BREW: The Museum of Beer – Is Set to Launch Their Online Exhibit

Earlier today I was contacted by Deborah Stueber, the Director for Community Relations for BREW – The Museum of Beer. I messaged her back, an she sent me the press release for their upcoming launch of their online exhibit about Pennsylvania beer history. I was just out in Pittsburgh on my Trip through the Area to Indianapolis on the second day of my trip. I was in Pittsburgh as well, back in August with my daughters on the second day of my trip that took us from Elk Country, to Kinzua Bridge, to Pittsburgh, to Bushy Run, to Flight 93 Memorial, Johnstown Flood, and to home. There is certainly no dearth of breweries in the greater Pittsburgh area, some exceptional ones in fact. Many iconic ones too. You have breweries like Couch Brewery, The Church Brew Works, Dancing Gnome, Hitchhiker, Cinderlands, Penn Brewery, Hop Farm Brewing, ShuBrew, Grist House, Yellow Bridge, Southern Tier (PA), Round About Brewery, Allegheny Brewing, Eleventh Hour, Strange Roots, East End, Iron City, etc, etc, etc, (the list goes on and on). We’ve covered many here on the blog (make sure to check around to see our beer reviews, brewery reviews, and trips into Pittsburgh).

So this is a perfect place for a museum dedicated to the history of beer. (Just wish it was opened when I traveled through!) And this will definitely be a stopping point in a future visit to Pittsburgh.

BREW: The Museum of Beer

The main presser reads: (dated December 3rd, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania): “Brew: The Museum of Beer’s plans to launch an exhibit on the Story of Beer in Pennsylvania in a downtown storefront were temporarily stymied by Covid-19 but, inspired by the creativity and perseverance of the region’s breweries and restaurants, Brew is forging ahead with an online exhibit of the Story of Beer in Pennsylvania. Supported by a grant from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, the exhibit showcases the legacy and significance of Pennsylvania beer, from the origins of Penn’s Colony through the significant craft beer scene today.”

BREW: The Museum of Beer Artist Rendering (found at their website)

The event looks extremely interesting, as a person very interested in the history of beer (and history in general), as well as craft beer, and specifically Pennsylvania and the role beer has played in the Keystone State, this event looks very very very interesting to me, personally, as well as I’m sure it is to many of our readers out there.

The exhibit will include:

  • Video interviews with many of Pennsylvania’s brewing pioneers, brewers, historians, and collectors
  • An updated and expanded interactive map of all of Pennsylvania’s breweries as presented by BREW Museum (including pending breweries)
  • A searchable list of the breweries and brewers who have won awards at Great American Beer Festival in the 21st Century
  • A beer quiz to test your knowledge of Pennsylvania craft beer – the first 25 participants to finish (and score) will receive a prize

SEE – Pennsylvania’s 2020 GABF Award Winners.
SEE – Pennsylvania’s 2019 GABF Award Winners.

ZOOM QR Code

The presser continues: “To kick off the exhibit, Brew will have live presentations via Zoom by Brew founder Joe McAllister, brewer Paul Young, and special guest, Lauren M. Churilla, Curator, McCarl Coverlet Gallery and Lecturer of History at Saint Vincent College, who will be speaking about the first Benedictine brewery in the U.S. and the controversy it engendered in Latrobe, PA and around the world. The presentations will commence at 7:00 on Tuesday, December 15 and the exhibit will debut immediately thereafter. Once the site is live, the QR code below will take you directly to the exhibit site.”

So be sure to mark your calendars for December 15th (Tuesday) at 7:00PM (EST Time) to be able to visit the exhibit and attend the live zoom. Once its live, the QR code will be usable and will get you access.

The museum for BREW – The Museum of Beer has tons of information and links and ways you can help and support the museum, by donating or by buying merchandise. You can visit their site here: BREW – The Museum of Beer.

You can also follow them on their social media pages:

Check them out, and be sure to like and follow them on their social pages to stay abreast of when their museum opens, when there will be new virtual tours or exhibits or interviews with brewers and brewery workers and brewery news. Check out their available merchandise and see if there’s anything to your liking, and help donate to get this great project up off the ground.

About Brew: The Museum of BeerBrew: The Museum of Beer is a widely-anticipated Pittsburgh-based museum dedicated to the fascinating, 10,000-year-old story of beer, spanning beer’s role in the origins of civilization to the diversity and aspirations represented in the contemporary craft beer movement. Brew will be a must-see 50,000-square-foot complex capable of accommodating 400,000+ visitors per year. Aside from unique beer artifacts and exhibits, the multi million-dollar museum will also include a 300-seat brewpub, state-of-the art interactive technology, a large event space, gift store, and Beer Hall of Fame. The size and scope of Brew will be comparable to Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

I would like to thank Deborah Stueber for reaching out to me and sending the press release for the exhibit and their online opening.

As always everyone – thanks for reading, and visiting the blog. Please be careful and stay safe. Support your local craft breweries, as this week or the next, there might be new mandates, restrictions, and hardships pressed upon breweries (and bars, and businesses, and restaurants in general). So do what you can to help support each other. Give to food banks, give your time at shelters, do whatever you feel comfortable and able to help support your fellow man right now. We are all in this together – as much as that is a cliche, it is the truth. This week or the next might end up being very difficult for many of your favorite small breweries and businesses, be sure to support and show your support, so that they can stay open once this is all over.

-B. Kline

Please be sure to follow us on our social media accounts – FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube, and Influence. Please be sure to also follow, like, subscribe to the blog here itself to keep updated. We love to hear from you guys, so be sure to leave a comment and let us know what you think!

Be sure to check out our other articles on brewery openings:

You can read about more brewery closures here:

Beer Review: I Voted for Kang (Second Sin Brewing Company)

I Voted for Kang by Second Sin Brewing Company

There is nothing better than coming home from a seven day road trip to finding a beer mail package on your front step. I want to give a big shout out to Steve Orbanek for the beer mail! Very very very very very grateful and thankful for this.

Being a typical kid of the 80s and 90s I grew up on The Simpsons. Simpsons, Seinfeld, Conan O’Brien, The Angry Beavers, Ren and Stimpy, Rocko’s Modern Life, Animaniacs, were the primary sources of my comedy as a young boy growing up. This has evolved and grown into many more options – from comics like Peanuts, B.C., Fox Trot, to late night talkshow hosts – Conan O’Brien, David Letterman, Johnny Carson, to more shows like Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, BoJack Horseman, Futurama, South Park, Rick and Morty, to stand up comedians like George Carlin, Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, Dave Chappelle, Bill Burr, to dark humor writers like Kurt Vonnegut; I could spend all day prattling on with a list of my comedic ancestors and inspirations and roots, but there is probably no bigger defining factor to my humor than The Simpsons. Early season Simpsons. Seasons 1-9 Simpsons. The Conan O’Brien episodes, the Treehouse of Horror episodes, the absurdism, the Sideshow Bob episodes, etc.

When quoting things it will come from one of three sources: 1) Simpsons / Futurama, 2) Seinfeld / Curb Your Enthusiasm, 3) Literature. And in that order. And I know which will be recognized…. and its not when I quote from group three.

Hanging out with friends, drinking at the bars, breweries, or home (especially now – at home) with buddies, the endless quoting of early Simpsons, the “that reminds me of X episode” comparisons, etc. “Remember that time X” or “this could have been something The Simpsons did” or when watching a show or movie “they are clearly ripping that from The Simpsons”, etc.

The Simpsons are a form of cultural identity, especially for people of my age. The mid-late 30s to early 40s. We grew up on a steady diet of Simpsons, South Park, Family Guy, Futurama, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers, Captain Planet, Rocko’s Modern Life, Ren and Stimpy, Doug, The Angry Beavers, Beavis and Butthead, King of the Hill, etc. Our lives were viewed through the prisms of animated comedy and action. Our adolescence we spent learning why yellowed people with spiky hair and only four fingers on each hand were so much funnier than the people around us, their lives wackier, their antics ratcheted up a notch above the normalcy of our boring mundane lives.

As is a common theme on the blog here, if I have access to a pop culture beer to review – you best bet I’ll be reviewing it on here. There’s a long list of them (and I’ll put it at the end), from Star Wars, to Simpsons, to Seinfeld, to Turtles, to even a beer from Space Balls. If I have a chance to drink it, I’ll review it.

Previously I did – I Voted for Kodos, and this is the companion beer to that. I highly recommend giving that a read when you are done here as the two beers are companion beers and are meant to go together.

So, lets discuss KANG. As per the Simpsons Wikia:

Kang Johnson is one of the two secondary antagonists (alongside Kodos) of the series. He is a Rigellian from Rigel 7. He and his sister Kodos are continuously try to take over Earth and are usually seen attacking Springfield. He usually appears in Treehouse of Horrors but either him or Kodos have been seen in other episodes such as “The Springfield Files” and “Gump Roast” Kang and Kodos have a lot of space weaponry at hand and have their own spaceship. They speak the Rigellian language, which, by coincidence, is identical to English. Although they look identical, Kang has a deeper voice than Kodos. He is the featured character on the on the Season 14 DVD/Blu-ray box set as well as the iTunes cover.”

Kang and Kodos from CITIZEN KANG

The Citizen Kang segment from Treehouse of Horror VII is one of the best segments from Simpsons / Treehouse of Horror altogether. Lots of great quotes, lines, gags, and an outright funny segment. And despite being about Bill Clinton and Bob Dole, it still holds up well, especially the jokes about third parties and Ross Perot and people not wanting to vote third party.

Homer revealing Kang and Kodos

It all seems almost prescient of our last two elections, alien vs. alien and still nobody voted third party. Sorry Gary Johnson (2016) and sorry Jo Jorgenson (2020). …or Kanye West (2020)…. seems people rather vote for aliens.

Homer Revealing Bill Clinton and Bob Dole to be Kang and Kodos

There is one thing though, that I am looking for in a President, and that is his stance on twirling….

Twirling Towards Freedom

Regardless of your political stance, there is one thing we can get together on and agree on – and thats that these beers from Second Sin Brewing Company have been top notch. (Unfortunately) I never had anything from Second Sin Brewing Company before the two beers – I Voted for Kodos and I Voted for Kang. They both absolutely blew me out of the water, and I can see why they are a Top 10 PA Brewery for 2020 according to Untappd. I have quickly added their brewery as a ‘must visit’ on my list of breweries to check out for 2021.

Second Sin Brewing Company is a micro brewery from Bristol Pennsylvania, located at 1500 Grundy Lane, the former site of Broken Goblet Brewing. (Broken Goblet has since moved on to a new location – they are also a very heavy pop culture referencing brewery, with a Gritty beer, several beers about the Eagles, and of course the popular This is the Way – Mandalorian beer). According to Untappd, Second Sin Brewing Company has 138 unique beers, and over 7.5K ratings with a global average rating of 4.07 (as of 12.5.20). (There is no description on their Untappd page.)

I Voted for Kang

Beer: I Voted for Kang
Brewery: Second Sin Brewing Company
Style: IPA – New England
ABV: 6.7%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: I Voted For Kang and I Voted For Kodos, conceptually, are like two peas in a pod. They both started with the same base of 2 row malt, Malted Oats, and light Crystal. Both are supported with Galaxy and Idaho 7 hops to round out their flavor profiles.

However, don’t let anyone tell you that these candidates are the same…oh, no. Kang is primarily hopped with the tropical and fruity Citra, while Kodos is loaded with dank and melony Mosaic.

Appearance looks very similar to that of I Voted for Kodos – a bright orange, hazy, dank, cloudy, opaque New England IPA. Like darker orange juice. This is a beautiful looking beer. Rich foamy head and left lovely lacing on the glass. Great carbonation from the can.

Aroma is a tropical hop blast. Large notes of tropical hop nose on this that you can smell as soon as you crack open the can and start to pour. This has the staple New England IPA hop combo of Mosaic and Citra to give it that punch of tropical, melon, juicy / dank hop aroma. The Galaxy and Idaho 7 hops accentuate this nicely and provides a very hop forward nose.

