Wolaver Beer at The Wave (Disney Contemporary Resort)

Our first meal at Disney World was outstanding. We went to The Wave at the Contemporary Resort, where I was looking forward to the flight of Orlando Brewing organic ales they advertised on the website. Not that I thought they would be very special – probably not as interesting as some other beers, but more interesting than a regular A-M-C line-up.

As it turns out, The Wave JUST (like, in the last month) changed their organic beer carrier, and it’s now Wolaver ales from Middlebury, VT – the organic line of Otter Creek Brewing Company. Last night on the menu, they had the Pale Ale, Brown Ale and Oatmeal Stout.

Hearing this news, I decided not to pay Disney prices for beer I know I have either had or can get elsewhere, but I was pleased to see the quality of beer was worthy of such a nice restaurant.

We chose a lovely wine for the table, which paired well with my “Sustainable Fish of the Day” over edamame stew with cilantro chutney (this was outstanding!)  I enjoyed the multi-grain bread with red wine sea salt butter, and mini-deserts like lemon yogurt sorbet with blueberry compote and chocolate-mint mousse made for a nice finish.

We don’t even go into the parks until Tuesday, and already, it’s simply magical!

Blue Mountain Brewery (Afton, VA)

Just a few miles from Rockfish Gap entrance to Skyline Drive, we found Blue Mountain Brewery and Hops Farm – a brewery and pub with a real farm look to it! 200 hop vines adorn the font of the property (nothing growing on this visit!) The building is anchored on one end with a large barn-like area for the brewing, and long extension with a welcoming large front porch. It was dark when we arrived, and the warm glow of interior lighting streamed from the multiple windows and doors.

Inside there was an angled bar with seating for 8, and 8-10 tables of varying sizes with bench seating. Comfortable couches and chairs provided seating adjacent to the fireplace, and we noticed a little sitting nook in the back (next to the kitchen) that looked like it just jumped out of an episode of Trading Spaces. Beer literature and brewing books were placed on coffee tables and shelves. The yellow walls and warm lighting made the place feel very welcoming, and the high ceilings gave an illusion that the place is bigger than it really is.

Blue Mountain Brewery was packed when we arrived, but we did locate two seats at the wood-topped bar, which wasn’t too high, and didn’t have a lip, so I could actually eat at it! Pints on a Wednesday night are $3.

  • I was disappointed to learn that the Full Nelson Pale Ale, listed as being available on draft on February 20, was not (maybe after Feb. 20?!?!), so I had it in a bottle. At 60 IBUs, made with a blend of four different hops (Nugget, Cascade, Centennial and Columbus), this had a nice bite to it. 
  • D started with an Evil 8°– a Belgian-style dubbel that was rich with candi sugar and hints of chocolate and dark fruit. It was probably our favorite of the three beers we tried.
  • He also had an Irish Dry Stout, which was served on nitrogen. It was dark and clean, with a thick tan head. Absolutely true to style, this was slightly roasted and light in body. Not my favorite style of stout, but brewer Taylor Smack has done a fine job creating it.

It was a real tease to sit at the bar, looking through large glass windows right into the brewing area, watching them bottle the Dark Hollow Artisanal Ale (a bourbon barrel aged stout), knowing that we wouldn’t be able to buy/taste it.

Our bartender was certainly not a waitress. While the rest of the staff seemed to be very good, she was inattentive and could perhaps use some beer etiquette training.  For instance, since my beer came in a bottle, she opened the bottle and put it in front of me.  Then she proceeded to ask if I wanted a glass.  Do I want a glass?!?!  Can I drink it any other way? I tried to ask her a few questions, but she seemed very disinterested in the customers until someone came in with whom she held hands and chatted for some time.  Hmmm.

