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Monday, February 20, 2017

Everybody got to deviate from the norm

Readers of the Pour Travelers are certainly familiar with "The Chalet." In case you're just joining us and have no frame of reference, you can read the opening paragraph of this blog for some background on the Chalet. For those of you who have been following us for a while and have wondered what the Chalet looks like, I decided to snap a few pictures this time to share. Here you go:
The Chalet
Typically, +we'll follow one of two standard itineraries when we get away to Chalet for the weekend. Friday evening always begins with a stop for dinner and drinks at Selin's Grove. This is a constant and always a given. Sunday is sometimes a mixed bag, but more often than not, we'll hit Selin's Grove again in the afternoon and end up at Pizza Boy by the early evening. As for Saturdays, here's the two alternating itineraries we usually follow to the T:

Option 1 - State College: Elk Creek > Happy Halley > Zeno's > Otto's


Option 2 - Williamsport: Bullfrog > Riepstine's

We'll usually tack on a visit to Rusty Rail at the end of each day since it's in such close proximity to the Chalet, followed by a nightcap at Pap's Pub (ie: Ffej's Igloo North).

This past weekend, however, I was up for some much-needed deviation from the usual suspects. I felt that our weekend trips were becoming too predictable and stagnant. On Friday afternoon, I texted Brewslut and asked, "Feeling limber on Saturday?" Always one to go with the flow, she responded in terse fashion with, "Sure." This is one of the many reasons why I love her.

I'd suggested that we head north to Mansfield, PA, and eventually across the border into upstate New York, then loop back around to Williamsport, PA, before heading back to the Chalet for the evening. It was quite an ambitious itinerary for a single day, as I'd hoped to hit six breweries. While it doesn't sound like too many stops given our track record of visiting up to 10 breweries in a single day, the challenge here was the five-and-a-half hour round trip from the Chalet to our northern-most destination and back. I, too, was feeling limber. We got this!

But first, we had a date with the Pub on Friday night. I was hoping the new cask-only Cocoa Nib Stout would still be available when we arrived, and luckily it was. This cask-conditioned version of
Shade Mountain Oatmeal Stout was aged on vanilla beans, cocoa nibs, and bourbon-soaked oak spirals. The oak and bourbon character was modest, but the cocoa aroma and flavor was quite pronounced. Brewslut and I both enjoyed it quite a bit! I followed up the stout with an IPA (can't pass on one of these when it's on), and a Framboise. We also tried the latest draft cocktail, which was a blood orange vodka-infused concoction with house-made lemon-lime soda, which was quite tasty. I love that the Pub is now offering these draft cocktails in addition to its stellar beer, local wine, and cider, and nitro cold brew coffee. The only problem now is that there are too many awesome selections! Steve, the owner, was also in rare form this evening. I think he was hitting the Tripel pretty hard and trying to remain in a well-lubricated state due to the fact that his twin daughters were having a birthday slumber party next door. He was also gracious enough to give me a healthy sample of a special secret beer he got from the brewery while he disappeared for a few minutes. I'm not gonna lie to you, but it was like getting a gold star on my book report in fifth grade.

We woke up uncharacteristically early on Saturday morning, made breakfast, and headed out around 11:15 a.m., which was only about 15 minutes behind schedule. Our first stop of the day was Yorkholo Brewing Company. Situated in Mansfield, PA, (within walking distance of the college), Yorkholo has been around for about six years. Brewslut had visited once a few years ago on a Team D(r)INK trip to the Fingerlakes. I couldn't join them, as I had a gig that particular weekend. I'd been wanting to get there for quite some time. After perusing their tap list on-line, I decided it was finally time to make the trek. I'm glad we did because I loved this place!

Pleeps lends a hand with our 10-beer sampler flight!

It was close to 1 p.m. when we arrived. Just across the street, there was a small crowd of ladies holding signs about educational rights, so I beeped to show our support. I parked next to what we assumed was one of the protester's cars, because Brewslut noticed a comical bumper sticker, which read: "What if we destroy the planet before Jesus comes back?" I had to chuckle. It made me proud to be a liberal and glad to have a warped (scratch that... depraved) sense of humor. Plus my sarcasm meter is usually running well into the red at all times, especially as I get older and crankier. But enough of that. Why are we here? Because of beer!

In typical fashion, I wanted to try everything on the beer menu. So, we opted for a full flight of all ten beers currently available. Five were hoppy offerings while the others were an assortment of dark beers like Belgians, porters, and stouts. Here's the run-down:
  • House Beer - a Belgian-style "Single" (aka Blonde Ale)
  • Komorebi - an "extra" pale ale. (FUN FACT: Komorebi is a Japansese word used to describe when sunlight filters through trees and the interplay between the light and leaves.)
  • India Pale Lager - hoppy lager with hints of pine, mango, and grapefruit.
  • Amarillo IPA
  • Alpenglow - dark Belgian-style ale brewed with ginger and aged on tart cherries and sweet black cherries. Yup, this one was as good as it sounds! Probably my favorite of the lot. (Another FUN FACT: Alpenglow (noun) is the rosy light of the setting or rising sun seen on high mountains.)
  • The Tantalizing Succulent Monk - Belgian Dubbel with lots of dark fruit, clove and a hint of anise. 
  • Molé Stout - milk stout aged on cocoa nibs, Serrano peppers, vanilla beans, and cinnamon. This was was brand new as of 2/13. 
  • Imperial Porter - chocolate and espresso goodness!
  • The Yanochik - A Scottish Wee Heavy style ale with notes of tobacco, leather, caramel and faint smoke. I dug this one quite a bit too.
  • Rez-Head - Imperial IPA with citrus and peach notes. Loved this one too!
#winning at Yorkholo!

Overall, the place had a great vibe and we felt very comfortable drinking there. I liken it to hanging out with an old friend. The space was open and inviting, with high ceilings, exposed brick walls and fun strings of lights strewn about the space. The servers were super-friendly and we learned a bit about the history of the brewery, including the man behind the logo (Grandpa Yorkholo), and a few Japanese words. (We were both English majors, so we're always interested in expanding our vocabularies.) Word of the day: KOMOREBI (pronounced ko-mo-RAY-bee). Editor's note: Sorry to all the linguists out there... this might not be the actual phonetic spelling of the word.

