Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Prohibition Coming!

To TV, that is.

I just received the following to my inbox announcing the new Ken Burns documentary premiering Sunday night.

For three consecutive nights, beginning October 2 at 8 p.m., PBS will air one of the most compelling documentaries ever created about an embarrassing 13-year era of U.S. history. "Prohibition," by award winning film maker Ken Burns, chronicles the crime, loose morality and violence that erupted from an unenforceable law that escalated alcohol's status and made heroes out of the thugs who illegally supplied it.

Check your local listings for the broadcast times on your local PBS station.

In conjunction with this event, our local PBS station WVIA-TV has put together a show airing this Thursday, September 29 at 7 pm entitled Prohibition In Northeast Pennsylvania as part of its State of Pennsylvania series with guest Guy Graybill, author of "Prohibition's Prince".

In Northeast Pennsylvania, moonshiner and bootlegger Prince David Farrington became a notorious character. His bootlegging operations impacted thousands made a legend of the man and the stills he left standing. Learn the truth about Prohibition's Prince on our next State of PA.

Should be very interesting indeed.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Wild Hops?

Uncle Kazek insists there are wild hops growing behind his house.

I won't argue with him since hops were cultivated in the eastern US long ago, but this brings to mind something that does grow on a vine, wild, at the end of the street by my house: grapes.

On Saturday I went for a long run (11) and on two occasions, once at the end of said street and another on the long road back, passed stands of wild grapes, their vines resolutely clutching tree trunk and extending like octopus tentacles along the branches next to and in some cases overhanging the road. Stands may be too strong as there appeared to be only a single surviving vine in each case. The sweet, ripe, purple grape emitted an intoxicating aroma as I passed.

I wonder if someday soon there might be hop fields along these same roads, lending their own exotic nimbus into the air for passing beer/running enthusiasts to enjoy?

Drying Out Over a ShawneeCraft® Double Pale Ale at the Gem and Keystone

One of the almost infinite benefits of working in the Garden State is that we pass more than a few brewpubs on our way back and forth, slaves to the grind.  (This is going to end soon, but Elmer Sudds has plenty of beers to cry over.  I surely will be crying over this.)

Today we decided to stop in at the Gem and Keystone Brew Pub to see if anything from ShawneeCraft® Brewing Company's new brewmaster Chris was gracing the taps yet.  (As you probably know from Mr. MyBeerBuzz the Leo has left and now the Chris is at the mash tun.)

Anyway, the short answer is that the beers available now are still collaborative efforts of Chris and Leo with some of Chris' own creations coming on real soon.  As a matter of fact this weekend there'll be an Oktoberfest beer coming on and in November a pumpkin ale.  To follow is the wonderful Porter--to Leo's recipe according to the `keep.

This afternoon, we sampled the Double Pale Ale to the right which was a nice hoppy creation which we did not have a chance to taste on our last visit.  (Or did we?) This is not an Americanized pale ale but something that an English brewer might brew.  If hopped up.  Aah, the perfect antidote to a day in NJ!  That was quickly followed up by the delicious Stock Ale™which is, dare we use the word, sessionable, coming in at a meager 4.8% ABV.

We were truly saddened to hear that there was a loss of many kegs of barrel aging beers due to Tropical Storm Lee that blasted through Eastern PA a few weeks ago.   (ShawneeCraft® is located in Shawnee on the Delaware right next to the Delaware River.) Some of the barrels had been aging for a couple of years, but had to be dumped nonetheless.  Our hearts go out to the brewery over this loss.  Much of the brewery gear was saved by moving it to higher elevation, but some of the brewery equipment was still damaged by the rampaging river.  The good news is that the damage was not that bad according to the `keep.

Talk to you lager,

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

American Homebrewers Association(r) has a new logo (#homebrew)



You've probably seen this already but if you haven't it's all there--one-inch view looking down at a bottle cap, the golden circle of life enclosing a hop flower, a barley spikelet, and a refreshing, what? A full glass of pilsner? I suppose that's ok. But a half-drank shaker of homebrew IPA with some awesome lacing might have looked a little more apropos. IMHO.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Anderson Sant’anna De Lima's 508 Gastrobrewery

Anderson shows us his blueprint for success. Must visit.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The No-Drone Zone

Have you ever been in a beer bar where there's just an incessant drone of 100 people?