Taste is where there’s the bigger difference in comparison to I Voted for Kodos. While its similar in taste, there’s a notable difference (for me) – there’s no ‘kick’. I found there was a bit of a kick to the Kodos beer. Almost like a spice kick, but with a hop twist. This is much more smooth, much more juicer, much more dank, and easier drinking, and downright crushable. This is nothing to say against the I Voted for Kodos. That was a terrific beer and I loved it and drank it down just as easily, but I feel that I Voted for Kang is probably smoother, juicier, and therefore more crushable. The mouth feel on this is wonderful too, its heavy but not cloying, its not too heavy, but just right, the silky smoothness of it works well too and makes it an enjoyable drink. There is no hop bite or hop bitterness, and its a typical and well crafted New England IPA in that aspect that its pure flavor and taste. The combo of Mosaic and Citra (see insert of Hallmark meme that has been going around and around and around on beer groups on Facebook lately) works well here. Sometimes you just can’t beat a trusted and well done hop combo, and this proves it. This is tropical, with a bit of zest, some melon, a bit of peach, a good dose of mango, and the wee faintest hint of melon rind, pine, and passionfruit. There is no off flavors, nothing acidic, nothing cloying, no bad or awkward aftertaste, nothing lingering or off putting – this is just a very well crafted, well made New England IPA that goes down easy and smooth and is extremely tasty and drinkable. Both of these beers (I Voted for Kang and I Voted for Kodos) has sold me on Second Sin Brewing Company, and hopefully anyone else who has tried these it has sold them on the brewery as well, because these were phenomenal beers and they certainly deserve the praise they’ve been getting.

My Untappd Rating: ****.25
Global Untappd Rating: 4.22 (as of 12.5.20)

Out of the two, if hard pressed – I would pick I Voted for Kang over I Voted for Kodos. But thats an extremely close call, and both are extremely delicious beers.

Happy Repeal Day everyone. Make sure you go out and support a local craft brewery and drink some beer!

Cheers!

-B. Kline

Ok, lets break down some of the nerdy pop culture beers I’ve reviewed:

Star Wars:

Space Balls:

Game of Thrones:

The Simpsons:

Back to the Future:

Scrooged:

Pro Wrestling:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:

Other:

Seinfeld:

Levity Brewing is Expanding and Adding a Second Tap Room

Levity Brewing in Indiana, Pennsylvania

It is now official – Levity Brewing is expanding both in Indiana (Pennsylvania) and adding a second tap room in Altoona (Pennsylvania). Erich, a co-owner and bartender when I was there on my trip was discussing the expansion with me and a few other patrons at closing time, and it is now official, with construction beginning at both locations.

The goal is to have both – the expanded taproom and the new location – open and running in January 2021; hopefully by the first of the year. This is a difficult time with COVID-19, the pandemic, restrictions, changes, and weather, so this is a ‘scheduled’ timeframe, and as with all things right now its up in the air, but by all appearances, they should be able to make their date.

The Indiana expansion is under way, as they turn the former Gorell Windows employee gym – which was located above the current taproom – into a second taproom, dedicated to overflow, private parties, and events. This will nearly double the occupancy of the Indiana brewery and taproom, and with social distancing being such a priority right now, will provide for a much more safer and socially distanced environment for guests.

Co-owner Luke McKelvy said: “This year has forced us through one change after another – not many of them fun. But this is a fun one for the Levity family. We have been working on this for a couple years, but COVID-19 restrictions have actually pushed us forward.”

2020 has certainly been a tough time for many breweries, bars, restaurants, and business owners of various fields. The 25% and 50% reduced occupancy rules have been tough for many places, as has the restriction on bar seating, and requiring food, and various other mandates. As we move into the more wintry months, outdoor seating will stop being usable, further reducing space and occupancy. Many small breweries have already felt the pinch, and will only further feel it in the winter months. Co-owner Erich Walls knows this very well. When I was there in early November, we discussed the changes they foresee in the coming months. He has also been quoted by media sources saying: “We have been so fortunate to have lots of outdoor seating this summer. And fire pits are extending the season a little bit. But we have to make more space inside. The big bonus for our customers is the ability to do private parties, wedding receptions, and things we never had space for in the past.”

Inside the Levity Brewery taproom

Thankfully also, for those of us closer to Harrisburg, Levity is expanding to a second taproom in Altoona. This is about (roughly) an hour east of their Indiana location, making it closer to those in the Harrisburg region (which we here at The Beer Thrillers are greatly happy for). The taproom in Altoona will be downtown in the historic section and will actually be one of the historic buildings of Altoona, providing the the taproom with a beautiful space. Co-owner Jared Herman said this: “We explored lots of towns for a second location, but in Altoona we were immediately drawn in by this energetic group of local leaders. They are passionate about their town and excited to bring something like the Levity taproom downtown.”

Altoona Mayor Matt Pacifico is very excited for Levity Brewing to expand into his town. He personally met Erich Walls at a coffee shop in downtown Altoona (The Clay Cup) and pitched the idea of Levity expanding into Altoona. “I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Levity to Altoona! Over the last year I’ve really gotten to know Erich, Luke, and Jared, and we all share the same passion for community. So I know they will be a valuable part of the Altoona community just like they are right now at their flagship brewery in Indiana, PA.” Mayor Matt Pacifico said about Levity and their expansion into Altoona.

Altoona, Pennsylvania (source: Wikipedia)

The Altoona location will be the Chalk Box building, on 11th Avenue. In January 2019 it was renovated and reconstructed for office space, which you can read about here: We Are Central PA – Building Renovations in Downtown Altoona.

They are planning on renovating, restructuring, building, and opening the Altoona location in three phases. The first phase is to set up and construct a facade and storefront on the Chalk Box building (you can find a picture of the building in the article above), this will serve as a place to sell their canned beers (which they can in Indiana and are already distributing into the Altoona area – this will allow them to store them there and be more accessible to the Altoona community). After this, they are planning on turning the 2400 square feet first floor into a taproom and restaurant, with similar style to that of their current Indiana location. No word yet on how many taps, what foods, or look or appearance of the restaurant. The third (and final – for now) phase will see a brewhouse and canning line added to the Altoona location. This will allow them to brew in both locations (Indiana PA and Altoona PA) and will allow them to make unique distinctive beers for both locations. No word on timeline or proposed dates for the second and third phases.

Levity Brewing Logo

As per Untappd, Levity Brewing Company is a brewpub located in Indiana, Pennsylvania. They have 65 unique beers, with a total of 34, 312 ratings (as of 12.3.20). They have a global average rating of 3.76. The description on Untappd reads: “Levity Brewing Company is a small brewery and pub in Indiana, PA-about an hour east of Pittsburgh. We aim to brew clean, crisp, and dry examples of style and bring a diversity of beers to our community. At any time we offer a variety of IPAs, kettle-soured fruit beers, oak-aged wild beers, etc, etc, etc…”

Stephen J. McKnight, President and CEO of the Altoona Blair County Development Corporation (ABCD) issued this statement about Levity Brewing: “Levity’s investment is a testament to the resolve and innovation of our small businesses even in difficult times. It’s also further proof of our community as an attractive place to live and invest. This adds to our growing craft food and beverage scene, helping to bring people together throughout our mountain main streets. This is great news at a time when we all really needed it. On behalf of the ABCD Corporation Board of Directors, we look forward to welcoming Levity to the First Frontier Blair County.”

I personally was there at Levity Brewing on Sunday the 8th (of November, 2020) and got to talk with Erich Walls, who is a great guy, and a wonderful bartender, host, and all round cool dude. Genuinely interested in his customers, his community, books, (we discussed the book I was reading about Presidents and that its the hardest job, etc.) and is very knowledgeable about Indiana, Pennsylvania, and brewing. I hope the absolute best for them with this expansion, and am excited that they will be a bit closer to home to be able to try their beers more easily.

You can read about my time at the brewery at the below links:

I will also be doing a beer review soon of Punky Bruiser, a plum porter that they made which I had as part of my flight while there (and was given a free can of by Erich as well). So be on the lookout for that soon, and I will edit this post, to the link of it when I do so.

  • Beer Review: Punky Bruiser (Levity Brewing)

As always everyone, thanks for reading, please be sure to like, follow us here, and on our social media pages (links can be found below and above at the top of each page), and be sure to check out our other openings / closings and industry news with the links below.

Cheers everyone!

-B. Kline

Please be sure to follow us on our social media accounts – FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube, and Influence. Please be sure to also follow, like, subscribe to the blog here itself to keep updated. We love to hear from you guys, so be sure to leave a comment and let us know what you think!

Be sure to check out our other articles on brewery openings:

You can read about more brewery closures here:

Beer Review: Java the Stout (Jackie O’s Brewery)

Java the Stout Can Art

What better beer to review on Black Friday than a stout, and a Star Wars related / themed stout at that! There is a long history of Star Wars themed beers on the blog, you can find them if you use our search feature and type in STAR WARS, or see the list below:

I love doing pop culture related and themed beer reviews. Its much more fun than just doing a review of IPA #29292821 or Pale Ale #TK-422 (…do any of my Star Wars fans get that reference?). I have done quite a few to say the least; stemming from Back to the Future, to Spaceballs, to Scrooged, to Simpsons references, to Star Wars, to pro wrestling… to just about everything under the sun (or suns if you live on Tatooine). I’ll provide a link to most at the end of the review here.

There is always a bevy of pop culture related beers in the craft beer industry. From can art to names to logos, to even brewery names, they are often puns or quotes or pictures of different movies, characters, etc. Just this month alone I did a review with a Godfather pun (The Growfather), a Panda / Mandalorian cross review (The Pandalorian) and a Simpsons beer – I Voted for Kodos (and soon to be reviewed – I Voted for Kang).

As always, if you know of any Star Wars, or pop culture themed beers that you know of, or would like to see me review, or have access to, always get ahold of me, and I will gladly do a trade, or buy, or try to find said beer to review here on the blog.

For this beer, we have quite a bit to break down I think. First, lets start with the can art:

Java the Stout (by Jackie O’s) can art

There is a LOT going on here in this picture. Obviously, front center is Jabba the Hutt flying in / on Vader’s Advanced Tie X1 (oh yea… I went full nerd on that). In the background you have a ton of TIEs (TIE LN – the generic TIE Fighters from A New Hope) and X-Wings and lots and lots of lasers. You also have a Star Destroyer being blown up, as well as the Death Star II being blown up. There is also the Cloud City from Bespin (Empire Strikes Back) with what I assume is Godzilla or some other kind of giant reptile creature scaling it. The Milenium Falcon can also be seen in the background near the Death Star. I also spy a giant Moth / butterfly creature, I’m not sure what this is or what its a reference too, so I am a bit fuzzy and curious about that one. Apparently the lasers that are destroying the Star Destroyer stem straight from the eyes of the moth / butterfly creature, so maybe there’s some kind of reference out there that I’m missing (most likely).

Now, lets move onto discussing just who the “Java” is in reference too…

Jabba the Hutt (from Wookiepedia)

To quote the Wookiepedia:

If I told you half the things I’ve heard about this Jabba the Hutt, you’d probably short-circuit!“―C-3PO[src]

Jabba Desilijic Tiure, more commonly referred to as Jabba the Hutt or simply Jabba, and formally styled as His Excellency Jabba Desilijic Tiure of Nal Hutta, Eminence of Tatooine, was a Hutt gangster and crime lord, as well as a member of the Grand Hutt Council, who operated and led a criminal empire from his palace on the Outer Rim world of Tatooine. Jabba was a major figure on Tatooine, where he controlled the bulk of the trafficking in illegal goods, piracy and slavery that generated most of the planet’s wealth. He was also highly influential in the entire Outer Rim as one of its most powerful crime lords.

During the Clone Wars, Jabba’s influence and power over the Outer Rim, specifically its hyperlanes, was sought by both the Galactic Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems, who both courted Jabba’s approval. When Rotta, Jabba’s son, was kidnapped, the crime lord promised his support to whoever returned his son. When the Separatists were revealed to have orchestrated Rotta’s kidnapping, Jabba pledged his support to the Republic.

Jabba continued to operate in the Outer Rim after the end of the Clone Wars and the rise of the Galactic Empire, preserving his power base, despite the interference of Darth Sidious, the Galactic Emperor. After the destruction of the Death Star by the Rebel Alliance, the Emperor sent Darth Vader to negotiate a deal with Jabba to secure raw materials for Imperial military production. Jabba’s alliance with the Empire allowed him and the Hutts to survive the Imperial crackdown against criminal elements in the Outer Rim, as well as rid the Hutt of his competitors.

After the smuggler Han Solo failed to repay him for lost cargo, Jabba placed a high price on his head. Solo was eventually delivered to him by one of his bounty huntersBoba Fett, as a gift from Darth Vader. However, this capture brought him to the attention of Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker, who sought to rescue his friend from Jabba’s imprisonment. As he attempted to execute the Jedi and his allies in the Great Pit of Carkoon, Jabba was choked to death by Leia Organa. With the Hutts unable to decide who would inherit Jabba’s criminal ventures, many of his slaves, including the Niktos, were free, and his palace was abandoned after the droid pool was deactivated.

