Coming soon, in the upcoming days we will be introducing a new segment to the blogs – Brewer Interviews. This segment is pretty straight forward. We, The Beer Thrillers, conduct an interview with a brewer (or brewers). Be it in person, over the phone, or through e-mail. Local to Central PA or far away, the game plan will be interview all types of brewers from all different types of breweries.
I think it’ll be a fun and informative new segment to the blog. We’ll get to hear from new voices, different people, and all learn all kinds of things about the different brewers, breweries, and brewing methods. Plus, it’ll provide some exposure to the brewers and breweries (as well as ourselves), so it seems like a win all around.
I know A. Parys is already working on an interview with a beer scientist from Cape May Brewing Company. I have talked to Tyler Budwash of Pilger Ruh Brewing, as well as several other brewers, so we are set to go with some exciting interviews to kick this new segment of the blog off.
Similar to how our beer reviews are prefaced such as: “BEER REVIEW: X (X)” where X is the title of the beer and (X) is the title of the brewery, the new brewer interview series will be similar. They will be titled, for example: Brewer Interview: Tyler Budwash (Pilger Ruh Brewing). So you know who the brewer is, and what company he is brewing for (at time of interview).
This is likely to expand greatly, and will include all manner of people working in the beer and craft beer and specifically brewery industries. From brewers to owners, to bartenders, to beer scientists, lab workers, hop farmers, home brewers, you name it. As well as expand regionally, going from the Central PA area to cover all sorts of areas, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Vermont, and the list will just continue.
Of course, if you are a brewer and would like to be interviewed, please contact us, you can contact us through the page here – CONTACT PAGE – or you can contact us on our FACEBOOK page through the messenger system. Or even contact us through TWITTER message or INSTAGRAM message. All will work. (Best results will be the CONTACT PAGE and FACEBOOK MESSENGER).
Hope you guys will find the new segment fascinating and interesting. And hope to hear from some brewers interested in being interviewed. Cheers everyone!
Happy Father’s Day everyone. Hope you all made the best of your day, I certainly did. Home from Frederick Maryland and with some fresh beer to boot. You can read about my trip Monocacy Battlefield and Frederick Maryland here: Road Trip to Monocacy Battlefield (June 19th and June 20th, 2020) and the lead-up article to it here: Impromptu Two-Day Trip to Frederick Maryland. But now home, safe and sound, and feeling a lot better, its time to spend time with the family and enjoy a nice, relaxing father’s day with some cold, refreshing, craft beer.
The day started with me making the girls scrambled eggs on the grill and them giving me my gifts; which was a ‘The Dadalorian’ shirt, and a small mini-fridge that can hold six cans. It can be plugged in regularly or into a car, so that’s pretty cool. The shirt:
As a fan of Star Wars and especially the Mandalorian show, its definitely a cool shirt. After my shower for the day I made sure to put it on when we went to my sister and brother-in-law’s for a lunch / dinner picnic gathering.
Social distancing was done, don’t worry, (though I did not bring any Social Distancing), but the gathering was only myself and my girls, my parents, and my sister, her husband, and their son. So everyone whose been in contact with each other in recent history anyway. Also, while there, due to an upcoming stomach procedure my father had to be tested for COVID-19 and he got his results by phone – negative. Which was a gift in and of itself for father’s day.
For my father I had gotten him a book about Eagles’ Zac Ertz, as well as a new hand-made broom for their porch, and a rose I planted in their garden.
The get together was nice, and relaxing, the kids played in a water pool and played with squirt guns and water balloons, my brother in law grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, and I drank a few delicious Fredhead Red IPAs. Even having one later watching a nice storm roll through.
So let’s check it out….
Beer: Fredhead Red IPA Brewery: Attaboy Beer Style: IPA – Red ABV: 7% IBU: 50 Untappd Description:
Piney, Roasty, Rich. Fredhead is formally named Fredheaded Stepchild. An ode to the great Red IPA’s out there.
Malts: 2 Row, Munich, Crystal 80, Black Malt, Black Prinz
I enjoy the Untappd descriptions for Attaboy Beer’s; they include the malts used, the hops used, the starting gravities and the final gravity. All great for home brewers who would want to replicate (or attempt to) their recipes or make a clone. If anything, it at least gives them a base idea to start from. Plus, for consumers (drinkers) its a great way to learn more about the beer and the ingredients in it that you are drinking. Always cool, a smarter consumer, smarter drinker, is a better consumer and better drinker.
Appearance is similar to Amber Ales; in that its just that – Amber. Red. Red… and an IPA…. Oh, I get it now! Now do take note – this is a IPA – Red; not an Amber Ale, like Nugget Nectar. So remember folks – Nugget Nectar is NOT an IPA, its an Amber Ale, this – Fredhead Red – IS an IPA, and its a RED IPA. Ok? We got all that sorted? Though I do have to confess loving sitting at the bar at Troegs Brewery watching people call Nugget Nectar an Amber IPA or Red IPA or just an IPA in general and everyone roll their eyes, sigh, and try to begin to explain. But anyway….. getting back to the appearance of this redheaded stepchild….. First off, color is a dark amber red, still fairly transparent but not completely (due to its darker hue; not due to filtration). Super carbonated, but not a gusher. Big foamy, fluffy head with randomized and large bubbles.
Aroma is hoppy, but with a much more distinguishable malt backbone to it. Definitely not a hop bomb or a malt bomb either way, by any means. This is certainly closer to being a West Coast style IPA and there is a nice piney, resin, earthy heavyness to the nose on this. A hint of citrus, some of the simcoe making its presence known, but for the most part this smells more like a roasty, malty West Coast IPA.
This drinks like a darker, more malty, roasty, version of a West Coast IPA. It is malty, but not a malt bomb. It is hoppy, but not a hop bomb. It mixes nicely and makes a very nice combination of the two. There is a very healthy piney, resin taste to it that gives it that good old fashion West Coast IPA taste, thats nice to get back to every once in a while. In the current New England IPA dominated beer trends, its nice to kick back every once in a while with a good old fashion West Coast style IPA (even if its a ‘Red IPA’). With the piney-ness and resin, I also get some faint hints of grapefruit, bit of citrus, bit of roasted malt, darker, bread-crumb like malt, slight biscuit, and earthy notes. The mouthfeel for this is pretty much spot on, not too thick, not too thin, right where an IPA should be. Its well carbonated and is a lovely brew. This, along with the other two beers I had at Attaboy Beer were downright fantastic. And definitely makes Attaboy Beer worth a stop if you are in the Frederick Maryland area. This is a great Red IPA, a great West Coast IPA, and just a downright great beer.
My Untappd Rating: ***.75 Global Untappd Rating: 3.6 (as of 6.22.20)
Cheers everyone, happy father’s day, and make sure dad gets to sit back, relax, and drink a nice cold craft beer!
So this is the story of an impromptu two-day road trip / adventure in Frederick Maryland I had with my three daughters. It was originally planned as a quick five or so hour trip down to visit the Monocacy Battlefield, tour it, have lunch and dinner at breweries, and leave. Well…. none of that worked out. None of this went according to plan. And by none, I mean, legitimately, none of it.
As I said in part one of this – An Impromptu Two-Day Road Trip to Frederick Maryland – the original plan was simple; I would pick up the girls and leave the Harrisburg area around 10:30AM, we would arrive at Idiom Brewing at a little after noon (right when they open too), eat our lunch, view the canal / creek there a bit, then spend roughly four to five hours at the battlefield viewing everything, find another brewery (Midnight Run Brewing, Rockwell Brewing, Monocacy Brewing, or some other) for dinner, then head out, all in time to drop my oldest off in Lemoyne for a sleepover and even have time to take my younger two Mini Golfing at Indian Echo Caverns.
…..Well, none of that really happened.
Starting off, its not a bad trip from the Harrisburg area to Frederick Maryland and Monocacy Battlefield. Roughly an hour and a half (direct shot Google Maps said it was 1HR-36Min). We start off at Sam’s Club to get gas. Sam’s has three dual-sided pumps with two pumps at each for a total of twelve pumps. Nearly every car in line has the tank on the driver’s side, and of course, despite being in the shortest line, I somehow pick the line that ends up taking the longest.
A guy asks for a jump on his car, help him do so, and then on our way we are. The drive is luckily uneventful, its mostly taking RT15 the whole way there, skirting around Gettysburg and making it into Frederick. We see about six or seven patrol and state cop cars along RT15 so I keep speed limit and not venturing to much past the noted limit. We arrive in Frederick at Idiom Brewing at 12:30.
Finding the Idiom Brewery was easy, turn here, turn there, boom you’re there. Pulled in, woke up the littlest one, and we masked up and headed inside. Got the gist of what their rules are during the pandemic / COVID-19 / coronavirus crisis, and got the girls to the outside dining area. We settled in, I grabbed a beer, took a sip, and then we went to the food truck and made our order and went back to the outdoor dining area.
I ordered ‘Moment in the Sun’ by Idiom Brewing. It is a Fruited Sour, using papaya, pineapple, and coconut cream. No IBU, and a 6.1% ABV. On Untappd I gave it a ****. The global average rating is 3.83 (as of 6.21.20).
