Homebrewing Librarians and a Book Recommendation

I haven’t met her yet, but after writing about “the Carolyns“, WordPress recommended a 2006 blog posting to me which highlights Kira Barnes, another beer drinking librarian, who also happens to be female. And she homebrews just like me (although I feel like I’ve slacked off in that department lately.) That was fun to learn. She joins the ranks of beer drinking librarians with me, the other Carolyn, Lew and Mark. Any other serious BDL’s out there? (Dane – how is the MLS coming along?)

Now, I call this a book recommendation, but I haven’t actually read it. I did ask the Simpson Public Library to purchase it, since they seem to have the best beer literature selection in the capital area. And they said yes!

The book is being published in early fall, and it is called Red, White and Brew: An American Beer Odyssey by Brian Yaeger. It looks like it is basically conversations and observation on 14 breweries and pubs across the country, starting with Yuengling. (PS – thanks, Elise, for thinking of me when you saw it, and yes, I wish I would have thought to write it first…)

This will add to their collection, which includes 300 Beers to Try Before You Die and The Essential Reference of Domestic Brewers and Their Bottled Brands (known in the industry as DBBB.)


It’s a Small, Small World

Nope – this isn’t a post about Disney World. It’s a late posting about our trip to Montreal.

I am constantly energized by the number of women involved in beer culture.  In a realm dominated by men, thus primarily marketed to them, it is natural to assume there aren’t many women with a high level of appreciation for craft brewed beers. In my world, however, this isn’t true.

We regularly do private beer tastings with a few other couples, and unless we ladies have to do the driving, you won’t see Kim, Brandi, Sara, Kate or I miss out on any of the offerings.  When we visit Asheville, I’m always glad to see Julie, Michelle and Melissa keeping right up with the men (as an owner of Bruisin’ Ales – one of the most lovely bottle shops ever – Julie is a beerlebrity!) At various festivals, we’ve run into strong beer-drinking women like Cornelia and Joan, and on our trip to Montreal, we spent lots of time tasting (and at times, pubcrawling) with Laura and Beth who are avid consumers of beer. Not to mention my mother, my sister and my friend Barbara – an emerging craft beer drinker. I really could go on naming proud female beer enthusiasts, but I won’t.

What I want to write about tonight is the fabulous meeting I had at Mondial de la Bière this year with a particular beer connoisseur. I was chatting with Cornelia (who I had only met that weekend), and suddenly she said, “Have you ever met the OTHER Carolyn, the beer-drinking librarian?” Of course I had not, so as soon as she located “the other Carolyn,” she made a point of getting us together. 


Carolyns / Librarians / Beer Travelers

Not only do we share a name and a love for the fermented beverage, but we also share a love for libraries. It was great fun to meet her and talk about our two passions. Doing a little searching on her and her son Ben, on staff at Defiant Brewing Co., I learned that she also considers herself a “beer traveler.” The world feels a little bit brighter knowing I’m not alone!

Interestingly, MSNBC reports that in ancient Peru, women did all of the brewing and consumed equally.

Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks Blog Stats

Since I posted about it for the very first time (back on December 23, 2007), not a single day has passed where a person hasn’t visited my original Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks post. That’s over 1600 visits in just over 6 months.

Visits to Original Elk Creek Posting

Visits to Original Elk Creek Posting

I’m really impressed with the fact that a visit was made to that post each day since December. And it also has the most comments on my blog.

If Elk Creek ever does a pub club membership, I hope I get a free one out of this. How much in-kind advertising am I providing? They are worth it, though. If you haven’t been there yet go see what you are missing!

Six-Pack Sales in a PA Grocery

If you are reading this from a state that allows grocery store sales of beer, you might not understand the significance of this, but two weekends ago we took this photo of me (shortly before 11 AM on Sunday, so I couldn’t actually buy.)

Beer Sales in a PA Grocery

Beer Sales in a PA Grocery

Wegmans in Williamsport (PA), as well as Bethlehem, Dickson City, Lower Nazareth, State College and Wilkes-Barre, received approval for a restaurant license, which allow beer, wine and hard liquor to be sold for consumption inside an eating establishment, and the equivalent of 12 16-ounce containers of beer for takeout. Our local Wegmans, in Silver Spring Township, applied for a similar license ans the application is currently pending.

Although the arguement was made that Wegmans offers a restaurant that happens to be based in a grocery store, not a grocery store selling beer, I really see it as the latter, and find no shame in that.

Wegmans customers do have to pay for their beer inside the cafe, not at normal checkout lanes with other grocery items. The clerks need to pass LCP training and a mandatory course Wegmans offers on how to identify a false ID, spot signs of intoxication and prevent third-party sales to minors. And the company requires cashiers to “card” everyone, no matter what their apparent age. Even Uncle Rick!

Charity Beer Drinking Photos

Last night I didn’t have the photos ready, but they really tell part of the story, so I couldn’t skip them!  First, two from the Harrisburg Brew Fest on June 21:



Ffej and I finished off what was left after the Watermelon Lager kicked! (above)

Bavarian Booth

Bavarian Booth

D and I stopped by to say hello to Mike (far right) at the Bavarian Barbarian booth, and he told us about the Barbarian Ramble…we started modifying our next-weekend plans right away!

