Beer Review: ETA IPA (Wild Leap Brew Co.)

Wild Leap Brew Co. ETA IPA Photo: Let Us Drink Beer Blog
  • BJCP Style: American IPA
  • ABV: 7.5%
  • IBU: 40
  • Hops: Unknown
  • Malts: Unknown
  • Brewery: Wild Leap Brew Co.
  • City: LaGrange, GA (Atlanta Metro Area)

  • Aroma: Tropical fruit, Pine, no malt aroma
  • Appearance: Hazy, straw yellow, fluffy white head with good retention.
  • Flavor & Aftertaste: Tropical fruit, pine/resinous flavors from hops, restrained bitterness, low malt sweetness.
  • Palate: Low carbonation, medium bodied, finish is short and dry, moderately bitter.

Hi The Beer Thriller readers! Greetings from Let Us Drink Beer in the ATL and my first beer review of 2020. To start of the year, I bring you ETA IPA, an award winning India Pale Ale from Wild Leap Brew Co. in LaGrange, GA. Nationally syndicated radio show Beer Guys Radio hands out the Best of Georgia Beer – Reader’s Choice Awards in December each year. Awards are based on nominations and voting by Beer Guys Radio listeners and blog readers (yours truly being one of them). In the category of Best New IPA in Georgia, the winner was Wild Leap Brew Co.’s ETA IPA. This new local favorite is also rated 86 by The Beer Connoisseur Magazine.

A fine example of Hazy IPA, ETA IPA checks all the style boxes. Pours a hazy, straw yellow color with a fluffy, white head. You’ll be delighted by it’s lengthy head retention. The nose exhibits mild tropical fruit and pine aromas; but no discernable malt. You’ll discover matching resinous pine and tropical fruit flavors. Bitterness is moderate. The beer has a surprisingly soft, fluffy medium bodied mouth-feel to it for it’s straw yellow color. As you complete your round trip with this wonderful IPA, the finish will strike you as short and quite dry.

Wild Leap ETA IPA Photo: Let Us Drink Beer Blog

Wild Leap Brew Co. has become a bit of a juggernaut in the Atlanta beer scene. They dominated the Best of Georgia Reader’s Choice Awards in 2019. Their Alpha Abstraction Double IPA rotating IPA series has been one of the most popular beers in Georgia for the past couple of years. I’ll be posting a review of their latest in the series – Volume X – on my blog soon. They were also voted Best New Brewery in the U.S. for 2019 by USA Today’s Readers’ Choice Awards. If you find yourself in Atlanta for a few days and want to experience some of the best craft beer Atlanta has to offer, be sure to head down to Southwest of the city. Wild Leap Brew Co. is located in Downtown LaGrange, GA at 308 Main Street. It’s well worth the trip!

Thanks for reading! Until next time, remember…Let Us Drink Beer!

And, as always – I encourage you to please drink responsibly!

The Best of 2019

This is the second part of my end of the year series. You can read the first part here: “The End of 2019“. Which was essentially a recap of the year 2019 for The Beer Thrillers. I discussed when / why the blog was started back on May 17th, 2019, and how its grown since then to where we are now. I discussed how we have grown exponentially since we first started, from just me writing a few beer blogs, to adding J. Doncevic, to adding Default Brewing, to doing contributing work with Breweries in PA and Let Us Drink Beer blog as well as numerous other things, like how we’ve done brewery reviews, beer event reviews, book reviews, and gotten asked to write up brewery openings, etc.

2019 has certainly been a big year. For the brewing industry, for myself, for this blog (well… primarily because its been the only year the blog’s been around…), for the country, and for the world as a whole. It was certainly a pivotal year. (Though at the end of each year, it feels like we say this every year.)

I wanted to do a bit of a recap and “best” of series all wrapped up in one. This second part will recap some of 2019; in the sense I’ll talk about my personal favorite beers I had in 2019 for the first time, my favorite new brewery stops, the blog’s top viewed articles, and I’ll show the results of fans top beers / breweries. I asked here in the blog, on my personal Facebook, our Twitter, and in several Facebook beer groups what people’s favorite beers / breweries of 2019 were, and I’ll share the results of that.

First off, I’ll start with the blog, and then work towards my personal, then to our fans.

The Top Ten Viewed Articles Here on The Beer Thrillers:

Working our way up to the #1 most viewed:

10. We actually have a 3-way tie to start off the list, so this really becomes a Top 12 rather than Top 10. The first of the three way tie is:

Caucus-Race 6.0 by Boneshire Brew Works

Caucus-Race 6.0 by Boneshire Brew Works
Looking through the glass at Boneshire Brew Works, used for the article – Breweries Around Harrisburg PA

Breweries Around the Outskirts of Harrisburg – an article about the various breweries in the Harrisburg / Hershey area

And the third tie for #10 is – A Beer Flight from Ever Grain, reviewed. Their 3rd Anniversary, Cinn-a-bon, etc.

Ever Grain Brewing Co.

Number 9 on the list is Guava Lemonade Kettle Sour by Newfangled Brew Works

Guava Lemonade Kettle Sour by Newfangled Brew Works
AuZealand 2.0 by Boneshire Brew Works

Number 8 on the list is AuZealand 2.0 by Boneshire Brew Works

Number 7 is the Mango Guyabano sWheat Tart beer review by J. Doncevic, brewed by Rotunda Brewing Company

Mango Guyabano sWheat Tart by Rotunda Brewing Company
The Hog by Boneshire Brew Works

Number 6 is The Hog by Boneshire Brew Works, a recent article, but one that climbed fast and got a ton of views quickly.

Numbers 5 and 4 are actually tied and are both recap / listicles: November Recap and Some Old Posts.

Number 3 is yet another Boneshire Brew Works beer – Harrishire

Harrishire by Boneshire Brew Works
Dillston by Boneshire Brew Works

And number 2, and the last individual page that got the most views was Dillston by Boneshire Brew Works.

Because number one overall, is our main page – The Beer Thrillers homepage. Which I suppose should come as no surprise. But the Boneshire Brew Works beers definitely cleaned up, with several in our top 10 – Dillston, Harrishire, The Hog, AuZealand, and Caucus-Race.

I love seeing the statistics and analytics of what posts get the most views, where the people are coming from or how they find the site through different search engine results and things. So its neat to see some of the local beer reviews we’ve done – for Boneshire and for Rotunda – making the top 10.

Now, onto the personal. I got to check out 17 new breweries or brewpubs this year:

  • Columbia Kettle Works (2nd Gear) – Lancaster, PA
  • Twisted Bine – Mount Joy, PA
  • Tun Tavern and Brewpub – Atlantic City, NJ
  • Battlefield Brew Works – Gettysburg, PA
  • Straub Visitor Center, Tap Room, and Brewery – St. Mary’s, PA
  • Logyard Brewing – Kane, PA
  • Twisted Vine – Kane, PA
  • ShuBrew Brewery – Zelionople, PA
  • Cinderlands Beer Co. Warehouse – Pittsburgh, PA
  • The Church Brew Works – Pittsburgh, PA
  • Yellow Bridge Brewing – Delmont, PA
  • Stone Bridge Brewery – Johnstown, PA
  • Olde Bedford Brewery – Bedford, PA
  • Cushwa Brewery – Williamsport, MD
  • Mad Chef Brewing Company – East Petersburg, PA
  • Rotunda Brew Pub – Hershey, PA (formerly Irv’s Pub, I’m counting this as “new” since its now rebranded as a brewpub)
  • Official BBQs and Burgers, Pizza Boy’s Second Location – Rutherford, PA

Out of these 17 places, I’m going to have to say my favorite was Logyard. Stopped there, during my three day vacation trip with my daughters, and they loved the brewery, loved the food, loved the atmosphere, and the beer was phenomenal. It was also small, out of the way, not even really on the map. So I think it was super cool for that. A runner-up would definitely be Cushwa. Which had fantastic beer, a great bartender, didn’t get any food, and didn’t get to stay long, so I can’t really speak of the atmosphere. Third place would have to go to The Church Brew Works, which is a must-visit just for the aesthetics of seeing an old church turned into a brewery. A visually stunning location and brewery and worth a trip to see when in the Pittsburgh area.

Top beers is going to be much harder to narrow down and pick and choose. I have so many I could pick. From local breweries, I loved this year’s version of Double Blizzard, by Troegs Brewery, I also loved several of the sWheat Tarts I got to try this year, notably the Juicy Fruit one by Rotunda Brewing. Boneshire Brew Works also pumped out some amazing beers, like the s’Mores Lazaris, The Hog, the 2019 Holiday Reserve, several of their one offs, Caucus-Race 6.0, AuZealand 2.0, Sunburst, almost too many to list. And Tattered Flag really pumped out some great beers this year. The Peach Rings of Fire beer, Inexplicably Juicy, the Should Have Put Him Custardy, the Imperial Churro collaboration, basically any collaboration they made was phenomenal. I loved the beers I had at Yellow Bridge, Cinderlands, Mad Chef, Cushwa, and especially Logyard. I got some great beers from trades that I really liked, like There’s Nuttin Butter Than a Nice Pair of Camo Pants, and Azathoth, I also got gifted Sap and Autumn from Tree House, which were fantastic. So many good beers, so hard to narrow them all down. Had some really great ones at the various brewfests I went to like Lititz, Mount Hope, Atlantic City’s, etc. I’m going to just have to cop out here and say I can’t name just one.

I will provide a link here to my “Your Year in Beer” by Untappd. Ben’s 2019 Year in Beer.

It was certainly a great year with 1,000+ unique beer checkins from a ton of breweries.

Now lets switch again and go to some reader responses.

On my personal Facebook page, Tyler Budwash said his favorite was Should Have Put Him in Custard by Tattered Flag.

On the Central PA Whalerz Facebook group, the answers were varied. Some were:

Collin Short said Trillium’s Max Headroom, Monk’s Western and Del Amo, Solo Hike, Bloom Blossom, Super Fluffy; Veil’s Buried Alive 3, We Ded Mon 3, Good Morning Anxiety; and Aslin’s Castle Hill and Sperryville.

James Nicastro said 3 sons and Voodoo’s Summagick, Aslin’s Luling, Sperryville, Alexandria, and Gang Gets a Barrel; Other Half’s BA Snowbirds; Monkish Space Churro; Hudson Valley’s Amorphia, Other Half’s 5th Anniversary, Tilted Barn’s Space Cactus, Equilibrium’s Dream Wave Distortion, and Dream Wave Fluctuation.

Chris Scott said New Trail’s Red Line.

Greg Brunner liked The Veil’s Patient Man and White Bugatti.

When posed the question to the Breweries in PA Facebook group, I got a large range of answers as well:

Douglas Allen – MissileToad by Ever Grain
Anthony Ferraro – New Trail Backast Double IPA and Victory’s Cloudwalker IPA.
Kaela Williams – anything by Imprint
Michael Dunmore – Special Cookie by Free Will Brewing
Michael Keener – North County Brewing White Tea, Abjuration Brewing WCPM v1.0
Shawn Bryne – Broken Goblet Brewing – Hazenberg IPA
Dean Horning – Yuengling’s Hershey Porter
John Welsh – Ralphius – Free Will (and variants)
David Villafane – Lollihop – Troegs
James Frank – Wild Berry Pineapple Puffsicle
Tim Kilian – A Nap in the Pollen – Forest and Main
Nevile Mehta – Schmoojee beers – Imprint
Scott Bombeck – Shallow and Pointless – New Trail
Wilson Myers – Frost – Robin Hood Brewing
Chris Ciccarone – Raspberry Heliocentric – New Trail
Teri Smith – Morning Blonde – Hop Hill Brewing
Matthew David Prince – Double Guava Milkshake IPA – Tired Hands
Andie Bicho – Stratophonic – Levante
Siobhan Royack – Lost in Suspension, Apricot – Lost Tavern
Thomas Slovik – Chaka – Schaylor Brewing and Sunny Side Up by Pizza Boy

So this kind of wraps up 2019. Sums it up to some degree. Between this and the “End of the Year – 2019” article, I think I wrapped up the year of 2019; for the blog, for myself personally, and for some of our readers. Hopefully you enjoyed what we’ve done in 2019, and even more importantly, hopefully you are looking forward to what we have in store for 2020. I know I am.

I just want to say thank you for reading, for myself, Josh, AJ, Default Brewing, Let Us Drink Beer, and everyone else who has worked to help me with this blog behind the scenes, we all want to thank you – the readers – for checking us out, and reading. Thank you!