But we were generally impressed by the food menu. For instance, we started with the Puree of Parsnip Soup. It was AMAZING! With little flakes of dried sage and drops of truffle oil, this was a perfect starter on a cold night.  It is one of the best soups I’ve had in awhile. There were plenty of interesting things on the menu – the fruit and cheese board looked tasty and generous, and highlighted local cheeses. There was a roasted veggie pizza that I wanted to photograph! The crust was so very thin that it looked like a sand tart cookie. Every inch of the pizza was covered in goodness – a cilantro pesto, roasted yellow squash and zucchini, onions, mushrooms, mozerella and tomatoes – and the whole thing was littered with dollops of goat cheese and sprigs of fresh cilantro.

We had sandwiches on ciabatta bread instead. D really enjoyed his sandwich made with Kite’s Virginia Ham. I enjoyed the contents of mine (avocado, sprouts, tomato, hummus, cucumber), but suspect the bread was toasted on a surface where the ham had been, because my veggie sandwich had a liquid smoke flavor to it (I just ate it without the bread, and with a side salad, this was plenty filling for me!)

Overall it was an enjoyable experience, but it would have been more fun if we could have talked to some of the staff or the brewer (understandably, he was very busy.) Perhaps we will get back another time. This was out of the way, but a nice side trip!

Photos to come later… We’re off to Winston-Salem, and D is already a little antsy at the time I’ve taken to post this.

Red Star Sunday Brunch

You wouldn’t know it from their website, but the most fabulous brunch in southwestern PA is held on Sundays from 10 AM – 4 PM at Red Star Brewery & Grille in Greensburg.  And naturally, we were visiting for the beer, which has been brewed on location since late 1998.  

We were doing some beer traveling this weekend, which I hope to write about soon, but Red Star was a clear highlight of the trip simply because we didn’t arrive with expectations of such wonderful fare! We were somewhat overwhelmed by what we found.

Red Star opens at 10 AM on Sunday, and today there was not a single customer in the place at that hour, so we “geek toured” the facility – taking photos of the beer menu, the bar, the trapeze artists swinging from the ceiling, the old train station benches, the brewing equipment…  We were seated, and then explored the brunch options without asking the price. In a beautiful facility, with so many freshly prepared options, we expected to pay a large price.

Instead, we were pleasantly surprised. For $14.99 we found a chef creating sushi rolls to our specifications (spicy tuna, smoked salmon with cream cheese, and crab), a Belgian waffle station with a variety of toppings, a made-to-order pasta and omelette station with a wide variety of “add ins”, a carving station with ham and savory cheese side dish, bacon, home fried potatoes, poached salmon and ratatouille, fresh fruit and a variety of desserts including beautiful cakes and cups of chocolate mousse. Additionally, eggs Benedict and banana nut bread were brought to our table.

Everything tasted terrific, and for a buffet situation, it was all beautifully presented. But of all the choices, I was most blown away by the eggs Benedict. The poached egg was so very fluffy that hidden under the hollandaise sauce (the most savory and delectable hollandaise sauce ever!), the egg looked like a dollop of sour cream! Oh my, was it rich. I was glad D and I shared one. The sushi was also impressive. Who would have thought we would find sushi for brunch in Greensburg?!? It was made exactly to order, and such a treat.

And with this lovely meal, we were able to order craft brewed beers after 11 AM. I was glad to see they had 10-oz glasses on the menu, and treated myself the Canvasback American Pale Ale, which is served on nitrogen (tiny bubbles go better with breakfast!) D had two fun and interesting beers – the Christmas Ale (Dark Wheat) and Santa’s Little Helper Barleywine (2007). The 2001 Barleywine was listed on the board, but it was bumped by Voodoo’s Child – a spiced Munich dunkel – which Heath tried (it was so smooth and creamy, I had to walk up to the bar just to make sure it wasn’t really on nitrogen.) Also at our table for tasting was Iron Horse Irish Dry Stout. All of the beers were good, but the Christmas Ale definitely won for “most interesting.” It had a rootbeer barrel aroma, and the flavors of fruit (cherry, cranberry and orange) and clove spice. This was Red Star’s first attempt at a Christmas Ale, and they stated it was modeled after no other. Fabulous job!

