Beer Review: Doppelgänger (Tree House Brewing)

Doppelgänger by Tree House Brewing Company, the last of the Tree House series… …or is it….

Doppelgänger, the last of my series of Tree House beers to review, number five of the quintology…. ……or is it…. (dun dun dun!) Actually… no… in fact, its not going to be the last of the series, because I’ve also gotten to try Intemperance the other day, and I will be reviewing that as well, turning this quintology into a sexology? Septology? …Two trilogies? Yea, lets go with two trilogies… Sounds a lot less weird.

Also, yes, don’t worry about the picture. It is taken in the shower, and yes, that is somewhat relevant (or more to the point – I’m going to make it relevant), and no, don’t worry, there is no more pictures than that one. So you’re fine, and this is still SFW (safe for work).

This is a part of the backlog of beer reviews I’m finishing up now. Started this one on January 20th, 2020…. and now getting to finish it on February 12th, 2020. Sounds reasonable, not too bad, only a week’s worth shy of a month later. (Over a week actually, so I’m good.) Between getting all of the other blog posts ready, and the activities I’ve been up to with the blog, this has kind of taken a back corner. Just one of those I know *IS* going to get done, its just a matter of *WHEN* it gets done. And now is *WHEN*. Perfect. So, please, enjoy!

Sometimes we all just don’t feel well. Sometimes we all work a long day, annoyed at the world, over stressed out, and sadly, they still forbid throat punching at most works. (Unless you work for the UFC, and even then I think its pretty rude and hard to do.) So, whats the next best thing? Shower beers!

Turn on the hot water. Lay back in the shower, let the spray hit you, feel the steam rise and loosen your pores, crack open a delicious craft beer, and just slowly consume. Perhaps some music in the background, like whale songs or something. Some scented candles from Bath and Beyond…. the lights dimmed. Just relaxation.

Ok, maybe not all that is necessary. But what is necessary, is the beer, and the shower, and thats all I needed to feel better after a stressful day at work and getting over a cold. And Doppelgänger certainly did the trick. Number one, its a fantastic beer, number two the shower was nice and warm, and number three, it had just the right amount of ABV to melt away the annoyances of the world.

Let’s turn on the shower, crack open a Doppelganger and melt away our stress!

Beer: Doppelgänger
Brewery: Tree House Brewing Company
Style: IPA – Imperial / Double
ABV: 8.2%
IBU: 88
Untappd Write-Up: This beer is an imperial version of Alter Ego. It is intensely kettle and dry hopped to produce a pungent and flavorful Double IPA that is super pleasant to drink. It is simply and easily described as a juicy and dank citrus bomb.

The thing about drinking a shower beer is, you’re doing it straight from the can. No glasses, nothing pretty, its just straight drinking from the can, like (insert your deity or non-deity here) intended. For the sake of reviewing though, this does hamper things a wee bit – in so much that I can’t really be reviewing its appearance. I also don’t like doing reviews based off of other people’s pictures, for numerous reasons (could be fakes, their lighting, their beers might be aged or expired or oxidized, etc, etc, etc). Thus, I’m sorry to inform all of you that their won’t be an appearance segment to this review.

And therefore, moving on, this review will begin with the aroma. Even with my cold, even with the shower going, as soon as you crack the tab on this puppy you get the hop aroma in full force. Not sure what opened my pores and nostrils more, the steam or the amazing hop punch from this olfactory sensational brew. This gives you really a two-punch pow-pow of hop aroma right to the nose; first you get hit with a combo of mango and peach, and then you get crossed up with a right hook of citrus and pine. You get the real fruity notes right away and then you get zapped with the hop aromas. The citrus and pine pushes out that mango and peach and gives you a wonderfully layered treat for your nose.

Taste is incredible. Its juicy, its mango, its peach, its citrus, its pine, its hoppy, its powerful, its strong, its eye opening, its eye widening, its powerful, its heavy hitting, its amazing. Its a fantastic shower beer. …Ok, its a fantastic beer, period, in general. There is just so much to like with this beer. Not sure words are the best way to describe it, possibly just thumbs up is the best? I’ll try with words, but I think I’ll have to go against Shakespeare here (Brevity is the soul of wit…. thank goodness I’m witless). This is super juicy; like dank hoppy mango and peach juice with a citrusy zesty zip to it. This is a great mouthfeel to it, its heavy on the tongue but light as you drink, and there’s no cloying, no off putting nature to it, no grittyness or sediment. The mango and peach flavor tied in with the hop and zest to it is just a great and perfect combination with the carbonation. There is no extreme hop bite but you definitely get its presence, nothing too bitter, just everything in nice proportions. All in all this is just a fantastic beer, made fantastically well, and deserved of all the praise that is heaped on it. Great for a stress filled day in the shower (or out).

My Untappd Rating: ****.50
Global Untappd Rating: 4.48 (as of 2.12.20)

Well, this *WAS* going to be the last of my series of Tree House beers. But shocking conclusion twist! (M. Night Shamalyan style twist ending.) Thanks to my good friend D. Arndt who had gotten me the other Tree House beers of this series, the other night he generously let me have at a can of Intemperance, and woo booooooy was I hooked. So, there’s going to be a sixth to the series now!

For those of you keeping up with it all, the series thus far is: Sap, Autumn, Julius, Haze, and now this current one here – Doppelganger. It was great getting to try Intemperance because its a Stout, my first stout from Tree House, and it was great seeing them nail a different style than the New England IPAs. For the next few days I’m hoping to pump out 2-3 beer reviews a day, to get this backlog of beer reviews done. So bare with me, you’ll either get an overload of them, or a slow trickle, either way, they’ll get here. Hope you enjoy them!

Thanks for reading everyone, go grab a hot shower, a beer, and think of me….. (ok, maybe not think of me), and enjoy! Cheers!

-B. Kline

Brewery Event: Bottle Share (Tattered Flag)

Tattered Flag and Breweries in PA’s Bottle Share (February 8th, 2020).62+ Tickets were ‘sold’. Packed house down in the brewhouse of Tattered Flag. (Thats me in the red Pizza Boy shirt, and my friend D. Scott to my left.) (Photo Courtesy of Chad Balbi – Breweries in PA).

On February 8th, 2020, Tattered Flag and Breweries in PA co-hosted an event at the Tattered Flag Brewery in Middletown PA. It was a ticketed event and promoted across Tattered Flag’s social media and Breweries in PA’s social media (their Facebook page and their Facebook group). Tickets were free. Welcome to all that were to come out. According to Justin (brewer for Tattered Flag) 62 tickets were given out. Myself and my friend were two of those tickets, and so let me take you through the event.

Let’s back this up a bit from the time of the event. Starting with the event itself. It was first announced near the beginning of the year. Luckily it was a Saturday I was able to get off from work (a rarity in my case). And my friend D. Scott was also off and along for the idea. So, the premise of the event is simple – bring 2-3 (or more) beers. Everyone who comes to the event, does so, and once the event is underway you place your beers in the corresponding coolers (IPA, Sours, Wheats and Kolsches, Stouts), and then after everyone has grouped up, you start cracking beers and sampling and moving on.

The premise is simple and neat. Anyone whose ever done a beer / bottle / can share or swap at home with friends, its the same premise just on a much larger scale. (A 62+ person scale that is.)

Leading up to the event my friend stopped at Breski’s Beverage and picked up a four-pack of larger beers to bring with. He grabbed Thief Share (2016) by Strange Roots Experimental Ales, Blue Farm (2017) by Free Will Brewing Co, a German Chocolate Cake Stout from a brewery I’m drawing a blank on, and New Holland’s Dragon’s Milk (2019).

I had set up to do a beer trade with a guy from Eureka California. We were both set to send our packages on either January 31st, or February 1st. (I sent on 31st and showed proof.) He unfortunately, kept saying he would get to it… and get to it….. and he kept NOT getting to it…. and NOT getting to it. Finally, he promised he would expedite it next day to make up for its tardiness…. and I get a message from him “Sorry, it’d be 200$+ to expedite, so I sent it regular. Sorry it won’t be there in time.” …..Massive annoyance and disappointment on those fronts. So at last second, I had to figure out what I was bringing.

Unfortunately I had just ran through my cans from Tree House brought home by my friend D. Arndt. If I would have known…. I would have brought the Sap, Autumn, Julius, Haze, or Doppelganger I had. So I likewise stopped at Breski’s Beverage and picked up some beer for the event. I got Grimm Artisanal Ale’s I Still Love the Old World (2018), Lickinhole’s Virginia Black Bear, Clown Shoe’s Coffee Sombrero, and Trial by Wombat (mainly for the name and picture).

Saturday morning comes and I do my typical morning chores and errands and take Leela (my border collie) for a run. D. Scott is Ubering to Tattered Flag, and I’m going to meet him there. Planned to get there at 10:40, but ended up getting there closer to 10:50 with our tickets and my beer and meet him just inside the door. He shows me the beer he’s bringing and we go over our small sample size. At just a bit before 11AM, Justin comes through and tells everyone to follow him down into the brewhouse.

Since 2018 I’ve done some volunteer canning work with Tattered Flag – though recently they’ve stopped using volunteers now that their employee force is big enough to keep it all done in-house, so I’m quite familiar with their brewhouse and back of the brewery operations and location.

At the time, there’s not too many people yet. Maybe 15-20. Justin goes over the rules. (Big rule: don’t touch any valves. Little rule: throw your trash away. Big rule: DON’T TOUCH ANY VALVES. Little rule: put your beers in their appropriate tubs.) They had bussing tubs with a label for each: IPA, Sour / Saisons, Wheats / Kolsches, and Stouts. Bigger bottles were kept in the front or where room was for them.

The guys from Breweries in PA introduced themselves. And then we were off to the races (…or beers). Talked with the lady from Breweries in PA and she was saying how the Dayman can was the last “known in the wild” can to exist, due to them getting hit with a Cease and Desist from Disney. And we talked about Disney with recent news, and how past places have gotten hit with some C & D’s.

After sampling Dayman, and then Nightman, I saw a lovely looking Smoked Porter big bottle. Unfortunately I forget the name of it, and it appears I never checked it into Untappd (something I didn’t do too good of a job of). (Just like pictures, unfortunately I took no pictures of the event either, so I have no pictures of my own, and had to try and remember the beers I tried for Untappd later on.) So whoever brought the big bottle Smoked Porter, I’d love to know what it was. ….but also… oh boy that carbonation! As soon as I popped the cap on it, it just gushed. Foam everywhere, so much so that I had to set it down under the table over the grate, it just wouldn’t stop, for a good solid 2 minutes it kept going. (So yes, I apologize for being ‘that guy’, but….. it wasn’t my fault!)

