2011 Harrisburg Brewers Fest

8th Annual Harrisburg Brewers Fest

June 18, 2011

The 3,500 tickets for the 8th Annual Harrisburg Brewers Fest will go on sale online or by phone (by calling the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation at (717) 671-4000) on April 1, 2011 at 9:00 am.

Sales continue on May 2, 2011 as walk-up sales at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (55 South Progress Ave., Harrisburg) and Tröegs Brewing Company (800 Paxton Street, Harrisburg). Buy your $40 General Admission tickets early, because they will sell out / will not be available at the door.

Tröegs Brewing Company is teaming up with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Central Pennsylvania to put on this outdoor beer and music festival at 2nd and Locust Streets in downtown Harrisburg. (Want to get a sense of the scene? Check out photos from last year!) The event will take place on Saturday, June 18.

There will be two sessions – one starting at noon (ending at 3:30 pm) and the second starting at 5:00 pm (ending at 8:30 pm). Included in the price of the ticket are a collector’s sampling mug, unlimited samples from up to 50 breweries and live musical entertainment. There will also be food concessions available.

There is a Group Rate purchase price of $35/person for 20 or more tickets (call CFF to purchase group tickets), and there are Designated Driver tickets available for $10/person. Ticket costs are tax-deductible (General Admission Ticket: $19; Group Ticket: $14).

It’s great fun, for a great cause. Don’t miss out!


2011 Hops, Vines & Wines

Not that this awesome event needs additional ticket sales promotion, but as a reminder to those who need reminding – get ready to get your tickets!

Tickets for the 4th Annual Selinsgrove Beer and Wine Festival – Hops, Vines & Wines – to be held on July 16 from 2:00 to 6:00 pm, will only be sold online, and they go FAST!

Make sure you are ready with your computer and credit card, because on April 16 at 8:00 am EST, the sale starts and they will sell out.

Ticket prices for 2011 aren’t listed yet, but it’s pretty easy to assume things won’t be much different from last year.  Check out theweb site for all kinds of details on the festival, and check the ticket sales page between now and April 15 for updates.

Farmers’ Cabinet – Is that Your Final Answer?

We had a wonderful time tonight at Terry’s “going away”, and the welcome to Nick and Nate. A nice mix of Terry’s beers were on – Edgar IPA, Apricot Wheat, Double Coffee Cream Stout, Houblonium P-38, Houblonius Maximus (on cask!), Liquid Sunshine Gone Wild (on cask), Gothika, Citradelic, Frantastique – and a nice mix of people came out, despite the stormy weather!

Outside the Bullfrog, March 6, 2011

One interesting little tidbit of information… The place where Terry is headed – first known as the The Farmers' CabinetGrainery, then announced at the end of February as Philadelphia Grain Exchange  – has now been labeled “The Farmers’ Cabinet”.

Sam and Terry are getting ready to move, and beers created by Terry’s assistant, Nate, are getting ready to go (I believe he said a Dark Mild is on the way?) 

I look forward to checking out the literary reference for the new place where Terry will be brewing, and hope the name doesn’t make any more changes. I kinda’ like this one! And I look forward to watching Nick and Nate grow the business at Bullfrog. Congratulations to everyone!

Bullfrog: Change is Brewing

In the recent invitation to the “Say Goodbye to Terry Hawbaker” party, it was announced that Nick Micio has been named the brewer to succeed Terry at Bullfrog Brewery. He comes to us from Fegley’s Brew Works (Allentown), and from what I’ve scoured off the Internet, he has a pretty nice resume.

Micio is a graduate of the American Brewer’s Guild and apprenticed at Russian River Brewing Co. Prior to his stint with Brew Works (September 2009-present), he brewed at Moat Mountain Brewing Co. in North Conway, NH.  Some of the beers in his portfolio include Moat Rauch n’ Rye (a German-inspired lager) and Lefty’s India Brown Ale (a deep brown beer with citrus hops and dark malts.)

He’s got big shoes to fill, following in the steps of some terrific Bullfrog brewers: 

  • Charlie Schnabel (1996-2001, owner of Otto’s Pub & Brewery in State College, PA)
  • Carl Melissas (2001-2004, who crafts such fabulous beers that we followed him to Green Man, and now Wedge Brewing Co. in the River Arts District of Asheville, NC)
  • Terry Hawbaker (2004-2011, moving on to brew for a new place at 1113 Walnut St. in Philadelphia, PA – first known as “The Grainery” but just last week announced as “Philadelphia Grain Exchange” now known as “The Farmers’ Cabinet” – where he will brew small batch artisan sour, wild fermented, barrel aged and saison style beers for 4 of the planned 24 taps.)

