Be(er) My Valentine!

Central Pennsylvania is a great place for chocolate and beer, and this weekend you’ll find two great things that taste great together all over the area! Last year my friend Barb and I set out on our own 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.

This year, I’m not sure I’ll get out to all of the events, but the ones I know about add up to a sweet line-up!

Tröegs is releasing Scratch #41 (aka Cacaoabunga Redux) – a chocolate stout with 50 pounds of roasted cacao nibs and a healthy dose of vanilla beans, Simcoe and Galena hops, giving it a described “blast of bittersweet chocolate and a rich finish”. This 6.6% ABV stout is another collaboration with Scharffen Berger Chocolate (featured in last year’s Scratch #27 and a subsidiary of The Hershey Company). There is a purchase limit of one case, or two six-packs and two growlers, per person, and like all Scratch beers, you’ll only find it on tap at Tröegs .

Iron Hill in Lancaster is hosting an event called Chocolate Beer Craziness on February 11 from 5:00 – 8:00 pm in Celebration of Valentine’s Day. It will feature five chocolate beers available on tap:

  • Overload Stout (served on nitro) – an Imperial Oatmeal Stout is brewed with locally roasted coffee beans and local Wilbur chocolate (9.55% ABV)
  • Shokolad Stout (served on cask) – brewed with Wilbur’s cocoa nibs and aged on Madagascar vanilla beans (9.6% ABV)
  • Oompa Loompa Chocolate Stout (served on nitro) – an English Sweet Stout is brewed with 35lbs of Belgian bittersweet chocolate, milk sugar, and Madagascar vanilla beans (6.5% ABV)
  • Cowabunga Porter – a slightly stronger version of the Pig Iron Porter, brewed with Wilbur chocolate and toasted coconut chips and aged on vanilla beans
  • Bourbon-aged Cowabunga

Spring House has Kerplunk! Imperial Chocolate Stout, made with an amazing amount of Wilbur chocolate and west coast hops (8.1% ABV)

Lancaster Brewing has Double Chocolate Milk Stout, brewed with chocolate nibs and added lactose with Cascade, Goldings, and English Fuggles hops (6.8% ABV)

Stoudts is putting on 2X Chocolate Porter, a porter created using “several types of specially roasted malts to give it a deep, dark color, with bold notes of chocolate being the predominant flavor”. (7.0% ABV)

Do you know of more? Add them in the comments – I’d be so glad to hear about them!

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Taproom – Spring House (Lancaster, PA)

We made it to the Taproom at Spring House for the grand opening – a little late, but it sounded like the actualSpring House Tap Room - King St opening was delayed by a bit anyway.  And we were glad so many friends, and future friends, were able to be there too – that place was PACKED!

Today isn’t a good day to put in a whole story of our adventure, but I wanted to share a few photos, and simply state that everything was going smoothly!  There were 5 taps on last night – they seemed to change as the night went on. We had the G2 (a sorachi ace hopped version of Seven Gates Pale Ale) and Kerplunk! (a chocolate imperial stout), Spring House - approach from Central Marketwhile our friend who showed up much later was able to have Robot Bastard (Belgian IPA) on nitro.

The staff were handling things really well, especially considering that it was opening night and there was barely space to stand after 5:30 PM. We foundSpring House - Taps seats at the bar, where we could observe all the fun!

They are doing pints and half-pints, as well as growler fills, and I have yet to try the food.

My only disappointment…no purse hooks (bar fail!) Maybe they come later?Zoltar at Spring House

Great job, Matt!

Lancaster County Brew News

The Lancaster paper broke the news, so I won’t go into full detail here, but it’s too exciting not to share!

The Spring House Brewery, which has been operating since 2007 in a converted barn in Conestoga, PA, closed to the public after the weekend of January 15 to concentrate on completing the new taproom. If you’ve been following their Facebook page, you’ve been watching the progress as Matt continually reported.

Spring House Taproom is scheduled to open tomorrow at 25 W. King St. in Lancaster (Phone (717) 399-4009) with 10 taps, including Seven Gates Pale Ale.  The newspaper reports the a U-shaped bar, window bar and a few tables provide seating for 50, and large windows look out to both King Street and Central Market.

Dishes by Diane, a Leola catering firm, will provide the food offerings, and beer will be available to take out in bottles and growlers.

Spring House Taproom Hours (which were incorrectly listed in the newspaper):

  • Monday 4:00 pm – 10:00 pm
  • Tuesday  11:00 am – 10:00 pm
  • Wednesday  4:00 pm – 10:00  pm
  • Thursday  4:00 pm – 10:00  pm
  • Friday – Saturday  11:00 am – midnight

The paper also reported that St. Boniface Craft Brewing Co., a nano-brewery located in part of the former Doneckers Art Works building (100 N. State St., Ephrata, PA; (717) 721-1744) will open its doors for the first time from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm tonight to offer growlers of its Hegemony Imperial Stout. Growlers and kegs of Libation (a DIPA) and Epiphany (a Belgian-style Dubbel ale) will be available soon.