After a fantastic visit to Yorkholo, we were off to New York. We had another 30-odd miles to traverse, plus we ran into a detour, which tacked on a few additional minutes. Our first stop was in the town of Elmira. Like Yorkholo, Upstate Brewing boasts a 6-year brewing history. When we arrived, I was excited to see a firkin sitting firmly on the bar. Turns out it was a bourbon barrel-aged version of its flagship beer, Common Sense, a dark cream ale. Brewslut went with a beer called Ipso Lacto, a Berliner Weisse dry-hopped with Amarillo and Equinox. Both were pretty solid. For this stop, we decided to share a few half pours of some more interesting-sounding selections. Around us, the place was brimming with friendly people chatting about beer and travel (go figure!), so we were happy to chime in. We chatted with a couple from nearby Sayre, PA, as well as another couple from Rochester, NY. Upstate is also dog-friendly, and there were some pretty chill pups hanging out with their owners. We're both pro-dog, and we'll gladly take a brewery packed with pooches over a congregation of ill-behaved children any day of the week.

On tap at Upstate.

Up next, we sampled the New Zealand IPA and another Molé Stout. Hops harvested in New Zealand continue to be in vogue in 2017, and we come across many hoppy offerings brewed with hops "Southern Hemisphere" varieties. This one didn't "wow" me, but it was pleasant enough. The stout was solid too. We ended with a pour of the aptly named Double, a DIPA with minimal bitterness and notes of tropical fruit and berry. 

The many moods of Pleepleus.

A few miles north of Elmira is the oddly named village of Horseheads, NY, which is actually a part of the greater Elmira area. I just love the name Horseheads. Needless to say it sparked an interesting conversation between Brewslut and I while we were on our way to our next stop, Birdland Brewing. I suggested that the founder of the village perhaps saw a team of horses as he was coming over the horizon and named the town after this sighting. Brewslut, on the other hand, had a somewhat more morose theory about decapitated horses. (A quick Wiki search revealed a brief account of how the village acquired its name, which you can read about here if you are so inclined. She was closer to the actual story in her estimation.)

Birdland is a tiny place nestled in a small commercial plot next to a carpet cleaning business. The place probably seats only 25 or so people. Since we passed on a snack at Yorkholo and Upstate didn't have any food (except for bar pretzels), we decided it was time to feed. Lucky for us, Birdland has some tasty-sounding sandwiches and salads. We both opted for The Gobbler, a turkey breast sandwich with American cheese, cracked pepper mayo, cranberry horseradish, Granny Smith apple slices, and lettuce. The sandwiches hit the spot, and we especially liked the crusty baguette-style bread. 

Inside Birdland's tiny tasting room.

As you might imagine, all of its beers and menu items are named after species of birds (or parts of birds' anatomy). I thought that Deuane would appreciate the effort here. We again opted for a sampler flight of six different beers selected from a list of ten. These included some fruited porters, a maple beer, an IPA, and a few others. Unfortunately, none were particularly memorable. We appreciated the effort of beers like Bluebird (a chocolate blueberry porter) and Crimson Chat (a double chocolate cherry Porter), and the staff were super friendly, but overall the beers were lacking complexity and aroma. Still, it's always nice to get a new brewery under our belts and chalk off another place from the list. Plus the place was packed, so it looks like the locals are digging it. 


Our final destination in NY was the actual Horseheads Brewing Company. This was one I'd been privy to for a number of years, as its Pumpkin Ale is considered one of the best of its kind in craft beer circles. (NOTE: A quick search of my old BA reviews revealed that I did, in fact, have at least one of its beers in the past. Click here to check it out!) Inside, the tasting room was booming with folks getting down to some tasty beers and a trio of musicians playing antiquated but entertaining music on acoustic instruments (although the one guy did play a Tele with a slide on a few tunes). We found a tiny table in the corner of the room and settled in with our drinks. It was loud and boomy inside, making it difficult to hear the trio's vocals. The TVs didn't help, either. The place wasn't dripping with ambiance (it was a big square room with plain white walls and non-descript seating), but the beers were solid and the place was packed with locals. It was tough to strike up a conversation with the band playing, so we kept to our own devices and planned our next attack over a pair of tasty beers. While we're not huge fans of getting beer in plastic cups, we did like what was inside said cups, so forgiveness was in order.  

Pleeps and the plastic cups.

For our first selections, I opted for Tropical Daze, a blood orange IPA, while Brewslut ordered OMFG, a chocolate peanut butter porter). Both were quite tasty and neither had that "fake" flavor (you know what I'm talking about) you sometimes get with other similar beers using these types of ingredients. Brewslut commented that the Tropical Daze was her favorite beer of the day thus far. I liked it also, but it was like drinking orange juice. Not a bad thing, right? Could be an alternate breakfast beer when you're short on coffee stouts. Since we were impressed with our first two selections, we decided to share another half pour of the Double IPA, which was also quite good. At almost 9% ABV and around 91 IBUs, this one was pretty potent and displayed a huge citrus punch. After sharing that one, it was time to hit the rocky road back to PA. However, the day wasn't over just quite yet. 

Billtown (that's code for Williamsport, PA) is familiar territory for us. I'd just learned of a brand new brewery in Billtown called Boom City, which was just down the street about two blocks from Bullfrog Brewery. I figured this night was as good as any to swing by and check another new place off the list.

Inside Boom City.
Inside, it was fairly crowded, but we managed to spot two stools on the far left side of the bar. We recognized the bartender as a guy who previously worked at Bullfrog (or perhaps still does). Beer-wise, they had six offerings available. We settled on Smash Simcoe IPA (me) and Muddy River, an American Porter (Brewslut). Both were solid and showed promise. However, they've only been open a very short period, so I'm sure they'll get their system dialed in quickly. It's great to have another place in Billtown, especially one just around the corner from Bullfrog. They also have a full menu that looked pretty good. Tonight, they were featuring fried banana peppers as an appetizer special, and we actually managed to get a few free samples. These were bangin' and after tasting these, I'd wished we'd ordered some. Oh well. Hopefully next time they'll have them on the menu.

View from the bar at Boom City.

