Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Next stop. The Beer Stop!

The Beer Stop is located in Hazleton (or is it at the extreme edge of West Hazleton?) on Rte. 93 and when driving south, on the right hand side almost at the corner where Broad Street veers to the left in front the former Miners (now Citizens) Bank building. I knew of this place for a while, but only stopped in for the first time in February or March of this year, but I'm glad I finally did.

PA has some onerous laws that are slowly changing conerning where and how you can buy beer. The Beer Stop seems to be at the cutting edge of these changes.

This fine establishment connects with a convenience store across the parking lot from the former State Store and offers a wide variety of domestic and import beers that can be purchased by the six, the case, and/or mixed and matched in seemingly any number of bottles and cans greater than zero. I haven't tried to buy just one, but I did pick up three which is closer to one than six, so ein bier, lutfen, may work for you.

They advertise the largest selection of Latin beers around, which I can't vouch for. What I can attest to is the fine array of domestic craft beers. On my last visit I picked up a bottle of Troegs Trogenator, a bottle of Troegs PA Pale Ale, and a bottle of Troegs IPA. I would say that there have been at least 20-30 domestics and the same of imports available, by the bottle, on each of the three occasions I have gone in. Prices seem to be equivalent or a bit less than what you would pay at a bar, but you'd have to search far and wide to find a bar that carries these beers!

The Beer Stop pays me in beer to proffer this sort of advertising, so take this post with a sip of beer. In any event, if you're in the mood to try some new beers, this is the place to go. You will not be disappointed that you stopped at the Beer Stop.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Beer, Beer and Oh, did I mention more Beer?

One of the supremely joyful experiences I navigate through, in this thing I'll loosely call

my life
is visiting my friendly local beer distributor.

Can there really be anything better than the feeling of getting out of your car, your forehead coolly damp with a sweat that can only come from driving windows-down 13 miles in a Subaru with a blown head gasket--its AC long gone, walking through a 90 degree warehouse only to have to wait impatiently while the overhead garage door rolls up with a metallic grind-rumble and hum, slowly opening to reveal the escaping arctic-cool air instantly vaporizing against the encroaching heat, fogging your vision momentarily, and then tentatively striding through clear guard curtains, curtains meant to keep the badness out and the goodness in, and finally, ambling into a walk-in cooler to peruse the selection of beer kegs lined up like a regiment of R2D2 clones?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

One Guy Brewing Reprise

I had a hanker'n for some good beer yesterday and since my beer meister is empty right now I knew I'd have to do something really creative to quench that awful wildfire of a thirst that you can only get when either fighting fires or bottling a batch of home-brew. So after pondering the situation, I decided to take a drive over to One Guy Brewery to see what was on tap and get a growler-to-go.

It dawned on me when I drifted off I80 onto 11, that perhaps One Guy wasn't open this early on a Saturday, at an hour closer to a shoot-out than a bullfight. I put that thought right out of my mind--the power of positive thinking getting the better of me. My raison d'etre was clear: satiate that thirst or else! I rolled up at about 1:30 and noticed that the weekend opening hours begin at 1. Phew, that was luck.

I sauntered into the cool tap room and slipped onto a stool next to an old-timer sipping on a Berwick Lager. After looking at the beer menu, I started to map my liquid plan. I'd start with the Pilsner, then move to the Hefeweizen, and leave the growler fill for the brainstorm that I knew would come after drinking good beer.

The shaker of Pilsner went down easy. A delightful beer, crystal-straw colored with just the right amount of hops taste and aroma. So that's what Saaz hops taste like! No sooner had I finished this gem, I asked for the large Hefeweizen. Large. In the weizen glass. Sans lemon. Prost! What a wonderfully different flavor experience from the Pilsner. Now Pilsner's are as accessible as a Starbucks in NYC, taste-wise, and a Hefe takes some getting used to, but WoW! This one transported me back to Frankfurt, circa 2005. What a fantastic summer beer. I'm here to tell you that this is one for the archives, friends. I dare say, you won't find a nicer Hefe this side of the pond.

After the Hefeweizen, my choice was clear. A growler of the Hefe to go, please, and make it quick the world's about to end.

I was just about to get up and take my liquid gold home, when the guy next to me, ordered the Christmas in July special and that offered that this treat was his second favorite to the Cinnamon Boldy. He convinced me with about 8.2% probability that I would not dislike this warmer and having missed the Cinnamon Boldy, the last time, I didn't want to make the same mistake twice. So I ordered a glass. Having aged for 10 months this marvel arrived a bright ruby red, with a nice aroma of gingerbread. Now, I'm not one for spiced beer, this one having been complemented with honey for sweetness, but there was no mistaking the power of this beast. A great warming reminder that in a few short months we'd be enjoying the Christmas season again.

I made my way home, in reverse, having put out that fire and reminding myself to go back again soon for another visit.