Happy New Year. Happy start to 2020, and lets make it a fantastic year!

Cheers, toast, and prost!

-B. Kline

End of the Year – 2019

(Just a quick note, late addition on this, this is going to be a two-part article. First part a look-back at The Beer Thrillers articles of 2019, and the second part about our top beers, top breweries, and other happenings of 2019 for myself personally and the blog, and some of our friends in general. So make sure to check out both parts.)

So its the end of the year… end of decade even…. and thus its time to reflect back on where we came from, how we got to where we are, and where we are going. Humanity, since the inception of time, and creating of calendars and years and New Years Eves and New Years Days have always taken the last few days of each year to look back on their year, their life, and reflected, and thought about how they could better themselves, come up with “resolutions” for the upcoming year, and join in with friends and families as they ring in the new year. “New Year New You.”

We here at The Beer Thrillers are going to do something …. similar. Not fully introspective though, because we don’t take ourselves that seriously. But just a fun look back at the year that was 2019. I can’t speak for my co-writers, but I can say for me, personally, 2019 had its fair share of ups, downs, in-betweens, lefts, rights, diagonals, crosses, bounces, turns, jukes, and jives. But I’m still here and better for it all. But I’m not going to go on and on too much about myself personally.

Rather, I’m going to write about how the blog has done, where we started from, where we’re headed, etc. And yea, I’ll probably get a little personal. But nothing deep or philosophical or introspective. More along the lines of what were some of the best beers, breweries, or events I’ve done of the year. So don’t worry, the blog will uphold the Seinfeld idea of “Nobody learns, nobody grows, nobody hugs”.

Scratch 375 – CocoNator by Troegs Independent Craft Brewery

I started this blog back on May 17th, 2019. (This year!) It was a Thursday, my girls (my daughters) were at school, I was bored, and trying to figure out what I’m doing / was doing. I needed something for my days off while the kids were at school, something that was fun, something I was passionate about, something that let me feel like I was being creative, using my talents, and something I knew about. I’ve been reading blogs, and news sites, and all kinds of things about beer for so long, and I have a lot of experience drinking… …and writing… that I figured why not combine the two? I was feeling like I was in a rut, my job is the same its been for the past seven years, I wasn’t doing anything outright ‘creative’ and needed an outlet for it, and we are in a review culture. I do all kinds of reviews all the time, in small nondescript and unimportant ways. Like reading books when I’m finished, I write up a review of them when I check them off on GoodReads. Same with Untappd, when I drink a beer, I write up a small (Tweet size) review of it. I also felt, I was in a unique spot to start this up. I was getting to a spot where I knew enough people “on the inside” or “in the business”, and I was also doing stuff beyond just being a consumer; like home brewing, growing hops, helping can at Tattered Flag, being engaged in conversations with home brewers and professional brewers a lot, that I felt like I could provide some interesting conversations and articles to the world.

Mainly…. I was looking to not be bored, and to do something I love doing – writing and drinking beer.

So I started the blog up on May 17th, 2019. Basically having no clue what I was doing. I started up using WordPress and here we are. Its still WordPress, albeit the ‘weaker’ version (fingers crossed come sometime the new year, I switch over to the more advanced version, where I have more control over the site and the appearance). I did a little bit of research, chose a name – which to be frankly speaking – the name “The Beer Thrillers” just popped up to me. Nothing too deep or crazy or interesting behind it. I was honestly conjuring up the idea that it would be me, and a few of my friends writing, thus the “Thrillers” and not “Thriller”. I thought me, Drew, Dan maybe, and a few others would all writing all kinds of blog posts and contributing. Maybe some of the insiders in the business I know too… …while this hasn’t happened exactly; I have enlisted friends and other writers over the year to help out. (More on that as I get to their participation.)

Outside of creating the home page and starting up the site, my very first article on the blog was a beer review of Troegs’ Scratch 375 – The CocoNator. As far as first time articles go, I have no problems with it. Counting the writing of my colleagues and fellow contributors and cowriters to the blog, we’re now up to 130 blog posts (this being #131). I definitely think I’ve come a long way from that first blog. But I also like to think I laid the foundation there. I set up a system for how the beer reviews (I do) are written, presented, and I hope they are written in a fun, interesting, educational, and most importantly entertaining way.

Boulangerie Stout – Imperial Churro by Tattered Flag and Wolf Brewing Co.

When I started this in May, I had just gotten a couple of cans from my shift manager at work – Jordan and used them a the base for my first few beer reviews. The CocoNator was quickly followed by two South County beer reviews – Painting with Light (May 19th) and Sundrifter (May 30th). Also during this time, from my recent volunteer work helping can at Tattered Flag I worked with and gotten quite a few of their cans (hard work and sweat at their brewery resulted in many cans of whatever beer was being canned that day, as well as lots of other cans they still had from past canning runs). Two of these resulted in the beer reviews of Boulangerie Stout – Imperial Churro (May 22nd) which was a collaboration between Derek Wolf of Wolf Brewing Co. and Tattered Flag and You Hoppin’ On Me? (May 24th).

Canning Day at Tattered Flag

I was trying to write fast, furiously, and get some articles out there as a starting blog, I knew content was going to be the main driving force (and still is). Quality content even better. Hopefully I provided the quality content. I guess thats all up to you guys to decide, but I like to think I did (or at least, like I said, hope I did). As you can see from my picture of the Imperial Churro; often times in the background or foreground or beside the beers you’ll see some of the recent books I’m reading, as well as my dog Leela – especially if I’m drinking at home where she typically has to get her nose into the business of all involved. On May 27th, I conducted a bit of a science experiment when I found an old (over a year old) Black and Blue Tastee from The Veil. I had gotten a four pack from one of my favorite bartenders – Chris – who had traveled down and muled some back up. I wrapped up May, my first month of writing for the blog, with my first beer review from a bar – Warwick Hotel – on May 31st with a beer review of Cinnamon Toast Crunch by Collusion Tap Works.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch by Collusion Tap Works

May finished, and my first month done; even if I had only started late in the month on the 17th, I felt accomplished with the blog. I published 9 total blog pages; which included the home-page, the author-bio page, the contact page, and other necessary background pages. Word was slowly trickling out about the blog, I was up to 59 visitors and 121 views. Not a bad first month – especially considering it was basically just two weeks (the 17th through the 31st). Lets say I was “pleased as punch” with the start of the blog. June was looking bright!

June started with a beer review from the Bissell Brothers Brewing Company – Baby Genius on June 3rd. Followed up by a bottle of LazerSnake by Three Floyds on June 9th.

Baby Genius by Bissell Brothers

On June 13th, I did my first multiple beer review, and my first beer flight review – from Troegs Independent Craft Brewing – of course. What other place would I do my first beer flight review? Troegs was basically my initiation into the craft beer scene when I was ….cough turning 21…. and was the start of my craft beer love. Troegs is still a wonderful brewery, a fantastic venue there in Hershey, and overall holds a definite soft spot in my craft beer loving heart.

A flight of beers from Troegs Brewery

June 14th ended up being my first “double blog post” day. Earlier in the day I had stopped in at Tattered Flag to pick up a four-pack, had a beer, and when home, wrote a review, and later that night, with my daughters, I stopped in at Boneshire Brew Works, had a beer, and did a review before bed. At Tattered Flag I had the Abra Collabra beer, and at Boneshire I had the Sunburst beer. A week later I did my first brewery review, when I took my oldest daughter to Gettysburg for the day to visit the battlefields and monuments. Before visiting the sites, we stopped for lunch at the Battlefield Brew Works. A day later I was back at Warwick for another beer and review – Manayunk’s King Crunch.

An interior picture of the Battlefield Brew Works brewery.

Around this time, looking to expand, I enlisted the help of a buddy and fellow craft beer aficionado and enthusiast, and Boneshire lover – Josh Doncevic. We had a few talks at Boneshire Brew Works, and we chatted on the Central PA Whalerz group, and discussed this and that and everything beer related, and I thought he’d be a perfect fit for the blog – and he is and still has been. And on June 27th, he took his plunge into the world of blogging with his first beer review Northmont by Yellow Bridge.

Northmont by Yellow Bridge, J. Doncevic’s first beer review here on The Beer Thrillers.

A flurry of beer reviews followed – Should Have Put Him in Custardy, a beer flight from Hershey Biergarten, helped close out June and start July with Josh’s review of Ectogasm. June saw the blog grow by massive leaps and bounds, we went from 59 visitors in May to 848 visitors in June with 1100 some views. July was looking to be a great month for The Beer Thrillers, and it certainly delivered some amazing beer reviews! Pink Guava, Inexplicably Juicy, Miami Vice, Old 51, Dillston, Saison and Hurry up and Wait, a beer flight from Tony’s travels up north at the Black Gryphon, Wolf Prints, and Mango Guyabano sWheat Tart.

On July 19th we launched our Twitter page. Which just a few days ago, we hit our 100th follower! (Time for me to plug in here and suggest everyone head over there briefly to follow us, then come back here.) On July 23rd we also started our Instagram page. I will be the first to admit that we don’t do as much with Instagram, primarily because I don’t know enough about it yet. Looking to learn more about it in 2020 and get that page going a lot more.

July continued with some more beer reviews like Enigma, Green Zebra and Next Coast, Good Walk Spoiled, another beer flight from Troegs, and Road Less Traveled. I ended the month by discussing my upcoming road trip with my daughters.

July also saw some fun and interesting events I got to do for the first time. I lost my Ffej of July cherry, getting to make it out to possibly the biggest, baddest, most sickest birthday bash / lawn party ever. Me and Drew also attended the Moo-Funk Home Brew event as well. July was certainly a fun month, but August was looking to be even better.

Straub’s Brewery in St. Mary’s

August started off with a bang, I took my daughters up north PA to visit Elk Country, then we visited Straub Brewery, then we went to Kinzua Bridge and after that stopped at Logyard Brewery and next door to it was Twisted Vine Brewery. That was Day One. Day two saw us hitting the Pittsburgh area. First at dawn we hiked McConnell’s Creek, then went to ShuBrew before going into Pittsburgh proper and visit the city where we did a whole slew of things like see Fort Pitt, take the Duquesne Lift, check out medieval Catholic relics, stop by a Jewish synagogue, see the outfield wall still standing, and we also checked out a few breweries like Cinderlands Warehouse, The Church Brew Works, and we finished the day staying at a motel right next door to Yellow Bridge Brewing. Day Two was a lot busier than day one, but just a much fun.

The altar at Church Brew Works
Olde Bedford Brewing in Bedford PA

We didn’t slow down for Day Three. We had a whole host of driving to do on day three. We started at Bushy Run to watch the reenactment and check out the events, then went to the Alleghany Portage and Railroad Museum, and then went into Johnstown to see the Johnstown Flood Memorial and there we checked out the brewery Stone Bridge Brewing. From there we Staple Bend Tunnel Trail and then we stopped and paid our respects at the Flight 93 Memorial. On the way back home to the Hershey area we stopped at Olde Bedford Brewing.

Was a fun three days where we got to see lots of cool places, museums, memorials, monuments, and nine breweries to boot. Can’t beat that!

The beer reviews weren’t going to slow down in August either. Ghost in the Machine by Josh, a beer flight at Twisted Bine, Juicy Fruit sWheat Tart, and Caucus Race 6.0. Then shortly before my oldest daughter’s birthday I took her and my second oldest down to Antietam to see the battlefield there and on the way back home we stopped at Cushwa Brewing. Which I did a brewery review of.

Cushwa Brewing in Maryland

They have since moved out of that building but they are still close by to the location. August still had plenty more beer reviews for you guys starting with Harrishire, Kettle Sour Series – Raspberry, Ghost in the Machine by B. Kline, Good Vibrations, and then I did a dual beer review from two beers I had at a Harrisburg Senators game – a Pineapple Kolsch and a Dry Irish Stout, Reve Coffee Stout, Rye for an Eye (my birthday blog post and beer), and that closed out the month of August. As for events in August, me and my friend Ming went to the Lancaster Brewfest and afterwards went to Mad Chef Brewing (my first time there) which was an overall fun event.

