Posts Tagged ‘pizza boy’

I do apologize for being late with this post but the past four weeks has been very hectic with work and with all the travel (which included a trip to central Pennsylvania and another to Eastern PA, Maryland and Delaware), it has led to a ton of reviews for the month of March (70 in total).  Unfortunately I think my work travelling is coming to an end which means I may have to go out and get a real job soon.  Anyways, lets get to the good stuff…the good beers for March:

Top 5 Beer Reviews for March (okay, it is 7 but they are solid ticks):

 

The 5 Beer Reviews that made me realize that everything can not be a Wild Ale or Bourbon County variant:

  • Terrapin Brewing Cabernet Barrel Aged Monks Revenge ~ Belgian IPA ~ 9.8% ABV ~ 3.1 /5 Rating
  • Stewarts Brewing Citra IPA ~ American IPA ~ ABV Unknown ~ 3.1 /5 Rating
  • Left Hands Brewing Sawtooth Ale with Peaches ~ English Special Bitter ~ 5.3% ABV ~  2.9 /5 Rating
  • Picobrouwerij Alvinne Phi ~ American Wild Ale ~ 10.0% ABV ~ 2.8 /5 Rating
  • And the beer that made me wish I had chosen a better brewery other than Stewarts was Stewarts Brewing Kolsch ~ Kolsch ~ 2.7 /5 Rating

I know it may catch some of your of guard that there is an Otter Creek in my top 5 beers for this month but they must have finally realized that they can still make good beers and sell them to the masses.  I am not calling them the new White Whale brewery of the week but they have launches three straight beers that are better tan most other shelf beers or even some rarities in some cases.  Obviously, they are still no Cantillon…but few breweries are 🙂

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As the running intro for almost all of my entries lately begin….work…blah blah blah….travel….blah blah blah…..and Beer!  This week it took me back to the lovely area of Central Pennsylvania…Chambersburg, Harrisburg, State College and the sweetest place on earth, Hershey.

On my first night in the area, I ended up in Chambersburg PA, which is just a couple miles north of the PA/MD border.  In my previous trip to this particular area, I had hooked up with a Beer Advocate user that I had previously traded with, for a beer or two.  Well, sometimes when you are having fun, you don’t realize that it is past midnight and you have cracked more than a couple beers.  My friend Travis had invited several of his friends over to sample beers and the night took off from there…until the next day actually.  Here was a list of the cracks from that night…

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Although it was awesome to get to stack up a three year vertical of Bourbon County Fruit Stouts, it also did all of his in for the night too.  Thankfully, my hotel was less than a mile away from where we were or it would have been a long ride back that night.

On Tuesday night, I had the opportunity to meet up with a now former coworker for dinner.  The only problem was that I wanted to go to different breweries that night and both of them were 25 minutes in each direction…not to mention hat my hotel was 20 minutes in a completely different direction.  Making an executive decision (because this determined the fate of the world, obviously), I decided to head East and go to Spring House Brewery.
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Spring House Brewery opened up in 2006 by head brewer Matt Kearsy.  He has a very familiar story where he hated his job, was an avid home brewer and finally said ‘Fuck It’, I’m opening a brewery’.  His original location was done right at his home, which was built in the 1790s and had a functioning natural spring (until the 1970s) in the basement, hence the name Spring House Brewery.  Unfortunately, when you base a brewery out of your house, things could get a little hectic and congested, so he decided to open The Taproom in downtown Lancaster in early 2011.

I had first discovered Spring House Brewery at the GABF in 2012.  During the first session (Thursday Night), it was one of those fluke things where you are walking around, happen to see a long line to a brewery, see some catchy names and say, ‘Why Not’.  Holy Shit, now I knew why there was such a long line, the beer was fantastic as I got to taste Braaaiins! (their pumpkin beer) and was blown away.  My best friends had tried Satan’s Bake Sale (mint chocolate chip stout) and had the same reaction…well, two more times through the line that night and we were hooked.   We had gone back to their booth during the third session (Saturday Afternoon) and they were almost wiped out of beer completely…which by the end of the session, they had vacated their booth because they were sold out.  Fast forward one full year, when I return back to the GABF Saturday afternoon sessions, with my buddy Matt and his friend Aaron, I had pointed out that we needed to get to Spring House but when we finally made our way over there, again, they were down to their last beer and sold out by the end of the session.

