet it continually let me down.

First off, what exactly makes this a farmhouse ale? I'm not a stickler for style, nor do I aspire to be, but this beer seems a little lost. The idea of a ruby-rye saison is great, but that's not what this is. I don't know what it is.

Rye base. Warm sweetness, cherries and caramel. Maybe just a slight tang of Belgian yeast. But that's where it stops. This beer is at the bare minimums. They should pull this off the shelves, build upon this base, give it some improvements (namely spice it up a little bit to be more in line with a "saison"), rebrand it and put it back on the shelves. They've got an excellent direction and base, but now take it to the next level. Until then, it desires to disappoint (and confuse).

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Photo of mooseo
3.38/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into pint glass.

A - Dark clear amber brown with a small bubbly white head.

S - Mostly caramel malt with a slight hint of fruitiness.

T - Caramel malt and rye up front, followed by floral and fruity hops. There is a light spiciness in the finish. The hops really balance out the sweet malt.

M - Medium bodied, crisp, medium-low carbonation.

O - Decent amber ale (or ruby farmhouse ale as the brewer calls it). It's hard to classify this beer, as it does have a distinct flavor. Some will enjoy it, others may not. I think it's a balanced sessionable beer that tends to get better as you acquire a taste for it.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
3.41/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Philadelphia Brewing- Rowhouse Red

On tap at The Porterhouse- Lahaska, PA.
Re-reviewed on 5/30, bottle.

A- Nice golden reddish brown with a thick sticky heavy lacing head.
S- Sour whiskey mix, malt, and spices.
T- Thick carmelized malt up front with a sour mash middle and a spicy peppery finish.
M- Thick at first but changing into a sour spicy ending.

Overall- Much better from the bottle than on tap. Tap form I slammed it, but I felt to do this 1 justice and re-review it from the bottle. Not bad more of an Amber/ Red Ale meets a saison. Good regardless.

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Rowhouse Red from Philadelphia Brewing Company
3.59 out of 5 based on 153 ratings.
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