A cache of the beers at the bottle / can share. Photo courtesy of Justin Hoak.

Me and D. Scott kinda hovered over the Stouts area. Talked to Justin and his girlfriend Aimee, about recent events with Tattered Flag, as well as Hibrewnation that took place, as well as the upcoming Prototype Brewery and Meadery and the Prototype Invitation Brewing Event.

The beer share at Tattered Flag. Photo courtesy of Justin Hoak.

After a few more samples, me and D. Scott headed back into the caverns a bit, where there was more space, as by now we were likely up to about 40+ people in attendance. And out by the brite tanks and fermenters it was getting pretty crowded. After a bit, the guys from Breweries in PA brought a few of the bussing trubs out into the side-room where we used to do the labeling for Tattered Flag’s canning run. They brought out a few beers of each type as well and so there was now a more mixed variety in the different areas.

While in the side-room, I branched out a bit from my stouts and sours and had a few IPAs. Bearded Iris’ Homestyle, Psycho Simcoe by Three 3’s, Ex Novo Brewing’s Spirits of the Dead, and Double Luv by East Branch Brewing. Hanging out, talking with D. Scott and some of our fellow drinkers in the area, we also cracked open the Black Tuesday (2017) by The Bruery, which was amazingly fantastic. While discussing the ridiculously high ABV on it (19.5%), one of the guys talked about the beer he brought from Nimble Hill, a Maple Stout in their Mysteria Series, that was a 25%. I’ve always been a huge fan of big ABV beers…. so my ears and eyes and nose, and mouth, all perked up. The kind gentleman went back and got it and brought it out. After a bit of a struggle getting the cork off of it, we each drew a good sample size of it (and I won’t lie and say I didn’t have two samples of it).

The description on Untappd for it reads:

MAPLE SYRUP STOUT
This super limited creation is an off shoot of Turbo Diesel.
But instead of using hops, we added a few gallons of maple syrup and a dash of molasses and fermented it to the limits.
The result is a thick dessert stout with a strong maple syrup and imperial stout finish, followed by hearty warming from the 25% abv. Served without carbonation for a smooth and velvety finish.

It was smooth, dry, but with an amazing maple syrup flavor. Tasted like drinking a maple syrup wine. It was pretty much fantastic. And the nice 25% ABV to it, certainly didn’t hurt. I would like to throw a shout out to Ryan Haraschak. Fantastic, gorgeous gem to bring to the bottle share! Kudos my man!

We also tried a gentleman’s RIS Homebrew that was wonderful as well. And somehow, quickly, we realized we were approaching the end of the time for the bottle share, so me and D. Scott went back by the fermenters to try some of the beers still over there.

While hanging out there, and chopping on some tortilla chips, the Harris Brewery guys came in. Got to talk to Harris guys for a long time about their upcoming brewery, black culture in brewing and craft beer, Allison Hill, the impact their hoping to make, the old Coke-Cola building / factory on the corner of 19th and Derry, the obstacles their having to overcome for their brewery, their GoFundMe vs. the Kickstarter, and much more. We also drank from their growler of their collaboration with The Vegetable Hunter which was fantastic. If you would like to support the Harris Family Brewery, and add to their GoFundMe you can do so here:

Harris Family Brewery Start-Up Go Fund Me

Shaun Harris posing at the end of the bottle share. Photo Courtesy of Harris Family Brewery.

As the time dwindled down, we quickly tried to sample a last few beers. There was an Intuition Ales that I tried with a large dragon on it (wax sealed originally, no idea on the name), as well as two Hegemony Anniversary Beers from St. Boniface. Also back to back Black IPAs; one from Pour Man’s Brewing – Black Market, and the other from Heavy Seas – Night Swell. Also tried the 2SP and WaWa coffee stout – Winter Reserve. As well as a last sampling of the Candy Hearts by New Trail Brewing.

As it wrapped up, they told us to take anything we wanted that was unopened. Seeing my Lickinghole Virginia Black Bear unopened I grabbed that, as well as an IPA from Mainstay Brewing and one of the bakeries from The Bruery. My buddy grabbed a couple and we put them in the six-pack holder and took them out to my car and then came back in to use our free beer and food discount.

Tattered Flag with the (free) ticket, being the gracious host was giving one free pour with the ticket as well as 10% off food. D. Scott got an order of loaded chips, and I got Because I Was Inverted (Chocolate Covered Strawberry). His free drink was either the Custardy Tropic Like Its Hot or the Custardy Black Crumble. We had also sampled these in cans during the bottle share.

My list of beers sampled (that I was able to record on Untappd) was:
* Nightman (Stable 12 Brewing Company)
* Schmoojee Strawberry Orange Banana (Imprint Beer Co)
* Bible Belt (2019) (Evil Twin Brewing)
* Frucht: Fruit Punch (The Bruery Terreux)
* Churro Sombrero (Clown Shoes)
* Autumn Friend (Forest & Main Brewing Company)
* Spirits of the Dead (Ex Novo Brewing)
* Psycho Simcoe (Three 3’s Brewing Co.)
* Black Tuesday (2017) (The Bruery)
* Maple Stout, Mysteria Series (Nimble Hill Brewing)
* Double Luv (East Branch Brewing)
* Kriek Marriage Parfait (2015) (Brouwerji Boon)
* Black Market (Pour Man’s Brewing Company
* Night Swell (Heavy Seas Beer)
* Pack & Brass Coffee IPA (Wallenpaupack Brewing Company)
* I Still Love the Old World (Grimm Artisanal Ales)
* Bourbon Barrel Aged Hegemony Anniver7ary Reserve (Blue Wax) (St. Boniface Craft Brewing Co.)
* Bourbon Barrel Aged Hegemony Anniver8ary Reserve (Blue Wax) (St. Boniface Craft Brewing Co.)
* Cold Pro (Union Craft Brewing)
* Winter Reserve Coffee Stout (2SP Brewing Company / WaWa)
* Candy Hearts (New Trail Brewing Co.)
* Homestyle (Bearded Iris)
* Custardy: Blackberry Crumble (Tattered Flag)
* Custardy: Tropic Like Its Hot (Tattered Flag)
* Thief Share (2016) (Strange Roots Experimental Ales)
* Blue Farm (2017) (Free Will Brewing Co.)
* Gingerbread Crunchee (Other Half Brewing Co.)
* Double Vice Coffee Porter (Grist House Craft Brewery)
* Chili Nelson Hazy Habenero (The Vegetable Hunter)
* Winter Wassailand (The Vegetable Hunter / Harris Family Brewing)
* Dayman (Stable 12 Brewing)

These are the ones I remembered / checked-in on Untappd anyway. There were so many more I didn’t get to try, some I definitely wanted to. I saw some Aslin cans, I believe 4th Anniversary Sours, that I missed out on, as well as a few Other Half’s and similar. In the comments – for those of you who went – I’d love to see what you brought, had, and what was your favorites.

This was a fantastic event. I’ve been to some friend / home beer bottle / can shares, and its always a blast. Passing around beers, sampling, and talking about beer and just hanging out with good people. The craft beer community is an exceptional and diverse community and its so great to talk to so many different people. Bottle shares are like mini-brewfests in a way, sampling a ton of different beers from different places / breweries that you most likely won’t get into contact with. Its not a bad way to kill a Saturday morning, thats for sure.

My favorites that I got to sample were: Black Tuesday (2017) by The Bruery and the Nimble Hill Maple Stout Mysteria (the 25%). D. Scott said his favorite was also the 25% Maple Stout as well as the Custardy: Blackberry Crumble.

It was great of Tattered Flag to put up some of their own beers in the share, a great gesture on their part. Also, humorous note, I think I did see a Blue Moon in one of the tubs, not 100% sure though, but I think I did. Kudos to whoever brought that. I did think it’d be funny to bring a single Coors Light bottle or Miller Lite High Life bottle and sneak it in, but didn’t know how it’d go over.

The Kill Shot from the Beer Share at Tattered Flag hosted by Tattered Flag and Breweries in PA. (Photo courtesy of: Chad Balbi)

As you can see from the kill shot, there was a ton of great beer brought in, and sampled and served. Breweries from all over Pennsylvania, as well as numerous other big breweries like Other Half, Bearded Iris, Aslin, Dogfish Head, Brewery of Omnegang, Grimm Artisanal Ales, as well as some homebrew, and some heavy PA hitters like Free Will, Tattered Flag, Strange Roots, Imprint Beer Co, Dancing Gnome, Troegs Independent Craft Brewing, and New Trail, and even upcoming brewery Harris Family. It was a wonderful and diverse selection, bottles, bombers, growlers, crowlers, cans, and even wine bottles.

Interested in reading some reviews of beers from some of these places, you can check out my beer blog: The Beer Thrillers. We’ve reviewed beers from Tattered Flag like: Should Have Put Him Into Custardy, Inexplicably Juicy, Pink Guava, Fatum Series: Member Berries, and more. New Trail’s Broken Heels. Broken Goblet’s This Is The Way, Burn Them All Away. Boneshire Brew Work’s The Hog, Dillston, Harrishire (with Harris Family), Sunburst, Good Walk Spoiled, Road Less Traveled, and more. Wolf Brewing collaboration with Tattered Flag – Imperial Churro and collaboration with Imprint – Wolf Prints. Rotunda Brewing’s sWheat Tarts: Mango Guyabano and Juicy Fruit. Troegs Independent Craft Brewing’s Fuzzy Nudge, Coco-Nator, and Scratch 400. You can check out our brewery visit and recap (and review) of Mellow Mink and their Scarlet Sunrise. Or our brewery reviews of Battlefield Brew Works and Cushwa Brewery. Or the recent, unfortunate news of the closings – Crystal Ball and Stoudt’s.

You can also read our other article on Breweries in PA: Touring the Breweries that Surround Harrisburg. (Also located here: Breweries Around the Outskirts of Harrisburg.)

We are currently listed on FeedSpot’s Top 100 Beer Blogs at #9, and have been there for a few weeks now (moved up from #11). (If you would like to write for us, you can contact us through our contact page. Or if you would like us to write for you.)

You can check us out on Facebook as well as Twitter. Or just search for us – Facebook – The Beer Thrillers – and on Twitter – @thebeerthriller.

The blog is ran by me – B. Kline, and mainly written by me, but other writers for the blog include J. Doncevic, AJ Brechbiel (of Default Brewing). We also have Let Us Drink Beer Blog do some contributions as a guest writer.