Our waiter, whose name I didn’t pick up, was terrific. He was attentive, but not overbearing. He was interested in knowing about our beer travels, but not nosey. Even when the place started to get busy, he kept an eye on our emptying plates and glasses. We really relaxed and enjoyed this meal (and it was all we needed to eat the remainder of the day!)

Desert Birding and Back Street Brewery

This morning we had a late start (we got into La Quinta after 3 AM in “our time” so we needed the sleep!), but finally got out to do some birding near the Salton Sea in the late morning.  Our hosts, Bob and Dianne, knew just where to go for nice views of the water birds at the Sea and a beautiful walk through San Andres Oasis.

After a day of birding, we stopped off at Oasis Date Garden for date shakes, and then visited the Coachella Valley Wild Bird Center to meet some of Dianne’s friends (Rodney the Roadrunner was one of my favorite!)  We stopped at Trader Joe’s because it’s always a treat to go there, and then returned to the house for a yummy dinner of homemade enchiladas.

Our after-dinner entertainment was the Mr. Christmas Santa’s Marching Band (this video is not HER set, but you get the idea…funny, funny stuff, and pretty darn talented!) 

We ended our night with a trip to Back Street Brewing in La Quinta, which is part of the Lamppost Pizza chain.  There were 7 beers on tap, with guest taps including Framboise.

  • Crossroads Cream Ale
  • Heritage Hefeweisen
  • Jagged Lil’ Pilsner 
  • Rita’s Red
  • Ron’s Pale Ale
  • E.R. IPA
  • Saint Nick’s Treasure

Our bird list for the day (not in order of appearance):

  1. Eared Grebe
  2. American White Pelican
  3. Brown Pelican
  4. Double-crested Cormerant
  5. Great Blue Heron
  6. Great Egret
  7. Snowy Egret
  8. Green Heron
  9. Canada Goose
  10. Northern Pintail
  11. Northern Shoveler
  12. Gadwall
  13. Ruddy Duck
  14. Osprey
  15. Northern Harrier
  16. Red-tailed Hawk
  17. American Kestral
  18. Gambel’s Quail
  19. American Coot
  20. Killdeer
  21. Black-necked Stilt
  22. Greater Yellowlegs
  23. Least Sandpiper
  24. Bonaparte’s Gull
  25. Ring-billed Gull
  26. California Gull
  27. Herring Gull
  28. Yellow-footed Gull
  29. Caspian Tern
  30. Rock Dove
  31. Mourning Dove
  32. Common Ground Dove
  33. Costa’s Hummingbird (at the house!)
  34. Northern Flicker
  35. Say’s Phoebe
  36. Common Raven
  37. Verdin
  38. Cactus Wren
  39. Black-tailed Gnatcatcher
  40. Northern Mockingbird
  41. American Pipit
  42. European Starling
  43. Orange-crowned Warbler
  44. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  45. Sage Sparrow
  46. White-crowned Sparrow
  47. Brewer’s Blackbird
  48. Great-tailed Grackle
  49. House Finch
  50. Lesser Goldfinch

IPA at ATL

A four-hour layover in Atlanta was made bearable by the addition of Sweetwater Draft House & Grill on Concourse B.  The airport pub features several of Sweetwater Brewing Company’s beers – there were four on our visit : 420, IPA, Hummer and Blue.

We enjoyed the IPAs (served in 15-oz and 20-oz glasses at more than $6.00 each!) with the Portobello Mushroom Sandwich and the Big Kahuna Fish Sandwich.  The IPA was well hopped with a very pleasant aroma.  Much more than I expected at an airport eatery, and certainly superior to our other choices – Budweiser Brewhouse & Smoking Lounge or Sam Adams Brewhouse (which featured Ale, Lager, Winter Lager and Cherry Wheat.)

Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks

The so-often-mentioned-by-me “golden triangle of beer” in Central PA has become a trapezoid. That is my official position after spending Saturday night at Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks in Millheim, PA.  Tim Bowser, an owner, joked with me that perhaps it is now more like the Bermuda Triangle, which may be true as people taking the time to visit Selin’s Grove, Bullfrog and Otto’s will be drawn into the center to take in Elk Creek.

The PLCB came through late last Friday, and Elk Creek had a quiet opening.  Sam Komlenic reported the details of his visit and tour to Lew Bryson, but because of a heavy work and vacation schedule last week and my focus on Christmas shopping and Firkin Friday at Selin’s Grove, I wasn’t keeping up on my reading.  I learned about it via text message this weekend, and just happen to be staying less than 30 miles away so I jumped on the opportunity and my parents came right along.

Knowing the area well, I was surprised by the metropolitan flair of this place (the last great restaurant in the area – The Hummingbird Room – closed in 2005.) It’s a few doors down from the quaint Millheim Hotel where, at least when I was growing up, the salad bar is in a claw-foot bathtub (another interesting fact – this circa 1794 hotel is haunted by the mistress of President Millard Fillmore.) It, too is a fun spot to dine, but it’s charming in a small-town kind of way.

From the large windows of the Elk Creek Cafe, I watched at least three Amish horse and buggies pass by the other two restaurants on the main street – Brownies Valley Tavern and The Pizza Shop. Their polished black boxes connected by strong wood and leather strappings to a single horse offered a glimpse of women and children wrapped in blankets and men in suspenders and black dress hats. I challenge you to name another brewpub where you can see that!

Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks is located in the former Equinox Cafe location – it can’t be missed in such a small town, but just in case you decide to visit, the intersection is routes PA-45 and PA-445 (the only stoplight in town) and the address is 100 W. Main Street.  The street view is full floor-to-ceiling windows and the brightness of the interior lights up the downtown. It has a beautiful yellow glow, which reflects off the honey wood floors, and colorful displays artwork throughout the restaurant add an interesting aspect to the otherwise simple decor. There is a real feeling of openness to the restaurant – we weren’t crowded, although the tables were nearly full.

Elk Creek - Exterior at Night     Elk Creek Selections

We did not sit at the bar, but it looked very nice with the handmade cherry and iron barstools.  The beer menu was on the table, and a chalkboard presentation of the beers and specials was on the wall. The food menu was printed just for the weekend, and I assume this will be a trend, as they feature fresh, local products (seen in italics where I’ve copied the menu at the end of this post.) In addition to “fresh and local”, this place features some of my other favorite buzzwords: organic, smoke-free and vegan. Chef Mark Johnson describes the his preparation style as Nouveau Dutchie Cuisine.

Brewer Tim Yarrington, who was dining two tables away with his family (but I was too shy/polite to interrupt them), has outdone the Penns Valley beer scene with his nice selection of ales. I didn’t ask if there are plans to put on a cask, but heard there are plans to expand the number and variety of offerings. I also am left wondering about the ABVs and IBUs…  Five beers were on tap yesterday, served in 5 oz glasses for $1 or pints for $3.95.  The selections were:

Winkleblink Ale– a light, perhaps kolsch-style, ale named for a nearby mountain. On the map, you will see it as Winklebleck Mountain in the Bald Eagle State Forest (the Mid-State Trail crosses this mountain when hiking from Hairy John’s picnic area to Raymond B. Winter State Park), but because of a lighted tower, the locals know it as “Winkleblink Mountain.”  The name is a bit esoteric, and should they ever look to rename it, let me offer up “Winklebleck Light.”
Great Blue Heron Pale Ale – an American Pale Ale that didn’t quite meet my expectations for flavor. It was lighter in color and lacking in the hop flavor and aroma that I expect in a Pale. This is not to say I didn’t enjoy it – I did – I just didn’t like it enough to indulge in a pint.
Elk Creek Copper Ale – this is the kind of flavor I’m looking for in a session beer. It had a stronger hop profile than the Pale, and the darker color was visually more appealing.  Toffee sweetness complimented the floral aroma.  Elk Creek, by the way, is an important area waterway which once hosted mills and now provides recreation through kayaking and fly fishing.
Brookie Brown Ale– the big surprise of the night! Pop usually avoids browns (too sweet!), but based on the description, decided to try it. His first pint was a mis-pour of the Copper and he had to send it back, so when the Brown arrived looking much like the Porter, we suspected another mistake.  Not so! This did not have the hop aroma or full-bodied roastiness of the porter, but the chocolate and caramel malts kept the flavor strong and the color dark. It was an excellent and atypical brown ale.
Poe Paddy Porter– nostalgia abounded in the name alone, and then we tasted this beer based on Tim Yarrington’s GABF award winning porter recipe. It is a perfect porter – dark, smooth and roasty with an extra hint of hops in the aroma and the finish. It could only be better if only it were on cask…  I had my pint of porter with desert, and it really complimented the bread pudding (a small slice of bread pudding (which didn’t have the taste or texture of old bread!) topped with raisin sauce, citrus zest and vanilla ice cream.) Poe Paddy is a favorite local State Park on Penns Creek and near the Paddy Mountain Railroad Tunnel, which is a favorite Mid-State Trail day hike or bike ride for our family.

Our meals were just as good as the atmosphere and the beer. We started with the chicken liver toast – a lovely pate preparation best shared by the three of us. It was a wonderful treat that melted in my mouth. Pop had the Steak Frites (a pasture-raised grilled strip steak served with steak butter and  a generous portion of fries with aioli.) Nana had the pasture-raised burger, also served with the hand-cut fries. I had the potato-crusted wild Alaskan salmon, which was balanced over roast beet cubes and topped with horseradish sour cream and chives. It was perfect in flavor, but the presentation was lacking (dramatic, yet it looked lonely on such a big plate – a few greens or something scattered on the side would make all the difference!)

Our only real complaint was the waitress assigned to our table. The other wait staff seemed to be very friendly and efficient, but ours was inattentive, extremely soft-spoken, and generally not prepared to work with the public.

Two things I neglected to do is find out a phone number for this place, and whether or not they fill growlers. All of my searches for phone numbers come up with numbers for the Equinox (it rings busy at all times), and two personal phone numbers which I found on things like the State Inspection report. I’ll want to know those things eventually.

If I lived near Millheim, I would visit at every opportunity.  As a beer traveler, I hope to get back as often as possible.

TAVERN TAPAS

  • Cream of Broccoli + Parsley w/ Cheddar Soup
  • Elk Creek Flatbread + Hummus w/ Kalama Olives (vg)
  • Belgian Style Hand-Cut Fries + Elk CreekAioli or Tofu Mayo (vg)
  • Olive Salad Bruschetta (vg)
  • Mac + Frank + Fontina
  • House-Cured Gravlox + Poppy Crackers w/ Dijon Drizzle
  • Local Apple, Bacon, Cheddar + Baby Lettuce Salad
  • Roast Beet Salad w/ Toasted Caraway Vinaigrette (vg)
  • Mixed Baby Greens, choice of Vinaigrettes (vg) 

