Two Generals, an Elk, and a Dog in a Cog

I know the title of this post sounds a little bit like one of those Rozerem commercials, but it describes a great bit of the time I spent this weekend. Thanks to Andy & Emily for entertaining our four-legged friend so we could be free to run and entertain.

General Sutter Inn

Friday night we made it out to Lititz for the Cask Ale Friday event at General Sutter Inn. There wasn’t an extra seat to be had, and the line wrapped all around the Sutter Cafe as people waited for Ridgeway Oxfordshire Blue and Tröegs Nugget Nectar Ale.

Ridgeway Bitter is the flagship ale for the Ridgeway Brewing in Oxford, and it was a terrific example of a session beer. Low in alcohol with a crisp hop bitterness, this was a very nice treat. But I was glad that I stuck to a small glass, because the Nugget Nectar blew me away! The piney nose, the grapefruit coating and the explosive hop flavor of this imperial amber ale is always very exciting, but from the firkin it was PERFECTION.

It was a great time at the General Sutter, and once the Nectar kicked, Paul brought out some great bottle selections, including Hook Norton Double Stout. We stayed for dinner, which was also quite tasty, and then enjoyed the rest of the night hanging out with friends (which I may or may not post about later…so much to write about, so little time!)

General Lafayette Inn and Brewery

On Saturday, we attended a superb event at the General Lafayette– the 2nd Annual Stone Soup Gathering was an awesome opportunity to meet lots of BA folks, and to both share and try beers from the collections of people who appreciate beer as much as we do.

The selection was amazing, but I was most pleased during the first five minutes when DarkerTheBetter (Ed) broke out Surly Darkness. After reading the forums and watching the videos (yes, videos – these are just two of them), I never expected I’d get to try this – ever – so I was really thankful to try it first, while my palate was still clean and I had all of my sensibilities.

From 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM, we tasted and talked beer.  No tasting notes, just tasting. I had more than 33 beers in 3 hours…that’s just crazy.  There was so much to try that I had to  record it all in photos. And much of it, I appreciated. Here is what I tasted (you’ll notice they are in no particular order), and later I’ll post photos of the “dead soldiers” so you can see what else I missed out on.

  • Surly Darkness (bottles numbered in the mid-100’s)
  • Dogfish Head Raison D’Extra (2003?)
  • Bar Harbor Brewing Cadillac Mountain Stout
  • Goulden CarolusGrand Cru of the Emperor (2000)
  • New Glarus Raspberry Tart
  • Three Floyd’s DarkLord (2007)
  • Westvleteren 12
  • Traquair House Ale (1982)
  • Ithaca Brewing Co. Kaffinator Double Espresso Bock (bottle #1164 of the June 2007 batch)
  • Three Floyd’s Behemoth Barleywine
  • Stone Vertical Epic (05-05-05)
  • Unibroue Terrible (2004)
  • Allagash White (Batch 9)
  • Brouwerij De Ranke Kriek
  • Lost Abbey Angel’s Share
  • Left Hand Smoked Goosinator
  • Highland Brewing Imperial Gaelic Ale (limited edition 2006) *
  • Allagash Dubble Reserve Belgian Style Ale
  • Firestone Walker Firestone 10
  • Allagash Tripel Reserve Belgian Style Ale
  • Alesmith Speedway Stout
  • Olfabrikken Wit Hvedeol
  • Hoppin’ Frog Mean Manalishi Double IPA
  • Frank’s 12-year old Spruce Ale (very nice homebrew, and we got a bottle to take home…thanks Frank!)
  • Konings Hoeven Triple Trappist
  • Alesmith Decadence
  • Selin’s Grove Brewing Olde Frosty IPA *
  • Magic Hat Thumbsucker (2000)
  • Bullfrog Brewing 10th Anniversary Bourbon-Aged Tripel *
  • Alaskan Smoked Porter (2006)

Stone Soup Line Up #1Stone Soup Line Up #2

Stone Soup Line Up #3Stone Soup Line Up #4

Luckily we had time to enjoy a nice dinner at the General Lafayette, and afterward, the five in our vehicle all did the pocket breathalyzer test. Kim won (or lost) at .02 and got to do the driving. I so very much appreciated her ability to do that!

No one was out of hand drunk, but as “Officer Sassy”, I took the responsibility to get everyone home safely quite seriously. And I knew I wasn’t the one to do it.  (PS – Ev, if you’re reading this, thanks for the hat!)

Officer Sassy     What’s that?!?!     The Carnage

* We brought the three starred items in the list. D kept promising something “no one has ever had,” which was mostly true. Above is a photo of our friend Frank showing his emotions over the Bullfrog 10th Anniversary Ale…

An Elk, and a Dog in a Cog

Sunday morning I had to transport a friend from the hospital in Harrisburg to her home approximately 70 miles to the north. While she thought it was an inconvenience, we looked at it as an opportunity to get D up to Elk Creek Cafe & Ale Works in Millheim. And brunch was a great time to go! We picked up my parents and headed out Rt. 45. With the fresh blanket of snow covering the mountain forest and the farmland of Penns Valley, it was a beautiful drive. We were really surprised that the owner, Tim, recognized us when we came in the door, and D enjoyed chatting with him for the first time.

At Elk Creek, we were pleased with the breakfast and lunch selections on the menu, and the addition of a seasonal beer (Olde Millheim Strong Ale) to the regular line-up. I thoroughly enjoyed the scrambled tofu, which wasn’t a fake, crunchy type of fake egg, but rather soft tofu morsels sautéed with spinach and caramelized onions. It was served with the crispiest, most lovely (and probably most fattening, but no complaints here!) potatoes and vegan bacon. D had the beef and bean chili, Pop had the cherry tomato omelet, and Fran had the eggs and bacon platter. Everyone was really loving the food, and we had an array of hand-crafted beverages: Strong Ale, Poe Paddy Porter, Elk Creek Copper Aleand Great Blue Heron Pale Ale.

Elk Creek Cafe

As I exclaimed in my last post, where else can you enjoy great beer and watch the horse-and-buggies go by? I watched 7  during the course of our lunch. We had a great waitress, the place was adequately filled with patrons and it looks like things are going really well for them. D picked up a growler of Porter to share, and we headed out with hopes of returning soon.

We dropped my parents off at home, and headed to Selin’s Grove to fill a growler with Olde Frosty for Adam, who had it at the Stone Soup event and was looking to score some more (it is that good!) Naturally we had to spend a little time there waiting for the fill and talking to friends – me with a glass of Razz Merry, and D with a glass of blended Razz Merry (1/3) and Stout (2/3). It looks like Steve has been doing well keeping the taps active – just about everything was on today, including barleywine on the handpump.

I had planned to go to a concert in the very late afternoon, but I just couldn’t sit in a car for one more mile after the weekend we just had. It was a terrific time, but I’m glad to be home with my dog and a cup of hot cinnamon spice tea.

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