I also do podcasts with D. Scott and Esteban – So a Mexican and a Scot Walk Into a Bar… where we discuss beer, pop culture, movies, TV shows, and much more. Always hilarious and always insightful, so make sure to check that out as well.

(Ok, that concludes the article for Breweries in PA. The rest from here on out, is just for the Beer Thrillers faithful and my blog only. Its also a little more personal and detailed than the above, so keep reading if you want to hear more.)

So as per usual with me, after the beer share event, my night didn’t end. It was about 3:30-4PM by the time we finished up at the Tattered Flag bar. Way too early to call it a day. Being in the area, we decided to check out the Lancaster Brewing spot off of Eisenhower Boulevard in Harrisburg. Neither me nor D. Scott had ever been there. And this checks off a “new brewery location” that I want to do each month. (January was Liquid Noise Brewing, so February will be Lancaster Brewing, and hopefully March – before they close up – will be Stoudt’s.) Its funny that neither of us have ever been here to this location. Its so close, and we’ve jumped and hit all of the Harrisburg breweries numerous times before.

While there we met up with friends D. Arndt, Youngblood, and Youngblood’s girlfriend. I did a flight, D. Scott got a draft of their eggnog, and I have no recollection of what the others got. My flight included:
* Jam Series #22 Mexican Style Lager
* Jam Series #21 Gingerbread Spiced Brown Ale
* Lancaster Lager
* Jam Series – Track #20 Eggnog Blond
* Jam Series – Track #19 Chili Smoked Baltic Porter
* Winter Warmer

Lancaster Brewing Company’s Spiced Gingerbread

All were pretty tasty. I enjoyed the Smoked Porter the most with the Spiced Gingerbread coming in second. Wasn’t a huge fan of the eggnog blond, but I’m not a fan of eggnog so kind of knew that going into it. Drew loved his, but then again, he’s a huge eggnog fan. So mileage may vary on that type of beer.

Lancaster Brewing Company’s Mexican Lager

Finally around 730-8PM or so we left and went to D. Arndt’s house, where we hung out with him and his fiance Kat and his dogs (the one of which is a Corgi named Indiana Bones). While there he had a can of Intemperance by Tree House which was absolutely delicious.

Intemperance by Tree House Brewing

Look for me to be adding the Intemperance to my series on Tree House. Also, most likely tonight Doppelganger will be going up to finish what was originally the series. But now, with the addition of Intemperance, the series will be going from 5 to 6, making it a nice easy and sensible six-pack. Makes sense for a beer blog (a beer blog making sense?!), I like it.

So, this was supposed to be written and was supposed to go up Sunday, the 9th. But… work was crazy, as it was a ticket promotion give-away and we were swamped there, and afterwards, I was supposed to go to D. Scott to watch the Oscar’s (and drink the remaining of the beer share beers), but… Haley forgot the crowler of Rotunda Brewing Company’s ‘Beautiful Trauma’ that I got her, so I had to swing back to work and then deliver it to her at Irgo’s Tavern. Where I then proceeded to stay and play pool with several co-workers until 1AM. So obviously… no posting that night.

Then Monday I did go over to D. Scott’s and we watched Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (finally got around to seeing it, fantastic movie, and Tarantino is still just as good as he always was). So once again, no blog posting Monday. But, last night I did start this, and sadly, only after editing, getting to finish it this morning. Sorry for the delay in things, but I rather edit and make sure I like the way blog looks, and that there’s no misspellings or grammar problems or anything (though I’m sure one or two will still sneak through). There’s two ways to write:

“You either write sober and edit drunk, or write drunk and edit sober.”

I also finally got that California beer mail Tuesday. Looks like some delicious brews to drink down and dive into and review for you all.

So definitely expect to see some beer reviews come out of that 10-pack. There’s a lot of tasty ones (I am super looking forward to the Chocolate Donut porter.)

Blog news – I am going to be trying to get 2 blogs up a day for the next few days to catch up some of the beer reviews I’m behind on. Fingers crossed anyway. This blog post is also going up on Breweries in PA’s website, so you’ll be able to check it out there (albeit abbreviated). Once its live, I’ll come in and edit this to include it here.

Tomorrow (Thursday, the 13th), I have yet another funeral to go to. This time my Uncle (mother’s brother in law) passed away. (Last Thursday was a funeral for my Great Uncle, my father’s Uncle.) In the evening Funck’s in Palmyra is doing a tap takeover for New Trail. I might be stopping out for that (might not, depends on time). New Trail makes some great beers, so I’d love to check it out.

Some beer reviews that are due up are Doppelganger and Intemperance, New Heights I Cannot Tell a Lie, Boneshire Brew Work’s Anagnorsis, Revision’s Pete’s Stache, Rivertown’s Triple Belgian, and much more. So be on the lookout for a lot of beer reviews coming at you in the upcoming days.

Like I said earlier in the post (mainly for the Breweries in PA page), please check out our Facebook, Twitter, and other social medias, and please click follow, like, subscribe, both on those platforms and here on the blog itself. You can enter your e-mail at the bottom to get notifications immediately whenever a new blog post hits the internet, and we’d greatly appreciate it. We also love it when you use the ‘rating’ at the bottom so we know how we are performing, and click the LIKE down below as well. Also, even more importantly, we LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, feedback. So leave us a comment, or two, or three, or forty-four. I try to respond and reply as quickly as I’m able to. And if you ever want, you can contact us at our contact page and leave me a message.

Thanks everyone so much for reading, and hopefully you enjoyed it, and if you were at the event, hopefully you had as much of a blast as I did (and D. Scott). (Which speaking of, be on the lookout for some new podcasts on LOST Seasons 3 & 4, Fullmetal Alchemist, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and potentially / possibly / hopefully BoJack Horseman.)

Cheers everyone!

-B. Kline

Tattered Fag and Breweries in PA’s February 8th, 2020, Beer Share – the final kill shot.

Beer Review: This Is The Way (Broken Goblet Brewing)

This Is The Way – The Mandalorian Way

With the success of any pop cultural phenomenon comes a beer dedicated to it. This is the way. Look at the myriad of pop culture themed and named beers throughout the craft beer world. Either current popularity or old nostalgia, beers love using names, themes, ideas, and pop cultural references. That’s the main thrust behind the Evil Genius marketing strategy, beers like Zey Goggles Zey Do Nothing, Santa I Know Him!!!, So You’re Telling Me There’s a Chance, etc. A lot of breweries do it, some kind of reference to something else. Either as a homage or as a means of catching popularity and increasing sales. And being the sucker that I am for Star Wars, I fell for this one hook line and sinker. Thank the Maker this was good!

Baby Yoda sipping on “This Is The Way” by Broken Goblet Brewing

As many know (who either know me, or have been long-time readers of the blog), I am a big Star Wars fan. Been a major part of my life since I was 10 years old, and have loved it since I first came into contact with it. (My current reading pile right now as Battleground II: Inferno Squad by Christie Golden, Anthony Daniels’ Autobiography of his time as C-3PO – I Am 3PO, and Rebel Force Rising). My youngest daughter is named Mara – after Mara Jade (Skywalker). I could go on and on (or show thousands of pictures of my bookshelves in my office filled with Star Wars books, collectables, knick knacks, and Lego constructions), but I think you all get the general idea. (If you want to see my virtual bookshelves where I have all of my Star Wars books listed, you can check out my GoodReads Profile: B. Kline.) Also, I have done quite a few podcasts now with my friends over at So a Mexican and a Scot Walk Into a Bar… through either their WTF Did I Just Watch or their Esoteric Antics channels. I’ll provide links to the individual podcasts at the end of this post.

So as soon as I saw this pop up on some of my beer group feeds, I immediately started reaching out attempting to secure it. Throwing out ISO posts on tons of different groups and sites, finally landed me one. Thanks to Roy Ge who even met me at Boneshire Brew Works to hand deliver it (his first time at the brewery too and he loved it, so double win there). It came as a crowler and set me back just 16$, which was worth it for both the liquid gold inside and the awesome can art.

I enjoy the small nods and homages to the actual universe. Rather than just ticking off the box for the namesake and picture, they went a bit deeper, calling it a “MEIPA” rather than a “NEIPA”. (Mos Eisley IPA rather than New England IPA.) (For those not in the know – Mos Eisley isthe name of the city where Chalmun’s Cantina is that Luke and Obi-Wan visit in Episode IV – A New Hope, where they meet Han and Chewbaca.) Broken Goblet has done some fun and interesting crowler can art in the past, primarily their “Nightmare Fuel” one, which had Gritty’s face on it – even complete with googly eyes pasted to the cans.

Unfortunately I missed out on that one but if they ever come back out with it, I’ll be making sure to grab one of those bad boys. Thats about the biggest Philadelphia thing you can do right there. And for the record – I don’t care what you say, that 13 year old kid had it coming and Gritty is innocent.

Baby Yoda Wants….

But as you can see…. Baby Yoda is growing restless and sick of all this nonsense and wants his (or hers?) beer review. So lets move on and give it to him / her / it / whatever. (And yes, for the record, I know its “The Child”, and I know its not really Yoda, and I know the story behind the character… but it’ll still forever be Baby Yoda to me.)

This Is The Way by Broken Goblet Brewing

Beer: This Is The Way
Brewery: Broken Goblet Brewing
Style: IPA – New England
ABV: 6.7%
IBU: None
Untappd Write-Up: A hazy IPA hopped with Julius, Idaho 7 and Citra then dry hopped with Julius and Citra
Broken Goblet’s Description: “This Is The Way” is a juicy “MEIPA”, brewed on-planet with Mykyr Neti, Ergesh and Grenade Fungi from Yavin 4, which are very similar to Julius, Idaho 7 and Citra. The brewery dry hopped aggressively “until the Ergesh became angry about the whole thing and bit Bub. Such are the perils of hopping beers with sentient plants”.

As you can see in my picture, I brought two glasses from home to D. Scott’s for the podcast. Had to make it “proper” by drinking a Star Wars beer in some Star Wars glasses and share it with one of the biggest Star Wars nerds I know. (Glasses came as a Christmas gift from Mara, so its all full circle.)

Appearance is a light and surprisingly not very hazy look for a New England IPA. Its relatively clear, and looks more like a general IPA or even “regular beer” as my friends would call it. Not completely transparent, but relatively so, no sediment, and obviously filtered. Pouring from the crowler (which was filled on location at Broken Goblet Brewery and brought to me just two days later and then consumed one day later) it has great carbonation, leaving a wonderful head and even on these small glasses good lacing.