Source: Jabba the Hutt – Wookiepedia Page

And that was just the brief of him, not the entirety of the article. Click the link above (at the source) to read his full entry! But, for a quick gist of him – Jabba the Hutt is the one who had Boba Fett capture Han Solo and with Darth Vader using Han Solo as a trap for Luke, got him frozen in carbonite, and then delivered to Jabba where he kept him as a ‘prize’ in his audience chamber. This set off the key events of the end of Empire Strikes Back and the beginning of Return of the Jedi. Jabba the Hutt was also the one who sent Greedo after Han Solo in A New Hope. (He’s also the feature of the full length Clone Wars movie, as well as makes an appearance in The Phantom Menace, as well as in several other mediums and stories in Star Wars EU [Expanded Universe]. To sum him up – he is the ‘Don’ or ‘Godfather’ or ‘Capo’ of his crime family.)

Ok, whew, that was all a lot to digest; especially if you’re not a nerd. (And really, if you’re not, why are you still reading all this gibberish? Its gotta be pretty much nonsensical to you by this point!) I think we have a good basis now, from the can art, to the backstory of Jabba the Hutt, so lets move on to the beer and the brewery.

Jackie O’s Brewpub

On my trip out to Indianapolis and back, on Day Six of my trip, I stopped at Jackie O’s Brewpub outside of Athens Ohio. Everything being different due to COVID-19 and the pandemic, only the beer garden outside was used for drinking and sitting. I got a flight while there, as well as picked up the mix – a – six to take home (which this was a part of).

Untappd has this to say about Jackie O’s: Jackie O’s Brewery is a micro brewery from Athens Ohio, established in 2005, and has 675 unique beers and 738K+ ratings, with a global average rating of 4.02. The Untappd description reads: Established in 2005, Jackie O’s Brewery has evolved over the years to include an experimental Brewpub, Public House Restaurant, Production Brewery & Taproom, Bake Shop and the Barrel Ridge Farm – all of which are located in Athens, Ohio / Southeastern, Ohio. Jackie O’s specializes in brewing techniques that revive traditional methods and also incorporate contemporary elements and influences. We strive to brew one of the most diverse beer portfolios in the country, with a detailed and unique focus on barrel & wood aged beers, wild ales, and blending. It is liked by 17K+.

This was one of the top recommended breweries for me to visit on my trip, alongside Sun King Brewery in Indianapolis, Levity Brewing in Indiana Pennsylvania, and Urban Artifact in Cincinnati. The flight of beers I had at the brewpub didn’t disappoint, neither did any of the beers I took home (including this one).

So… we discussed the can art… the legacy and origins and reason for the “Java the Stout” (Jabba the Hutt), the brewery – Jackie O’s, whats left to discuss before actually reviewing the beer?

Ah…. the when / where I drank it. So Wednesday, the night before Thanksgiving, due to the mandate that no on-site alcohol sales could be made at bars and breweries in Pennsylvania after 5PM by Governor Wolfe, I met my friend Drew at his place to do some Friendsgiving Drinking. We also did a stream for the night for his streaming page – Knights of Nostalgia. We streamed Secret of Mana on…. his brand new Playstation 5. Yes, this was the first time he was getting to play the system (as well as myself), and… the first game we test drove it with was an old SNES remastered game. Ironic? Or just funny? I’ll let you be the judge. But, I will say, the controller for the PS5 was very cool, and the game was a lot of fun (this was the second part of our series of playing the game, as its a long RPG, it will take us several sittings and streams to beat it).

During the stream – I started with Java the Stout, progressed to a blueberry pancake Double IPA (DIPA) by Decadent Ales, and finished off the night with a bottle of Yuengling’s Hershey’s Porter.

Finally… ok… finally… I think we have all of our Padawans in a row… I think we can get on to reviewing the beer!

Java the Stout by Jackie O’s Brewery

Beer: Java the Stout
Brewery: Jackie O’s Brewery
Style: Stout – Coffee
ABV: 6.5%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: A caramel centered Stout accentuated by Ridge Runner coffee. Instead of simply adding coffee to a stout, we build a stout around the coffee. Course ground coffee beans are added in the conditioning tank. The beans add a robust roasted character and turn this Stout fully opaque. Our best selling seasonal since 2008!

Oh gorgeous, beautiful stouts, how I love thee. Dark and black as my soul and heart, yet so inviting… as … not my soul. Java the Stout is typical in that its like most other stouts; dark black – Razor Ramon hair black, but with a beautiful creamy off-white foamy head. Great carbonation on the beer, and nice lacing on the glass. This is ‘typical stout black’ but as always – thats a good thing here. The foam head is almost more brown than white, but I would still probably label it as ‘off white’, but the bubbles are varied and different size, always a sign of a quality crafted beer.

Aroma is a dark, roasted, coffee heavy, caramel, chocolate, heavy hard hitting powerful… the list of descriptors can almost go on and on here. This is pound for pound one of the best (non – pastry stout) smelling stouts I’ve had in a long time, if not ever. And I’m not even a coffee fan. Maybe its just the ‘hotness’ of drinking coffee, I dunno, but I do not like coffee, but I don’t mind coffee in my beers one bit (in fact, I tend to love coffee stouts). Coffee is pound for pound what you get most out of the nose on this, but there is notes of caramel malt, chocolate, roasted malts, and the faintest hint of vanilla.

From first sip to holding the glass (or can) over your mouth to make sure every last drop falls into your gullet, this is one fantastic beer. Every drop is to be savored, just like its color, its black gold. I’ll be like one of those millennial Instagrammers “this is fire” with lots of fire emojis and beers, or fire – beer – fire alternating emojis… or whatever. But this is just an amazing, fantastic beer. You got a fair bit going on, but its pretty straight forward too. This is a coffee stout. A coffee beer, through, and through, and through. The coffee is very good, and strong, but there are also other notes hiding around the edges of the coffee too that can’t be ignored. The roasted malts provide a strong backbone to the beer, giving it a strong caramel note and finish to it, and helps take off some of the edge of the coffee flavor without removing the coffee flavor. More like melding it together, taking a frayed edge and making it smooth and run seamlessly into the next. The malt backbone is strong and gives a wonderful, full heavy mouthfeel, with no off flavors, no cloying, no clingyness, nothing to detract or take away from the beer. There is some notes of chocolate as well, in my tastes, though I think it becomes more milder as you drink, and this could be from the malt, but not 100% sure. There is also a bit of smoothness to it, possibly vanilla, but again, not 100% sure. Regardless, the flavors that surround the coffee flavor works together well, and lifts up the coffee notes, not detracts from, or over complicates the beer. I really like the way the malt and the coffee work in this beer and I think thats the strongest reason why the beer is just so good, everything accentuates / accompanies / emphasizes and works together to attain a great tasting beer. Also at 6.5% its strong in taste, but not strong in ABV or alcohol, so it doesn’t taste boozy or overpowering, and won’t leave you drunk or getting there by the end of the first can. Perfect campfire beer, or perfect Netflix and chill, or Disney+ and watching The Mandalorian beer….

My Untappd Rating: ****.25
Global Untappd Rating: 3.93 (as of 11.28.20)

Ok, lets break down some of the nerdy pop culture beers I’ve reviewed:

Star Wars:

Space Balls:

Game of Thrones:

The Simpsons:

Back to the Future:

Scrooged:

Pro Wrestling:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:

Other:

Search for ‘Star Wars’ on The Beer Thrillers

Thanks for reading!

Cheers!

-B. Kline

Please be sure to follow us on our social media accounts – FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube, and Influence. Please be sure to also follow, like, subscribe to the blog here itself to keep updated. We love to hear from you guys, so be sure to leave a comment and let us know what you think!

The Trip to Indianapolis: Day Three: Salt Fork State Park, Southside Brewing Company, Blackhand Gorge, Wolf’s Ridge Brewing, Land-Grant Brewing Company, The Wandering Griffin

Salt Fork State Park

The subtitle I used for the recap article about Day Three was “I woke up in Washington and ended up in Dayton, how did I get here?” And its pretty accurate. Counting West Virginia (which I was only supposed to be in for all of about six to eight minutes) I traveled in three states and a fair bit of distance. So lets discuss how I got from Washington (Pennsylvania) to Dayton (Ohio) all in one day, and what all I did therein.

Also, before we go on, I believe my picture above of the lake at Salt Fork State Park is an optical allusion (that or maybe I’ve finally fully lost it and I’m going nuts); but to me it feels like if you stare at the picture long enough it looks like the waves are moving. Let me know if you see it… or if I have just lost my marbles. (Maybe its both?)

Day three saw me leaving my hotel outside of The Meadows Casino around 9:30AM, and heading to Ohio. Unfortunately, I have to go through West Virginia to get to Ohio in this part of the region… and that involves me getting pulled over by a West Virginia State Trooper. Sigh. So it goes I guess, but it does suck, and is a needless 190$ expense to add to the total cost of my trip, it also made me a bit later getting to my first stop which was the Salt Fork State Park.

There is a large beautiful lake at Salt Fork State Park, as well as several hiking trails over by the golf course. The lake was gorgeous and so serene, and at 10:30-11AM the park and lake area was completely empty. Just me, some blobby dead jellyfish looking things on the beach, lots of deer footprints, and the sad, quiet, solemn sound of the waves of the lake lapping onto the beach. I sat by the beach for a fair bit of time, just taking in the quiet and solitude, the solemnity of the here and now and the sereneness of it all.

The wooded trails there were nice though easy and not much to see, but they were quiet, serene, and peaceful. The whole place had a very serene atmosphere, a malaise or laze-faire peace and serenity to it all. Seeing nobody in sight pretty much the entire time I was in the state park certainly helped add the elusive nature of the place, like I had stumbled back in time and found a beach and lake and small wooded grove that only I knew about and nobody else ever would.

From here I traveled further into Ohio on my way to Columbus. Stopping briefly at a brewery / winery / restaurant / pizzeria on a hill. The restaurant was called Georgetown Tavern on the Hill; the brewery located there was called Southside Brewing Company. Had a gorgeous view of a vineyard and down an impressive hill.

The pizza was very good, and the beer was refreshing and nice on a beautiful, gorgeous, sunny day.

Blueberry Wheat

Beer: Blueberry Wheat
Brewery: Southside Brewing Co.
Style: Wheat Beer – American Pale Wheat
ABV: 6%
IBU: 30 IBU
Untappd Description: Traditional wheat beer with a hint of blueberry.

It was refreshing, and nice and there was a hint of blueberry. Perfectly acceptable on a sunny day in early November as a quick-stop pint to grab while breaking up the drive through Ohio.

My Untappd Rating: ***.5
Global Untappd Rating: (Only 9 ratings, not enough for a global rating yet.)

Next up, I stopped at Blackhand Gorge. Which was a series of trails on two sides of a main road. On one side, you had a trail along the creek / river which also included being able to walk down into what was the remains of the Erie Canal; and on the other side you had a walk that took you through a rock tunnel and you could also climb to the top of this giant rock plateau. The one side of the river was more of a bike trail that stretched for miles and miles, the other was a hiking trail. Both were very cool, and had numerous spots to stop and take pictures.

The drive to Blackhand Gorge was interesting. At one point on the highway a firetruck was coming up behind me, so I got over for it, and soon after it passed me, its hose came unattached from the top, and followed behind the firetruck like a long kite tail until it eventually completely unattached. The firetruck unaware the entire time kept speeding on. I was making sure to keep a good 10 – 15 feet back from the hose, which was trailing for probably about 20 – 30 feet from the firetruck itself. Once it became unattached and flew back, I had to quickly swerve so it didn’t hit the car, and it nearly clipped the car behind me who was riding my tail pretty aggressively.

After the Gorge it was finally time to head into Columbus. On the way there, I passed the Longerberger Basket building, office, headquarters, what have you. Reminded me of my aunt who used to sell their baskets, as well as my (ex) mother in law who did as well.

Once in Columbus, the first brewery to hit was Wolf’s Ridge Brewing. Parking was about a half block away, and was only 3$ for 6 hours, which for a city, is fantastic. Also, next to the parking lot was Elevator Brewing, where they were working on inside – unfortunately they weren’t open yet, and were still doing the work on the building, so I had to skip them. Wolf’s Ridge Brewing though more than made up for it.

Due to COVID, instead of eating and sitting inside, they turned the alley to the side of their brewery into a make-shift patio with a construction set barrier around the place. I had two full drafts there while reading and talking to an amazing bartender / server. Very beautiful and sweet lady who chatted with me about their brewery, my trip, Indianapolis, Harrisburg, and all kinds of things.

Buchenrauch

The first beer I got was the Buchenrauch. I can’t turn down a Rauchbier when I see it on a menu. I just can’t. Always have to give it a try, just to see how the brewery handles doing such a hard beer style. Luckily (and unsurprising for anyone who knows Wolf’s Ridge Brewing) they absolutely nailed it.

Beer: Buchenrauch
Brewery: Wolf’s Ridge Brewing
Style: Rauchbier
ABV: 5.7%
IBU: 20 IBU
Untappd Description:

2016 Gold Medal winner: San Diego International Beer Competition

2016 Gold Medal: Alltech Commonwealth Cup

2017 Silver: Alltech Commonwealth Cup

2016 Bronze: Indiana Brewers’ Cup

2015 Bronze Medal winner: San Diego International Beer Competition

This traditional smoked lager style hails from Bamberg Germany. The name literally means “beech smoke,” which pays homage to the time honored tradition of smoking the malt over beech wood to create the signature smooth smokiness. Mahogany in color and rich in flavors of campfire smoke and crusty bread. Buchenrauch is crisp and savory. The lager yeast and cold aging provide smooth drinkability and will leave you wanting more than just one.

Delicious, lovely beer. Compared to the medals and awards this beer has won, my recommendation means very little, but I do certainly highly recommend it. If you are in the Columbus area, this is worth the stop at Wolf’s Ridge Brewing alone.

My Untappd Rating: ****.25
Global Untappd Rating: 3.69 (as of 11.27.20)

Dire Wolf

Beer: Dire Wolf
Brewery: Wolf’s Ridge Brewing Company
Style: Stout – Russian Imperial
ABV: 10.4%
IBU: 50 IBU
Untappd Description: 2017 Gold: Beer Army Beer Wars

2016 Silver Medal: Best of Craft Beer Awards

2015 Gold Medal winner: San Diego International Beer Competition

Canis Dirus, or “fearsome dog,” is the scientific name for the Dire Wolf. One of the largest known breeds of wolf, the Dire Wolf went extinct at the end of the last ice age. Similarly, the Russian Imperial Stout was a beer style destined for extinction until craft brewers in America began to resurrect historical styles. Our Imperial Stout is named for the Dire Wolf because it is big, bold, and fearsome. Brewed with copious amounts of oats and brown sugar. Black as night with a dense tan head and chewy texture. Notes of dark chocolate, caramel, and espresso stand against a hefty bitterness to balance this monstrous beer.

Another style I absolutely love – Russian Imperial Stouts (RIS). For any Game of Thrones geeks out there, the name is great too. This was a boozy, heavy, delicious, rich, strong and very powerful beer.

My Untappd Rating: ****.5
Global Untappd Rating: 4.04 (as of 11.27.20)

Sadly, I had to move on and say goodbye to the bartender and the great brewery. I had enough time to hit one more brewery in Columbus before heading out to Dayton, my stop for the night (to shorten the trip for the next day). The second brewery I got to try out in Columbus was Land-Grant Brewing Company. Which was kind of set in a hipster like location, right across the street from BrewDog Ohio. Their ordering system was all on the phone, and was actually a bit of a challenge, as you had to pick your flight of beers all from their online menu which made things a bit more difficult than need be, but I don’t begrudge any breweries right now with strong COVID-19 / coronavirus safety protocols.

At Land-Grant Brewing, I ordered a flight that I had to wolf down pretty quickly to be able to get to Dayton in time for both the brewery there and the hotel and to call it on the day, and be somewhat near Indianapolis for tomorrow. According to Untappd, Land-Grant Brewing is a micro brewery; obviously located in Columbus Ohio, it has 531 Unique Beers, and over 163K ratings, with an average rating of 3.7 (as of 11.27.20). There is no Untappd description for the brewery.

The flight I ordered was:

  • Beard Crumbs
  • Make Mine Irish
  • Skull Session
  • Son of a Mudder
  • Bottomless Coffee
Beard Crumbs by Land-Grant Brewing

Beer: Beard Crumbs
Brewery: Land-Grant Brewing Company
Style: Stout – Oatmeal
ABV: 6.8%
IBU: 42
Untappd Description: Beard Crumbs is a smooth dark stout teeming with notes of chocolate, coffee, and an extra punch of holiday cheer via the addition of carmelized raisins. It delivers the joy of an oatmeal raisin cookie, minus the crumbly clean up.

It’s a festive ale that old Saint Nick himself would love.

This was a fun, tasty oatmeal stout. Ginger, nutmeg, or cinnamon rounded out the chocolate and coffee to make it feel more ‘festive’ and like a Christmas or Thanksgiving beer.

My Untappd Rating: ****
Global Untappd Rating: 3.71 (as of 11.27.20)

Make Mine Irish

Beer: Make Mine Irish
Brewery: Land-Grant Brewing Company
Style: Stout – Coffee
ABV: 8.4%
IBU: 33
Untappd Description: Sometimes a well brewed cup of coffee isn’t quite enough on its own. Sometimes a well brewed glass of beer needs a little something extra to push it over the top. Both benefit from a warming dose of whiskey. For that reason we brewed this hearty Irish Coffee Stout with Stauf’s whiskey-barrel-aged coffee beans, creating a compound of smooth chocolaty stout, roasted coffee, and rich, smoky whiskey. So when you’re craving a beer, a coffee, or a whiskey, might as well make yours Irish.

A good ‘Irish’ coffee stout. Strong and bold and powerful. Good full stout flavor even in a taster, very nice.

My Untappd Rating: ***.75
Global Untappd Rating: 3.89 (as of 11.27.20)

Skull Session by Land-Grant Brewing

Beer: Skull Session
Brewery: Land-Grant Brewing Company
Style: Lager – Red
ABV: 5.8%
IBU: 15
Untappd Description: This easy drinking Scarlet Lager owes a tip of its cap to a timeless autumn tradition. A chance to clear your mind before Saturday’s main event. This beer draws its ruddy hue from Red X malt, while maintaining a bright, classic balance from the addition of Tettnang and Chinook hops. This is a lager that’s in formation and ready to march.

An interesting lager. A lot going on flavor wise, but still pretty crispy. A fun and interesting take on the lager style. Wouldn’t mind trying some more Red Lagers in the future especially back home; see how other breweries do the style.

My Untappd Rating: ***.75
Global Untappd Rating: 3.63 (as of 11.27.20)

Son of a Mudder by Land-Grant Brewing

Beer: Son of a Mudder
Brewery: Land-Grant Brewing Company
Style: Brown Ale – American
ABV: 6.1%
IBU: 30
Untappd Description: Nevermind the conditions. This Brown Ale’s father was a Mudder, and his mother was a Mudder. This is a true and true American Brown Ale with a subtle hop presence at the turn and toffee, caramel, and coffee notes waiting at the finish line. When they’re calling for rain, dig in deep and grab a Mudder. It’s a sure thing.

I love brown ales, and I think the older I’m getting (ugh, scary thought) the more I’m enjoying them even moreso. This was no exception. Fantastic brown ale that is true to the style.

My Untappd Rating: ****
Global Untappd Rating: 3.6 (as of 11.27.20)

Bottomless Coffee by Land-Grant Brewing

Beer: Bottomless Coffee
Brewery: Land-Grant Brewing Company
Style: Lager – Vienna
ABV: 5%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: Perfect any time of day, this easy drinking Vienna Lager gets a rich, roasty pick-me-up from a big old pot of Stauf’s India Malabar Coffee beans—roasted right here in Columbus, Ohio. Grab a stool, get comfortable, and we’ll keep your cup topped-off.

Another interesting lager take. A coffee Vienna lager. Not your normal thought for a lager is coffee. This works really well though actually, and I really enjoyed it, more than I thought I would. I always love it when a beer exceeds my expectations.

My Untappd Rating: ****.25
Global Untappd Rating: 3.51 (as of 11.27.20)

Sadly, I pretty much had to wolf these beers down and bolt, and couldn’t stay and enjoy the ambiance of the place. In an outdoor patio next door looked like there was a big game of trivia going down. Not sure if this was tied in with Land-Grant Brewing or with the BrewDog from across the street. It might have been a communal area or for just the one brewery. If I had to guess, I would say it was tied in with Land-Grant Brewing or maybe the old school bar nearby too. I don’t think it was tied in with BrewDog. But it looked impressive with a big seating area, a huge screen for the trivia, and a lot of people…. hopefully socially distanced and wearing masks when not drinking.

But, I was off now to my last stop, and had to book it too. I had to get to Dayton, and had to get there fast. I was heading to The Wandering Griffin, a brewery just outside of Dayton (technically considered Beaver Creek, Ohio) and right by my motel stop for the night. From Land-Grant to The Wandering Griffin its a 1 Hour and 1 Minute drive if Google Maps is to be believed. I wanna say I made it there a bit faster than that… but not going to incriminate myself.

The Wandering Griffin (courtesy of their Facebook and media pages)

I get to Dayton (or Beaver Creek) just before shutting down. I sit outside on their patio and enjoy a pint of Oktoberfest (2020). The place had an Applebee’s turned brewery vibe to it, or pick your own chain restaurant type place. Chili’s, Red Robin, Jiffy State, or whatever is local to your area type place. Not taking anything away from the place, it was nice, great patio area, nice bartender / server / worker, and the beer was good too.

According to Untappd, The Wandering Griffin is a brew pub in Beaver Creek, Ohio. They have 41 Unique Beers with 2,400+ ratings and an average global rating of 3.66 (as of 11.27.20). Their description reads: “We are The Wandering Griffin Brewery. We brew some really killer beer. We have lots and lots of room (over 10,000 square-feet) for you to drink our killer beer. Our floor is brown. We also have one really big ass patio. You can drink our killer beer there to. We also make some really killer grub. Did we mention that our beer is really good? We look forward to seeing you soon. Really. Parking? We have the largest parking lot in Dayton. Bring the bus! Brewery, full-service restaurant, beer garden and 3 bars. Great space for your event – large or small! Conveniently located off 675 exit 15 near WSU, WPAFB and Nutter Center.”

I ordered the Oktoberfest (2020), and went out to the patio to sit, it soon started to drizzle slightly, but nothing horribly, and I had a table umbrella over my head, so I enjoyed my pint.

Oktoberfest by The Wandering Griffin

Beer: Oktoberfest (2020)
Brewery: The Wandering Griffin
Style: Lager – Amber
ABV: 6%
IBU: 28
Untappd Description:

Prost! Our 2020 Oktoberfest is brewed using a blend of select German hops, Pale, Munich, and Vienna malts. Together, these ingredients bring notes of freshly toasted bread and a touch of fruit character to the brew. At 6% ABV and 28 IBU, this year’s Oktoberfest is a big yodel to beer’s biggest party…Even if we’re doing it from 6′ apart.
Küss unseren Arsch COVID!!!

I enjoyed it. It was a little weaker than some Marzens – probably because (according to their Untappd page for it) its a Lager – Amber rather than a Marzen, but it was still serviceable, especially after I’ve already stopped at two breweries in Columbus and the one earlier in the day (like a lifetime ago) in Georgetown. Was a nice enough end cap to the day.

My Untappd Rating: ***.50
Global Untappd Rating: 3.63 (as of 11.27.20)

After bidding adieu to the bartender / server I hopped the two blocks over to my motel and finally crashed for the day. Day three in the books. It brought me from Washington Pennsylvania to Dayton Ohio. As I carried my stuff into the motel, it started raining (more than a drizzle, but not hard), my friends at home said it had poured earlier in the day. Fun note – this would be the only rain and “bad weather” on the entirety of my trip. And it was overnight while in Dayton. Can’t say a bad thing about the weather I had in early November while traveling from PA to IN. I got extremely fortunate there. So as Tuesday came to a close, I had another wonderful day on my trip. I went to a State Park, went to another hiking place (Blackhand Gorge), visited four breweries in three different cities of Ohio (Georgetown, Columbus, and Dayton) and pretty much traveled the entire way across Ohio. Tomorrow brings on Day Four and takes me into Indianapolis to finally make it to the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library – the reason and purpose for my trip. So make sure to come on back to check in with us here at The Beer Thrillers for that! We still also have Days Five, Six, and Seven to get through! Be sure to come back to read the conclusion to the whole trip!

Thanks for reading everyone. Hope you are all having a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend, happy Thanksgiving, Black Friday, etc. Make sure to shop craft beer and not just scoop up the Goose Island Bourbon County crap, help the local breweries in these hard times, especially as the virus numbers keep getting higher and higher and shut downs look imminent. Cheers everyone!

-B. Kline

The Trip to Indianapolis – Full Articles:

The Trip to Indianapolis – Recap Articles:

August (2019) Road Trip Series:

Rickett’s Glen (2020) Road Trip Series:

Monocacy Battlefield Road Trip:

Visiting Reading Pennsylvania:

  • A Visit to Reading
  • The Birthday Trip to Reading Pennsylvania – The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

A Road Trip to The PA Grand Canyon:

  • Visiting Wellsboro PA and the Grand Canyon

Hiking Hawk Rock

  • Hiking Hawk Rock and Visiting Liquid Noise Brewery

Hiking Pinnacle Trail and Pulpit Rock

  • Hiking to Pinnacle Overlook, Pulpit Rock, Visiting 1787 Brewing and Schaylor Brewing

Hiking Around Ephrata Pennsylvania:

  • Hiking Around Ephrata Pennsylvania – Pour Man’s Brewing, Black Forest Brewery

Hiking Sunset Rocks and Checking Out Maxie’s Brewhouse:

Other Brewery Hopping Articles:

My Article for Breweries in PA:

My Podcast About Breweries in Central PA:

Some other brewery tour and road trip articles:

Also, be sure to check out some of our other beer reviews in recent history:

Please be sure to follow us on our social media accounts – FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube, and Influence. Please be sure to also follow, like, subscribe to the blog here itself to keep updated. We love to hear from you guys, so be sure to leave a comment and let us know what you think!

Beer Review: I Voted for Kodos (Second Sin Brewing Company)

Don’t Blame Me…. I Voted for Kodos

As with everything, if I can push the blame off me (yet still take credit when I can), I will… so let me be the first to say: I voted for Kodos (Kodos Johnson to be exact), so you can’t blame me.

In one of the funniest bits from The Simpsons as a whole, and from the various Treehouses of Horror, the Citizen Kang segment from Treehouse of Horror VII. For the uninitiated, Kang and Kodos are aliens (Rigellians) from the planet Rigel 7. They appear (sometimes as main segments, sometimes as just cameos) in every Treehouse of Horror episode of The Simpsons. The episodes; especially through the first years; are humorous parodies and looks at different horror movies, thrillers, or cultural cues. In later years they’ve begun to parody just about anything popular at the time.

We Must Move Forward, Not Backward, Upward, not Forward, and Always… Twirling, Twirling, Twirling Towards Freedom

Each Treehouse of Horror episode is broken down into three segments or acts. In Citizen Kang (which is the third act of Treehouse of Horror VII – season 8), Kang and Kodos abduct Bill Clinton and Bob Dole and basically steal their identity and ‘body snatch’ them and replace them with themselves. This ends up leaving people with no real chance of voting, because…. who can vote third party? (Sorry Ross Perot.)

Twirling… Twirling… Twirling

Should you ever see two combatant politicians hold hands as they walk around town… you should immediately know something is up. Could you imagine Donald Trump and Joe Biden or Hillary Clinton holding hands? Or Bush Jr and Al Gore? Or anyone with Putin? Not likely. So always be leery and on the lookout for tell tale signs like this. Also – if your politician tells you that you need to always be twirling… twirling… twirling towards freedom…. most likely he’s an alien in disguise… or a former cheerleader and gymnast who got stuck at a podium and is crying out for help.

Twirling Towards Freedom

Having grown up on a steady diet of Simpsons and pop culture and now in my fast becoming late 30s (le sigh) once I heard of these two beers being released (I Voted for Kodos and I Voted for Kang) by Second Sin Brewing Company; I got all the feels and the nostalgia and member-berries and had to have them. Like all of the Star Wars beers I’ve reviewed, I had to also get ahold of these to review as well. Luckily, from the brewery itself, I was alerted to the fact that there’s a Facebook group for Second Sin Brewing called Disciples of Second Sin. Since it was unlikely I would make it to Bristol PA before they were sold out, I was trying to trade / buy from someone who lived in the area and could ship or bring closer, and luckily Steve Orbanek contacted me with the hookup. So big shout out to him and major props and huge thank you’s go to Steve Orbanek for the hookup and to Second Sin Brewing for alerting me to the group.

When I got home from my Indy trip, the package was on my doorstep which was all the cooler as a nice return gift. Steve even threw in a third beer for me (for free) for a future beer review, so I’ll keep you all in suspense and just say that you all will get a bonus beer review soon thanks to Steve.

Second Sin Brewing Company is a micro brewery from Bristol Pennsylvania. According to Untappd they have 138 unique beers and a global average rating of 4.07 (as of 11.26.20). Their Untappd description is blank.

I Voted for Kodos by Second Sin Brewing Company

Beer: I Voted for Kodos
Brewery: Second Sin Brewing Company
Style: IPA – New England
ABV: 6.7%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: I Voted For Kang and I Voted For Kodos, conceptually, are like two peas in a pod. They both started with the same base of 2 row malt, Malted Oats, and light Crystal. Both are supported with Galaxy and Idaho 7 hops to round out their flavor profiles.

However, don’t let anyone tell you that these candidates are the same…oh, no. Kang is primarily hopped with the tropical and fruity Citra, while Kodos is loaded with dank and melony Mosaic.

Steve was kind of enough to trade me both I Voted for Kodos and I Voted for Kang; so be on the lookout soon for the second of these two reviews (as well as the bonus beer that Steve sent). I started with Kodos (primarily just for the “don’t blame me I voted for Kodos” line).

Appearance is a very golden New England IPA look, hazy, opaque, no sediment, bright golden brew. This looks like a slightly darker and heavier looking orange juice. It has a foamy, creamy, white head, with great carbonation, and varied and diverse bubbles; and left a beautiful lacing on the glass.

Aroma is a bouquet of hops, a buffet of hoppy smells, like diving your nose right into a bag of the good stuff. The galaxy, Idaho 7, and Mosaic hops create a wonderful hop aroma, heavy, dank, melon, some grapefruit, stone fruit, some citrus, and a whiff of pine. Some peach, some passionfruit rounds out the cornucopia of hop aromas and mouth watering smell.

Now lets get to the fun part of this… drinking this beauty. And hmmmmm is this tasty. It is a dank, juicy, New England IPA, with a lot going for it. It has an interesting mild ‘spice’ kick, subtle, but you get it as you drink, its an interesting note that adds to the beer. The primary flavors though come from the blend of hops used – Galaxy, Idaho 7, and Mosaic. Strong flavors of the stone and tropical fruits, a heavy dose of peach and passionfruit, light grapefruit notes (which could also provide a bit of the kick too), and the faintest lingering taste of sticky pine and a small dollop of earthy notes and tones (faint, ever so faint, but slightly discernible). This is a smooth drinking beer too. It has just the right mouthfeel and texture, and slick and smoothness to the drink. A four pack of this could easily be crushed sitting out, or mowing, or reading, or hanging out with friends, or even sitting around a campfire. At 6.7% its a good buzz inducing beer that won’t knock you right out either, so its perfect to sit around with friends or mowing. The hop blend is really wonderful here, the peach, to passionfruit, to citrus, to melon, and melon rinds, with the hint of grapefruit, pine, wee bit of kick at the finishing touches, leaves a great taste in your mouth, and makes this just a delicious brew all around. This was my first beer by Second Sin Brewing, and I am totally sold by them, and can see why they have a 4+ average rating. This is smooth, silky, nice mouthfeel, not watery, hoppy, dank, juicy, and with a blasting amount of flavors. This is just a well crafted beer through and through.

My Untappd Rating: ****
Global Untappd Rating: 4.19 (as of 11.26.20)

Thank you everyone for taking the time out on Turkey Day – Thanksgiving – to give this a read. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving, either with friends, family, or with your own small(er) gathering this year. This is certainly a different Thanksgiving for most of us than we’ve been used to. It has been quite the challenge this year, but hopefully everyone can stay safe, healthy, and have a happy Thanksgiving, as we push towards the end of the year and the merrier time of the year.

Cheers everyone!

-B. Kline

Please be sure to follow us on our social media accounts – FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube, and Influence. Please be sure to also follow, like, subscribe to the blog here itself to keep updated. We love to hear from you guys, so be sure to leave a comment and let us know what you think!

For more info on Kodos:

Beer Review: Macho Man (Couch Brewery)

Oooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhh yeeeeeeeeaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!

Macho Man Randy Savage

There’s no way you didn’t read that in his voice. How can you not read “Oh Yea” and not picture Randy “Macho Man” Savage? Or hear his gravelly voice yelling that? Its one of the iconic wrestling sounds, like Ric Flair’s “WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!” or the glass shattering for Stone Cold Steve Austin’s entrance, or the gong for The Undertaker. You know exactly what’s gonna happen.

Wrestling might be a grown man’s soap opera, and it might also be beautiful, choreographed gladiator like ballet, but its also a wonderful story telling platform and media, and its also a host to some amazing characters, personas, and people. Macho Man Randy Savage is one of those people.

If you were a 60s, 70s, 80s, or 90s child, you can name some of the greats of your generation I’m sure. For the 80s, I can think of Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, Ric Flair, Ricky Steamboat, Arn Anderson, Randy Macho Man Savage, George the Animal Steele, Harley Race, Junkyard Dog, Sting, Rowdy Roddy Piper, The Ultimate Warrior. For the 90s you have The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, The Undertaker, Chris Jericho, RVD, Sabu, Taz, Mick Foley, Kane, Eddie Guerrero, Brian Pillman, Goldberg.

Interesting fun note; Pilger Ruh Brewing’s one co-owner and partner is Anthony Deppen. A professional wrestler who will be performing at Ring of Honor’s Final Battle (2020) this year. (Super cool dude, down to earth, big craft beer fan, and great wrestler.)

But anyway… I digress. We’re here to discuss beer, not wrestling.

Not Necessarily…

No… really, we must. I insist on it!

Just Relax

Oh… we’re doing this bit again, aren’t we? Like I did in The Growfather beer review? I know the average attention span for most readers is only about three minutes…. so….

Randy Savage as BoneSaw

Sigh. I was gonna say, ‘so I better hurry up and review the beer’…. but… ugh… must we do this bit for a second time? Really?

You May Not Like It…

Double sigh. French sigh – Le Sigh.

Ok, I’m just gonna push through and do the beer review….

Beer: Macho Man
Brewery: Couch Brewery
Style: Wheat Beer – Other
ABV: 5.5%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: Hibiscus Raspberry Lime Wheat

First, I want to thank Bobby Nacho for inviting me out to Couch Brewery on a day when they weren’t even open. He gave me a tour of the place, let me sample all the beers on tap, and even sent me on my way with a four pack – Macho Man, Atomic Clock, Sofia Quemando, and Morning Wood. (This might be the first and last time anyone ever says that Bobby gave them ‘morning wood’……) Anyhoo… you can read about the brewery tour here: Brewery Tour of Couch Brewery. This was part of my trip to Indianapolis, you can check out the article on the second day of my trip (which included the tour of Couch Brewery, me visiting Vandergrift, Pittsburgh, and Washington) here – The Trip to Indianapolis: Day Two.

Couch Brewery is listed as a micro brewery on Untappd. They have 120 unique beers with a global average rating of 3.59 (as of 11.25.20). They are located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Now that the background is out of the way, onto the beer itself….

This has a reddish, light, wheat beer appearance. Its primarily clear but a bit dark red, and so becomes a bit opaque / cloudy / hazy in some light and as you drink it. There is a rich frothy, creamy head to this, that leaves a nice lacing on the glass.

Aroma is very heavy hibiscus, raspberry, and grain. You can very heavy raspberry and hibiscus, with the grain bill giving it a body to cling to. There is some lime aroma though its a bit fainter. Overall its floral, and pretty strong – not overpowering or pungent, but a strong floral smell that’s inviting and wanting you to drink.

I even told him at the bar when we were sampling all the beers, that I wasn’t a fan of hibiscus, that I’ve had it in a few select beers (the most notable that I can think of being Crimson Pistil; and I was not a fan) and never really cared for it. Just a flavor that I have found that I am not too keen on. But oh boy… or should I say OHHHH YEAAAAAAA…… this blew me away. Maybe its the raspberry? Or the lime? Or that its a wheat beer rather than an IPA (like the Crimson Pistil), but I was absolutely blown away by this beer, and immediately loved it. There is a lot of raspberry flavor to this, and a lot more lime than I expected from the aroma. Its got a lot of berry, a lot of floral, and a good bit of lime – giving it almost a zesty, citrus, zip to it, a bit of a kick to it. I do really love raspberries in beer (really, any berries other than strawberries, I love blueberries, blackberries, elderberries, mulberries, raspberries, etc.; just no strawberries), and this uses them very well. This is fruity, and floral, and from the raspberries, a bit tart, not fully diving into ‘tart – sour’ country, but just a wee bit of tartness and zip to give it some added taste. It is interesting for a wheat beer, that other than a little bit of the grain taste; it doesn’t taste like a wheat beer (primarily because of how much the floral and fruit flavors overpower the grain). All in all, this is a wonderful, and delicious, and interesting beer, and shows how you can bend styles to be interesting, new, and still very tasty. And hell, it even turned me into a fan of a hibiscus beer, who knew? I recommend it, and I recommend you check out Couch Brewery too. Especially on Black Friday for their Black Stout AHT 2020 event. You won’t want to miss that or this delicious beer!