Taco and a Beer – a fantastic birthday treat, even belatedly

Moving onto September started with my cashing in my birthday taco coupon at Newfangled Brew Works and had a really tasty Kettle Sour from them. In September I wrote a piece for Breweries in PA and also posted it on my blog – the version on the blog is found here: Breweries Around the Outskirts of Harrisburg (9.6.19). It has become one of the most popular pieces on our blog, and I believe it has done very well for the Breweries in PA crew as well. Beer reviews certainly didn’t slow down: a flight of Levante and Tattered Flag beers, a flight of Troegs beers, Fresh Fest and Trail Day Pale Ale, a flight of beers from Mount Gretna Brewery, and Spundae.

September also saw me do our first listicle articles. With two – one celebrating our oldest posts and one celebrating our most viewed posts. Followed by, as always, more beer reviews – Key Lime Pie, They Burn Them All Away, AuZealand, a flight of Ever Grain beer, Vanilla Ice Cream Stout, and a Sour Blueberry wrapped up September.

October started off with a couple of Boneshire Brew Works beers – Tried and True (Mango) and Iscariot. I then got to attend Dr. Alison Feeney’s seminar and event at Mid-Town Scholar “For the Love of Beer“. Afterwards I went to The Millworks and had a flight. I did a book review of Dr. Alison Feeney’s book – For the Love of Beer. We finally joined Facebook on October 17th, you can find our Facebook page here. We are now up to 154 followers on Facebook, hoping to grow more! Did a beer review of Salted Caramel Moo-Hoo next.

Midwest Coast Brewing

I was contacted back in September by Midwest Coast Brewing Company to do an advertisement article and announcement article about their brewery opening. And I think it turned out very well. This was the first time a brewery reached out to us and asked us to do a piece for them and I think it turned out very well. I did a bit of an interview with the owners / brewers, and talked about their brewery’s opening. This has led to Mellow Mink reaching out to us and inviting us to their place to check them out and do an article (January 2nd we’ll be doing that).

J. Doncevic did a review of Ekaunot by Barebottle. We then covered Rotunda Brewing Company’s rebranding of Irv’s Pub into Rotunda Brew Pub. Also did a news article on Pennsylvania breweries that won at the 2019 GABF. That was my first straight up news article for the blog.

More beer reviews: Athena, Sour Me Peach, Irish Table, Envie and Envie 4X, Yuengling’s Hershey’s Chocolate Porter, and to wrap up the beer reviews of October I did Fatum Series: Member Berries. We also covered Boneshire Brew Works’ 3rd Anniversary Celebration.

November was a crazy month for me. I challenged myself to doing 30 blog posts, one per day – MINIMUM, and I am proud to say I achieved that and met my goal. It was certainly daunting a task, but I did achieve it.

Here’s the list of my articles in November: Pumpkin Stout, St. Thomas, Walker Station Stout, a flight by ZeroDay, King Sue, Intergalactic Warrior, s’Mores LazaRIS, There’s Nuttin Butter Than a Nice Pair of Camo Pants, Secret Machine, Broken Heels, Animal Adjective, 556 Stout, Boat Drinks, a flight of Tattered Flag – Newfangled Brew Works – and Cox Brewing beers, Alpha Abstraction, Double IPA, Lager, Birra Di Levante, Tickle Parts – Passionfruit, a flight of beers from Appalachian Brewing Company, Default Brewing, Darwin’s Salted Forehead, Newfangled Pils, Gotta Get up to Get Down, Paradise Lost, Moon of Vega, Citraquench’l, Azathoth, a flight of Troegs including Mad Elf, and finally a review of Official BBQ and Burgers – Pizza Boy’s second location. WHEW! That was a lot to get out, you can read about it in the November Recap.

November also saw Default Brewing join us here at The Beer Thrillers. Headed by AJ Brechbiel, they are a group of home brewers who will be providing home brewing articles for the blog from time to time. They gave us a welcoming post in November: Cheers from Default Brewing.

I also started up a collaboration with Let Us Drink Beer blog. Where we would be guest writing and contributing to each other’s blogs occasionally. They are down south, and with us being here in PA, it seemed like it’d be a nice fit. Provide some information and beers and breweries that readers might not normally get to see. They posted their first article “Five Must See Breweries in Atlanta” in November.

Josh also wrote two beer reviews in November: Ghost 782 and Ghost 779.

December started off a little slower here for us, probably because I was a bit tired from November, or perhaps just because its the holiday season, I don’t know. But my first beer review was Ice Dreamz. I did a few more beer reviews in December – My Watch Has Ended, The Hog, Scrooge IPA, Sap, and Autumn.

Default Brewing gave us an introduction to their crew: “Meet The Crew at Default Brewing“.

I covered the guest blogging that was going on and Let Us Drink Beer gave us a review of Koki Bunni.

Finally, the last article posted in all of 2019 (outside of this one now) was a travelogue of me and Drew brewery hopping around Harrisburg. Starting at Boneshire Brew Works, and going to The Vegetable Hunter, The Millworks, The Sturges Speakeasy, and ZeroDay Brewing. Was a fun day jumping around from place to place.

Hopefully you enjoyed this look back on 2019 with The Beer Thrillers. The second part of this article will most likely be posted January 1st, possibly before work, possibly after work. I have to leave for work now, and work until (at least) 8PM, and will most likely be going right out to enjoying New Years Eve festivities with my daughters. Tomorrow I work 10-6, and afterwards will be doing a podcast with Esteban about LOST.

The second part of this series will cover top beers, top breweries, and other things about the year for The Beer Thrillers and myself. For example – podcasting.

So make sure you check out part two then as well!

As always, I hope you have a Happy New Year, enjoyed the blog, and continue to do so! Without you, we don’t need to write, so we hope you are having as much fun and entertainment with this as we are!

-B. Kline on behalf of The Beer Thrillers staff.

My hop arbor in the rain

Brewery Hopping – 12.27.19

The 2019 Holiday Reserve by Boneshire Brew Works, our first stop on our brewery hopping journey.

Want to take a trip with us? A journey along Harrisburg? C’mon, it’ll be fun. You get to hang out with me, and my buddy, and we basically do nothing but chat about Star Wars, The Mandalorian, Coen Brothers movies, how we were so disappointed by the sequel trilogy, about the blog, about the podcasts, we run into other friends, chat with bar patrons, and generally have a good time.

So why not join us? We hit several stops in the Harrisburg area. Not as many as originally wanted, and not all of the places we wanted, but we jumped around, had some fun, and called it a day and were happy. So no complaints there! Can never be upset with a day out with friends, beer, and no stress. Plus…. we got to pet a baby corgi… so there’s that too!

I have written a bit, here on this blog, and for Breweries in PA, as well as the Let Us Drink Beer blog about the breweries around Hershey and Harrisburg and Hummelstown Pennsylvania. Mostly recap articles on the locations, taps, places, atmosphere, beers, etc. The bigger – main article can be found here: “Breweries Around the Outskirts of Harrisburg“. The blog post that is primarily a link to the Breweries in PA article with a few bits of new information can be found here: “Touring Through the Breweries that Surround Harrisburg“. The actual Breweries in PA article is here: “Breweries Around Harrisburg (BiPA)“. And of course, the last article of the series, the larger one yet – that also delves into the breweries of Hershey PA can be found here on the blog Let Us Drink Beer: “Breweries Around Hershey and Harrisburg PA.” I do guest work and contribute to the Let Us Drink Beer blog, so make sure you check them out and my other articles there, like my review of the Pretoria Fields Collective Walker Station Stout. (I also did a review of it here for my blog: Walker Station Stout. For more information on Let Us Drink Beer’s Blog and to just check them out, their blog home page can be found here: “Let Us Drink Beer“.)

Lets start off with the pre-adventure details. First off, the events of this day occurred on December 27th, 2019. A Friday – and my day off (my days off are Thursdays and Fridays for now, before they change soon after the new year). Having worked the week, including Christmas, and spending the night of Christmas with family, and then spending Thursday with more family, Friday was a day for me and friends. I still got some crucial stuff done pre-noon, I finished reading a chapter book with my youngest daughter, I got the Autumn beer review blog up, did some minor editing on the Sap Beer Review and The Hog beer review (website formatting changes) and I walked my dog. So, noontime, dog home, I shower up, and head out to Boneshire Brew Works to meet up with Drew for the first leg of our trip.

(A final in-line, late note, just before publishing this, instead of listing the beers with the brewery we had them at, I decided to put them at the end, categorized by brewery / location and gave bare-bones information from Untappd on them. I’ll leave my rating with them as well, but not go into a full break-down beer review of them. So if you wish just to see what Drew and I drank, you can jump to the end of the article.)

Boneshire Brew Works – stop number one.

As anyone who knows me and has read this blog, Boneshire Brew Works is typically home base of operations. Its about three-five minutes from my house, right by Rutter’s, right off of Nye’s Road and on Derry Street. Close enough for my friend Drew to meet us there, and its also not too far out from where Dan lives (near Breski’s Beverage). A lot of other friends are close by too, from the Hummelstown, Middletown, and Harrisburg areas. Even from Hershey – its not a stretch of a drive. So its always a great place to meet up; plus the beer is superb, the atmosphere is nice, the bartenders and beertenders all know us, and its just a great place to hang out.

I got there about five minutes before Drew, and ordered the newest beer on the menu – The 2019 Holiday Reserve. A tradition now, at Boneshire, its always a glorious beer to end the year on. One of a handful of great NE-IPA style beers in the area, its usually one of the best, and always fantastic straight from the tap. And this year’s was no exception. After Drew gets there he orders the same, and we spend a good twenty minutes nursing our first beer of the day at lunch-time while discussing the intricacies of Star Wars; including The Mandalorian’s season finale (which had just dropped that morning), as well as how bad Rise of Skywalker was and the sequel trilogy as a whole, how bad the prequel trilogy was, how there’s now more bad to good movies in the Star Wars canon, how some of the books fit into the movies, etc.

We also talked about the next jump on the tour – The Vegetable Hunter, about them teaming up with the Harris Family, and other things beer related in the area. We discussed maybe checking out the BBQ place that is home to Pizza Boy’s secondary location; but decided to skip it, and decided to skip Newfangled Brew Works since with Drew, thats basically home number two. I’ve been to The Vegetable Hunter one time, but quite a long time ago, soon after they added the mini-micro-nano-brewery part to it. So I settle up the tab with James behind the bar, talk a bit about heading on some brewery jumping, and then we’re off to the city proper.

Now, it should be noted, number one, I am horrible at getting to any place. I’ll get there. No doubt about it, but it won’t be right, will consist of wrong turns, driving on one way roads, and being a bit late…. but I’ll get us there. And case in point was getting here. Next thing we know, we’re crossing the bridge and the river and turning around on Erford Road and heading back, finally finding a parking spot in front of the restaurant turned brewery.

Brother of Thor! by The Vegetable Hunter

I don’t know much about The Vegetable Hunter unfortunately. I do know its a super tiny micro / nano – brewery, and I know that Tim Myers is the head brewer. He is also the head brewer for River Bend Hop Farm – you can check out a review of their Dry Irish Stout I did. I was there at their brewery a year ago (on the 28th, it came up in my ‘memories’). Fantastic brewery and facility and the beers were great. Tim definitely produces some great beers.

I’m not vegan or vegetarian, and neither is Drew. So we didn’t order anything to eat. (Not saying you HAVE to be vegan or vegetarian to eat there, but its more likely to appeal to those who are.) Not sure if they do flights of beer there or not, I think they might, but the two kids behind the food counter who were finishing up an order for the family that was in the place eating (six or seven people with a small child) and doing a lot of cleaning (dishes / glasses) didn’t mention it. We each ordered a pint. I ordered the Brother of Thor! and Drew ordered Today’s Tom Sawyer. Their on-screen board listed only four beers. But their Untappd app lists six. I have also heard (after the fact) that they have an upstairs. Not sure if that was open when we got there or not, but they probably have more taps up there.

Brother of Thor! was tasty and delicious. Drew also said the Today’s Tom Sawyer was also good. Both are IPAs and were neither super hoppy or super bitter, but also not NE-IPAs. We would both recommend them to anyone traveling in the area. Can’t say anything about the food (sorry), but we both enjoyed our beers, the relaxed, hipster, like atmosphere, and overall thought it was a pleasant time there. We didn’t stay long, (not long enough to use our full hour of parking meter time – 3$, right in front of the restaurant), but we enjoyed our beer, and chatting, and stayed for probably twenty – thirty minutes.

After leaving, we decided the next stop would be The Millworks, since its close by. Did a few turns here and there and parked next to the Market. And went inside to the Millworks, which even at 2:30-3PM was pretty full with the bar nearly packed (luckily found two seats together) with lots of people eating.