Good people, all--don't get me wrong--they're drinking great beers, right?

But there's something just downright sweet about a more settled, cozy atmosphere.


Schlitz Original Recipe

S and I went out pre-Potter to the friendly Ice House Pub last night for a bite and to see what was on draught.

I wanted to try something new but alas almost everything on that looked interesting had been tried--I was hoping to try something different from Berwick Brewing but all they had was their Hondo Keller bier. A fine beer in it's own right, but still not something untried.

After taking another closer look at the draught list, I was drawn to something at the very top, a beer I hadn't tasted before, advertising itself as Original Recipe, the Beer that Made Milwaukee Famous, Schlitz Gusto. And at $2.50 a full pint how could I wrong?

This beer rose from the dead a few years ago and is now brewed by the Pabst Brewing Company.

A lively, easy drinking beer it be, it turned out to be a perfect accompaniment to a couple dozen Virginia littlenecks.

S opted for something that's becoming all too regular for her, a Leinenkugel Summer Shandy. A surprisingly, refreshing sessionable (there can be no argument on this) treat, lying somewhere east of the forgettable and unforgettable continuum.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Phish and Beer

As readers of this blog may know, I'm a Phish fan--not a raging fan that follows them across the land--but a fan still.

Well they're on the road again this summer and they'll be playing seven sets at the Super Ball IX festival at Watkins Glen (yes at the racetrack), starting Friday July 1st through Sunday July 3rd.

Phish fans like beer, I tell you no lie. When we saw them in Hershey last summer there were great beers available for sale in the stadium as well as a boatload of great beers being quaffed (and confiscated by the po-po, [sigh]) in the parking lot.

In keeping with their solid dedication to wetting dry whistles, there will be a Beers of the World tent during the festival. Here's something I recently received from Phish.

Years of marketing research and focus groups have revealed that Phish fans, given a choice of a wide variety of beverage options, often choose a fermented concoction made from cereal grains. We created a tent at Festival 8 called Beers of the World where any fan, no matter what language they spoke, would find a pleasing option. BOTW will be back at Super Ball IX with over 50 different kinds of beer available. Of note is the return of Sierra Nevada's FOAM, a special pilsner brewed specifically for Phish. True fact: After Festival 8, FOAM went on to win the Gold Medal at the 2010 World Beer Championship as the world's best Pilsner. It sold out in a hurry at its debut. They're brewing a little extra this time.

Sadly, I won't be seeing them this summer as there's just too much going on with timberframing, landscaping, working on cars and whole lot of other stuff.

I'll be there in spirit though!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Lightstreet Porter float

Now, I'm not one for dessert but when I saw this on the menu over at Turkey Hill Brewing, well, it's now history.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Beer Gardens

I saw this nice article today in the Times (you haven't reached your browse limit yet have you?) about the resurgence of beer gardens in the city. There's now 54. Perhaps not all pure in the sense of the Bohemian, but still there seems to be more interest lately in getting outside with friends.

You know, we're getting a few of our own up in NEPA too. Both that I've been to (what others are there?) are really sweet: Berwick Brewing Co. has a nice covered beer garden behind the brewery (where else) with a stage on one end and The Backyard Ale House has one behind the bar proper (uncovered so watch those T-storms).

Gee, is this beer blog still active?

Well, it's been about as active the last few months as I've been in this heat today--stuck in my office with no AC, three computers, two phone systems, 8 phones, zero air circulation and no beer.

But, it's quittin' time now (aka The Best Part of Every Day™)

Welcome to the Memorial Day weekend everyone! Try to remember what this is about, be safe and have someone else drive if you've had too much.

Friday, April 29, 2011

YeeHaw! Turkey Hill Brewing Company Dances

When we heard about six months ago that the Turkey Hill Brewing Company was opening, we immediately expected great things since the Inn at Turkey Hill Inn is such a fantastic place to stay and enjoy imaginative five-star cuisine. After our first visit last week, we're here to say they've delivered on every expectation.