My Untappd Rating: ****.50
Global Untappd Rating: 3.81 (as of 11.25.20)

Speaking of Black Friday, do check out Couch Brewery’s website (Couch Brewery) to find out more information on their Black Stout AHT 2020 event. It sounds amazing! You can also fin out more on their Facebook page – Couch Brewery.

You can also find out more about my trip to Indianapolis, and getting to tour Couch Brewery, by the links below:

The Trip to Indianapolis – Full Articles:

The Trip to Indianapolis – Recap Articles:

Brewery Tour:

Thanks for reading everyone. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow, and a safe Drinksgiving or Friendsgiving or whatever you are doing today, and a safe Black Friday on Friday. There is a lot of great local small brewery options for Black Friday; you don’t have to go crazy for the Goose Island (couch AB In-Bev) Bourbon County Stouts. Either way, whatever you do, stay safe and socially distanced! Cheers!

-B. Kline

Please be sure to follow us on our social media accounts – FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube, and Influence. Please be sure to also follow, like, subscribe to the blog here itself to keep updated. We love to hear from you guys, so be sure to leave a comment and let us know what you think!

Randy “Macho Man” Savage

Brewery Tour: Couch Brewery

Firstly, let me give a big shoutout to Bobby Nacho for inviting me to the brewery and giving me a personal tour and sampling of their beers on my trip to Indianapolis. You can read about my full day two trip (which included hiking, Vandergrift, Pittsburgh, and Washington) here: The Trip to Indianapolis – Day Two. (There will also be full links at the end of the article, for this trip, and other similar travelogues as well as similar brewery experiences.)

Couch Brewery

On Monday, as part of my drive out to Indianapolis (from Harrisburg – Hershey area) I was in the Pittsburgh area. I started in Indiana, having visited Levity Brewing the night before, and hiking The Thousand Steps trail, Monday morning I started with Rock Furnace Trail, Roaring Run Trail, and visiting Allusion Brewing Company in Vandergrift Pennsylvania.

Ahead of Monday, Bobby had reached out to me and invited me to stop in for a brewery tour and sampling. He knew I was going to be passing through the area, and he was going to be in the brewery kegging ‘The Four Horseman’ for their upcoming Black Friday event – BLACK AHT 2020. You can get the cans and tickets to the event here: Couch Brewery – BLACK AHT 2020. Technically, The Four Horseman isn’t a stout, but is a Wild Ale / Brown Ale. But its still a part of the event (and don’t worry, it is amazing!)

I met Bobby around 1-2PM or so on Monday at the brewery, and he brought me in through the loading dock and side area of the brewery (the actual brewhouse). He took me through their small brewery and brought me then to the bar. First, we stopped, and looked at the fermenters, and the various equipment, discussed their barrel size, what they’ve done is recent months, the beers they are most known for, changes, growth, etc.

I’ll admit I was unfamiliar with Couch Brewery; and had never been to the brewery before, or even had their beers before. They do not distribute out to Harrisburg, Hershey, Hummelstown area, (unfortunately!) and I’ve never had them in a trade or at a bottle / beer share. But I must say, from now, I will be on the look out for them wherever / whenever I can.

Couch Brewery Brewing System

The above picture is their brewing system and set-up. If it looks small and home-brew-ish, its because it pretty much is. This takes nothing away from the beers, or how much they produce, or what they can do however. They still brew a large amount, and a wide variety of styles. So don’t let this set-up fool you. They are still pumping out some delicious brews.

Some of the best beers I’ve had have been brewed on the smallest of set-ups and systems; and some of the worst beers I’ve had have been on the biggest, largest scales, and the most expensive looking equipment. Its all in the skill of the brewer.

Rows of Fermenters

As you can see in the above picture, they have several fermenters that are constantly in use, so there are always lots of brews in the works here at Couch Brewery. They have 12 taps at the bar in the brewery, and they keep them full primarily because of how often they brew and fully utilizing all of their fermenters. Like a large revolving door, they are moving an empty keg for a new one, and emptying fermenters and refilling, and kegging, and keeping the kegs cooled and to the side waiting to be put on tap, etc. Like a constant dance, that keeps the beers flowing smoothly and the guests happy and the continuing flow of the suds, a perfect balance.

The Four Horseman

The beer that Bobby was kegging while I was there. Its a collaboration amongst buddies. Couch Brewery (Bobby represented as Arn Anderson), Fury Brewing represented as Tully Blanchard (I believe… I might be mixing him up with Ole Anderson here), Bash Brew which is represented by Ole Anderson, and Ric Flair of course rounding out the Four Horseman.

If you don’t know anything of The Four Horseman of wrestling, at least familiarize yourself with them. Probably the best stable ever in professional wrestling, of any generation or era. You can read more about them on wiki: The Four Horseman.

For more information on Black AHT 2020, you can read this quick article on Fueled by Hops: Couch Brewery hosting Black AHT 2020 Still.

For Black AHT 2020, there is 10 stouts for the event, and then as a special entry, The Four Horseman which is a Brown Ale / Wild Ale, and there is also a Rye Barrel Aged version on draft only at Couch Brewery.

One of the brewer’s for the collaboration’s wife did the artwork shown above, which will also be on the cans, and is drawn spectacularly.

Couch Brewery’s Bar

Now, it was time to get to the bar, and actually drink some of the amazing beers Bobby has been brewing at Couch Brewery. I had the 11 beers they had on tap (out of the 12 taps), as well as the Four Horseman straight from the kegging.

  • Recliner
  • Morning Wood
  • Hippie Blackberry Sour
  • Sofa Quemando
  • Fest Bump
  • F1 Hazy IPA
  • Thicc Ric
  • Macho Man
  • Atomic Clock
  • Stardust – Mango Passion
  • The Four Horseman (collaboration)
Recloner

Beer: Recliner
Brewery: Couch Brewery
Style: Stout – Oatmeal
ABV: 6%
IBU: 30
Untappd Description: A delicious yet unconventional oatmeal stout brewed with the wrong hops, or so you would think. It delivers a wonderful silky smooth mouthfeel with a refreshing hint of citrus, a little bit of chocolate and a touch of coffee.
My Untappd Rating: 4
Global Untappd Rating: 3.67 (as of 11.23.20)

Morning Wood

Beer: Morning Wood
Brewery: Couch Brewery
Style: Stout – Coffee
ABV: 6.7%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: (blank)
My Untappd Rating: 4.5
Global Untappd Rating: 3.87 (as of 11.23.20)

Beer: Hippie Blackberry Sour Ale
Brewery: Couch Brewery
Style: Sour – Fruited
ABV: 4.7%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: (blank)
My Untappd Rating: 4
Global Untappd Rating: 3.68 (as of 11.23.20)

Beer: Sofa Quemando
Brewery: Couch Brewery
Style: Stout – Other
ABV: 7.1%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: Mexican Stout.
My Untappd Rating: 4.25
Global Untappd Rating: 4 (as of 11.23.20)

Beer: Fest Bump
Brewery: Couch Brewery
Style: Festbier
ABV: 5.3%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: (blank)
My Untappd Rating: 4
Global Untappd Rating: 3.7 (as of 11.23.20)

Beer: F1 Hazy IPA
Brewery: Couch Brewery
Style: IPA – New England
ABV: 7%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: (blank)
My Untappd Rating: 4
Global Untappd Rating: 3.56 (as of 11.23.20)

Beer: Thicc Ric
Brewery: Couch Brewery
Style: IPA – New England
ABV: 7%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: (blank)
My Untappd Rating: 4
Global Untappd Rating: 3.53 (as of 11.23.20)

Beer: Macho Man
Brewery: Couch Brewery
Style: Wheat Beer – Other
ABV: 5.5%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: Hibiscus Raspberry Lime Wheat
My Untappd Rating: 4.25
Global Untappd Rating: 3.82 (as of 11.23.20)

Beer: Atomic Clock
Brewery: Couch Brewery
Style: Red Ale – American Amber / Red
ABV: 6.3%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: (blank)
My Untappd Rating: 4
Global Untappd Rating: 3.57 (as of 11.23.20)

Beer: Stardust – Mango Passion
Brewery: Couch Brewery
Style: Hard Seltzer
ABV: 5%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: (blank)
My Untappd Rating: 3.5
Global Untappd Rating: 3.52 (as of 11.23.20)

Beer: The Four Horseman
Breweries: Couch Brewery
Collaborators: Fury Brewing Company, Bash Brew, X
Style: Brown Ale – Other
ABV: 8.3%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: (blank)
My Untappd Rating: 4.5
Global Untappd Rating: 4.22 (as of 11.28.20 [EDITED]

Beer: The Four Horseman
Brewery: Couch Brewery
Collaborators: Fury Brewing Company, Bash Brew, X
Style: Brown Ale – American
ABV: 8.3%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: Rye barrel-aged version of Four Horsemen.
My Untappd Rating: 4.5
Global Untappd Rating: N/A (as of 11.28.20) [EDITED]

My favorite of the group was The Four Horseman, followed by (surprisingly to myself) Macho Man, Atomic Clock, and Morning Wood. I even discussed with Bobby about how I’m not a big fan of hibiscus in beer, and not a fan of Crimson Pistil by Troegs Brewing (an IPA that uses hibiscus) but absolutely loved Macho Man. (Look for a review of it coming soon.)

The bar and drinking area of the brewery has such an old-school lounge feeling. Like you are stuck in the 70s and Billy Joel could be in the corner playing Piano Man. An amazing atmosphere, I can’t wait to come visit sometime when they are open and get to actually sit and drink on the couches. The old school vibe is fantastic. Also, Bingo is a must when visiting Couch Brewery and an event to add to the calendar.

Bobby was an absolute blast to hang out with and talk to and we killed quite a bit of beer and quite a bit of time just discussing the craft beer industry, COVID-19, the mandates, the changes of the times, staying afloat, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, home brewing, brewing, Full Pint Brewing, professional wrestling, and pretty much everything and anything under the sun. If you ever get to have a drink with Bobby, make sure you do, he is fun, entertaining, and hilarious, and an all around great dude.

I have to say, I was reluctant to leave, but had to due to other trips and activities, and Bobby had to get back to work on finishing up his brewery duties for the day. But he did send me on my way with a four pack of Macho Man, Morning Wood, Atomic Clock, and Sofia Quemando. Which once back home, me and my buddy Drew killed the four pack together while streaming for his channel. He loved the Mexican stout.

For those in the Pittsburgh area, be on the lookout in 2021 for news on Full Pint Brewing. Big news. As many know, they closed up shop this year, which you can read about here: FULL PINT BREWING CLOSES. I don’t want to let too much out of the bag, but be on the lookout for news about them, and possibly…. dare I say it… a resurgence or resurrection? Who knows….. but like I said…. I won’t be the one to leave the cat out of the bag… Just be sure to stay tuned, and you’ll definitely hear about it here as soon as more is allowed to be said.

Again, in closing, I want to thank Bobby for a wonderful time, for opening his brewery to me, for inviting me out (on his own initiative), for the free samples, for the four pack, and for a wonderful time enjoying beers with a fellow beer enthusiast. He is a great dude, and I wish him the best with everything he does, a wonderful brewer, and a hell of a host. Thank you.

To everyone reading, be sure to check out the quality beers for the Black AHT 2020. You can read more, and get your tickets on Couch Brewery’s website, as well as through their social media pages.

Couch Brewing:

As for me here at The Beer Thrillers, thanks for reading. I always love to hear from you all, so be sure to leave comments, thoughts, your reviews, suggestions, questions, whatever you want. Also, be sure to like, follow, subscribe, you can find our social media links at the top of each page, as well as below. Also be sure to check out all of the links below for more great stories, beer reviews, brewery reviews, brewery and beer news, travelogues, and much more.

Please stay safe, and hope everyone has a great upcoming Thanksgiving. Cheers all!
-B. Kline

The Trip to Indianapolis – Full Articles:

The Trip to Indianapolis – Recap Articles:

August (2019) Road Trip Series:

Rickett’s Glen (2020) Road Trip Series:

Monocacy Battlefield Road Trip:

Visiting Reading Pennsylvania:

  • A Visit to Reading
  • The Birthday Trip to Reading Pennsylvania – The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

A Road Trip to The PA Grand Canyon:

  • Visiting Wellsboro PA and the Grand Canyon

Hiking Hawk Rock

  • Hiking Hawk Rock and Visiting Liquid Noise Brewery

Hiking Pinnacle Trail and Pulpit Rock

  • Hiking to Pinnacle Overlook, Pulpit Rock, Visiting 1787 Brewing and Schaylor Brewing

Hiking Around Ephrata Pennsylvania:

  • Hiking Around Ephrata Pennsylvania – Pour Man’s Brewing, Black Forest Brewery

Hiking Sunset Rocks and Checking Out Maxie’s Brewhouse:

Other Brewery Hopping Articles:

My Article for Breweries in PA:

My Podcast About Breweries in Central PA:

Some other brewery tour and road trip articles:

Also, be sure to check out some of our other beer reviews in recent history:

Please be sure to follow us on our social media accounts – FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube, and Influence. Please be sure to also follow, like, subscribe to the blog here itself to keep updated. We love to hear from you guys, so be sure to leave a comment and let us know what you think!