Given the fact that I was only about 20 minutes away from Lancaster, PA, its just made sense to get out while I could.  When I arrived, the place was about a quarter filled, had some dim lighting to go with the mildly macabre décor, but had a nice feel to it.  The service was decent, they had 9 beers on tap at the time that I went, along with 3 bottles for sale to go as well.  Here is what I consumed while on premises…

For the most part, Spring House Brewing met my expectations for the evening.  While not every beer was a complete success in my eyes, there were more hits than misses.  Spring House would definitely make a nice watering hole if it were located in my backyard…unfortunately, it is not.  Until next time Spring House…

It is amazing how things chance in such a short period of time when it comes to the weather.  As in most places, we have a saying in Buffalo…if you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes.  Such seemed to be the case for me on Wednesday too when the previous day had a high of 65 degrees, Wednesday was in the lower 20’s.  It just made for another miserable 12 hour work day with constant bands of rain/snow.  After arriving at the hotel in Hershey, I made a quick turnaround and headed to the closest brewery near my hotel, Troegs Brewing Company.

Troegs Brewing Company was created in 1997 by a pair of brothers who became overwhelmed by the craft beer scene in Colorado.  While they enjoyed their several years in Colorado, they wanted to get a full blown production brewery up and running back in the mid-atlantic area where there was less competition and less pressure.  Troegs had out grown their previous brewery and moved into a new facility in 2011, where they could meet the demand for their beers.  My first trip to Troegs was about 6 months after they had moved into their new facility.  To this day, I still stick to the fact that Troegs has the largest tasting room that I have ever been in (and I am over 120+ breweries visited).

I ran into Troegs really because I was curious to see what new or interesting beers that they might have on tap.  In my previous trip to Troegs, they had 4 different Scratch series beers on tap but unfortunately, it was not as abundant this day.  Actually, when I walked in and saw the draft board, it literally became…’well, I should have one beer while I am here’, as there wasn’t a single scratch beer on tap, and the only ‘special’ beers was Nugget Nectar and…

…but then I also saw this little nugget on the board too.
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Now the quick story behind this beer being an In House Only bottle was because of issues with the carbonation inside the bottle.  The brewers were concerned about the carbonation pressure of the bottles and didn’t feel safe with releasing it to the public with corks that could crush someones eye, so they kept the entire release In House Only, to be opened by Troegs Certified Serving Professionals.

After leaving Troegs, I headed to the other side of the capital city of PA to a small town called Enola, where Al’s of Hampden is located…home of Pizza Boy Brewing Company.
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Al’s of Hampden/Pizza Boy Brewing was started several years ago as a pizza parlor but then the owner Al got into serving local craft beer.  Within the past 18 months, they have since moved into a bigger facility now offering 102 taps of liquid goodness but still offering many taps of local craft beer, in paying homage to their craft beer roots.  With 102 taps staring me down, I did the only thing I thought was safe…head for the rarer bottles :)…

All I can say about Pizza Boy is that make sure that you eat before you arrive, as I thought the pizza was shit…but their beer list is amazing, especially for someone who is not local to the area or state for that matter.
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Thursday was just another shitty work day where the weather sucked, people wasted my time and things didn’t go according to plan…thankfully, my last stop of the day was 20 minutes away from Selin’s Grove Brewing Company located in Selinsgrove, PA.  While this brewery may not be known to a lot of people, but to the trained palate (and beer geek), Selin’s Grove is known for making some of the best fruit beers in the world (literally).

Selins Grove Brewing Company opened up in 1996 by a husband and wife team that were striking out in their craft brewing adventure after both were working at New Belgium Brewing for several years, in various positions.  They really became real brewers when they replaced their 3 barrel system in 2004 with some second hand equipment purchased from Avery Brewing.  Since their real brewing expansion in 2004, they have since upgraded their system several more times in the past decade to keep up with demand with their beers, especially with their Kriek, Framboise, and Pumpkin beers which are some of the highest rate in the world.

Although this was not my first time stopping here, I was still excited when I arrived because I was hoping to have a chance to get to try another fruit beer…and I was so fortunate to get these beers while I was here…

Although the place is small and dark on the inside, always worth the stop if you can snag one of their famed fruit beers.