We got our food back from the taco truck. My oldest – Olivia-Grace – got a fried chicken quesadilla, my middle child – Lily – got a fried brisket quesadilla, and my youngest – Mara – and I shared three chicken tacos. The food was very good, the girls loved it. It was more of a traditional Mexican taco using cilantro and no lettuce.
The view from the backporch dining area of Idiom Brewing is absolutely beautiful. It overlooks the Carroll Creek and some of the park that runs alongside the creek on both sides. Also, right by the brewery is several other businesses, fountains in the pond, and the train interchange for Frederick.
As we ate our food and then explored a little of the surrounding area, I then went back and got a second beer – Its The Berries. Another fruited sour, this one was only 5.8% ABV and no IBU. The Untappd description for it reads: “Juicy and slightly tart, this beer was kettle soured with a mix of lactobacillus plantarum and lactobacillus brevis, then fermented with Conan yeast for some stone fruit undertones. We then fermented the beer on top of over 300# of Raspberries, Blackberries and Boysenberries.” I gave it ****.25 on Untappd, and the average global rating (as of 6.21.20) was 4.1.
Before heading out, we packed up our stuff, threw away our trash, paid and tipped, and I tasted a sample of their White Stout which was very good. The girls hit the bathroom and then we were heading out to begin our actual visit of the Monocacy Battlefield.
First stop of the Monocacy Battlefield is the Best Farm.
The first stop of the tour was the Best Farm and property. We walked about it, checked it out, and then we went over to the Visitor Center. Unfortunately due to COVID-19 / coronavirus the visitor center is closed, but there is still a trail to hike behind it, and some things to see, so we still stopped to check it out.
This is when things started going ‘horribly awry’. As we started the Juncture Trail, I begin noting that my stomach was cramping severely and was hurting pretty bad, but not too bad that I couldn’t walk. The girls were also starting to do little complaints; “Its too hot”, “I’m tired”, “My legs hurt”, “its waaaaaaaaaaay toooooo hooooot”, etc. So we get back to the car, and take note of how its starting to look ominous in the distance.
We start making our way along the road towards Gambril’s Mill, the next stop of the tour. We cross the bridge over the train-tracks that ran along and through the battlefield (as you can see in the pictures, and make up part of the Juncture). We get out at what I thought was the trailhead for the Gambril Mill (it wasn’t), and start walking, and a few drops of rain begin to hit us… its also when I re-look at the map and realize we are not in the correct spot, so we start heading back to the car…. when the heavens above unleash and it just becomes a torrential rainfall.
So we get back in the car and begin to weather out the thunderstorm. Important thing to note here – my car’s AC has not been working recently (it needs recharged). So, its getting a bit hot in the car, thus I then roll down the windows and keep the defroster on, and work a delicate balance of things to try and maintain some form of cooling in the vehicle. Which is definitely needed when you have three youngsters in the car who have been complaining about how hot its been all day. About five-ten minutes into this storm…. the violently ill feeling overcomes me and I rush out of the car towards the bridge and into the trees.
As you might have guessed; in the thunderstorm and downpour, within sight and view of the pretty scenic bridge, I began to retch and vomit. I had a full on stomach upheaval. But sadly, it wasn’t enough. It became mostly dry heaving, and not enough for me to overcome the sickness and sickening feeling. After some time of this, I got back in the car, and we finished out the storm, once the storm abated we decided we could further our trip. Me thinking that my stomach could hold off, the girls probably just wanting this all to be over.
….It was far from over. Towards driving to Gambril Mil, the stomach pain increased, and I made an emergency finding of a Dunkin Donuts. Where a beleaguered (and probably quickly horrified) teenager encountered me all but rushing through the store on my way to the bathroom. Thirty minutes later, and a few “Are you still alive in there?” check-ins from my daughters as well as the terrified teenage Dunkin Donuts employee, I emerge, and get back in the car.
By this point its about 4:45-5PM, and I tell the girls, I don’t think there’s anyway we can finish the tour, we’ll make the drive to Lemoyne (Google Maps estimating it at 1 hour), to drop off my oldest at her sleepover and then proceed to home (another 20-30 minutes from there). At this point, she’d get to her sleepover at about 6PM (we were originally aiming for 6:30PM) and we would be home at 6:30-6:45PM. Not too bad, and albeit a miserable trip, at least not the worst possible outcome….
….Until it was the worst possible outcome. I get onto the highway, and its immediately, completely, bumper, to bumper, to bumper, to bumper, to bumper traffic for as far as the eye can see. If I was Noah sending off a dove, it wouldn’t be able to find land, only cars. So, I sadly, internally crying to myself, and hoping my intestines, guts, stomach, lungs, and whatever other organs can hold together, like Han Solo, “Hear me baby… hold together…” I grit and get into this mob-scene of traffic. After about 15-2o minutes of waiting, we edge closer and closer, and I can see an off-ramp exit. And thats when Wave 2 of this all hit me, and I peel out and down the ramp, having no idea where I’m at. My co-pilot next to me – my oldest; not Chewbacca – is passed out, my youngest in the back – likewise sound asleep, just me and Lily awake and completely clueless on where we at. I see an empty parking lot and I swerve in. I fling the door open and fall to the ground as it begins to storm and rain again, and my stomach unloads upon the poor pavement that never did anything to it. Much to the horror of a shocked worker standing outside on their smoke break. I find myself in a near-empty parking lot for a Wellness Salon and Spa. Ironic I suppose. After a horrific five minutes, I crawl back in, and Google Maps for a hotel. I find an Econo Lodge, and I find myself going back through the town of Frederick Maryland for about the third time that day. (As becomes apparent, I will pass through the town of Frederick all told about twenty times on this trip, crossing the same bridge, passing over the same road, back and forth, back and forth.)
We reach the Econo Lodge, where I somehow maintain a semblance of sanity and don’t look like a man who is about to divulge all of his stomach’s secrets upon the nearest person, I make it through the check-in and rush the girls into the room….. or attempt to rush the girls into the room… for the door doesn’t work. I try it again, still nothing, …one more try, leaning my shoulder in, and blam-o, we’re in. The girls get comfortable, turn on the TV, and start to watch Guardians of the Galaxy 2, while I rush off to get a shower and try to resort to normalcy.
Quick shower, some more throwing up, and I’m soon sound asleep in the bed. Except its a fitful, feverish sleep, where the girls said I snored and huffed and puffed like the Wolf trying to destroy a village of pig homes. After the feverish, hellish, hallucinatory nap, where I apparently sweated out a small pond’s worth of sweat, I’m back to normal. To the point where my stomach is even growling and letting me know its hungry. But oh no, not so fast Mr. Stomach, I ain’t falling for that one.
I get another quick shower (hey, why not), and get the girls over to the Sheetz right next to the motel for some food, and we then find a nice playground park to eat. The park is a nice little playground, dog park, and some athletic fields, called Bellenger Creek Park. The girls eat and play, and I rest and get back to feeling like normal.
Following this, we returned back to Carroll Creek and started walking both sides of the creek. Which looks like basically a long canal that runs through Frederick, it gives a beautiful view on both sides of it. At one end is Idiom Brewing and other businesses and the Frederick train station, at this area a short hop and skip over is also Smoketown Brewery and Attaboy Beer. We parked somewhere in the middle at a parking garage and walked all over it.
We walked the entire path, at about 9:15-9:30PM we found ourselves near some of the restaurants that were still open, and the girls saying they were hungry (again). Seeing where we were (near Idiom Brewing) but that they were closed, and seeing a few places open, we decided to go over. I will say here, that I was a bit unaware of how the locations looked. The Attaboy beer, Attaboy Barrel House, and Smoketown Brewery are all right next to each other (physically touching) in part of an old warehouse like complex. That night, I had looked at the Google Map and it didn’t list the barrel house or the Smoketown Brewery, but instead just listed Attaboy Beer, so thats where I thought it was when we talked to the hostesses at the restaurant. (When we went back then Saturday, I realized they were three distinct locations.) Talked to the hostesses, and they said due to having children, that we would be unable to be seated. That they were too busy for children at the time. We said ok, finished our walk, and got food elsewhere then before hitting the motel and going to sleep.
The next morning came early with me waking up around 5:30AM, after falling asleep sometime around 11:30PM to Futurama on the SyFy channel. Apparently at 5:30AM theres nothing much to put on TV in Frederick Maryland other than Home Alone, so me and my youngest watched that until the others woke up and we decided on breakfast. The girls voted Waffle House… so at 9:30AM I found myself at a Waffle House in Frederick Maryland, on day two of a trip that was only meant to be five hours. Like Gilligan and the Skipper and all of them, it was only supposed to be a three hour tour.
Following the Waffle House, we revisited the Monocacy Battlefield, starting with the Gambril Mill and Gambril House. The Mill area had a nice trail down by the Monocacy River, and the girls enjoyed this early morning hike, we got there around 10:15-10:30 and stayed until 11-11:20AM.
