Total Pageviews

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Return to Chambersburg (or Microbrewery Questing Part 2)

So, it was time to return to the slopes for one more attempt at winter sports before this period between the formal close of Fall and the beginning of Spring (formally know as Winter, but not this year) decides to end.  For the wife and boys, it meant a return to ski and snowboard and for me it meant another shot at the Roy Pitz brewery in Chambersburg.  It was a beautiful morning, but the hills were pretty green, as we got closer to the resort.  Snow machines got some whiteness on the trails, but it’s not what I would call a winter wonderland.

After getting the troops dropped off, I headed out across hill and dale to Chambersburg for the Roy Pitz establishment.  After the travails of the last adventure, I had a pretty good mental map to work from and only made one wrong turn.  I found my land mark sign (“Roy Pitz is around the back” and parked.  Again, the intersection Sunday in a state with Blue Laws worked against me and the place was CLOSED. 

Well, what to do.  I pulled out my “Find Craft Beer” app and located a place in Hagerstown, MD called the Schmankerl Stube. Schamkerl Stube is a Bavarian restaurant (with the usual Spaten sign out front) with fairly typical Bavarian menu.  Now I like pork as much as the next guy, but today it just didn’t hit the spot.  Next door is a place called the Bull and Bear pub, which featured a more nouveau American menu and a healthy set of taps.

Bulls and Bears was really the right choice.  I opted to sit at the bar for a change.  Another good choice.  The bartender, Nick, was very pleasant and knowledgeable and picked out a nice draft that had just been swapped in.  The Peak Organic Hops Noir had a nice healthy head, good aroma and the middling body of a Black IPA.  Very tasty, both as a sipping beer and to go with my meal, which was a stuffed burger of goat cheese, sun dried tomatoes and basil between two beef patties with sweet potato fries and a mango based dipping sauce.  The experience rocked.  Next up was a Lagunitas IPA from the tap.  Great citrus taste with a little snap in the flavor that really complimented to food and was an unexpected pleasure.  Prices were reasonable and Sundays are all day Happy Hours (bring you closer to God).  I am writing this piece from one of their bar rounds right now.  If you are in Hagerstown, pay them a visit.

Still haven’t landed the Roy Pitz Brewery, but there is still some winter left.

BTW, you can also follow my beer travails on Twitter at “Beeratorium” which is connected to my Untappd account and of course,

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Our last spring seasonal...or is it?

All right I'm horrible at secrets. It isn't our last spring seasonal before the month ends. I'll be running at least two more spring seasonal reviews before the calendar moves into April. I just can't do it tonight. I had a few too many liters of good German beer at Cafe Mozart with my work colleagues to do more than one review tonight.

On to the review!

Our candidate tonight is Blue Point Brewing Company's Spring Fling Ale.

It is labeled as a copper ale and that is a pretty apt descriptor of the beer. It poured a clear copper color, with a decent head that dissipated fairly quickly. On the drink it had some hop bite that carries through and good carbonation but all that yields to a copper aftertaste. Similar to sucking on a penny.  That coppery aftertaste disappeared quickly though leaving a slight dryness in the mouth.

This is a smooth drinker, with enough character to see you through a night or sharing with friends but not really noteworthy. It comes in at 6% ABV so there is a little attitude to it for a spring seasonal.  I put forth that it is worth picking up and trying at least once but I don't know if I will be making a return trip.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Episode 8 - The triumphant return!

Episode 8 of the Jolly Good Fellows Beercast

We are back after our month long hiatus! In this beercast we talk about Port City's spring seasonal Tartan Ale, the romance in Dan's life, and what the hell happened to episode 7. 

Remember to subscribe on iTunes and it will automatically update on your devices. Thanks to the folks who have rated us and left comments, they are appreciated. 

Continue spreading the word and if you like what you are listening to then please rate us and comment on iTunes. Doing that gets us more exposure which will lead to a better beercast!

You can listen to the podcast from this link: 

Or find us on iTunes here.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Beer links for March's end and the World's Best Beer!

We are bringing March to a close. I don't know about you but frankly this month flew by. Let's get right to it. 

