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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 BigBry
3.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Wanted something local from our hotel bar during a stopover in Philadelphia, recommended by the bartender.
Pours a reddish brown color, thin off white head. No retention or lace.
Slightly sweet sugary smell, some pepper or other spice.
Malty base flavor, some citrus hops at the end. More unidentifiable spices, interesting taste. Well carbonated, refreshing and easy to drink, not too heavy.
Not really sure about rating this to a style, the label called it a Philadelphia Style Ale (whatever that is). Much better option than the other avaiable choices.

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

I had this at a local restaraunt. A 12 ounce beer was poured into an oversized wine glass. It pours a deep ruby red with minimal white head. The aroma was bready and it did have some funk. The flavor was mild and sweet with a slightly bitter aftertaste. The brew was medium bodied and for me a bit of a sipper. The label calls it a biere de mars, so I guess it is a bit of a farmhouse ale hybrid. I liked it as a somewhat different type of beer, I will have to try it again.

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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 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 gdfan47
3.97/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- pours a reddish orange with a little bit of white head
S- malt, sugar, some peppery notes
T- malt , sugar, a touch of citrus, more malt
M- very carbonated, easy to drink
D- refreshing ,low abv nice session beer

I dug it, I dont know that I would call it a farmhouse , more like a malty red ale... but maybe I got a weird pore, I will try it out of a bottle another time for sure

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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 Chinon01
3.48/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is red (quite red) with a soapy spotty head.

Smell is spicy similar to a pumpkin ale. Tartness due to rye and a touch of warm roastiness.

Taste is similar to smell with maltiness and trailing hops in the finish which is dry. Hop finish is pretty severe. Some fruit is present as well.

Mouthfeel is grainy and sharp due to rye and hops. It is just ok. Drinkability is moderate.

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Photo of KOPBeerDrinker
3.85/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a pint glass from a bottle. Poured a deep dark ruby amber color. A fluffy 1" head for and quickly receded. Smells of fruit, maybe strawberry and/or apple and wheat. Flavor is bready and fruity, with a lot of sweetness. Medium bodied, relatively easy to drink. Definitely a very good beer.

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Photo of Phillyduke
3.82/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pulled from a sampler pack bottled on 4/2/08. One of the first cases from the new PBC!

A: Poured into my Duvel tulip glass. A deep, rusty red color with a weak one finger head that quickly recedes leaving a bit of fine lacing and some foamy surface bubbles.

S: This has a unique nose that I'm having a hard time pinpointing, but I'm picking out fruits (especially cherries), black pepper and other spices mixed in with a little Belgian funk for good measure. Finish is long and dry.

T: Bready, yeasty malts mixed with dried fruit, a bit of banana, and a complex Belgian spicy tartness that finishes with a nice bite from the rye. Unusual and unique, and really very nice.

M: Bright and lively on the palate, with a tingle that lingers on the tongue long after each sip.

D/O: I was blown away by this "Bière de Mars" when I had this on tap at Philly Beer Week shortly after it was released, and had been looking forward to getting a bottle ever since. While I remember a better head and more presence from the rye from my initial tasting, in my opinion this represents the best of PBC's offerings so far. Interesting, tasty, unique and complex. Definitely more than just a Saison or Farmhouse Ale, though a little much to drink more than 2 or 3 at a time.

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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 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 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 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 roan22
3.81/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

**EDIT: The inconsistency of this beer confuses me. I had a pint two months ago, and it tasted completely different than the bottles of Rowhouse Red I purchased and drank during the first three months of the beer's existence. Taste and flavor are noticeably affected...in fact its most flavorful parts [the grapefruity hops and the funkiness from it being a saison] weren't really there anymore. Tasted more like a strange brown malty ale with a twinge of rye. Over time this beer has proved to have rather poor consistency. That wont stop me from trying it again!***

Original Review: The beer has grown on me a lot, and after trying both on tap and 2 recent bottles its time for a review. The appearance is a clear reddish amber with a thick white head of foam. The smell is sweet malts. The taste however throws you for a loop...first you taste a bite of sweetness, then some spicy belgian style yeast AND rye kicks in, and finally the beer finishes with a smooth, juicy, grapefruity hop resilience that lasts. Truly a notable, well-made local beer, one of the most interesting, and appealing to my palate in a long time. It deserves a great rating for being so balanced and flavorful, and only 5%. Well done Philadelphia Brewing Company!

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Photo of Biscuit033
3.95/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Clear deep amber with two finger off white head with moderate lacing.

S: Sweet malts, grany, wheaty, and a touch of funky yeast.

T: Strong biscuit flavor, some dark fruits, date, figs, and a touch of tart red fruits, with a bit funky farmhouse yeast.

M: Thin, crisp, and clean.

D: This is a great summer beer that is differnet than most other offings out there. This is the best I have had from PBC.

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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 tgbljb
3.98/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep reddish copper color with moderate off-white creamy head. Perfect retention, perfect lacing. This is my second beer from thos brewery, and they really seem to have the carbonation level perfect.

Smell has a nice fruity character, I can detect bananas, apples, anf a touch of spice.

Taste is really a complex mixture. There are bananas in the front end. Followed by a bit of tartness, and a firm bitterness that slowly develops.

The bitterness becomes a bit too long lasting, and slowly dominates the other flavors.

Really an enjoyable beer. Tone down the hops a bit, and this beer would be really great. Takes a bit to get used to.

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Photo of rallison
4.12/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to DIM for this interesting extra!

Pours a murky reddish brown with a 1 finger white head that never completely disappears.

Smells nicely funky/sour. I suppose sour rye is an appropriate description. Slight hints of caramel sweetness.

The taste is pleasant. Some of that saison funk mixed in with rye and some toasted malts. Nothing incredibly complex, but very enjoyable given the ABV.

Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated and drinkability is very good for this beer.

Recommended. Not amazing, but a good, very interesting beer from a brewery I'd never tried before.

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

When I first heard about this beer.I thought it was going to be a straight red/amber ale.Was i wrong...

Rusty colored body with a nice off white head thats about one finger.Head falls to a nice funky belgian ring.

My first thougts on the smell was my cellar when its wet out,Musty.Yeasty and cherry notes.

Very dry taste but coats your palate with cherry peels.I cant taste too much malt.

Prickly on the tongue.Nice feeling though.

Having this beer is like having a salad on a hot day.

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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 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 WeisGuy
3.65/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to DIM for throwing this in as an extra.

a - pours a deep copper color, one-finger off-white head, good retention and lacing, somewhat hazy

s - big aroma of fruity rye mixed with caramel, underlying spiciness, clove, some graininess

t - sweet rye fruitiness over top of bready and grainy maltiness on the midpalate, some light spiciness and caramel malt, finish has a little bitterness with more grain and yeast flavors, not much alcohol

m - light-to-medium bodied, lots of carbonation, fairly dry on the finish

d - the graininess of the taste and the moderate dryness limits the drinkability a bit for me

Not too bad of an effort overall. Interesting take on a farmhouse ale using rye. To me, the taste didn't quite live up to aroma. Glad I got the chance to give this a try.

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Photo of sjohansen
4.02/5  rDev +12%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark amber, heavy on the reddish hue. One finger cream colored head quickly disappears. Spotty lacing, not very much of it.

You can smell sweet malt, like maple syrup as soon as you pop the top on the bottle. Hints of brown sugar.

Smooth and sweet, candy and caramel. Hints of dark chocolate. Slight bitter finish.

Thick full body. Good carbonation.

This is my favorite of the Philadelphia Co brews, but it is heavy and won't find my fridge too often in spring and summer.

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