A beer flight from The Millworks; stop number three on our trip.

Sidled ourselves up to the bar and plopped down. Ordered myself a flight, Drew ordered a pint, and got himself the brisket pizza. Drew typically always does pints rather than flights, and I typically will do flights whenever possible – to try as much as I can. Especially if its a venue I’m not likely to get to all that often.

My flight consisted of Winter Saison, Cherrywood Rauchbier, Kiwi Berry Gose, Triple IPA. Drew ordered the Market Day Session IPA.

Once we ordered and he ordered his food, the pizza arrived pretty quickly. I enjoyed the Saison, the Rauchbier was a nice, smokey, malty tasty drink, the Gose was a little bland, and not quite as interesting as I’d hope, but the Triple IPA made up for it and was very tasty, juicy, and hoppy. Drew enjoyed his Market Day IPA (I had it once before and found it enjoyable myself).

Drew said the brisket pizza was delicious. While here, we discussed various ongoing TV shows that we are still watching and looking forward to of upcoming seasons, like Fargo, HBO’s Righteous Gems, and of course still The Mandalorian. We broke down Coen Brothers movies, like A Serious Man, The Big Lebowski, Fargo, and talked about how interesting it was for that show to be made (the Fargo show). We also talked about upcoming podcasts including me and Esteban doing one about LOST, a show which Drew had never watched.

While closing out and debating how far to stray from Harrisburg and getting texts from Dan Arndt that he’s getting off work and wants to jump in on the festivities, the bartender pointed out that it was 4:15PM and that The Sturgis Speakeasy was doing their happy hour from 4-6. So since Dan usually likes to meet up at ZeroDay when in the city, we figured we’d stay local, hit up Sturgis, then meet him over there. So off we were to a “pit stop” on the brewery tour.

Goggles by New Trail Brewing Co. at The Sturgis Speakeasy, our pit stop before hitting up ZeroDay Brewing.

A hop skip away from The Millworks we found ourselves good parking beside The Sturgis Speakeasy and headed in. They had a nice tap list including several noticeably good beers, quite a few New Trail Brewing Co. beers on tap, and a pretty good bottle and can listing. Drew asked for one of the bottles on the list and was told they just sold out, and so he then settled on the New Trail Porter – Sunset. I ordered the NE IPA Goggles from New Trail which everyone has been raving about in various Facebook beer groups I’m in.

You can’t go wrong with New Trail, they seemingly haven’t made a bad or even mediocre beer yet (at least that I’ve had). I’ve had several from them before – Broken Heels, Double Broken Heels, Corvus, and I believe a sour of theirs that name eludes me at the moment. Goggles was another fantastic New England style IPA, this time a Double Imperial New England IPA. At 8.8% ABV it does give you a good punch and with the large pour at Sturgis it was really good. For my second beer I got the Porter, which was a very nice chocolate porter. Not too overpowering, not too heavy chocolate, pretty much just the right amount. A nice mixture of flavors and complexities to keep it tasty.

On the background TVs was an English Premier League soccer (or “football”) game. A roar went up at one point from the denizens of the bar as the one team scored, and me and Drew talked about my years playing and coaching soccer. Also discussed Christian Pulisic a bit and how I grew up knowing the family due to his father – Mark Pulisic – and his days playing for the Harrisburg Heat. Christian is a great kid, and Mark was a great player, coach, and all around guy. His wife (and Christian’s mom) Kelly is also a wonderful person. So its so great to see the family achieve so much success. Hopefully it also translates to the US Men’s Team finally getting better and possibly winning a World Cup some day (obviously not the next one…. ….since we didn’t even qualify….. ugh……). Side note here: if you ever want to discuss soccer – make sure you see Owen, bartender for Boneshire Brew Works, the men has forgotten more about soccer (due to concussions) than most people will ever know. Plus he’s a great dude, especially after a few.

Nearing our end at the speakeasy a nearby bar patron started chatting us up about local Harrisburg politics, and all kinds of manner of other things. Now, me and Drew will often get chatty about politics, philosophy, religion, etc – but only with ourselves, and more quiet, …and usually when we’re a lot more drunk. We tend to not jump into these kind of conversations with people we don’t know, because well… you never know how the conversations are going to go, and typically we like to follow the bar rule of “No Religion. No Politics. No Gender.” discussions. But we allowed him to talk to us about it, and we stayed neutral and listened. (Always remain neutrality when listening, always the best case scenario.)

We paid up, said goodbye to the friendly bartender lady who was very nice, and chatted to us a bit about The Mandalorian (noticing a theme with our day yet?), as well as Netflix and other TV in general, thanked her for the good beer, and we were on our way to ZeroDay.

My beer flight at ZeroDay

We park back behind Midtown Cinema and head into ZeroDay. Finding a spot at the bar we jump up, Drew orders the Financial Panther, and I get myself a flight. I also try their hard seltzer, one of the first craft brewery hard seltzers I’ve had. And I just have to say…. the style does nothing for me. No White Claws for me, no Truly Hard Seltzers, just… nope. White Claws mean no Laws is BS and I stand by it. I’ve never been a fan of carbonated water or seltzer to begin with, so making it slightly alcoholic doesn’t do enough for me. The first time I tried a hard seltzer was at Ffej of July this year from Karl Larson’s group. This was my first time trying it from a craft brewery.

My flight consisted of: Accidental Fluffer, Grievance, Smooth Metal, Mister Bubz, North St. Stout, and ZeroDay Dunkel. With an additional taster of plain Automatic Refresher (the hard seltzer).

We hung out inside for about fifteen minutes before our friend Youngblood and his girlfriend arrived. After about another five or so minutes Dan arrived, but had to stay outside because he had his corgi with him – Domino Thunderthighs. And yes, thats its actual name, and yes, the dog is totally a babe magnet and the most adorable thing since Baby Yoda – The Child. So we went outside and hung out at the picnic table, and watched the slow human avalanche of people finding out theres a nine month old corgi outside as they all came out to pet him and either go back in or head to their cars. Even the bartenders took turns coming outside to pet the dog.

Outside was a nice brisk evening, and we stayed out there til 9PM. Youngblood does stand up comedy work for various places, so we chatted some about that, his upcoming shows, some bits, we talked with Dan about his work (lung respiratory nurse), talked about our jobs (Drew as bartender, me at the casino, etc.), we talked about dogs (my border collie Leela and my new pitbull / black lab mix – Tink), Dan’s two dogs the corgi Domino Thunderthighs and his other dog Indiana Bones. Dan talked about his latest trip with his fiance Kat at Tree House Brewing Company where he brought back the beers I’ve done reviews of – Sap and Autumn. Talked about the places we stopped at today – Boneshire Brew Works, The Vegetable Hunter, and The Millworks. Talked about local breweries in general, places like Iron Hill, Troegs, Moo-Duck, Cox Brewing, The Vineyard and Brewery at Middletown, and Spring Gate.

We got into our normal shenanigans and revelry and had a good time hanging out together. Killing an afternoon / evening. At about 915 or so, we discussed evening plans, I had to take Drew back to Boneshire Brew Works for him to get his car and I was gonna head home, Dan, Youngblood, and Youngblood’s girlfriend were going back to their apartment after Dan dropped off his dog. As usual partings go, we cleaned up and took our glasses back in, gave our goodbyes to each other, walked to our cars and left. Knowing we’ll all be doing this again in a few days most likely, just chilling, relaxing, hanging out, having a good time, and drinking beers at places like ZeroDay or Boneshire or Troegs or at bars like Chick’s, Sturgis Speakeasy, The Manor, Gin Mill, The Boro, Warwick Hotel, etc. There is few things on this planet that are better than hanging out with friends, having fun, laughing, not being stressed by life or cares and just taking care of each other through communal friendship and just being with each other as we drink and bond. Its easily one of the best things about craft breweries is the communal nature of the small local craft breweries. The atmospheres and the venues and the way it brings people together to talk, hang out, have fun, and drink good delicious beers. Not even macro beers at big time bars can deliver the same kind of intimate friendship and kinship that craft breweries can give you, just based on the structure of how different the two are.

After we departed, took Drew back to Boneshire Brew Works and let him get his car. It was 9:45PM and Boneshire was soon closing for the night. Made our safe returns and trips, and had ourselves a fantastic trip basically over Harrisburg and the suburb of it a bit. We got to drink at Boneshire Brew Works, The Vegetable Hunter, The Millworks, The Sturgis Speakeasy, and ZeroDay Brewing. Had great beer, Drew had some great food, lots of great conversations, lot of fun, and much laughter. Was a fantastic day, and a nice leadup to the end of 2019 and the end of a decade and to the start of a new year, new decade, and certainly many more adventures.

As a final note before listing the beers, I started writing this up Sunday December 29th 2019 early in the morning before work, had to go to work, wanted to finish it after work, but had a retirement party for a co-worker at Thoroughbred’s, and after that it was late and I was unable to finish it. So I am now finishing this up (started at 5:30AM when I woke up, and now finishing it at 7AM). And since its December 30th now, I can safely say to Drew happy birthday, as the old man is now 35. So in his honor, make sure you listen to some of his podcasts and mentally give him a shout out and happy birthday.

And now onto the lists!

Boneshire Brew Works:

Beers:

  • 2019 Holiday Reserve
  • The Hog

Beer: 2019 Holiday Reserve
Brewery: Boneshire Brew Works
Style: IPA – New England
ABV: 8.5%
IBU: None
Untappd Write-Up: What we have here is a small Christmas miracle! This year’s batch of Holiday Reserve is a NEIPA brewed with 12 varieties of hops and copious amounts of Flaked Oats, Wheat, and Barley and clocks in at 8.5% abv. This batch is brewed with Apollo, Cashmere, Columbus, Simcoe, Warrior, Motueka, Amarillo, Azacca, Lemondrop, Citra, El Dorado, and Mosaic. This NEIPA is sure to please everyone for the holidays.
My Untappd Rating: 4.25
Global Untappd Rating: 3.98 (as of 12.30.19)

Beer: The Hog
Brewery: Boneshire Brew Works
Style: IPA – Triple
ABV: 9.8%
IBU: 51
Untappd Write-Up: Our collaboration with Muggers of the year 2018-2019. Mike Luckovich and Dan Ploch dreamed up this big hoppy fruit forward IPA. Brewed with Simcoe, Amarillo, Zythos, and Citra hops.
My Untappd Rating: 4.50
Global Untappd Rating: 4.16 (as of 12.30.19)

The Vegetable Hunter

  • Brother of Thor!
  • Today’s Tom Sawyer

Beer: Brother of Thor!
Brewery: The Vegetable Hunter
Style: IPA – American
ABV: 6.5%
IBU: 27
Untappd Write-Up: Hoppy IPA with the Viking/Norwegian yeast strain Loki.
My Untappd Rating: 3.50
Global Untappd Rating: 3.67 (as of 12.30.19)

Beer: Today’s Tom Sawyer
Brewery: The Vegetable Hunter
Style: IPA – American
ABV: 5.6%
IBU: 70
Untappd Write-Up: West Coast IPA – Slappin’ da bass hops! Nugget, Equinox, Citra, Amarillo, and Columbus hops.
Drew’s Comments: Good, hoppy, tasty.
Global Untappd Rating: 3.45 (as of 12.30.19)

The Millworks

  • Market Day Session IPA
  • Winter Saison
  • Cherrywood Rauchbier
  • Kiwi Berry Gose
  • Triple IPA

Beer: Market Day Session IPA
Brewery: The Millworks
Style: IPA – Session / India Session Ale
ABV: 5%
IBU: 30
Untappd Write-Up: Light body, hop forward ale. Orange-golden in color. Floral and citrus in the aroma and flavor. Restrained bitterness that is noticeable but not overwhelming. Easy drinking, lower alcohol session ale.