In the News!

Here's an idea, how about make a better beer. I believe the real battle will begin when the colossi finally get back to their roots. 
Another beer to add
to the wish list.
(original here)

There is still a war on homebrewing whether it is blue laws or corporate interests. Good for Wisconsin, though it should have never been an issue to start with. 

Our sisters and brothers to the north drink strong. 

Nice article about cellaring. I never even thought to use the crawl space. Good pro tip there. 
We’ll be keeping our eyes open on this for our next gluten-free round up in a few months. In the meantime,  check out the Rudy and my verdicts from last week.

Almost a thousand years of existence will get you these kind of things. If I had a lot more money and time I would organize the my own best beer championships.

Yay for Oberon! I will pick up a sixer of it.

The Cap City one has perked my interest. How have I missed this over the years?

We aren't talking Syria either.

The Art of the Growler (
Growlers are awesome. If you aren't using them I weep for you. 
We talk about the big brewers but maybe we need to take a closer look at the whole beer industrial complex. 

In Site News!

We recorded a podcast the other day! Look for it this week if Dan can break away from his romancing long enough to edit it. While waiting you can expect Brian's non-skiing Pennsylvania adventure, a few spring seasonal beer reviews and the Spring Seasonal monthly round up. 

As always, you can find us on a variety of forums; facebookuntappedtwitter, andgoogle+, the widget in the top right corner of the page will take you where you want to go. We really appreciate it when you comment.

You can also subscribe to the Jolly Good Fellows beercast on iTunes. Please take the time to rate us, it increases our exposure and gets us out to larger audiences. 

Thanks for stopping by! 

Final Four Beer brackets

The weekend is over and we are down to just four beers. The latest brackets can be found here. Stay tuned we will have a bit more detail on the remaining beers later this week.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Elite 8 beer brackets

Brackets are updated and you can find them here. Once we have our final four beers we will provide some insight on them so stay with us!

Friday, March 23, 2012

No wheat, no barley, no beer? Part 3: Skye's Verdict

After hearing about Rudy's experience I must admit that I was hesitant about tasting the beers I had selected. I picked up all the gluten free imports I could find at my local Total Wine and was given a bonus bottle by my brother Cody. 

The results!

St. Peter's Sorgham Beer
I'd heard good things about St. Peter's Brewery so I was excited for this beer. It poured a clear golden color with little head. This is labeled a pilsner but it didn't have the crisp bite I would have expected. Instead it seemed a bit flat, and it was light on the carbonation. It drank smooth but had a very long bitter aftertaste and it reminded me of sipping my dad's beer when I was a kid, I immediately had a negative reaction to it. I didn't like it, and was slightly taken a back by that. The taste was off but I'm going to chalk that up to my misplaced expectations and that I may have had a bad bottle. I did not have the opportunity to try another one of these but I will drink another and update accordingly. It comes in at an ABV 4.2. 

If your beer has to be gluten-free then
I recommend these
The other three that I had bought were all brewed by Green's Brewery which makes a range of gluten-free beers, but only a few are available in North America. 

Green's Discovery Amber Ale
This poured a nice clear amber color, with a decent light tan head that stuck around a bit with some lacing glomming to the side of the glass. The taste was sweet and light with a decent carbonation. It had a crisp bite to it. Overall this was rather refreshing, it had a slight bitterness in the aftertaste but it cleared off the palate quickly. It is lighter than I expected, with little alcohol taste though it comes in at a 6.5% ABV. This is a solid go to beer.

Green's Endeavour Dubbel Dark Ale
This was intriguing. It poured a clear dark brown color with a tannish head. It had a distinct cidery sweet taste to it, good carbonation, and a pleasant bite. This cleared off the palate incredibly quick leaving a dryness in the mouth. It may be a dark beer but it is not the least bit heavy. It has some heft to it in the alcohol department coming in at 7% ABV. It doesn't have the complexity of other dubbels but it is not just an imitation of one either.  This was a good beer.

