Beer Review: They Burn Them All Away (Broken Goblet Brewing)

They Burn Them All Away by Broken Goblet Brewing, a 13% Belgian Quad. Just what I needed at noon while attempting to ‘have a day’.

Some days turn out to be more productive than others. Some days you get lots of things done. Some days you PLAN on getting lots of things done. And some days… you start getting things done… and then you start drinking a 13% Belgian Quad at the bar…… at noon…. ….and there goes the day’s productivity right there.

This was one of those kinds of days.

Up and early at 6AM to get kids ready for school, drop people off at various places, walk younger ones to their school, and then back home to do chores around the house til 10AM. Thats when it was “errands” time. Which required getting to a printer, printing labels, sending beer mail, going to Target, the Hershey Library, and a host of other activities, and get them all done before said kids are done at school.

And of course thats when you get that text from your buddy at noon that just says “Boozin” and nothing more. *Shakes fist* And *shakes fist* at Boneshire Brewery being along the way (sorta…. kinda…. not really….) to Target. So needless to say, one (ie. me) never made it to Target until late at night (same thing with the Hershey Library happening much later as well). But I did get my shipment of beer mail sent before noon. So…. accomplishment and success? ….Calls for a beer! (Or two!)

Beer: They Will Burn Them All Away
Brewery: Broken Goblet Brewing
Style: Belgian Quadruple
ABV: 13%
IBU: No IBU
Untappd Write-Up: THEY BURN THEM ALL AWAY is a 13% Belgian Quad that not-so-subtly knocks you on your butt after you take in the balanced fruit and spice notes against the toasted caramel background. Raisins, plums, and a hint of wine can be expected, as will the giggles and a need to sit down after about 10 minutes.

Nothing like walking into your small-time local brewery right as their opening their doors and getting to smell the wonderful delicious smell of a brewery in operation. Shawn was manning on the bar and welcomed me right away and I took a seat at the bar and we chatted about how his old BBQ truck next-door to Boneshire Brewery (in between Boneshire and the 717 Armory) “Nomad BBQ” has been bought by a group of guys and they’ve rechristened it “Blues BBQ”. He seemed happy it was being put to good use, but at the same time, we said its like driving by your old home. The tree out back you planted has been cut down. There’s different doors and windows. The side-room has new siding thats a different color. They added a patio that doesn’t seem to match. The garden is gone. Etc.

D. Scott finally made his way in and got a Boneshire Brew and the three of us chatted, while Alan Miller (head brewer and owner of Boneshire Brew Works) occasionally popped his head out from out-back hard-working to bring us more brewskies in the future.

Enough about the crap surrounding the event, and more about the beer. This is a good Quad. But good god… you are going to feel it, and you are going to feel it right away. 13% is a good high number (most regular IPAs are around the 6-7% benchmark, DIPAs around the 9% area, and even TIPAs usually around the 10-12% area). So on an empty stomach at noon, 13% is feeling pretty grand and wonderful.

Lets start off with the basics though, aroma – very Belgian, very dark and heavy. You get plum and raisin, you get an underlying boozyness and smells like the empty bottles of wine (freshly emptied, not days old emptied). Stone fruit kind of dark heavy fruit smell. Some spice notes but everything else pretty much blocks it out – the spice just barely peeks through. There is a dark malt note as well, probably caramel, definitely not roasted.

Appearance is jet-black dark. Almost purplish in hue, with a nice thin head to it. Bubbles on top are good and varied. Its not a reflective dark but a more ‘enveloping dark’. (If any of that makes sense…. it does in my head at least, not sure how that translates to you the reader.)

First sip has the characteristics of a Belgian, especially a dark Belgian, but as the booze hits you it picks up and speeds across your tongue and BAM you realize this is definitely a QUAD and not even a DOUBLE. The booznyess is a bit upfront, bit more so than necessary, but probably too hard to hide given the wine notes and the high (13%!!) ABV. The booze burn slowly fades out and you begin to get the notes of plum, raisin, wine, and the malt characteristics of caramel. There is some spices to it (not pepper and not heated, just notes of various kitchen cabinet spices) that adds a bit of a flourish to it. But this is mostly straight forward dark stone fruit taste combined with a wine boozy overflow to it. The mouthfeel is a bit heavy but not cloying and nothing unpleasant. No after taste that disrupts anything either.

My Untappd Rating: ****
Global Untappd Rating: 3.95 (as of 9.21.19)

After this, me and D. Scott had a second (I had the new version of AuZealand by Boneshire – AuZealand 2.0 w/Lactose, and D. Scott had the Harrishire). So needless to say before I knew it, I’m leaving Boneshire at 2:30, just in time to get home, eat, down some mouth wash, brush my teeth, spray myself with cologne, and get the girls from school.

Productivity had to wait til later (and I did manage to get my errands down, just dispersed throughout the day instead of all at once). So all in all it was a successful day.

Look for an AuZealand review coming soon, as well as much more, and with the 6th Annual Lititz Brewfest happening tomorrow (9.22.19) look for some stuff coming out from that. Should be a fun day. The Lititz Brewfest is always one of the best in the state and goes to a great cause, and its due to be a beautiful 88 degree day.

Cheers All!

-B. Kline

Beer Review: Confectioner Series 002 – Key Lime Pie White Ale (D9 Brewing Company)

Confectioner Series -Key Lime Pie (White Ale) by D9 Brewing Company

Yea…. not the greatest picture, but you’ll have that. This was another of the random beers drank at D.Scott’s last Saturday night. So not really a planned on beer review, but since I had this, and enjoyed it so much, and already did one for Spundae, by Spring House, from the same night, so I figured, why not do another from the night. So yea, the picture is kind of a low-key while we were drinking snapped one of the can kinda picture. Make do with it. I got no picture of the beer because I drank it straight from the can. So I won’t discuss the appearance. But I can definitely discuss the aroma and the taste.

So as I said in the Spundae review, me, Dan, and D.Scott were hanging out at his house drinking after work, and they had gotten some craft beers from a local distributor, and then we went on to drink the crap pounders like Natty Daddy and Naturdays and Miller Lites.

Beer: Confectioner Series 002 – Key Lime Pie White Ale
Brewery: D9 Brewing Company
Style: Traditional Ale
ABV: 6.2%
IBU: None
Untappd Write-Up: Limited Edition Confectioner Series #2. White Ale with Key Lime

Appearance, well, like I said, I drank straight from the can, so we’re just going to move on from this (sadly), and just head straight into aroma. Which this smelled just like a key lime pie, very heavy lime, nice breadyness to it. There were underlying subtleties as well but coming from the can and in the outdoor environment of my friend’s house with a fire going, I wasn’t able to fully pick everything up. No hop aroma (none needed), not really a malt note of any sort, mostly just lime and crust-like breadyness. Perhaps some coconut and vanilla in there, but hard to distinguish.

Taste was very delicious, very sweet, slight tartness, with a good and balanced measure between the two. Pretty much as described, as traditional key lime pie would taste. Not a whole lot of new ground broken, but just a nice, simple, flowing, tasty beer that exactly matched its description, which happened to be the flavors I like. No off tastes, no bad characteristics, no aftertaste, no astringency. Spot on brewing process. Spot on taste. Spot on aroma. This is how a beer is supposed to be. Made to be what it is, made to be done right, crafted right, and created well. Made from beginning (recipe) to end (canning) and all done perfectly. A very enjoyable beer. Not high ABV, so crushable, and with how good and refreshing, and crisp, and tasting it was, I could easily see myself pounding down a 4-pack of these. A great patio beer hanging out with friends.

My Untappd Rating: ****.25
Global Untappd Rating: 3.53 (as of 9.20.19)

This weekend, (Sunday), hitting up the Lititz Brewfest with my friend Quinn, so hopefully sometime in the days following I’ll have an event happenings of that to post. (Also will be posting that to Breweries in PA), so be sure to look out for that.

Keep on drinking amigos!

-B. Kline

Our Most Viewed Articles

Another listicle for everyone, this time its a list of our most viewed articles posted here on The Beer Thrillers. So take your time, enjoy viewing these classics of ours. Hopefully you’ll like them just as much as everyone else has. (Or if you remember reading these, they’ll make a nice memory trip and a revisit of some of our favorites from the past.)

As always, make sure to click like on the articles you enjoyed the most, that way we know what’s liked. Leave comments telling us what you like (or dislike) and what we can do to improve the blog. Always looking to make this better and better and to help you, the readers, more and more. Thank you!