Malts: Pale, Vienna, Cara Pils

Hops: Nugget, Cascade, Chinook, Crystal
Drew’s Comments: Tasty, crisp.
My Untappd Rating (from previous time): 3.50
Global Untappd Rating: 3.66 (as of 12.30.19)

Beer: Winter Saison
Brewery: The Millworks
Style: Farmhouse Ale – Saison
ABV: 7.9%
IBU: 30
Untappd Write-Up: Medium body, dark spiced farmhouse ale. Deep mahogany in color, lightly spiced with cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, vanilla, and french oak chips. Fermented with spicy belgian saison yeast.
My Untappd Rating: 4.25
Global Untappd Rating: 3.69 (as of 12.30.19)

Beer: Cherrywood Rauchbier
Brewery: The Millworks
Style: Rauchbier
ABV: 5%
IBU: 20
Untappd Write-Up: Classic Rauchbier brewed with local PA Cherry Wood smoked malt. Mild smokiness balanced with sweet bready malt
My Untappd Rating: 3.75
Global Untappd Rating: 3.87 (as of 12.30.19)

Beer: Kiwi Berry Gose
Brewery: The Millworks
Style: Sour – Fruited
ABV: 4%
IBU: None
Untappd Write-Up: PA Preferred beer brewed with Deer Creek Malt and 350 lbs of Kiwi Berries from Threefold Farm
My Untappd Rating: 3.75
Global Untappd Rating: 3.81 (as of 12.30.19)

Beer: Triple IPA
Brewery: The Millworks
Style: IPA – Tripel
ABV: 11.5%
IBU: 80
Untappd Write-Up: Full bodied IPA brewed with Amarillo, El Dorado, and Idaho 7 hops
My Untappd Rating: 4
Global Untappd Rating: 3.96 (as of 12.30.19)

The Sturges Speakeasy

  • Goggles
  • Sunset

Beer: Goggles
Brewery: New Trail Brewing Co.
Style: IPA – Imperial / Double New England
ABV: 8.8%
IBU: None
Untappd Write-Up: Goggles is a Hazy Double IPA focussing on some of our favorite hops. Brewed with a mixture of wheats and oats. Heavy handedly hopped with Galaxy and Citra. Goggles is excessively fruity and dank.
My Untappd Rating: 4.50
Global Untappd Rating: 4.21 (as of 12.30.19)

Beer: Sunset
Brewery: New Trail Brewing Co.
Style: Porter – Other
ABV: 6%
IBU: None
Untappd Write-Up: Sunset is a Chocolate Porter brewed with layers of dark and chocolate malts, rested on Cacao Nibs from Ghana. Expect a rich porter layered with deep chocolate flavor reflecting both dark and milk chocolates. Brewed for the early winter sunsets and long dark nights.
My Untappd Rating: 4.25
Global Untappd Rating: 3.67 (as of 12.30.19)

ZeroDay Brewing

  • Automatic Refresher
  • Financial Panther
  • Accidental Fluffer
  • Grievance
  • Smooth Metal
  • Mister Bubz
  • North St. Stout
  • ZeroDay Dunkel

Beer: Automatic Refresher
Brewery: ZeroDay Brewing Co.
Style: Hard Seltzer
ABV: 5%
IBU: 0
Untappd Write-Up: Hard Seltzer brewed for you! We brewed a blank Hard Seltzer and provide the flavors for you to add how you please!
Global Untappd Rating: 3.87 (as of 12.30.19)

Beer: Financial Panther
Brewery: ZeroDay Brewing Co.
Style: IPA – New England
ABV: 6.5%
IBU: 47
Untappd Write-Up: Inspired by the hard work it takes to not only make the beer, but the prowess required to run the business, we are excited to release Financial Panther, our newest IPA double dry hopped with copious amounts of Motueka from New Zealand. With notes of crushed lime and bright citrus, it’s sure to start your weekend right.
Drew’s Comments: Had this before, second favorite from ZeroDay behind Mango Hab
My Untappd Rating (from previous time): 4
Global Untappd Rating: 3.77 (as of 12.30.19)

Beer: Accidental Fluffer
Brewery: ZeroDay Brewing Co.
Style: Malt Liquor
ABV: 6.7%
IBU: None
Untappd Write-Up: A Zeroday holiday classic, Accidental Fluffer is one of our most creative libations. Peppermint flavor and aromas shine in this malt beverage from the addition of pounds of candy canes in the fermenter. This fresh, minty characteristic is complemented by a sweetness derived from a light grain bill, milk sugar, and copious amounts of Marshmallow Fluff.
My Untappd Rating: 3.25
Global Untappd Rating: 3.36 (as of 12.30.19)

Beer: Grievance
Brewery: ZeroDay Brewing Co.
Style: Winter Warmer
ABV: 8.5%
IBU: 15
Untappd Write-Up: (Blank)
My Untappd Rating: 3.75
Global Untappd Rating: 3.83 (as of 12.30.19)

Beer: Smooth Metal
Brewery: ZeroDay Brewing Co.
Style: Red Ale – Other
ABV: 7.3%
IBU: 50
Untappd Write-Up: Smooth Metal showcases a balance between a smooth caramel malt backbone and an assertive floral hop bitterness. The American grown Nugget and Cascade hops provide a classic hop character for this full-bodied ale. Smooth Metal is soft spoken at first, but definitely has a lot to say.
My Untappd Rating: 3.75
Global Untappd Rating: 3.65 (as of 12.30.19)

Beer: Mister Bubz
Brewery: ZeroDay Brewing Co.
Style: Dunkelweizen
ABV: 5.6%
IBU: 16
Untappd Write-Up: Our dunkelweizen is brewed to the traditional German style. This dark wheat ale (“dunkel” means “dark” and “weizen” means “wheat” in German) is a wheat-based beer with dark malt components. While the malt supports a smooth backbone, the yeast is what shines in this beer. Banana and clove aromas and flavors really standout in this dark brown easy-drinking wheat beer.
My Untappd Rating: 3.75
Global Untappd Rating: 3.46 (as of 12.30.19)

Beer: North St. Stout
Brewery: ZeroDay Brewing Co.
Style: Stout – Coffee
ABV: 8.3%
IBU: 5
Untappd Write-Up: A vanilla-latte inspired Stout brewed in collaboration with the Elementary Coffee Co.
My Untappd Rating: 4
Global Untappd Rating: 3.98 (as of 12.30.19)

Beer: ZeroDay Dunkel
Brewery: ZeroDay Brewing Co.
Style: Lager – Munich – Dunkel
ABV: 4.2%
IBU: 20
Untappd Write-Up: Light in body, dark in color, this Munich Dunkel brings forth notes of roasted malts and chocolate.
My Untappd Rating: 3.50
Global Untappd Rating: 3.45 (as of 12.30.19)

Hopefully you enjoyed this travelogue of our jumpings and hoppins around of Harrisburg. Was a fun day for us, and we do this somewhat often (less now as we get older though). Hopefully there will be more articles like this in the future of more different / diverse places like Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, etc. I’m looking forward to 2020 and hoping it has a lot more great breweries in store!

For some other articles and beer reviews and brewery reviews, you can check out these past written articles:

As always, there is tons of things to see, read, and do here on the blog. You can also head over and listen to the podcasts me and my friends – Drew, Esteban, Dan, Andrew, and Andy all have done and created. We talk about beer, movies, pop culture, TV, you name it. You can see the podcast listings here: So a Mexican and a Scot Walk Into a Bar…

Please help us out with word of mouth, share, like, comment, re-tweet, re-blog, whatever works for you. We love to hear from you guys, so please leave a comment. There is still time to get in what you think was the best beer or breweries of 2019, as I’m hoping to have that article fully done and up before the end of 2019. Fingers crossed!

Thank you for reading this long, rambling, blog post. I know its a bit different than some of our past articles. I’m looking to try and expand what all this blog has to offer, so there’ll be tons of different times of articles to read in the future. Not just beer reviews, but brewery reviews, beer related book reviews, home brewing articles, hop growing articles, beer event reviews, news, brewery opening news, travelogues, and so much more!

I have a packed schedule coming up. Looking like at the end of the day on New Years Day I’ll be doing a LOST podcast, Seasons 1 and 2, and then on January 2nd, me and Josh are traveling to Mellow Mink to do a write-up and have some fun with the head brewer Matt Miller. So be on the look out for that. That should be lots of fun!

I also just want to give a shout out – we just hit 100 Followers on Twitter. Thank you all so much for subscribing and following us on Twitter! If you aren’t following us already, you can click here: The Beer Thrillers on Twitter and follow us. That way you won’t miss any great announcements, pictures, and updates! You can also follow us on Facebook at: The Beer Thrillers on Facebook. Thank you everyone!

As always, thank you everyone for reading, and cheers, and Happy New Year!

-B. Kline

Beer Review: Autumn (Tree House Brewing Company)

Autumn by Tree House Brewing Company

We are in that weird time of the year where… time doesn’t really exist. The between Christmas and New Years weirdness, where you want to try and get so many things done before the end of the year to claim it all in 2019, and then also want to save some things to get done starting in 2020 so you feel like your getting a jump start on the new year. A time when some people are starting to write down New Years resolutions (not this guy) and a lot of people have off the whole week (again, not this guy). Kids are out of school. Chaos reigns supreme. Nobody knows if its AM or PM, if its coffee, bloody mary, or tequila time.

A popular meme going around

So in this weird time…. I wanted to get this beer review out yesterday…. but…. time…. so elusive…. so ungrappable. (I think thats a word. If not, it should be.) But, then again, working in the casino and service industry, time is an illusion to me to begin with. With days off during the week, Thursday – Friday, soon to be Wednesday – Thursday, and time starts that can be anywhere from 10AM to 2PM and work goes til 6PM or 10PM time is all… very nebulous. And yesterday, became a total “non-time”. Me and my friend Drew started our adventures at Boneshire Brew Works, where we met up, then drove to The Vegetable Hunter, then to The Millworks, stopped at Sturgis Speakeasy, then over to ZeroDay to end the day, then back to Boneshire Brew Works so he could get his car back. So basically an entire blur of a day. Was deciding where all to hit, and we basically hit places we’ve all been to before, rather than venturing out too far. I had wanted to go down to Carlisle and hit up Molly Pitcher and some others, but we decided to stay closer to home base.

My morning was at least productive, I finished up the blog post on Sap (by Tree House Brewing), finished reading a book with my youngest daughter (Cutiecorns….. the excitement is real), and took the dog for a walk. Read some of the books I’ve been reading (Thrawn: Treason, and How To Make a Nerdy Living); so it was at least productive before spending my day boozing away with friends.

But I know how this goes…. you all really don’t care about the details, or my recent travels (that will probably be a post for another day), what you want to read…. is the beer review. So lets get to it then right?

Autumn by Tree House Brewing Company, pairs well with family and Christmas meals

Beer: Autumn
Brewery: Tree House Brewing Company
Style: IPA – Imperial / Double
ABV: 8.2%
IBU: None
Untappd Write-Up: Autumn is a fresh entry in the continuing evolution of Tree House’s seasonal efforts. Inspired by the vibrant sensory experience associated with hop harvest in Australia, and harkening back to extraordinary memories of the Tasmanian countryside, Autumn utilizes carefully selected Galaxy hops atop a heavily oated base beer. The result is chewy hop nirvana. It has the power to instantly transport you to a place of natural wilderness, pristine air, and awe from which these delightful hops originate. We invite you to use it as a vehicle to reflect, give thanks, and revel in the company of friends this Autumn.

This leads to one of my favorite beer reviews I just saw when opening this up on Untappd:
Andrew S.: It’s pretty inoffensive. Solid ipa. If you want to throw up, read the description of this beer. (10 hours ago, from the time of this writing). (No cap rating.)

And ya know, I guess that sums this up pretty well. Its solid. Its inoffensive. But maybe the write-up is “too much” …? I dunno. I will say, first initial impression was that this was a “bit too green”, which, Dan Arndt, the one who gifted me these Tree House beers, felt the opposite, thinking this was better than Sap and that Sap was too green. Just goes to show you how everyone’s palates are and how differing opinions can be.

Cracking this can open, even with the food already on the table, there was an immediate aroma of hop. This is a cornucopia of hop and a wallop of it, you get a ton of varying hop notes in this and its all very much. You definitely get the New Zealand / Australia style hop smell right up and very powerful. Sniffing from a glass, its very overpowering. You get notes of floral, citrus, and a little tinge of pine, very minute, very subtle. The notes of grapefruit, floral-flower, and open sea breeze strongly overrides it, but there is some of it there.

Appearance is your typical, as per usual, Tree House, IPA look. Its the prototypical, stereotype of New England IPAs that Tree House Brewing pioneered. Yellow / golden hue, bright, glowing, unfiltered look, slight bit of sediment (all basic hop sediment), cloudy, hazy, “dank”, etc. All the normal descriptors for a New England IPA apply here.