Green's Quest Tripel Blonde Ale

I found this to be very good. It poured clear and golden with a puffy white head It had some good fruitiness in the taste, a little sweet, with good carbonation and smoothness. That gave way to an aftertaste that was tart and slightly barnyardish, similar to a biere de garde, but not as grassy. It lasted for a bit slowly giving way to a dryness of the mouth. The Tripel was the only one where the alcohol was apparent while you were drinking it. It wasn't overpowering in the taste, but you could tell it was there. While that is true it is also deceptive this beer packs some punch coming in at a bold 8.5% ABV. Hands down this was the best of the lot and I will drink this one again. I would also recommend it to all beer drinkers.  

Bonus bottle!

Dogfish Head Tweason'ale 

First recommendation, take a big whiff of the beer as you pour it. This beer smells fantastic. It is one of the best smelling beers I have encountered recently. It poured a clear dark gold with minimal head. It was light in taste, with not a lot of body, but good carbonation and a smooth drink. The strawberry taste is evident immediately while the honey rides along in the background. The fruit taste turns into a slight bitterness in the aftertaste. Overall this reminds more of a crisp type of mead. The fruit taste in it is a definite change of pace from the other gluten free beers that were tried. It comes in at 6% ABV but alcohol is masked well. I get think this would be decent on a hot summer day and while I am not quite sold on it I would gladly drink another if offered it. 

Final thoughts.

The hardest part of these tastings was getting over my expectations and approaching the beer with a fresh perspective. The truth behind some of these beers is that they are not new things at all, brewers over the last 10,000 years have been brewing with all sorts of things including the ingredients found in gluten free beers. The new thing is the beers we tried are being brewed for a specific reason now. We talk a lot about the three tenets around here and these tastings were a good reminder of that. Somewhere, somebody is enjoying one of these to the fullest and that is a very good thing. An even better thing is that brewers are taking the time to brew beer that is challenging and rewarding for all people and that is worth celebrating. So while Rudy and I had our struggles doing these tastings we are both glad that we did them and we hope that some of our ramblings prove useful.  

Thursday, March 22, 2012

No wheat, no barley, No beer? Part 2: Rudy's Verdict

Rudy's Gluten free taste trials. 

No Gluten allowed! (Original here)
Rudy: In my own small town of Minocqua, WI, we have several types of sorguhm beers availible to us. I decided to try three of them, for some reason three is my magic number when  tasting beers, I tend to like variety and contrast and since one is not a variety and two does not have much contrast, three is genrally perfect for this task! 

The beers:

Bard’s Original Sorghum Malt Beer brewed by Bard’s Tale Beer Company in Utica, New York, 
I was taken in by the label and was very excited to try this beer, however that soon left me as the beer rushed to my mouth. The first thing I thought of was wow, this is horrible…I have had bad beer before, I think we all have, but this was worse! I decided that one taste was not enough, for the sake of a true review I must give it a second chance…Nope! It was still bad, the taste is somewhere between a fizzy 9-volt battery test on your tongue topped off with a heady alcoholic slap to the face. I did try one more gulp, ( because three is the magic number), and then I sinned and poured it down the drain. I am not proud of the fact I wasted beer, but some things are more important; like retaining the contents of my stomach.

Redbridge, an Anheuser-Busch product from St. Louis, Missouri.
I was a little gun shy about tasting this beer, after all the Bard's was atrocious. Needless to say I marched forward and found this beer drinkable. It had the same attributes as many types of non-alcoholic beers. O’Doul’s would be the closest example. It did not taste bad, or at least not as bad as the first beer. I noticed the same cotton mouthed flavour that Budweiser is famous for. In comparison to the first beer this was much more palatable.

Lakefront New Grist brewed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin by Lakefront Brewery
This beer was the best of the lot. I could finally finish a beer and want another one from the same brewery. New Grist is that perfect summer beer for a hot and muggy day. It was cool, crisp, light in color, with a smidge of citrus taste. On the whole a good tasting beer. If I were unable to eat gluten products and this was presented to me I would think, someone finally cared about me and my dietary problems. Lakefront took the time to create a beer that tastes like a beer, (even if it is kind of like a wine cooler), but a beer non the less.

