Beer Review – Northmont (Yellow Bridge Brewing)

Sometimes the only thing to do after a long day of dealing with customers and mowing the lawn is to come home and crack open a cold one. Isn’t that what we all want? The question then becomes; what should I reach for? Keep reading as I attempt to answer that poignant query.

Yellow Bridge Brewing is a small, family-owned brewery located in Delmont, PA, just outside of Pittsburgh, near White Valley. If you are unfamiliar with the name, it is probably due to their distribution being centralized around Western Pennsylvania. If you know the right people (thanks Tyler!) or make the trek westward — from Central PA –, Yellow Bridge is most certainly a worthy stopping point.

The Brew

Beer: Northmont
Brewery: Yellow Bridge Brewing
Style: Double India Pale Ale/Imperial/Double New England
ABV: 8.5%
IBU: 64
Untappd Description: ” Copiously dry hopped with four of our favorite hops – Citra, Mosaic, Amarillo, and Simcoe! The hop profile is nicely balanced with notes of ripe nectarines, orange peel, subtle pine, and a touch of earthiness. This heavy hitter drinks nice and smooth, finishing with a soft bitterness.”
Enjoy In: IPA Glass or Teku
Drink At: 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit

The Review

It was love at first pour. The closer to the top of the glass the liquid rose, the more excited I became to drink in this glorious nectar. A stark white, airy, and pillowy head sat atop the golden brew practically begging me to drink it. However, I let it sit for a while, to let the beer warm to life outside the cooler. Allowing a beer to warm allows the aromas and flavors to come forward so that they might be properly experienced.

At 8.5%, Northmont leans towards the higher end of the Double IPA ABV scale, but still manages to drink like an IPA weighing in at 6%. How Yellow Bridge manages to do this is beyond me, but they do and I am extremely grateful. My nose was tickled by floral and candied hop notes and sweetness and my tongue revelled in the deep and dry fruit flavors purveyed by the Citra and Mosaic. There is a certain thickness to the flavor, but not overly so as Northmont never felt heavy or overbearing.

With temperatures soaring into the 90’s, one might think it odd for me to knock back an 8.5% Double IPA. While I do understand this trepidation, I also must point out that Northmont, at no point, came across as anything but a drinkable, playful, gluggable beer. There is something to be said for breweries that can make high ABV beers accessible.

My Untappd Rating: ****-1/4
Global Rating: 4.05 (as of 6/26/19)



Beer Review: King Crunch (Manayunk Brewing Company)

A draft of King Crunch at The Warwick Hotel in Hummelstown.

Finding myself with some time to kill after work and getting the usual “beers” Batman alert from my friend, I decided to walk down and meet him at The Warwick Hotel in good old Hummelstown Pennsylvania.

Get there and he’s already polishing off his Lord Hobo Orange IPA and the place is slightly packed (ok… very packed for a Tuesday). Apparently now, The Warwick is doing trivia on Tuesday nights. (They’ve also started up having live music and even doing a happy hour, so, their making lots of changes and becoming more like a real bar – which is probably a plus.)

Running down the menu I select Manayunk Brewing Company’s “King Crunch” listed on the tap list as a “Imperial Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Porter”. An impressive long name and description, so, lets see how it is.

Beer Name: King Crunch
Beer Style: Porter – Imperial/Double
ABV: 9.1%
IBU: 38
Untappd Write-Up:
Satisfy your most aggressive cravings with King Crunch, our peanut butter and banana Imperial Porter brewed in honor of The King’s favorite sandwich. Both robust and creamy, your senses will delight with notes of creamy peanut butter and fresh ripe bananas.

Immediately, first thing you take notice of is how beautiful the beer looks. Its dark, beautiful, heavy looking with a gorgeous rich creamy smooth head that floats on the top very nicely. Lovely bubbles on the surface, nice foam, and a lovely rich hue to the head.

The aroma is overwhelmingly peanut butter with a fair amount of chocolate. After a few whiffs you’ll start to pick up the bananas. A bit of a ripe banana smell but not ‘too ripe’ or ‘bad’ banana.

Moving on to taking our first sip and once again, immediate peanut butter. Bam a mouth full of it. Its extremely smooth and as you sip it more you begin to take note of the heavy chocolate. There is no real bitterness to it despite it showing a 38IBU and not even the chocolate bitterness that you sometimes get. As you begin to work your way to the bottom the bananas starting to make their presence known and you have a wonderful mixture of the three – peanut butter, chocolate, and banana all playing out together.

The mouthfeel is spot on. Its heavy like a porter (especially a “double porter”) should be. And one with something like peanut butter in it. There’s no astringency that sometimes pops up in some of the darker beers (the poorly made ones), and the flavors are all well balanced and come together to make a nice whole. With no cloying or bad aftertastes either this is certainly a delicious beer. The ABV is high-end moderate and is well hidden with the thickness of the beer and doesn’t make it boozy or over-pronounced.

All in all a nice wonderful sipping beer to spend a half hour or so enjoying with good company.

