Al’s: Up by 10!

Have you heard about the wonderful beer selection at Al’s of Hampden? I hate to mention it, for fear that it will become even more popular, but I can’t keep this news to myself.

Just last night, Al’s added 10 new taps, bringing them up to 24! This is in addition to the already awesome beer selection, which includes ten cooler doors for $13 mix-your-own-six-packs, fabulous food with good service and great prices.

With the exception of a few macros, the taps at Al’s are mostly filled with terrific beers (as of late we’ve seen Terrapin Wake-n-Bake, Southern Tier UnEarthly, Dogfish Head World Wide Stout, and Moylanders Hopsickle.) They offer growler fills, including selling the nice German flip tops at cost for $18. and their own etched 1/2 growlers. Specials include Troeg’s Tuesday, with growler fills of Pale Ale and Hopback for less than a fill at the brewery.

Best of all, it’s just off I-81 at the Wertzville Road exit. I don’t mean to sound like a commercial, but this is a beer destination not to be missed (so glad it’s just 10 minutes from my house!)

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Deuane is Brewing (at Bullfrog)

I played with that title a bit, and there’s really no way to say it without the possibility of misunderstanding, so I hope you’ll read the whole post to get the story. It was actually broken by MyBeerBuzz.com because, well, frankly, I’m not very good at keeping up with my blog. (I don’t think Bill sleeps.) But I was there when the history was made!

Background

So for those who have known Deuane for ten or more years, you probably remember the days of KClinger’s. We would drive down every other Wednesday night for blues and beers, and couldn’t wait for KClinger’s Publik House to open…that’s a long, sad story for another day. As members of the International Beer Taster’s Club, D and I had our mugs and passports, and he reached the 1000-different-beers mark sometime in 2001. At the 1000 mark, members received a beer brewed and named in their honor.

Sometime around 2002

It was just about that time that he was getting to know all about Black Rock Brewing Company in Wilkes-Barre, PA. More importantly, he was getting to know brewer Terry Hawbaker and Terry’s Beers! While some 1000-finishers allowed KClinger’s to get a beer brewed for them, and many times they contracted it through Rogue, Deuane had fallen in love with Terry’s beers and particularly a brew called Nuclear Nitro.

Without either one of them here to confirm the facts, I’m not going to try to describe Nuclear Nitro in any way, other than to say it was a smack-you-in-the-mouth-with-hops kind of beer. This was early in the 2000’s, before West Coast IPAs really showed up in the east, and no one was really doing anything that crazy. The important part of the story, however, is that D loved this beer so much, he asked KClinger’s to work with Terry and get this beer at the pub, brewed and named for him.

Both Terry and KClinger’s agreed, and the beer ended up on tap (CO2), on the hand-pull and on nitrogen. It was served at both KClinger’s locations under the name Deuane’s Hoppily Married IPA because, oh yeah, we we got married just before the beer came out and, well, you must admit – with the marriage of hops and our recent nuptuals – it’s a clever play on words. It was a beautiful beer served up any of the three ways (although the CO2 was almost too biting!)

Fast-forward to 2004… 

D trekked up to Wilkes-Barre to see Terry, and discovered he no longer worked for Black Rock. He left to be the brewer in – this is a quote from a Black Rock staff member – “that town with a totem pole.” Deuane, who is marked with the Bullfrog Brewery logo as his tattoo, immediately recognized that Williamsport was the town and now one of his favorite brewers would be found at one of his favorite brewpubs!

Bullfrog Brewery is located in the building that formerly housed Nippenose, an outdoor store that instilled my love for backpacking. And now it is one of my favorite places to go for a pint. A mutual love for the outdoors and craft brewed beers are the things that brought D and I together. This all kind of goes full circle, you see…

And now it’s 2010

The day after D’s 40th birthday, we trekked to Williamsport for lunch with my dad, friends visiting from Alabama, and Terry Hawbaker. It was there that Terry proposed the news reported by MyBeerBuzz.com:

Swirling around my mind is another new beer, dubbed Deuane, a more-than-ridiculously-hopped IPA weighing in around 10% abv and brewed with around (or over) 40# of hops… oh yeah it’s also going to be nitrogenated. Think Nuclear Nitro (from the Black Rock days) on steroids and LSD. I know I missed his B-day but I hope to brew it next week… should be around for the beginning of March…

And so it will be. I can’t wait! We’ve got Edgar IPA (which my father is sure Bullfrog named for his grandfather (a long-time Lycoming County resident) – even though it wasn’t) and now we’ll have Deuane. Friends who never even tasted Nuclear Nitro are already dreaming up descriptions for it. I just hope we all get to enjoy plenty of it, as it won’t be available for take-away. I see lots of road trips in our future!

Kerplunk in Bottles!

We stopped in at Spring House Brewing Co. this weekend as part of our South-central PA Chocolate Stout tour (which included Tröegs Scratch #27, Iron Hill Oompa Loompa and Spring House Kerplunk; our big miss was Stout’s, with a Valentine’s special of Fat Dog Stout brewed with chocolate and cherries and served on the hand pump.)

While getting our growler filled at Spring House, we asked if Kerplunk ever made its way into bottles. Well, tomorrow evening for a limited time, there will be 750mL bottles of Kerplunk! Get them while you can!