Since it was getting late, we unfortunately decided to skip Riepstine's this time and drive around the corner to Bullfrog. I decided to shoot my buddy and fellow drummer, Joel, a message. Thinking he was probably gigging that night, I thought I'd at least invite him to meet us for a beer. He handles the marketing duties (sound familiar?) for Bullfrog, so I know he's always up for some "frog in his throat." As it turns out, he was enjoying a rare night off, and happened to be hanging out at his office right across the street from the Frog. Joel was gracious enough to hook us up with a few beers and an appetizer (we love the tofu bites, so we opted for those). I settled on a pint of Edgar IPA, one of my all-time favorites, while Brewslut opted for a pint of Coffee Stout. The recipe for this seems to change from time to time, and this version was very different than the one I'd just had during our last visit. This version was lighter and extremely hazy, almost like a Northeast Style IPA a la Trillium, Tree House, or Alchemist. It was fairly dank and citrusy. It paired nicely with the killer band that happened to be playing that evening, a band from Burlington, VT, called Gang of Thieves. I was immediately struck by the quartet's unorthodox instrumentation, featuring a frontman and lead vocalist who also played electric violin, and a guy playing trombone. The rest of the ensemble was rounded out with guitar, bass, and drums. These guys boasted a fat 70's funk groove with some danceable beats and killer vocals. The group also traded off slick leads on the violin, guitar, and trombone. I liked them enough to buy both of their CDs during set break. They were just kicking off a 6-week tour that would take them all the way down the east coast to Florida, then out west to Colorado followed by a few random dates in the Midwest. Their originals were enjoyable, and they even threw in a few choice covers including some Chili Peppers, a Stevie Wonder medley, and Hendrix. Great stuff! After finishing our beers, we shared a pint of Hopsphycitration, a dry-hopped Pale Ale steeped with fresh, organic citrus. This version was light, vibrant and pretty hoppy. It was great to catch up with Joel a bit and enjoy some great beers at the Frog. Plus, I absolutely loved the band (which is rare... like the beer, the band has to be pretty damn killer to capture my attention). It was the perfect cap to an amazing day. Did I mention it was like 65 degrees all day... in February... in northern PA and upstate NY?! Yup. It was surreal to walk around outside in February in a T-shirt. I would have loved to have stuck around for Gang of Thieves' second set, but we had a 45-minute drive ahead of us, and we'd been drinking since 1 p.m. It was time to retire for the evening. Stick a fork in me, Billtown!

Until next time... Pleeps says, "Cheerio!"

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Imminent Liquidation VII

Many years ago when I first became enamored with craft beer and the amazing scene tied to it, I caught wind of an event by way of Beer Advocate called Stone Soup. The event urged attendees to bring and share rare bottles of craft beer from their cellars. I loved the sound of this, so me and a few friends decided to make the trek all the way down to the General Lafayette Inn in Lafayette Hill, PA (way down in the greater Philadelphia region - quite a haul from Annville, PA). While the event was awesome and we attended a few times, I thought, "I could do this."

And so Imminent Liquidation was born. I'm proud to say that "Central PA's premier craft beer bottle share event" is celebrating its 7th anniversary in 2017, and I'm pretty sure we finally found a permanent home for the event at the fantastic Grain + Verse Bottlehouse in New Cumberland, PA. I hope you'll join us on Sunday, April 23 at Grain + Verse during Harrisburg Beer Week for four hours of sharing and craft beer camaraderie.

In a nutshell, the event encourages attendees to share rare and hard-to-find beers with fellow craft beer enthusiasts. Everyone is required to bring beer to share as well as his or her own tasting glass. While there is no admission fee, folks are asked to make a monetary donation to be used for gratuity for the staff at Grain + Verse. To keep things upbeat, we raffle off a variety of beer-related items gathered by friends and local establishments to raise additional funds for a beneficiary that is near and dear to me. This year, donations and raffle ticket sales will benefit Goats of Anarchy, a safe haven and farm sanctuary for crippled and special-needs goats. Everyone who knows me well or follows me on Facebook knows how much I adore goats!

To sign up to attend the event, click HERE. You can also "like" our Facebook page to learn more about the event.

Check out these links to some great reviews and photos of past Imminent Liquidation events:

Beer Busters Podcast

Drew's Brews Reviews

Stouts and Stilettos

You can also meander back into time and check out several older Pour Travelers blogs on the subject. Cheers!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Team D(r)INK Does York County

We were due for a day trip to York County, as we hadn't visited since August 2014. During our last visit, we hit Liquid Hero, Gunpowder Falls, South County, and a fourth one (I thought, anyway) but for some reason the name escapes me. I was on blog hiatus back then, and didn't feel like digging that far back into my Untappd check-in history, so let's just leave it at three places.

This time, I had planned on hitting four new-to-us places with Collusion as the centerpiece. I'd heard good things from a few people about Collusion, so I felt it was time to head down there. I had a free Saturday, so Brewslut and I - accompanied by Team D(r)INK members Nate and Swingle - headed in the CRV for a few hours in and around York.

Our first stop was intended to be Black Cap in Red Lion, PA, just a few miles on the far side of York. I figured we'd start off at the furthest location from home and backtrack through York. However, Nate suggested we check out Golden Crust Pizza, which was a short three blocks away. Good thing he suggested it, because the tap selection was quite impressive.

We all started out with pours of Alesmith's Mokasida Coffee Speedway Stout. What a way to kick things off, right? I'd had a few of the Speedway variations over the years, and this one lived up to most of the others. I think the Vietnamese Coffee version (sampled numerous times over the years) and Hawaiin (especially on tap during Drinksgiving '15 at Chicago's excellent Local Option) were two stand-outs. But this variation was certainly no slouch. Mokasida coffee originates in Ethiopia and features a berry-like flavor and aroma.

Get in line, Pleeps!

Lizard of Koz, a new Imperial Stout from Founders, might have been my favorite of the bunch. Founders still always manages to amaze me with its offerings. I've seldom met a Founders beer I didn't like. This rich, chewy Imperial Stout is brewed with vanilla, chocolate and Michigan-grown blueberries, then aged in bourbon barrels, because, you know... why not?! The blueberry presence was quite subtle until the finish, which played nicely with the huge chocolate character. I'd love to revisit a larger pour of this fine beer in the very near future!

Brewslut got a pour of Cup a Joe Coffee Crème Stout from Short's, which surprisingly was collectively our least favorite of the beers we sampled at Golden Crust. It had a somewhat chalky finish that was a little off-putting, but it certainly wasn't undrinkable. I love Short's but after having the Alesmith and Founders offerings prior to trying this, I must say it fell short (no pun intended).

Copy Paste IPA from Evil Twin was quite tasty and juicy. This one features a few of my favorite hop varietals including Nelson Sauvin, Galaxy, Citra, Motueka, and Mosaic. Wow!

Swingle tried Sour Blackberry Ale from La Brasserie Du Pays Flamand. The concensus on this one was two words: damn sour!

For my second 5-ouncer, I went with Double Barrel Big Bad Baptist from Epic Brewing. I'd had the standard Big Bad Baptist in the past and was impressed, so it was a no-brainer to get a pour of this bigger, rarer version. It didn't disappoint!