My Untappd Rating: ****
Global Untappd Rating: 3.95 (as of 6.25.19)

-B. Kline

Brewery Review: Battlefield Brew Works

The exterior of Gettysburg’s Battlefield Brew Works from the parking lot when me and my daughter arrived.

Once again, introducing a new feature to the blog, a brewery review. This won’t be about the brewery as a collective whole (ie. a review of all of their beers, styles, etc.) but more or less a review of their location and the beers I had while there. Typically this is one flight or a flight and a draft or two, depending on the amount of time I have at a brewery and a few others factors (if I’m driving, kids with, how the brewery does their samples, their tap list/size, etc.)

For most breweries I will do a review of their location (hopefully have pictures included) as well as at least a flight of their beers. I will then also make a beer review post about said flight, so it will be kind of a doubling up of blog posts and might seem redundant, but it’ll make things easier for the categorizing on the right hand side, as well as give you the option of what kind of blog post you wish to read if you don’t feel like reading both or all of the text. Also, depending on the place, I might get an extra draft (or two) that I’ll do a review of as well.

Gettysburg’s Distillery and Craft Brewery – Battelfield Brew Works

According to their website (listed above) they are the oldest distillery-brewery combination in Pennsylvania. Unfortunately their website doesn’t say when they were established or began operations (either of the distillery or the brewery). It does list the following however:

Beverages: 16
Awards: 7
Menu Options: 45
Battles Won: 8461

No links available on these to tell you what 7 awards they’ve won, or what the 8461 battles won means (I’m thinking it might be a website visitor-counter for them, not sure).

My daughter and I arrived at the brewery at roughly 2:40PM (Friday, June 21st, 2019). They opened at 2PM that day (I will list the hours later in the blog) and we were the first and only until shortly before we left at 3:30PM.

Seating area by the windows.

We ordered our food at the bar and our drinks. I’m not a foodie, and not one for much eating, so I can’t really give great food reviews or even do food reviews much. My daughter and I ordered a soft pretzel each (3$), I ordered a flight of beer samples (10$ for 4 samplers) and she ordered their house made Ginger Ale (3.45$).

The view from the seating area.

We sat by the windows and enjoyed a few games of Uno while waiting for the food, which didn’t take long at all. I started in on my sampler while we played. My sampler included:

* Pickett’s Ugly Mug
* Rocky Marsh Amble Ale
* Fog of War (NEIPA)
* Jeremy’s Ghost

My daughter loved her ginger ale (and I took a sip of it, and it was a very good ginger ale). Sadly, the beers were nothing spectacular.

The first of my sampler was General Pickett’s Ugly Mug. A coffee stout. It was a pretty bland but serviceable stout, nothing outright horrible about it, but nothing stand-out about it either. The coffee notes were very ‘meh’ and unnoticeable. No bad aftertaste. Its 6% ABV, so not a ridiculous high stout either.

My Untappd: ***.5
Global Untappd: 3.64 (as of 6.21.19)

The second of my samples was the Rocky Marsh Amble Ale. And sadly this one falls into the ‘bad’ category. Acidic, with a biting taste and a very unpleasant aftertaste.
Its an Amble ale that clocks in at 5.25% ABV and 40IBU. The Untappd write-up on it: ” Rocky Marsh is an old school Amber that is a true original with its blend of toasted malt flavor balanced by American hops. This is one great tasting beer.

The name Rocky Marsh was inspired by Rock and Marsh creeks two bodies of water that flow around Gettysburg. “

My Untappd Rating: ***
Global Untappd: 3.25 (as of 6.21.19)

The third sampler it got a fair amount better, with the Gettysburg Fog of War. A NEIPA that didn’t really look like a NEIPA at all. And only slightly sort of tasted like one. Though it still had a very nice taste and finish and was enjoyable, just didn’t fully match the description.

Gettysburg Fog of War, Battlefield Brew Work’s “NEIPA”.

ABV: 5.5%
IBU: 110
Dry hopped with Mosaic and Citra.

It never really tasted like a NEIPA, tasted much more like a regular IPA that was dry hopped with the Citra and Mosaic hops to give it a very juicy citrusy/mango taste to it. Was still a well done beer that tasted perfectly acceptable, just not by the definitions of the style. Perhaps they confused the idea of dry hopping with “NEIPA”, I’m not sure.

My Untappd Rating: ***.75
Global Untappd Rating: 3.4 (as of 6.21.19)

And the final of my samples was Jeremy’s Ghost, a Pale Ale. Now admittedly I’ve had this one before (at the past two brewfests at Mount Hope), so going into this, I knew it would more likely be their best one, and why I saved it for last. And it certainly was that.

Jeremy’s Ghost, pale ale.

ABV: 6%
IBU: 35

This is a nice, hoppy take on a pale ale. A clean, smooth, crisp refreshing beer that leaves a lovely aftertaste in your mouth. Easily their best beer of their’s I’ve had (which, admittedly, out of the hundred some listed, I’ve only had 6), this is probably their most well rounded and polished beer.

