From Chicken Feet to Eisbock

D and I decided to have a night out together to try out a restaurant near our house, then come home to a Raspberry Eisbock.

Mitaka, located at 560 S 29th St in Harrisburg, is a Japanese restaurant that also offers an extensive menu of hot and cold Dim Sum along with an extensive menu of sushi, hibachi, miso soup and  a variety of traditional noodle soups including beef, shrimp, seafood, chicken and vegetable. The sushi was all very nicely presented, and there were several rolls on the menu that appear to be unique for this area.

Dim Sum is not the sort of thing found in Harrisburg, so we approached the menu with enthusiasm and the spirit of adventure. The Spring Roll was a simple choice, as were the Stuffed Egglants with seafood. Spicy Kani Bowl was extremely interesting and delicious – a complex mix of crab, cucumber, spicy mayonnaise and something crunchy (maybe tempura bits?)

Our only disappointment was the Phoenix Claw with Black Bean Sauce (we should have asked…I found a recipe, and anything that starts out , “Wash feet, chop off toenails…” should not be eaten by humans.) I don’t know if they were poorly prepared, or it this is just the way these things come out, but they were stinky and I could not find a piece to eat off. I stuck one in my mouth – more than once – attempting to bite something off, but I couldn’t. We were surprised and pleased that our waitress offered to replace the order with something we could eat, so we opted for the Scallion Pancakes. These were a really nice choice.

As for sushi, we enjoyed all three rolls. Smokie Roll was made with smoked salmon, mango and avocado in a tight inside-out roll. Star Roll was made with tuna, white fish, salmon, avocado and masago (roe)  in the middle of a seaweed roll. And our final choice was the Boston Red Sox Roll, which I can’t even describe, other than to say it was one of the best rolls ever. It was done with the lightest touch of tempura and spicy heat – I should have paid more attention to what was inside.

When we got home, we decided to share a bottle of Kuhnhenn Raspberry Eisbock (2007). This beautiful beer weighs in at 11.9% ABV, and comes in a 187 ml bottle – see the size comparison with a standard 12-oz beer below.

Eisbock - tiny bottle

The back of the bottle states, “Real raspberries abound in this chocolate caramel after dinner treat,” and I’m not sure I could describe it much better than that. The mysterious dark liquid in a tiny green bottle dipped in red wax with a homemade label gives this bottle a sense of mystery.

There is a really fruity nose to this beverage, and flavors of raspberry, molasses and milk chocolate abound. It lingers in the mouth as if I just ate a box of fruited chocolates. The appearance hovers between cough syrup and port as it swirls in the glass, and particulate matter is obvious. We shared the 6.3 oz bottle which was both a blessing and a disappointment. The sweetness and alcohol burn are more than I need in a small glass of beer, but the flavor and aroma are so pleasing, it leaves me wanting more – unlike the chicken feet.

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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:

Watermelon

Watermelon

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.

D and Zeno’s BrewFest

The most frequently asked question of me at Dark Lord Day was, “Where’s D?” Several of the men commented that their wives wouldn’t go to DLD for them… 

Honey, I didn’t go FOR him – I went in spite of him! I went for myself (although the truth is I probably wouldn’t have gone if Heath and Kim hadn’t included me in their ride.)

Anyway, he had to work all weekend, but did get the day off on Saturday to attend Heather & Jake’s wedding. And since he was in State College, that provided an opportunity to attend Zeno’s Belgian Brew Fest, which ran from 3-8 PM on April 26.

Looking at the full list of 70 bottles and 6 taps of Flemish, Wallonian, Trappist and Farmhouse beers, it does sound like a good time!  Here is what he enjoyed:

  • De Dolle Dulle Teve
  • De Rank XX Bitter
  • Duchesse de Bourgogne
  • Gulden Draak
  • Melbourne Cherry
  • Petrus Aged Ale
  • Piraat

Am I jealous?  Absolutely not… That same night, I was drinking Hoppy Chick IPA on cask at The Livery, and I had both a Vanilla Porter and a blended glass of Rubaeus/Imperial Stout at the new Founder’s location.

