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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Imminent Liquidation III - Details inside specially marked packages!

The third annual "Imminent Liquidation" Bottle Share Event will take place at The Warwick Hotel in Hummelstown, PA on Saturday, March 2, 2012 between 1:00 PM and 5:00 PM.

The event encourages craft beer enthusiasts to dust off and share rare beers from their cellars with fellow BAs. If you don't have any rare beers, feel free to bring a favorite from your fridge to share. It doesn't have to be a white whale or an expensive corked and caged, hand-numbered, limited edition, once-and-done batch. Just bring some good beer to share with everyone!

There is no admission cost to enter the event, although you are required to bring beer (typically a few bombers, a growler, or some 12oz. bottles, or any combination of the above). Food will be available via the standard Warwick Hotel menu, and will be pay as you go. You are not required to buy food at the event, however. Additionally, The Warwick will provide a few light snacks and appetizers at no cost to participants.

All participants are required to wear name tags, which will be available at the greeting table upon entry to the event. Participants will also receive one FREE raffle ticket upon entry, and throughout the day we will raffle off a few beer-related items donated from fellow BAs and local businesses. Please note that raffle tickets will NOT be available for purchase, and each participant will receive only one raffle ticket. ALSO, PLEASE BRING YOUR OWN TASTING GLASS. Please bring a small 4oz. to half pint glass rather than a full pint glass, if possible. Finally, please plan on bringing a few dollars to contribute as a tip to the staff of the Warwick Hotel for assistance during the event.  Event volunteers will pass around the proverbial hat towards the end of the day.

Imminent Liquidation is sponsored by The Warwick Hotel in conjunction with The Pour Travelers beer blog. Visit The Pour Travelers at

For more information about Imminent Liquidation, please email Please do not contact the hotel directly for questions specific to the event. The phone number and web site for the Warwick Hotel is listed below in case you need directions or other information. Thanks and cheers!
The Warwick Hotel
12 W. Main Street
Hummelstown, PA 17036

Monday, January 28, 2013

Pizza Boy: Killin' It!

I suppose it's about time that I give mad props to Pizza Boy Brewing Company for recently killing it.  The term "killing it" refers, of course, to making a string of some simply amazing beers over the last several months. Ever since Al's of Hampden burst onto the Central PA Beer Scene, owner Al Kominski has done nothing but cater to beer geeks and, in turn, created perhaps THE premier craft beer destination on the West Shore. 

Al and I enjoying a beer at Al's of Hampden
Al's beer geekdom eventually rose to new heights when, in 2011, he installed a state-of-the-art, 15-hectoliter BrauKon brewery in the basement of the current Al's of Hampden location.  He quickly jumped into the deep end and began brewing in earnest, producing several test batches.  Citing Pizza Boy as a work in progress, some of the beers were fantastic, while some were less than stellar.  But for someone with literally no brewing experience whatsoever, Al was definitely on the right track.  Some early favorites include his Pilsner, Citra IPA and Arck Angel 4IPA.  This long and winding track eventually led Al to a goldmine, when ex-Bullfrog Brewery head brewer Terry Hawbaker signed on as Pizza Boy's official brewer.  Needless to say, the throngs of local Bullfrog/Terry fans were ecstatic (myself and Brewslut included), and since Terry's appointment, Pizza Boy has been knocking beers out of the proverbial park. 
Terry and I at Little Amps Coffee in Harrisburg
The beer that deserves the most praise, in my humble opinion, is Sunny Side Up / Little Amps, a massive yet incredibly smooth 11% Imperial Stout brewed with coffee beans from the local Harrisburg coffee shop, Little Amps.  I will go on record and say that this is my favorite Coffee Stout I've ever had.  If you get a chance to try this beer via a firkin or beer engine, then you are in for a serious treat.  Seriously folks, this might be my beer of 2012!
Enjoying a Sunny Side Up / Little Amps Coffee Stout
Ironically, my next blog will most likely be a re-cap of yesterday's bottling of the first-ever Pizza Boy bottled beer.  Terry asked Brewslut (a part-time employee at Al's) and myself to help with the bottling, and we were happy to assist.  But more on that later.  For now, get yourself over to Al's for some Sunny Side Up / Little Amps and judge for yourself!

Monday, January 7, 2013

2012 - The Beer in Review

As I sit on my couch and contemplate 2012 over a freshly bottled Nugget Nectar (oh, the perks of working at my favorite brewery!), I can't help but think that 2012 may have been the absolute best year for me, not only beer-wise, but in general!  I successfully parlayed a hobby (writing about craft beer) into a career (working at Troegs Brewery).  That in itself is worthy of "best year ever" status in the annals of Ffejstory!