My Untappd Rating: ***.75
Global Untappd Rating: 3.25 (as of 6.21.19)

One last bit on their beers before we move on to the building and the decor, the beers are not BAD beers. Their not GREAT or EXCEPTIONAL beers, but they are definitely not BAD beers. When in the area, it is a great place to grab a drink, rather than hitting a local pub and drinking crappy macro beer from InBev or Millers.

According to Untappd (as of 6.21.19) they have 146 beers made and their global averaged rating (for all of their beers) is 3.36 with a total of 18,620 Ratings. Which pretty much puts them in the middle of the pack and makes their beers worth at least a taste and a check.

The building itself is gorgeous.

From their website:

” Our brewery, distillery, restaurant & pub building is special. A Pennsylvania Dutch brick end barn, four courses of brick deep with decorative hole patterns in the brickwork is architecturally significant. Built around 1848, the barn was part of one of the largest Confederate field hospitals after the battle. It stands as an excellent example of adaptive re-use.”

The building is a gorgeous barn retrofitted to be the distillery, brewery, restaurant, pub, and a dance stage. There is seating by the windows that provides a nice view, and there is a few TVs by the bar for a bit of a modern look to that section.

There is plenty of seating in the rustic old barn that large events, like weddings, anniversaries, funeral wakes, etc, could easily be held.

As their website stated, it was a field hospital during the civil war. By the entrance there is a plaque over a fireplace mantle with the description of the barn as being: “W.H. Monfort Farm; Confederate Field Hospital; July 1863”.

The field hospital plaque inside the Battlefield Brew Works brewery.

Just looking at the building from the back, and entering the brewery, you can feel the history. Like much of Gettysburg history is imbued into the buildings, the land, the roads, the ground, and even the sky.

So if you find yourself visiting Gettysburg for the historic battlegrounds, or for any of the other numerous destinations in the old town, or even just passing by or near by, its certainly worth the stop into Battlefield Brew Works for a flight or draft and to just drink up some added history while you’re here.

-B. Kline

The view from Little Round Top

Beer Review: Sunburst (Boneshire Brew Works)

Sunburst by Boneshire BrewWorks at the Boneshire Brewery.

Boneshire is about as much of a second home brewery as one comes for a person. I’m there as often as I can, and its an absolutely wonderful atmosphere that is very reminiscent of Cheers, wherein pretty much if you go once or twice, your name is remembered and everyone will know you.

So its only about time I finally get around to reviewing one of their newest offerings (as well as talking about the place a little bit). And this is certainly a fantastic beer to start off with.

Beer Name: Sunburst
Brewery: Boneshire Brew Works
Beer Style: Fruit Beer
ABV: 3.5%
IBU: None
Fruits Used: Tangerine and Grapefruit
Untappd Write-Up: We teamed up with Sara Bozich to bring you the perfect summer crusher! Sunburst is brewed with a healthy dose of Tangerine and Grapefruit and is slightly tart.

So let’s dive into this one, it is tart, but not unpleasantly so, and not “lemon-head” sour. It has a nice summer lemonade style tartness to it that goes perfectly with its low ABV to make it a nice sessionable summer beer.

The aroma is very citrusy, it has great notes of the grapefruit and tangerine with hints of other citrusy fruits like lemon/lime.

The color is a nice light straw, a bit hazy in appearance but also a fair bit transparent. It looks similar to a child’s juice drink of orange or tangerine or nectarine or something similar in that fashion, but not crazily hazy or pulpy.

It’s a perfect summer, grilling, poolside, beachside, easy going, relaxing, only 3.5% ABV beer. A crowler of this and barely an impact on you – other than a good time. This is just a wonderfully delight beer that reminds you of being a kid and enjoying a Capri Sun outside in the sun in the summer, maybe catching fireflies or lighting up a bonfire or grilling. Its refreshing, crisp, tangy, tart, wonderfully clean, and completely delicious.

It was the perfect beer to have after a long day at Hershey Park with my three daughters and while relaxing there at the brewery chatting with a friend and fellow beer enthusiast (thanks for the trade Josh!) while playing a game of CandyLand.

Could drink this all day.

My Untappd Rating: ****
Global Untappd Rating: 3.82 (as of 6.14.19)

-B. Kline

Beer Review: Abbra Collabra 6 Way Banana Split Milkshake IPA (Tattered Flag)

Another of the Abbra Collabra series by Tattered Flag and their friends.

Planned a quick stop at the Tattered Flag brewery to pick up my four pack of the “Custardy” (beer review soon coming), and lo and behold I found this on draft. Having wanted to try this, and unfortunately not getting to try it in cans I had to settle for it on draft (due note: “settle” is being used facetiously).

Tattered Flag has teamed up with several local (Central PA local) breweries to produce quite a few Abbra Collabra’s. Some of these breweries include: Wolf Brewing Co, Collusion Tap Works, Snitz Creek, Pilger Ruh Brewing, Abomination Brewing Company, Rotunda Brewing Company, as well as a brewery out in Denver Colorado.