ELK CREEK ENTREES

  • Pasture-Raised Burger + Hand-Cut Fries w/ Elk Creek Aioli
  • Roasted Pepper + Marinated Portabella Sandwich w/ Hummus Mayo
  • Valley Ham + Swiss on Gemelli Ciabatta
  • Fillet of Beef Salad w/ Grilled Gemelli Ciabatta, Mixed Lettuces + Roasted Peppers
  • Bucatini w/ Elk Creek Puttanesca (vg)
  • Pasture-Raised Grilled Strip Steak + Fries w/ Elk Creek Aioli + Steak Butter
  • Butter-Basted Over the Moon Farm Chicken w/ Broccoli + House-cured Hog Jowl + Potato Gnochi 
  • Tender Callahan Pork Shoulder + Pork Belly w/ Butter Beans + Roasted Root Vegetable
  • Skillet Trout w/ Crispy Potatoes in a Brown Butter, Capers, + Lemon Pan Sauce  
  • Potato-Crusted Wild Alaskan Salmon, Horseradish Sour Cream + Chives w/ Roast Beets

Pisgah Brewing Company (Black Mountain, NC)

A pleasant drive into the country brought us to the industrial complex where, at the end of a long, sterile-looking hall, we found a dog and some brewing equipment (and soon, lots and lots of people!)

Pisgah Brewing Company is a remarkable operation, and the brewers, Dave and Jason, are making some flavorsome craft brewed beers.  They are joined by two friendly canines – Savannah (a German shepherd who can’t get enough playtime with a simple plastic lid) and Sampson (a barrel-shaped black lab who couldn’t possibly be more happy!), and on Thursdays between 4 and 7 PM, people pour into the brewery for growler fills.  Meanwhile, pints are passed for the guests. Friends catch up, people meet and conversation abounds.

I spent quite a bit of time chatting with a “local” named Tom, who told me quite a bit about the natural aspects of the area (hiking, flora, fauna, etc.) 

I had just enjoyed the Vortex 1 at Barley’s, and then on site we tasted three things:

+ Pale Ale – nothing exceptional; lacked the hoppy and malty aspects I look for in a pale ale;
+ Stout – this was magnificent and so easy to drink because it was so roasty and creamy;
+ Solstice (a tripel) – so delicious and light with a very banana flavor.

It is important to note that all Pisgah beers are certified organic.

We brought the gift of Troegs Nugget Nectar for the guys at Pisgah after they specifically mentioned the brewery when we called and told them where we were coming from (Troegs is our hometown brewer), and in return, they let us keep our pint glasses (with a sharp slogan: “We all drink downstream.”)

It was fun to hang out there for a bit, but we were excited about getting back to town for a tasting at Bruisin’ Ales, hosted by Julie and Jason (the owners) and Nate Merchant of Hart Distributing

Desert Edge Brewery, Salt Lake City, UT

It was our first night in Salt Lake City, and we needed a nice walk after our long day of flying. Fortunately, Trolly Square , home of Desert Edge Brewery, is on the same street as our hotel We walked a little over 1 mile to get there (neighborhood seemed pretty safe, and it was a beautiful evening

The Asian Salmon with Plum-Ginger Vinaigrette was as lovely as I remembered, and we all decided to get a sample tray of the beers just so we could try them all.

 

Utah laws dictate that all beers must be under 4% ABV (exception – they can create a higher alcohol beer, bottle it, send it off to a distributor and then buy it back…we’ll hopefully get to do this with Squatter’s IPA sometime this week.)  Even with the low alcohol, some of these beers were pretty darn good!  We all enjoyed the Crème Ale and, the British Mild.  I was a fan of the UPA, and Barbara liked the Latter Day Stout.

They were little glasses, so I didn’t have much to say, but here’s a bit about each…

Backcountry Crème Ale – nicely done! A good choice in a low alcohol regulated state.  Light, smooth and pleasant flavor

All the Way Alt 

Pub Pilsner – unfiltered; uses Saaz noble hops

Happy Valley Hefeweizen – made with 45% wheat malt; Awards: 1996 Gold at GABF and 1998 Gold at WBC.  (Coincidentally, one of our companions was a librarian from State College, PA – aka Happy valley!)

Utah Pale Ale – Munich and Pale malts; Pacific Northwest Cascade hops; 1998 Silver North American Beer Award.

Centennial Steamer 

British Mild – also available on cask; roasty!!!  Full of flavor!