But let's backtrack a bit to last year around this time, when I published The Pour Travelers' 2011 - The Beer in Review after our first full year as a bona fide beer blog.  I constructed a list (and a pretty lofty one, at that) of my top ten resolutions for the coming year, which looked something (OK...exactly) like this:

1. Finally host my long-talked-about stout tasting.
2. Return to Portland for a REAL beer trip.
3. Finally get to Selin's Grove's Hops and Vines festival.
4. Get Ffej of JulIPA brewed for the 10th Anniversary of Ffej of July.
5. Have a Troegs beer named after me (OK, a long shot, I know)!
6. Visit Barcade Philly.  Classic arcade games + beer = awesomeness! 
7. Make Imminent Liquidation an annual event.
8. Get back out to Great Taste of the Midwest.
9. Increase my overall number of beer blogs on this site.

Numbers one, two, three, five and nine never happened, although I will say that, looking back, my quality over quantity vastly improved (in my humble opinion, anyway), rendering number nine... number nine... number nine... (sorry, couldn't resist a good Beatles reference) a success, at least in my eyes.

Number one might happen this year, as I am continuously adding a variety of Imperial Stouts to my beer cellar.  Number two needs to happen ASAP, as we never even scratched the surface of the beer mecca that is Portland, OR, during our inaugural trip back in 2011.  Brewslut also needs to get to Portland, ME, but that's a different story!  I'm afraid number three will never happen, as it always seems to coincide with my annual Ffej of July festivities (sidebar... if you are an avid reader of The Pour Travelers and want an invite to this epic shindig, shoot me an email).  And as for number five... well, even though I didn't get my name attached to a Troegs beer in 2012, I can say quite happily that I get my name on a paycheck every other week from Troegs, so I guess that counts for something, right?

I'm proud to say that the other five resolutions were met.  Number four was accomplished after my good buddy Al of Pizza Boy Brewing Company brewed a special batch of his Citra IPA and dubbed it Ffej of JulIPA for the 10th anniversary of Ffej of July.  We finally made it to Barcade in Philadelphia, which you can read about by clicking here if you'd like.  Thank God they have a killer beer selection; otherwise, I'd have an extremely difficult time luring Brewslut to this man-cave of a beer bar.  As for number seven on the list, I think it is safe to say that "Imminent Liquidation" has secured a slot in everyone-who-is-a-beer-geek-in-Central-PA's calendar, planner, or date book.  It's coming up on its third year in March (this year's event will be held on Saturday, March 2 at The Warwick Hotel in Hummelstown).  I was ecstatic to check number eight of my list of resolutions in 2012, as Brewslut and I consider our trip to Great Taste of the Midwest to be the pinnacles of our 2012 beer season.  (FYI - the link included here only represents part one of a multi-part blog... yeah, this was an epic trip!)  And finally, number ten.  Yes, San Diego.  Anyone who reads this blog is sure to notice our collective love for this southern California beer goldmine.  This past year saw perhaps our most epic trip to San Diego yet, as we visited the fine city for a total of eleven consecutive days.  (Note that this link is only part one of a SEVEN PART mini-series.)  We also were able to meet my goal of visiting Pizza Port Ocean Beach every day for at least one beer per visit.  It's good to have goals in life, right?

Some other highlights of 2012 were:

1. The Sly Fox Goat Races and Bock Festival (always a perennial favorite!)
2. Multiple trips to Philadelphia, one of our favorite beer cities not only in PA, but the country!
3. Our annual Beers-giving trip, this year to Charleston, SC.
4. Getting hired by Troegs (this goes without saying).
5. Winning the coveted "Metal Brewer" award at Troegs

With that said, let me present my ten resolutions for 2013:

1. The Stout Tasting (yeah, I know... I fucked up last year)!
2. Portland, OR and Portland, ME (not on the same trip, though)!
3. Great Taste of the Midwest.
4. Put Harrisburg Area Beer Week on the map and make it an annual event.
5. Hit 1000 unique beers on Uptappd.
6. Make "Imminent Liquidation" a bi-annual event.
7. Help brew the Metal Brewer-winning beer, Beet It Red Saison, as a Troegs Scratch beer and also for Pizza Boy Brewing Co.
8. Visit Florida for a beer trip.
9. Get Brewslut to write a beer blog.
10. Keep working for Troegs!