The new Founders Brewing

Derek, Heath and Kim also introduced me to Culver’s that day, where we got the family-sized order of Dairyland Cheese Curds. My life is forever changed (and my cholesterol is forever high!)Yummy Curds!

Real dairy-fresh white and yellow cheddar cheese curds breaded and cooked to a gooey, cheesy golden brown. These curds are made in Wisconsin just for Culver’s!

 

 

Officer Sassy and the Dark Lord

I’m not going to waste my time and energy posting negative thoughts on Dark Lord Day 2008 – I certainly had some, but plenty of people have posted the whiny thoughts and I’ll be happy to point you there (see this post, which will link you to griping on the forums.) I can’t disagree with most of it, but I also can’t see dwelling on it. Besides – don’t I look happy?

Waiting for Dark Lord  That’s not a photo of drunk – that’s exhilaration (many thanks to Ev for the costume inspiration…after the hat exchange, my companions started calling me Officer Sassy. With a Troeg’s work shirt, a little bedazzling and a Marshall’s badge from Dark Horse, I was set!)

Overall, I had a FABULOUS time! I traveled with fun people, we stopped at some great breweries along the way out and back, and it was my pleasure to catch up with fellow beer enthusiasts in the parking lot of Three Floyd’s. It started out as a chilly day (or, as I pointed out, cellar temperature), and I was thrilled that I purchased a cozy long sleeve t-shirt from Bell’s – I needed it with that wind!

Derek, Kim and Heath

I owe a heap of thanks to Kim for being our able (read sober) driver and trip coordinator – she did a super job at both! Heath and Derek were great traveling companions, making sure we didn’t miss a single thing (well, Cereal City was a miss for now-obvious reasons, but all of the beer stops were right on!) There are a lot of terrific beer people in the world, but this was a crew I was more than happy to spend four days in the car with! 
Jim and Joan sharing Pisgah Baptista!

Uncle Jedi and Joan (aka Mrs. Jedi) get the hospitality prize for making a place for us in the line. They are always a treat to hang out with, as are the entire Free the Hops clan (not all of them are in the photo below…just the ones wearing kilts!)

Free the Hops!

Speaking of the line, a couple of bloggers mapped the beer line, and this was one of my favorite renditions. I just couldn’t get an accurate photo of it, which I estimated to be 4500 people stretched over no less than 1/2 a mile. I was so glad to get my six bottles of Dark Lord Imperial Stout, and also my allotted two bottles of Hvedegoop Wheat Wine (a surprise for D.) When we packed it all in the car, it was obvious we weren’t even going to attempt getting more.

It\'s full  Me with Officer Hall  PA Girls love beer!

Meeting Officer Hall and collecting his trading card made my day (next time, I’ll need an “Officer Sassy” card.) And I thank Aaron for introducing me to April (and April for the photo with an inebriated stranger!)

Everyone at the event in a brew-sharing mood gets a big thank you, too! I shared my Troeg’s Nugget Nectar, but kept looking for an opportunity to pop my bottle of Otto’s Double D and just never saw an opening (no offense to Otto’s, but the bottles being passed around we far superior!)

There are some additional summaries blogged here and here, and a little video coverage.

One of my favorite summaries of the event was on the Vagoscribe blog– it is both poetic and completely descriptive of the experience. There are no expressions of detestation, anger or even elation, which is kind of how I left this year’s experience (last year, I departed full of elation and urine – thanks, FFF, for the improved toilet situation this year.)

By 2:30 on Saturday, I did say, “where is the get-the-hell-out-of-here line?,” simply because the lines were so disorganized. I felt like a character in Hope for the Flowers (read pages 12-17 and you’ll understand what I mean!) – it was impossible to tell which line led to which final destination or how long it would take to get there. We decided to find food, clean bathrooms and great beer, which I will talk about in my next post…when I get to it.

Until then, I hope you, too, have found some good beer with good friends!

 

 

One Guy Saturday (trying again)

Saturday’s weather did not bring the expected sunshine with temps in the 40’s. When the dogs woke me up at 6:30 AM it was still bitter and frosty outside, and I knew I wouldn’t do any hiking, so Myna Bird Dog and I spent a lazy morning and leisurely lunch hanging out with my parents and deciding what to do next.