From the outside, the building looks like a barn that's been turned into something more--exactly what you can't be certain until you get closer, but the twin cupolas on the roof ensure there's no mistaking the original purpose of this structure. Approaching from the large parking area, the sidewalk passes by windows that let you know the focus of this place is beer. The entrance: a wonderful faux timber frame that beckons and hints at what's inside.

Passing through the doors leads to a reception area where you'll find wood and lots of it. Benches for waiting patrons are arrayed around the room--their seats made of rustic slabs of timber. Wood paneling; and a well executed custom wood staircase ascends to the second floor. To the right in the reception area are windows looking directly into the brewery that is at the same level.

The staircase up places you in a room that on one side has a windowed gallery overlooking the brewery and on the other side a doorway opens into the main space of the second floor which contains a bar and dining room. Simple wooden stools and a narrow bar rail along the gallery windows will be a nice place to watch the brewery in action. Alas on this night not to be: it's time to celebrate boys!

Passing through the opening into the main space, there's a bar straight ahead and dining room to the left. Magnificent and authentic barn framing soars overhead. Well done fellows! The cupola admitting early evening light enhances the framing.

The beer menu strikes a nice balance: there are a couple or three of approachable beers reminiscent of earlier times, an intriguing Belgian Dubbel, and a few nice American-style craft beers where the brewmaster Donny Abraczinskas really displays his deft touch. A six-flight sampler was $8.50, delivered in a carpenter's wooden toolbox and well worth the few bucks. The only beer on the menu not yet ready when we visited was the NewWhirrld Vienna Lager.

The Barn Dance Blonde Ale is a German style Kölsch beer (not my favorite style) and comes in at a light 4.5% ABV. This is a beer to session over; there can be no argument on this can there? This hybrid style can be cloying to us but this one is perfectly suited to bringing to a barn dance. You can not go wrong choosing this beer even if you're more of a Bud Lite drinker.

The Belgian Blonde Ale Bamboozled in Bruges reminded me of Blanche de Bruges (RIP) and was nice and easy drinking. This beer is made for summer and is on the light side for the style at a Witbier-like 5.3% ABV. Doonie's Dubbel is a Belgian Strong Ale--darker and stronger than the Blonde, similar in character and just as easy drinkin'. This dubbel brings it, so watch out.

What impressed me the most was the Epiphany American Pale Ale. Beautiful color, enticing aroma, just the right amount of hop flavor (not overwhelming at all) and lingering lacing on the glass. This beauty squirms into that space just below an American IPA. By that we mean it's a perfect beer for someone wanting to step up to more flavor or when you needs a breather from a string of hop bombs. This one's a keeper.

The Journeyman IPA is a revelation! Crystal clear amber, a delicate yet direct sharp jab in the nose from the hops--guessin' there's C-hops in here. The taste is a bit spicy (Cilantro?) and citrusy. You won't find something like Berwick Brewing Company's Atomic Punk IPA in this beer and it's really not aiming for that. Super good.

The Lightstreet Porter is named after Lightstreet which is a small community just on the other side of I-80 from the brewery. (We haven't been through there in years since PA-487 was modernized oh, 20 years ago, to bypass the town proper. Didn't the store in town have Ma's Root Beer?). This example is served on nitrogen. It's appearance is beguiling its lightness which at 4.9% it truly is a good drinking brew.

Each and every beer was perfect in clarity.

There were a few empty tables when we arrived about 6:30, these quickly filled and there was a wait when we departed. The wait-staff was pleasant and knowledgable of the beer and quick to engage our thoughts on each of the beers. Kudos on that as it shows a real concern. The meals were very good, served quickly.

We didn't get a good look at the bar, other than to see the edge of a very handsome bar rail. We'll have to get back soon for a closer look.

Gee, they've really gotten in right here. Wonderful timber framing reminiscent of the barns I grew up in with innards like the bar and dining room booths hewn from reclaimed building materials. Locally sourced foodstuffs. Beers that are out of this world.

Congratulations to everyone involved! D: I hope you brewed plenty of beer!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Beer Surpasses Water, Tea, and Coffee as Beverage of Choice

Beer: it’s not just for watching football games anymore.

The American Beverage Association has just released the results of a survey that suggests that beer has recently surpassed bottled waters, teas, soft-drinks, and juices in popularity in the United States. When contacted for more information, an ABA spokesman declined any lengthy comments on the matter only offering that the industry was “pursuing new products incorporating beer” in order to profit from the nation’s newfound interest in “tubby beverages”.