Thanks to all who follow The Pour Travelers and read about our little beer excursions.  We've met some amazing people along the way (many of whom we call friends) and that makes traveling in the name of beer all the more rewarding and worthwhile.  Cheers to another new year that will find our glasses brimming with the liquid we all know and love!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Vertical Epic Fail!

On Friday, December 21, a group of my closest beer friends convened at long-time friend and former Shamokin Area High School alumnus Jason Kramer's house for his annual holiday party.  Having attended for the past several years, Brewslut and I look forward to this event each year.  Kramer was the first real beer geek I met (though I knew him since high school, we didn't become good friends until many years later when I stumbled upon his name on the and web sites).  At any rate, a few days prior to the party, I learned that Kramer would be dusting off and breaking out his complete Stone Vertical Epic collection, dating all the way back from 2002.  He needed two bottles (2007 and 2008, I believe) to round out his collection, which were graciously provided by Jason Pendall.  At one time, Kramer did in fact HAVE the entire set (multiple sets, I believe), but he was able to... well, let's just say he was able to parlay one complete set into quite a pretty penny, thanks to a certain on-line auction site).  Since the 2002 bottle alone was indeed an ├╝ber-rare find, needless to say Brewslut and I were quite thrilled to partake in such an epic undertaking (no pun intended).

Stone Vertical Epic 2002-2012
However, what transpired was literally a chronological bludgeoning of sub par, virtually undrinkable swill from this revered brewery.  Now, it was my understanding that the whole point of this series was to age each beer and enjoy them all as a "vertical" event, meaning drink each year in succession.  To beer geeks, this is how the vertical works.  Well, after drinking all of these, I'm not so sure that's what Stone initially had in mind.  Without going into too much detail, I've decided to transcribe my Untappd notes and share a bit about each release.  Let me first say that I enjoy Stone's beers and respect them as a brewery.  Their brewpub alone is worthy of much praise.  But be warned... most of these comments are not kind... at all!

"Not as bad as I was anticipating."  Still, this evoked hints of wet cardboard and air from Camden, NJ.  Not bad, but unfortunately not even in the vicinity of anywhere near what I'd call "good."

"Not holding up... at all!" This may have been the worst of the lot, but unfortunately my notes were sparse, to say the least. 

"Lemon Pledge."  Yes, this beer tasted little more than lemon-scented cleaning spray, I'm afraid.

"Prunes."  Yes, constipated elderly beer drinkers may think this would be a match made in heaven, but alas this year's offering was not enjoyable.  I did fill me with the urge to defecate, though.

"Shitty black bow tie licorice!"  Remember that waxy licorice candy in the shape of bow ties?  Yeah, me too... and this beer was even worse!  I was expecting the "666" beer to hold up a bit more, but unfortunately even Satan couldn't save this one from the fiery depths of Hades!

"Spicy."  That was all I could muster up to say about this one.  If you want to try and re-create this beer, just fill a glass with tap water, then rummage through the spice rack in your kitchen and add a teaspoon of everything you find.

"It has to start getting better soon!"  These words indicate another in a long line of shitty beers.  By this time, I was losing faith in this experiment, and was praying for the end.  If only I knew what I had in store for me next...

"Rancid coffee with a hint of Doberman anus."  Perhaps my most evocative description thus far, I must have been inspired by Brewslut, as this hearkens back to one of the first-ever Pour Travelers blogs: The Anomalous Olfactory Anecdotes of Brewslut.  This was undrinkable.

Between 2009 and 2010, I needed a well-deserved break from what I described as the "Stone shit show" and enjoyed a small pour of Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout by Goose Island.  Now there's a beer that you can actually age in your beer cellar!  But back to our regularly scheduled program...

"Better... closer... warmer!"  This was probably the best of the bunch, and it only warranted three out of five stars.  This was described as a Belgian Strong Pale Ale, so the "strong" portion of the beer allowed it to age for a bit without producing notes of dog ass, for example.

"Grass with dog shit."  Another canine reference for all you dog lovers.  Ever step in dog shit out in your neighbor's yard, take off your shoe to scrub the sole, and catch a whiff as you run hot water over it?  Yup, that's what this beer evoked... at least in my twisted mind.

"Thank God!  What a chore!"  I had already had a sip of this beer, courtesy of Deuane during a recent visit to Al's of Hampden.  I was not impressed, to say the least.  This was even spicier than the 2007 release, and although this was brand new (released only nine days prior), this just tasted like a spicy mess to me.  I took one single gulp and raised my fists in victory (and anger) at the end of this horrific crucible.

Vertical Epic fail, indeed!