This time they teamed up again with Wolf Brewing, as well as Pilger Ruh Brewing, Snitz Creek, Rotunda, and Abomination to release a six-way Abbra Collabra that was sold in cans and on draft at all of their locations (Wolf Brewing Company will soon have their own taproom/brewery, Abomination Brewing is a contact brewer, and Pilger Ruh Brewing is currently in the “soon to be” phase).

All six of these breweries are top notch, and many of which have won awards. Derek Wolf with Wolf Brewing Company has won a homebrewing award in all 50 states, Tattered Flag along with Pilger Ruh Brewing won for their “Should Have Put Him in Custardy” at the Schuylkill Brewfest. Likewise Rotunda, Snitz Creek, and Abomination has gotten numerous recommendations and consistently does well with ratings on Untappd and other services.

And this beer definitely deserves the praise as well. So lets break it down:

Beer Name: Abbra Collabra 6 Way Banana Split Milkshake IPA
Beer Style: IPA – Milkshake
ABV: 7.6%
Untappd Write-Up: 6 way collaboration between Tattered Flag, Pilger Ruh, Abomination, Rotunda, Snitz Creek and Wolf Brewing Co with chocolate, strawberry, banana, vanilla and lactose!

This is certainly a full bodied Milkshake IPA. Distinctive look, appearance, and smoothness from the lactose. The head retains perfectly and the look and styling is spot on for a Milkshake IPA.

The aroma is banana right up front and instantly noticeable. You get the hints of vanilla and strawberry, not much of a chocolate aroma to go with it however, but you do get the faint hints of the strawberry and vanilla that balance out the banana smell and makes it smell like an ice cream parlor’s banana split.

At the very first sip you are blasted with a mouthful of the banana, vanilla, and lactose. Its smooth, its rich, and its full of banana and cream. As you sip and drain this delicious brew you start getting the notes of strawberry that pick up a bit. There is a slight, subtle, muted chocolate that is extremely faint, faint enough to be barely there. The problem with chocolate tends to be if its too strong in a beer, it overpowers most other flavors (coffee is the same way in beer), so I can understand the slight usage of the chocolate and the slight taste for it, if its too much, it’d probably overpower the banana and strawberry. Just the nature of the beast on that one.

I enjoyed this delicious tasty drink at the lower bar at Tattered Flag’s brewery, getting to spend my time chatting with Dave (head brewer) and picking up my four pack of “Should Have Put Him in Custardy” before starting my day at Hershey Park with the family. A nice way to spend fifteen minutes at lunchtime and the Tattered Flag brewery is always such a great venue and place to relax and enjoy a brew.

My Untappd Rating: ****.25
Global Untappd Rating: 3.94 (as of 6.14.19)

-B. Kline

Multiple Beer Review – Brewery Flight (Troegs) – Beers – Scratch #379 – Krausened Keller Pilsner, Scratch #378 – DIPA, Scratch #377 – Oat IPA, and Scratch #376 – Passionfruit & Guava Tart Ale

A flight of the latest scratch beers at Troegs. Scratches 379, 378, 376, and 377 (in order of left to right).

So this is going to be a bit different than my normal beer reviews, because this is a “mutli-beer review” (four for the price of 1!). Since I’m doing them only as tasters rather than as full drafts, I figure instead of doing a separate beer review for each would be a bit superfluous and decided to do it as one conglomerate post. Plus this also lets me go a bit into the detail of beer flights at breweries and how they are different at different places, and even how Troegs themselves recently changed their beer flights.

Firstly, lets go into beer flights at breweries (and some bars do them as well) in general. Typically a flight is either one you create yourself or made up by the brewery of anywhere from 3-5 (though some do much larger ones of six or even ten – Spring House and Hop River Bend do very big flights), and they are typically pours of 4oz or 5oz depending on flight size, cost, etc. Some breweries do a “choose” your own flight, where you pick X number from their tap, and some do a “here’s our flight”. Likewise some do a general price for their flight and some do a “by beer” flight cost (ie. if you pick more stouts, your flight will likely be more expensive than if you picked four hefes).

Troegs Brewery (Hershey Pennsylvania, just down the road from HersheyPark) offers two choices – a pre-set “regular” flight and a “build your own”. The pre-set “regulars” is their mainstays, Perpetual, Troegenator, When in Doubt, HopBack Amber Ale, and their current Hop Cycle beer (this time of year that is now Field Study). And this varies throughout the season with the stout being added in and with some other changes here and there.

As for Troegs ‘build your flight’, this has changed. And twice very recently. So for seemingly forever (up until about 2-3 months ago) it was 3 beers of your choice on their draft menu (no bottled beers, so none of their foeder release beers like Blackberry Tizzy, Farmette, Freaky Peach, etc.) and it came in 5oz pours in their sample glasses. 6$ for the flight. This could include everything from their mainstays (like Perpetual, Troegenator, etc.) to their scratch system (they typically release a new scratch beer as a one-off each Thursday). I liked to make a stop out at to Troegs about every two-three weeks and do a flight of their scratches that I haven’t had yet, and any new releases they have done (like when Lollihop, Field Study, Golden Thing, etc get released), and for 6$ (+2$ tip minimum) you couldn’t beat that. Was great for a little noon-lunch-time stop while kiddos were in school or while running errands.