Dillston by Boneshire Brew Works

#1. Dillston by Boneshire Brew Works

Harrishire by Boneshire Brew Works

#2. Harrishire by Boneshire BrewWorks

Mango Guyabano sWheat Tart by Rotunda Brewing Company

#3. Mango Guyabano sWheat Tart by Rotunda Brewing Company

Guava Lemonade Kettle Sour by Newfangled Brew Works

#4. Guava Lemonade Kettle Sour by Newfangled Brew Works

Caucus Race 6.0 (Zappa Hops) by Boneshire Brew Works

#5. Caucus Race 6.0 (Zappa Hops) by Boneshire Brew Works

Juicy Fruit sWheat Tart by Rotunda Brewing Company

#6. Juicy Fruit sWheat Tart by Rotunda Brewing Company

Good Walk Spoiled by Boneshire Brew Works

#7. Good Walk Spoiled by Boneshire Brew Works

Reve Coffee Stout by Parish Brewing Company

#8. Reve Coffee Stout by Parish Brewing Company

The Road Less Traveled by Boneshire Brew Works

#9. The Road Less Traveled by Boneshire Brew Works

Ghost in the Machine by Parish Brewing Company (Josh’s Review)

#10. Ghost in the Machine by Parish Brewing Company (J. Doncevic’s Review)

Thank you for taking a look back over this second listicle. These are fun to create and hopefully give new viewers and readers a chance to look back on some of our older posts. Like I always say, we always enjoy hearing from you guys, any comments, questions, or suggestions are more than welcome. You can reply in the individual blog posts, or you can use the contact form and message us directly. Use the like the button to let us know what blog posts are your favorite, and share on social media to let others know about certain beers. We appreciate it all. We are here for you – the readers – guys, thanks so much!

-The Beer Thrillers Staff

Some Old Posts

Was taking a look at some of our older blog posts and articles on here, and decided to do a “here’s what you might have missed” post. These are ten of our older posts that some of our newer followers might not have seen.

Sundrifter by South County Brewing Co.

#1. Sundrifter by South County Brewing Company

Enigma by Anchorage Brewing

#2. Enigma by Anchorage Brewing Co.

King Crunch by Manayunk Brewing

#3. King Crunch by Manayunk Brewing

Gettysburg’s Battlefield Brew Works

#4. Battlefield Brew Works

Panting with Light by South County Brewing Company

#5. Painting with Light by South County Brewing Company

Some samplers at Hershey Biergarten, forefront is Blood Money by Cornshohocken Brewing Company

#6. Multiple Beer Review: Dark Skies (New Trail), Blood Money (Conshohocken Brewing Company), Lost Toys #3 (Wicked Weed), Medora (Wicked Weed)

Black and Blue Tastee by The Veil Brewing Company. (Notice the massive amount of head!)

#7. Black and Blue Tastee by The Veil Brewing Company

Green Zebra by Founders Brewing Company

#8. Two Beers – Green Zebra (Founders Brewing) and Next Coast (Goose Island)

Cinnamon Toast Crunch by Collusion Tap Works

#9. Cinnamon Toast Crunch by Collusion Tap Works

Inexplicably Juicy by Tattered Flag

#10. Inexplicably Juicy by Tattered Flag Brewing

Hopefully you all enjoyed this stroll down memory road, and for our newer followers, gotten to see some of our older beer reviews and brewery reviews. We love hearing from you guys, so make sure to comment on what beers you like or what beers you’d like to see reviewed, or what styles you prefer. Also, make sure to spread the word and help us get more people reading and enjoying our blog.

(Also, just as a FYI, we debuted on the Top 100 Beer Blogs list at #120… but as of this morning [9.18.19] we are currently listed at #11. So definitely check us out there and see some other great blogs as well. Very cool to see our blog explode to that high up on the list, and its thanks to all of you readers!)

Cheers!

-B. Kline

Beer Review: Spundae (Spring House Brewing Company)

Spundae by Spring House Brewing Company. My friend picked it up at the distributor and so we gave it a try.

So this wasn’t meant to become a beer review, but I figured I’d do it anyway. I might do a few of the others from Saturday night as well. There is some backstory to a couple of pieces to this blog post, so I’ll work through them all.

So starting off with some background on Spring House Brewing Company. Once I got kind of fully “into” craft beer, roughly 7-8 years or so ago…. or maybe its been 8-9 years ago…. or even possibly 10 years ago? Who knows, I’m getting old, and it was a while ago, I know that much. Outside of the Hershey/Harrisburg area, Spring House Brewing Company was one of the first breweries I visited/tried. Myself, my three daughters, and Sara, went and did the Turkey Hill Experience thing, and the parking garage was right near the brewery. I convinced her that if we did something for the kids, I needed something for me, and since it was dinner time and they offered food, we ‘might as well’ hit the brewery. She amazingly agreed, and this kind of set precedent for most of our trips with the girls (dinner/lunch would be at breweries, for the good food, and to help keep dad from going insane).

We went to their tap room on Hazel Street. The food was really good, all four of them were happy, and I got a flight, which came with something like 10-12 beers. And I enjoyed all of them. We had a good time, and I would say I would list Spring House pretty prominently and pretty high up.

A year or two later we went to their brewery off of King Street (I might be getting to the two locations backwards, and sadly Google Maps is deciding not to load anything for me at the moment, in fact, even the blog is being slow, so maybe my internet, or my laptop, or whatever is hating me). We went on St. Patty’s day as kind of a dinner date, and had a fantastic Shepherd’s Pie and got some of their bombers on a discount blowout. Again, had a great time.

Sadly though, since then, I’ve only been back to the taproom on Hazel St once, and it was quick, nearly an in-and-out with a friend while visiting the Lancaster area. And so over the years, the only chance I’ve really had at trying Spring House has been in bars, at a tap takeover or two, or rarely/occasionally a few cans I’ve picked up at places like Breski’s Beverage or Brass Rail Deli. Every fall I always have looked forward to Braaaaiiins and Big Gruesome. Both are two of my favorite fall time beers. Braaaaiiins is my possibly my favorite pumpkin beer, and Big Gruesome is a really good stout.

But overall throughout the years, I think I’ve fallen ‘out of love’ with Spring House. I still look forward to Braaaiiins and Big Gruesome, but not as much, and many of their one-offs, and other rotationals that I’ve had throughout the years have left me feeling rather ‘meh’.

So, this brings me to the backstory of Saturday then. Worked 11-7 Saturday, and went right down the road to my friend’s house. J.Scott or JDS or J.D.Scott or D.Scott, whatever he chooses to go with, might be helping out with writing some blog posts here as well. Likewise, we (him and I) will be hosting a podcast where we play some old school NES and SNES games and other related things (maybe old school Game Boy games on emulator or Sega, or what have you), while doing the podcast we will be drinking and talking and chatting about nerd culture (like we mostly do when just hanging out at The Warwick, or Boneshire Brewery, or Chick’s Tavern, or his house, or wherever). So be sure to be on the lookout for all of that (I’ll be posting links here in the blog to whenever we upload a new podcast).

So getting back to Saturday, we started off drinking several craft beers from a local distributor that Dan and D. Scott picked up. A Key Lime Pie from D9 (Confectioner: Key Lime Pie), a few from DuClaw, the Spundae from Spring House, and a Red Velvet Cake one from Spring House. I might get around to doing some beer reviews of these if I find the time/energy (I still have a ton of other blog posts/articles to do). But I really did like the D9: Confectioner: Key Lime Pie, so I might do a beer review on that one. We sat around outside for a while killing the craft beers, talking, trying to get a fire going, before going inside, and working on Naturdays and Natty Daddys (well, we had a few of them outside as well), and then we started watching Terror in Beverly Hill…. which, anytime you can watch a movie starring FRANK Stallone… you jump on that opportunity. Believe me. You won’t be disappointed.

So needless to say the night wasn’t mean to be spent as part of a way to do a blog post, but since I had a beer, and I have some time to write it up, and took some thoughts of it on my phone, and remember my discussions with Dan and D.Scott about it, I’ll give it a review. (Yay to more content right?)

Ok, onto the actual beer review (which is presumably why your here):

Spundae, a limited time only Milkshake IPA by Spring House Brewing Company.

Beer: Spundae
Brewery: Spring House Brewing Company
Style: IPA – Milkshake
ABV: 6.8%
IBU: None
Untappd Write-Up: Introducing Spundae, our newest milkshake IPA to hit our lineup. Its brewed with real cherry puree, set on vanilla beans, and double dry hopped with potent citra leaves. Get this limited release draft while it lasts, dessert doesnt hang around forever.

….Well….. this is an interesting beer. Obviously my pic isn’t the best, and was mostly just a quick Untappd pic rather than a full on meant to happen for beer reviewing purposes “beer photography” picture. You can see the coloring in the glass that D.Scott was drinking out of. (Gave a taster’s worth for Dan and D.Scott, while I drank out of the can.)

Let’s break this one down….

Aroma is a mixture of all kinds of things. Firstly, its very cherry smelling. Like cough syrup cherry. Maraschino cherry. Overly tart, overly sweet, overly everything cherry. The “not good cherry”. There is a bit of a hop smell but its so diluted by the cherry. There is some kind of other flavors that could be vanilla beans, could be the hops, could be the “cherry puree”, which I’m not really sure what that is. I’m thinking its just straight maraschino cherry syrup they use for ice cream. I don’t know what exactly puree would entail in this instance, and I’d rather it be the actual cherry than puree I think, given how this tastes.