 

Latter Day Stout – classic Irish stout made with roasted barley, chocolate malts and Nugget hops; served on nitrogen (wouldn’t know it…); 1997 Bronze at GABF. I thought it tasted thin and really lacked the body I expect from a stout.

For those about to drink…

Our weekend camping trip got rained out a bit, so rather than sit on top of a picnic table during the hail storm, we drove up to Southern Tier Brewing Company in Lakewood, NY.

We’ve been getting their stuff in bottles, so it was such a treat to get it on tap! We missed the 4:00 PM tour, but found a table in this small, pub. There isn’t much to it – Southern Tier is located in a clean industrial park. The Empty Pint tasting room has a couple of tables and a bar, and they will let you taste anything (sample serving in a large tasting glass.)

Heavy Weizen, an Imperial Hefe, was the beer of the day. YUMMM This was packed with flavor.

Phin & Matt’s Extraordinary Ale – an American Pale Ale that had more maltiness than I care for in an APA.

Blue Berry – a somewhat fragrant wheat beer that is made here for Ellicottville Brewing Company (whose website is more exciting than their beer…in fact, I couldn’t find a list of current beers there!) This one really didn’t have much going on at all.

Un-Earthly IPA – this Imperial IPA was WOW! Unfortunately, they couldn’t fill a growler for us, but how lucky we were to find it on tap, and purchase some bottles.
Heavy Weizen at Southern Tier

D at Southern Tier

Along with our bottles of Un-Earthly, we picked up six pack of Harvest Ale, a growler of IPA and a growler of Porter. The Porter was outstanding in flavor while low in alcohol, and as we’ve found with their bottled beers, the IPA was just perfect. The Harvest Ale was also really, really nice.
I have lots more to say, but a bed calling my name…maybe I’ll get back to this, maybe not…

Bourbon Barrel Beers Abound!

This weekend we stopped at Otto’s Pub & Brewing Company on our way to northwest PA. The choices were GREAT, and I was excited to see two Bourbon-aged beers on tap.

I immediately ordered the Bourbon-Aged Jolly Roger Imperial Stout (on the hand pump – how fabulous is that??), which is one of his great stouts – full of roasted maltiness, and pumped up with smokey chocolate flavors – but taken one step closer to the edge by aging it for 6 months in Elijah Craig 12-year barrels. It was 9% ABV, and you can see how beautiful it was below!

Bourbon-Aged Jolly Roger Imperial Stout at Otto's

D’s first beer was the Bourbon-aged Hellkat, a Belgian-style golden ale aged 6 months in Elijah Craig 12-year barrels (I see a trend…note my post on the Anniversary gift at Bullfrog.) ABV 8.4%

D drinks a Hellkat

We were also excited to try a new Otto’s beer (for us) – Aurthur’s Mild Ale – which was a true British-style mild coming in at 3.2% ABV. Low in alcohol, but pleasant in flavor.

I finished my day with Mt. Nittany Pale Ale, which is an American Pale Ale that measures 5% ABV. It’s brewed with Centennial hops, and hopbacked with Cascade [Hopback – A vessel that is filled with hops to act as a filter for removing the break material from the finished wort. – from www.howtobrew.com/glossary.html] It has a spicy citrus aroma and a nutty malt flavor. I enjoyed it more than D’s mild, but I also know I can get it anytime I’m in the area.

We filled two growlers for the camping trip. The Apricot Wheat (ABV 4.7%), part of which ended up accompanying breakfast the next day, and the Double D IPA (ABV 8.1%).

Charlie may make one of the best Apricot Wheat beers I’ve ever had (I’m not a fan of fruited beers, but his has lead me to try Apricot Wheats all over America…his is certainly the gold standard!) Double D is an Imperial IPA made with Nugget, Palisade and Amarillo hops. It was good. It was really good. But there was just something that wasn’t quite perfect. I wish I could put my tounge on the flavor that was missing…