The Trip to Indianapolis: Day Two: Rock Furnace Trail, Allusion Brewing Company, Couch Brewery, Riverview Park, Hop Farm Brewing Company, and The Meadows Casino and Racetrack.

Woke up bright and early in Indiana, Pennsylvania and checked out of my hotel early early. My first of several hotel stops, and nearly the entire trip comes undone when I can’t find my wallet before leaving. A twenty minute search finally yields it behind the bed, it must have fallen off the nightstand back behind there. Whew, dilemma and catastrophe averted, I was on my way to towards Pittsburgh.

My first stop of the day was a morning wake up hike. I was wanting to hike and see the Jackson Falls… but unfortunately, despite Google Maps saying you could access them, the land for Jackson Falls (recently?) became purchased by a water company and was considered private property and you were unable to use the road to them; it was now a private road / driveway for this water company.

The Kiskiminetas River along Roaring Run Trail

But, there was a nearby hiking trail that went along the creek called Rock Furnace Trail, and I did hike that, and it led out by the river and was a bike / walk path called Roaring Run Trail, and I walked some of that as well. The trails were located in Apollo Pennsylvania, and the river that ran alongside Roaring Run Trail is called Kiskiminetas River. It was a beautiful path (both the Rock Furnace Trail and the Roaring Run Trail), the creek alongside Rock Furnace Trail was pretty, low, meandering, and the Kiskiminetas River was big and roaring with lots of rapids. Unfortunately, no real waterfalls or cascades to see, I assume all of those were at the Jackson Falls that were now on the private property.

After hiking and walking the two trails / paths, it was about 11AM when I left Apollo and made my way to Vandergrift Pennsylvania, for my first brewery stop of day two. Vandergrift was a small, quaint, old time town, that reminded me of the town from Back to the Future. Not sure why, but it just did. I walked a few blocks of it before / after drinking and eating at Allusion Brewing Company.

Allusion Brewing Company is a micro brewery located in Vandergrift Pennsylvania; just outside of Pittsburgh. According to Untappd it has 18 unique beers, with 542 ratings and has an average rating of 3.8. The Untappd description simply reads: “Vandergrift’s hometown brewery.” The oldest created unique beer was on 12.26.13, but then the next wasn’t until 5.24.14. It certainly seems like it’s a relatively new and small brewery, but the beers were great, the building was beautiful, and the staff – Jim – was wonderful. If you get a chance to go by Vandergrift, make sure to stop in, visit Allusion Brewing, and see Jim as bartender, wonderful guy, very nice, informative and talkative.

I got a flight at Allusion Brewing, which was in an old card catalogue holder from a library, which was pretty neat. My flight was:

  • Oh, Bother!
  • One Inning More
  • Baker St. Brown
  • V.I.Porter
Oh Bother

Beer: Oh, Bother!
Brewery: Allusion Brewing Company
Style: Blonde Ale
ABV: 4.75%
IBU: 28
Untappd Description: A sweet malty golden colored blonde ale brewed with caramel malts and Canadian honey malt to achieve a sweet honey taste. A beer to enjoy in the Hundred Acre woods.
My Untappd Rating: 3.75
Global Untappd Rating: 3.74 (as of 11.23.20)

One Inning More

Beer: One Inning More
Brewery: Allusion Brewing Company
Style: Pale Ale – American
ABV: 5%
IBU: 45
Untappd Description: American Style Pale Ale brewed with Pale and Victory malts and bittered with American Willamette and Cascade hops to produce a balance beer with hints of earthy, floral, spice from the hops. Let’s hope the Mighty Casey won’t strike out so that you can enjoy another inning of entertainment and great beer.
My Untappd Rating: 4
Global Untappd Rating: 3.65 (as of 11.23.20)

Baker St. Brown

Beer: Baker St. Brown
Brewery: Allusion Brewing Company
Style: Brown Ale – English
ABV: 3.5%
IBU: 15
Untappd Description: Traditional Mild English Brown Ale brewed with English floor malted maris otter, English chocolate malts, and English Fuggle hops for a light drinking sessionable ale with hints of caramel and toasted bread. Sit back and enjoy one while you solve your latest mystery.
My Untappd Rating: 4.25
Global Untappd Rating: 3.75 (as of 11.23.20)

V.I.Porter

Beer: V.I.Porter
Brewery: Allusion Brewing Company
Style: Porter – American
ABV: 4.8%
IBU: 38
Untappd Description: American style robust porter brewed with various caramel malts and black mat to achieve hints of roasted coffee and dark chocolate. Sit back and enjoy your beer knowing that proceeds from each pint goes toward projects to help the local community.
My Untappd Rating: 3.75
Global Untappd Rating: 3.65 (as of 11.23.20)

Bidding Jim a farewell, I was off to Pittsburgh proper and made it to the city roughly around 12:30-1PM. For the second time now, Google Maps has led me astray with the Rodef Shalom Biblical Botanical Garden. I took my daughters through Pittsburgh last summer – August – and it was closed the day we were there, despite Google Maps saying it was open. Same thing, again, Google Maps listed it as open, but it was closed (closed for the season on September 15th). I have since figured out the issue – the synagogue that the garden is attached to is open year round, and Google Maps based the hours for the garden on that of the synagogue and not the actual hours for the garden. Le sigh. At some point I will get to visit the garden and walk through it. I swear it!

Rodef Shalom Biblical Botanical Garden

From there, I got a special treat, I was invited by Bobby – the head brewer for Couch Brewery – to visit Couch Brewery (on a day they were closed) for a personal tour and sampling of the beers. He was in the building kegging up their upcoming release for their Black Friday stout bash; a collaboration he did with friends (home brewers and other breweries in the area) called The Four Horseman. This was an utter blast, and Bobby is a fantastic guy, funny, down to Earth, and very knowledgeable about beer, brewing, stouts, home brewing, bars, breweries, etc. Was a blast getting to hang out for a few hours, check out the brewery, and try the entire run of their beers on tap.

I will be doing a full article on just the brewery tour (look for that most likely tomorrow), so there will be plenty more to go than just what I list here, so be sure to check that article out.

Beers I got to sample at Couch Brewery:

  • Recliner
  • Morning Wood
  • Hippie Blackberry Sour
  • Sofa Quemando
  • Fest Bump
  • F1 Hazy IPA
  • Thicc Ric
  • Macho Man
  • Atomic Clock
  • Stardust – Mango Passion
  • The Four Horseman (collaboration)
Recloner

Beer: Recliner
Brewery: Couch Brewery
Style: Stout – Oatmeal
ABV: 6%
IBU: 30
Untappd Description: A delicious yet unconventional oatmeal stout brewed with the wrong hops, or so you would think. It delivers a wonderful silky smooth mouthfeel with a refreshing hint of citrus, a little bit of chocolate and a touch of coffee.
My Untappd Rating: 4
Global Untappd Rating: 3.67 (as of 11.23.20)

Morning Wood

Beer: Morning Wood
Brewery: Couch Brewery
Style: Stout – Coffee
ABV: 6.7%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: (blank)
My Untappd Rating: 4.5
Global Untappd Rating: 3.87 (as of 11.23.20)

Beer: Hippie Blackberry Sour Ale
Brewery: Couch Brewery
Style: Sour – Fruited
ABV: 4.7%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: (blank)
My Untappd Rating: 4
Global Untappd Rating: 3.68 (as of 11.23.20)

Beer: Sofa Quemando
Brewery: Couch Brewery
Style: Stout – Other
ABV: 7.1%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: Mexican Stout.
My Untappd Rating: 4.25
Global Untappd Rating: 4 (as of 11.23.20)

Beer: Fest Bump
Brewery: Couch Brewery
Style: Festbier
ABV: 5.3%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: (blank)
My Untappd Rating: 4
Global Untappd Rating: 3.7 (as of 11.23.20)

Beer: F1 Hazy IPA
Brewery: Couch Brewery
Style: IPA – New England
ABV: 7%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: (blank)
My Untappd Rating: 4
Global Untappd Rating: 3.56 (as of 11.23.20)

Beer: Thicc Ric
Brewery: Couch Brewery
Style: IPA – New England
ABV: 7%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: (blank)
My Untappd Rating: 4
Global Untappd Rating: 3.53 (as of 11.23.20)

Beer: Macho Man
Brewery: Couch Brewery
Style: Wheat Beer – Other
ABV: 5.5%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: Hibiscus Raspberry Lime Wheat
My Untappd Rating: 4.25
Global Untappd Rating: 3.82 (as of 11.23.20)

Beer: Atomic Clock
Brewery: Couch Brewery
Style: Red Ale – American Amber / Red
ABV: 6.3%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: (blank)
My Untappd Rating: 4
Global Untappd Rating: 3.57 (as of 11.23.20)

Beer: Stardust – Mango Passion
Brewery: Couch Brewery
Style: Hard Seltzer
ABV: 5%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: (blank)
My Untappd Rating: 3.5
Global Untappd Rating: 3.52 (as of 11.23.20)

Beer: The Four Horseman
Breweries: Couch Brewery, Fury Brewing, 2 Homebrew Collaborators
Style: American Brown Ale

There is no Untappd listing for this, and I don’t recall if Bobby gave me information on ABV / IBU / etc. (No official rating for Untappd for me or for others either then; but I would give it a 4.25.)

Bobby also gave me a four pack to go, which included Macho Man, Sofa Quemando (for Drew), Atomic Clock, and Morning Wood. Couch Brewery on Untappd is listed as a micro brewery in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania with 113 unique beers, over 12 thousand ratings, and an average rating of 3.59. They have no Untappd description for their brewery.

I finally had to bid Bobby a fond adieu and promised if / when I’m back in the Pittsburgh area I would definitely be stopping in, at a time when the place is open, and hopefully with some friends. The brewery is great and he was an utter blast to hang out with.

After Couch Brewery, my next walking / hiking activity was Riverview Park at the top of Pittsburgh where the Allegheny Observatory is. I made a few mis-turns and went up and down those massively steep hills a few more times than I wished or would have liked to, and actually even went past the chapel where I took the girls last year – St. Anthony’s Chapel – (they have a piece of the cross that Jesus was crucified on) (I did not stop in) – but I finally made it to the top of Pittsburgh Hill or whatever its called, and walked the park and walking trails.

The park and walking trails were really nice. Nothing crazy intense, but just a good walking area for families and for people with dogs or what have you. Some pretty views and sights. Lots of deer too that were pretty tame an would walk right up to you. The Old Zoo trail was really nice and interesting to see old broken paths, old Zoo enclosures and buildings (like the Bear Pit) and old crumbling buildings and infrastructure. The whole area was very busy, but people were keeping distanced and walking within their own families and friends. It reminded me of ants crawling around on an ant hill with everyone going this way and that and doing their own thing, and looking at things or seeing different views, and just meandering around, getting exercise and fresh air.

Once it got dusk and dark I finally left after a good three or so hour walk. While up on Troy’s Hill I passed the Penn Brewery, but unfortunately they were closed. I still stopped for a picture of their building because its a very beautiful building.

Penn Brewery in Pittsburgh
Across the street from Penn Brewery, an old Bottling Company

My next stop was a brewery – that … fingers crossed, God Willing, and Google Maps hopeful – was open… and huzzah it was! Hop Farm Brewing Company. ….but they were at max capacity so I had to wait for someone to leave. I walked the block and came back and thankfully someone was leaving just as I came back, so I was able to snag a table.

Hop Farm Brewing Company is a micro brewery from Lawrenceville Pennsylvania. Lawrenceville is in between Pittsburgh and Washington (where the Meadows Casino is). Its still basically Pittsburgh, but not fully in Pittsburgh. Untappd lists them with 209 unique beers, over 49 thousand ratings and a global average rating of 3.65. Their Untappd description reads: “Hop Farm Brewing company is a independently partner owned brewery by Matthew and Emily Gouwens, in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. Our focus is on sustainability and local sourcing while producing hoppy ales, farmhouse ales, sour ales and various other interesting brews.”

While there, I had a delicious hamburger and two beers. I had the Kulak and the Pittsburgh Pale Ale.