My final analysis of these beers is this I would not be inclined to consume these beers on a daily basis or anytime in the near future. The Lakefront New Grist was enjoyable, but the other two had an in your face taste and I was left with a queasy stomach after drinking them. I'm glad to have tried them but will stick to the normal and not so normal grain beers I have come to enjoy. I hope that brewers can provide a better gluten free beer in the future.

Skye: Being located in the DC metro region I had a slightly larger selection at hand so I choose some imports. I'll reveal my findings and thoughts tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

No wheat, no barley, no beer? Part 1

The Problem:

Skye: As we have been getting around and exploring the room of beer culture, history, and enjoyment it has become more and more clear that beer is a personal thing. People enjoy it differently, both in types, how and where they drink it, and their expectations from it.

For folks that suffer from celiac disease though any enjoyment of beer is a hard sell.  Being allergic to wheat, barley, and other grains can put a real damper on enjoying a beverage that revels in them,

Here is what the Mayo Clinic says about it:

This would not be an
enjoyable way through life
(Original here)
"Celiac (SEE-lee-ak) disease is a digestive condition triggered by consumption of the protein gluten, which is primarily found in bread, pasta, cookies, pizza crust and many other foods containing wheat, barley or rye. People with celiac disease who eat foods containing gluten experience an immune reaction in their small intestines, causing damage to the inner surface of the small intestine and an inability to absorb certain nutrients."

Rudy: I am stilled amazed at how many people have developed allergies to food. It seems we can not go a day in the kitchen without having a customer relate to a server that they have a food allergy, (celiac disease). Over the last 30 odd years I have worked in many types and styles of restaurants; one of the major concerns has always been food allergies. Gluten allergies are the worst, for many reasons. We tend to use gluten in everything; pasta, thickeners, breads, pastry’s, cereals and the list goes on.

Wikipedia describes gluten as:
"Gluten (from Latin gluten, "glue") is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barley and rye. It gives elasticity to dough, helping it to rise and to keep its shape, and often giving the final product a chewy texture."

Now that we have a background on “Gluten free” we can finally discuss the real reasons why we are writing this article. Today's brewers are imaginative and creative to say the least and the pure genius of creating diverse beer is remarkable, but to create beer for everyone is a gift worth celebrating (and consuming.) We here at JGF are going to explore some gluten-free beers and look for an answer to the question, "Are they worthwhile?" 

If you have any recommendation let us know in the comments. Stay tuned because on Thursday we will let you know what we found out!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Beer links for Spring!

Spring is officially shows up tomorrow though it feels like it has been lurking around for the last few weeks. How bad is it? I actually had to mow my lawn this last weekend. Now I got that to look forward to for the next 7 months. 

In the News!

Yes please.
(Original here)
Someday I will make my pilgrimage to Oktoberfest, but honestly this one sounds more appealing. 

JGF needs to start getting correspondents. Too many festivals, too little coverage. 

How Beer Saved the World (Huffington Post)
It is a building block of civilization, enough said. 

For all you aspiring brewers out there this article provides some interesting insight to finding brewing success. 

Better in the bottle  (Chicago Tribune)
Now for some education on bottle conditioning. 

I'll be heading that way at the end of July. Expect a full report then!

Going back to school for beer (Rochester Democrat and Chronicle)
Maybe someday I will get classically trained in beer...until then I will just keep experimenting and self-educating.

The can movement grows. One thing I have noticed though is the cans are a whole lot more attractive than they used to be. 

And now here is a vote of confidence for the bottle. 

I think it is time for a beer garden visit, plus some schnitzel...and a big pretzel. 

It got a laugh from me. 

If I lived closer I would totally go to this. Once again, I need to start getting some correspondents from beer hot spots. 

Did you honestly expect something else when
I talk about beer and water?
(Original here)
Now for a public service announcement: 

The EPA's Assistant Administrator for Water, Nancy Stoner, will be hosting a Twitter chat about the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act. We all know that great beer demands clean water. We also know that it takes a lot of water to make great beer. Go ask them some questions! The hashtag is #cleanwater and you can find them at @EPAwater from 2:00 to 2:30pm EDT. 