Appearance is very pink hue. As you can see in the picture, it kind of resembles the Crimson Pistil IPA that Troegs did, the hibiscus IPA. The coloring is a little off-putting, especially given the aroma before hand. So already I am kind of anticipating a cherry bomb on this. There’s even a bit of floaters in it and some sediment , at that was with a pour. Firstly, when I even poured just a small sample for both Dan and D.Scott, doing a correct pour, both of their pint glasses foamed way up with a massive amount of head, especially in contrast to how much I poured.

The taste was pretty much what I anticipated, given aroma and appearance, and both Dan and D.Scott agreed immediately on this. Its sour, tart, and not at all like a milkshake IPA. No smoothness. No vanilla. No sugary taste to it. Just a very heavy, tart/sour cheap cherry taste. Like cough syrup gone sour.

Its not a complete waste or drain pour, and its not completely horrible. It is cloying, it is heavy on the mouthfeel, and it doesn’t exactly fit the description. Its not the best or the worst though either. Maybe unpleasant is the best way to describe it? “Not preferable ?” I’ve certainly had far worse in my life, and the Natty Daddy’s later on weren’t much better, but then again, I knew that going in with those. This had at least some expectation to it, and a single was 4.99$ D.Scott told me, so only 2$ cheaper than the entire six-pack of Natty Daddy’s. So it should be obviously a lot better, especially given what it was, who made it, etc. This was more of a disappointment than it was anything, and I think a bit of an indictment about where Spring House has gone in recent year(s)/month(s). As I’ve heard numerous complaints and issues and arguments surrounding their beers in recent times. Which is very sad and disheartening.

My Untappd Rating: ***.25
Global Untappd Rating: 3.19 (as of 9.16.19)

(And sadly, I feel like I might be a bit generous with the 3.25 and it might really deserve a 3-***).

In blog news, we’ve been selected and added to the Top 100 Beer Blogs on the internet. Though we’re not exactly in the Top 100, (we are listed at #120), it is an honor, especially since I only started this blog in late May (so just a bit under 4 months). For comparison’s sake Breweries in PA is ranked #37. So given the “youth” of this blog, I think we’re doing pretty good.

You can check out the listing here: Top 100 Best Beer Blogs.

Certainly check it out, and spread the word about our blog, would love to crack the Top 100 soon!

Be sure to like, subscribe, follow, and comment on our posts. Share and tell your friends as well. We greatly appreciate it here at The Beer Thrillers!

Until next time, bottoms up!

-B. Kline

Multiple Beer Reviews: Kettle Sour Gose, ESB, Dandy-Lion Saison, TropiKolsch (Mount Gretna Craft Brewery)

A flight of beers at Mount Gretna Craft Brewery, from left to right: Kettle Sour Gose, ESB, Dandy-Lion Saison, and TropiKolsch.

After dropping my oldest off with her mother in Campbelltown, off of Lawn Road, I was right there by the brewery, so I just had to stop in right? I mean, I couldn’t say no to a brewery that is literally right on the same road as me…. so I had to stop. Had to.

So this is all a direct continuation of Friday night. I know I meant to post this blog update after work yesterday…. but well…. I got distracted by drinking. (It happens… don’t stare at me like that.) My friend Drew called me out after work so I stopped there, and we pounded some beers with another friend (Dan) and discussed everything and anything pop culture and then watched Terror in Beverly Hills. Which, is a must see if you are a big FRANK Stallone fan. Anyway, you might be seeing some articles on here by Drew in the future, or at least the podcasts he is working on. Which I will be participating in as well. (Gaming and beer related podcasts, where we drink and play old NES or SNES video games. So be sure to check them out whenever we get them done and posted, and I will be putting links to them here on this blog.) We did drink some quality beers last night, Spundae by Spring House, Velvet Cake by Spring House, Key Lime Pie Confectioner by D9, Atomic Pumpkin by New Belgium, and then we segued into drinking Natty Daddy’s, Naturdays, and Miller Light…. and random liquors around his house. Yea… it devolved pretty quickly and into one of those kinds of nights.

But have no fear, I’m up early, sober, and with minimal hangover, so its time to write this beer review of the flight I had at Mount Gretna Craft Brewery, just like I promised, …only a few (14-ish) hours late(r).

Kettle Sour Gose by Mount Gretna Craft Brewery

Decided to do a flight of all light, tart, sour-ish beers. But unfortunately the one kicked so I stuck an ESB in the middle, which still isn’t bad. So my flight went Gose, ESB, Saison, Kolsch. I can handle a nice flight like that, especially after a night at Troegs and eating tacos and soft pretzels and drinking pale ales and IPAs.

Beer: Kettle Sour Gose
Brewery: Mount Gretna Craft Brewery
Style: Sour – Gose
ABV: 4.3%
IBU: 11
Untappd Write-Up: German-style beer with a refreshing tart lemon verbena mixed with a touch of Summertime Salt. 4.3 ABV / 11 IBU

This is a very typical, light, airy, nicely tart kettle sour / gose. Its crisp, its tart, its light, its relatively smooth, it has a nice bit of a pop to it. Its nothing extraordinary, but its far far far from bad. Its a good beer.

Appearance is clear, bit of fiz head to it, has the light look of a gose and tart sours. Like an off-hue of lagers and pilsners, there’s that translucent quality to goses and most sours that you can just tell its going to be tart.

Once again aroma is that tartness, bit of lime and lemon whiff you get from kettle sours. Not a lot of adjuncts or anything to differentiate it from other similar goses and kettle sours.

Taste is also exact for kettle sours and tart goses; its clean, crisp, refreshing, effervescent, a nice clean beer. Summertime calling type beer. I wish I had more descriptors and could go on more about it, but I really don’t have much to say about this. Its just a nice, plain, generic kettle sour beer thats good but won’t wow, its tasty, nothing bad to say about it, just nothing amazing to say about it.

My Untappd Rating: ***.75
Global Untappd Rating: 3.55 (as of 9.15.19)

ESB by Mount Gretna Craft Brewery

The odd-ball of my flight, the non-sour/non-tart/non-refreshing/non-crisp beer of my flight. The only “dark” beer on the flight. Sadly, it didn’t quite hold up, and not in the least because of the style.

Beer: ESB
Brewery: Mount Gretna Craft Brewery
Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter
ABV: 4.7%
IBU: 37
Untappd Write-Up: The British version of a pale ale.  Made with traditional European malts and hops, it’s a balance between bitterness of the hops and sweetness of the malts.  An earthy, floral flavor profile and aroma with a hint of residual sweetness.  Pairs well with chicken, fish & chips, cheeses.

Sadly, this just felt off and tasted off to me. Not exactly to tradition, and not exactly the beer style’s fault, this was more of a problem with the beer recipe I think (or perhaps production, but I think it wasn’t bad brewing, just not a good recipe).

Appearance is dark, malty, typical for ESB’s. Its brown, bready looking, and kind of with a slightly unfiltered look, little bit of floaters. There is some clarity, and it has a lager-ish look (albeit darker), and appearance is good and on point for the style.

Aroma is bready, malty, and heady. Some roasty notes but not much, you get some of the hops in the aroma, all bitterness and no fruity hop notes. Still nothing out of the ordinary and everything looks and smells fine with this beer.

Taste is straight up bitter. Which isn’t necessarily a problem, but there is no sweetness of malt, just bitter hop, bitter malt, bitter roast, and with an astringency. The sheer overwhelming bitterness is what makes me think its a recipe problem and not a brewing problem. Just too much bitter hops, too much bitter malts, too much everything bitter, and nothing to kind of thin it out or to mellow it even the slightest. Like the style was ramped up massively. This is what leads me to believe its the recipe, that they took the style and tried to overachieve with it. There is nothing too off about the beer outside of all this, some astringency, and some after-taste thats a bit bad, but could just be from the massive amounts of bittering rather than anything else.

My Untappd Rating: ***.25
Global Untappd Rating: 3.45 (as of 9.15.19)

Dandy-Lion Saison by Mount Gretna Craft Brewery

Catalogue this one under good but weird after-taste.

Beer: Dandy-Lion Saison
Brewery: Mount Gretna Craft Brewery
Style: Farmhouse Ale – Saison
ABV: 5%
IBU: None
Untappd Write-Up: French style saison with a seasonal kick of sunflower seeds and dandelion heads. This might yellow ale boasts a foamy white head that finishes dry with an herbaceous hint of dandelions

This was delicious, just left a weird after-taste. Let me be up front about that. I really enjoyed the beer, up until after I finished it and then it just had a weird after-taste that kept me burping a bit with a bad taste in my mouth. Not really horrible, and not enough to knock it crazily, but, was unpleasant.

