In general, Carlisle (PA) has never had a lot to offer the beer drinker, but it’s where I work and close to the hawkwatch, so we end up downtown a lot. For ages, our only real choice was Market Cross Pub, which is a reliable place – especially for the bottled beer selection – but rarely offers anything spectacular on tap.
The problems with Market Cross are that it is so popular that they cram the tables in there so tight that it is uncomfortable, and there is hardly a difference between the smoking and non-smoking sections. The draft selection is not awful, but also not very exciting.
As of today, the tap list was last updated Feb. 2007 and lists the following:
Market Cross Red Ale, Market Cross Pub Porter, Market Cross Olde Yeller IPA, Youngs Double Chocolate Stout, Bass Ale, Guinness Stout, Leffe Blonde, Harp Lager, Boddington’s Pub Ale, Smithwicks, Stella Artois, Yuengling Lager, Corsendonk Pale Ale, Lindeman’s Framboise, Weizen tap (changing varieties), draft cider (varies) and there is always a Cask Conditioned Ale.
They also do LOTS of beer blends and blends of soda and beer. We’re talking about at least 17 beers on tap (I thought they had 20), and only one or two that really interest me. None that impress me.
So when the hawkwatchers wanted to come down from the mountain for some great beers and good food on Saturday, I began to tell them about my last experience at Alibis Eatery and Spirits. B-Susan and I popped in three nights ago on Halloween to treat ourselves, and decided to do a flight of 6 7-oz samples which, IMHO, included a really great line-up.
In addition to the nice selection of draft beers and a varied selection of foods on the menu, Alibis offers a clean, less crowded, non-smoking atmosphere. This was a MUCH better choice than a table in the smoking section at Market Cross.
The last time I posted about Alibis was a year ago, and I’ve been there many times since. For awhile they were carrying a strong selection of lagers and pilsners – not my favorite – and some slightly flavorful ales. But lately they have really stocked themselves with bigger beers, and last night we were thrilled with the hop possibilities. We were treated to the following:
- Weyerbacher Double Simcoe IPA
- Tröegs HopBack Amber Ale
- Victory Hopdevil
- Sierra Nevada Harvest Ale(mmmm….love that fresh hop flavor!)
- Boulder Beer Company Mojo IPA
- Lancaster Hop Hog
Additionally, on Wednesday night, B-Susan and I enjoyed:
- Brooklyn Brewery Post Road Pumpkin Ale
- Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA
- Rogue Juniper Pale Ale (must see: brochure)
- Weyerbacher Slam Dunk Ale (I’m told it’s the first of Weyerbacher’s new line of Tap-Only beer releases; sometimes referred to as Slam Dunkle Weizen, but I used the name registered with the PLCB.)
Alibis carries a decent selection of bottled beers as well. And they are offering a PA beer drinking t-shirt program:
Alibis is proud to offer more than 100 different beer selections, by the bottle and on draft. We also offer the areas only Pennsylvania Beer Tour; 38 quality brews representing PA’s great brewing heritage. Take the tour and we’ll pay homage to your efforts with the gift of a commemorative shirt!
They also have a great menu. Everyone I’ve been there with loves their grilled selections – grilled chicken, burgers and steak salad. I had the grilled salmon last night (glazed with Terrapin mustard; served with grilled portabella mushrooms, fresh asparagus, red bell peppers, and wilted greens in a roasted garlic balsamic vinaigrette) and a salad with cumin dressing (WOW!) Other favorites are the grilled portabella and roasted red pepper sandwich, the grilled cheese (this is not your Kraft American grilled cheese…choose Mild or Wild, made with local cheese!) and the pulled pork barbeque.
Alibis is doing a great job servicing my hop desires, and judging from the size of the crowds I’ve been witnessing, they seem to be fulfilling those of others as well. I hope they don’t let the martini thing get bigger than the beer thing, and I hope chef Jason Turner keeps up the great taste and beautiful presentation.
If you go…check the entertainment schedule. It can range from a “meet the brewer night” to karaoke, live rock bands and football, and can certainly change the experience.