In site news!

It has been over a month but the Jolly Good Fellows podcast will be recording tomorrow night! In other news the brackets have been recently updated to the Sweet 16 beers, Brian will finish out his Pennsylvania adventure, and you can expect some ramblings from me! 

As always you can find us on Untappd, Facebook, twitter, and Google Plus. Just click on the little boxes in the top right corner. Thanks for sticking with us, we are glad you stopped by!

16 sweet delicious brews

The great decider.
(Original here)
The remaining field has once again been halved. Only 16 beers remain. Now that we have a brief pause, go check out any of the remaining beers if you can. If you have drank any of them in the past tell us how they were.

Updated brackets can be found here.

Stick around, Beer Links will be up later today.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

32 teams and St. Patrick's Day

First things first. Half the field is gone so go here to see the new updated brackets. While there may have been some big upsets one thing is still true all the beer remaining is still delicious!

As for St. Patrick's Day we may have something up later today or first thing tomorrow. So stay tuned!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The March Beer Madness Brackets!

Now that the play in teams have been decided it is time for us to reveal our brackets. 64 teams and beers tied together. This year the beer's success is tied to their respective team's success. You can find the brackets here at this link. We will be updating and commenting throughout the tournament. Stay tuned to see which beer will triumph!

To get a closer look at the beers selected go here!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

From Delaware to California! We take a closer look at East and West Coast spring seasonals

It's Pi Day, a day to celebrate a never ending number which is sort of how I feel when I go to the beer store. So much selection and it grows everyday except it seems for the spring seasonals. Don't get me wrong, they are out there and you can find them, but they aren't as celebrated as the potent winter warmers, autumnal harvest ales or refreshing summer beers. 

This week though we are going to look at two of them, both brewed with a fruit component, but very different from each other. 

Up first is Dogfish Head Aprihop. I have had this before but it has been several years since I last tried it. Memory can play tricks so I felt it was time for another go. 

The ale poured a clear amber color with a white head that dissipated very quickly. Lacing clung to the side of the glass as the beer was drank. On the drink it is fairly smooth, and there is sweetness to the beer, not cloying, but fairly crisp. There is a lingering bitterness in the aftertaste. That said, this beer wouldn't be one for an above average temp spring day. Instead this one works better for an April shower. It is hearty enough to be good company on a gray overcast day. 

One word of caution. If you come looking for a fruit beer you are going to leave disappointed. A better way to view this beer is as one that is enhanced by the apricot. The apricot flavor itself is subtle and I would argue slightly lost in the hops, I found the apricot flavor most evident in the tail end of the aftertaste and as the beer warmed to room temperature. 

This beer comes in at 7% ABV but the alcohol is not very apparent, the hops and the apricot do a decent job of masking it. I drank the beer cool, not cold, and it was a decent experience, but I think to get a better apricot experience from it you may wish to let it warm up a bit more. In the end part of me wanted a bit more apricot out of this and it occurred to me as I drank the beer that that was the same thought I had years before. I would recommend this to IPA folks that want to change it up a little bit or as a gate way into the IPA world. 

Our second beer of the night is from Buffalo Bill's Brewery Orange Blossom Cream Ale. From the start this is almost the complete opposite of the Aprihop. 

You can smell the orange in this one, it has a great smell as you pour it in the glass. This poured a clear golden color with a white head the dissipated very quickly. It drank very smooth, slightly sweet, with some carbonation and  little aftertaste, what did remain was a pleasant orangeness. Not much hoppiness or body to it either. The alcohol is in there but it is not apparent. 

I'd argue that this particular beer would be better suited to a hot summer day and it is better when cold. This is a beer best suited for refreshment. It is very drinkable but it doesn't do well as it warms up. 

This beer comes in at 5.2% ABV but this beer is deceptive. It feels light and refreshing but after a few of them you will feel the punch. While released in the spring I think I will go out and save a few of these for summer parties and picnics. 