About two months ago they changed it to now make it a flight of 4 beers, same policy (pre-set or build your own) but the cost now being 8$ rather than the 6$ (understandable increase). 2$ a pour is pretty standard for most flights, and very reasonable when you have a full list of choices of various styles and with their scratch system and their mainstays there is definitely a lot of choices there.

So when I came in this time after a morning full of errands (DMV, car garage, Giant, and the Hershey Library) I did my usual and got a flight of the four latest scratches (all of which were new to me). The board still stated the new policy of “Chose Your Flight – Our Regulars or Build Your Own Flight, 8$”. So I built my own, and did my typical, and got the four scratches listed herein.

Well, their policy has once more changed, to what many other breweries do, which is “unlimited flight” but its price-adjusted. 2$ for the standard, plus a slight cent increase depending on style. So instead of the 8$ for my flight, it came out to be 11.25$ for the four. Which broke down to 2.75$ x3 and the last beer being 3$. Not terribly bad at all and nothing to be alarmed about (just something to be aware of, especially since there was no price listings, in case you are heading to Troegs soon). (Hopefully with the change to their flight policy they will start listing the prices per oz style pourings so people can be aware of this ahead of pay-out). Still 11.25$ isn’t bad for four brand new beers, so I was ready to dive in.

The scratch system at Troegs can be hit or miss. Its their small barrel system that they use to experiment on and try out new styles, techniques, whirlpooling, hop cycling, etc, to try and get new ideas, and and just in general advance their knowledge of brewing. Its been through this that we’ve gotten beers like Nimble Giant, Blizzard of Hops, Lollihop, and Golden Thing (as well as many many many over the past years, like Naked Elf, etc.). Nimble Giant itself was many various scratch beers that they honed in and dialed in til they got it to just how they wanted it, and then released as the big bad summer monster itself Nimble Giant.

So as you can see the scratch system has been a big boon for Troegs and especially with their larger facility in Hershey and with time and years of practice they have gotten some great results out of it. And its also a great way for people in the area to consistently try new beers from Troegs despite Troegs being everywhere in the market.

So starting off with this picture and working my way left to right like a book, I have Scratch #379, Scratch #378, Scratch #376, and finally Scratch #377. I will break each of these down and do a bit of a mini-beer review for each.

(The styles above in order are – Pilsner, DIPA, Gose, DIPA.)

Scratch #379 – Krausened Keller Pilsner

Beer Style: Pilsner – German (Open)

ABV: 4.9%
IBU: None
Untappd Write-Up: The delicate profile of a good pilsner leaves nowhere to hide. For Scratch #379, hot-steep tests with four grains pointed us to a pilsen malt that struck the right balance between earthy straw notes and a clean finish. One pound per barrel of Saaz, the quintessential Noble Hop, adds a delicate herbal layer. Finally, we krausened this beer, adding wort and fresh yeast as it finished up fermentation to create a soft, bready mouthfeel. When every ingredient comes through just-so, it’s pilsner perfection.
We taste: flowering herbs, fruity esters, earthy straw.

I will be honest with this, Pilsner is typically not my style. I’ll drink them and can enjoy and appreciate them, but rarely do I reach for them. In that vein, if I’m having something I’ll grab a good well produced lager (the 717 Lager this year was very good) rather than a Pilsner.

Troegs has been experimenting a bit heavily with these Krausened style beers. I believe this is their third rendition of it on their scratch system and it seems like their dialing it in and trying to perfect it for a possible full-fledged beer.

Luckily I got the ‘worst’ of the flight out of the way first. And by ‘worst’ I don’t mean its a horrible beer, just out of these four, it comes in last. Its not a horrible beer by any means, but it is completely non-interesting and frankly boring. Its light, watery, and dull, without much flavor. Maybe not bad as a palate cleanser between beers, or maybe pilsner fans will enjoy the flavor more, but for me it didn’t have the crisp and the pop of a pilsner or lager and it tasted very light and without flavor. Typically there is an earthy, sometimes bready, flavor to most pilsners or lagers, and this is definitely lacking in both of those flavors.

My Untappd rating: ***
Global Untappd Rating: 3.86 (as of 6.13.19)

Scratch #378 – DIPA (Peach and Apricot)

Beer Style: Double Imperial IPA
ABV: 9.5%
IBU: None listed
Hops: Lotus, El Dorado, Azacca
Untappd Write-Up: We’re hot on the heels of a new Double IPA. An oat-dominated malt bill gives this beer a super-soft mouthfeel, and it’s loaded with 25 pounds per barrel of fuzzy peaches and apricots. A hop combo of Lotus, El Dorado and Azacca complements the stone fruit with notes of orange rind and pear, and a fruit-forward yeast pulls in flavors reminiscent of gummy peach rings.
We taste: juicy peach, orange rind, brown sugar

This is a wonderfully delicious brew. This is very fruity, very in your face juicy, and just wonderfully delicious. The ABV is completely hidden (a noticeable trend in Troegs DIPAs) and there is no boozyness, no hop bitterness, nothing but clean hazy juice IPA. Probably could be considered a NEIPA but Troegs doesn’t like to label their beers that way.

