A few weeks ago we stopped by Bocktown for dinner and were thrilled to several taps devoted to a San Francisco brewery that was new to the Pixburke area — 21st Amendment Brewing, named for the Constitutional amendment that repealed prohibition.

We can certainly debate whether Prohibition was ever really repealed here in Pennsylvania, but we’re happy to have the beers from this brewery available. I’ve had tastes of several — a kick-ass trippel, an interesting watermelon wheat and a Belgian strong dark ale that I’ll get to in a minute.

But we — especially Mrs. Crappy, the hophead in the house — got stuck on Brew Free Or Die IPA, what brewery says is its most popular beer. Here’s what else they say:

Brew Free or Die IPA is brewed with some serious west coast attitude. This aromatic golden IPA starts with a sucker punch of six different hops to the nose, quickly balanced by a solid malt backbone. Our top selling beer at the pub, this IPA starts big and finishes clean leaving you wanting more.

Yes. We wanted more, and our distributor, Bellevue Beer, has obliged for the most part. Mrs. Crappy just brought home a case tonight, and as I cracked open a can, I thought this would be a good time to do a formal review.

My first thought: West Coast Attitude tastes different. It looks perfect — a hazy golden pour, almost orange, under a fluffy white head. It smells marvelous — it’s not a scorchingly dry IPA, and you get that on the nose; rich, grassy and a little citrusy. At 7 percent ABV it leans towards the strong side, but you don’t get that on the nose. Yum.

I really like this beer, and I’m not sure I’ve ever had an IPA like this one. Much of the typical hop profile is right here — a little citrus, a little grass and hooo, it’s bitter at the end of a swallow. But there’s a malty richness, a little caramel to balance the taste — in a style that’s not always going for balance. It is very different, very drinkable and very good.

This one is worth tracking down, boys and girls, and if you come across its big brother — the aforementioned Belgian dark, called Monk’s Blood — drop everything and grab one. It’s excellent.

Brew Free or Die IPA: B+


  1. I HATE that I asked 21st Amendment and others you and Spoon have talked about to my Brewfest. Hate. I’m never going to ask you to give a good word for Brewfest, because I feel that is wrong. But OMG, I wish they had been there last year.


  2. I think the mister and I have to try to get our hands on some of that. We both love IPAs, and frankly, anything with “or die” in its title (or state motto) must be pretty kick ass right?

    I’m going to check on our grill and our schedule. Maybe you and the missus could come over for a backyard BBQ. You bring the brew. :)


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