Knowing it was Williamsport’s Mardi Gras, and that Bavarian Barbarian tours didn’t start until 4 PM, I decided not to travel north.  I suspected (incorrectly) that things would be really crowded there. It turns out that, had I gone for the 4 PM tour, I would have been in great company with my Uncle Richard!  I was so pleased that he called me at 5:30 PM to report that he met with Mike Hiller, who is a former student of his.

       Bavarian Barbarian

He really enjoyed the experience – there were two beers on tap, and he was able to taste the Hammerin’ Ale, which was fine, and also the Headbangerz Brown Ale, which he described as rich and full of flavor. I’m glad he had a good time, and I hope to migrate that direction soon.

But for this day, I chose Berwick as a destination. The first thing I discovered about One Guy Brewing Company is that it isn’t exactly where the street address says it is. Like all good gems, it’s hidden a bit (how many times did we turn the car around to find Stone?!?)  The address is 328 W Front Street, and Front Street is one-way in the 300 block. To get to One Guy, simply turn right at the intersection of Front and Oak Streets (Rite Aid is on your left; turn right onto Oak), and the industrial-looking brick building to the left is where the brewery is located.

        One Guy Brewing Company - Outside View            Inside One Guy

While the outside is expansive, dull and unimpressive, the inside is small, cozy, clean and inviting (and non-smoking!) It is essentially a tap room – a small bar with a couple of tables, and walls covered in historical beer memorabilia. Guy was standing behind the bar filling glasses and growlers, and people of all ages seemed to be enjoying many different types of beer. There wasn’t a single seat left at the bar, but after driving for so long, I was happy to stand. I perused the beer menu, and decided to start with the Peach Wheat, based on the recommendation of our friend Jason’s wife.

I started talking to the folks at the end of the bar, and quickly found interesting conversation with Doreen and Ken – a couple who live in Bloomsburg, but have experience living in many places across the country, and knew a bit about both making and drinking beer. It was nice to have the company and learn about their interesting lives while I enjoyed a couple of Guy’s brews.

Now, those who know me well know there is one love in my life (well, besides D and the Myna Bird Dog) – I love the IPA – but Guy is really brewing up a hearty set of lagers and pilsners.  The myriad of flavors and colors pouring from his taps was really exciting. He serves beers in three sizes – glass, shaker and growler. I enjoyed three glasses and two tasters (disclaimer: OGB doesn’t serve tasters as a general rule – I was aiming for a growler fill, and Guy was kind enough to help me make my choice!)  Here is what I had:

  • Number 1 – a golden lager, which was the first beer Guy brewed on his 2-barrel system just to test the equipment.  Normally, I’m not a fan of anything thin and yellow, but this lager was not boring or flavorless. The taste was much heartier than the appearance. Unfortunately for any of you reading this who didn’t get to One Guy before February 3, it is all gone…forever, so says Guy.
  • Dark Lager – taster only, and while tasting, wished I had the tolerance for a full glass. This beer had a very beautiful deep copper color (I saw this more in the pint beside me), and a sweet caramel flavor complimented by a light toastiness. This would make a very nice session beer. Unfortunately, the three beers I had before it completed my session!
  • Peach Wheat – light and tart; fresh as summer. Again, I’m not really a fruit beer fan, but putting that out of my mind, I really enjoyed this brew. It wasn’t as thin as some fruited beers can be – perhaps due to the fact that it is unfiltered and made with over two bushels of peaches. It’s the one I started with, and if I could have done it all over, I would have traded out the Dark Lager for this one, but that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it very much.
  • Rauch Bock – this was lighter and less smoky than many other rauch beers I’ve had. It had mild hints of malt and hops, and lacked the heaviness that generally turns me off to this style. I had a taster only at the brewery, but this is the one I brought home for D in the growler (I think Guy was impressed with my German-style growler, plus he recognized our Heinzelmännchen growler carrier – good beer people think alike, right?)
  • Cinnamon Boldy – blew me away!! This was my absolute favorite of the line-up, and I was shocked and amazed when I read Lew Bryson’s post yesterday. He used nearly the exact same words as I typed on Sunday night (the ones that mysteriously disappeared when I hit “publish”), and have been using to describe this beer all week (he said, “almost like a tea made from cinnamon hearts.”) If I hadn’t repeated my thoughts to so many times to so many people over the last couple of days, I would have thought I picked them up subliminally! You see, one of my favorite evening beverages is hot cinnamon spice tea, and during this period between Christmas gingerbread man making and Valentine’s Day, I’m all about scarfing up the cinnamon heart candies. Cinnamon Boldy is a golden beer that bursts with this flavor I adore and crave. I was so struck by this one, and am hoping a friend might be bringing a growler down this weekend. If all lagers had this conspicuous and spicy goodness to them, I could certainly consider shifting the balance from hoppy ales in this direction. Brewing this one was a daring move, but I hope it will be a linchpin in his lineup.