Erase & Rewind IPA #3, another from Evil Twin, was also nice. This one features an assortment of (mostly) unusual hops including Ella, Hallertau, Mosaic, Equinox, and Wakatu.

Mackaper, an "Australian" Pale Ale from Omnipollo, a Swedish brewery we encountered at our last visit to Hawthorne's in Philly, was up next. This was surprisingly quite fresh and invigorating, with a big citrusy note.

Black Cap Brewing Company was a short three-block walk down the street from Golden Crust, though I must admit we couldn't get there quickly enough given the 20 degree thermometer reading. Still, we trudged on and thankfully didn't get a nasty case of frostbite on our way.

The brewery and adjoining tasting room are situated in a historic 1935 building that previously housed Red Lion's post office (hence the names of some of Black Cap's beers, such as the Postmaster's Series). Inside, it is a very clean, organized space with plenty of room to throw back some beers and food while enjoying the aesthetics of the architecture.

We decided to share a full sampler flight, then get a pour of our favorite beer following the flight. Here's a quick recap of what we had:
  • Cream Ale - an easy-drinking, pre-Prohibition style ale. 
  • Saison De Gui - meaning "season of mistletoe," this strong holiday ale is brewed with fresh ginger root, orange peel, whole cloves, and honey.
  • General Gates Porter - 18th century-style porter brewed with smoked malt and molasses.
  • Imperial General Gates Porter - Imperial version of the standard offering brewed for Black Cap's 2nd anniversary.
  • Cream Stout - dark, sweet stout brewed with lactose.
  • Hop Scramble - Straight-up IPA featuring Cascade, Chinook, Columbus, and Nugget hops. 
  • Postmaster's Series #6 - DIPA with healthy doses of Citra, Simcoe, and Cascade hops. This was easily my favorite of the bunch! 
  • Wildflower - Belgian Blond brewed with locally sourced honey.

The beers were all well done with a few standouts, including the Imperial Porter and DIPA. After polishing off our flight, I ordered a full pour of the DIPA (I think we all may have). I must give Greg props and say that this was undoubtedly one of the best DIPAs I've seen come out of a small PA brewery in the last few years. It was juicy, well-balanced, hoppy, and kept the higher ABV well concealed. Greg, one of the co-owners and brewers, was nice enough to give us a quick tour of the modest 3-barrel brewhouse. He made a joke that Anheuser-Busch spills more grain on the floor in one day than he uses all year. He was quite talkative, knowledgeable and enthusiastic about his brewery, which has only been around for about two years.

Black Cap's modest brewhouse.

Swingle picked up the sampler flight and cheese plate tab, so I offered to make the epic 3-block UPHILL hike back to the car in 20-degree weather while they finished up their beers in the warm bosom of Black Cap's cozy tasting room. After my role playing as an Uber driver, we were off to our next destination - Collusion Tap Works.

Inside Collusion Brew Works.

The word is out on Collusion, and I've had good reports from a few peeps who visited recently. I checked out the massive tap list on-line, and decided we had to visit that weekend. I mean, they had a smoked barleywine and imperial Berliner Weiss on tap. Sold!

When we arrived, I was surprised to find such a large, well-appointed tasting room surrounded by plenty of exposed brick and holiday decor. After getting our bearings, we perused the beer menu on the chalkboard. Within about a minute or two, we made an executive decision to bite the bullet and try EVERYTHING on the menu. And let me tell you, it was a big menu! See for yourself below...

What to try... how 'bout all of 'em?!

I'll spare you the complete list (if you want to check out everything we had, check out my Untappd or Twitter feed. It's all on there. There was plenty of variety and really something for everyone. Even if you don't like beer, they had mead and cider available. While nothing really ripped my face off, there were a few standouts (and only two undrinkable messes, I'm afraid). Some standouts were the aforementioned imperial Berliner Weiss (a beer named Dole), Fuzzy Scrumpit (IPA brewed with fresh white peaches and pink guava), and What Gose Around (an apricot Gose). The latter was unanimously the favorite of the group and proved to be an exemplary interpretation with juicy apricot notes, tart under bite and just a hint of salty goodness.

Just a portion of our extended sampler flight at Collusion.

Pleeps found his way into some of the samplers, and enjoyed a few too many, including some of the sours. He's more accustomed to porters and stouts. Luckily, my phone was handy so I could chronicle his descent into drunkenness.


Our final stop of the night (in York, anyway) was Holy Hound Taproom. Embarrassingly enough, I have never set foot in this place, which has been regarded as York's finest craft beer haven for quite some time. Oh well, there's a first time for everything, right?

Inside Holy Hound Taproom.

By this time, I was famished (no food at Collusion), so some fries and what not were in order. (The "what not" is... well, I don't remember; hence me referring to it as "what not." I do remember the food tasting mighty fine, so I suppose that's a good thing.) I was hoping to try something new since this was my first visit, and the tap selection didn't disappoint. I scanned the draft menu and came across a new-to-me brewery: Mispillion River. Based out of Milford, DE, the brewery opened in 2013 and produces five flagship beers, one of which is Reach Around IPA (great name!), the beer I enjoyed on this very night. I like a brewery that doesn't take itself too seriously, and by the names of some of their beers, it sounds like these guys have a good sense of humor. At only 6%, this was an easy drinker featuring a nice hop palate of Cascade, Columbus, and Nugget. Overall, a nice first impression. (Check out their web site, too. Their cans feature some pretty sweet artwork!)

That's all she wrote!
Up next was The Calling, a DIPA from the more familiar Boulevard Brewing Company, but I'll be damned if I can remember this sucker. I'm not sure if I bummed a few swigs from Brewslut or I actually ordered a pour of this. Good thing I was driving. Seriously though, I checked it in so there you go. Not much to say about that one, I guess. So, stick a fork in me... at least for now.

After leaving Holy Hound, we made our way up to Pizza Boy for a nightcap, where I enjoyed a pour of the newish Blackberry/Blueberry Sour Ale and The Stranger (another great name!), the latter a new American IPA weighing in at 7%. Both were solid as per usual. And that, my friends, wraps up our little Team D(r)INK excursion to the nether regions of York County. Ten years ago, this area was a veritable craft beer wasteland. However, now it seems to be rife with some quality places. We'll have to make sure our next visit is sooner than a year-and-a-half. Until next time...