Appearance is a mellow yellow, a soft translucent, clear, see-through off-key Belgian-esque orange that is far more yellow. Little bit of a head to it, but not much due to just being a taster.

Aroma smells like an open field. Grassy, full of summer time air. Dandalions being picked by kids, sunflower seeds, garden plants, grass dewy yet.

Taste is refreshing and crisp, you get the sunflower seed flavor, but not roasted sunflower seeds like you sucked on and chewed and spit out when you were a kid in little league. This is like fresh picked sunflower seeds. Nice refreshing tartness to this.

….but then that aftertaste. After I sat down the sampler for the last time, it kicked in, and got me. A wave of funkyness from the beer. Just something off, and it made me burp a few times, and not pleasant “oh I get to taste this again” burps, but almost like a funky brett or funky sour kinda taste. Maybe it was a one time thing, or maybe its the beer, I don’t know.

My Untappd Rating: ***.50
Global Untappd Rating: 3.56 (as of 9.15.19)

TropiKolsch by Mount Gretna Craft Brewery

The last of my flight, a Kolsch by Mount Gretna Craft Brewery. This one was the fruitiest of the bunch, and perhaps my favorite of the flight as well.

Beer: TropiKolsch
Brewery: Mount Gretna Craft Brewery
Style: Kolsch
ABV: 5.2%
IBU: 21
Untappd Write-Up: Campbelltown Kolsch has a clear, sun-bleached straw color with a medium white head that doesn’t stick around very long. It is light in body with delicate fruit and bread notes and good carbonation. A balanced beer with soft malty sweetness and a smooth crisp mouthfeel. With the addition of mango! Pairs well with salads, chicken and fish

This was very refreshing, light, and good. The appearance, like the kettle sour gose, is light, translucent and see-through, clear and refreshing looking. No sediments, no floaters, no haze, just simple, clean, crisp, clear beer.

Aroma is fruity and bright. Hop notes of like cirtra and the other fruit forward hops. Some mango and possibly peach aroma.

Taste is crisp, refreshing, cool, and smooth drinking. Nothing cloy, nothing clinging to your mouth, nice light mouthfeel. Mango flavor dominates a bit, but it has an overall crisp fruityness to it. Tart and refreshing but not sour and no punch to it.

My Untappd Rating: ***.50
Global Untappd Rating: 3.26 (as of 9.15.19)

So, it didn’t come out when I promised (last night, 9.14.19, after work), but it came out now, and I’m off for work. While I’m busting and working hard, you all need to root on the Bengals vs. the 49ers for me. Its only fair afterall!

Keep enjoying the suds!

-B. Kline

A flight from Mount Gretna Craft Brewery

Two Beer Review: Fresh Fest and Trail Day Pale Ale (Troegs Brewing)

Whats better than good music, good tacos, and great beer? Getting to spend it with your daughter!

Every so often I manage to get a game-plan to work out. And this was one of those rare occasions! The game-plan going in was to pick up my oldest daughter from her volleyball practice, quickly get to Troegs Brewery and surprise her with getting to see her favorite (local) band, Vinegar Creek Constituency.

We were here for a previous Second Friday at the beer garden at Troegs, I believe it was when they released the cans of Golden Thing and another beer, perhaps Lollihop or one of the other scratches turned main roster, and they had their food truck going and the band playing, and my oldest daughter just fell in love with the band(‘s music).

So, I got her at 6:30 from her volleyball practice, quickly got to Troegs, drove around their entire lot a good 3-4 times and found not a single spot, so I parked in the back corner by the warehouse and the gazebo, in a “not exactly a parking spot – parking spot”. (Which later on, a SUV would totally block off a whole section of the parking lot by parking at a spot where it was a parking spot for him, but he didn’t back into his spot fully, and it basically made a pincer area out of two parked cars so an entire row of parking spaces couldn’t get out…plus my “illegal/legal” spot.)

This was a special Second Friday though at Troegs, not only was it a Second Friday, not only was it a full moon, and not only was it “Friday the 13th”, it was also a can release! (Oh yea, the importance of those might be in the wrong order, I don’t know). They released cans of “Trail Day Pale Ale”, a recent scratch that they perfected. Also, to my shock, when I saw the menu, they had Fresh Fest on the taplist (inside) – which wasn’t there Sunday when I was last there.

After parking, and getting into the beer garden, which amazingly isn’t packed, we found a table three away from the band, with a couple sitting at it but with room for us, I plop the kiddo down and her gatorade from practice, order us two chicken tacos, and head inside for my beers (since they didn’t have Trail Day outside, which I was a bit surprised by since it was the release of the day). The inside was jam packed. Upstairs, downstairs, packed, tour going on as well that looked full. Every booth was full, even the patio tables were full, the bar was full, and without going upstairs but looking up at the loft, it looked full too. Wait in line at the bar, and see that they have Fresh Fest. I decide on just a taster for that (8.50$ for a half pint or 3.50$ for a 4oz, plus I was getting a full pint of Trail Day, and with the kid and driving, figured it’d be the safer route). Take the beers back to our table right as the band finishes their set-up and starts up at just a bit before 7 and the tacos are done and its time to dive in.

In the taster – Fresh Fest, in the pint – Trail Day, and an amazing Chicken Taco.

Craft breweries do some amazing tacos. They are “high end” tacos, like the ones at Newfangled, and at other food truck type things, or even the specialty day tacos at certain breweries, but they are always fantastic. Not exactly the most filling usually, and obviously you’re dropping a few more dollar bills on this than the 5-pack at Taco Bell, but for taste, its so worth it.

I was surprised to see Fresh Fest on the menu and having not had it, I figured why not, and grabbed myself a taster of that. (Was originally just planning on drinking a few Trail Days while listening and hanging out with the kid, but its always nice to get to try a couple new beers, so of course I’m gonna jump on that chance.)

Beer: Fresh Fest
Brewery: Troegs Independent Brewing Company
Collaboration: Apis Meadery
Style: Honey Beer
ABV: 6%
IBU: No IBU
Untappd Write-Up: We believe that good beer brings out the good in people. To celebrate the return of Fresh Fest -the nation’s first black beer festival- The drinking Partners, Apis Meadery and Troegs Independent Brewing gathered around a brew kettle to combine two quintessential summer flavors: peach cobbler and a bright refreshing honey ale. Pilsner, Vienna and honey malt stand in for the flaky crust, Pennsylvania honey and kveik yeast provide a sweet glaze, and peaches, apricots and a late dose of El Dorado and Lemondrop hops fill in the middle with balance of slight tartness and sweet fruit. Ready for seconds yet?

This is kind of a mix between a mead, and a tart/sour beer. Its a wonderful and interesting combination and does make me wish I got a full pint of it. Though, this is definitely no pounder, and not one you will be drinking more of one in a sitting most likely, not due to ABV or anything like that, but its just a heavy, full beer, that will sit on you for a bit. (Not a bad thing.)

Appearance is a bright orange glow. A meadish bright orange hue that (perhaps my picture doesn’t do justice to it) is clear, translucent, and has a shine to it. Honey colored through and through.

Aroma is very heavy peach. Kind of a funky peach, kind of ripe peach, but a tart, funky peach. A nice smell that tickled the nose and was just overall appealing.

Flavor is very heavy peach as well. The honey makes it smooth and provides that heavyness. It finishes with the tartness, but before that you get the heavy peach, the heavy sweet honey, and some breadyness, almost like a sweet peach pie (if I ate those kind of things) before it transitions into a tart peach pie (again, if I ate those kind of things). Its not overly dry but the tartness gives a bit of a sensation of that at the end, but this isn’t anything unpleasant and compliments the sweetness at the beginning of the beer very nicely.

My Untappd Rating: ****
Global Untappd Rating: 3.63 (as of 9.13.19)

The Fresh Fest went perfect with the taco, complimenting it very nicely. Debated even getting a second taco, or maybe trying one of the other two styles they had available (Corinitas or Black Bean), but opted out of that idea. (Not sure what corinitas is, but their website listed a “savory pork” taco, so perhaps thats that? I don’t know.) But we did see a few soft pretzels and my daughter decided we needed one… …and she was right, we did. So at the break in the band’s set, I braved myself up, and ventured back inside for the pretzel and a drink for her.

Oktoberfest Soft Pretzel with Cheese sauce and mustard sauce. 11$

After about a 15-20 minute wait in line, and another 2-3 minutes for it to get done, got back outside as the band was starting up their second act. So at least timing worked out perfectly on that one.

The soft pretzel was absolutely phenomenal (and for 11$ for a soft pretzel, it better damn well be). Passed on getting my regular hop fries, hoping the pretzel would be filling, and it was. We were also (at this point anyway) planning on picking up a smores kit to do by the firepit later on (we ended up not doing it, I guess smores aren’t as cool when you’re 12 years old, I dunno).

Trail Day Pale Ale

Time to drink down this delicious looking pint of Troegs new Trail Day Pale Ale. It was a great beer to wash down the Oktoberfest soft pretzel and to continue our night listening to her favorite band.

Beer: Trail Day
Brewery: Troegs Independent Brewing Company
Style: Pale Ale – American
ABV: 5.5%
IBU: None Listed
Untappd Write-Up: This is the beer you want in hand when your compass lands you at trail’s end. The scene is set with a malt bill full of soft oats. Unmalted wheat from Pennsylvania adds haze and props up the oils of a bright hop combination. Citra dominates with notes of passionfruit and lychee, Lotus adds hints of orange rind and vanilla, and El Dorado works with a fruit-forward yeast to pull in flavors of candied peach. and beneath all that is a foundation of good. When you buy a Trail Day, you’re helping protect the Kittatinny Ridge, a 185-mile Appalahchian superhighway that provides clean water, rich forests, recreational trails and safe passage for migratory wildlife. We taste: peach, passionfruit, lychee.

I really enjoyed this beer as it was a nice typical Troegs beer, which means it had the characteristic Troegs taste for a pale ale/IPA/etc. I legit think I could be given five or six different pale ales/IPAs/wheats/hefeweizens and other similar style beers, blind-folded, and only one of the five or six being a Troegs beer, and I’d be able to pick it out. Its probably the yeast strains they do, or their technique brewing, but they just have a characteristic taste, (perhaps the water?), or maybe I’m over thinking it, or maybe its just because I’ve had over 200+ different, unique beers from them, so I’ve built up a bit of an ‘idea’ on them. I don’t know, but this beer fit that mold, and it tasted great.

Troegs is very big into conservation and helping with wildlife protection, environmentalism, and other great things like this. Like donating and paying for the mural in Harrisburg with proceeds going to the conservancy, just like this beer does. Some money from each pint/can sold (not sure on percentages, you might have to check with Troegs directly for that information), goes to help Kittatinny Ridge conservancy.

As per Wikipedia:
Kittatinny Mountain (Lenape: Kitahtëne[1]) is a long ridge traversing across northwestern New Jersey running in a northeast-southwest axis, a continuation across the Delaware Water Gap of Pennsylvania’s Blue Mountain Ridge (also known as Kittatinny Ridge). It is the first major ridge in the far northeastern extension of the Ridge and Valley province of the Appalachian Mountains, and reaches its highest elevation (the state’s highest), 1,803 feet, at High Point in Montague Township. Kittatinny Mountain forms the eastern side of Wallpack Valley; the western side comprises the Wallpack Ridge (highest elevation: 928 feet (283 m) above sea level.”( Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kittatinny_Mountain.)

So its always great to see this, and great that Troegs is helping them out, just makes buying that pint or can of this that extra bit special and nice, and gives you warm glowy butterfly feelings in your tummy.

This is a very hazy pale ale. Its pretty much just one step up from Scratch 380 – Trail Day Dry Hopped Pale Ale. Might even be the same recipe but just given a full name as a regular/seasonal rotation, I don’t know, but its listed as a Pale Ale – New England on the scratch, and a Pale Ale – American on the new fully named version. (I gave the scratch version a **** on Untappd). Either way, this new version of it could easily be labeled a New England Pale Ale as well, as it is very hazy, especially so for a Troegs beer, that typically shies away from the haze.

Appearance is orange, unfiltered, hazy. Its not fully unfiltered but it definitely looks somewhat unfiltered and there is a bit of sediment and floaters (but nothing appalling or unappealing about it). The haze makes it not exactly un-see-through-but-not-super-dense either. (Thats the best way I could explain it.)

Aroma is soft, pale ale qualities, but with a good dose of hops. You can deeply smell the hops and the dry hopping. You get some fruity qualities, mostly stone fruit, like apricot and such, but you get the dry hopping mostly.

Taste is soft as well, pillowy, like the little bit of head that came with the beer. Soft, mellow, but also bursting with taste. Not mellow bland, but mellow soft. There is no hop bitterness from this, and it tastes like a typical NE-IPA or NE-PA. There is a smoothness t it from vanilla that helps with that New England vibe and taste to it. I also pick up notes of orange, passionfruit, and peach, kind of like candied peaches. Almost reminiscent of those peach ring gummies (like the ones Tattered Flag used in a few of their beers, which I reviewed one of). There is a definitely malty backbone to this that isn’t super typical for New England Pale Ales but its pretty subdued, just there, and you know its there. The Citra hops gives it a nice citrus punch that combines with the peach and passionfruit flavors very nicely. And it has a great finish that leaves a very nice and pleasant aftertaste on your tongue.

My Untappd Rating: ****.25
Global Untappd Rating: 3.87 (as of 9.13.19)

Vinegar Creek Constituency playing for the last Second Friday of the year at Troegs’ Beer Garden.

The beer garden is a wonderful experience and venue at Troegs whenever they do music here, its always a nice, relaxing atmosphere, with good, low-key vibe music playing. You could hear the band up on the patio, but with the beer garden’s setup you would not have been able to see them. Back beyond the band, they have a firepit that was open all night and lots of families were roasting s’mores on it. My daughter I suppose was “too cool” or “too old” (or just too tired after the band got done) and didn’t want to do it. So once the band packed up, I tried to get her to talk to them or at least get a picture with them, but she got too shy, and refused, so we made our way back to the car. Where… I had to wait and struggle to get out our area due to the SUV.

Afterwards, I dropped my daughter off with her mother, and being in the area I couldn’t help but stop in at Mount Gretna Brewery. So look for a review of the flight I had there probably after work tomorrow (Saturday, the 14th).

Vinegar Creek Constituency during their set, at the end of the night.

All in all, it was one of those rare nights when the game-plan went according to plan, and it was the rare daddy-daughter date night that actually worked out and everyone was happy. So I’m marking it down as a win. She got to see her favorite band that she’s been crushing on, I got to eat tacos and soft pretzels and hang out with my daughter, and she got to eat tacos and soft pretzels and hang out with her old man, and I got to try two new Troegs beers that were delicious. All in all a total win.

Look for my review of the flight from Mount Gretna sometime after 8PM or so when I get home from work, until then, keep “doing what you do”.

-B. Kline

Delicious tacos, delicious beers, fantastic music, and getting to spend time with my daughter, a total win.

Touring Through the Breweries That Surround Harrisburg

The article I have written as a guest writer and contributor to Breweries in PA has been uploaded to their website. You can check that article out here:

Touring Through the Breweries that Surround Harrisburg

It was written on 9.6.19, and posted on 9.11.19. Some tap listings and other information might become out-dated as the article ages. They have also edited it to remove some things like the Tattered Flag can release that took place last Saturday (9.7.19) and added a few other things (including a map). You can check out my original article here : Breweries Around the Outskirts of Harrisburg (9.6.19).

I will also be making a few edits to that post to reflect the article coming out (linking it directly to the article there) as well as the addition of reviews and links to them. Make sure to check out both their edited version of my article, as well as my original.

You can look forward to seeing more blog posts here by myself, and J. Doncevic in the near future. As well as more content from me as a freelance writer for Breweries in PA and several other blogs in the future. As well as my friend’s podcast (when he gets it all setup). We will link to all of these articles and materials in the future, so you can be kept updated and in the loop!

As always, make sure to click follow, subscribe, like, and comment, to make sure you get all of our latest information and posts! Don’t want to miss a thing!

-B. Kline

–The Beer Thrillers

Multiple Beer Reviews: Fest Lager, Scratch 385 – Krausened Dunkel Lager, and Scratch 386 – Tangerine Passionfruit Guava Tart Ale (Troegs Independent Craft Brewery)

A flight of four at Troegs Brewery in Hershey. From left to right – Fest Lager, Scratch 385, Scratch 386, and the Boysenberry Tart Ale (repeat for me).

After leaving work at 630 decided to NOT watch the end of the Bengals game, as I had a very good idea of how this was going to turn out (it was 21-17 Seattle when I left work). So taking 743 route home, I stopped at Troegs brewery. Perfect place to avoid football. Not a TV in sight, a gorgeous outdoor beer garden to sit in and drink and read. And pretty much only hipsters and families from the park in sight. Perfect place to avoid the Bengals. To avoid football.

Missed out on Scratch 387 (hazy NE style IPA), and too early for the new Trail Day Pale Ale that their releasing, I grabbed a flight of Fest Lager (looking to be a regular from some of their scratch versions of this), Scratch 385, Scratch 386, and a repeat for me – the Boysenberry Tart Ale.