We wanted to understand how this wave of popularity is being felt closer to home so we spoke with a Wilkes-Barre PA brewer who informed us that his business has never been better. “As you’d expect we’re supplying lots of kegs to bars and restaurants, but also to ordinary citizens for events like baby and wedding showers, bar and bat mitzvahs and even to some nursing homes. And we recently had contact from a local pet hotel operator who inquired as to the suitability of our beers for small pets.” The brewer continued, “I have noticed a disturbing side-effect though, that many people arriving at the brewery for their kegs, have to be assisted out of their cars due to their oversize midsections.”

We visited a local beer bar for a chance to speak with a few patrons to get their thoughts. We found two who were enjoying some beers from the draught list over lunch. Both declined to identify themselves as they were there on their lunch hour and didn’t want their bosses to know where they were. “It’s an addiction,” one said. “I keep a notebook at home with every beer I’ve ever tasted and it’s up over 1,000 now. And I’ve only been doing this for two years.” During our conversation, the other patron in the bar was furiously swyping the keyboard on his phone so we asked what he was so engaged in. “I’m tweeting about this awesome Trappist ale from Chimay.” When we asked, “What’s a Trappist?”, he responded, “Oh, they’re the high priests of beer from somewhere in Europe. No really. They’re priests that make beer.”

It seems the overwhelming interest in beer has an interesting economic side effect too. We visited a Mr. Z’s grocery store and found the soft-drink manager sadly looking at an aisle and two end-caps brimming with soda. When we approached to get his opinion on the lack of interest in these drinks he intoned that “My pay depends on me moving product and no one’s buying this sugary crap anymore.” But he did get a gleam in his eyes when he concluded, “I can’t wait `til the governor lets us sell beer in here though, I‘m gonna be rich.”

With bottle shops and beer bars catering to a wide array of tastes, blogs and #beer tweets proselytizing about beer, and beer menus, brewery tasting rooms, beer and food pairing dinners, cooking with beer, brewpubs, gastropubs, micro and macro breweries, nano-breweries, pico-breweries, beer of the month clubs, Cicerones, shows about beer on television, radio, and internet, and who knows what else proliferating like dandelions, it’s no surprise that beer has become as American as apple pie and a fat gut.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Propane used during recent #Homebrew Session

@platypotamus asked how much propane and propane accessories (ok, sans the accessories) are used for brewing a batch of #Homebrew outdoors. I replied $1 to $2 which was based on the current price of propane where I live ($.4975/pound) and a gut-feel for how long a 20 pound tank lasted this winter.

Thinking about it some more, and how lacking in data or context my response, I decided to take some simple measurements during my last brew session on Saturday.

The methodology I used here, was to heat the entire volume of water (strike and sparge) to strike temperature, then drain off the amount needed for mashing. The sparge water remained in the HLT and then was heated to sparge temperature about 15 minutes before the end of mashing. The flame was adjusted to what I would call medium-high--not rocket strength mind you, but not simmering either. (I suppose I should have timed how long it took to raise the temperature at the various points to give an idea of how high the flame was.)

BurnerBlichmann Toptier Floor Standing
WeatherTemperature: 42 degrees
Winds: light
Starting Propane Weight37.25 pounds (including cylinder)
Starting Water Volume8.5 gallons
Strike Water Temperature Profile (starting/ending)52/164 degrees Fahrenheit
Sparge Water Volume4.25 gallons
Sparge Water Temperature Profile140/185 degrees Fahrenheit
Wort Volume6.85 gallons
Boil Water Temperature Profile140/212 degrees Fahrenheit
Boil60 minutes
Ending Propane Weight33 pounds (including cylinder)
Propane Used4.25 pounds

N.B. I overshot my strike water temperature target by two degrees, wasting some energy. The starting temperature for the boil may be off a little from stated 140.

I think the cost can be decreased easily by continuing to heat the strike water through to sparge temperature, then shutting off the burner and storing the water in an insulated HLT. Another easy area for improvement would be to keep the initial water at indoor temperatures for as long as possible before moving outside for heating.

Still, two bucks is not much!

