STORY WRITTEN BY BERNARD J. SCALLY
@MrBScally on Twitter
PHILADELPHIA >> Two local brewpubs are creating a special beer just in time for the World Meeting of Families later this month. Both beers from Manayunk Brewing Co. and Iron Hill are Belgian-style ales and honor Pope Francis in some way.
Iron Hill announced that it will release exclusively at its Chestnut Hill location its Pap-Ale, an Abbey Dubbel that has the sweetness of dark Belgian candi sugar, paired with the distinct aroma of plum and pear, plus the addition of Pope Francis’ favorite drink, Yerba Mate, which will provide complementary herbal and earthy notes.
According to Iron Hill Head Brewer Chris LaPierre, Pap-Ale is inspired by Patersbier, a session beer that Trappist monks usually enjoy at festivals.
“The recipe for Pap-Ale was meticulously researched as we wanted to create a beer that Pope Francis may actually order,” said LaPierre. “In keeping with that convivial spirit, we wanted to brew something that meshed the pope’s goodwill, Iron Hill’s commitment to community and Philadelphia’s reputation as the City of Brotherly Love — we think this accomplishes all three.”
Manayunk Brewing Co. has created Papal Pleasure, a Belgian-amber beer brewed from candi sugar from South America and infused from oak from Malbec wine barrels. According to Manayunk Brewing Co. Head Brewer Evan Fritz, the beer will taste like a complex beer/wine hybrid with the Belgian yeast adding to the fruitiness.
“We immediately said to ourselves, ‘What is Argentina known for? Malbec grapes and pure cane sugar, so let’s make a beer that incorporates both flavors,’” Fritz said.
Manayunk Brewing Co. took its brewing process serious, making sure to have its water blessed at the start. The Rev. John Kelly of St. John the Baptist Church in Manayunk stopped by in early August and gave a blessing.
“This is the first time I’ve blessed beer,” Kelly said with a laugh. “I’m thrilled to be a part of it.”
Fritz gave Kelly a quick lesson in brewing before Kelly read from the Book of Blessing.
“It’s great that this beer has such a strong Manayunk connection. St. John’s is one of the oldest churches in the city and it’s up the street,” said Manayunk Brewing Co. owner Mike Rose.
According to Fritz, the idea for the pope beer came to him and his team earlier in the summer while they were having a beer. Fritz said that having Kelly bless the beer was an added bonus.
“We were sitting around, having a beer and talking, and thought that it’d be a great idea to have something to honor the pope, who’s coming to our city,” Fritz said. “We had a priest bless all the brewing water, and it’s special because the last time a pope was in the United States was in the late ’70s.”
Papal Pleasure will be available in the middle of September — about a week before the pope arrives in the City of Brotherly Love. Look for it in limited 22-ounce bottles and on draft throughout the city.
Pap-Ale will be released Sept. 18 and will be on draft at Iron Hill Chestnut Hill, 8400 Germantown Ave., in limited quantities, for $6.25/16-ounce goblet . Call the restaurant at 215-948-5600 or check online to confirm availability.
These brews are two of eight that are being made in the Philadelphia region for the Papal visit. Others beers are Philadelphia Brewing Co.’s Holy Wooder, Vault Brewing Co.’s Papist Ale, Cape May Brewing Co.’s YOPO, Saucony Creek Brewing Co.’s Pope Dennis the Phyrst, Crime & Punishment Brewery’s Jesus Wept and 2nd Story Brewing Co.’s Pater Noster.