Taste is a big time punch of hops. Very green hops to me. A pure punch and a wallop of it, you get hammered with the floral, the grapefruit, the mango, the citrus hops right up front. It smooths and softens a bit after that, but the immediate sip is just a massacring of hop flavor upon your tongue and palate. That is definitely to say its not a bad beer. Far from it, this is a very good IPA / New England IPA. Its just that initial sip is a “wow, oh my gosh….” and kind of gives you that “bitter beer face” from the old Keystone commercials. There is a lot more complexity to the beer after that initial sip, so don’t write it off there. The hops mellow, the beer smooths, and softens, and the remainder of the can / glass is a very enjoyable beer. Its just a shocking first sip that then leads into a very delicious beer. There is a complexity to the hop profile after the initial bombardment, you get notes of floral, notes of mango, notes of grapefruit, some citrus, and a very tiny subtle note of pine. The bitterness lets off the gas and you get the floral and sea breeze notes that makes this a very nice beer.

My Untappd Rating: ****.25
Global Untappd Rating: 4.25 (as of 12.28.19)

(Always nice to see when global matches up with your own individual rating.)

So like I said at the beginning of this beer review / blog post, yesterday was a hectic crazy day of brewery jumping with Drew, then running into Dan, Youngblood, and Youngblood’s girlfriend at ZeroDay. All over Harrisburg basically it seemed. Sadly we missed a few places I woulda liked to stop at, but time never slows, only speeds up when you start drinking. So you know how it goes. *Shrug*

If you follow us on Twitter – The Beer Thrillers – you would have seen my pictures of the travels and the various stops and flights and beers I had. Quite a bit was consumed. Was a fun day overall.

I want to again thank Dan Arndt for the Tree House beers. I still have Haze, Doppelganger, and Julius yet to drink and review for you guys. I’ve had Julius before, I haven’t had the other two. Also want to thank Drew for hanging out and traveling from brewery to brewery.

The upcoming days will a bit busy. I go back to work today, and I work New Years Day and New Years Eve. On the 2nd, me and Josh will be going to Mellow Mink to do our brewery tour and write-up with head brewer Matt Miller. So definitely look for that, as we’re both super psyched and looking forward to that.

I will also be doing a few podcasts upcoming with the crew from So a Mexican and a Scot Walk into a Bar. I will be doing one with Drew about the Mandalorian season as a whole and Rise of Skywalker, and I will be doing one with Esteban about the show LOST from ABC. So thats some more fun stuff on the horizon for you guys to look forward to. They should definitely be fun podcasts, especially Rise of Skywalker, me and Drew have a lot to say about that one! And The Mandalorian had a tremendous finale episode for their first season, that should be a good season wrap-up podcast as well.

We are also still looking for thoughts and comments about your guys’ favorite beers, breweries, tours, and events of the year. So make sure to comment or email or contact us with your thoughts, choices, picks, and suggestions. We would love to hear from all of you!

As always, thanks for reading and cheers!

-B. Kline

Beer Review: Sap (Tree House Brewing Company)

Sap by Tree House Brewing Company makes for a perfect Christmas beer.

Merry Christmas from everyone here at The Beer Thrillers. Ho Ho Ho Ho Ho… Ho Ho Ho…. Ho Ho…. Merry Christmas children. Beer Santa would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas. May your spirits be bright, may your glasses be full, and your beer fridges even fuller. Merry Christmas to all and to all a drunken good night!

Hopefully everyone had a fantastic and wonderful Christmas and got to celebrate with friends and family. Hopefully good beer was served or shared and memories revisited, hugs given, mistletoe kisses, and the fellowship and friendship of all was celebrated.

While I was stuck at work until 6PM, my Christmas festivities had to wait. But finally got out and went straight home, scooped up the family (and a few beers) and headed over to my parents to meet up with my sister, her husband, and my nephew. There we enjoyed each other’s company, stayed out of political debates, talked, had fun, enjoyed a great meal of lasagna, ham, green bean casserole, and all kinds of manner of deserts (Christmas cookies, cheesecake, angel food cake, etc.).

Thanks to my friend Dan Arndt for giving me some Tree House cans from their trip up north, I brought along Sap and also brought along my remaining can of Ice Dreamz: Cranberry, Tangerines, and Cherries. Without even reading the description for Sap, I knew it’d be the perfect Christmas beer kickoff, especially after a long day at work. (And yes, the casino was packed all day on Christmas day.) I wanted to dive into the Tree House beers and Sap seemed the one hand-picked for Christmas Day (my other Tree House choices were Haze, Doppelganger, Julius, or Autumn).

And it certainly was the perfect beer at the perfect time, with the perfect company, on the perfect day!

Tree House Brewing Company’s Sap made for the perfect Christmas beer choice.

Beer: Sap
Brewery: Tree House Brewing Company
Style: IPA – American
ABV: 7.3%
IBU: 80
Untappd Write-Up: Though originally brewed as a “Christmas” beer, this piney IPA, brewed almost exclusively Chinook hops, was so enjoyable we decided to put it into the ‘year round’ rotation. With it’s golden yellow color, rich aroma, and drying body, it’s hard to stop drinking this one.

Sap is a deceptively soft beer brimming with distinctive notes of grapefruit, mango, pine, and earthy spice. With waves of diverse flavor, it is perhaps our most complex IPA. It is the result of our uncompromising dedication to fresh, progressive, delightful beer. We hope you enjoy it with laughter, good cheer and in the company of those you love.

Out of all of the beer reviews I’ve done so far for the blog, that Untappd write-up might be the most descriptive, correct, and on-point preview / write-up / description yet. In and of itself its basically a mini-review…. heck, you probably don’t even need to read any further huh? I’m entirely superfluous from this point on. But I shall try and push on and persevere and provide you with a good, fun, and educational beer review. The struggles and hardships I do for you people…. (as he takes a sip from another delicious beer….. oh boy… the hardships I endure for you people…..).

Appearance for this beautiful beer is a bright golden, yellow, hazy glowing hue. These IPAs (Julius, Haze, Doppelganger, Green, Sap, etc.) from Tree House are the forerunners to the New England IPA craze. They were “haze” before it was “haze”. “Cool” before it was “kewl”. (Is that still the “kewl” internet lingo way of spelling it? I hope so…. I’d hate to date myself…..) Today this beer could probably be considered a New England IPA due to its haziness, but when first released, it was just an IPA, but the way Tree House made IPAs compared to the way Sierra Nevada or Troegs or Victory or Lagunitas made IPAs. You do get some floaters in this, some sediment, from the brewing unfiltered process that this goes through. It has a wonderful rich, creamy, flowy, airy head to it that has the various bubbles of all shapes and sizes, and it leaves a rich lovely lacing to the glass as you quickly drain this. (And believe me, you’ll quickly drain this.)

Aroma is a chinook hop attack on your nostrils. Not truly a “hop bomb” but this is a very floral and piney hop wonder treat. You get upfront notes of pine and floral immediately. Grapefruit, mango, pine, bit of citrus zest, all vie for your nostril’s attention as the wonderful aroma drifts upwards through your nose and straight to your brain for your immediate satisfaction and enjoyment. By this point your mouth is probably already watering as you await your first sip.

Now, finally, my favorite part of beer…. drinking it! This is a burst of delicious New England IPA like flavors. No extreme hop bitterness, but you get extreme hop notes. You get the mango and grapefruit right up front, but its being kicked and battered by the pine notes as well, so you get this wonderful mixture, this complex battle between these three diverse flavors as you sip it. Its extremely smooth and very easy to drink and drain quickly. (Perfect for your chug videos in your Facebook beer groups. Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about. You know who you are. And you know you love doing it.) Despite its complexities this is very easy, very smooth, very enjoyable as you drink, the sediment and unfiltered nature leaves a little bit on the bottom of your glass, and last sips will give you a bit of ‘hop heartburn’ but its not too bad. Pre-drinking can rolling is probably a good idea (and lesson learned for the future). There isn’t really any hop bitterness until that final hop sediment last sip. The 7.3% ABV is in the nice range of ‘feeling good’ and ‘buzzable’ after a few, its similar to Troeg’s Perpetual in that capacity (which is by comparison a 7.5% ABV and 85 IBU vs. this 7.3% ABV and 80 IBU), where after one you get the feeling of ‘ooh boy, there’s something to this’ and then after beer number two, ‘ok, the buzz is kicking in, this is really good’, but by the fourth out of the four-pack you are slumped over in the couch and having yourself your own very little Merry Christmas. (The 6.0-7.9% ABV range is the perfect range for IPAs in my opinion, enough to let you know you’re drinking beer, enough to let you feel good, but with just one, you are still good to go and not having yourself a sloshy day.)

As always with Tree House, this was very well crafted, was extremely delicious, and just outright a fantastic beer. You cannot go wrong with any of the staples from Tree House; their whole regular rotational beers, the franchise ones like Julius, Green, Haze, etc are all superbly made and crafted so well and brewed with such precision, care, and craftsmanship that you can’t go wrong trying any of them. There is a reason why they come so highly recommended, so well sought, and why they are consistently listed as one of the top breweries in the country.

My Untappd Rating: ****.75
Global Untappd Rating: 4.25 (as of 12.26.19)

Since its such a rarity for me to get Tree House, I will most likely be putting up a review of all five of the beers Dan got me. So you can certainly look forward to reviews of Autumn, Julius (which I’ve had before and loved), Haze, and Doppelganger. Since I’m not a huge beer trader, I’ve gotten to try some, but not a whole lot from Tree House. I am in a few beer groups, and online trade sites, but just don’t do as much trading as I can. I’m also not much of a hoarder, so I typically don’t have much trade bait (I typically drink whatever I trade for / buy, rather than storing, and I typically only get 1 can of a beer, so I don’t have any seconds to trade off). I have had Julius, Bright, Green, Eureka, a few Curiosities (their version of Scratch beers), and a few variants (like two variants of Green and one of Bright). Not a bad beer in the bunch. Sadly, I’ve only had IPAs and Pale Ales from them, so I can’t comment on how they produce other styles, but they definitely have the IPA / Pale Ale / hoppy beer styles nailed down perfectly.

So be on the lookout for those beer reviews. As well as check some recent beer reviews we’ve done, if you like IPAs, we’ve recently reviewed: The Hog (Boneshire Brew Works), Scrooged IPA (Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant), Citraquench’l (Heist Brewery), Moon of Vega (Equilibrium Brewery), and Paradise Lost (Southern Prohibition Brewing).

I am also in the process of writing up a end of the year post. Going to include some of my favorite beers of the year, brewery visits, tours, events, and other beer related things I’ve done this year. I am also looking to either include in that post, or in a separate post, various people’s thoughts and opinions on beers they’ve had this year. What their top beers were, top events they’ve gone to, top breweries they’ve visited, or tours they’ve gone on. So if you’d like to be included, please leave a comment with your favorite beers or breweries or events of 2019. I’ll be sure to include you! Thank you.

Cheers everyone and Merry Christmas!

-B. Kline

Beer Review: Scrooge IPA (Iron Hill Brewery)

Scrooge IPA by Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant

The Holidays are a time for fun, merriment, joy, mirth, family, friends, and…. to the Beer Thrillers; just as importantly – beer. So starting right off, on this day in between days – Christmas Eve – let us here at The Beer Thrillers say Happy Holidays. December 23rd kicks off one of my favorite holidays – Festivus. Just type Festivus into Google and find yourself fully immersed in it, with the pole running up the left hand side, a bevy of Seinfeld quotes, and all the wonders therein lies.

Cosmo Kramer wishes you a Happy Festivus

For those not in the know, or not fans of Seinfeld (which coincidentally celebrated its 30th anniversary of its season 1 this year…. shows how old I am now!), Festivus was a holiday made up by George Castanza’s dad. The original Festivus aired on The Strike episode back in 1997, and was immediately one of the most beloved episodes, and ever since it has gone on to become practically its own cult following, even by those who aren’t fans of Seinfeld or even watched it.

A Festivus infographic

Its a holiday that eludes commercialism, instead of a Christmas tree you have a Festivus pole, just a bland aluminum pole with no glitz or glitter or glamour.

The biggest traditions of Festivus is the “Airing of Grievances” and the “Feats of Strength” followed by a Festivus dinner and possibly Festivus miracles! The Airing of Grievances is when you get to tell those, all of those, around you all of your grievances against them… that you’ve kept bottled up since last Festivus. And now you can finally tell them whats what and let them know how you truly feel. Following this is the Feats of Strength, where people get to call out other people and wrestle to see who is victorious. It is often a chance for fathers to compete against their sons.

