Sunday, October 11, 2009

Octoberfest at Old Forge

S and I and a lotta like-minded volk made the hike down to Octoberfest at Old Forge Brewing Company to have some fun, sample some of the seasonal beers, and try some delicious Germanic dishes from the special menu prepared for the occasion.

This visit found us taking the stairway to the 2nd floor to experience the bar and dining room up there. Empty malt sacks hung like curtains from a set of windows and waved their welcome as we climbed the last few steps. Passing by the door leading to the deck, we sincerely considered sitting out there on this quickly-becoming-sunny Saturday afternoon, but, decided that there would be time for that on our next visit. This time, we picked a very nice pine booth across from the bar and settled in for what would become another memorable afternoon.

S wasn't very hungry and just picked a simple pretzel with a spicy beer-mustard sauce. Simple may it be, still served with a distinct flair that I've come to see as normal for OFBC.

I was curious to see how the roast pork crowing the menu might fair, since I've been doing a lot more pork grilling myself lately, so I picked that and chose potato soup for a starter. Well, the soup arrived hot, was chock full of fresh potato, onion, and carrots, and, just like our last visit, freshness ruled.

The roast pork arrived like a prince upon a throne of red cabbage and apple slices. It was out of this world and quite obviously prepared with a lot of care as it was fork-tender and seasoned perfectly with a mustard-based glaze.

And get this: Two potato pancakes on the side! Yeow! Due to the hazy nature of silly things like borders and such, it's no surprise at all to see now that the Poles and Germans really knew how to enjoy and share good food amongst themselves! They were a bit thicker than Babcia's potato pancakes, but still right up there.

Ahhh. Memories.

For desert: Apple Strudel which at the mere mention, a sudden ravenously hungry S poked her little head up and exclaimed: For two, please! Yummy!

As for the good stuff, I started with Petey's Porter--you know, to get a feel for what my own Uncle Kazek Porter should aspire to. It turned out to be very good and very quickly all I had left to show for my effort was a tan mustache!

Old Trafford Pale Ale turned out to be a pure delight. I feel English Pale Ales sometimes can be a little on the bland side. Well, I'm here to tell you this one's a bulls eye on my taste profile!

This one, as advertised, has a hint of bitterness that I found superbly attractive. Not a knock-your-socks off bitterness by any means, but a subtle bitterness just poking its head above the maltiness. A wonderful twinge on the style and I ended up bringing home a growler. Once again the brewers at Old Forge have come up with a winner.

So what's with the name Old Trafford?

Well, one might say that Danville was to iron rail as Old Trafford was to the aeroplane engine.

Sort of.

Old Trafford is an area just south of the city of Manchester England with a gate that leads right next door to Trafford Park which was home to much industrial activity in the period from the end of the 19th century to the mid-20th century. It was home to a Roll-Royce engine manufacturing facility that produced the engines for the Spitfire and Lancaster airplanes used so successfully during the 2nd world war.

Different century, different manufacturing, same import.

Old Forge continues to delight and encourage forays into the world of food, beer, and even history. They have become in my estimation, a credit to the restaurant and craft-beer scene in central PA. Their beers are tasty, the service friendly and competent, their meals: top-notch. I see in their newsletter presence at the GABF this year. I predict there may be glints of gold soon hanging alongside those malt sacks!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Herr Stiegl, what Goodness Have You Shaped!

J just got back from visiting a brother in Milwaukee and brought back this luscious Austrian babe.

He informed me that this beauty was imported directly to a Barley field in Skokie Illinois--according to him one of the few places in the US you can find one like this.

She sported a tan, golden really, the color of straw, with bulging, billowing, pillows of white foam up top, Pils'n from the cup which almost overfloweth.

1492 the label declares--I declare Long Live Austria!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Back-bar Design

I'm starting to get excited about finishing my bar. And, it's only been three years in the making!

L gave me an idea: Why not decorate the capitals on the columns containing the back-bar area? She mentioned the White House and the interesting capitals decorated with ears of corn, used in that design.

So I got to thinking, wheat oops what would make interesting capitals in this bar devoted to beer?

The first thing that came to mind was barley. That's a possibility.

Then I thought: Why not build Solomonic columns? Representative of the life-giving grain that makes all beer go down: Barley?

Hmmmmm, I'm not sure my woodworking skills are ready for Solomonic columns--let me ponder this development.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Schneider Weisse Wheat Beer Lexicon

I stumbled on this interesting and often funny dictionary of Wheat beer, Schneider Weisse, and all things beer and brewing generally, at the top-notch G. Schneider & Sohn brewery site.

I sort of intuited the health benefits of beer, but now it's official:

Hildegard of Bingen
famous doctor and abbess (1098 - 1179) advised in favor of beer drinking due to health reasons. She was a renowned brewmaster and opinioned: "If you are thirsty, you drink beer but no water , because water has no strength. Water will bring more damage than help to your body"

Now this is sanctioned beer quality if I ever saw it:
A beertasting was supposedly run as follows: the mayor and two members of the cityhall appeared at the brewery , demanded a stein of beer, poured the beer on a wooden bench and sat with their leatherpants on it. So they remained sitting for an hour. When they rose and the bench stuck to your "bud" , then the beer was considered good.

It's been said that no German engineer could ever learn anything from an American. Hmmmm:
Crown cork
is the hygienically proven cap on the returnable bottle. The crown cork was invented by William Painter from Baltimore, Maryland, and has been used since 1892.

Universallay true, no?
Rolling pin or Nudelwoigler
Traditional Bavarian hitting tool to discipline drunk ("b´suffane") husbands. To be blue.

I've learned a few things over there and think you'll enjoy it too.

See you at Octoberfest!