When Bob Koch, his late wife Harriet (1943-2010) and their son, Steve, opened the doors of Bullfrog Brewery in 1996, there was nothing else like it in the area. An explosion of brewpubs and breweries has cropped up in the area over these 15 years, and Bullfrog has kept a stronghold on the attentions of the eager public and beer enthusiasts across the country.

Despite the fact that I live 90 miles away, Bullfrog played a part in bringing my husband and I together, and served as a place where my family congregated to celebrate both life, and the ending of life, many times over.  People who know how much we love Terry and his extraordinary wife, Sam, have asked if this will be the end of our allegiance to Bullfrog. Alas, I view it as an opportunity for a the Koch’s to embrace change, for a new brewer to shine, and  for our dear friends thrive in their innovative Philly venture.

I can’t wait to hug Terry (and give kisses to Sam), shake hands with Nick (and possibly meet his wife Dorienne?), and celebrate with all of the Kochs on Sunday night!

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!

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!

Perfect Fills Come to Harrisburg

You thought Al’s of Hampden was already rockin’ the Harrisburg area beer scene with:

  • 20 CO2 tap lines  for in-house consumption, 1L and 2L growler fills
  • 4 nitro lines (one on his fancy, new nitro faucet)
  • 3 handpumps
  • 350+ beers for take-out (in six-packs, mix-a-six bottles, singles, bombers and 750 ml bottles)
  • live, real-time updates to the beer list on display in the shop and via Feedburner

Well, tonight he’s installing a counter pressure growler fill machine, which is essentially identical to the Austrian-built Alfred Gruber growler filler at Victory Brewing. It will create the perfect fill, the counter pressure fill will keep your beer fresher even longer.

Follow the installation on Twitter – complete with photos!

Troegenator wins the Gold!

Just a quick note to congratulate the hometown brewery… 

Tröegs Brewing Company just won Gold at the 2010 World Beer Cup with Troegenator Double Bock in the category “Traditional German-Style Bock”.

As a note of interest, Troegenator was the most-requested beverage by librarian-tasters at a Tröegs event in October, 2009. We’re a smart lot with a discriminating palate!

For a complete list of winners, visit the World Beer Cup site.

River House Brew Pub (Milton, PA)

What a lovely day for a drive by the river and to do a little fact-gathering on some rumors I’ve been hearing about a Lewisburg brew pub! 

River House Brew Pub in the Lewisburg Diner

River House Brew Pub

And it’s true… Or as true as it can be told at this time. The location is technically Milton (by mailing address), geographically located in what might be called East Lewisburg but is really West Chillisquaque Township in Northumberland County. The building is the former Italian Terrace property (which explains some of the strange architecture for a brewpub!) and currently houses The Lewisburg Diner. 

River House Brew Pub welcome signThe pub – The River House Brew Pub – will be run in conjunction with the diner as two eateries under one roof. This appears to be the new brewing location for former Abbey Wright brewer Bart Rieppel (this is an unconfirmed rumor, but from an extremely reliable source!) 

The Pub is a separate business from the Diner…

We went into the Diner, which was open today, and even walked back the hallway to the pub area – it’sRiver House and Lewisburg Diner completely signed (paper signs). There were tables and chairs, but the room was dark and there was no appearance of being open or even having taps available.  I’ve been told that River House does not have a licence to brew yet, but should have it soon, and in the meantime will be serving a selection of microbrews.

I don’t claim to know the county history well, so I’d be interested in anyone who might know of another brewery – successful or unsuccessful – in Northumberland County over the last 30 years. Assuming River House comes to fruition, this may be a first since the closing of Fuhrmann and Schmidt Brewing Co. (Shamokin, PA) in 1975. 

I’m looking forward to seeing what Bart’s got in him outside of the strains of his former location, and I’ll try to keep my ears open for future developments on River House Brew Pub! Another possible stop in the Golden Triangle of Beer?

Beers With Difficult Names

News from the Beeryard (copied word-for-word…no original content here!)

PLCB Bans “Beers With Difficult Names” From PA Shelves

A spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board said this morning that “brewers have been abusing the registration system by coming up with names that are too hard for us to deal with” and that a new directive will be issued to solve the problem.

Arguing that the PLCB was blameless in recent raids on Philadelphia taverns and wholesalers wherein beers which were on the registration list were seized nonetheless “because it was just too confusing,” the spokesperson told a Harrisburg radio station that “brewers have an obligation to give their beers clear, simple names that our inspectors have heard before and can figure out, preferably names of one syllable or less.”

Starting in April, he said, the PLCB will reject registration for any beer that doesn’t meet that standard. “If we can’t spell it, we don’t want in Pennsylvania. Why are brewers making so many beers anyway? What about the children?”

Asked how beers from other countries would be treated under the new standards, he added that “actually, we’re also going to be banning foreign beers pretty much across the board. If beer was meant to come from places like Belgium, Germany and England, that would have been written into the original law.” –BRAIN HURTIN’

Thanks for the laugh!