The Origins of Festivus

So my Festivus miracle for you is a new beer review on Christmas Eve! Having done my due duty of work (and even some overtime) come home to write this blog about one of the beers I had the following night at Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant in downtown Hershey.

A perfectly apropos name for this time of year – Scrooged IPA was one of the several beers I tried at the brewery / restaurant.

Scrooged IPA by Iron Hill

Beer: Scrooged IPA
Brewery: Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant (Hershey, Pennsylvania)
Style: IPA – American
ABV: 6.2%
IBU: 60
Untappd Write-Up: American-style IPA brewed with a generous amount of hops for a pronounced hop flavor and bitterness that matches the beer’s namesake.

Bill Murray in Scrooged

What a good beer name for Festivus and Christmas Eve. We all know some scrooges in our lives; bitter, angry, upset at the world folks, not unlike a very bitter and piney IPA – am-I-right?

What a wonderful segue into the beer review huh? Ahh, this is how writers write. I feel like Hemmingway would be so proud. So to keep him proud, lets keep it quick and to the point and discuss this bitter IPA.

Bill Murray from Scrooged

Appearance is light yellow, clear, normal IPA beer coloring. This foam head, nothing crazy there, and not a whole lot of lacing from this either. This is what exactly its supposed to – a beer, specifically an IPA. Can never fault a beer when it looks exactly like what its supposed to.

Aroma is piney and earthy hops. You can smell that this is a full on old school, West Coast style IPA. It has a pine and bit of citrus smell, it has an earthy undertone, that you can just tell is going to be bitter and nothing like New England IPAs with their lactose and everything.

From first sip you definitely get that – all of that hop and West Coast IPA style – right upfront. You get west coast IPA beer taste immediately, old school IPA, with the bitter hops and the full flavor of pine, citrus, and bitterness. This does its namesake proud with the bittering but not to the point of being a hop bomb or too much and taking away from the beer. You still get notes of citrus, orange rinds, coriander a bit, but lots of pine notes and an earth undertone to it. There is no doubt as you drink this that its anything but an IPA and especially a west coast style. It fits the style perfectly. Its ABV is low, at 6.2% so its not going to hit you too strong, and the IBU is a good solid 60 so you certainly feel those hops at work on this one.

Now, I don’t know if anyone cares about Untappd ratings or not…

Bill Murray acting it up in Scrooged

Oh… ok, since you care, let me tell you.

My Untappd Rating: ***.25
Global Untappd Rating: 3.68 (as of 12.24.19)

For those of you unfamiliar with the GIFs they come from the movie Scrooged (1988) starring Bill Murray. A retelling of A Christmas Carol. Its certainly a classic, and one of the many movies that Drew and Esteban and co discuss on their Christmas movies podcast. Which you can listen here: WTF Did I Just Watch: Christmas Movies.

Hopefully you enjoyed this ‘interesting’ beer review, filled with pictures of Festivus and gifs of Scrooged. Given the name of the beer when I was out at Iron Hill I knew I had to do a beer review on the blog here of it, and knew I had to incorporate the elements of the Holidays. Perhaps in the future this will become a regular feature where at the various holidays I review holiday themed beer and give some thoughts and reviews on it. Who knows, hopefully they’ll be many (many, many, many, many, many) more Christmas’s here at The Beer Thrillers blog for many reviews to come. Fingers crossed. As long as you all keep liking and reading the blog, I’ll keep posting to it.

You can expect a slew of Tree House beer reviews in the coming days. First up will be Sap which I’ll be having at Christmas dinner. After that, I have Doppleganger, Haze, Julius, and Autumn to enjoy and review. These all come courtesy of Dan Arndt who along with his fiance was up north and brought them back down to me. So major kudos and thank you’s go his way.

As always, if you enjoyed this beer review, make sure to check out some of our other recent reviews: The Hog by Boneshire Brew Works, My Watch Has Ended by Brewery Ommegang, Ice Dreamz by Pizza Boy, and a beer flight of scratches by Troegs Brewing; also check out J. Doncevic’s reviews of Colonization by Adroit Theory, and Envie by Parish Brewing, and check out our contributor Let Us Drink Beer’s review of Koki Bunni.

At this time of the year, we here at The Beer Thrillers wish all of our readers a very Happy and Hoppy Holidays. Be it Festivus, Hanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, The Festival of Lights, or any other way you enjoy celebrating with friends and family, we wish you the very best. May your 2019 end happily and your 2020 begin even better!

Cheers!

-B. Kline

The Scrooged IPA by Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant from Hershey Pennsylvania

Beer Review: The Hog (Boneshire Brew Works)

The Hog by Boneshire Brew Works, in collaboration with their muggers of the year (2018 – 2019) Mike Luckovich and Dan Ploch.

This will be as much a review about The Hog by Boneshire Brew Works as it will be a review of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker……….. I kid…. I kid…. I promise I won’t get into Star Wars too much here (well, maybe until the end of the post). We’ll see how it goes, play it by ear (or the Force ?).

But to set up why I’m even mentioning Star Wars, lets just say that Thursday (Dec. 19, 2019) was unofficially Star Wars day for me. Thursday being my day off (my Saturday; for now) was perfect. The Mandalorian released episode 7 “The Reckoning” on Wednesday, so I watched that first thing in the morning, then spent most of the day reading “Resistance Reborn” (my book review of it here: GoodReads – Resistance Reborn) and getting hyped for “The Rise of Skywalker”. We were set up with tickets for the first showing at 6PM at the Regal Cinema, so after picking Tony up, stopping at Rutter’s for gas, we had to pre-game before the movie, and what better place than Boneshire to pre-game for Star Wars?

Mug club members of the year – Mike Luckovich (left) and Daniel Ploch (right) with their brew – The Hog.

So what is The Hog? As I’m sure you’re far more interested in reading about the beer (the actual point of the beer review) than my thoughts on Star Wars (…or are you?) or what led to me getting to the brewery; lets get into this delicious beer and how it was made.

Checking to make sure everything is A-O-K

First off, given Boneshire Brew Works and their logo, its about time we had a beer called The Hog. Its perfectly apropos and was a very fitting beer for the brewery and for all involved.

This was a collaboration beer between Boneshire Brew Works (Alan Miller) and the two muggers of the year from their mug club – Daniel Ploch and Mike Luckovich. If you’ve ever visited the brewery, you’ve seen them. Their regulars, and that might be an understatement. As most breweries do – Boneshire Brew Works does a mug club; and there is always perks of being a mug club member (bigger pours, cheaper drafts, special events, special contests, cheaper merchandise, etc.) and at Boneshire the two muggers (mug club members) of the year got to join Alan Miller for a collaboration brew. This was said product of that collaboration.

Mike Luckovich working away at his collaboration – The Hog

In a bit of a first for Boneshire, this is a Triple IPA. Boneshire Brew Works is definitely known for some wonderful IPAs; you can see find reviews on many of them here on the blog.

Boneshire Brew Works IPAs on The Beer Thrillers:

And this is just barely scratching the surface of their amazing IPAs. Not even listed here is Green Machine (and double dry hopped Green Machine) which is probably their most recognizable IPA and possibly their best one.

Dan Ploch stirring the wort of The Hog

But The Hog is their first Triple IPA. They’ve done numerous variants; New England IPAs, Double New England IPAs, West Coast IPAs, Double West Coast IPAs, and Black or RYE IPAs. But this is a big boy here, and its a strong one with a hell of a kick to it.

Mike Luckovich preparing for The Hog

Dan Ploch and Mike Luckovich put a lot of hard work, and care, into making this beer with Alan. And obviously; it goes without saying, Alan put a tremendous amount of hard work and care into the beer, just like he does with all of his creations at Boneshire Brew Works. You can tell he passionately cares about the beer, the brewing process, and his brewery. And certainly all of his hard work has been paying off. He has a staple of favorites and a packed house most nights of regulars with them bringing in many new guests, and many new guests learning about Boneshire Brew Works and checking the place out. (Which, let me put a little footnote in here – if you haven’t checked the place out. Please do so. Cannot recommend the brewery and the beer more. You won’t be disappointed.)

The Hog by Boneshire Brew Works

Beer: The Hog
Brewery: Boneshire Brew Works
Style: IPA – Triple
ABV: 9.8%
IBU: 51
Untappd Write-Up: Our collaboration with Muggers of the year 2018-2019. Mike Luckovich and Dan Ploch dreamed up this big hoppy fruit forward IPA. Brewed with Simcoe, Amarillo, Zythos, and Citra hops.

Pretty apt description here; this is a big hoppy fruit forward IPA. Its a big smash-up of fruit and citrus style hops in a powerful triple IPA with a big ABV that gets you going on this bad boy.

Appearance is a beautiful New England IPA. Its golden hued, its a little hazy, its translucent, and its bright and bold. It has a good shine and an ephemeral quality to it. This may sound like a bit of a contradiction, but its both opaque and slightly transparent. Not completely see-through, not completely clear, but as you drink, it becomes noticeably clearer and more translucent and you can see the bar behind it. It starts off super hazy from the pour out of the tap and it settles down some. It has a tremendous head with various bubbles and a nice white foam, that crests down as you drink. Leaving good lacing on the glass. No extreme sediment, no hop bits, no pulp, nothing standing out in a bad way here.

Aroma is a straight up right undercut of hop explosions nailing you. Maybe not an undercut… maybe a good crossface right through the nose. This has all of the hop notes you want in a big fruit hop beer.

Lets break down the hops used:

  • Simcoe

Simcoe is often compared to Cascade, sometimes called “Cascade on steroids”. It is described as being both fruity and earthy. It can carry notes of berry, apricot, passion fruit, and citrus, but also has pronounced aromas of pine and woodsy earth. Flavor and aroma is quite complex and unique. Simcoe is a dual-purpose hop. It is most often used in bittering additions and creates a clean, smooth bitterness along the same lines as what you would expect from magnum hops. But, unlike Magnum it holds more potential when it comes to flavor and aroma. It can impart some spicy, fruity, and earthy notes through aroma and dry hopping additions

  • Amarillo

Distinct flowery, spicy, tropical; citrus-like with qualities of orange and lemon, like Cascade but much stronger. Considered a Cascade type hop. Dual-purpose aroma and flavoring hop with low enough Co-Humulone levels to allow good bittering properties also. Often it is used in dry-hopping to augment the lemon/orange citrus character in the beer. This citrus quality makes this a particularly good variety for the wheat styles. The myrcene oils that produce the grapefruit/orange character are so high that overuse of the hop can also create a somewhat metallic flavor.

  • Zythos

It features notes and aromas of tangerine, grapefruit, pine and even pineapple. Its high alpha acid content means it can be useful for bittering but is largely intended to shine as an aroma hop.

  • Citra

Citra lends a wide range of delicate fruity characteristics including wonderful aromas and flavors of lime, grapefruit, bright orange, mango, lychee, and gooseberry. Citra is considered a flavoring/aroma hop. It does have the requisite high alpha acid and low co-humolone to make a good bittering hop, but in most cases brewers have found its bitterness too harsh.

Ok, now that we got the hops out of the way, you can see how the aroma (and flavor / taste) is so extremely fruity and hoppy. These hops are loaded into this beer and are all very fruit and citrus forward. You get heavy notes of mango, tangerine, lime, orange, lemon, with small hoints of pine, little earthyness, and it all wraps up nicely.

Enough looking at it and smelling it, lets get to drinking it. This is one delicious beer! It is extremely citrus, extremely hoppy, extremely fruit, extremely strong and powerful, and extremely delicious. I think the over usage of the word extremely here is needed. (And hey, I’m fresh off of watching The Rise of Skywalker, so extreme seems to be a right word choice). You immediately get the fruit and citrus hop notes, you are bombarded right off the bat – like from a Star Destroyer in space – of mango, orange, tangerine, lemon, lime, zest, lychee, and other fruit notes. It all kind of swirls around and hits you. There is some btitering to the hops, you get some pine notes, a little bit of earthyness, but all in all its a clean NEIPA style triple IPA. Its smooth, definitely has the feel (mouth feel, appearance, taste) of being New England style; just with a much heavy handed boozyness with the 9.8% ABV. The ABV does sneak up on you though. I think a good comparison beer for this would be Troeg’s Nimble Giant, where you don’t feel the ABV and then it kind of hits you… especially after your second or third of these; which with how smooth and how tasty it is, they go down so easily. It would be too easy to sit back on a football Sunday and kill a good number of cans of this.