Let's take a look at the "party lines" on these two:


"Aprihop is an American IPA brewed with Pilsner and Crystal malts. It’s massively hopped – in the continuous fashion, of course! – and the flavor is complemented by the addition of apricots.After fermentation, the beer is dry hopped with irresponsible amounts of Amarillo hops. The beer has a hoppy aroma, with the apricots playing a supporting role.The flavor is rich with late hop flavors, and its bitterness is tempered by just the right amount of malt sweetness and fruity undertones from the apricots."

"Orange Blossom Cream Ale is a season beer in the fastest growing category in the craft segment. Pour it into a glass and enjoy the wonderful fragrance of freshly peeled orange. Orange Blossom Cream Ale is brewed with sweet orange peel, orange blossom extract, and honey."

Want another take on these? Go check out these fine folks at Lost in the Beer Aisle

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Announcing our 68 March Madness breweries and beers!

(Original here)
To celebrate March Madness for 2012 we paired up breweries with the 68 teams selected for the NCAA men's basketball tournament.  To make it more "simple" we tried to grab the brewery that was geographically closest to the respective university or college. In some cases that really wasn't possible so we did the best we could. Then we selected a beer from that brewery's line up, we tried to keep some diversity, but sometimes our beer biases won out. I'm sure we forgot some big ones and there may be grievances so let us know in the comments. 

The selected brews success is shackled to their associated teams. We were originally going to do voting but time was factor so as stated above. we tried to keep it simple. Once the set 64 are decided we will through up the brackets. You can expect that tomorrow evening. 

Without further adieu, let's introduce our beers. 

4. Indiana – Upland Brewing Dantalion Dark Wild Ale
5. Wichita State – River City Emerald City Stout
6. UNLV – Sin City Weisse
7. Notre Dame – Four Horsemen Black Lager
9. Connecticut – Willimantic Derailed Mail IPA
10. Xavier – Rivertown Dunkel Beer
13. New Mexico State – High Desert Extra Special Bitter
14. South Dakota State - Heist Brewing Tea Off Ale
15. Lehigh – Weyerbacher Merry Monks
16a. Mississippi Valley State University – Lucky Town The Flare Incident
16b.Western Kentucky University – Cumberland Brewing Cream Ale

1. Michigan State – Michigan Brewing High Seas IPA
2. Missouri – Flat Branch Brown Ale
4. Louisville – Bluegrass Brewing Altbier
5. New Mexico – La Cumbre Malpais Stout
6. Murray State – Blackhorse Coalminer’s Stout
7. Florida – Swamp Head Big Nose IPA
9. St. Louis – Six Row Double IPA
11. Colorado St. – Odell Bourbon Barrel Stout
12. Long Beach State – Belmont Long Beach Crude
15. Norfolk State – St. George Nut Brown Ale
16. LIU Brooklyn – Brooklyn Lager

1. Syracuse – Empire Brewing Amber Ale
3. Florida State – Pensacola Bay Lighthouse Porter
5. Vanderbilt – Yazoo Dos Perros
6. Cincinnati – Mount Carmel Blond Ale
8. Kansas State – Tallgrass Velvet Rooster
9. Southern Miss – Lazy Magnolia Southern Pecan
10. West Virginia – Morgantown Alpha Blonde Ale
15. Loyola – DuClaw Venom Pale Ale

1. North Carolina – Carolina Sky Blue Golden Ale
3. Georgetown – DC Brau The Citizen
6. San Diego St. – Ballast Point Wahoo Wheat
11. NC State – Big Boss Angry Angel
12a. Cal – Triple Rock Ipax Ale
14. Belmont – Blackstone Brewery A.P.A
16b. Vermont – Magic Hat Vinyl

Monday, March 12, 2012

Beer Links for B-Ball fans, Romans, and the Irish!

If you are really into basketball & beer then
this is the stein for you.
You can find the original here
We have the start of March Madness, the Ides of March (also known as my anniversary), and St. Patrick’s Day. There is a lot of craziness happening this week so off we go!

In the news!

Speaking of brackets, WaPo is working through theirs. We took a totally different approach, so come back tomorrow to see what we have wrought. 