Any other easy improvements?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

German Beer Culture in Decline?

Is the Reinheitsgebot holding German beer back or just plain `ol tradition?

I think it's just tradition. You can do an awful lot with just the four basic ingredients.

Good article over at Slate.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bowled Over by the Brooklyn Brewery

And for the gambling, beer drinking fools we are, we wagered the last bit of our MetroCards on a trip out to Williamsburg (take the L to Bedford Ave. station in Brooklyn) for a chance to finally get in and visit the Brooklyn Brewery.

A visit often attempted, finally achieved.

Brooklyn Brewery is located just a few blocks away from the Bedford Ave. station. It's an easy five to ten minute walk. If you stroll down Beforde Avenue to 11th St, you'll get a little feeling for the downtown area of Williamsburg which is only a few blocks long and wide and is an urban delight containing an assortment of eclectic shops, bars, clubs, eateries, and such. 11th St. has a few bars but it's mostly residential and light industrial/artistic. (Hey, I wouldn't mind living there!)

When we arrived at the brewery, it had not yet opened so we passed the brewery (!) and stopped in at Brooklyn Bowl to check out the lanes and enjoy a quick beer before heading over to the brewery. (Brooklyn Bowl is attached to the side of the brewery and the entrance is on Wythe Avenue.)

If you haven't been to Brooklyn Bowl, imagine this:

Take one bowling alley, insert a large bar, swirl in some great LOCAL beers (natch), dash some super gastropub fare on the side, stuff some leather couches behind the lanes to set the mood for proper relaxed bowling, and jam live music almost every night of the week from a great stage out across a big dance-floor and at other times just play great rock music over an always-on sound system!

What a hoot! Does it really get any better than that?

We loved the bowling alley vibe so much we stayed for two or three beers. We definitely stayed local and enjoyed the hellaciously Deeeeeelicious! Brooklyn Blast! double IPA from the Brewer's Reserve series and a Kelso of Brooklyn India Pale Ale. Kelso of Brooklyn is a local brewery located out in Greenpoint that you might not have heard about, but their beer is dang good. Plus, they're as conscious about the environment as they are their beer, which is always a good thing in my book.

We even had the wherewithal to get an order of fries and smoked wings that were just plain awesome. This all enlivened our temperament and we even bowled a couple of games to boot!

After a few hours of hilarity rolling sub-75 games, we staggered out into the sunlight and headed back towards the subway station and voila! ran smack-dab into a Brooklyn Brewery tour which was, you guessed it: just starting.

Brooklyn has a long history in brewing due to the large population of German immigrants and at one time had nearly 50 breweries producing beer for city workers and citizens. Eventually the number dwindled to zero as a result of prohibition and the acceptance of mass-marketed beer from the Midwest. Brewing's rebirth in Brooklyn began in the 1996 with the opening of Brooklyn Brewery.

Inside on the tour you'll find some nice visuals arrayed around some fermentation tanks and a bottling station. A fellow from the brewery gives a little history about the brewery and tells a few stories. Did you know that their logo was designed by the same guy who did the I Heart NY logo? His fee: free beer for life! And another about what it took to do business in Brooklyn back in the day when the brewery was founded. Can you say, um, payoffs? The fellow also detailed an extensive brewery expansion that is underway.

It seems they can't keep up with demand.

And what a problem to have, no?

Unfortunately you're quite limited in where you're allowed to go on the tour, but afterwards you can ease the pain by purchasing some wooden tokens for four bucks with which you can trade for a beer back in the indoor beer garden. There isn't any food offered in there but order-ins are more than welcome.

The beer garden was crowded when we finally got in about 4 pm with perhaps 200 happy-go-luckies all there for the same reason. There was a lot of preaching to the choir goin' on, I'm here to tell you. J tells me it's always like that. The garden seats maybe 200 and there's standing room for lots more.

The brewery tour is free and they offer it on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Check the web-site for specifics before you trek out there.

(Sidebar 1: I met C who developed the Brooklyn Bowl concept at Mugs Ale House a few years back on our first Brooklyn pub crawl. My interest was piqued then by his passionate description of the venue which actually turned out far superior in fruition. Congratulations, C! Next time we're out, let's get back to Mugs for a couple.)