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

From the Ashes of Millbock

Back at the start of the '10s (that just doesn't have the same impact as the 70s or 80s, does it?), a small production brewery opened its doors in Linglestown, PA. That brewery was Millbock. (Their web site is no longer active, but you can check out their Untappd page. They were responsible for such local beers like Hop Slobber and Richard Cranium.) I had the pleasure of performing with my band herbie at their official launch party at O'Reilly's Taproom in Harrisburg. For about four years, dual owners/brewers Alan Miller and Albert de Bock brewed small-batch beers (about 50 barrels per year) with a European flair at their tiny 450-sq. ft. brewing facility. Like many other new start-up breweries, Millbock was born out of the pair's love of home-brewing. I always felt that the pair had a good yin & yang thing going on; Albert was rooted in traditional Euro brewing, while Alan contributed the eclectic American experimentalism. In the end, Millbock folded when they came to a crossroads that required them to quit their day jobs and continue brewing on a full-time basis, or simply bow out. Miller chose to keep brewing, but under a different name. So out of the ashes of Millbock comes Boneshire Brew Works.

Inside Boneshire's tap room.
We'd wanted to visit closer to the grand opening, but we just couldn't squeeze it into our schedule. After a few weeks, we finally had a free Saturday to head over and check out the new digs. Upon perusing the beer selection, I was stoked to see not one, not two, but THREE Imperial Stouts available. They rounded out the taps with a few others including a rye beer and a test batch IPA. We tried them all except for the Tried and True, a Belgian-style Witbier. We just weren't in the mood and also wanted to leave a bit of extra space to enjoy all three Imperial Stouts!

IPA Hop Test #1 - brewed with Citra, Centennial and Mosaic hops
LazaRIS - Russian Imperial Stout with coffee, cocoa nibs, cinnamon and habañero peppers
LazaRIS Unrobed - "naked" version of LazaRIS minus the spices and additional ingredients
Devil's Burden - Roggenbier (rye beer) with tons of Cascade hops
Dark of the Forest - Imperial Stout with coffee

IPA Hop Test #1
It seems like big, bold stouts are Alan's forte, and let me tell you, both Brewslut and I have no problem with that! I believe the LazaRIS is an updated version of Millbock's The End, a RIS brewed with the same ingredients listed above. Sadly, I never had the opportunity to try this beer, but it seems like Alan took an obvious cue from the many beer fans who sang its praises. While I admit that LazaRIS was pretty bangin', of the three variations available during our visit, both Brewslut and I enjoyed the "Unrobed" version most. The base beer is thick, chewy and viscous with lots of dark fruit, chocolate, leather, and tobacco notes and just a hint of smoke. Nice and complex with a great mouthfeel, which is how I like 'em!

Food-wise, they feature bar snacks like bologna, hot peppers and the like. However, on weekends they feature some pretty tasty BBQ from the local Nomad BBQ (operated by an awesome guy called Shawn Grant, who used to work as a Sous Chef in the Snack Bar at Tröegs). We were pretty hungry, and we were elated to see chicken skewers on the menu. We ordered six of them and they were finger lickin' good! They also had pulled pork that looked tasty, but we've been mammal-free for several years. Glad to see something a little different than the typical food truck offering at a small brewery.

Cool mural decorating the wall at Boneshire.

I'm glad to see another brewery so close to home doing good things, and I'm anxious to see where Alan & Co. take Boneshire. With Millworks, Evergrain, Pizza Boy, and now Boneshire all within close proximity of one another, it will allow beer travelers to make a whole day of it and experience everything the area offers. Then there's that place in Hershey, too. What are they called?

Until next time...

Friday, December 23, 2016

Drinksgiving 2016 - Part IV: New Hampshire & The Road Home

Day 6 - New Hampshire

This day kind of started off on the wrong foot, because a few of the breweries we'd planned on visiting unfortunately didn't open until later in the day on Sunday. So when any setbacks hinder our travel plans, we instantly shift to "audible" mode. While we weren't able to get to Tributary Brewing Co. in Kittery, ME, nor were we able to swing by Barreled Souls in Saco (which we'd enjoyed last time). So, we decided to head straight for Stoneface in Newington, NH, which would have us arriving right around opening time. For some reason, I didn't remember visiting here in the past, but as soon as we walked in to the small tasting room, memories came flooding back.

Tap tower at Stoneface in Kittery, ME.
The tasting room features cheap beer samples (no pints) and take-out beer, including growlers and bottles. Like last time, we each ordered a few sampler pours. I was in the mood for hops this morning (I think it was prior to noon), so I went with the following:

Oated Ella - IPA brewed with oats and Ella hops from Australia.
Full Blip - IPA brewed with Mosaic, Columbus and Simcoe, and fermented with an English yeast strain.
Full Clip - hazy IPA with a fruit punch.
India Red Rye Ale - As the name implies, a hoppy red ale brewed with rye.

My favorite was Full Clip, and I was happy they had bottles of this available. I had a few empty growlers, but unfortunately the state of NH prohibits the filling of growlers unless they are labeled with the actual brewery logo from which you are purchasing said beer. Sadly, I had no generic empties with me. However, in talking to the server (and I think one of the brewers), we realized we remembered each other from our last visit. I pointed out the empty Tröegs bottles and cans on the high shelf (with which the entire room was decorated), and that's when it dawned on us. "Oh yeah! I must have given those to you guys last time I was here," I said. I immediately went out to the car and picked a few treats for them. They reciprocated with a discount on my tab, which was mighty kind of them. We were enjoying our conversation with them and a few customers who had straggled in while we were there, but unfortunately it was time to hit the rocky road and head into Portsmouth for a few stops back to Boston.

We had been to our next stop, Earth Eagle, a few times in the past on recent trips to the area. Once, we even bumped into Steve, Heather and company from Selin's Grove, who were on vacation at the time. Earth Eagle brews some seriously off-the-wall stuff. This visit proved no different. With that said, I felt I appreciated what they did rather than considered myself a bona fide fan of the brewery. That is, until this particular visit.