This is a strong, bold, powerful, delicious Triple IPA, and Boneshire Brew Works through Alan Miller, and the collaborators Daniel Ploch and Mike Luckovich did a fantastic and wonderful job of crafting this brew. I would certainly love to see it enter ‘regular rotation’ rather than be a bullpen beer.

My Untappd Rating: ****.25 (hard to choose between ****.25 and ****.50 but settled for .25; I think after future refreshings of this, I will probably go with .50)
Global Untappd Rating: 4.34 (as of 12.21.19)

As the Winter Solstice brings the night to a close, and I wrap up this beer review; which took me longer to write than it should have; this was a fantastic beer, and a good strong first-day-of-winter Triple IPA. With the holidays upon us, we should soon be treated to Boneshire Brew Works’ Holiday Reserve 2019 (annual beer but different each year). Definitely looking forward to that to round out the year.

Sooooo…. after watching The Rise of Skywalker with Tony, drove him home, dropped him off, I was supposed to head over to Drew’s to hangout while they did their podcast on Christmas / holiday horror movies. But I got called to my parents to help them with a few things and unfortunately I didn’t have the energy at 10-10:30 after stopping at home to then go back out (20minute drive) to his house. My friend Dan and his fiance Kat were fresh home from a trip up north where they stopped at Tree House, Dan was nice enough to pick up me a few cans – Sap, Julius, Haze, Doppleganger, and Autumn. So you can definitely be sure to get some reviews on these bad boys – as lets be honest here – who doesn’t love Tree House?

For those interested in hearing the Christmas / holiday horror podcasts; you can check them out here:

The podcast is “So a Mexican and a Scot Walk Into a Bar” and you can view their full listing here: So a Mexican and a Scot Walk Into a Bar. I have been featured on a few of their podcasts now – The Irishman, The Mandalorian, Breaking Bad / El Camino Pt. 1 and Pt. 2. I typically discuss beer while discussing the movies. For the Breaking Bad pocast I brought with me Boneshire beer and for the Mandalorian and Irishman podcasts I brought Pizza Boy beer, and we also sampled some Troegs as well.

STAR WARS AHEAD

Since I started off this post about seeing Star Wars, and this being such a cultural phenomena, and Star Wars being one of my biggest joys and loves, and a huge factor into things, I can’t not use this space to discuss it. So if you have no interest in Star Wars, you can stop reading here (or skip to the bottom where I give credits, and a few last second blog comments, and my sources) or if you want to see my thoughts on Star Wars and Rise of Skywalker, you can continue. I will keep it spoiler free.

As I said, I’ll keep this spoiler free, which for the movie makes it hard to review, so this won’t be the biggest review you’ll read. At some point, somewhere, I’ll post up on my thoughts in full on it, and I’ll probably link it here in the blog. Likewise, most certainly, we’ll be doing a podcast on the movie, and it will be spoiler heavy, and you can listen to that then as well.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – Episode IX

I…. well… I didn’t hate it. Its certainly no The Last Jedi (take that however you want, but let it be known, I am not a fan of it). This is certainly not a masterpiece movie, and its probably not the final movie of the series that we needed. I will say; and this isn’t a spoiler, unless you’ve avoided movie posters, and all trailers and pictures of the movie – Emperor Palpatine’s return is…. so meh. It reeks of desperation, and it reeks of ‘we need a new bad guy!’. I know there has been some hints and things about the Emperor in the new canon’s EU (Expanded Universe) – through books like Aftermath trilogy and the comics Shattered Empire, but even then it didn’t really hint at his return, and kind of made it all seem like it was a set-up for Snoke. Who we saw in The Last Jedi is not the big main baddie. So Emperor Palpatine’s return is very meh and very lackluster.

I will say, I’m also not a fan of exactly how Kylo Ren / Ben Solo has been handled, but I think he was done very well here. Rey is super over-powered in this movie, moreso than in the previous two, and if you watch the movie, I know the explanation they’ll give, but its not really one I buy. I think another disappointing character becomes Finn. Who potentially had a very cool backstory and arc – a stormtrooper who defects, and becomes good, but that gets all kind of shunted to the side to make him just a sidekick. Poe certainly becomes a main character; far more than in The Force Awakens here. Leia is handled well… considering the real life issues of Carrie Fisher’s passing away. So there was certain limitations in how they could handle her character, and I think they did it very nicely.

At the end of this though, I think the biggest takeaway though, is that its not a good wrap of the entire saga. The whole 9 movie saga feels ‘changed’ and not for the better because of how the Sequel Trilogy (ST) impacts both the Original Trilogy (OT) and the Prequel Trilogy (PT). I know the PT had a lot of flaws and problems, but I never thought it undermined or made the OT worse. Whereas the ST feels like it made the OT worse; and undermines a lot of it. Mainly Anakin / Vader’s descent, fall, rise, and redemption. It also seems to undermine Luke in the grand scheme of those things as well. It also makes the sacrifice of our beloved characters in the OT more meaningless; and not because of their being a new war, but because its the SAME war over again, and because their characters reverted – Han – or were ruined – Luke – or underutilized – Chewie / R2-D2; only Leia really gets usage and remains primarily unscathed (as far as character persona).

I will say the movie felt impressive, and looked impressive. It was a Marvel superhero formulaic movie, mixed with a big (BIG) budget blockbuster and thrown in some Star Wars. This might be the future and new wave of Star Wars; I dunno, maybe I’m an old curmudgeon, but I’m not a fan of it. I do love The Mandalorian, and I did love Rogue One, but this trilogy just didn’t do anything for me. The lack of cohesion, the undoing of TFA by TLJ and then the undoing of TLJ by TRoS, just…. its flattening and its disappointing and depressing. Especially given that this is the complete wrap-up of 40 some years and 9 movies and so much more.

My movie ranks for Star Wars now goes:

5 – 4 – R1 – 6 – 3 – 7 – Solo – 9 – 1 – 2 – 8

Obviously thats subjective, so take it with a grain of salt, and some of those could be interchanged. And with future viewings might change too. Your mileage will obviously vary. If you want to discuss it more, I will answer questions / thoughts in comments (or we can move to private then if you want to discuss spoilers). Please, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the movie, so be sure to leave some thoughts or comments here on the blog, I’d love to hear it!

END STAR WARS—

Ok, back to blog stuff and this post stuff. Be sure if you check out The Hog at Boneshire Brew Works, you check in at The Wall along the back leading to the bathroom, that is where you will most likely see Mike Luckovich, and by the corner of the bar is where you will most likely see Dan Ploch. Tell them good job and congrats.

Hop sources are:

You can check out Boneshire Brew Works here on Untappd: Boneshire Brew Works. And make sure you check out The Hog on Untappd. And check out The Wall location on Untappd to see the collaborators.

As always, thanks for reading, be sure to leave a comment – on either the beer, or Star Wars, or Rise of Skywalker, or whatever, be sure to click follow, like, rate, all that good stuff. And we would as always, ever so gladly appreciate you following us on Twitter and Facebook and passing this on and sharing it. Hopefully you all enjoy reading this as much as we do writing it and drinking it.

In the coming weeks you can expect some end of year re-caps and beer reviews and brewery things, as well as our trip out to Mellow Mink this thursday (Dec. 26th). So be on the lookout for that as well. Me and Josh will be making that trip, so we will both most likely be writing something up. Sorry this review took a while writing and getting out there, started the title of it Thursday night, did a little writing Friday amongst the thousands of errands I ran, wrote the bulk of it Saturday night (Winter Solstice) after work, but finished it this morning (Sunday the 22nd). But its done and out there, so hopefully you enjoy.

Also, check out our buddies at Let Us Drink Beer’s blog where they interviewed beer bloggers, writers, journalists, podcasters, and YouTubers from around the country – (myself included) – and asked them what their drinking for Christmas. You can find the article here: What Craft Beer Enthusiasts Are Drinking For Christmas.

As always everyone, cheers, and enjoy your holidays, tomorrow is Festivus afterall. Can’t wait to hear some airing of grievances and seeing some feats of strength.

Cheers all!

-B. Kline

Guest Blogging

As I’m sure you’ve taken notice, there has been a bit of ‘guest blogging’ going on both here at The Beer Thrillers and over at Let Us Drink Beer. We are going to (basically) be doing a couple of blog posts for each other per month. Two to three, nothing outrageous or crazy. But a nice flow of blog posts. With them being a Georgia based blog, and with us primarily being a Central Pennsylvania (PA) based blog, it makes for a nice dynamic, and a nice interchange of ideas and beers and styles and breweries that people familiar with one blog might not see. Variety is the spice of life, and that is no more evident than in the craft brewing industry.

Some blogs will be beer reviews, some will be brewery reviews, some will just be about interesting news in our areas. Either way, when you visit either blog, it will be easy to find our respective posts. Here on The Beer Thrillers look for “Let Us Drink Beer” and you’ll see their posts. On Let Us Drink Beer you can look for B. Kline or The Beer Thrillers and find my posts.

We, here at The Beer Thrillers, will make sure to keep you updated on both their posts here at our blog, as well as our posts on their blog, on our various social media platforms (primarily FaceBook and Twitter, but elsewhere as well) as well as here on the blog itself.

You can read about their take on our guest blogging and their write-up about it here: Guest Blogger – Let Us Drink Beer at their blog.

So far they have written two blog posts on The Beer Thrillers for us; you can read Let Us Drink Beer’s blog posts here:

You can view my two blog posts at Let Us Drink Beer here:

So please check out their blog and show them some love (and vice versa too of course). And be on the lookout for more fun, exciting, and amazing stuff coming to The Beer Thrillers in 2020! Can’t wait for the new year, the new decade, and plenty of new beer!

Cheers!

-B. Kline

Beer Review: Koko Buni (Creature Comforts)

Beer Stats

  • BJCP Style: American Porter
  • ABV: 6.5%
  • IBU: N/A
  • Hops: Unknown (Typically bittering hops only)
  • Malts: Unknown (Typically chocolate malt)
  • Adjuncts: Cocoa Nibs, Toasted Coconut, Ethiopian Coffee
  • Brewery: Creature Comforts Brewing
  • City: Athens, GA
  • Aroma: No hops, Cocoa, Roasted Malt, Coffee
  • Appearance: Jet Black, Fluffy Tan Head, Good Head Retention
  • Flavor & Aftertaste: Roasted Malt, Chocolate, Coffee, Medium Sweet, Restrained Hops Bitterness, Bitter Sweet Finish
  • Palate: Full Bodied, Silky, Soft, Medium Length Finish

I would dare say this might just be one of the best Milk Porters on the market. Creature Comforts introduced Koko Buni Milk Porter in October of 2014 as their first seasonal beer. There have been a few tweaks along the way; however, it’s basically the same recipe today as it was back then. It was a big hit then and is still a much anticipated release today. What makes it so special? All the ingredients are perfectly harmonized and balanced start to finish.

As is typical of Creature Comforts, they source some local ingredients for additions to the recipe; coffee beans from 1000 Faces Coffee and cocoa nibs from Condor Chocolates in Athens, GA. They reached outside of Georgia to Ethereal Confections of Woodstock, IL for additional cocoa nibs. The results are a silky smooth Porter with just the right amount of cocoa nibs and coffee to play well with the roasted and chocolate flavors from the dark malts grain bill.

Koko Buni is jet black and pours to a fluffy tan head exhibiting very good retention. You won’t encounter any hops aromas in the nose; but you be delighted in the distinct coffee, cocoa and roasted malt notes that drift lazily from the frothy head. The mouth-feel is full bodied, soft and silky smooth. Every sip brings complex, yet balanced mix of roasted malt, coffee, and chocolate flavors laced with coconut. There is a very mild baker’s chocolate-like bitter sweet character that flows start to finish. The finish is very pleasing and medium in length.

As you can tell, this is definitely a favorite Porter of mine and I look forward to it coming out every year mid to late fall. This is one of those beers you feel right at home with on a snowy winter evening in front of the fireplace; but also don’t mind pouring right into your favorite coffee cup on a cold Saturday morning. Creature Comforts has made a nice supply of 12 oz. cans available throughout it’s markets.

Thanks for reading. Until next time…Let Us Drink Beer!

As always – Please Drink Responsibly.

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