Something can be said for just how consistent Troegs is with their beers, styles, tastes, and flavors. Over the years, since at least moving to the new facility in Hershey, they have just been flat out consistent. Never really having experienced any off flavors, or downright undrinkable beers, everything confirms to styles and is spot on to their taste listings, etc. A few ‘stinkers’ throughout the year (what brewery hasn’t) and some amazing beers (Nimble Giant immediately comes to mind, various scratches, some of the new splinter series like Blackberry Tizzy), but under it all, just a consistent batch of beers at all times. They might not be creating a list of whales to go and seek out, but the consistency is such an important factor. Give me a brewery that consistently pumps out nearly 4 star beers that all fit the styles and guidelines and taste good over a brewery that gives a 5 star followed up by a 1 star then a 4 star then a 2 star then a 5 star then a 1 star, etc. I’d rather have the reliable consistent beer and brewery next door than the whale chaser that as often times misses the mark than makes it. (Note, this isn’t a call-out or a jab at any one particular brewery, I’m just giving a hypothetical comparison.)

So let’s move on and get into this flight shall we?

Fest Lager, a festbier / marzen from Troegs, perfected through their scratch series of the same style(s).

This is one of the latest of their scratch versions of marzens, dark lagers, and festbiers, that they typically have done one or two of each year around this time. Now that its named instead of having the scratch designator, it looks like they’ve come to their conclusion on the recipe for this one and it might see play as a seasonal rotation beer at this time. Which is good, this is definitely their best version of it (of those that I’ve had, and I believe I’ve had at least 3 or 4).

Beer: Fest Lager
Brewery: Troegs Independent Craft Brewery
Style: Festbier
ABV: 6.1%
IBU: No IBU
Untappd Write-Up: Our take on this timeless German style – perfected through our small-batch Scratch Series – starts with a traditional brewing technique called decoction. By boiling a portion of the mash, we create a bright, dry maltiness. A kettle addition of Hallertau Tradition hops adds subtle floral and herbal undercurrents to this toasty sweet Fest Lager.

For those curious, there is differences between Marzens and Festbiers. Festbiers are what kind of came out of Marzens turning into Oktoberfest beers and instead of lumping them all together, they got different designations with the subtle differences being the key notes between them. And Festbiers got their own branding instead of being called Oktoberfest mainly not to deal with copyright and similar legality issues (many German breweries, and some American ones had already copyrighted beer names of Oktoberfest before the BJCP could fully define things, as well as the Oktoberfest in Germany, etc., just more of a headache than its worth.)

For those curious for more on the Festbier style, here is the BJCP write-up on it:

4B. Festbier

Overall Impression

A smooth, clean, pale German lager with a moderately strong malty flavor and a light hop character. Deftly balances strength and drinkability, with a palate impression and finish that encourages drinking. Showcases elegant German malt flavors without becoming too heavy or filling.

Appearance

Deep yellow to deep gold color; should not have amber hues. Bright clarity. Persistent white to off-white foam stand. Most commercial examples are medium gold in color.

Aroma

Moderate malty richness, with an emphasis on toasty-doughy aromatics and an impression of sweetness. Low to medium-low floral, herbal, or spicy hops. The malt should not have a deeply toasted, caramel, or biscuity quality. Clean lager fermentation character.

Flavor

Medium to medium-high malty flavor initially, with a lightly toasty, bread dough quality and an impression of soft sweetness. Medium to medium-low bitterness, definitely malty in the balance. Well-attenuated and crisp, but not dry. Medium-low to medium floral, herbal, or spicy hop flavor. Clean lager fermentation character. The taste is mostly of Pils malt, but with slightly toasty hints. The bitterness is supportive, but still should yield a malty, flavorful finish.

Mouthfeel

Medium body, with a smooth, somewhat creamy texture. Medium carbonation. Alcohol strength barely noticeable as warming, if at all.

Comments

This style represents the modern German beer served at Oktoberfest (although it is not solely reserved for Oktoberfest; it can be found at many other ‘fests’), and is sometimes called Wiesn (“the meadow” or local name for the Oktoberfest festival). We chose to call this style Festbier since by German and EU regulations, Oktoberfestbier is a protected appellation for beer produced at large breweries within the Munich city limits for consumption at Oktoberfest. Other countries are not bound by these rules, so many craft breweries in the US produce beer called Oktoberfest, but based on the traditional style described in these guidelines as Märzen.

History

Since 1990, the majority of beer served at Oktoberfest in Munich has been this style. Export beer specifically made for the United States is still mainly of the traditional amber style, as are US-produced interpretations. Paulaner first created the golden version in the mid-1970s because they thought the traditional Oktoberfest was too filling. So they developed a lighter, more drinkable but still malty version that they wanted to be “more poundable” (according to the head brewer at Paulaner). But the actual type of beer served at Oktoberfest is set by a Munich city committee.

Characteristic Ingredients

Majority Pils malt, but with some Vienna and/or Munich malt to increase maltiness. Differences in commercial examples are mostly due to different maltsters and yeast, not major grist differences.

Style Comparison

Less intense and less richly toasted than a Märzen. More rich-heavy in body than a Helles, with more hop flavor and higher alcohol. Less rich in malt intensity than a Maibock. The malt complexity is similar to a higher-gravity Czech Premium Pale Lager, although without the associated hops.

And for comparison sake, here is the BJCP’s write-up on Marzen:

6A. Märzen

Overall Impression

An elegant, malty German amber lager with a clean, rich, toasty and bready malt flavor, restrained bitterness, and a dry finish that encourages another drink. The overall malt impression is soft, elegant, and complex, with a rich aftertaste that is never cloying or heavy.

Appearance

Amber-orange to deep reddish-copper color; should not be golden. Bright clarity, with persistent, off-white foam stand.

Aroma

Moderate intensity aroma of German malt, typically rich, bready, somewhat toasty, with light bread crust notes. Clean lager fermentation character. No hop aroma. Caramel, dry-biscuity, or roasted malt aromas inappropriate. Very light alcohol might be detected, but should never be sharp. Clean, elegant malt richness should be the primary aroma.

Flavor

Initial malt flavor often suggests sweetness, but finish is moderately-dry to dry. Distinctive and complex maltiness often includes a bready, toasty aspect. Hop bitterness is moderate, and the hop flavor is low to none (German types: complex, floral, herbal, or spicy). Hops provide sufficient balance that the malty palate and finish do not seem sweet. The aftertaste is malty, with the same elegant, rich malt flavors lingering. Noticeable caramel, biscuit, or roasted flavors are inappropriate. Clean lager fermentation profile.

Mouthfeel

Medium body, with a smooth, creamy texture that often suggests a fuller mouthfeel. Medium carbonation. Fully attenuated, without a sweet or cloying impression. May be slightly warming, but the strength should be relatively hidden.

Comments

Modern domestic German Oktoberfest versions are golden – see the Festbier style for this version. Export German versions (to the United States, at least) are typically orange-amber in color, have a distinctive toasty malt character, and are most often labeled Oktoberfest. American craft versions of Oktoberfest are generally based on this style, and most Americans will recognize this beer as Oktoberfest. Historic versions of the beer tended to be darker, towards the brown color range, but there have been many ‘shades’ of Märzen (when the name is used as a strength); this style description specifically refers to the stronger amber lager version. The modern Festbier can be thought of as a pale Märzen by these terms.

History

As the name suggests, brewed as a stronger “March beer” in March and lagered in cold caves over the summer. Modern versions trace back to the lager developed by Spaten in 1841, contemporaneous to the development of Vienna lager. However, the Märzen name is much older than 1841; the early ones were dark brown, and in Austria the name implied a strength band (14 °P) rather than a style. The German amber lager version (in the Viennese style of the time) was first served at Oktoberfest in 1872, a tradition that lasted until 1990 when the golden Festbier was adopted as the standard festival beer.

Characteristic Ingredients

Grist varies, although traditional German versions emphasized Munich malt. The notion of elegance is derived from the finest quality ingredients, particularly the base malts. A decoction mash was traditionally used to develop the rich malt profile.

Style Comparison

Not as strong and rich as a Dunkles Bock. More malt depth and richness than a Festbier, with a heavier body and slightly less hops. Less hoppy and equally malty as a Czech Amber Lager.

So, as you can see, a few differences. And that was my knowledge for you for the day. And as GI Joe would say “And Knowledge is Power!” Ahem…. ehmm… err…. cough…. back to the program.

So back to the actual beer, the Fest Lager, by Troegs (in case you dozed off and got prodded by a stick by somebody when they scrolled down to the actual review).

Appearance is on the darker hue of lagers, clear and obviously lager / dunkel like in coloring. Malty appearance, nice top to her and a clean body.

Aroma is malty, some herbal notes, some possible subtle hop notes but nothing strong and more or less grasping for this maybe. It just looks and smells delicious at this point.

And thankfully the taste lives up to it, and it is a sweet tasting, malty, slightly bready, herbal beer. Great for this time of year. This is a fantastic bonfire sipping beer right here. Great Oktoberfest quality style beer, with the spice and herbal notes to really bring out the various malts and deliver a fantastic brew.

My Untappd Rating: ***.75
Global Untappd Rating: 3.75 (as of 9.8.19)

Scratch 385, a krausened dunkel lager from Troegs Brewery.

And, as the book in the background gives testament, the Bengals settle for a field goal and make it 21-20 with 7:46 left in the game. Giving the ball back to Seattle and Russell Wilson in Seattle with 7:46 left to go, down only by 1 point. (This screams typical Bengals…. I made sure to check Marvin Lewis wasn’t still there.)

Troegs has really gotten gung-ho about krausened and krausening and doing open fermentation. They have done several scratch dunkels (and I believe a wheat or two) using this process, and the DreamWeaver is done with this process now. Krausening means doing end of fermentation additions of fresh wort and yeast, something that is typically not done. Troegs does this in the old German style with open fermentation, making it easier to add late additions like this, and to give it other qualities that differentiate it from normal (closed) fermentation.

Beer: Scratch 385 Krausened Dunkel Lager
Brewery: Troegs Independent Craft Brewery
Style: Lager – Munich Dunkel
ABV: 5.4%
IBU: No IBU
Untappd Write-Up: Our new Dunkel Lager walks the line between two of our favorites here at Tröegs: Sunshine Pils and Troegenator. On a recent trip to Germany, we fell in love all over again with this classic dark lager. Our take explores the additions of open fermentation, a technique we use for DreamWeaver Wheat, and krausening. Krausening is the process of adding wort and fresh yeast toward the end of fermentation. The combination of techniques adds subtle fruity esters and a soft, bready mouthfeel.

We taste: bread crust-like maltiness with subtle notes of caramel, nuttiness and chocolate.

There is a notable difference between open fermentation and closed. You get added variables that aren’t in play when its closed and everything is under lid, lock, and key. Brewers must also be a lot more careful with open fermentation due to an increased chase of contamination and other things obviously falling in. It would be interesting to have this recipe done regularly, closed fermentation, and then done in open, to compare the two. Likewise with the krausening, try it as the regular recipe, and then with the late fermentation additions of fresh wort and yeast. For comparison’s sake. For Science!

Appearance for this is very similar to the Fest Lager, but a bit lighter, but not by a massive amount, just a shade or two. Has a nice caramel color to it.

Aroma is malty again, with a bit of roasty malt, not too much, but just a bit, which I thought was a bit odd since this is lighter in color than the Fest Lager which you would think would have more of the roast malts then. Perhaps something to do with the krausening or open fermentation, or maybe my sniffer isn’t working too well (or due to just drinking tasters rather than whole drafts).

This has a very nice, gentle, smooth, subdued taste to it. Nothing punching you in the face, nothing taking your breath away, but just a nice, subtle, beer. No astringency, no off flavors, mellow, smooth, crisp, tasty, and like the Fest Lager another great fall, bonfire, late night sipper while hanging out with buds and roasting marshmellows with kids.

My Untappd Rating: ***.75
Global Untappd Rating: 3.76 (as of 9.8.19)

Scratch 386, a Tangerine Guava sour.

Another Guava beer, they are popping up everywhere it seems. That makes four or five of them I’ve had in recently history. So I’m coming to grips with it, and I think done subtly, and small, its done well, too much, and its too overpowering.

And the final has just come in, Bengals lose 21-20 to Seattle. Not a bad opening game really. In Seattle, I had Bengals losing by at least a touchdown, possibly by 10 or more. So this is really not a bad start to the season, considering the number of players out (like AJ Green). John Ross III really stepped up and played great, and Dalton actually looked promising (for once).

Beer: Scratch 386 – Tangerine Passionfruit Guava Tart Ale
Brewery: Troegs Independent Craft Brewery
Style: Sour – Fruited
ABV: 4.8%
IBU: No IBU
Untappd Write-Up: Scratch #386 is our latest soft and rounded tart beer, this time with a bold combination of tangerine, passionfruit and guava. The citrus and tropical notes of the fruit are propped up by a rich backbone of oats and honey malt. A first fermentation with lactobacillus adds tartness, and a second pass with Hornindal Kveik yeast adds subtle notes of pineapple. We taste: citrus zest, marmalade, tart pineapple

Once again another new theme of Troegs scratch beers popping up – hornindal kveik yeast. They’ve been toying around and playing with this yeast strain for a bit of a while now, in all kinds of ways, with all kinds of different styles. I believe this is their first time trying it out with a sour.

Appearance is exactly what you would expect from a sour with passionfruit, tangerine, and guava. Its a light, orange, to pinkish hue, similar to some children’s fruit juices. Like a Capri Sun or something similar. There is a slight fizzyness with this as well.

Aroma is like a refreshing breeze. There is the notes of tangerine, citrus, passionfruit, guava, possibly orange juice like smell to the concoction. Its refreshing, gentle, and light, just like the beer itself.

And taste is just right there too, refreshing, gentle, soft, light. You get up front notes of citrus and guava in equal measures that then fades back and fades into the notes of the tangerine, the passionfruit, and the tartness starts to take over. This has just a relaxing vibe to it, with an easy going, soft mouthfeel and nothing clingy or off putting, and leaves you with a nice citrus, tart, fizzy, taste that lingers in your mouth and on your tongue.

My Untappd Rating: ****
Global Untappd Rating: 3.8 (as of 9.8.19)

Well the Bengals might have lost, but the road to 0 and 16 began there and that first round draft pick looks closer and closer to a reality. Just have to pray for a Dolphins win I suppose.

Here’s to great beers and an interesting NFL season this year. Cheers!

-B. Kline

Multiple Beer Review: Intergalactic Deals (Levante Brewing), Tickle Parts (Levante Brewing), Wasted Away Again (Tattered Flag), Onyx (Levante Brewing), and Five Sided Puzzle Palace (Levante Brewing)

My flight at Tattered Flag consisting of Levante Brewing and Tattered Flag beers. Intergalactic Deals, Tickle Parts, Wasted Away Again, Onyx, and Five Sided Puzzle Palace.

Happy #NationalBeerLovers day. What are all of you celebrating with? After a long day at work where I got shuffled all over the place (three card poker, poker room, blackjack, pit 2, pit 6, pit 4) and getting my girls from my parents and home, I got to squeeze out some time to stop by Tattered Flag at the end of the day. Catch the tail end of their Levante and Tattered Flag day and their can release.

Tattered Flag recently did a big collaboration project with Levante Brewing Co. Traveling to their facility with their crew and the Levante Brewing crew traveling to their facility. They produced a beer at each one. Cans and excellent beers were the result. September 7th was the release of these cans out into the wild for consumption and they definitely didn’t disappoint. In conjunction with the brewery, Tattered Flag also hooked up with the Hershey Biergarten, The Midtown Tavern (at Midtown Cinema), and sip @ soma to release the cans.

Five Sided Puzzle Palace, a collaboration between Tattered Flag Brewery and Levante Brewing Company

The collaboration beer created together at Levante’s facility was the decadent blood orange chocolate stout – Five-Sided Puzzle Palace. A 12% dessert stout. Very rich, very smooth, very boozy, very chocolate and blood orange flavored.

Wasted Away Again, a collaboration sour created by Tattered Flag Brewery and Levante Brewing Company

The beer created at Tattered Flag Brewery was Wasted Away Again, a key lime pie sour. This collaboration between Tattered Flag Brewery and Levante Brewing Company tapped right into how Tattered Flag has been killing the sour game and is another fantastic sour created by them (added to some recent fantastic sours like Prepare to Be Flabbergasted, Should’ve Put Him in Custardy, Making Love at Midnight [sour version], Should’ve Got a Warrant, and many others).

Other cans on sale at Tattered Flag Brewery included Makin’ Love at Midnight and Makin’ Love at Midnight (sour version), as well as the sour Prepare to be Flabbergasted.

Tattered Flag always has an impressive can selection to choose from for in-house and to go. Some recent releases are : the original Makin’ Love at Midnight, a sour version of Makin’ Love at Midnight, Prepare to be Flabbergasted (look for reviews of this and the sour Makin’ Love soon on here), Groundhops Day, a re-release of Because I Was Inverted (Mango), as well as still some cans available of O’Dusseldorf Rules, Tattered Abomination, and all of their staples like TMI IPA, Blue Raider Kolsch, and Teutonic Knight Hefeweizen.

Flight of Levante and Tattered Flag brews

Enough about their can releases and event of the day and lets tackle this flight I ordered up:

Intergalactic Deals by Levante Brewing Company

First up for me was Intergalactic Deals. Went heavy on this flight on Levante Brewing namely due to their scarcity in the area. Levante Brewing Company is a microbrewery from West Chester, PA. They have been pumping out some incredible beers, particularly NE IPAs, Milkshake IPAs, and some fantastic stouts and sours of their own. They are typically a staple at most beer fests in the area (most recently saw them at Lancaster Craft Beerfest).