Earth Eagle brews some oddball stuff, but it's damn tasty!
Perusing the chalkboard, I found myself wanting to try, well, everything! I was stoked to see yet another Rauchbier on the menu. This trip was turning into the Rauchbier trip. But one particular beer really piqued my interest - Puca. This was described as a "curried pumpkin porter with rum-soaked coconut." What? Yes indeed. And let me tell you, this was freaking delicious! None of the flavors strong-armed the others out of the spotlight. Instead, I was treated to an amazingly balanced concoction of odd ingredients. Speaking of odd ingredients, my next selection was something called Erebos, a black gruit with horehound, star anise, sweet fern and colts foot. Gruits are "hopped" with herbs and spices rather than traditional hops, hence all the weird ingredients. I'm typically not a huge fan of star anise flavors in beer, but it was held at bay here and only offered a hint of black licorice. Next, Brewslut and I shared a pour of Petite Galoot, a rum barrel-aged "session" barleywine-style ale. Session Barleywine? Sign me up! I absolutely love me a good barleywine, but I often find the high alcohol tag hinders my ability to go with quantity whilst traveling. This was quite tasty as well. Of course, I couldn't leave without a pour of Smokestack Lightning, a traditional German Rauchbier. I typically have to go stag with smoked beers, because Brewslut isn't too keen on them. I, however, love 'em! This one was right on the nuggets. While we were there, we enjoyed some tasty brunch-like grub and talking about Hendrix with one of the guys in the kitchen. Apparently, it was Jimi's birthday and this guy would be playing his music all day at the brewery. Fine with me. I always thought Mitch Mitchell was the unsung hero of that generation of drummers (always overshadowed by Moon, Bonham, and Ginger Baker). Good tunes, good beer, good food, and good peeps. That's what it's all about!

We've been digging the downstairs lounge at Portsmouth lately.

Up next was our obligatory stop at Portsmouth. The first time I visited was back in 2010 for the annual Kate the Great Imperial Stout release. Yes, I used to stand in line for hours in cold, rainy weather to get a few bottles of highly coveted beer. Thankfully, it was a short-lived phase I went through, because... well, fuck that shit! I'll leave all of the waiting in line to the hipsters and millennials who just use the stuff as trade bait. Whales, bro! 

Anywho, we took a short walk to Portsmouth, which is just around the corner from Earth Eagle. the last time we visited, we sat downstairs in the lounge area. Since the space had its own bar and was typically light on children compared to the larger upstairs dining area, it definitely appealed to us. Settling in, I ordered Surrender to the Flow, New England style DIPA that was pretty tasty. Brewslut went with a Belgian Kriek with Blackberry on the beer engine. For dessert, we shared a pour of Coffee Milk Stout. This one was brewed with the cold water extraction of El Conquistador coffee from Breaking New Grounds coffee shop in Portsmouth. Good stuff fo' sho'! Unfortunately, our visits to Portsmouth are pretty uneventful unless we're with a group of friends. Typically, the bartenders aren't too chatty, and the bar is sparsely occupied. So we finished our beers and hit the high road. Besides, Pleeps had a bit too much of the Coffee Milk Stout and needed a quick intermission.

Pleeps is down for the count!

Where to now? Off to Liars' Bench, Portsmouth's new kid in town. We were able to add them to the itinerary since we couldn't get to Tributary or Barreled Souls, but I'll admit that I hadn't heard of them. To be honest, I can't remember if Dan told us about this place or if it was someone at Stoneface earlier in the day. Either way, we were here. I wasn't sure what to make of this place when we first arrived. The tasting room definitely had an unfinished vibe. Not that that's a bad thing, of course. We pulled up a few bar stools and perused the menu, which was scant. We settled on two beers - France Pants, an American Pale Ale, and Hai Ikki, a Saison brewed with rice. Both were enjoyable. While we imbibed, I glanced around the room and noticed game tables, large community tables that seemed more like shared work stations in an office building. Part of me felt like I was hanging out in an abandoned warehouse with a few other squatters who also happened to be drinking good beer. I can't explain it, but I just liked this place.

My view from the bar at Liars' Bench.

Since I have so many beer T-shirts in my wardrobe (rivaled only by the amount of band shirts), I seldom purchase them anymore. In the past, I'd buy perhaps three or four shirts on any given trip. These days, I might get one if I really like it. Liars' Bench proved to be the "one" of the trip. As soon as I saw it, I knew it was going home with me. This one was one of those really soft dark heather gray shirts featuring an outline of New Hampshire filled with a bunch of randomly sized Liars' Bench logos, which are (most likely) purposefully reminiscent of a mirror image of the state's shape. So while we didn't take home any beer, unfortunately, I did return with a souvenir of our visit. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for this tiny brewery, especially since we get up to Portsmouth somewhat frequently.

Pleeps enjoys France Pants while wearing no pants.

I was pretty excited to get back to our next stop, Throwback. We had first visited back in March of this year on my birthday beer jaunt, and I couldn't wait to get back. I didn't think it would be so soon after our initial visit, but I'm not complaining. When we arrived back in March, we opened the place and had a sizable Team D(r)INK constituency in tow. The staff was amazing (including my favorite server who gave me a hard time when I asked for a different bobblehead figure upon ordering my first beer). I saw The Dude and HAD to have him next to my beer (and Pleeps) for a few choice Kodack moments.

Inside Throwback Brewing (Hampton, NH)
With a huge selection of beers available, it was tough to whittle it down to just a few. We each settled on a few short pours and shared them. Sharing is caring, and that's how we get to sample so many beers when we travel. Pleeps also has to get a swig or two in as well. Water helps too. Here's what we enjoyed during our visit:

Gin & Juice - Hopstruck Red IPA aged in gin barrels. LAID BACK! I was stoked to see a gin barrel-aged beer on tap during our visit. I'd fallen in love with these in Portland, OR over the summer and was hoping the trend would make its way to the East Coast. I guess it did!
BA Gourdgeous Pumpkin Ale - Brewed with real pumpkins and aged in Flag Hill apple brandy barrels for a year. Yum yum gimmie some!
Hippo-HOP-amus - black session IPA with rye and piney hops. This was also pretty bangin'!
Scapegoat Coconut Porter - roasty dark porter with coconut, chocolate and vanilla notes.

Slate beer boards at Throwback.

We were pretty peckish when we arrived, so we also enjoyed some tasty fried rice bowls for dinner. They'd only just opened the pub in 2015. I appreciate their vision of creating dishes using ingredients sourced within 200 miles of their location in Hampton, NH. They even run their very own Hobbs Farm and grow a variety of ingredients on premises. I saw a few chickens running around when we arrived, which I thought was cool. Afterward, we chatted with the servers, who were super friendly and funny. I ran out to the car to grab them a few beers, which they appreciated very much. This place is awesome, and will always warrant a visit when we're in this neck of the woods.

Painting inside Throwback Brewing's brewpub.