The appearance is a beautiful orange golden hue and the smell is phenomenal. Straight peach with the hint of apricot and slight hoppy smell backbone to it. The mouthfeel is soft and wonderful and this is just a delightful beer all around.

My Untappd Rating: ***.75/****
Global Untappd rating: 3.83 (as of 6.13.19)

Scratch 376 – Passionfruit & Guava Tart Ale

Beer Style: Sour – Gose
ABV: 5.35
IBU: None
Untappd Write-up: This week’s small-batch Scratch release was born at the crossroads of a few styles and ingredients we’ve been diving into lately. Hornindal Kviek yeast (you might remember it from our recent Brut IPAs) ferments hot and lays down a base of dank pineapple and fruity esters. On top of that, we took a page from our Tart & Fruit Series and loaded this beer up with fruit – in this case passionfruit and guava.
We taste: a tart cross between strawberries and pears, pineapple, passionfruit

A nice change of pace from the last DIPA and the pilsner before it, though just as fruity and tasty at the juicy DIPA. Despite the description I didn’t really get any strawberry or pineapple flavors but the passionfruit definitely came through big time with the guava added a nice effect to it.

The kveik yeast gives it the tart flavor, a good puckering and adds some distinguishable notes for those who have had kveik yeast before that makes it pretty easily apparent.

This has a beautiful coloring just like the peach/apricot DIPA, a nice golden straw with the hazyness and juicy look that the fruits give off. The aroma is also a a powerful fruity punch of passionfruit and a host of other floral fruity smells (notably pear and guava).

A nice lingering aftertaste that lets the fruit flavors cling to your tongue.

My Untappd Rating: ****
Global Untappd Rating: 3.95 (as of 6.13.19)

Scratch 377 – Oat IPA
Last but not least, we get to the Scratch 377 Oat IPA, which they’ve done some cans of but I’m just getting the small taster. This is a juicy DIPA that some could peg down as a NEIPA though Troegs is pretty adamant about not using that naming style.

Beer Style: IPA – Imperial Double
ABV: 8.2%
IBU: None Listed
Hops: El Dorado, Citra, Mosaic
Untappd Write-Up:
With a malt bill dominated by oats and unmalted wheat, Scratch #377 has a soft, rich mouthfeel, laying a canvas that lets the hops shine. A combination of El Dorado, Citra and Mosaic gives us resiny mango, grapefruit and passionfruit notes, and a new-to-us yeast adds juicy notes of peach.

We taste: passionfruit, stone fruit, peach, pine

This is definitely the best of the four pack sampling I did. This is a bright, powerful, juicy, gorgeous looking beer. With a first sip you are instantly enjoying and falling in love with it and wanting much more of it. I can see why they decided to can this, and they have done several other versions of this in their scratch series, so here’s hoping they decide to turn this into a staple beer.

The coloring is a wonderful hazy juicy golden straw beer. Very reminiscent of Tree House or other hazy creations from up north. The aroma is likewise a wonderful blend of hop smells with a bit of pine notes and very heavy mango.

First sip you can get the juicyness of the hops with no true hop bitterness, a burst of mango and passionfruit notes with the right balancing of the malt to give it a very heavy mouthfeel that just feels right.

This is definitely one of their better offerings in quite some time, and a wonderful beer all around. They’ve gone through a couple iterations of these Oat IPAs and most have been hazy. Similar to their krausened ones that they’ve been doing, they’ve been pumping out a new Oat IPA seemingly once per 3 weeks or so on their scratch system, and most have been very good, but this is probably their best version so far.

My Untappd Rating: ****.25
Global Untappd Rating: 3.98 (as of 6.13.19)

If you can ever get into the Hershey area, I highly recommend stopping in at Troegs, its a lovely facility, both inside and out. (I sat out in their new-ish beer garden area to relax in peace to drink mine while reading). They have a wonderful kitchen (both upstairs and downstairs) and a top-notch brewery tour. Definitely a must stop if you are in the Hershey area.

Until next time everyone, cheers!

-B. Kline

Beer Review – LazerSnake (Three Floyds Brewing Company)

LazerSnake by 3 Floyds Brewing.

What do you do after a long day at work where you do a massive give-away that brings in hundreds of people looking to score a Harley Davidson motorcycle? …..I think we all know the obvious answer to that rhetorical question.

LazerSnake is a regular beer from Three Floyds (or 3 Floyds) that has finally started making its way into South Central PA. Its not the highly sought after beers from 3FB like ZombieDust or Alpha Station Middle Finger or obviously Dark Lord but this is a nice staple and “regular” beer to be gotten in six-packs.

So, what we got here is:

Beer: LazerSnake
Brewery: Three Floyds Brewing Company
Style: IPA – American (West Coast IPA)
ABV: 7%
IBU: 55
Untappd Write-Up: LazerSnake is a good old fashioned Indiana Pale Ale. Brewed with Special Bavarian hops that give LazerSnake it’s smooth non-filtered appeal to all craft beer and macro enthusiasts.

This is a perfectly fine beer and like the description reads, it’ll easily appeal to craft brew fans as well as your ‘macro enthusiasts’ (nice way to say “Bud Lite Drinkers” or “typical America”). [Though I like to think “typical America” is becoming more craft beer centered, I don’t truly think thats the case……..yet.]

The coloring is a lovely light golden straw with a slightly dense but still relatively clear view through it (it is listed as unfiltered so the denser appearance makes some sense). The carbonation and bubbling is reminiscent of champagne to some degree, bubbling well after the entire bottle was poured. The head retention was spot on with a wonderful fluffy thick foamy head to it.

Aromatically it has a wonderfully full hoppy smell more on the earthy, grassy, pine narrative. No true notes of anything but the pure hops coming out which just makes this a pure hoppy joy.

The taste is completely as one expects, an earthy, grass, pine resin hop forward west coast style IPA. Bitter but well balanced. A perfectly fine mouthfeel if anything running a bit thin but not to the point to be a problem. It has a lightness to the body and an easy taste to it, not quite as heavy on the bitterness as some similar IBU and ABV IPAs (like Troeg’s Perpetual for example) but it has enough of the hop bittering bite to give it that ‘hop pow’ in your mouth, making it a wonderful grilling beer with burgers and hot dogs on a nice warm summer night.

A wonderful six-pack beer for you and a buddy to kill at a grilling cook-off over summer, a nice relaxing refreshing beer to pound down three over the course of an evening.

And as always with Three Floyds, lets take a moment to say how incredible that label artwork is. Just like their others (ZombieDust, Dark Lord in particular), this is a fantastic bottle label and just fun to look at while sipping on the beer.

My Untappd Rating: ***.5
Global Rating: 3.96 (as of 6.9.19)


Beer Review: Baby Genius (Bissell Brothers Brewing Company)

Newly arrived to Breski’s Beverage today (6.3.19) Bissell Brother’s “Baby Genius” Session.

Got a notice from my local beer trading, muling, etc., Facebook group around 4-5PM that Breski’s Beverage was getting Bissell Brother’s in. Two can limit. So I definitely had to make a stop after work, no doubts about it. Bissell Brothers is one of those “sought after” breweries, and not one readily available in the South Central PA area.

Got there, grabbed my two cans from their walk-in cooler (where they keep all of their NEIPAs and a lot of their IPAs and beers), paid the 10.58$ (tax included) and left. Definitely can’t complain about two cold high-end brewery beers in an area that doesn’t see them for only 10.58$ (16oz cans).

So let’s dive into this beauty and see what we got here:

Beer: Baby Genius

Brewery: Bissell Brothers Brewing Company

Style: Blonde Ale

ABV: 4%

IBU: None Listed

Hops: Citra, Ella, Topaz

Untappd Write-Up: A hoppy, hazy blonde ale. Brewed with Citra, Ella, and Topaz hops.

Eclectic and Crushable

I’ve seen this listed as a “blonde ale”, a “session blonde ale”, and a “session NE Pale Ale”. The Untappd and their page list it just as a blonde ale and point out its lower ABV and its easy drinking and “crushable”-ness. And it definitely has easy drinking and crushableness in spades. Could easily pound more than the 2 allotment of these in a sitting, could see myself downing near a case while watching a baseball game, hanging out for a picnic, or a long mow-day.

Pouring this out it looks like a beauty in the glass. Light straw coloring with a bit of hazyness to it, cloudy, but still looks like a great beer. Head retention is strong and staying and no noticeable floaters or particulates.

The aroma is similar to most blondes and hefe’s. A light smell of hops but no noticeable hop overtly notes as you smell in.

For a light 4% there is no loss of flavor and fear not it is every bit as good and tasty as a higher ABV beer can be. The missing % won’t be missed and is actually nice to be able to drink 3 or more of these without getting the slightest buzz.

As typical of ‘hazy’ style beers (even if their not called NEIPA or New England style) it comes with a very soft juice taste. Soft, refreshing, but also crisp and clean, its smooth and easily drinkable and like I said above without the high ABV there’s really no buzz so no problem crushing these.

There is no hop bitterness and aftertaste or burn to this, the hops are softened, cushioned, its foamy and relaxing and not a typical ‘beer’ taste for those who don’t like the hop or “beer” taste.

It has some lemony notes but overall it steers clear of typical hop fruit or citrus notes, the lemony notes are about as close to citrus as this comes. Its not dry or sour or tart either as one would expect with lemony flavors in a beer either.

This is completely one to buy a case of, sit out on the back porch and spend the day chatting with friends, or relaxing and reading a good book (I’m personally currently reading Aldous Huxley’s ‘The Divine Within’) or watching a baseball game or getting all of your yard work and mowing done. Cheers and enjoy!