Beer: Intergalactic Deals
Brewery: Levante Brewing Company
Style: IPA – Milkshake
ABV: 8%
IBU: 39
Untappd Write-Up: Intergalactic Deals is a Vanilla Shake DIPA with a universal taste appeal. A fleet of hoppiness derives from El Dorado, Mosaic, Amarillo, and Centennial hops, while vanilla sweetness shines over the horizon. Local wildflower honey melds with heaps of Madagascar vanilla and lactose for a sweet steal of an Intergalactic Deal.

This definitely has a ‘universal taste appeal’. Its a sweet smooth IPA Milkshake. The aroma has a vanilla tint to it and there is a good hop aroma that lofts up into the air from it.

Appearance is your normal NEIPA/Milkshake IPA. Thick juicy IPA. Orange and opaque and a bit unfiltered. Light ring of foam at the top (just a taster glass).

Taste is fantastic. First sip to the last on this one. Smooth, and easy to drink. No hop bitterness, no hop burn, just the smoothness from the vanilla and lactose. There is a bit of a mango-fruitness to it that couples with the lactose and vanilla to give it a great taste. Most likely the mosaic hops and amarillo hops. The honey with the lactose and vanilla is what gives it that super smoothness and super smooth taste.

My Untappd Rating: ****.25
Global Untappd Rating: 4.13 (as of 9.7.19)

Tickle Parts by Levante Brewing Company

Tickle Parts has become one of Levante Brewing’s best known beers, and for good reasons, it is a fantastic brew. So lets get down to it and enjoy this tasty offering.

Beer: Tickle Parts
Brewery: Levante Brewing Company
Style: IPA – New England
ABV: 7.1%
IBU: 47
Untappd Write-Up: Tickle Parts is an exceptionally dry-hopped New England IPA, with low bitterness, rising hop aroma and a feathery-soft mouthfeel. Anticipate chunks of pineapple and tender clementine juices on the palette, while your nostrils are gently tickled with the aroma of thawing sorbet and other fruit juices.

This is definitely an exceptional beer. Exceptionally dry hopped one might even say….. But yes, it is a great beer. It has a very hoppy fruity citrusy aroma. It looks beautiful, it smells beautiful, and it tastes… beautifully.

It has a soft orange glowing look to it. Not quite the dark unfiltered look that Intergalactic Deals had, this has a softer, almost orange juice look to it with none of the floaters dancing about. Light ring of head in the taster class.

Very soft and smooth beer. Lays on your tongue nicely and easily and is just fantastically smooth. There is more of a citrus and fruit to this, whereas Intergalactic had more of a vanilla taste with mango background, this has all of the fruity hops bouncing around right away. Tastes of all of the citrus fruits, orange, clementine, tangerine, apricot, and more fight for equal rights in your mouth (not for the right to party though sadly). This is just an easy smooth wonderful beer all around.

My Untappd Rating: ****.25
Global Untappd Rating: 4.11 (as of 9.7.19)

Wasted Away Again a key-lime pie sour collaboration by Tattered Flag and Levante Brewing

I’m not a foody, I’ve stated this several times here on the blog, and I’m not a pie person either (…jokes aside), but this is exactly as a key lime pie tastes. Well, the one slice I once had, against my will, once when I was 18 on a date. But anyway, yea, this is a liquid version of a key lime pie, and therefore it is superior to key lime pies. Plus – alcohol.

Beer: Wasted Away Again
Brewery: Tattered Flag
Style: Sour – Fruited
ABV: 7%
IBU: None
Untappd Write-Up: Hang on to summer one last time and get wasted away again with our key lime pie sour ale! A collaborative effort with Levante. A kettle sour ale with tons of key lime with a touch of coconut and graham crackers. This beer will transport you down to key west for one last gasp of summer!

Aroma is key lime pie. Pretty much every part of this review will be like a dictionary : “See Key Lime Pie.” Because it is spot on to the smells, ingredients, and taste of a key lime pie. They nailed the flavors, the aromas, and its spot on for how each of the ingredients should be tasting.

Appearance is light sour, the off-orange/off-yellow/off-“normal” beer coloring, unfiltered, with a slight tint and hue of amberish/goldenish/pinkish to it. Not quite sure how to describe the coloring, but for those who are familiar with sours you can spot it immediately and go “yep, thats a sour”. I’m sure someone far more educated can point out its exact hue on the spectrum, and perhaps some day when I’m better with the BJCP and all that, I’ll be able to provide better in-depth analysis on the color, but for right now, I’ll just say it looks like a normal kettle sour, and thats good.

Taste is great. Tart, lime, coconut, graham. Not full on sour to the point of puckering up, but the right amount of tartness that makes it refreshing, enjoyable, and tasty. This is a great end to summer beer with a nice sitting out on the beach or by the pool, relaxing, enjoying a beer while watching kids play (or scoping out ….the sand castles along the waterfront).

My Untappd Rating: ****.50
Global Untappd Rating: (No Global Average Rating as of 9.7.19, will update later when one becomes available.)

Moving onto the darker beers now…

Onyx, an oatmeal stout by Levante Brewing Company

I love stouts and I love dark beers, but oatmeal stouts, have always been a bit hit or miss with me. Like its teetering on an edge that can go either way. This one, kind of hangs in the middle without teetering to either side and stays poised on the tip.

Beer: Onyx
Brewery: Levante Brewing Company
Style: Stout – Oatmeal
ABV: 6.7%
IBU: 47
Untappd Write-Up: Darkness awakens in this traditional Oatmeal Stout. The maltbase is a certain chewy type of thick, courtesy of hefty oat additions in the mash. Layers of roasty and toasty specialty malts taste like window shopping with your nose: melting dark chocolate, twice-baked biscotti, and cold brewed dark-roast. *Contains Lactose*

Appearance is a dark chocolate black, slight light brown foamy head. Dark in appearance and dark complexion.

Aroma is a whiff of oatmeal, heady, roasty, malty, going a bit towards the smoked smell in its malt, perhaps just the roasty and toasty – ness – of the malts used. There is a bready smell with the oatmeal but its hard to distinguish it from the oatmeal.

It has a nice genuine roasty and toasty taste, a bit smoked in some way. It is heavy bready. Surprised to read in the description that there is lactose in this as its not really smooth, a bit bitter due to the roasted malts, so the lactose doesn’t really dampen or smooth that out at all.

There is a slight lingering aftertaste to this that while not completely unpleasant, is a bit ‘off’. I don’t think its a huge detraction from the beer, but I’m never really a fan of an aftertaste that disagrees with me because of how it lingers and stays.

My Untappd Rating: ***.75
Global Untappd Rating: 3.88

Five Sided Puzzle Palace, a collaboration between Levante Brewing and Tattered Flag

Now going into the full deep dark end, we have Five-Sided Puzzle Palace, the collaboration between Levante Brewing Company and Tattered Flag Brewing.

Beer: Five-Sided Puzzle Palace
Brewery: Levante Brewing Company
Style: Stout – Imperial / Double
ABV: 12%
IBU: 59
Untappd Write-Up: A chocolate-covered-orange stout brewed in collaboration with Tattered Flag. This luscious dessert stout is thicker than brownie batter, and for a truly unique spin, we squeezed bushels of oranges into the batch. For chocolate, we stayed local to Harrisburg and Tattered Flag by using Hershey’s Cocoa Powder. Dessert is served. *Contains Lactose*.

This is completely a dessert stout, double-style, rich, heavy, decadent, delicious. Reminiscent of the orange chocolate candies typically given out at Easter, this is practically a liquid version of that, but with blood oranges rather than regular oranges.

Appearance is jet fuel black. Deep dark ocean black. Light ring of foam to the head at the top that is darker hued as well.

Aroma is chocolate straight through with some of the blood orange sneaking out. But very very very chocolate heavy smell. You can smell the heavyness of the beer and it gives off just a deep dark wonderful aroma.

From first sip you get the chocolate, you get the blood orange, and you get a smacking of the boozyness of this. You feel that 12% right up front and center. The chocolate is rich, smooth, decadent, and makes this feel like a true dessert style stout. The blood orange compliments it perfectly and gives the beer some balance to it, so its not just a complete boozy chocolate bomb in your mouth. The two flavors work in great tandem.

My Untappd Rating: ****.25
Global Untappd Rating: 3.94 (as of 9.7.19)

Fantastic beers all around, from both Levante Brewing Company and Tattered Flag Brewing. Both collaborations were great, and would love to see more work from the two of them together. Make sure to pick up some cans of Five-Sided Puzzle Palace and Wasted Away Again, both are terrific, and will hold up for a while, but most likely will sell out soon and quickly.

Cheers everyone, and since its the start of football season, I’ll give a shout of ‘WHO DEY’ and say Go Bengals ….. go 0-16, and lets get that first round draft pick!

-B. Kline

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