Day 7 - The Drive Home

Our first stop on the road home was Two Roads, situated in Stratford, CT. We walked in through the main entrance, up a flight of stairs and down a hallway until we reached the bar, which was overlooking the brewhouse. It was early in the day, so it was pretty dead. We planted ourselves at the bar and checked out the beer list. Like many of our first stops of the day, we opted to enjoy sampler flights. We each got our own this time since we'd only be making stops at a total of three breweries while we made our way back to Central PA. In talking to our bartender, I was surprised to learn that Two Roads was as big as they were. She mentioned that they were number thirty-something on the Brewer's Association's 2015 list of Top 50 U.S. Craft Breweries based on total sales volume. (Lucky for me I researched this; turns out they aren't even on the Top 50. Go figure.) Still, the brewery itself was pretty immense, especially for a brewery that opened its doors in 2012. Outside, the place reminded me of an old school or large post office. Inside, it was vast and warehouse-like, but with wooden floors and high ceilings.

Entrance to Two Roads Brewing Co.
Each flight included five beers, plus I piggybacked on some of Brewslut's beers. We both got our own pour of the Espressway, because... well, coffee! Here's the run-down:

Road 2 Ruin - DIPA with citrus, pine and floral notes.
Espressway - Oatmeal Stout brewed with cold pressed coffee.
Two Evil: Pachamama Porter - Collaboration with Evil Twin; brewed with sweet potatoes, purple main and Aji Panca chili peppers.
Route of all Evil - hefty Black Ale with mocha, molasses and dark fruit notes as well as a big Pacific Northwest hop bill.
Holiday Ale - traditional Biere de Garde style ale for the holiday season.
Geyser Gose - Another collaboration with Evil Twin, this Gose was brewed with ingredients sourced from Iceland including Icelandic moss, rye, herbs, sea kelp, skyr (a cultured dairy product similar to yogurt), and birch smoked sea salt. (Yeah, we picked up some cans of this one to take home!)
Bog Wild - sour ale brewed with local CT cranberries, various spices, and a Belgian yeast strain.
Tart IPA - sour IPA hopped with Simcoe, Comet and Chinook.

Pleeps in his classic pose... with a sampler flight!

As expected, our favorites were the Espressway and Geyser Gose, and we picked up a few of each in the cool gift shop before we left. For a relatively new brewery, they seem to have everything pretty dialed in. The beers were all solid, they're not afraid to experiment, and they have some pretty sweet branding. Chalk up another "thumbs up" for Connecticut. I'm sure we'll be back at some point in the near future.

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There wasn't much going on at our next stop, Defiant in Pearl River, NY. The town reminded me of a the coal region in NEPA for some reason. Not sure why, but I got that vibe when we pulled into town. I found out about this place while doing some research on the great Beer Mapping Project web site. I'd never heard of them before, but it was right on the way home and Captain Lawrence was closed, so we needed to stop somewhere, right? By this point in the trip, I had run out of cash and turned to using plastic. Unfortunately, this place was cash only, and the on-premises ATM was out of commission, so I had to find a bank. Luckily, there was one just up the street about a block away. I walked up and had to get a cash advance from one of my credit cards because the ATM wouldn't accept my bank card. Nothing like making me work for my beer. 

Main entrance to Defiant.

I got the impression that Defiant didn't really care about their beer. It didn't look like they'd made any improvements since they first opened back in 2005. It just felt outdated. The beers were pretty expensive comparatively, and while they weren't undrinkable, they were lackluster. The place was pretty huge and boasted a long bar overlooking some of the tanks in the brewhouse. In the back, there was a huge open space used for events and occasional live music. The place was empty when we arrived save for one guy and the bartender. They didn't offer sampler flights, so we were forced to get either 10- or 20-ounce pours. They did have a good variety of beers on tap, about 12 or so in total. The Smoked Porter caught my attention, so that's what I went with initially. Brewslut opted for the Tart Cherry Lager. The Smoked Porter had a hint of smoke but was more akin to a robust porter with chocolate notes. The Tart Cherry Lager wasn't too bad, but it wasn't memorable either. My next selection was the Catskill Hop Harvest. I couldn't find any information about this, but figured this was brewed using hops from a local NY farm. I didn't really care for it, unfortunately. The hop character was pretty muted and non-descript, so it didn't do anything for me. Our last beer was the Weapons Grade DIPA, which was pretty solid overall. It had a pretty big malt backbone, but it wasn't too sweet, which was a pleasant surprise. The best thing about our visit was the dry-rubbed, smoked wings we ordered. When we arrived, there was a sign advertising their BBQ. Unfortunately, they never serve food on Mondays. However, the bartender said they always have wings available. Since Two Roads didn't have food, we were pretty famished, so we each got a dozen. They were pretty freakin' bangin'! Aside from the wings, it wasn't the most memorable stop. I was hoping we'd end on a high note at our next stop. 

Old school tanks at Defiant.

The last few times we found ourselves in or around Easton, PA, Two Rivers had eluded us. When we went to see Dweezil at the State Theatre a few years ago, the brewery didn't exist. Last year when we drove through, they weren't open. One other time, we didn't have time to go. Finally, we were getting to check out what they had to offer. I'd heard good things from a co-worker at Tröegs who'd recently visited, so I figured that was a good sign. Man, she wasn't kidding when she said they were great!

When we arrived, we parked on the main street and found that Easton metered until like 8 p.m. There were several entrances to Two Rivers, but each one we approached had a sign that read: "Please use next door." After the third sign, we finally came to the entrance. Inside, this place reminded me of an old hotel bar maybe from the 40s. There were a few seats at the bar, so we occupied two of them. In reviewing the menu, I noticed it was happy hour for another 30 minutes, which was cool. We were pretty hungry and they had some tasty-sounding specials. The first beer I noticed was a bourbon barrel-aged Imperial Stout. When I inquired about it, I was informed that it had kicked recently (like within the hour). D'oh! So I settled on a pour of Flowers Helping Hands IPA 2.0, a hazy IPA hopped with El Dorado and Simcoe for a juicy mix of citrus and melon with a hint of pine. I found the name of the beer to be rather curious, so I did some research and discovered that the beer was named in honor of a guy named Steven Flowers, who gives free haircuts to homeless and needy folks. Pretty cool story, right? Brewslut went with a pour of Mammy Morgan's Key Lime Brett IPA, a tart, funky IPA brewed with a plethora of interesting hop varieties and a wild yeast strain. Like my beer, this one also featured an interesting name that also tells a story. Turns out this beer was named after Elizabeth Bell Bay "Mammy" Morgan, a hotel keeper and leading citizen in Easton during the early 1800s.