My Untappd Rating: ****.25

Global Untappd Rating: **** (As of 6.3.19)

-B. Kline

Beer Review: Cinnamon Toast Brunch (Collusion Tap Works)

Cinnamon Toast Brunch, a 10% cream ale, on tap at Warwick Hotel and Restaurant

While the kids are in school, getting to sneak off and meet your buddy at a local craft beer bar is a wonderful way to spend an hour of the middle of your day. (One of the few perks of having Thursday/Friday off is that the kids are in school during most of your day off).

The Warwick Hotel and Restaurant is a staple in Hummelstown and predates the town’s founding. Their claim of fame, and one that is echoed in many taverns/pubs/hotels throughout the Pennsylvania area, is that George Washington once stayed the night there. (No idea on the veracity of this, but we’ll go with it).

The Warwick typically has a terrific craft beer lineup and listing though it has diminished a bit in recent months (year), its still going to have a typically great list with local breweries well represented (usually has Boneshire, Troegs, Tattered Flag, Collusion, and other locals on tap). There is also a bottle and can selection (though not listed as they used to be).

So while meeting my friend at the bar and discussing Chernobyl (the show and the incident) as well as much other pop cultural current events (like the abomination that was Season 8 of Game of Thrones, and most likely the inevitable let-down of Episode 9 – The Rise of Skywalker) I grabbed myself a draft of Collusion’s “Cinnamon Toast Brunch”.

Beer: Cinnamon Toast Brunch

Brewery: Collusion Tap Works

Style: Cream Ale

ABV: 10%

IBU: 34

Untappd Write-Up: Imperial Cream Ale brewed with Lactose sugar, Vietnamese Cinnamon and Vanilla conditioned on Green Bean Coffee Beans, Madagascar Vanilla beans and Vietnamese Cinnamon.

Cream ales are always an interesting style to try, their smooth (typically), and have a nice easy flowing taste, something perfect for spring and summer. (Think the old Genny’s Cream Ales). Usually crushable and lower ABV though craft breweries are now pumping out some high-end cream ales with higher ABVs and on the ‘decadent’ side of things. This is one such beer.

The aroma is like opening a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Immediately noticeable cinnamon notes and perfectly captures the aroma, sense, and nostalgia of the cereal.

The taste is very heavy cinnamon, maybe a bit too much, but not too too much. It tastes like the cereal, but there is a fair bit more to it than just the cereal. I think this is where the lactose and the vanilla comes in, it lends it that smoothness and creamyness of a cream ale, but at the same time changing how the cinnamon toast crunch cereal taste of the beer goes. It makes it complex and a swirl of different tastes that are altogether interesting and different. There is a multitude of differing notes to just the cereal, and I contribute that to the conditioning on the coffee bean and the Vietnamese cinnamon.

All in all definitely worth giving it a try. The ABV doesn’t wallop you as much you think a 10% would, and the taste is very complex, interesting, and a great nostalgia to the cereal you probably ate bowlful after bowlful of when you were a kid. Likewise give The Warwick a try for a good tap list, great bartenders, and a really good food menu.

My Untappd Rating: ***.75

Global Untappd Rating: 3.97 (as of 5.31.19)

Beer Review: Sundrifter (South County Brewing Company)

Sundrifter, a terrific beer to relax while procrastinating and NOT mowing.

Another weekend in May means another chance to mow… or to try and put off mowing until you absolutely have to, which is just as wise. Even wiser when you have a fantastic beer to drink and sip and read rather than do that sweat inducing mowing!

And today’s beer for the task of procrastination is “Sundrifter” by South County Brewing Company. An absolutely fantastic and refreshing IIPA New England that is pure deliciousness.

So let’s dive into this fantastic beer!

Name: Sundrifter

Brewery: South County Brewing Company

Style: Double Imperial New England IPA

ABV: 8%

IBU: 15

Untappd Write-up: A soft bright New England double IPA, brewed with Pilsner malt, wheat and oats. Pacific Northwest and German hops. We get notes of light pineapple, white peach, white gummy bear, pear and a hint of white wine.

Canned Date: 4.9.19 (Consumed: 5.30.19)

The coloring is a light straw yellow, not incredibly hazy for a New England IPA but a soft see-through-able light yellow. It has a terrific head to it that stays and doesn’t go away.

The aroma is a sweet pineapple and peach with the smell of a brewery in process. That distinct muted hop smell blended in with the fruity aromatic notes. Its distinctive to anyone whose ever stepped foot in a working brewery, the smell of the malts and oats and the hops all blended into a perfect smell lingering in the air. Like at a bakery or a deli that just simple perfect smell.

As soon as you take a sip of it you realize how crisp and refreshing and simple the beer is. Its light, seemingly too light for a 8% DIPA, but that it definitely is. The hops lend a very mellow pineapple, peach, and mango flavor that is smooth and has zero bitterness. A creamy smoothness from the malt-oats that lends it the crisp and clear and easy drinking beer. Add this to the column of easily deceptive “crushable” 8%+ IPA/IIPA’s.

My Untappd Rating: ****.25

Global Untappd Rating: 4.14 (as of 5.30.19)

-B. Kline

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