St. Boniface Craft Brewing will have very limited hours – it sounds like Saturday visits are the best bet.

Let’s Try This Again

Beer & Cheese pairing at World Cafe LiveI needed a little break. I took a long break. So, yup, you missed out on all my beer adventures over the last 10 months. Just of the top of my head, they included:

Obviously, it’s been a busy 10 months. And this just scratches the surface. But it brings me up to speed so that I can get back to the business of writing instead of feeling like I need to play catch-up.Selin's Grove 14th Anniversary

Thanks to those who encouraged me to take this back up – I hope I don’t let you down. Thanks to my many designated drivers for getting me to and from events. And if you are reading my blog for the first time, welcome.Picking Hops at MoonlightA wine stop on our NoCal Beer Trip

East End Brewing - GratitudePizza Port - San ClementeJackie-O's

Loving Deuane

Let me take a moment to express my thanks to all of our friends and family for coming out to Bullfrog Brewery for the debut of Deuane (the beer), and also to Terry for making it and Cori for being such an excellent waitress during all of our shenanigans! I’m sitting here right now enjoying another glass, along with the lunch special – Deuane (the sandwich) along with a glass of Deuane.

So, yes, we’re loving Deuane. And we’re loving Terry for brewing this magnificent beer. Described as a double nitro IPA, Deuane is currently being served in a 14-oz tulip-shaped goblet. The beer is golden copper with a thick, foamy white head that lasts throughout consumption. There is a slight malt aroma, but it is otherwise heavily scented with sweet citrus from the dry hopping.

Spoken like the true wife of Deuane, I’m finding it to be sweet to the tongue, and slightly bitter. There is a total of  54 pounds of hops associated with the ale – 34 pounds in the boil, which were primarily Horizon (also Centennial and Amarillo.) Then it’s dry-hopped with Chinook, Centennial and Amarillo in three different additions. Yup – this is a real hop bomb! Served on nitrogen, Deuane is extremely smooth with a medium body and pleasant balance. It’s so citrusy and smooth, which makes it extremely drinkable for the DIPA fan.

Deuane is currently available by request on CO2 for growler fills (oops – I spoke too soon…it just kicked!), so I tried a glass of that, too. I’m actually preferring the version served on CO2 simply because it’s even more biting with citrus (although I’m not sure I could drink as much this way!) but I’m not sure a more common palate would enjoy it nearly as much. [Note to my dearest friends, I am not in any way suggesting you are common!]

Paired with the Deuane sandwich (special for the weekend) – grilled multi-grain bread, extra sharp cheddar cheese, ham, and a fennel and cumin mustard – Deuane/Deuane is such a treat!

Tapping Deuane

[No, Vickie – not poking Deuane. Tapping Deuane.]

It’s possible that you read my post that Deuane (the beer) was brewing at the Bullfrog. If things went as planned, today brewer Terry Hawbaker transferred Deuane to the clarification tank, where it will stay for about a week before going on nitro. 

So it looks like Deuane (the beer) will go on “officially” Friday, March 19 at 6 PM at the Bullfrog Brewery in Williamsport, PA. Of course, we will all be there to support Terry on his latest creation, and the beer’s namesake on his… well… his bitter and pretentious presence.

This beer is a Double IPA, made with over 40 pounds of hops in a 10 barrel batch, and has brewed out to about 8.5 barrels after the dry hopping. It weighs in somewhere between 9.5% and 10% ABV and is reported to be “tasty”!

If you plan to come out on Friday, give me a shout here or on Facebook!  Get to town early, and visit Bavarian Barbarian to try the new 2×4 IPA (bring your own growler to take some home.) If you plan to stay in the area, the Harmonious Wail CD release party (The Vegan Zombies Lament) will start at 9 PM at the Bullfrog. Or if you’re in the mood for something different, I recommend the $5. martinis at Barrel 135 from 10 – midnight!

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!)

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!

Yard’s Tasting Room is Open!

I failed to post about our late-October weekend in Philadelphia, hanging with our friends from Asheville and our friends from the Philly area (that particular miss was due to scheduled surgery following weekend.) One of the many fun things we did was go tasting at Philadelphia Brewing Company, which has a beautiful tasting room that includes artwork for sale, terrific bathrooms (you wouldn’t guess this when you pull up to the building!) and great views. We also toured and tasted at Yards Brewing Company, which had good beer, a fun tour guide and one great house dog, but no atmosphere.

However, on our visit to Yards, we could see the beginnings of a very large and interesting room through the glass doors. We learned that it would be a tasting room with a kitchen, and eclectic decor would reflect their commitment to sustainability (for instance, the bar tops are made from old bowling alley lanes and the booths are recycled).

Well, as of this week, it’s open! Joe Sixpack’s Beer Radar reports the news first-hand, so I’m just passing the word along. I don’t really have any additional news about it, but thought it was something interesting to share. I can’t wait to check it out – beer, food and wine – what an interesting twist on a tasting room!