In addition to the beers, I broke one of my cardinal food rules and ate a hot dog.  As you see on the menu photo, besides the beers and 71-cent sodas, there is only one other item on the menu, and that is the hot dog at the very affordable price of $1.18. I topped mine with spicy horseradish mustard and dill pickle relish.

 One Guy Menu

Thanks again to Doreen and Ken for keeping me company with their great stories, and to Guy for taking time to chat between serving up the beers (he was busy!) I really enjoyed my trip to Berwick, and will certainly try to travel that way again soon! Another interesting think I did not learn on my own, but from reading Lew’s post – Guy apparently allows customers to bring food from the outside. I can see us scouting out some of the local treats to enjoy while we’re there (one hot dog was enough for me!)

Firkin Friday and One Guy Saturday

Oh the insanity…  I wrote a long, and (I think) interesting post reviewing the Organic Baltic Porter at SGB’s Firkin Friday and my Saturday trip to One Guy brewing with full descriptions of the really great beers I had there, and…poof….it’s gone.

No time to recreate it now.  We’ll see what happens later. Ugh. Sorry.

Bavarian Barbarian Uncle Richard at Bavarian Barbarian (where I also wanted to go!)

One Guy Brewing Company - Outside View One Guy – Outside

Inside One GuyOne Guy – Inside   One Guy Menu

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.

I Miss the Wind and À l’Abri de la Tempête

It’s disappointing to me that I was unable to keep pace with the blog this summer – we visited so many wonderful places, and had so many special beer experiences on our travels through New England, Atlantic Canada and the maritimes.  But an email from our dear acquaintance, Majorie, sparked my interest in making an update to a previous post.

I’m missing the wind today – the constant gusts of pure and perfect air blowing in from the large masses of of water that surround the Magdalene Islands (Îles de la Madeleine.)  This windswept archipelago of remote, beautiful, and amazingly unique islands is located 130 miles off the main coast of Quebec in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.

Majo sent a photo of a new addition to À l’Abri de la Tempête (A Shelter from the Storm) on Île du Cap aux Meules – metal sculptures which she described as “planted in the wind” just outside the brewery – and it took my breath away.  You can’t imagine the wind on the Magdalene Islands, but I picked up on it in this photo.

Sculptures                 Flag

The Magdalene Islands are a combination of six islands connected by sandy beaches that stretch great lengths, and six additional islands (one of which is inhabited) and islets, many with high, red cliffs. 

I could go on and on about the colorful houses, welcoming inhabitants, charming artisan shops, and superb restaurants full of seafood and other fresh, local flavors.  We enjoyed birding with a local, walking the beaches, exploring the forests, meeting “Substitute Myna” (the benchmark hunting dog), boat trips to Entry Island and Isle Brion, picnics in the rain, watching kitesurfers, staying at sweet B&Bs, camping and exploring.

But this is a blog about beer travels, so I’ll stick to what I know and suggest everyone visit the tourism pages (or don’t…we really like that this is our secret place to visit!)  This was our second trip to the island (our first was in 2002; I believe the dates of this visit were July 18-24.)

                               Me outside “Shelter”

À l’Abri de la Tempête is located at the tip of Plage de l’Ouest (an 8-mile beach) on Île du Cap aux Meules (on Ch. Coulombe, L’Étang-du-Nord.)  It’s a converted fish processing plant, which, I know, sounds awful, but brewer Jean-Sébastien Bernier has done a fabulous job converting this plain building into a warm, welcoming and incredibly unique place to enjoy a pint.  It is the first, and currently the only, microbrewery on the Islands, and relies on fresh, local ingredients for production.