From Selins Grove Brewing, I made the half hour drive north up into Williamsport, PA (home of the Little League World Series).  Thankfully, I have never had the pleasure of working in the area during said Little League World Series, I have been to this town many times and have hit up this place on many occasions.
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Bullfrog Brewery opened up in 1996 in downtown Williamsport and maintains the same location, brewing system that they started with since the beginning.  In early 2013, they opened a small secondary location for which they use to brew additional beer, fill kegs and sixtels.  Bullfrog was known to have brewed some ‘White Whale’ sours but that seemed to end when their head brewer left Bullfrog in 2012 for Pizza Boy Brewing.  While the Jazz Night was annoyingly loud and some of the locals I could have done without, I still managed to put down several more selections from Bullfrog…

Another week is in the books…just another travel adventure for a Wandering Idiot.  And Yes, I am still standing…

Where in the hell does the time go?   It seems like it was just yesterday that I was boarding a plane to Denver for the GABF and it turns about that it was a month and a half ago.  Another thing that I thought was ironic that was my tasting group had a Cantillon Heavy tasting and not a single bottle made it onto my Top 5 for this month, even though some of the bottles we had were new for me.  It just seems like time is flying over the past couple of months and before I know it, my job will soon change and Christmas will have come and gone too.

Anyways, here were the monthly reviews…

Top 5 Beer Reviews for November (yes, I realize that there are 7 again):

 

The 5 Beer Reviews that made me question humanity:

  • Brooklyn Brewing Brooklyner Weisse Beer ~ Hefeweizen ~ 3.1 /5 Rating
  • Corsendonk Apple White ~ Belgian White ~ 3.1 /5 Rating
  • Hamburg Brewing White Corner Wheat ~ American Wheat ~ 3.0 /5 Rating
  • Great Divide Heydey ~ Belgian White ~ 3.0 /5 Rating
  • And the beer that questions why I ever drank yellow fizzy water was Molson Canadian ~ Pale Lager ~ 2.2 /5 Rating

Some other changed that I have experienced, other than my job loss, was that I have removed all of my information from Beer Advocate over to Rate Beer.  It is just getting tiring of all the bullshit antics of the BA overlords and their douchebag minions that made the website boring.  Not to mention the personal attack on my own information by wiping out my entire profile, including my entire trade history as well.  I removed all of my beer and place reviews because they can boot you off of their website and still maintain all of your reviews because once you post it, they consider it “beeradvocate intellectual property”.   There is an oxymoron for you…

Since my job situation has changed too, I have also cut way back on my trading too.  I have several traders that wanted to set up a pipeline, which I am totally fine with.  I continue  sending my random boxes to my buddy Matt in California as always.  Matt and I have been sending blind boxes back and forth for the better part of two years now and has been a great beer friendship.  I have also established a couple of new ones with a guy down in Texas and another trading pipeline with a guy up in the Pacific Northwest too.   Oh, how I do love those sour beers and those two areas have some real up and comers in my favorite styles.

Please don’t ask me where the stupid name came from, it just popped in my head at one point and got ran with.  Sometimes the tasting group is able to lock down a date for a tasting where most of the guys can show up…well, this wasn’t one of those times.  In fact, it happened to be dumb luck that three of us happened to be snagging growlers of beers that we don’t get any distro on at all.

Scott Jr was making his way back from Washington DC and took a sidebar to Als of Hampden (outside of Harrisburg PA) where he snatched up a growler of their Royal Tanin Baums Blueberry Wild Ale.  A new member to out group, Mike, was making a trip out to Michigan where he snatched bottles of Kuhnhenn’s Raspberry Eisbock, Kuhnhenn’s Kruchberry and a growler of Plead the Fifth.  Then I myself was working down near Newburgh NY and made a run to Peekskill Brewing for a growler of their Eastern Standard IPA and had traded for a growler of Cigar City’s Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Brown Ale…and all of this happened within one weeks time.  Toss in a couple more guys with their assorted bombers/big bottles including a nice 2013 Hunahpu (which happens to be one of my favorite Imperial Stouts, along with Black Tuesday), a couple of home brews which were actually decent and a tasting was born.  Sometimes that is just how it goes…here was the lineup for that evening: