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 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 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 Rifugium
3.53/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at the Khyber, Philly, PA

Good beer. Pours an amber-orange with slight ruby highlights, and a nice finger of off-white head. (I often confuse this for a red ale, as implied by the name, but it is not in fact a red ale.) Biscuity aroma with scents of fruit and some spice coming through. Toasty breadiness in the taste, a bit of barnyard funk, but not too overpowering, sweet caramel, and some apples and blackberries. Just a tad of hop bitterness for a crisp finish. Medium mouthfeel and very drinkable.

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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 mikesgroove
4.3/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Acquired in a BIF a while back, I had this one sitting around for a while and threw it in the fridge last night to try. Served cold, in a tulip glass. Consumed on 07/24/2008.

Poured a was ruby tinted amber with lots of yellow highlights to it. Strange color but nice overall. Lots of carbonation coming up from the bottom of the glass, letting me knows this was most definitely a live one. A two inch layer of white foam then came up over the top, settled down to a broken crown and coated the inside of the glass with decent lacing.

The aroma was rather odd, sweet at first but as I really let it explore there were some light fruity notes, maybe peach and pineapple with a biscuit like note, very odd, but also very good. The flavor was more of the same, rich notes of caramel whirled over the tongue and separated into a light and fruity Belgian yeast and a grapefruit and pineapple like floral hoppiness. Strange, but awesome I have to admit. Really quite complex. The flavor took a turn toward the bitter and dried out the palate appropriately, creating a nice dry, and inviting session for the next sip. Great medium feel was a little bit heavier then I thought it would be, but very well carbonated and an awesome session beer. Very rich for such low ABV.

Overall I am not sure what to call this style but it was definitely unique to say the least. Really quite nice and a classic for me. I was really not expecting this one to be as good as it was so I was quite shocked and pleasantly surprised. I would have no issue with trying this one again any day, a top notch brew from a brewer I had never heard of, what more could you ask for.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A deep clouded mahogany tinted amber body with a tan khaki thicket of intense creamy textured head that forms nice clouded layers above the edge of my chalice. Lacing has fine speckled layers clinging to the glass. Aromatics offer up some mildly tart vinous layers with deep caramel and fruit tones intertwined. Carbonation tickles the nose a bit here with a spicy edge to it all bringing out sliced breads with a hint of tart cherry. Flavors ride like a wave of tart earthy notes, bitter yeast cakes and slightly harsh spice additions. Fruity with a tart dark cherry character very natural and unforced in it's nature. Complex little drinking ale that brings it's Belgian inspiration with American audacity, cool friggin' session ale. Mouthfeel is medium bodied slightly spritzy carbonation nothing heavy or sticky this is an interesting brew. Drinkability was solid I will revisit this out of all the recent Philadelphia Brewing experiences I've had this one may suit me the best.

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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 BeerForMuscle
3.88/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Deep ruby brown body. Veyr minimal lacing, slightly sticking.

S - Faint scents of roasted grain, slightly earthy. Not much of a nose on this beer.

T - Alot of roasted nuts and burnt grains. Dry hay and some roasted earth int he background.

M - Pretty dry in the mouth and medium bodied. Slightly tingly carbonation and a nice finish.

O - Not quite what I expected from a saison but a good mix of flavors here. I like that its true to its earthy notes and the dryness adds a nice touch.

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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 feloniousmonk
3.83/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Rowhouse Red, Philadelphia Style Ale

Clear reddish hue, lovely lacey white head.

Rosy, malty nose. Sweet and fruity.

Bright and fruity on the tongue. Cherries and grapes, slice of apple.
Tasty, lively, red and luscious.

Medium bodied, slight mineral, flinty feel...drying at the end.

Yum, yum, drink, drink.

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Photo of Gavage
3.91/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a lovely amber color with a 2" head that lingers a while. Mild lacing paints the glass.

Smell: ripe fruits and belgian yeast come through easily to the nose.

Taste: bready malt, ripe red fruits, bit of barnyard funkiness, and belgian yeast make up a nice balanced beer. Bitterness is mild but noticeable.

Mouthfeel: crisp throughout. Medium bodied. Aftertaste is long as the funkiness and yeast tones linger on the tongue.

Drinkability: easy to quaff this one. This is a bit different for a farmhouse ale which makes it interesting.

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Photo of tempest
3.9/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Picked up a single from The Foodery in N. Liberties.

Pours a reddish amber with a fluffy white head and nice lacing. The aroma is filled with farmhouse notes and earthy hops with a little creamy note. The flavor follows up with bigger hop flavors that have citrus rind and a little grass that build up into the aftertaste. The overall feel is dry, like it should be, but unfortunately, it's also a touch chaulky, which is pretty unfortunate. All in all a tasty beer though. Worth a try.

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Photo of tone77
3.53/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle. Has a dark amber color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of hops and rye. Taste is good, well balanced hops, malts, and rye. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and has good drinkability. Overall this makes for a good quality brew.

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Photo of biegaman
4.2/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This 12oz "Philadelphia Style Ale" is thanks to SkinnyElvis!

The brewers list this as a "biere de mars" and claim that "it's the perfect accompaniment for some quality time enjoyed in the backyard (or on the front stoop) of your urban farmhouse." That sounded mighty good to me on this wonderful Sunday in June.

A mysterious looking drink. Thin bubbles make hardly a trace around the beer, which is a deep, dark muddied brown in colour. Strikingly it has a pronounced radiance when held to the light where colours seem to heat up and the body becomes illuminated with cinders of rust, scarlet and maroon. Simply striking.

The aroma is pointedly assertive, which leads to a lot, a lot of smelling because there is no real one candid, clearcut, distinct smell. I believe it must be all the hops, malts, and yeast that work together to give off a puzzling aroma of chocolate, coffee, tea, pine resin, cloves, rotting cherry, and rye bread. These all follow with a question mark - please do try this, smell it, and let me know what you smell...

The mouthfeel has a very heavy handed bitterness. There is a remarked hefty dose of hops used, I'm sure. I can sense two distinct types of bitterness: one, a dusty cocoa like bitterness which tastes of dark chocolate; and second, the green, leafy bitterness of freshly added hops. It packs a surprising level of both flavour and texture.

The taste, to a smaller extent than the aroma, can be a bit of guessing game. I certainly pick up on the hops, which taste, well, like hops with grassy, vinous, at times dry fruit character. They impart a ton of pine resin. There is also a good deal of malts that impart notes of caramel, roast and creamy butterscotch. Ripe fruit with a hint of oak? A balsamic like taste...

What fills in the rest may be up to you, although I taste something like I have with various herbal teas or funky Belgian Farmhouse Ales (the name Fantome comes to mind and finally I hear the 'ding, ding, ding' sounding...)

This was one interesting creation. It fit the biere de garde style remarkably well, showcasing an abundance of earthy and almost musty character in both smell and taste. This was very much like anything and everything I've had by Belgian farmhouse brewer Fantome, in flavour and makeup, but also in that it kept me guessing - and intrigued - the whole way through. I think it is a very promising sign from one of Philadelphia's "newer" breweries...

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Photo of yourefragile
4.3/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass. So far my favorite of the new Philadelphia BC beers.

A: Clear, light mahogany/copper color with a off white, light tan head that slowly dissipates to a thick ring and thin film. Also leaves thick rings of webbed lacing throughout the glass.
S: Strong, earth aroma with a blend of hop bitterness and a caramel malty body.
T: Plenty of flavor here, surprising after the slightly watered down lacking Walt Wit from the same brewer. Comes across like a mix of a saison and an esb (sort of). Beer is supported by a strong caramel malty body, but that flavor is overrun by earthy, floral hoppy flavors. For such an easy drinking, low ABV beer, this packs a ton of flavor and is very refreshing with a taste that lingers well after drinking.
M: Very active carbonation balances out a slightly thin body. Taste is very crisp and earthy-ness lingers a long time in the finish.
D: Excellent. Very flavorful and easy drinking for a the price, availability and ABV. I'm probably rating this a little higher than I normally would since I'm so pleasantly surprised by this. My favorite of the PBC beers so far, very interesting beer for one of their first brews.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.78/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Poured a beautiful ruby-amber with a frothy 1 finger medium beige head that was moderately lasting while leaving a thin sheet lacing behind. Visible carbonation was very light.

S: dried caramel and dried citrus.

T: The flavor had a rich and spicy caramel nature to it, boozy, with some alcohol and dried apple fruitiness. There was some dried citrus hopping as well. Overall the palate was dry, malty with a dry flowery bitterness found on the finish. Spicy, dry toasted caramel with a dry flowery bitterness makes this a good example.

M: a little lighter then expected, thin with a slight carbonation presence.

D: Good drinkability, dry, spicy and good to style.

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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 akorsak
3.5/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 12 oz bottle from Philadelphia Brewing variety case.

A: The ale is a dark crimson color, practically a dark brown hue. The dark notes completely obscure the body. A finger of head didn't last long but did leave some thin bands of lace.

S: The nose s very complex, offering up farmhouse aromas when you'd never expect it. A mild horseblanket scent, driven by brettanomyces, really comes through, as does a rye bready flavor.

T: Rye bread drives the flavor, peppery and dark. Along with the rye, more funky sour flavors come through. The undetone of the sip is very Fantôme-esque, funky and very gamey. As the ale warms, the profile doesn't change but it feels less forced.

M: The mouthfeel is one of the most authentic saisons that I've had. The tartness is palpable, overwhelming at times but the rye finish is worth it.

D: The ale is refreshing, a unique combination of saison and rye that works when you wouldn't think that they would.

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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 avalon07
4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had an amber color and a clear texture. There was a huge, creamy, long-lasting head. Decent, but not great, lacing.

S: A malty aroma, with some traces of hops and fruit.

T: Tasted of mild hops, fruit (orange, apples), and a malty finish. This is a flavor that while it doesn't jump out at you, it does have a pleasant way about it.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Light- to medium-bodied.

O: While this isn't a mind-blowing beer, it is certainly likeable and easy to drink.

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Photo of rfgetz
3.92/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ruby/Copper in color, fluffy off white head, ok lacing. Smell is pleasant mix of carmel malts, sweet cereal grains, mild hoppy and yeasty notes. Taste is again a suprisingly complex blend of of the sweet cereal grains, carmely malts, dark fruit background and a nice hoppy and yeasty finnish. Lighter side of medium bodied, ample carbonation. Supringsingly complex beer, just wish the flavors were more developed.

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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 DrJay
3.53/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear, deep coppery colour with a thin cap of fine beige bubbles. Lots of lacing, good head retention. Malty, spicy nose. Phenol and clove aromas, along with caramel and a bit of fruit. The flavour was sort of strange. Malt character was mostly caramel and toasted, giving it a near roasted flavour, but with a rye-like spice that complemented the overall spiciness. There was a bit of earthiness, short of real funk, and a bit of fruit too. Faint generic citrus. Medium bodied, just a bit dry, average carbonation, decent texture. Really an odd beer. Sort of hard to pin down, but there's enough going on to keep it interesting.

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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 gford217
3.42/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark reddish amber with a decent cream-colored head that recedes to a swirl and a collar quickly. There is little lacing. Honestly, I've never season a saison look like this one.

The aroma is a bit more like a saison with some phenol sweetness and citrus hops. But the rye spiciness comes through as well and makes it a very interesting mix of aromas.

The taste has a slightly toasted quality to it and the rye definitely shows itself with some healthy spiciness, especially in the finish. Throw in some lemon zest as well as a bit of the Belgian yeast sweetness underlying things. The different tastes almost come together but not quite.

The mouthfeel is smooth with the rye but also sweet and with lots of carbonation.

I'm not exactly sure what to make of this beer. I personally like this one but more for it's originality than anything else.

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