Next up on our journey through the Monocacy Battlefield was the Thomas Farm. Which also included a large hike, leading down along the river, and basically just circumnavigating the farm fields. While at the farmhouse Olivia-Grace found a snake skin, and then down along the river trail section we encountered a snake (not sure what type, so if anyone knows, feel free to say so in the comments).
Our next and final stop of our tour through the Monocacy Battlefield was the Worthington Farm and family house. There was also a long (several long) hike trail here, but my daughters didn’t want to do it, so we ended up skipping out on that.
So now it was time for lunch, and the girls were hungry, as was I, so we looked up several breweries in the area to see where to eat. Remembering that Attaboy Beer, and having been recommended it before, I decided we would try them out. At this point I was still under the impression that the Smoketown Brewery was the Attaboy Beer, so I was hoping since it was day time, they’d let us in. Google Mapped our way there, got there and there is a large parking lot area for the complex of breweries and other businesses. Parked, and realized my mistake, that there was the Attaboy Beer AND the Smoketown Brewery. We decided to stop at the Smoketown Brewery first. They once again denied us entry because of the girls, saying that I had no way to properly maintain them and that they could become a hindrance to all around due to the COVID-19 restrictions. That I had no way to ensure that they would remain in their seats; despite them being 12, 11, and 7 years old. As well as very well behaved young ladies. I didn’t make a scene, just said ok, and we headed over to the Attaboy Beer. But, I will take this moment to point out, that when passing their outdoor beer garden, which was visible from the hostess location, there was a family with a small child running around. Legitimately running around. And small enough, to what looked like he was in just a diaper and t-shirt, so toddler age, at best three years old. Either way, once we got to Attaboy Beer, I definitely don’t feel like I missed out on anything with the Smoketown Brewery, and from what I’ve been told, I didn’t miss out either.
At Attaboy Beer, the bartenders were super nice, as well as the host. Accommodating and very nice and talkative and helpful to my daughters as well. Even giving us a free Sprite because they didn’t have any root beer left and they felt bad. I ordered their Galaxy Maid, which was a delicious NE-IPA.
Galaxy Maid is a NE-IPA by Attaboy Beer, its 20 IBU, and 6.9% ABV. The Untappd description reads: “Grapefruit, Hazy, Juicy. For people who can’t decide if they want a glass of orange juice or a beer. Our hazy New England IPA is thick and lush, bursting with citrus flavor. So of the moment. Hops: Galaxy, Horizon, Malts: 2 Row, Oats, Wheat, Carapils, Caravienne, Starting Gravity 14.4, Final Gravity 4.2” I gave it ****.25 on Untappd and as of 6.21.20 the global average rating was 3.89.
At these breweries, there were two food trucks, the traditional taco truck from Idiom the day before, and a Peruvian food truck. Now, I want to emphasize that I did not get sick because of the taco truck. That was just a fluke stomach bug that hit me at just at that time. Would have happened if I was at home, or California, or Vermont, or Michigan, or Frederick Maryland. But, despite all that, I did not feel up to retrying my luck with the taco truck and we ordered Peruvian instead. Never had Peruvian before, never had Yucca Fries before, but all in all it wasn’t bad. Not my huge cup of tea, but not bad.
While at Attaboy Beer, before we left, I purchased a four-pack of Fredhead Red IPA to take home, as well as one more beer myself as we finished our lunch. My second beer was….
Creek Life (Citra) is a pale ale, by Attaboy Beer, it is 5.6% ABV and 30 IBU. The Untappd description reads: “Tropical, Citrus, Bright. Bursting with citrus and mango, Creek Life is a beer for all days. Especially sunny ones. Hops: Citra, Simcoe, Horizon, Malts: 2 Row, CaraVienna, Starting Gravity 13, Final Gravity 2.7” My Untappd rating was ****.25 and the global average rating (as of 6.21.20) was 3.64.
After paying, tipping, and cleaning up to leave, the bartender told me if I wanted to try flights that the barrel house next door was doing flights. Most of the breweries I’ve been to since we’ve been allowed back out, have not been. Desperate Times was in Carlisle, PA; and later on this trip Rockwell Brewing in Frederick, MD; but most of the other places (like Idiom Brewing, Midnight Run Brewing, Molly Pitcher, etc.) have not been. Since I was with my daughters and just had two at the main brewhouse, I decided not to, and we then went to our next stop. Which was the Francis Scott Key memorial.
I understand our current climate, politically, etc, and I understand that Francis Scott Key was a slave owner. As per wikipedia on him:
Key purchased his first slave in 1800 or 1801 and owned six slaves in 1820. He freed seven slaves in the 1830s, one of whom continued to work for him for wages as his farm’s foreman, supervising several slaves. Key also represented several slaves seeking their freedom, as well as several slave-owners seeking return of their runaway slaves. Key was one of the executors of John Randolph of Roanoke‘s will, which freed his 400 slaves, and Key fought to enforce the will for the next decade and to provide the freed slaves with land to support themselves.
Key is known to have publicly criticized slavery’s cruelties, and a newspaper editorial stated that “he often volunteered to defend the downtrodden sons and daughters of Africa.” The editor said that Key “convinced me that slavery was wrong—radically wrong”. However, in spite of his anti-slavery position, Key expressed white supremacist points of view. During the War of 1812, after seeing the Second Corps of the Colonial Marines—a British military corps composed of fugitive slaves from the U.S.—fight against American soldiers, Key said that blacks were “a distinct and inferior race of people, which all experience proves to be the greatest evil that afflicts a community”, according to Snow-Storm in August (Knopf Doubleday, 2013) by Jefferson Morley.
Key was a founding member and active leader of the American Colonization Society (ACS), whose primary goal was to send free blacks to Africa. Though many free blacks were born in the United States by this time, historians argue that upper-class American society, of which Key was a part, could never “envision a multiracial society”. The ACS was not supported by most abolitionists or free blacks of the time, but the organization’s work would eventually lead to the creation of Liberia in 1847.
I was sure to discuss these things with my daughters. We discussed his slavery, we discussed his story, his life. We read the signs and posts there at the cemetery. We also discussed The Star Spangled Banner, its meaning, its impact, etc. We did go and visit his memorial, statute, and burial site at the cemetery of Mt. Olivet. I think, in light of how statues of slave owners, slavers, racists, etc, are being pulled down, I will not post the pictures of his memorial. I have taken pictures of the memorial, we were there, but I don’t see the need to post them here, in light of the political climate, and given that this is still just a beer blog. I’m not making claims, I’m not looking to engender fights, I just think its unnecessary, unneeded, and not worth posting those pictures. I’ve posted tons of other pictures in this blog article alone, of the Monocacy Battlefield, of the Civil War, etc. At the end of the day, this is still a beer, brewery, craft beer, hops, home brewing, etc, blog, and so I don’t see the need for that here. This post is long enough as it is, and I’ve probably lost most of you by this point anyway, especially those just looking to read up on beer, breweries visited, etc. (Not that I have that huge of a following or anything anyway.)
I do enjoy visiting Civil War battlefields and learning. I have gone to Gettysburg, Antietam, and several other smaller sites, and looking to go to many more in the upcoming future. I like to tie them in with brewery visits, and now with the blog, I write a bit of it as a travelogue. I like to think that this blog does a lot of things; beer reviews, brewery news, brewery reviews, brewery tours, visits, etc, as well as act as a bit of a travelogue, especially for those reading vicariously and might not get to visit these places. I hope people can be respectful here reading, and this does not become a fight or politically charged thing. So having said all this – and continuing as the faithful narrator, and recounting my travels, I am listing them and continuing, just for this section, I am not providing pictures. That is all. Moving on.
While in the cemetery, we saw several KLINE tombstones. So we drove throughout the cemetery and saw numerous KLINEs which I found interesting. I have done a fair bit of genealogical research after my oldest was born and even made a rather large Family Tree website, that my middle child (Lily) loves checking out. While doing all that, I have done a lot of past research on KLINEs and where my family came from and traveled and gotten to America, etc. But most of the branches I’ve seen stayed in the Pennsylvania area. So I am looking forward to researching these KLINEs and seeing what the relationship is to my family. KLINE, KLEIN, and CLINE is a somewhat common last name, not massively common, but somewhat, especially in the farming areas of Pennsylvania and such. And I’m not going to breakdown the full history of KLINE, KLEIN, and / or CLINE, but it is common throughout the groups that it would be. My daughters and I just thought it was interesting to see all of the KLINE names. My oldest, who was born in August (like myself), thought it was interesting that most of the dates on the tombstones for the KLINEs either had a birthdate or a deathdate in August. Side trivia note for you all I suppose.
After the cemetery we checked out Baker Park, which was a huge, open area park with an amphitheater, a creek, a wonderful fountain area, baseball diamonds, basketball courts, a playground, and much more. We walked the area, stopped at a shaved ice truck and the girls got ice cones with ice cream in them. While there, there was also a Black Lives Matter rally going on. So we stopped, listened, knelt for the 8:46, and respectfully went on our way after a while.
(Once again, not taking political sides, not trying to cause controversy, not trying to cause issue, just providing a listing of my events, my activities, and my trip. This blog post was about my Road Trip to Frederick Maryland, and thus I am discussing my road trip to Frederick Maryland. Laying out the details as they happened. Omitting nothing, as you can tell by my intestinal escapades.)
Now it was time to eat some dinner and get going. It was closing in on 5:30PM, and was time we got moving. Til we would eat dinner and all, it’d be a while, so we had to make preparations to go. Since it’d still be an hour and a half drive home from where we were, and this had already been quite the trip!
Based on the recommendations, I decided on Midnight Run Brewing for the dinner spot. But as we came down the road to it, I realized there was a brewery just a block away from it, so we stopped there quickly and first. And that first brewery was….
Rockwell Brewing, located just outside the main area of Frederick Maryland but still within the city. It had its own building and was a nice looking place. The indoors smelled lovely, lavender, sage, berries, perhaps, not sure, but not your typical ‘hop’ smell of a brewery like Troegs Brewing or Idiom Brewing had the day before.
While there, there was live music, playing Three Eyed Blind, Counting Crows, Oasis, and similar bands; single live singer with his guitar. Rockwell Brewing was doing flights, so I ordered myself a flight. The four beers I got were:
Tidal Wave – 6.8% NE-IPA ; my rating: **** / global rating: 3.62 (as of 6.21.20)
YMCA – 8.6% DIPA ; my rating: **** / global rating: 3.82 (as of 6.21.20)
Smooth Operator – Session IPA (interesting note: while drinking this, the live singer started playing Smooth Operator) – my rating: **** / global rating: 3.61 (as of 6.21.20)
Bitchin’ Camaro – 6.2% milk / sweet stout ; my rating: ***.75 / global rating: 3.7 (as of 6.21.20)
I liked the atmosphere of Rockwell Brewery, it was low-key, fun, cheery outdoors, good nice live music, open atmosphere. You could tell this was a hangout for a lot of locals to come and meet and talk with each other. But, after having the flight, it was time to move on.
Which was easy to get to the next brewery – Midnight Run Brewing; it was just across the parking lot area in the stretch / strip mall outlets area. We stopped at the Dollar General because I had to pick up a new charger cord (forgot it at the motel) and was reminded constantly by my daughter. Then went over to Midnight Run Brewing which was just a few shops down. Went inside, got the story of their rules, ordered a beer and walked through the brewery to the outback recently built out-door seating patio area.
I then went next door to Oscar’s Alehouse (basically an Applebee’s, Texas Roadhouse, etc. type place) to order food.
Like most places, they weren’t doing flights. So over the course of the hour and a half we were there I ordered two pints, and got a crowler to go. The pints I got were:
Electric Monster – 8.3% Fruited Sour ; my rating: **** / global average rating: 3.94 (as of 6.21.20)
Higher Intelligence – 10.3% Belgian Quad ; my rating: ****.25 / global average rating: 3.94 (as of 6.21.20)
The crowler I picked up (which I haven’t yet gotten to drink, but will soon, be on the lookout for a review of it) was The Milky Way; a 10% Double Imperial Milk Stout. Super looking forward to that.
For food, I wanted to get a pizza and wings at the Oscar’s Alehouse, they told me they couldn’t do pizzas because they didn’t have any pizza to go boxes, so I ordered nachos and wings for the girls. They brought the food over and left it at the front counter of Midnight Run Brewing, where… to my surprise… the nachos were in a pizza to-go box…. me and the bartender of Midnight Run found that humorous and interesting. Shrug. The girls were happy with the wings and nachos, so, no complaints there. The bartender kept my crowler in the fridge while we ate and I had my last drink, and then we were on our merry way.
The drive home was relatively uneventful, made to the Gettysburg Sheetz or pretty decent time, girls needed a pit break, and then on to home. We left Midnight Run Brewing at about 7:30-7:45PM, and even counting in the pit break, we got home at about 9:30PM.
This was definitely a very, very, very, very, very interesting and unique ‘road trip’. Nothing like how it was planned out to be. There were definite disappointments; getting sick, missing the sleepover, no mini-golf, but there were more joys and fun and laughs though too. And funnily enough, now we have a story to tell too, “remember that time dad you got sick all over Frederick Maryland?” ….oh do I ever!
Talking to an older co-worker over text the day after this trip (this morning), he told me – the events and trips that him and his sons (grown and off to college) remember the most are the ones that also went horribly awry, with unexpected things happening. They create the memories, the lasting impressions. I can honestly see the wisdom in those words, and one hundred percent believe it. I’m sure my girls will be talking about this trip (as will I) for years – possibly decades – to come.
Some Monocacy Battlefield pictures and things for you all to see:
The breweries visited:
Idiom Brewing (Frederick, Maryland)
Smoketown Brewery (was not allowed to sit due to girls, did not drink at) (Frederick, Maryland)
Attaboy Beer (Frederick, Maryland)
Rockwell Brewery (Frederick, Maryland)
Midnight Run Brewing (Frederick, Maryland)
I recommend Idiom Brewing, Attaboy Beer, Rockwell Brewery, and Midnight Run Brewing. I don’t want to speak for Smoketown Brewery, of their food or beer, but it was annoying their policy of no kids yet having a kid running around. Most likely he was a friend, owner, or worker there (not the kid, but the kid’s parent[s]) I assume. Who knows.
As for the battlefield, its a nice, small, easy navigable battlefield. It is smaller (much smaller) than Antietam or Gettysburg, and there is less things to see. Doing the full hikes at the Thomas Farm, Gambril Mill, the Juncture Trail, and Worthington Farm, would add a bit more time, but there isn’t a whole lot to see on the hikes than if you just go for a hike at a normal nature trail or park. The visitor center was closed due to the pandemic, so perhaps there would be more to see in the future. Also, there is a New Jersey monument section that was closed due to being repaired and reworked on, so we couldn’t stop at that as well. I would suggest visiting, but if you haven’t been to Gettysburg or Antietam I would highly recommend them first.
The town of Frederick Maryland though was beautiful, and could spend several days just exploring it. Lots to see and do. Lots of breweries too. Some breweries we didn’t get to visit but were in the area are:
Jug Bridge Brewing
Attaboy Barrel House (part of the Attaboy Beer)
Old Mother Brewing
There are also several distilleries in the area, none of which I got to visit either:
Puerto Rico Distillery
Tenth Ward Distilling Company
There is plenty more and lots of micropubs and gastropubs and all kinds of restaurants along the Carroll Creek park / walk area. There is even a section called Brewer’s Alley, so I can only assume there is at least one brewery in that area (I would hope so at any rate).
Thank you everyone for reading the blog, and checking out my trip. I know this was a long winded blog post (possibly my biggest, or at least top 3 longest posts). Hopefully you found it amusing, informative, and interesting. It certainly was an interesting trip. The battlefield was interesting, the breweries were great, and the company (my daughters) was fun.
Hope the best to everyone. You can check out a selection of other road trip and other stories posted on my blog below, be sure to check them out. Cheers everyone, and thanks for reading!
Also, since this is going up on Fathers Day, I’d like to say Happy Fathers Day to everyone. Hope you got to spend time with your children and had a wonderful day sitting back, relaxing, and enjoying some cold craft beer. I did with my family (first time in a long time I didn’t have to work on Father’s Day, so that was a blessing in and of itself), drinking Attaboy Beer’s Fredhead Red IPA. It was a good day. Hope yours was as well! Cheers!
Yesterday was meant to be a simple trip. Had a simple plan. Simple trip idea. And should have been relatively easy to accomplish.
…..But nooooooooooooooooope. Things definitely didn’t quite work out that way (do they ever?). Checked with some knowledgeable people online (primarily Tyler Budwash – of Pilger Ruh Brewing; who is a big Civil War battlefield buff and brewery buff) about the Monocacy Battlefield as well as nearby breweries. So I figured out the itinerary (roughly) to go; leave at 10:30AM, get there at 12-noon, when Idiom Brewing would open up. Eat lunch there with the girls, do the battlefield until about 4:30PM/5PM and then go to another brewery for dinner, then be able to drop my oldest daughter off at a sleepover in Lemoyne, and take my two younger daughters for some putt-putt (Mini Golf for the layman) and call it a day. A nice, fun, family day trip vacation.
There is a LOT of good breweries in the Frederick Maryland area. Idiom Brewing, Midnight Run Brewing, Rockwell Brewing, Smoketown Brewing, Attaboy Beer, Monocacy Brewing, and many more.
We were probably going to hit just two breweries – Idiom Brewing for lunch and then most likely Midnight Run Brewing for dinner. BUT…. like I said, nothing ever seems to work out quite right.
So what started as a one-day trip, with clear target times… lasted two days, two full days (only got home at 10PM tonight), and resulted in quite possibly one of the most interesting one (turn two) day trips I’ve done in a long time.
In the past, when I’ve done multi-day trips (like my August trip with my daughters) I broke it down per day, and gave three day reports. Given the nature of how this trip went down, I’m going to just make it a single blog article about both days (especially since I’m also doing this post as well). Since all of day two was impromptu, its all a bonus anyway! What started out as probably doing a brewery review Friday night when I got home from all of the trip, and got my youngest two to sleep, has now turned into a full on report of the trip.
And no, I’m not going to give you spoilers about what all happened and why it ended up turning into a two day trip. You’ll just have to read on yourself to find out why! (Don’t worry, I don’t think you will be disappointed and most likely will be able to get a laugh or two at my expense.)
Sunday me and my friend Ming traveled to Rickett’s Glen to hike the waterfall trails there. Planned, as I mentioned in the previous article here on the blog – A Road Trip to Ricketts Glen. We had planned this out a few weeks before, but left things kind of open ended. It was basically just a simple plan: Sunday – drive to Rickett’s Glen, walk waterfalls, drive home. With of course, a brewery on the way up, and one on the way home, possibly more if time allowed.
Thus this was started on Tuesday, but unfortunately I had to pause and finish today (Wednesday) due to chores around the house, mowing, walking the dog, (yadda yadda yadda, boring crap, boring crap, boring crap), but mostly because I had to head over to D. Scott’s to do a podcast (as well as our first YouTube video) with D. Scott, Esty, and Skott. This was our time travel podcast where we discussed time travel in movies, books, and TV shows. Namely Back to the Future, Terminator, Looper, and a host of others (shout outs to Rick and Morty, Futurama, Austin Powers, and Avengers: End Game). That will be going up soon – both for the podcast and the YouTube video. I will make sure to edit this and include the links to those when they are uploaded. You can check out the Podcast channel itself here: So a Mexican and a Scott Walk Into a Bar…. (Be forewarned – language is a bit in the R category, and most of the episodes are titled “WTF Did I Just Watch”, so you can figure out and parse out what the W… T… F… stand for.) This was our first podcast / YouTube video and our first podcast with Skott on as well, so we’ll see how it goes. I enjoyed Abomz World (Ever Grain and Abomination Brewing collaboration), Wookie Monster (Fourscore Beer Co), and Buddy Shots (Cycle Brewing) while on the video. Finishing up the night with County Line IPA by Neshaminy Brewing. (But enough about that and those beers, lets get to the road trip.)
So, like I said before I interrupted myself, me and Ming planned to take this road trip from Hummelstown (he picked me up) to Rickett’s Glen which is in Benton, Pennsylvania. (See map below). It’s a roughly 2 hour and some minutes drive (depending on speed, traffic, etc.). According to Google Maps its a 2HR-8Min drive.
As I noted in my previous article here – A Road Trip to Ricketts Glen – we planned on hitting a brewery on the way up, and then one (or more) for dinner on the way home. Some of the breweries I had google mapped and looked up (in the vicinity of Ricketts Glen or at least along RT15 and RT11 – which are the main roads we would be on) were:
Isle of Que Brewing Co.
Eclipse Craft Brewing
Turkey Hill Brewing
Old Forge Brewing Co.
Ming gets to my house around 11AM. We load up the backpacks, I add a four-pack in for the actual hike (New Trail’s Hammock, Troegs’ Scratch 415 and 417, Pizza Boy’s The Pen is Mightier). We head out. Stopping at the Sheetz by those strip clubs once you get near Little Buffalo and then we are fully out on the road.
Looking at the breweries on my phone, we decide to stop at Isle of Que Brewing Co. first.
Its just a little over noon when we get there. We are the first to enter for the day, and as soon as walk in, the bartender / owner / brewer Mike immediately recognizes me from the blog here. Which was a bit surreal as it was definitely a first to be recognized for the blog, and especially remotely (not a local [to my area of living] bar or brewery). Was definitely a very cool moment. Ordered a flight, while Ming had a water (since he was driver and basic DD for the day).
Mike was a super cool and chill dude. We talked about podcasts, YouTube, breweries, the COVID-19, quarantine and lockdown, how its affected his business, how the local area of Selinsgrove is / was during the pandemic, etc.
My flight consisted of: Peanut Butter Ale, Coal Wrecker Region Raspberry Ale, Black IPA, and Sexual Chocolate Stout. Mike gave Ming a sample of the Queban Joe (a coffee porter) which I stole a sip of.
My ratings for the beers on Untappd (and their global average ratings):
Peanut Butter Pale Ale – ****.25 / 3.91 (as of 6.16.20)
Coal Region Wrecker Raspberry Ale – **** / 3.93 (as of 6.16.20)
Black IPA – ***.75 / 3.58 (as of 6.16.20)
Sexual Chocolate Stout – **** / 3.47 (as of 6.16.20)
I would have ordered another flight or perhaps a pint, but Ming wanted to get to the trail, so I paid and we headed out. Selinsgrove Brewing was closed, so we were on the road to Ricketts Glen. Which we arrived at around 2-2:15PM.
For those who’ve never been to Ricketts Glen, it is absolutely gorgeous. We had a beautiful day, sunny, bright skied, no clouds, gorgeous day. Not too hot, just a beautiful early June day (June 14th, 2020). Just an absolutely beautiful gorgeous day. We had a fantastic hike with no problems. It was possibly the most ‘populous’ hike I’ve ever been on (most of the places I’ve hiked, I don’t see anyone on the trails, or if I do its a one time passing), here, its like caravans, and occasional slow-downs at different waterfalls. This is a map of our hike:
I will say there is parts of the hike that are ‘difficult’ for those who might have walking issues or leg problems. Overall, most of the hike is easy to moderate, but there is a few places at some of the various waterfall areas where the steps are tough and can also be a bit slick. Plus, if you actually get close to some waterfalls, its also tough and hard, and I wouldn’t fully recommend doing that.
Here is a gallery (of a LOT of pictures) of our hike:
The hike lasted about four hours roughly, and was a good, fun, nice, beautiful hike and trip. As you can see from the pictures, I did enjoy the four pack I brought with me; which consisted of:
Troegs Independent Craft Brewing: Scratch 415 – Witbier * My Rating: ***.75 / Global Rating: 3.77 (as of 6.16.20)
New Trail Brewing: Hammock * My Rating: ****.25 / Global Rating: 4.37 (as of 6.16.20)
Pizza Boy Brewing: The Pen is Mightier * My Rating: ***.75 / Global Rating: 3.89 (as of 6.16.20)
After our hike, we hit the bathroom one final time, loaded back up, and checked out the breweries map to see what is available and where we would have dinner.
There were several that we looked up – Eclipse Craft Brewing, Pine Knotter Brewing, Old Forge Brewing, and Turkey Hill Brewing. According to the Google Maps and their Facebook (I made sure to check both), Turkey Hill was going to be open til 7PM, and Old Forge was to be open until 9PM. Turkey Hill was closer to Ricketts Glen / Benton than Old Forge, so we decided we’d go to Turkey Hill Brewing, and then from there go to Old Forge Brewing since they were opened later.
We arrived at Turkey Hill Brewing Co. at roughly 6:20-6:30PM, and find out their actually open until 9PM. As we got back there, our reception returned to our phone, and we started getting inundated with texts. Our co-workers were getting called back into work (with Friday, June 19th, Dauphin County Pennsylvania goes green, our work was reopening). So everyone was seeing who got called, how they got called, what information they had, etc. Everyone had different ideas, theories, and stories of their call-backs.
While Ming went and talked to Don about his department that got called back, and their evening plans, I ordered a flight. We sat outside under a beautiful tree, and had a small little table in front of us, it all felt like sitting and eating at a family picnic at someone’s house for say Memorial Day or Fourth of July or Labor Day. Very informal, very interesting, and there were couples all around on various other benches eating in a similar fashion. Due to the current circumstances they do a generic flight of six, so that’s what I got. Once Ming came back from his call, we ordered small things of food (Don was making him dinner, so we weren’t going to get a big meal – just appetizers). I got fries and Ming got Asian Tuna.
The fries were very good, and Ming said he loved the tuna (no way was I having any as I’m allergic to seafood). The beers were also very good.
The beers (not in the particular order I had them in above):
Donny’s Irish Dry Stout * My rating: ***.75 / Global Rating: 3.73 (as of 6.16.20)
Inflategate NE IPA * My Rating: **** / Global Rating: 3.74 (as of 6.16.20)
St. Abban’s Irish Red Ale * My Rating: ***.75 / Global Rating: 3.56 (as of 6.16.20)
Oliver’s Twisted Belgian Pale Ale * My Rating: ***.50 / Global Rating: 3.3 (as of 6.16.20)
Urban Abbey Apricot Pale Ale * My Rating: ***.50 / Global Rating: 3.69 (as of 6.16.20)
Barn Dance Blonde Ale * My Rating: ***.50 / Global Rating: 3.44 (as of 6.16.20)
The atmosphere there was very beautiful, laid back, and wonderful. The staff was also really nice, wore their masks, handled the food and drinks and everything very nice. Wonderful all around. The beers were good as well. Overall the venue was beautiful, and I’d love to come visit it – outside of a pandemic – and get to really experience the place, as it looked wonderful.
After the dinner and flight, we looked up Old Forge Brewing, checked to make sure it was due to close at 9PM and headed off. We arrived there at a roughly 7:30-7:45PM, possibly going on 8PM. And it was closed up and locked. So either they closed early or their Facebook (as well as Google Maps) was using old – pre-COVID-19 – hours of operation. So sadly, we missed out on that. We climbed back into the car and headed for home with Ming dropping me off around 9:45PM or so; maybe 10PM. (I was probably not the best judge of time by this point.)
All in all, it was an absolute blast, and a wonderful road trip. I highly recommend both breweries – Isle of Que Brewing Co and Turkey Hill Brewing. Going to have to try this trip again on a weekday where we can hit a few more of the breweries, and do the hike, with hopefully less people, and later hours of operation for the breweries, so we can do more of them.
The venue for Turkey Hill was beautiful. The building for Isle of Que was nice and small and quaint, reminded me of the Warwick Hotel in Hummelstown. I enjoyed both places, both staffs, and both drinks. (Probably give the nod to Isle of Que’s beers over Turkey Hill; but there was nothing wrong with Turkey Hill’s beers, they were average / adequate and were very good. I’ve heard from several people online since that they have phenomenal full food, so maybe next time I’ll stop there and have a full meal.)
Of the beers I brought with, I enjoyed all four as well, though I had three of the four before (the Witbier was the only one I hadn’t had before). I did a review for Troeg’s Scratch 417 before. The Hammock is a great NE-IPA; the Scratch 417 was a delicious IPA, the scratch 415 was a very tasty Witbier, and The Pen is Mightier is an interesting and tasty Sour IPA.
I also highly recommend Ricketts Glen. If you love hiking, love the outdoors, love beautiful scenery, love waterfalls, it was all amazing, and just gorgeous. You definitely won’t be disappointed by the beauty of it all, it does get crowded on weekends, but I don’t think once you get out on the actual trail it is that bad. Right now it was a bit awkward with some close proximity to people given the nature of the pandemic and concerns over it, but overall, I don’t think it was too busy, and never felt threatened by their closeness, nor worried. Doing the full hike path that we took though (as shown above) will take you roughly three to four hours, especially if you stop and take in each waterfall, viewing them, and taking pictures. (Also, of course, depending on your speed, gait, etc.). Ming and I are in our thirties, so use that as a barometer I suppose.
I know this wasn’t a typical road trip, and we really only hit two breweries, but felt like making it into a fun little write-up and blog post. Perhaps next time I take the trip I’ll be able to hit more breweries and make it into a bigger brewery related blog post. Also apologize for the massive photo dump in the middle of this post, at least you could skip them (and the horrible pictures of myself, I apologize for anyone who I scared with my appearance).
But, as always, thank you very much for reading. I appreciate any comments, questions, feedback, etc. If you have any recommendations for trails, hike paths, or breweries, I’d love to hear them! Let me know in the comments! Also, be sure to hit the follow, subscribe, and like buttons. Share with friends, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and thank you all so very much for reading! I love writing for you guys, so its always great to hear from you!
This beer review originally appeared on LetUsDrinkBeer’s blog, I contribute and write occasionally for them. I wrote the review for them first, and just copying here to my blog so I have a version of it on my blog. Please check them out and give them a read. Great articles on their blog, I highly recommend their stuff! (LetUsDrinkBeer – Pandemic Pils [Boneshire Brew Works].)
Welcome back, and sorry its been a while since I’ve gotten to post here on LetsDrinkBeer’s blog. This is Ben (or B. Kline) from The Beer Thrillers and I’m glad to be back. This whole coronavirus / COVID-19 thing has definitely been hectic for everyone. Here in Pennsylvania, we’ve had a color coded system. Every county started in red, then could move to yellow, and then finally to green. My county, Dauphin county, home to Harrisburg, Hershey, and subsequently breweries like Boneshire Brew Works, Troegs Brewing, Moo-Duck Brewery, The Millworks, ZeroDay Brewing, and Newfangled Brew Works (as well as the soon to open Rubber Soul Brewery in Hummelstown), hit yellow (and will go green on Friday – June 19th). This meant that breweries could do outdoor seating (limited capacity, and following CDC guidelines). In green phase, if they so wish, they can do indoor seating as well.
So, with the beautiful weather, and missing my favorite breweries, I met my buddy out and finally had myself a socially distanced brewery beer. And what better beer to have than Pandemic Pils by Boneshire Brew Works.
Beer: Pandemic Pils Brewery: Boneshire Brew Works Style: Pilsner – German ABV: 5.5% IBU: (None) Untappd Description: Traditional German Pilsner! That’s right a beer that tastes like beer. Crisp and refreshing and just in time for the warm weather. Our first official lager…enjoy!
For those not in the know, Boneshire Brew Works is a great little small brewery pretty much right in my backyard. It sits near the end of the outskirts of Harrisburg, almost going into Hummelstown. They are one of my favorite local breweries and I’ve tried my best to support them throughout this crazy situation going on with the pandemic. As per Untappd they are a microbrewery with 139 unique beers and an overall global average rating of 3.82.
I will admit to not being the hugest Pilsner / lager fan, but I did enjoy this. And on a warm, sunny, day, I can definitely enjoy a “crisp boi” (as all the cool kids nowadays would say). I like to look at and review beers based on their styles, not my personal preferences, and I also love trying a wide variety of styles, even ones I’m not a huge huge fan of – spice is the variety of life… or… ….vice versa? Ah heck, who knows….
Appearance is a beautiful crisp, light yellow, lager style coloring. Its see-through, and fully transparent, with nice bubbles, and a small but carbonated foam head. It has the tell-tale fizziness of a carbonated lager, and it has all the characteristics and appeal of a German pilsner. Beautiful beer. (There is just something to be said for a nice, pretty, clear beer.)
Aroma is spot on for a pilsner as well. Light, airy, nothing extreme, no hop aroma, no fruityness, no weird off notes. You get the pilsner malt and the oats. There’s not a whole lot to hide or take note of here; it smells like a well made pilsner, which means it smells like a much better version of a Lite beer (glares at certain macros…. you know who you are…). Quite a few local breweries in PA (Pennsylvania) have well made lagers and pilsners, and I would hold this right up with the rest of them.
Taste is delicious. Its crisp, its golden, its refreshing, its cool, its a beer that tastes like beer. Its exactly as it says it should be. What do you want from a German Pilsner? Because this is exactly it. Great clean crisp pilsner malt and oats, nice mouthfeel, nothing cloying, no off flavors, no esters mucking about, just a perfectly well made beer in exactly its style and guidelines. You could easily hammer back a six pack or even twelve pack of these bad boys on a day watching the Phillies play or mowing the yard, or betting on your daughter’s softball game…. I mean…. watching your daughter’s softball team play….. (……shifty eyes….). This isn’t a heavy beer, nor is it light and watery, and with its 5.5% ABV it doesn’t hit you at all until you’re on beer #3 or #4 or depending on your size and tolerance #5 (6?). I certainly enjoyed this, and can only highly recommend it if your in the Harrisburg area of Pennsylvania. It is currently on draft at Boneshire Brew Works, as well as currently available to go in 4pks and also growler fills. Boneshire Brew Works also just released a new version of their English Curse – this time jazzed up with coffee, so definitely check that out as well if you are in the area. You won’t be disappointed, I promise you that!
My Untappd Rating: **** Global Untappd Rating: 3.92 (as of 6.13.20)
Thank you all for reading, and sorry its been quite so long. Things have certainly been hectic in my neck of the woods, but its looking like we are starting to come back to some semblance of normal (well, a new normal). My job is starting back up on Friday the 19th, but with so many questions yet to be answered. I hope you all had a very safe and productive time if you were in quarantine or locked down. And as always, I certainly hope you’ve been safe and sound from the virus. If you are ever in the Harrisburg area, look me up, would gladly hangout for a beer or two or three; especially once all this silly nonsense comes to an end.
As I did last summer when I took my daughter’s on a road trip across Pennsylvania (from Hummelstown up to Elk Country, to Kinzua Bridge, down to Pittsburgh, to Bushy Run, and then back home), which I covered (slightly) here on the blog, I will be doing the same tomorrow – when I take a road trip with my friend Ming up to Rickett’s Glen State Park to hike and check out the waterfalls.
We will be making a few stops along the way, and seeing a few different breweries, but not a whole lot, and due to the coronavirus / COVID-19, practices and things will be a lot different. There won’t be any brewery tours, and there won’t be as much to do, just outdoor seating. So it will certainly be interesting.
We’re also not sure yet what all breweries we are going to be visiting. (So if you have any suggestions, be sure to list them here in the comments section).
Some breweries we are looking to stop at are:
Selinsgrove Brewing (if open)
Isle of Que Brewing
Eclipse Craft Brewing
Old Forge Brewing
Turkey Hill Brewing
And if we stray the area a bit, and go into Williamsport area we might check out New Trail Brewing. But we’ll see; the main reason for the trip is the park and the hike, so the breweries are secondary, and with it being a Sunday (and due to the current ongoing crisis) most places will have limited hours (many closing by 6PM), so we’ll see.
Fingers crossed for beautiful weather and a lovely day, and to check out some nice places and drink some good cold beer. Today, I am meeting my sister and her son at Colonel Denning (taking my daughters with). Not a whole lot brewery wise in the area, but maybe we’ll stop somewhere on the way home, who knows. Trying to get some things in, as it looks like June 19th I might be going back to work (Dauphin county goes ‘green’ on June 19th). So looks like my furlough will soon be up; meaning its time to get everything done quickly!
Cheers everyone, and stay tuned after tomorrow to see what’s up and what we got done! Make sure to check in and see!
In more upsetting, and disappointing local (Central PA) news, Voodoo Brewery Lancaster has announced that they will be closing up shop. At 11AM this morning (June 11th, 2020), they released the following statement on their Facebook page:
Hello to all our fans in Eastern PA.
It is with heavy hearts today that we are announcing that we will be not be reopening our Lancaster Tap Room. We were so excited to partner with Cabalar Meat Co for a truly unique dining and beer experience, and want to say thank you to the team at Cabalar Meat Co and all of the fans who supported us. Our beer will still be available in many other bars, restaurants and stores in Eastern PA, and be on the lookout for something pretty cool going into the space at Cabalar Meat Co.
Cheers! The Employee Owners of Voodoo Brewing Company
There has been talk of this happening recently in the ‘rumors’ of the beer internet, mainly due to licensing at their location, and talk of them moving the license to another location. So this isn’t completely surprising news, especially given the current climate due to COVID-19 / coronavirus. But it is still upsetting and deeply disappointing for those in the area.
Many on Facebook and Twitter have commented how disappointing this was; how they enjoyed the location; enjoyed the butchery as well as the brewery; how they were excited to try the place out; or that they just loved Voodoo Brewery and was happy to see them so close in practically their backyard.
Voodoo has its main brewery located in Meadville, Pennsylvania. To be precise: 215 Arch St. Meadville, Pennsylvania 16335.
The Lancaster Voodoo Brewery was located at 325 N Queen St. Lancaster, Pennsylvania 17603. For myself, according to Google Maps – the Voodoo Brewery was 26 miles away; where as the Meadville location is 203 miles away. A bit of a difference. From the Lancaster Brewery to the Meadville Brewery the distance is 300 Miles; or roughly 4 Hours and 49 Minutes. Thats quite a hike!
This is definitely unfortunate news, and we will keep everyone posted and updated about changes, news, and possible new locations for Voodoo Brewery, as well as other breweries in the area. Sadly, I feel with the COVID-19 / coronavirus, that we might be seeing more breweries closing up shop rather than opening (or in some cases; even reopening) or expanding.
You can find news on other breweries closing or not expanding that we’ve covered here:
As always, thanks for reading, we’re close to getting back to some semblance of the old normal. I was even at Boneshire Brew Works, drinking out on their patio yesterday (look for a beer review from them shortly). Its amazing how exciting it was just to be sitting out drinking at a brewery again.
Sadly, yesterday, was my first time getting to use the curbside to-go feature from Troegs Brewing in Hershey. I had been wanting to use it nearly daily since opening, but unable to actually do it. All of the food has looked amazing, and I have heard absolutely nothing but amazing things about their pizzas; from D. Scott, J. Miller, and A. Parys, all recommending the pizzas. In fact, you can read A. Parys’ article about their excellent curbside to-go and why it makes Troegs Brewing a fantastic quarantine brewery: “What Makes a Great Quarantine Brewery?“.
I have been wanting to stop in and get all of their various scratch beers, and sadly, this has been my first scratch beer since Scratch 404. So yea, needless to say, I’ve missed out on quite a few scratch beers, something that would not have happened pre-coronavirus / COVID-19. One of my favorite things was to stop in at the Troegs Brewery and get a flight of 3-4 different scratch offerings and sample them while reading and check them off. And they have been putting out some stellar scratch offerings during this lockdown / quarantine too. Scratch 406 looked great – a sweet coffee milk stout; a style I love, and then scratches 409, 410, 411, 412, 414, 414, and 416 were all various styles of hazy IPAs and DIPAs. New England IPAs or DIPAs and all sorts. Unfortunately, they all sold out super fast on their ordering website and I never got to try any of those. (Hint hint if anyone has any still in their fridge and would be willing to part with them…. hint… hint…..). The biggest reason for their quick sell-out was that most of these were done on their new, small, innovative 15-barrell system for R&D (research and development), and having to can them up into 4-packs quickly depleted the stash, especially since crowlers, and 4pack cans have been the only way to get new (scratch) beer releases from the brewery. So, sadly, it just wasn’t meant to be. BUT, I have remedied that now, and picked up a 4 pack of Scratch 417 and a 4 pack of Scratch 415 (the two available scratches yesterday).
Their curbside to go was extremely simple, straight forward and easy. Sign onto their website, order what you want, the amount, etc, and even place the tip in their ordering cart. Wait for your notification e-mails, and you would get follow up e-mails and / or texts alerting you when the stuff was ready (super quick for just four packs). They recommended waiting thirty minutes from the time you order, and let you pick that as a pickup time, but I got e-mails within five minutes saying my stuff was ready. From there its still super simple, drive to the location, park in front of the building (in the handicap spots right outside their doors). Each spot has a number, you bring up their website at Troegs – Pickup, put where you are (what spot number), and if you are getting beer, food, or a combination. Select if you want it put into your vehicle, or just left outside. And soon a delivery guy (or gal) will come out, drop off the product, you flash them your driver’s license or ID and once you’re clear, everything is good to go.
Its super simple, and I can’t recommend it enough. To be honest, I have had zero issues from any of the places I have stopped at for beer. I have mostly gotten beer from Tattered Flag, Boneshire Brew Works, Ever Grain Brewing, and Pizza Boy during this ordeal. I have had zero issues with any of them. I also stopped at Twisted Bine yesterday (had to go back out to Ming’s place in Mount Joy to pick up my wallet since I left it in his car after Wednesday’s excursion to Ephrata). They were simple and pleasant as well. Wednesday, we were at St. Boniface and that was also quick and easy. I have also been to Four Score Beerco and that has also been easy and pleasant. So, like I’ve said, the breweries and independent distilleries (like Tattered Flag) have all been wonderful and fantastic during this ordeal. And gladly, Troegs was no exception. My friend J. Miller even said he’s been doing curbside to-go from Troegs weekly / near weekly, and they seem to have been doing a steady business when I was there.
Now starting today, June 5th, many breweries are offering outdoor seating available. At midnight Pizza Boy re-opened for outdoor seating. Today at noon, Boneshire Brew Works is opening their outdoor seating as well. I would have loved to have stopped out at midnight at Pizza Boy to see how it went, but unfortunately with already having started drinking yesterday, and watching my friends D. Scott and Esty do their Knights of Nostalgia video, it got late enough and I was tired enough that it was just not gonna happen. Definitely check that page out, as Drew (D. Scott) has been doing some great live-streams of old video games, and I’m even featured on a few, as well as other friends like R. Dibeler, Esty, etc.
Speaking of those guys, we will be doing a new podcast soon (finally, I know), which will be about time travel. So make sure to be on the lookout for that, you can catch our podcasts at: So a Mexican and a Scot Walk Into a Bar… I always make sure to talk craft beer while we also discuss whatever pop culture we are doing on that video. Always a good time.
Getting back to beer, I had originally wanted to grab the Troegs Scratch beer that supported essential workers and hospitality and hospital staff. I believe it was Scratch 413. For some reason on Untappd none of the scratches say so in their descriptions, and a Google Search didn’t turn up any definitive answers. But I did get two news articles on it: Troegs Next Scratch Beer Will Benefit Hospitality Workers and Newsbreak – Troegs Next Beer To Help Out. I had originally tried to get this to do a review, and discuss how they are helping out their community, but sadly, it was not to be. But still, I wanted to point out how they did make a beer to benefit and help out their community. So let it be known, I have said it, and stated it, and pointed it out.
Now, with all this out of the way, lets get to the actual beer review!
Beer: Scratch 417 – Orange – Lemon Peel IPA Brewery: Troegs Independent Brewing Style: IPA – Imperial / Double ABV: 8% IBU: None Listed Untappd Description: Our Scratch brewers are at it again, this time working toward a new beer for our lineup. Scratch #417 is built on a base of pilsner malt, Munich malt and oats and fermented with HotHead Kveik yeast. The honey, orange peel and lemon peel notes of the yeast are amplified by the Lotus, Simcoe and Mandarina Bavaria hops. Additions of lemon peel and orange peel complete the recipe and deliver a refreshingly soft and citrusy IPA with low bitterness. We taste: refreshing citrus, orange and lemon rind, hint of hone.
From appearance, to aroma, to taste, this is very orange. My Untappd check-in for this beer was simple, and direct, if not a bit dirty: “if hops, oranges, and lemons had a three way – this would be their baby”. (Now, once you get the image out of your head, and have a sip of this, you’ll probably agree). (…Ok, take another sip to try and get the image out of your head… oh crap, its stuck in there isn’t it? Oh well, sorry… Happy Friday!)