Barbarian Ramble

Barbarian Ramble

The promotional posters were really attractive. Mike took that photo of downtown Williamsport!


We set out on foot for the Bavarian Ramble on June 28 in Williamsport, PA.
Stop #1 - The Pub

Stop #1 - The Pub

Stop #2 - Rumrunners

Stop #2 - Rumrunners

Stop #3 - Franco\'s

Stop #3 - Francos

The Band at Bavarian Barbarian Brewing

The Band at Bavarian Barbarian Brewing

A group of guys from the Uptown Music Collective made their debut as a band at the post pub-crawl party.

Charity Beer Drinking

Over the period of a week in late June, we were on the road drinking beer to support charitable causes – a beer festival, a pub crawl and a special beer on the menu were the impetus for our travels.

On June 21, Tröegs Brewery teamed up with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Central Pennsylvania to put on the annual Harrisburg Brewers Fest® – an outdoor beer and music festival downtown. There were two sessions to reduce the crowds of people filling Locust and Third streets and a special VIP session, complete with gift bags.

The festival was advertised with 35 breweries. We know that some didn’t show up, but there was no lack of beverage to be tried. D had to work, and I had a child’s birthday party to attend, so we worked very hard to stick to just the things that were new to us and/or special beers. And with the small plastic sample mugs, it was easy to remain sober.

We had a few favorites from the day, including Lovitz Lager – a watermelon lager from Roy Pitz Brewing Company, Coconut Stout from Church Brew Works, Lichtenhainer – a sour, smoked Berliner Weissbier brewed as a collaboration between Marzoni’s and East End Brewing Company and is based on an obscure German style, Barrel-aged Beekeeper (part of the bottle-conditioned collection at Bullfrog Brewery, and previous to aging, known as the Beesting Saison) and a firkin of Scratch #12-2008, an English-style IPA from Tröegs.

It was good, clean fun in downtown Harrisburg. Live bands played, including one that we really like at the early session (Herbie), and people were generally polite. I picked up an Otto’s tattoo, which finally wore off last weekend, and my favorite tshotshke was the heavy-duty bottle opener from Straub.

At the Harrisburg Brewers Fest®, we learned about the Bavarian Ramble – a fundraiser organized by Mike Hiller, Chief Barbarian at Bavarian Barbarian Brewing Company, to support the Uptown Music Collective. Since we planned to be in the area for the weekend of June 28 anyway, we decided to join in on the ramble around downtown Williamsport.

For a $10 donation, we received 5-10% discounts off food and beverages at The Pub, Rumrunners, Franco’s and the 4th Street Grille and Ale House. The evening ended with a private party at the Bavarian Barbarian Brewing Company where we were treated to a terrific performance by students from the Collective.

We met up with Mike at The Pub – one of my college hang-outs. This complete dive bar for college kids has transformed into a pretty nice little place. In addition to Bavarian Barbarian beers, there were several other very decent brews on tap, and a sizable bottle selection (for Williamsport) behind a large, beautiful honey-toned bar. I couldn’t get over the cleanliness of this place in comparison to my days of hanging there. Even the bathroom was clean and bright, and while I didn’t check it out, I understand there is outdoor courtyard seating.

Rumrunners is a Caribbean-themed restaurant with a huge selection of shelf drinks. I had only been in this building once, and it was so dark I couldn’t see my own hand. Now it is bright and cheery, and the menu looks serviceable. We ate at Franco’s out of nostalgia, but were thrilled to find Tröegs Nugget Nectar on cask there. I enjoyed a wonderful fresh gazpacho and an artichoke and olive salad with balsamic vinegar. We shared the chicken liver and toast appetizer, and D had a pesto with garlic pasta dish. With our discount, it was amazingly inexpensive, and as always, the staff at Franco’s made us feel welcome.

We managed to get a hotel downtown on Priceline, so it wasn’t expensive to stay downtown, walking to all of the Ramble locations, and we got a ride home from the party at Bavarian Barbarian. Kira and Mike were such wonderful hosts, and the guys in the band were so professional. It was a really nice night out for a really good cause, and also a good opportunity to let me stroll down memory lane a bit (I love Bullfrog Brewing dearly, but I miss exploring all of the other wonderful food opportunities in Williamsport.)

We ended our weekend with scenic drives through the mountains, taking Rt. 445 from Lamar to Millheim, and then driving a back road north of Winkleblech and Sharpback Mountains as a long way to Selinsgrove. In addition to a nice little hike, we stopped at the breweries (Elk Creek Cafe and Selin’s Grove, respectively.) At Elk Creek, we were drinking Old Bertha’s Red 99 – a beer created to support the Millheim Fire Company which has been assisting in the community for 99 years. 50-cents from each pint sold goes to the fire company, so we were happy to help (AND it was a good beer to go with my brunch!)

What a great week of drinking beer for the benefit of others!