Food-wise, we ordered some poutine, a Canadian delicacy featuring fresh-cut fries, cheese curds and gravy. This particular version featured chicken gravy, so it was "Ffejetarian." I've had some excellent poutine in our travels, and this was on-point. Happy hour pricing made it even better! The beer was so good that we decided on two final pours to close out Drinksgiving '16. I went with the Esoterik Imperial Stout. Like the others, this was also - you guessed it - named after someone. This thick, jet black stout boasted coffee, chocolate and black currant notes, and takes its name after Anthony Marraccini, someone who has been influential to the arts community of Easton. Brewslut went with Sixth Street Sour, a lacto-soured young bruin fermented on French oak with sour cherries and raspberries. Back in 1995, Weyerbacher began brewing on Sixth Street in Easton. Twenty years later, Two Rivers started brewing just two doors down from the original Weyerbacher facility. There's lots of stories in them there beers!

So there you have it! Drinksgiving '16 was tons of fun, and we covered a lot of ground in a few days, including a ton of new-to-us breweries in Boston and visits to some regional favorites. Not sure where we'll go next year for the big 10th anniversary, but one thing's for sure... we'll go somewhere. Thanks for reading. Until next time...

This isn't the monkey you're looking for.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Good beer in Shamokin. Yes, you read correctly.

About two years ago, I met the owner of a tiny brewery in Catawissa, PA (which is located near our old stomping grounds of Shamokin and just a stone's throw away from Knoebel's Grove Amusement Park) through a mutual beer friend, Kramer. The brewery, Covered Bridge Brewhaus, was started by homebrewer-turned-pro Eric Kuijpers, a friendly Dutch guy who brings and old-world style of European brewing to Central PA. (You can read a bit more about Eric and Covered Bridge on the River Rate Brew Trail site if you're so inclined.) This was a few years after the region started booming with small breweries such as Old Forge in Danville, Turkey Hill and Marley's in Bloomsburg, Berwick Brewing in Berwick and a few others. I was excited that a brewery existed so close to my hometown. However, I quickly learned that this was only a production brewery with extremely limited hours. While I was able to try some of Eric's beers (he's the owner and brewer of Covered Bridge, by the way) at a few of Kramer's annual gatherings, I was glad to see that he was on the right path. The Coconut Porter was a standout, which has ultimately become Covered Bridge's flagship beer. At any rate, I followed Covered Bridge peripherally through Facebook but (aside from Kramer's parties) the beers eluded me.

Wooden tap handle at Covered Bridge.
About a year or so ago, I heard that Eric was opening a small tap room on 8th Street in Shamokin (part of the same building where Brewslut used to rent VHS videos... remember those days?) about a block away from the house she lived in when we started dating. I thought, "This is too cool!" The problem was the hours of operation: Thursday only from 5 to 9 p.m. I seldom had a reason to be in Shamokin on a Thursday night. God knows there aren't too many reasons to even go to Shamokin. So the beers continued to elude me.

A few weekends ago, I had a free Saturday with no gigs or other obligations, so we decided to visit my mom and hit Selin's Grove on the way home. (I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'll use any excuse to stop by the Pub for a few pints and some grub!) On a whim, I decided to check out Covered Bridge's Facebook page to see if they perhaps added some expanded hours for the holiday season. We all know how people love to get their drink on during this time of year... myself included! My instincts paid off, because they had recently added Saturday hours at the tasting room from 6 to 10 p.m. Booyeah!

We arrived shortly after they opened at 6 p.m. and had planned to have a few samples and head down to Selin's Grove for a late dinner. When we entered, I was delighted to see Eric as well as a chalkboard filled with a dozen offerings on tap! I was only expecting maybe 4 or 5 beers, so this was a treat! The aforementioned Coconut Porter was present, and we had already tried the Dim Wizzy as well. We decided on the following flight of four sampler pours:
  • KW-IPA - I seem to recall Eric mentioned this was brewed with local Central PA hops, but I couldn't find additional information on-line. 
  • Koekie Claus - Our favorite of the four! This one was a darker ale and brewed with "Dutch spices," as Eric informed us. This had a nice molasses note with hints of anise, nutmeg and Grandma's spice rack!
  • Pumpkin Beer - This was a pleasant pumpkin ale brewed with real pumpkin and not overly spiced. 
  • Strubarb Wit - Belgian-style Witbier with tart rhubarb and sweet strawberries. 

Full draft list at Covered Bridge during our visit.

While we were working on our samplers, a couple walked in and the woman looked very familiar. After a quick double take, I realized she was our long-lost friend, Mary, who we'd been close friends with during our later years in high school and first few years of college. Turns out she and her husband had got bitten by the craft beer bug a few years back, and were stopping in for some samples and a growler fill. We hadn't seen Mary in about 20 years, so it was great to catch up with her. I also remembered her husband, who was a year ahead of me in school. Needless to say, we ended up staying a bit longer than anticipated so we could catch up. We traded stories and Facebook info over a full pour of the Cherry Triple, which was pretty tasty. I appreciated that Eric brewed this one with sour cherries to help keep the sweetness of the base Triple at bay. I love me a good Triple, but sometimes they can become cloyingly sweet after several sips. This was a pretty solid interpretation of the classic Belgian style. 

We honestly could have stayed until they closed, but we were pretty hungry by then, and I was eager to try the brand new draft Mule cocktails at Selin's Grove (which, by the way are off the freakin' charts)! Much like my description of one of Laddsburg Mountain Winery's port wines, it was easily one of the most amazing things I'd ever put inside my mouth. Go ahead. Feel free to make a few jokes about that. I'll wait...

A sight to behold while you're making fun of me.

Seriously, though, this was nothing short of amazing. Think of the absolute best mule you've ever tasted that was hands-down leaps and bounds better than any other you ever had. Well my loyal readers, this was even better than that. This thing could cure cancer! Apparently, Steve and Heather change up the batches with different ingredients. This particular concoction was made with cranberries, real juiced ginger, vodka, and I swear the nectar of the Gods. It was garnished with a lime wedge and a few cranberry floaters on top. As if I need something else to tempt me away from ordering a beer there (i.e. their amazing nitro cold brew coffee). Is there anything this place can't do? Answer: Nope.

I won't go into detail about the rest of our visit, because I give them enough love on here and elsewhere. Next time you hit up "The Pub," do yourself a favor and order a mule. Holy shitsnacks, are they good! 

Until next time, this little Dutch girl bids you a fond farewell...