Aroma is a fruity hoppy creamy smell, full of mango, some citrus notes, but pretty much full mango and some peach. I’m not familiar with Julius hops, but I am familiar with Citra and Idaho 7. You can smell the citra hops a mile away (as per usual with the hops) and the Idaho 7 has a nice blend with it. So lets do a little research on Julius hops: ….so far, nothing on either Hopslist or BYO: Compare Hops. HomeBrewStuff also doesn’t list Julius hops. And neither does MoreBeer. For all of these hop notes sites, the only J hops listed are Junga, Jerrylo, and Jester. So I honestly can’t tell you what Julius hops are, what the dry hopping of them adds, or anything really at all about them unfortunately. If anyone knows anything about Julius hops, please leave me some comments letting me know. I know about Tree House’s Julius. (Even did a beer review of it.) But I also know, the Julius beer, does *NOT* use Julius hops. So hopefully someone out there reading this will know something about it and can let us all know. The aroma is strengthened by the dry hopping, and you certainly get a good hop punch out of this.

Taste is super smooth. Creamy and very much like a light New England IPA. Lacking the hazyness and the unfiltered nature, and no real hop bite. This is incredibly smooth, easy drinking, and even for “non-IPA” fans would be very good (they probably wouldn’t even know it was an IPA). This is juicy, very heavy on mango, peach, and hints of citrus hop. Floral but very fruity. Not ripe and not pungent or overpowering, but just good fruit tasting IPA, like a fruit sour or fruit beer, or (non-alcoholic) fruit juice. There isn’t a heavyness to this either, it won’t lay on your tongue, it won’t be too much for you, its just simply tasty, smooth, crisp even, with the right amount of fruit flavor.

Side of the “This is the Way” can from Broken Goblet

My Untappd Review: ****
Global Untappd Review: 4.05 (as of 2.7.20)

Well, thats my thoughts on this…. for anyone else whose had it…..

Warner Herzog: Don’t you agree?

As always, thanks for checking out the blog. Like I said, I’m a big Star Wars fans, and so are the guys I do the podcasts with (D. Scott, D. Arndt, Esteban, and a random assortment of others who step in and out from time to time like Andy, Andy, Alan, Jared, Josh, etc.). You can check out the full podcast listing here: So a Mexican and a Scot Walk Into a Bar…
For the Mandalorian first-half: Esoteric Antics: The Mandalorian. And for our discussion on Rise of Skywalker and wrap-up of The Mandalorian: Esoteric Antics: Rise of Skywalker and The Mandalorian Wrap-Up.

I have done other Broken Goblet Brewing beer on here, you can check that out here: They Burn Them All Away (Beer Review).

I might be finishing up my series of Tree House beer reviews either tonight, or tomorrow, or Sunday, depending on if I go out tonight, and how everything shapes up tomorrow with the bottle / beer share at Tattered Flag. The last beer in the series is Doppelganger. I have previously done: Sap, Autumn, Haze, and Julius.

Speaking of tomorrow, I (B. Kline) will be attending (with D. Scott) the Breweries in PA beer / bottle share at Tattered Flag. I had done a local for local beer trade with a guy out in Eureka California, sending him Troegs Independent Brewing, Tattered Flag, Pizza Boy, and Boneshire Brew Works beers in exchange for some locals there. He…. kinda screwed me over on his end though. We were both to send out on January 31st (I did and proved receipt). He waited until package was in hand (attempted delivery on the 3rd, but his bar he works at was closed, and so he received it on the 4th), the whole time telling me he was sorry it was taking so long and that he would expedite it. Well, on the 6th, he claimed it’d be 200$+ to expedite it, and thus he would send it regularly. So, now, no ‘interesting’ California beers for the bottle / beer share. I will probably be hitting Breski’s Beverage and pickup something good from the cooler or maybe a big stout to bring. Sorry for those attending that my beers won’t be as interesting or likely as unfamiliar to most of you. I tried, I really did.

And, since we’re on the subject of Breweries in PA, you can check out their initial press release of This is The Way: Broken Goblet Introduces “This is The Way”. And while we’re at it, you can always check out the big article I wrote for them: Touring Through the Harrisburg – Hershey Area – Touring the Breweries That Surround Harrisburg.

With this event tomorrow, I will be doing a write-up / wrap-up on it. Most likely Sunday, possibly Monday. Sunday is a big give-away promotion at the casino, so its going to be a hectic day for me, and one I’ll probably need some beer afterwards. For tonight, maybe tomorrow, not sure, I’m hoping to get to Stoudt’s Brewery before it closes. So maybe me and a buddy will go tonight, or maybe me and D. Scott will go after the bottle share tomorrow, or we might go on a Wednesday or Thursday (my days off) next week. According to my phone, its a 48 – 52 (depending on traffic) travel time from Hummelstown to Adamstown. So not the easiest travel, but not the worst.

Some upcoming beer reviews are: Wild IPA – Loki (Newfangled Brew Works), Doppelganger (Tree House Brewing), Anagnorisis (Boneshire Brew Works), Pink Hippo (Boneshire Brew Works), possibly First Cut (Troegs Independent Brewing), I Cannot Tell a Lie (New Heights Brewing), and then eventually when the beer mail arrives – the California beers.

So please stay tuned for all of that. Also this Saturday is the York Hibrewnation. Would love to hear from anyone going and then afterwards how it went. Sounds great!

I am waiting hearing back from Brad Moyer to do our piece on Liquid Noise Brewing. That will be fun when we get that all set-up. The Mellow Mink one went fantastic and I’m looking forward to doing the same there.

As always, there is a ton of things in the works here at The Beer Thrillers, so please be sure to subscribe, follow, like us on Facebook and Twitter and keep drinking and reading along with us. Please feel free to leave feedback or contact us through our contact page. We love hearing from you guys! Hopefully I’ll see some of you guys at Tattered Flag tomorrow for the beer / bottle share. Thats from 11AM to 2PM and sounds like a blast. Let us know in the comments if you’re going.

Thanks for reading everyone, cheers!

-B. Kline

This Is The Way

Stoudts Brewing Closing

Stoudts Brewing Company logo

This is certainly not the blog article I wanted to do today. Yesterday (2.3.20) the news came out while I was at work. In the morning before work, I started writing my next beer review – This Is The Way – by Broken Goblet, but with the news of Stoudts Brewing closing, I’ve pushed that back. Around 1PM or so yesterday, Stoudts Facebook page posted this message:

Friends,

As we’re sure you know, the craft beer industry is changing. 33 years ago, when Carol Stoudt became America’s first female brew master since prohibition, craft beer was a total rarity with only about 150 breweries nation-wide. Today there are nearly 8 thousand. The truth is, with such an increase in competition, and with Carol and Ed preparing for retirement, we’ve had to make the incredibly difficult decision to drastically scale back brewery operations, with a plan to cease production by Winter’s end. At this point, we will still have a limited supply of beer for purchase and on tap in our brew pub.

We are considering all investment opportunities, but regardless of the brewery’s future, Stoudts as a whole will live on. The restaurant which has stood for 58 years will continue to serve scratch-cooked dishes and hand-trimmed steaks. The bakery’s 120-year old yeast culture will continue to produce perfect sourdoughs, and we will not slow down our commitment to vegan and heritage baking. The antiques mall will continue to house only the finest pieces, and the bier garden will be home to ever more musical evenings and dog-friendly events.

Thank you so much for joining us on this multi-generational journey. Your support has always meant the world, and we hope that you will continue to shape the future of Stoudts with us.

Prost!
The Stoudt Family

P.S. our official press release can be found here: https://stoudts.com/brewery/

Source: Stoudts Facebok page
Stoudts new signature logo

Predictably, the Craft Beer online community erupted upon the news. Soon after their announcement, PennLive.com and LancasterOnline both ran stories (links provided at the ending in the sources). In Central PA, this is sadly not the first closing news in recent history. On January 25th, Crystal Ball Brewing in York PA closed up permanently. (You can read our coverage of it here: Crystal Ball Closing.)

All day yesterday, and so far today, my Facebook and Twitter feeds, Facebook groups, etc, are all posting the Stoudts message. Accompanied by congratulations to Carol Stoudt for retiring, as well as dismay at the closing of the actual brewery. Even across the country where Stoudts isn’t readily available there is all kinds of talk about its closing. Being one of the oldest craft breweries – at least of the new wave – and closing, its extremely disheartening.

Just to give you some kind of scope and size of Stoudts’ Brewing, look at how they have their own Wikipedia page: Stoudts Brewing Co. Not many craft breweries can claim that, let alone ones in Pennsylvania.

For some background on the Stoudts and their brewery, lets look to their beginning. Carol and Ed Stoudt began brewing and opening their brewery and restaurant in Adamstown, Lancaster County, PA, back in 1987. Carol is credited as being one of the first female brewers since Prohibition. At the time of their startup, there was only 150 active breweries in America, there is currently 8,000 some (at the start of the year).

Carol announced her retirement this year, and with that, the brewing aspects of the business will be shutting down. The Black Angus restaurant – Ed’s original start-up – will continue. At the start, Ed had his Black Angus restaurant and they added the brewing operations to it.

“This was a difficult decision to make, but we’re not moving enough volume to justify the expense of keeping the brewery open. However, we’re not closing the doors to any business opportunities that could help the Stoudts brand live on.” Carol Stoudt stated for the press release posted on their website (and circulated on social media).

Recently, Sly Fox and Stoudts did a collaboration for a new beer – Black Lager.

Similar to Crystal Ball’s closing recently, cited reasons are over-saturation of the market, pressures from giant breweries like In-Bev and CoorsMiller, and economic factors like the new sales tax, aluminum upticks, and other factors. PennLive recently did a write-up (just posted a few days ago) on the over-saturation of the craft beer market: Suds Up. Its a rather weak article, but does go over the talking points that most people have been discussing (in and out of the industry). (This will possibly be a future article here on The Beer Thrillers, where, perhaps myself and J. Doncevic and maybe others will discuss reasons for closings, and preventative measures for breweries in the area.)

Central PA definitely has a large assortment of breweries, and the list is ever growing. In Dauphin county, looking at towns like Hershey – Troegs Independent Craft Brewery and Iron Hill Brewing (with a Rotunda Brew Pub), in Harrisburg – The Millworks, ZeroDay Brewing, Boneshire Brew Works, The Vegetable Hunter, and Pizza Boy’s secondary location at Official BBQ and Burgers, in Middletown with Tattered Flag (as well as their location primarily for their distillery options in Hershey), Elizabethtown has Cox Brewing Company as well as Moo-Duck Brewery, and Hummelstown is set to open Rubber Soul Brewing (tentative date being April / May) and Howling Henry’s Tap Room. And this is just a small sample size. Its not going into other new breweries opening like Hemeaur’s and Wolf Brewing. Or the many other options in the Lebanon, Lancaster, Perry, and other counties close by.