Be advised we are aren't talking about "true" session beers here. The ones they showcase in this article are my definition of a standard brew (about 5% ABV) 

Top 10 Irish Beers (Fox News)
Want to celebrate your Irishness this weekend? Skip the green beer and dive into these instead! Do it right and you can unlock your Luck of the Irish badge on Untappd

A good use of twitter… or the best use of Twitter?

I spent a good fifteen minutes wondering about the chain of events in this article and all the little details.  I love beer crime like this. 

Beer Taxes by State (Town Hall)
This is a cool map. Our southern beer friends in Alabama & Georgia are sure getting the screws turned on them though. 

Seems like a no brainer to me. If it was me I would try to distribute it down in the Outer Banks also.

No surprises here. Though with all the effort they put into this why not just brew better beer?

Whew! That was a close one. I wonder how many gallons of brew are lost a year due to accidents. 

The white whale that is KBS. The Canadian Breakfast Stout is even more elusive. One day though I will have them. 

In site news!

After all the lying I did last week, this week I am not committing to anything other than our beer brackets and a spring seasonal review. What I can promise you is that the JGF team working hard to get back on track both with the podcast and a regular posting schedule. There may be a few more bumps in the road but we are getting things squared away. Thanks as always for stopping in and thanks even more for your patience. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Adventures in Pennsylvania Beer Hounding - Part 1

OK, skiing is not my thing.  Putting sticks on my feet in a water environment is just a recipe for disaster (or comic relief if you find yourself standing on the sidelines enjoying the comedy of errors.)  Downhill, cross-country or even water-skis – it’s just not my thing.

Now my wife is a winter sport natural and thankfully our boys have gotten her “snow” genes.  As a result, I find myself travelling with the wife and boys to our local ski resort, located in the Pennsylvania hills, a few times each winter, cultivating their skiing and snowboarding resumes.

On a recent Sunday morning trek up the mountain, we decided to try a new tact.  While my wife took the boys to snowboard and meet up with other winter skilled Scandinavians, I headed off into the local countryside in search of a local brewery in Chambersburg, PA.

The journey started easily enough, iPhone in its cradle, Google maps up to navigate, I set out .  The rolling hills and country roads made for pleasant and exciting driving.  Chambersburg appeared soon enough.  Lots of people were coming out of their local churches, creating a bit of traffic on the street grid. 

Following the directions, I found that I had passed my location.  Worked my way back and tried it again.  And again.  And, yet again.  After discovering that the aforementioned street grid includes a number of non-grid like alleys and less than well marked streets, I found the Roy Pitz Brewery.  Like the sign said, “its just around the back.” Then the next sign also rang true – “closed.”  Yep, it was Sunday, this was Pennsylvania and Blue Laws are still on the books. 

Undaunted, and having plenty of skiing time on my hands, I went to the next establishment on my list.  The Appalachian Brewing Company in Gettysburg (yes, that Gettysburg) was just a short drive.  The brewpub is just on the edge of the battlefield park and offered a pleasantly rustic atmosphere with an eager and young wait staff.  They had a nice selection of beers, presumably brewed on premises, but possibly in the main brewery in Harrisburg, PA.

I ordered up a fish and chips plate and a Water Gap Wheat, an American style wheat beer.  After the energy expended in finding the Roy Pitz brewery and pressing the time to get to Appalachian Brewing Company and back to the ski resort, the experience was a bit underwhelming.  The Water Gap Wheat couldn’t really make up its mind – did it want to be a wheat beer or not.  It lacked the distinctive body and taste of a traditional wheat beer and even though it was an “American wheat” which was supposed to be lighter in texture than its traditional namesake.  Poor head, lacking in aroma or a consistency of flavor, the beer wasn’t worth the adventure.  (The adventure was worth it on its own.) The link to the Water Gap Wheat is to its listing on Beer Advocate and their opinions differ, but I'll stand by my assessment until I get a chance to try it again.

Photo:  B Smith

Racing back after lunch to the ski resort, I made it on the dot, but resolved that I needed to push back to Roy Pitz the next time we took the snow monkeys to the slopes.

In part 2, we’ll explore the return to Chambersburg.