While much of the conversation and facts may have been lost in translation (the primary language is French with an Acadian flair, so there was a strong barrier for us), I believe that Jean-Sébastien not only created all of the lovely beer recipes, but also created the beautiful woodwork and unique tap system used to dispense his beers (there is another partner, Anne-Marie Lechance, mentioned in one article, but we didn’t meet her so I don’t know her contribution to the process.) 

Inside À l’Abri de la Tempête                     The View

There were four microbrews on tap during our visit, and they were all available not only at the pub in the brewery, but all four were also available at the restaurants for which they are named.  There was also a beer available in unmarked (therefor not available for take-out) bottles.  Here is what we tasted:

Écume Bière des Îles – Beer of the Islands – a light lager available in bottles as well as on tap.

La Pas Perdus– rousse/red – described as a Vienna lager; not very interesting but certainly not bad.

Le Vieux Couvent– a blonde made with spices and herbs; light and refreshing on those hot island days (one review, which I ran in the Google translator said, “A beer that will you rinse the slab after your next sunburn” – I don’t know what that means, but it makes me laugh!)

La Grave– described at the brewery as a “noire,” but I’ve seen it listed as a milk stout and would agree with that; a thin stout, but still held up to chocolate cake!

Corne de Brume – Scotch Ale (bottled only); this was absolutely our favorite – dark ruby red and malty – best served just below room temperature.  We particularly enjoyed it along with a small bowl of smoked herring fillets.  Oakes Weekly rated it Best New Beer of the Year in 2006!  Beer Advocate says it’s retired, but D posted an update today (a new run of 5000 bottles last week.)  Rate Beer puts it in the 99th percentile.

                      Corne de Brume

Now, when I say tasted, I really mean we had many pints at À l’Abri de la Tempête over the course of our week-long visit.  They sell a handled mason jar with their logo, which can be used for “take-out” (they don’t fill growlers, but these mason jars come with lids, so we were able to take a jar of beer each with us for our daily picnic on the beach.)  Also, each time we brought our jar in empty, we got $1 off our fills.

Le Vieux Couvent to Go           Taps     Shelter During the Storm

The people who worked there were all great, but we were particularly fond of Majorie as she gave us great advice about our visit, insight to life on the Islands and was an absolutely delightful and interesting person.  We were particularly amazed to learn about her “other life” as a glass artist.  The only website I found with examples of her work just doesn’t do it justice.  She makes some amazingly unique and beautiful glass sculpture, and I think of her daily when I admire my glass ball ornament now hanging in our kitchen window.

                     The Pour              Menu

In typical Magdalene Island fashion, the menu included all foods from the islands.  Locally produced cheese, smoked herring, seal and seasonal vegetables, fruits and flowers could be among the things found on a snack plate.  There were also handmade glass mugs and soaps available for purchase.

Well, obviously, I could go on, but À l’Abri de la Tempête really a place you need to discover for yourself.

A piece of advice: If you visit this brewpub, don’t go on as part of a tour bus, and if you can avoid it, don’t go when a tour bus is visiting.  We found the evenings to be particularly enjoyable.

Flock’s Brewery, Williamsport PA (1850-1951)

An announcement came out today that the Access PA Digital Repository, which contains over 20 digitized collections from libraries throughout Pennsylvania, recently acquired some new collections.  As a responsible librarian, I decided to check it out. 

I’m a graduate of Lycoming College, so I naturally migrated to that collection, and was pleased that a quick search on Flock Brewery brought back several hits.  Specifically, the local authority for these records is “Science Building (1951-1996, Flock Brewery 1850-1951).” 

It occured to me that this might help explain my long-standing interest in microbreweries…  My first college level biology class was held in a brewery, and my father has a degree in Chemistry from the Flock Brewery Lycoming College.

Anyway, there are some photos specifically with this authority, and others in the collection that include the brewery (you can see the domed roof of the part that was demolished long before I got there!)