For Stoudts Brewing, the brewery operations will cease in Spring, allowing the brewery to go up for sale. No word on any specifics on the sale or if there is any interested parties yet. The restaurant, and other adjoining and adjacent businesses will remain open for the foreseeable future. No word on exact dates, just the ambiguous ‘spring’ announcement. Most likely to give time to move all product on their floor. And to finish out the tanks and release what has been made.

In 2019 the Brewers of Pennsylvania Association honored Carol Stoudt with their inaugural “Presidents Award”. She was a pioneer and an inspiration for many in the industry, male or female, race or creed, she was an inspiration and a fantastic spirit for the community and industry as a whole. Her retirement is well deserved and hopefully will be blissful and peaceful. At the end of the press release she stated that she’s done her turn and its time for the next generation to take over. That regardless of the brewery’s future, the Stoudts tradition will live on. The Restaurant and Antiques Mall will remain in operation, and hopefully through investors or potential interested parties the brewery itself will be bought and remain brewing.

Sources:

Hopefully this will be the last of these closings articles I’ll have to write for a while. This was intended to be a beer review, not a sad closing article. I do have several beer review articles to post, some of which are: Doppelganger by Tree House, Loki (by Karl Larson) of Newfangled Brew Works, This is the Way by Broken Goblet, Anagnorisis by Boneshire Brew Works, and much more.

Sorry for this article only now coming out Wednesday morning, I started it yesterday morning (Tuesday, 2.4.20) and intended to finish it after work, but didn’t get a chance to (kids, life, stopping in at Newfangled Brew Works to try Karl Larson’s first small batch for them – Loki, myriad of things, etc.), but its finished now. I am finishing up a six-day work week today (yay!), but will have off the next three days (unexpected and unplanned three day weekends in the casino industry are basically unheard of, but so very well beloved). Tomorrow I have a funeral for my great Uncle Ed, who passed away on the 1st, on his 90th birthday. Possibly Thursday (tomorrow) night I will be doing the podcast for LOST Seasons 3 and 4, if not Thursday, probably Friday night. Saturday is the big bottle share at Tattered Flag with Breweries in PA. Myself and D. Scott will be attending that. So that should be interesting.

For those new to the blog, please check out some of our recent articles. Like the Tree House series of beer reviews: Sap, Autumn, Julius, and Haze (with Doppelganger forthcoming). Or check out my beer review of Florence by Hill Farmstead. Or you can check out some of our older beer reviews like LazerSnake by Three Floyds, or Baby Genius by Bissell Brothers, or The Veil’s Black & Blue Tastee.

And as always, I’ll recommend checking out our Facebook and Twitter pages (located at the bottom on the icons), and please click to follow us either through WordPress or by signing up with your e-mail so you’ll be alerted as to our next blog’s posting.

Cheers everyone! And maybe I’ll get to see you at the bottle share. Leave a comment here for any of your fondest Stoudts memories or if you’ll be going to the bottle share so we can meet up. Prost!

-B. Kline

Beer Review: Scratch 400 Pre-Prohibition Lager (Troegs Independent Brewing)

Troegs Independent Brewing’s 400th scratch beer. Released on January 16th, Prohibition Day.

This is a monumental beer, and a monumental achievement, and it was released on a monumental day. This is Troegs Independent Brewing’s 400th scratch beer on their scratch system. Not their 400th beer released in total, just their 400th scratch. A very significant feat, and given the improvements they’ve made to their scratch system (and upgrades in general to their brewery) I don’t think it’ll take us long at all to get to Scratch 500. I know I personally can’t wait.

Just like I’m finally publishing this article on a significant date (2.2.20, palindrome day, Groundhog’s Day, Super Bowl LIV Sunday), this beer was released on a significant date – January 16th (2020). January 16th is known as “Prohibition Day”.

Let’s take a quick look at the history of it, from our favorite historical perspective news source – Wikipedia:

In the United States, after the battle against slavery was won (and even prior to it with the 1851 Maine law), social moralists turned to other issues, such as Mormon polygamy and the temperance movement.[11][12][13]

On November 18, 1918, prior to ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment, the U.S. Congress passed the temporary Wartime Prohibition Act, which banned the sale of alcoholic beverages having an alcohol content of greater than 1.28%.[14] (This act, which had been intended to save grain for the war effort, was passed after the armistice ending World War I was signed on November 11, 1918.) The Wartime Prohibition Act took effect June 30, 1919, with July 1, 1919 becoming known as the “Thirsty-First”.[15][16]

The U.S. Senate proposed the Eighteenth Amendment on December 18, 1917. Upon being approved by a 36th state on January 16, 1919, the amendment was ratified as a part of the Constitution. By the terms of the amendment, the country went dry one year later, on January 17, 1920.[17][18]

On October 28, 1919, Congress passed the Volstead Act, the popular name for the National Prohibition Act, over President Woodrow Wilson‘s veto. The act established the legal definition of intoxicating liquors as well as penalties for producing them.[19] Although the Volstead Act prohibited the sale of alcohol, the federal government lacked resources to enforce it.

Prohibition was successful in reducing the amount of liquor consumed, cirrhosis death rates, admissions to state mental hospitals for alcoholic psychosis, arrests for public drunkenness, and rates of absenteeism.[5][20][21] While some allege that Prohibition stimulated the proliferation of rampant underground, organized and widespread criminal activity,[22] two academics maintain that there was no increase in crime during the Prohibition era and that such claims are “rooted in the impressionistic rather than the factual.”[23][24] By 1925, there were anywhere from 30,000 to 100,000 speakeasy clubs in New York City alone.[25] Wet opposition talked of personal liberty, new tax revenues from legal beer and liquor, and the scourge of organized crime.[26]

On March 22, 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt signed into law the Cullen–Harrison Act, legalizing beer with an alcohol content of 3.2% (by weight) and wine of a similarly low alcohol content. On December 5, 1933, ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment repealed the Eighteenth Amendment. However, United States federal law still prohibits the manufacture of distilled spirits without meeting numerous licensing requirements that make it impractical to produce spirits for personal beverage use.[27]

Source: Prohibition in the United States (Wikipedia)

And thank goodness that madness has ended. Not going to go into the politics of it all and not really going to discuss the politics of the time (or now) as I like to keep this blog readable for all. But I think everyone reading this blog can agree on this one thing – Prohibition was a bad idea.

So thankfully that horrific time is over, and thankfully its now 2020, and we can enjoy fantastic and wonderful beers like this Scratch 400 from Troegs. (See how I segued that? Like a champ!) And this really is a wonderful and tasty brew from Troegs, regardless of the significance behind the numeration. If this was Scratch 1, 400, 69, or 285, it wouldn’t matter, it’d still be a great drink.

I started this article up on the night of January 16th after my date night with my youngest (six at the time, just now turned seven the other day). But this was written during the blog’s getting ready for the Mellow Mink article going live, and so I pushed it back, and figured today’s important numerical (2.02.20 – palindrome day!) significance would be a more meaningful time to publish this. (I wrote the beer review then, everything else being written now.)

So, February 2nd, 2020, Groundhog’s day seems like a very appropriate time to be posting this article. And heres another segue – I wouldn’t mind if this was the beer I was drinking if I had to be stuck on a time loop on Groundhog’s Day.

So, in honor of Punxsutawney Phil lets move on and review this beer!

Scratch 400 by Troegs. Mara approved! (And no, she didn’t drink any. She does approve of the fries though, and the water.)

Beer: Scratch 400 – Pre-Prohibition Lager
Brewery: Troegs Independent Brewing
Style: Lager – American
ABV: 4.3%
IBU: None listed
Untappd Write-Up: For our 400th Scratch beer, we’re turning back the clock for a pre-Prohibition lager, and we pulled a few extra levers to let our house lager yeast shine. For starters, we included blue corn grown in Imler, Pa., in the malt bill. Blue corn, floury and high in protein, lowers the free amino nitrogen in the wort, which elevates the esters of the yeast. We also open fermented this beer, an old-world technique we use for every batch of DreamWeaver Wheat. This also helps to bring out the yeast flavor. A session Troegenator? We like the sound of that. We taste: notes of corn, dried stone fruit, and subtle caramel and nuttiness.

A session Troegenator might be a great way to describe this. Far lighter, thinner, definitely lower ABV (only 4.3% !) and certainly less heavy then Troegenator. But that doesn’t take away anything from this beer though either.

Appearance is a beautiful chestnut, light brown, clearish hue. This is finely filtered, there’s no particles, no sediment, no haze, no dankness, nothing opaque, just a nice fine, well crafted, well brewed lager. Its not completely see through, but it has definite clarity and is somewhat transparent. It has a fine head with diverse bubbles, and the head retention is strong, it also leaves beautiful lacing on the tall boy glass that Troegs serves this gorgeous beer in.

Aroma is wheat and corn heavy. You get almost an acorn smell, a very heavy farm field to it (in a good way, not in a knee-deep in ‘cow patties’ kind of farm field smell). A nice rainy day aroma where you can smell the wheat, barley, grass growing. Something only a ‘good ol’ local boy’ might be able to rightly describe to you, and even then it wouldn’t be precise. This is a more subtle beer smell then some of those big macro Lagers that just have that stale, old, unwanted beer smell. The smell most of us grew up on smelling off grandpa’s breath at the family reunions and parties. Whereas this smells homely, crafted, and far better.

This is what Yuengling should pretty much be. An old fashion style, old fashion created, and old fashion lager. Germanic pride in the glass right here. Its malty, its corny, it has a bit of a nutty taste, its kind of heavy on the palate but also a bit thinner then say the Troegenator, it does still have a full body to it, and despite its only 4.3% ABV its still a hearty beer. It does have an ending sweetness to it, nothing cloying, but a fine stickyness that hangs to your palate and tongue. Nothing in a bad way about that, it just provides a nice ending sweetness. The open fermentation, the house yeast strain, and the PA home grown blue corn, definitely gives this a flavor all to its own. A uniqueness to it thats not going to be reproduced outside of using these exact means. I get notes of acorn, corn, nuttyness, malt, some sweetness from caramel malts, maybe kind of a plum like note to it, wrapping up all very nicely. This is a fine tasting brew I wouldn’t mind them possibly tweaking a bit, or keeping even as is, and releasing yearly on January 16th (or approximate) as a small seasonal run. It would most likely do well, and could have a catchy name like “Prohibition Lager” or “America’s Lager” or “Before The World Went Crazy Lager”. Eh, who knows about good names, actually, you know who does? Ffej, with his Fuzzy Nudge. Now thats how you name a beer! Either way, what I *DO KNOW* is that this is a fine tasting beer, that won’t last much longer at Troegs, and was a very significant beer for them, and for all of us fans of Troegs and fans in the Central PA area. So make sure you stop by Troegs brewery, drink up, and enjoy before its gone!