Kulak

Beer: Kulak
Brewery: Hop Farm Brewing Company
Style: Stout – Russian Imperial
ABV: 9.8%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: (blank)
My Untappd Rating: 4
Global Untappd Rating: 3.83 (as of 11.23.20)

Pittsburgh Pale Ale

Beer: Pittsburgh Pale Ale
Brewery: Hop Farming Brewing Company
Style: Pale Ale – American
ABV: (none listed)
IBU: (none listed)
Untappd Description: (blank)
(….well that was all very informative huh?)
My Untappd Rating: 4
Global Untappd Rating: 3.83 (as of 11.23.20)

After leaving the brewery, I went to The Meadows Casino and Racetrack. I scoped the place out, talked to a few dealers about COVID and how things have been going there for them (compared to my work) and played a little bit of dice. (26$ thrown down on the table – 12 on the 6 and 8, dollar each for the dealers. Hit the 8 twice, didn’t press, got 28$, then seven’ed out, so dealers made 2$ off me, and I made 2$ and I was done. Meh.)

The Meadows Casino and Racetrack

I stopped over at the bar, and tried to have a beer with a hot dog as it was starting to get late – 10:30ish, I saw a brewery I hadn’t had before – Sobel’s Obscure Brewery and got a pint, it ends up kicking after just a little bit of it, so I ended up with a Hazy Little Thing by Sierra Nevada (the bartender didn’t quite get what I meant by “local craft beer” and kept suggesting Yuengling Lager………).

Watched a little bit of the Monday Night game while there, then got back to the hotel at 11PM, to pretty much fall straight to bed.

Tomorrow’s article should be the Couch Brewery Tour and Sampling, so be sure to check out that. Then it’ll probably be followed up with a few beer reviews, and then I will pick back up with the Trip articles. The next will be me entering Ohio, Salt Fork State Park, and Columbus and Dayton. Lots more great pictures, hikes, and breweries to go, so stay tuned and don’t miss it!

Thank you all for reading! Love to hear from you, so be sure to leave a comment or talk it up with me, you can also check out our social media pages and comment and talk to us there as well.

Cheers!

-B. Kline

The Trip to Indianapolis – Full Articles:

The Trip to Indianapolis – Recap Articles:

August (2019) Road Trip Series:

Rickett’s Glen (2020) Road Trip Series:

Monocacy Battlefield Road Trip:

Visiting Reading Pennsylvania:

  • A Visit to Reading
  • The Birthday Trip to Reading Pennsylvania – The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

A Road Trip to The PA Grand Canyon:

  • Visiting Wellsboro PA and the Grand Canyon

Hiking Hawk Rock

  • Hiking Hawk Rock and Visiting Liquid Noise Brewery

Hiking Pinnacle Trail and Pulpit Rock

  • Hiking to Pinnacle Overlook, Pulpit Rock, Visiting 1787 Brewing and Schaylor Brewing

Hiking Around Ephrata Pennsylvania:

  • Hiking Around Ephrata Pennsylvania – Pour Man’s Brewing, Black Forest Brewery

Hiking Sunset Rocks and Checking Out Maxie’s Brewhouse:

Other Brewery Hopping Articles:

My Article for Breweries in PA:

My Podcast About Breweries in Central PA:

Some other brewery tour and road trip articles:

Also, be sure to check out some of our other beer reviews in recent history:

Please be sure to follow us on our social media accounts – FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube, and Influence. Please be sure to also follow, like, subscribe to the blog here itself to keep updated. We love to hear from you guys, so be sure to leave a comment and let us know what you think!

Beer Review: Grand Cacao (Troegs Independent Brewing)

This was my ‘new’ beer of the night last night; for those new or unfamiliar, in November, I make sure to have at least one brand new (to me) beer every day in November – as well as write one new blog post every day in November (30 new beers, 30 new blog pots); it was a 12oz can I got from Deuane as a gift for bringing him some beers back from Urban Artifact and Braxton Brewing Company from my Indianapolis trip (you can check out links to the trip at the end of this article). So last night (Nov. 22nd) while I was writing up the first full day trip article I drank that and it was my new beer for the day, and I was planning on doing this review today (Nov. 23rd). Well, as it turned out, I ended up meeting my friends Drew and Andy (Drew – is the creator of Knights of Nostalgia; and Andy is the writer for the ‘What Makes a Great Quarantine Brewery article here on The Beer Thrillers) at Troegs Brewery in Hershey today for a lunch (well, beer lunch anyway).

I had originally ran out to Harrisburg because I had to go to the DMV to renew my license, only to find out that I now have to go to Enola to renew my license and they are open Tuesday through Saturday (which… of course… today is a Monday). So I walked my dog along the Green Belt and the Riverfront, taking her over to City Island and back, and then decided I’d hit up ZeroDay Brewing. Well… I forgot they are doing the renovations and reconstruction on the old ZeroDay Brewery on Reily Street, and that their new current location doesn’t open til 4PM; so that was obviously a no – go. So I drove home, dropped off Leela, and met Drew and Andy at Troegs.

Sadly, they did not have a cranberry beer, so I only have a cranberry / lemon or lime or something gose I picked up from Urban Artifact for this year’s Thanksgiving. Typically, Troegs does a cranberry every year for Thanksgiving, usually a porter, sometimes something different, and I try to pick up a 4 pack or 6 pack or a crowler of it for the meal. Also, in recent months, it seems Troegs has also really slowed up on their scratch series. Pre-COVID they were doing a new scratch release every Thursday (or nearly every Thursday; and even sometimes doubling up and releasing two on a Thursday), but it seems now they have really slowed up their scratch series, and are releasing them intermittently.

So there was a bit of a dearth in ‘new’ beers for me to try at Troegs today. I was afraid I’d have to drink more when I got home just to hit my requirement of a new beer today, but, I am being a bit cheeky and calling my Mad Elf and Mad Elf Grand Cru picks as ‘new’ since they are technically the Mad Elf (2020) and Mad Elf Grand Cru (2020) vintages. Bit of a loophole… but I’m taking it.

Troegs has slacked a bit on their uptight mandates as well. No longer needing to check into the host and waiting for a text to be seated, and no longer having to “all be together” before seating, I was able to meet up with Drew and Andy who were already seated. Drew ordered a pork waffle thing (no clue), and Andy got fries, I just drank. I had a draft of the Grand Cacao, followed by the Coco-Nator, then the Mad Elf Grand Cru (2020) and the Mad Elf (2020). Funny thing – the very first beer review on the blog here was the scratch Coco-Nator released a year and a half ago – Scratch #375 – Coco-Nator. They then released it later last year as a new seasonal – Coco-Nator, and now its been re-released for the first time this year. And now, here I am, also enjoying a Grand Cacao that I will be doing as another review for Troegs on the blog. (And here I was just thinking to myself how it’s been a ‘hot minute’ since I’ve done a Troegs beer review.) Its almost like coming full circle….

The nice thing about doing the thirty blogs in thirty days thing, is that it gives me a chance to do a lot of reviews I might have skipped, and to really hit a lot of local breweries for the reviews. Getting to do a Tattered Flag one (The Pandalorian) as a recent local brewery beer review. You can see all of my November 2020 posts here: November 2020. Its fun to do a mix-up of local brewery reviews to get the name out and to help promote and because its obviously what I’m drinking, as well as doing some bigger name ones that are maybe from further away breweries or just bigger known beers or breweries, like the Yuengling Hershey Porter or Aslin’s Isolation Anniversary, or Elder Pine Brewing and Blending’s Villeinage.

Troegs Independent Brewing has always put out very strong beers, solid, hard to ignore, hard to hate beers. They are also the biggest local craft brewery in the Central PA area. One of the biggest producers in Pennsylvania, and the East Coast alone. They are often talked about, and one of the more well known breweries. So its great having them theoretically “right in our backyard”. When I was coming of age (of drinking…. legally) (at 21), they were the first real craft brewery that I got into (not counting Sam Adams) and was really the first brewery I visited and went to often. I don’t get to them as much as I used to, and there’s a ton more options now in the area, but they are still a solid brewery.

So let’s break down this latest seasonal beer from Troegs Brewing:

Grand Cacao by Troegs Independent Brewing

Beer: Grand Cacao
Brewery: Troegs Independent Brewing
Style: Stout – Milk / Sweet
ABV: 6.5%
IBU: None
Untappd Description:

Welcome to Grand Cacao. This deliciously decadent stout is built on a foundation of rich chocolate malt, caramel malt and roasted barley. Cold-steeping on Peruvian cacao nibs and natural vanilla doubles down on the smooth symphony of chocolate, and a splash of milk sugar delivers a velvety sweet and creamy finish.
We taste: milk chocolate, roasty grain, hints of sweet cream

As per usual with a stout, this is dark black, jet fuel black, Razor Ramon hair black. Stephen Hawking black hole black. Black as my….. (oh…. thats too easy….) ….anyway… moving on from the apt description of somebody’s heart and soul that I know….. This is a dark black beer. It had a nice creamy foam head to it, not big, but not small, nice carbonation, and nice lacing on the glass. Good bubbles that were diverse and varied in size.

The aroma is very chocolaty, very cacao, very baker’s chocolate. As me and Drew and Andy were discussing, like with the Yuengling Hershey’s Porter, which is a super sweet chocolate, we kind of (the three of us in consensus) agreed, that we prefer a more bitter baker’s chocolate to a chocolate stout. This smells just like that. This has more of the bitter, earthy, nib, roasted malt, chocolate smell to it.

Taste is surprisingly smooth, but its not the overly sweet Hershey’s syrupy / syrup taste that the above porter has. Despite this being smooth, silky, and creamy, its more of the bitter chocolate notes. The roasted malt and caramel also gives it a very deeper, darker tone and flavor, and brings out more of the bitter and earthy notes, rather than the sweet chocolate. That not to say that this isn’t sweet or creamy or smooth or silky, it is all of those things and more. I think there’s just more complexity to the flavor in that it provides a bitter chocolate taste, while being creamy and smooth and silk and sweet. A nice complexion and degree of difference between the vanilla and the bitter, between the sweet and the bitter, between the cacao nibs and the vanilla and milk sugar. This tastes more like the hot cocoa you get at a football game once the negative 10 degrees sets in fully and turns your hot cocoa into ….well… regular cocoa. Or the milk after a very chocolaty cereal and you ate all the cereal and are now draining the bowl of its chocolatey milk. This is also a pretty crushable drink too. I could easily down a six pack of the 12oz cans of these (thanks Deuane for the can by the way), or if they ever re-release it in four pack at 16oz cans, I could drink a few of them in that size as well. The 6.5% is pretty low (lower than Troegs own Perpetual IPA – their flagship and staple beer and IPA), so its enough to give you a good surprising buzz after a can or two, but not enough to send you hurting for a hangover the next day. (Jokes on my buddies too, telling me I’ll end up with a headache and hangover from the Mad Elf Grand Cru and Mad Elf I had after the Coco-Nator and Grand Cacao…. I don’t get hangovers anymore……..) A low ABV but high flavor stout is always perfect for the fall months and fall weather leading into the more wintry weather and months. This will go great for Thanksgiving and Christmas parties… I mean…. your own personal home get together’s of Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. Not sure if this will become a seasonal regular for Troegs or if this was a one-shot done deal, but if it does become a seasonal regular each year, I will certainly be looking forward to it. Make sure you stop out at the brewery for some of this, not sure if the cans are hitting the distributors or stores, but its at the brewery, and its also on draft at the brewery, so make sure you at least get a try of it before it disappears.

My Untappd Rating: ****
Global Untappd Rating: 3.87 (as of 11.23.20)

This turned into a rather longer winded beer review than I intended, but hopefully you stuck around for it, as its now dragged me from 11PM when I started this til just a wee bit after midnight – 12 – so I’m still counting this as upholding my ‘post’ for the day of the 23rd. (Especially since the time stamp and posting of this is based on when the article was started, so I fly by on a technicality there.)

Be sure to check out some of my other Troegs beer reviews:

For those interested in the Trip to Indianapolis, you can read more through the following articles (some full length articles, some recap articles):

The Trip to Indianapolis – Full Articles:

The Trip to Indianapolis – Recap Articles:

As always everyone, thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed the beer review and your time here at The Beer Thrillers. Be sure to like, follow, subscribe, and if you want, comment or ask any questions please feel free to do so. Love hearing from you all.

Also be sure to stay safe this Thanksgiving week, with COVID-19 and everything going on, this is going to be a tough week, and one where everyone needs to do their best to stay safe and healthy.

Cheers!

-B. Kline

Please be sure to follow us on our social media accounts – FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube, and Influence. Please be sure to also follow, like, subscribe to the blog here itself to keep updated. We love to hear from you guys, so be sure to leave a comment and let us know what you think!

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