Lets start off with the appearance, this looks a bit hazy, but not truly fully hazy like some of those recent scratch offerings (that I didn’t get to try, but have only seen, cue crying). This is very bright and very orange. It had a wonderful light foamy head when poured from the can, and it left a little lacing, not much, but some. The bubbles on top were dispersed and random. It was not transparent or see through, and no sediment or floaters, just a bright orange beer, even glowing somewhat when the light hit it.
Once again, aroma is just like appearance, orange. Keyword – orange. Orange smell, orange appearance, orange hue, orange taste. Pretty much the word orange can just sum up this entire thing. But you do get notes of citrus forward hops, and a bit of a zest and lemon nose to this though much fainter with the orange taking precedence. If you are a fan of orange, especially citrusy orange, this is just a wonderful smelling beer.
Taste…. once again, can I lead off with saying… orange? Very heavy orange. Its also not just straight orange, but a varied and interesting orange taste. You have mandarin oranges, regular oranges, some zest to it all, and all kinds of other things kicking around at the same time. There is strong lemon on the back-end, that provides for a great zesty kick. The honey subdues things a bit and makes this soft and easy drinking. There is really zero IPA burn, no hop bitterness, just a juicy, flowing, smooth drink. Thats why this is probably closer to a NE-IPA / NE-DIPA than a regular IPA / DIPA; there is no real west coast style feel to this. Its juicy, its dank, its smooth, no bitterness, not overly sweet, just fruity and smooth and clean drinking. The 8% is super subtle and hidden (honestly didn’t even feel like I got buzzed on just one of these and I couldn’t have guessed what the ABV was until I looked it up now for the review, I would have probably said 5-6.5% if I had to have made a guess while drinking). The hops used in this are: Lotus, Simcoe, and Mandarina Bavaria; which all work wonderfully in conjunction with the other flavors (notably the orange and lemon peel). They are citrus forward hops, and fruity hops, so it really gives this just an outright zesty, citrusy, fruity taste all around with the orange (obviously) taking prominence. The Kveik yeast adds to this as well, and it all just seems to work so strongly together. Everything in conjunction with each other to sum up into a really well, tasty, delicious, and smooth beer. This would be wonderful as a regular. And it will be interesting to see with all of their recent variations of hazy IPAs and DIPAs, where they are going with these; especially with this year’s release of Haze Charmer, a hazy pale ale. Seems Troegs is finally getting on the bandwagon of hazy and juicy IPAs, pale ales, DIPAs, and possibly even TIPAs; moving themselves into the market of New England style IPAs (at last). Should be interesting to see where they go with all of these. The Scratch 413 (that I missed), is labelled as “Hazy IPA #5” on Untappd, and this being the next IPA they released, it is also juicy and New England styled and a bit hazy (albeit nothing like a true New England Hazy IPA). Either way, I’m looking forward to seeing what their future offerings have in store; especially as we start moving back to where we can enjoy beers again at the brewery. I personally can’t wait!
My Untappd Rating: **** Global Untappd Rating: 3.85 (as of 6.5.20; interestingly, when I first opened the Untappd page for the beer review at 9AM, it didn’t have a global rating since there wasn’t enough data, but when I refreshed it at 10:10AM, it listed the global average, so the site / app must have updated itself sometime in that time frame).
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Soon we’ll all be in Green Phase, and soon after that we will be out of this and out drinking and hanging out, just like ‘the old times’. I do have a bit of sad news, that I saw this while just about finishing up this article – Lititz Brewfest has announced that they are cancelling the Lititz Brewfest for 2020; which is incredibly disheartening, as its one of my absolute favorite brewfests. So, this probably doesn’t bode well for the AC Brewfest which was looking at possibly happening in August, as well as the Prototype Invitational – also scheduled for August, and the Mount Hope RenFaire Brewfest which I believe was eyeing up September. But who knows, fingers crossed. Still also holding out hope for Ffej of July 2020, (Ffej of July 18), which is scheduled for July 11th. Fingers, toes, eyes and… nose… crossed.
Cheers everyone, be careful and safe out there. Don’t get lax just because we can drink outside together (somewhat) again. In due time we will all be able to go about like before. Just hang in there!
Well, like I said at the end of Module Ten, I would do a series wrap-up afterwards. If you’ve followed along, and if you have done the program / MOOC as well, we are all done now. It took roughly two months to get it completed, as my first post about the Series was on March 26th and I finished the class and Module Ten on May 26th. So two months from start of the blog about it to the end of the actual module, and another day or so for this final wrap-up. Not bad, and an interesting way to pass the time, especially during this quarantine and lockdown.
Speaking of that, things are progressively re-opening here in Central PA area, as well as in the nation as a whole. We’ll see how that goes, and with fingers crossed, maybe soon we’ll be sharing a pint together at a brewery.
As I said from the beginning of the series, I was doing this class without the certificate, so all of the ‘verified track learner’ pages and assessments were off limits to me. I would love to hear from anyone in the comments section who took the full version of the class, and paid for the certificate and got to see the verified track learner’s content pages. My take on that is this though – the certificate would be NICE to have, and would LOOK good… but, it is ultimately unneeded. The information learned is the real value, and any brewery that you are looking to use this for, will most likely be happy with you having the knowledge over the piece of paper. (Of course, the piece of paper would help a bit more, but I don’t think its a massive jump in ‘helping’ or value.) Brewing, and brewery industry jobs, are kind of still in a medieval sense, or in a ‘wild west’ kind of territory. Most breweries are opened with the owner being the head brewer (for craft breweries in America), and most of them got their start home brewing. So you have a lot of basically self-taught people opening their own businesses who learned by home brewing, not professionally. Now, this isn’t always the case, but it seems to happen frequently enough to bear out the point.
Thats not to take away from getting the certificate. Doing so will be an addition, and will help you in jobs. But so is just taking this class. Just show some proof of doing it, and answer questions and show your knowledge. There is other free (and pay-for) resources and certificates online, getting some of them will help as well.
So lets recap the course a bit. There was ten modules, not counting assessments and all that, there was ten modules with different topics for each. In each module was segments, but lets broadly just look at the modules.
Module One: The History of Beer Brewing
Module Two: Barley and Malting
Module Three: Water
Module Four: Hops and Spices
Module Five: Yeast
Module Six: The Steps of the Brewing Process
Module Seven: Fermentation and Maturation
Module Eight: Filtration and Packaging
Module Nine: Beer Quality and Stability
Module Ten: Beer Assessment and Tasting
In all of the discussion pages, so far, I’ve received two comments / replies back in the actual modules. I will post my comment and the responses here.
First: My comment: “I find it in interesting in America that especially in the last few years there has been a greater move to go from bottle to can. Likewise from growler to crowler. I actually tend to prefer bottles for the 12oz and 16oz varieties, but prefer crowler (32oz) over the growler (32oz). Can’t exactly place why, perhaps because of a taste difference. Though I’m told by many there is no taste difference, and The Alchemist brewery even says to drink their IPAs from the can rather than from the glass. (I do typically pour into glasses from either can or glass; unless busy grilling or mowing or whatever, then I drink straight from the can or glass.)
Curious what other’s thoughts are on the glass bottle vs. can debate.”
In my opinion cans are the way to go 100% of the time. They are basically mini-kegs. They protect better against light and oxygen way better than crown/ bottles ever could. Which is a good enough reason to deem them the winner out-right. They are lighter weight which cuts down on shipping cost, both as a raw material and as a finished product. This also means they can be packed more cans per truck/ boat which ultimately leads to less consumption of fossil fuels. They are also 1000 times more recyclable than glass. In America, very few if any breweries (if any) are doing glass bottle returns. Plus, with cans you do not have the concerns with breaking glass around swimming pools, patios, backpacking, camping, etc.
I think (in America at least) there is still a stigma about drinking from a can. As if it is ubiquitous with large crappy breweries like AB-InBev. People seem to see drinking from a bottle as the “craft” or “artisanal” option. I wish we would move past this and accept cans as the clearly superior form of packaging they are for all the reasons listed above.
That being said, in the growler/ crowler debate, I think growlers are the way to go for the simple fact that they are re-usable. The single use aspect of crowlers, while convenient, is not very environmentally friendly. I do not have nearly the strong opinions in this debate than I do in the can vs bottle debate.
As for Heady Topper, they say to drink from a can because the beer looks like shit. Or the more “scientific” reason would be to keep the hop compounds contained in the can rather than losing them to the volatility of pouring into a glass.
Second: My comment: “Another great module. I have really been enjoying this course! I am learning a lot!
Thanks for these nice words. We also appreciate that you keep a blog on your progress throughout the MOOC.
Have fun with the last module of the MOOC,
Overall, I really enjoyed the MOOC and the modules were all well done and very informative. The various expert clips were especially interesting and educational. For those, looking to further their beer or brewery knowledge, or looking for something to do (most modules were very quick and not extremely time consuming), or for someone looking for a foot in the door at a brewery or just hoping to better themselves for a brewery position (or one they already have), I would highly recommend this course.
I will be posting more information on possible other classes I do, and others that I’ve done in the past, when I get to the next beer education series, so be on the alert for that. And as we enter June, be ready to see a lot more beer reviews and brewery reviews as places start to open back up.
Until then, please stay safe and healthy, we’re almost there! Cheers!