My Untappd Rating: ****
Global Untappd Rating: 3.82 (as of 1.17.20)
Updated Global Untappd Rating: 3.83 (as of 2.2.20)

To read up even more on Scratch 400, you can check out Derek Markel’s excellent article over at ItsABrewLife: Troegs Scratch #400 & Beyond. ItsABrewLife is a wonderful blog written by Derek and Chelsea Markel. They are wonderful writers and a great influence on the scene in Central PA. She’s one of the co-founders of Harrisburg Beer Week, and he is an accomplished homebrewer who makes some delicious beers. So definitely pop over there and read this excellent article.

Here at the blog, we’ve been super busy as always. I’ve been writing nonstop it seems in the last few days. Beer reviews for This Is The Way by Broken Goblet, my series of Tree House beers – Sap, Autumn, Haze, Julius, and Doppelganger. Our beer review of Scarlet Sunrise by Mellow Mink, as well as our visit to Mellow Mink. The sad news of Crystal Ball’s Closing in York PA. Beer review of Hill Farmstead’s Florence. Also been doing several podcasts, LOST Seasons 1 and 2, LOST Seasons 3 and 4, Rise of Skywalker and The Mandalorian, and possibly soon one on the final season of BoJack Horseman. We also have much more content coming out, more beer reviews, visits to breweries, openings, an article on Liquid Noise opening in Marysville PA, an article on the progress of Rubber Soul opening in Hummelstown PA, and much more. So please be on the lookout for all of that great content. Click the follow here. Use the RSS feed to follow us or enter your e-mail, or if you already have a WordPress account, you can sign right up with that (probably the easiest way to get our blog).

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Also, if you ever check out FeedSpot’s Top 100 Beer Blogs, you’ll see we are currently sitting in the #9 position now since January 15th. (Previously we were #11). We are super proud to be in the Top 10. (Especially since #3 and #4 are the same link, so I guess that sort of, pseudo, technically, maybe, makes us really #8… I dunno.) So give that a click, and then click on us coming back, show them how much you love us!

As you can see in the pictures here, this was my daddy-daughter date night with my youngest. She absolutely loves Troegs. She loves the smell of the brewery (as does my ten year old) as soon as we get in. I picked her up from an after-school function. Took her to the Hershey Library, she picked out two books, and then we had dinner at Troegs. We read her books, she devoured her fries (which, by the way, Troegs has some of the absolute best fries ever) and I enjoyed Scratches 399 and 400. Both were fantastic beers, and Mara had a great night. The laid back atmosphere of Troegs is a nice family-friendly place, that all three of my daughters love coming to. If you are ever in the area, and never been here, I highly recommend it. Yes it gets pretty full in the summer time and with lots of kids from the park, but its still worth at least a one time visit.

Scratch 399 (left) and Scratch 400 (right) at Troegs Brewery

And as always, we greatly appreciate all of you, our fine readers. Thank you so much for stopping in, checking us out, and giving us a read. We hope you liked what you read and choose to stick around and check out our other articles. We have tons of stuff here on the blog, from beer reviews, to home brewing stuff with Default Brewing, to some guest writing from LetUsDrinkBeer’s blog and their contributions, to brewery reviews, beer events, even some book reviews, and much more.

Final note, tonight’s the Super Bowl, or technically as everyone who isn’t the NFL has to call it “The Big Game”. San Fransisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs. It should be a good game. I am going against the grain, and thinking it’ll be low scoring, and I’m predicting San Fran 21 to Kansas City’s 10.

So you heard that here folks, that as of 9:42AM, I, B. Kline, predict this as your Super Bowl LIV Final Score:

San Fransisco 49ers: 21
Kansas City Chiefs: 10

Leave your thoughts, comments, score predictions, and other esoteric antics (call back to the podcast!) in the comments section. Love to hear from you all. We greatly appreciate all the feedback we get. It means so much to us! Cheers, and thank goodness that ground hog saw no shadow! Spring is clearly on its way, rodent meteorology for the win!

-B. Kline

Scratch Number 400

Beer Review: Julius (Tree House Brewing Company)

Julius by Tree House Brewing Company, a perfect beer for shoveling snow at 10AM

It is the end of January already, and I’m finally finishing this article. I started it up while waiting to finish the Mellow Mink visit blog entry, and I started it the day we got the small snow storm. (January 8th, 2020.) I’m just now finishing this up (editing, everything else was mostly written, except for this small introduction). Just got home from work, binging the final episodes of season 6 of BoJack Horseman while I finish this up, and ending my January sipping on some Pink Hippo by Boneshire Brew Works. If you’ve never watched BoJack Horseman, do yourself a favor, and immediately start doing it as soon as you’re done reading this blog. Or do both at the same time. But definitely check it out!

(And with that being the new stuff after editing this and inserting hyperlinks, I’ll now move onto what I had written back on January 8th.)

Whats better than having the day off? Shoveling on your day off! And no, its not a snow-day day off, this is my natural day off. It’d be one thing if it was a free day, a new day off, a snow-day day off. But nope…. just a day off where it snowed and therefore I have to shovel. *GRUMBLE GRUMBLE GRUMBLE*. But…. you know what does make it ok? And passes the time while shoveling?

….Beer…..Especially…. REALLY…. STINKING…. AMAZING…… GOOD Beer!

And that is definitely what this is. It is simply tasty and amazing, and one of the few Tree House beers I’ve had before this time (actually had it three other times before this.) This was part of the five-pack my good friend D. Arndt brought back from his trip up north with his fiance. The five pack he brought back was: Sap, Haze, Autumn, Julius, and Doppelganger. So far I have reviewed the first four (counting this one), and will soon have my Doppelganger review up.

I’m not super full tilt “haze craze” but I do love hazy beers. Then again…. I do like (well crafted) beers of all styles. This certainly meets the criteria of ‘well crafted’, and it also meets the definition of ‘haze’, and I do love it. Going back to when I first had this beer a few years ago, it was the first Untappd beer I gave five stars to. And my opinion of it hasn’t changed much either. Even with so many newer, more flashier haze beers, and so many new options to choose from, this is still a phenomenal beer.

So let’s break it down:

Beer: Julius
Brewery: Tree House Brewing Company
Style: IPA – American
ABV: 6.8%
IBU: 72
Untappd Write-Up: Bursting with pungent American hops, Julius – our flagship American IPA – is a bright, juicy beer filled with flavors and aromas of mango, peach, passionfruit, and a melange of citrus juice. A soft, pillowy mouthfeel and rounded bitterness ensure Julius will never tire the palate – a true joy to drink!

Bursting with pungent hop – is the perfect way to describe this when you crack the can open. Its like opening a bag of hops and taking a big whiff. This is just a powerful punch of hops right up your nose, like Mike Tyson put on hop gloves and has his way with your face. You get notes of mango, peach, citrus, orange rind, and a bit of pine (very subtle). Theres a zestyness to this that helps pack that punch as well. Though I’ve never picked up passionfruit from this despite the description.

Appearance is a beautiful orange. Hazy, unfiltered, dank, cloudy, murky, with a great retaining head. It leaves a wonderful lacing on the glass as you gulp and quaff and drink this one down – and by that, I mean, you’ll be drinking this down faster than you intend to. Its too beautiful, its too aromatic and inviting and smells so good, and more importantly – its too tasty!

Drinking this, I feel like it comes at you in waves. First sip – overall hop blast. Second sip, mellow mango, third sip fruity peach, fourth sip all kinds of citrus notes and zesty tastings that lead into the fifth sip that offers a bit of pine and hop bitterness, and then wraps it all back up as you then drink it more steadily. You get all that unfiltered, hazy, dank, joy mixing together, tasting amazing. You get the hop notes, the mango, the peach, the citrus, the zest, all powerful playing out as you drink. The melody of notes plays like a fine orchestra piece across your palate and is just simply amazing.

My Current Untappd Rating: ****.75
My Original Untappd Rating: *****
Global Untappd Rating: 4.51 (as of 1.31.20)

So the next up, and final Tree House (for now) will be Doppelganger. I’ve started that article and just need to edit / link it up / finish it and will probably do so in the next few days. I do have a whole host of beers to review yet; This Is The Way by Broken Goblet, Pink Hippo by Boneshire Brew Works, their latest stout for the 717 R&D, Revision’s beer I had at Pizza Boy, some of the Liquid Noise beers, and a whole host of other’s I’ve had in January.

I just sent a beer package this morning, and will be receiving some cans from California. All small local breweries from the Eureka area. So who knows what I’ll get, but I’ll do some reviews of them then as well.

Hopefully your January didn’t feel like a year already. February is shaping up to be a fun month here at The Beer Thrillers. We got the Tattered Flag / Breweries in PA beer / bottle share on the 8th, and much more. So be on the lookout and keep checking in regularly!

Cheers y’all!

-B. Kline

Beer Review: Florence (Hill Farmstead Brewery)

Florence by Hill Farmstead Brewery, named after their grandfather’s sister (Great Aunt).

Get out of work Saturday at 8PM. Frustrated, annoyed with how the day ran out at work, I quickly zipped from Grantville to Marysville, arriving at the new Liquid Noise Brewing at 8:20PM. Circling the lot once…. twice…. thrice…. I finally find a parking spot.

Having read the Facebook post, I have wallet and card in hand. I go through the sliding door and present my ID to the guy standing there. He says something. I can’t hear him over the band and I stare blankly at him. He repeats it, louder now – “Sorry, we’re at max capacity.” I kind of blink and say something to the effect of “Oh”. …. “Oh crap.” …. “Wow.” He nods. I turn and leave. Figuring out what I’m gonna do or how long I’m willing to wait, I plug some time in at the Dollar General next to the brewery, pacing through the ran down aisles with stuff laying all about. I come back out five-six minutes later to see a handwritten piece of paper on the door “Sorry, max capacity. No entries.”

Knowing the band ends at 9PM, I figure maybe I could get in after that (their open to 10PM), so I decide to head over to Pizza Boy’s in Hampden/Enola, which according to trusted Google Maps is 10 minutes away. I zip over there, and enjoy two brewskies before heading back to Liquid Noise and getting in.

But this isn’t an article about Liquid Noise. This is a beer review about Hill Farmstead’s Florence. The first of two beers I had at Pizza Boy while waiting. And this is downright a delicious beer fully worthy of a beer review. ….I mean….why else would I be writing this then right?

Firstly, anytime you can find Hill Farmstead on tap in Central PA you gotta jump on it. No questions asked, its such a rare treat, and such a wonderful treat, you need to get as much as you can and as quickly as you can since you have no idea how long it’ll last. And surprisingly this lasted from Wednesday or Thursday to Saturday (and presumably into Sunday, since I didn’t kick it). I remember past times when Al would put Hill Farmstead on tap on a Tuesday, and the kegs would be kicked by Tuesday evening. So I was definitely surprised this was still on tap Saturday evening.

And I was so glad it was!

Much like the name has significant meaning and background to the Hill Farmstead Brewery, the name Florence does for me as well. My great grandmother (paternal side) was Florence Speck. A feisty woman who lived to be 99 years old. Born Florence Edith Yeagley on July 13, 1905, and sadly passing away on January 5th, 2005. She lived a rough life on a farm growing up, with a mean father who often beat her and her siblings for not “doing enough around the farm” despite being under the age of 10. She had my grandmother as well as four other children, her youngest she was pregnant with while my grandmother was pregnant with my aunt. Before I was born, in the 70s, while her husband was driving (she never learned to drive and never had a driver’s license) they were in a horrible car accident, killing two people in the other vehicle. Her legs were broken, and while in the hospital, her husband (my great grandfather) stricken with guilt hung himself. She wasn’t even able to make it to his funeral. Years later, sadly dementia and alzheimer’s struck, and for the last several years every party she thought was her 99th birthday party, and in the cruelest sense of irony, when it was finally her 99th birthday party, she had no idea everyone was there, celebrating for her.

She was the sweetest, kindest, fiestiest great grandma one could ever had. When my father was in college and stilled live with my grandmother (and whom my great grandmother lived with) she would regularly steal his beer. Always knowing where his hidden stash was, and knowing he couldn’t say anything or do anything about it because my grandfather was so against alcohol. She was an incredible knitter and quilter making beautiful quilts for all of her children, grand children, and great grandchildren.

So, just like how Hill Farmstead has significant history, reasoning, and background in naming their beer after their great aunt, I have some significance in drinking a pint in fond memory of my own Florence. And while sitting alone at Pizza Boy, drinking this, I recalled all the great memories of my dear Florence, just like I imagine the brewers / owners of Hill Farmstead do whenever they drink a bottle of this as well.

With any labor of love, especially one in honor of someone, you know there is going to be an extra level of craftsmanship involved. And this is certainly no exception. And I will do my best to provide it with a fantastic beer review that it deserves. And with a fine beer comes a fine review (hopefully, fingers crossed, I’ll let you be the judge of that).

Beer: Florence
Brewery: Hill Farmstead Brewery
Dated: 8.22.19
Style: Farmhouse Ale – Saison
ABV: 5.2%
IBU: None
Untappd Write-Up: Florence (1915-1967) was our grandfather’s sister, and Hill Farmstead Brewery rests upon the land that was once home to her and her 13 siblings. In her honor, this Belgian inspired Wheat ale is crafted from American malted barley, Organic Vermont wheat, European and American hops, our distinctive farmhouse yeast and water from our well. It is unfiltered and naturally carbonated. Soft, cloudy, and fresh, this is the ale that I dream to have shared with Florence.

I got to try this on tap / draft at Pizza Boy – Al’s of Hampden. Normally this comes in the large bomber style bottles. I will have to pick up a bottle of this to try it that way as well (as well as to keep a bottle of it for the office shelf).

Appearance is a light yellow golden sun coloring. Its bright, its yellow, and its lovely looking. It looks like a farmhouse ale, a saison, or berliner weisse. There is a thin head to it with nice carbonation that left beautiful lacing on the glass. The head had good retention and small thin bubbles. The bright yellow sparkled in the lighting on the patio area of Al’s. It’s cloudy, obviously unfiltered, and not transparent at all.

Aroma was full of various notes. Wheaty, hoppy, yeasty, notes of the tartness, you can smell the tart, you can smell the wheat, you can smell the hops, the distinct house yeast strain of Hill Farmstead, you can smell the grain, the well water. All extremely distinctive and noticeable. Some slight spice notes, like coriander, almost witbier esque. There is quite a bit of a Belgian nose to this, with the coriander and other spices note. Belgians have such a distinctive and quantifiable nose to them and this is certainly no exception.

First sip is an exquisite joy. You get saison. You get Belgian. You get witbier. You get wheat blonde. You get so much and more, all straight out of the gate, first sip, explosion, 0 to 60 in .00001 seconds. You immediately get a rich, full beer in the first sip. You pick up the Belgian in-house yeast strain, the organic wheat native to their farm, all with the underlying tart funkyness that comes with the saison. Slight tartness. Whole lotta farmhouse. You pick up some of the Belgian spices, coriander, orange rind, you get some deep wheat, barley, and a great water backbone to it. Nothing thin or light about this. Its full bodied, unfiltered, and its powerful. For only 5.2% you get a ton of taste. Remember folks – ABV does not equate taste. Low ABV can be still full of high octane taste, and with some (lesser) breweries high ABV doesn’t mean full taste or body either. (Sadly.) But thats not the case here, this is low ABV and high taste. A perfect combination to let you enjoy a TON of these bad boys while hanging around a farm, just taking in the view, and talking about old times with older family members. This would be the perfect backporch sipper with family listening to old family stories, of a great grandma or a great aunt, their tales of growing up on a farm, getting up at 6AM to milk the cows, feed the chickens, get the eggs, etc.

This beer is why you hear so much about Hill Farmstead Brewery. Why its a top destination and even more so a top brewery. Why they are so proclaimed and why people are so enamored with them. You can tell the level of care and love that goes into their beers just by sipping this beer, by reading its description, by seeing the presentation of the bottle.

My Untappd Rating: ****.25
Global Untappd Rating: 4.22 (as of 1.30.20)

Today is my last day off (Thursdays are my Sundays, Wednesdays are my Saturdays), so I will probably do the next of the Tree House beers before going to D. Scott’s to do the next podcast tonight. So far in the Tree House Series, I have done Sap, Autumn, and Haze. This evening I’ll (hopefully, fingers crossed) do Julius, and perhaps tomorrow will do my final one – Doppelganger.

I also welcome you to check out some other recent articles we’ve done – like our massive Brewery Review / Visit to Mellow Mink and the subsequent beer review of Scarlet Sunrise: Blackberry and Blueberry.

Also, in sad news, I did a recent article about Crystal Ball Brewing’s (from York, PA) closing. Sadly it seems we’re due for more of these happenings in the upcoming year. I hate to seee breweries close, people lose money, dreams, and jobs, but sadly it seems we’re heading for this in a fair bit of time.

I was just at Boneshire Brew Works last night playing Rad 80’s Trivia with my sister and brother-in-law to celebrate his birthday (so shout out to Amado, happy birthday). They had a new stout on, and I might be doing a review of that soon. Or Pink Hippo, another new beer of theirs. Or maybe both. But either way, you can check out some beer reviews of theirs I have done: The Hog, Dillston, Harrishire, Tried and True (Mango), and Iscariot.

I might also do a small write-up about the Hummelstown Winter Fling that me and Lily (my 10 year old daughter) went to, where I got to try some beers, and the Liquid Noise goings-on Saturday night. But I might save that, since talking with Brad Moyer, we might be doing a bigger, more in-depth article, so I might just wait for that.

Either way, lots of stuff going on here at The Beer Thrillers, so please be sure to like, subscribe, follow us, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Cheers everyone!

-B. Kline

Beer Review: Haze (Tree House Brewing Company)

Haze by Tree House Brewing Company, one of the forerunners of the New England IPA style.

(Editorial Note: This article first appeared on the blog LetUsDrinkBeer.blog where I contribute as a writer. They are a Georgia based beer blog. I have written a few articles for them, this one included. You can read the original copy on their blog here: Let Us Drink Beer – Beer Review: Haze. It was published on January 18th, 2020. I have left this article fully intact, outside of providing a few links, this editorial note, and correcting a spelling mistake.)

First off, let me first say – sorry – that its been a while. We, The Beer Thrillers, have been quite busy lately. We did a brewery tour and visit of Mellow Mink Brewing Co., and have been working on a big article for them, so that’s taken most of our time. (I will be posting it here as well to get as many people to be able to see it.) But, I did want to get a new beer review up for you guys down south, and decided what better beer to do – than the one I had on New Years Eve night (technically Day by that point).

Tree House Brewing has a cache name value to it by this point. Even though they don’t distribute, and even though they are far north, they are still known America-wide and even internationally. They are regularly touted as one of the Top 10 craft breweries in America, and widely considered one of the best .

I had the lucky opportunity to get a couple of these great beers brought down for me from a friend who was up north visiting who stopped in at the brewery. I have already reviewed on my blog – Sap and Autumn, and will soon be reviewing Julius and Doppelganger as well. So please be sure to check those out, I think you’ll enjoy those reviews if you enjoy this one.

So let’s jump into this tasty beer, and believe me, its certainly tasty!

Beer: Haze
Brewery: Tree House Brewing Company
Style: IPA – Imperial / Double
ABV: 8.2%
IBU: 90
Untappd Write-Up: Our Double IPA! We smell a ton of peach on the nose, with complimentary notes of orange and passionfruit. The flavor is similar with a blast of citrus fruit & peach quickly followed by a bounty of tropical fruit. A lingering and pleasant saturated hop oil finish awaits. . . . A real juice bomb of a beer!

Now there’s a key thing to remember about Tree House and this beer in particular… these were created and crafted before there was a thing called “New England IPA”…. this is the forerunner, essentially the child of New England IPAs. The spirit animal of NE-IPAs, the progeny, etc, etc.

So you could consider these NE-IPAs but they won’t be listed as that. Tree House, Trillium, and others up north created the style, the rest of the world ran havoc with it.

Breaking this down, lets start with the color. Its a golden hue. Like very bright orange juice. There’s a good head to it with great retention and it leaves wonderful lacing on the glass. Its unfiltered, and to invoke its namesake its certainly hazy.

Smell is delicious hop aroma through and through. Upfront very peach hop forward followed by all the tropical fruity hop notes you expect from this. This is an explosion of aroma as soon as the can is cracked, filling the room with its hop presence.

By this point, after pouring it, seeing it, smelling it, its time to taste it before you drool too much. This is just one fantastic beer. Well crafted, tasty, delicious, mouth watering good, and so simple to drink. This is a very easy drinkable beer, that if your not careful you’re finishing in no time. And at the 8.2% ABV it’ll hit you. This is typical for NE-IPAs, very smooth, very crushable (despite ABV), juicy, filled with fruity hop notes that play across your tongue. The surprising and unique thing to this one, as opposed to Julius, or Sap, or Doppelganger, is there’s a bitterness at the end. After all the juicyness, the fruity hop-ness, there’s an underlying hop bitterness, to let you remember that “oh yea, I’m drinking an IPA”. And it works so beautifully and perfectly.

My Untappd Rating: ****.25
Global Untappd Rating: 4.4.9 (as of 1.14.20)

Sorry for the delay in reviews, but with the new year came a lot of new things, and life’s been hectic, not just for the blog, but for myself. Doing podcasts – which we just wrapped up LOST Seasons 1 and 2 and The Mandalorian & Rise of Skywalker.

As always, please be sure to check out our Facebook page – The Beer Thrillers on Facebook – and our Twitter page – The Beer Thrillers on Twitter. Make sure to follow and like us.

Also, please be sure to check out our blog and click the follow, subscribe, and all of that good stuff. Plenty of great articles coming out soon! As always, cheers everyone!

-B. Kline

Crystal Ball Closing

Crystal Ball Brewing Co. logo

In a bit of a surprise, sad, and shocking news, Crystal Ball Brewing Co. out of York, PA has shut down. Completely. Both locations. Right off the heels of them doing a Friday night charity event, the news came Saturday in a surprise manner.

Kevin Keller made the first rumor mention on the Breweries in PA Facebook group, and the firestorm spread from there, and quickly reported in official means. The YDR (York Daily Record).

The brewery was around for seven years and the first in the new wave of breweries in York. Other breweries have since moved into York (Mudhook, Liquid Hero, and Collusion Tap Works). Crystal Ball Brewing had two locations – West York and a taproom in downtown York on Beaver Street.

Two years ago I had gotten to visit the taproom downtown. Around the time my great uncle was slowly dying to mesothelioma, my family came down to York to visit, afterwards we stopped there (and it turned out it was Bike Night in York as well, so my girls got to see a parade as well). The beers were all good to ok, nothing atrocious, nothing bad, nothing infected or wrong on a created side. The beers were made well, presented well. The staff was very friendly. They also had a group there doing advocacy for domestic abuse with a pair of bright red heels. For their Facebook page, they took photos of me wearing the heels and walking around in them, as well as my three daughters. They were doing an upcoming walk where men would walk a mile in red heels to fight domestic abuse.

The staff was all very friendly, talkative, and extremely generous with their time with myself and the girls. This can be usually said for most breweries I have visited with my girls, the staff is typically very accommodating with the girls and love having them, like Logyard, Troegs, Boneshire, etc, and this was no exception.

This is disappointing news to see, not just as a consumer, but as someone who recognizes that these were people with jobs, people who put their livelihood and stock into this company, and it sadly didn’t work out.

The brewery as a whole, has been open for seven years. They were always a staple at the Renaissance Faire (Mount Hope) brewfest, as well as a few others. They did canning on a small but distributive service, throughout much of Central PA.

There has been a lot of talk about craft beer, and breweries, and what the level of ‘saturation’ is for the market – especially here in Central PA. And while, it might not be a full “bubble bursting” type thing, there is definitely going to be some changes to the atmosphere, or geology, or geography of breweries in the area. Brewers, owners, and others have talked about this a bit recently, and there is some interesting insights out there. People like David A. Morrow, Christopher Harvey, etc, have elucidated the issue probably better than I can, and I’ve been vocal with similar thoughts and concerns.

Just having a brewery, just making beer, won’t be enough. One of the biggest things about breweries, is that everyone with the ‘hobby’ of beer making, thought they could take their hobby and make it a business and a profession. And sadly, that’s not how the market is (anymore). A hobby is not a business. You need to first, make good beer, have quality control, batch to batch should be the same high standard, you need to make a community around your brewery, events, activities, reasons for people to stop there and drink, and make a ‘third place’ out of it. Food, entertainment, events. Don’t push for secondary and tertiary locations. Don’t try and overextend yourself with canning and bottling lines. Make quality, consistent beers people can enjoy on your premises. Stay small until you have enough capital to expand larger, and always expand slowly, and below where you actually are. Overextending yourself will be the downfall of several breweries this year.

Sadly, it does look like we’ll have a few more breweries closing this year. But, on the good news front, we will also be having a few new ones opening to be really excited for. Liquid Noise in Marysville just opened (and I had gotten to stop in for their grand opening, and talked to head brewer Brad Moyer, so look for an upcoming article there). As well as Hemeaur and Wolf Brewing in Mechanicsburg. So, despite sad news like Crystal Ball Brewing closing, there is still some good news out there on the horizon.

Its a shame to see Crystal Ball Brewing go. They will be fondly remembered for their Coconut Porter and their All Seeing Eye IPA. They were a staple to the York scene and a great part of their community. If you go to Weiss or a Sheetz for the next few weeks or so, you might still be able to find a few of their beers on the shelves. Might not be a bad idea to buy one last 4pk or can for old time’s sake.

So let’s lift a pint to their honor tonight and toast the achievement, success, and happiness they did provide for a time. Lets hope their employees find work, and the owners can move on to new successful endeavors.

Sources:

Cheers to everyone! Be on the lookout for several new beer reviews upcoming, my remaining Tree House beer reviews, Scratch #400 from Troegs, and much more!

Also be on the lookout for write-ups on the Hummelstown Winter Fling, Liquid Noise, and much more.

-B. Kline

Beer Review: Scarlet Sunrise – Blackberry and Blueberry (Mellow Mink Brewing)

Scarlet Sunrise Blackberry and Blueberry by Mellow Mink Brewing

If you thought The Beer Thrillers were done with the Mellow Mink content, you’re wrong. At the end of our visit on January 2nd, Matt cracked open a bottle of this for the three of us to share and devour, and savor, and savor and devour we did!

I think the picture above is pretty good, but even still it doesn’t do the beer justice for how aesthetically pleasing it looks. Let alone how tasty it is.

While getting to sit down with Matt and Josh and discussing the barrel aging and bottling that Mellow Mink Brewing does. Matt here is Dr. Lambic, Mr. Matt Miller, Doctorate, head brewer, bottler, part-owner, and genius of Mellow Mink Brewing in Mechanicsburg PA. If there is one thing this man knows (and there is plenty, don’t worry) its sour beer. He knows more about the various yeasts and strains and “lactobacilus” and “saccharomyces” then I know things in general – in total. So it was a complete treat to get to sit down with him, enjoy one of his perfected creations, and listen to him talk about how it was made, why it was made, why this or that ingredient was used, how the aging was done, why this barrel or that, etc, etc. All the while getting to sip on this exquisite drink.

So with enough of an adieu (since I wrote all that above, I can’t say with no further adieu, because I did give plenty of adieu), let’s break down this gorgeous beer:

Beer: Scarlet Sunrise – Blackberry and Blueberry
Brewery: Mellow Mink Brewing
Style: Sour – Fruited
ABV: 6.8%
IBU: 4
Untappd Write-Up: A blend of sour red ales aged for 12 months in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels refermented on Blackberries and Blueberries. Naturally carbonated and conditioned in the bottle.
Notes: Bottle Conditioned, Saccharomyces, Brettanomyces, Lactobacilius

So after getting to tour the facility there at Mellow Mink, Matt had us sample some untouched barrel projects, and then we went to the finished product. This made for a fantastic cap to the night.

Appearance is beautiful, rosy red, effervescent, glowing, sour fruited look alike, but richer, deeper, more full bodied look. You can tell it was aged, you can tell it has a ‘wine’ backbone to it due to the barrel aging, and you can tell it was conditioned for a while. You can see that this is not merely a regular fruited sour, but one that has been labored over and loved over. It just glows and looks beautiful straight from the pour. Great carbonation, great appearance.

Aroma from this is everything you want from reading the bottle. Your nose immediately picks up the blackberry, the blueberry, the Cabernet Sauvignon wine barrel, you get the dryness, the muskyness, the earthy undertones, you inhale and get even more dry stone fruit notes, the blackberries and blueberries jumping in again. Just a wealth of fantastic aroma notes assaulting your nostrils in one great blending.

Now, this is definitely not one to gulp, to quaff down, to chug. This is a beautiful sipping beer. Not surprisingly given how it was made and prepared, you drink this like wine. You sift it, you sniff it, you sip it, you sift it, you swirl it, you savor it, you slowly, devour it. You let it roll around on your tongue, you let it slide to the back of your throat and enjoy the taste. You don’t rush this at all. Its dry, complex, and full of wonderful tastes, textures, and its just so well made that you appreciate every last drop of it. You get deep dryness from this, you get earthy notes, musky notes, you get heavy stone fruit, you taste the wine, you get overpowering blackberry, you get slow building blueberry, you get a tartness but not a complete sourness, the tartness going hand in hand with the dryness. It all culminates in a fantastic and delicious beer that fully embodies what Matt is striving to do at Mellow Mink – make fantastic beers. And that he does, in spades twenty times over.

My Untappd Rating: ****.50
Global Untappd Rating: 4.26 (as of 1.25.20)

Started this article yesterday morning (Friday, 1.24.20) but had to leave for work, and immediately after work took my daughter Lily to the Hummelstown Winter Fling. Which was an absolute blast and I might do a quick write-up on that. Tattered Flag, Spring Gate, Howling Henry’s, BrewDog through the Warwick Hotel; were all there as well as the Warwick being open for sales. Ffej was playing drums for the Julia Schreiber band and it was a blast hearing them nail some Rush songs in Neil Pert’s memory.

I’m wrapping this up just in time to go to work, where immediately afterwards I’ll be rushing to Marysville for the second day of the Grand Opening at the Liquid Noise Brewery, with head brewer Brad Moyer. Can’t wait to check out what he’s got going on, his home brewing stuff has been phenomenal. So definitely be on the look out for that write-up soon after.

To read up on the Mellow Mink Visit me and Josh did, you can check that out here. We had an absolute amazing time hanging out with Matt Miller and Cole and recommend everyone check out Mellow Mink Brewing.

Cheers!

-B. Kline

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