(Sidebar 2: Note to Self: Gee, we have to do another pub crawl again. Soon. Haven't crawled in Philly in a while. Hmm...)

Monday, February 28, 2011

Gift Card Bonanza (#homebrew)

Stumbled on a $50 Amazon gift card (sorry Amazon, I occasionally do clean up the coupons stuck to my refrigerator) and decided to expand my brewing library with the following titles:

"Brewing Up a Business: Adventures in Beer from the Founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Revised and Updated" by Sam Calagione.

"Designing Great Beers: The Ultimate Guide to Brewing Classic Beer Styles" by Ray Daniels.

"How to Brew: Everything You Need To Know To Brew Beer Right The First Time" by John J. Palmer.

"Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation (Brewing Elements Series)" by Chris White.

There are some classics here I'm sure everyone has already.

The Yeast title is quite new and should be good. Yeast: How do you do what you do?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Nugget Nectar (#homebrew)

After our visit to Troegs yesterday, and a check of my brewing inventory today, I see I have all the ingredients to brew a clone of this beer.

Malts: Pilsner, Vienna, Munich
Hops: Nugget, Warrior, Tomahawk, Simcoe®, Palisade
Hopback Hops: Whole Leaf Nugget
Dry Hop: Nugget, Warrior

ABV: 7.5%
IBU: 93ish
Color: Straw/Orange

So much to brew, so little time.

Dang! Troegs Makes Good Beer

D and I popped into Troegs yesterday after the rally and boy did we have a great time.

Wall to wall SRO beer drinkers enjoyin' a 1000 pints, and just plain good people enjoying a beautiful sunny late winter afternoon out and about and stoppin' in to enjoy some dang good beer.

We enjoyed a couple pints each of the last the the Nugget Nectar. Sweet! Not much carbonation to speak of and a excellent balance of malt and hop flavors. Really easy drinkin'. By the time you read this, it may be too late to get some. Better luck next year.

Met up with J (a bike racer) who had biked up from Lancaster on a training ride. His family met him there. Did we share some great memories of bike racing, training, riding, beer drinkin' stories, gluten-free beer ideas, and such. Isn't that what beer's all about? I think so.

The barkeep told us Sunshine Pils is now brewing. Can you say Summer is just around the bend of the draught faucet?

Will miss this location when they move to Hershey. Will be 15 minutes closer for me though, so in every cloud there is a silver lining.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Here you are. And through some serendipitous bit of good fortune you made it.

Many on this blogosphere inscribe a short autobiography on the front page describing who they are, where they come from, what their interests are, or what beers they like.

I don't have one--I hope the stories (both fact, fiction, and opinion) tell you who I am.

Recently I read a post somewhere where the author proclaimed that

“I immediately skip comments from a person using a pseudonym.”

What do you think of that? Do you agree or disagree?

I strongly disagree with that statement because one can never really know the status of the person using a pseudonym. What I mean is that the writer could be saying something unpopular in their current environment. Or, that could get them fired or be used against them in some way. Maybe even saying something that could hurt their chances of getting a job. One can't assume that the person using the fake name is only doing so out of cowardice and not standing by their words. That's not to say that there aren't cowards out there--rabble-rousers. Just use your best judgement. But don't dismiss something out of hand due to the writer's pseudonym.

For heaven's sake, we all know now who Poor Richard was and why he used that name, right?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Hop Rhyzomes Ordered! (#homebrew)

I just contacted Pete at Simply Homebrew and ordered two each Chinook, Centennial, and Nugget rhyzomes to go in this year.

Here's a few shots of our existing hop yard consisting of Cascade and Willamette varieties.

It is a C-H-O-R-E keeping the bines down to a reasonable number.

The new varieties will be going in apart from what you see here on a new raisable trellis mechanism.

Are you dreaming of fresh hop beer yet?

Cascade and Willamette producing well and going into their 4th year.

Here's Marley's Tire Chaser IPA

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Quick Trip to Marley's Brewery and Grille in Bloomsburg

D and I and hundreds of other like-minded beer fie...err friends froze our patoochies off last night to get into Marley's to experience what this new brewery has to offer...

Through the front door (don't mind the big Harry's sign overhead out front from when this was Harry Magee's old haunt) is a large high-ceilinged taproom. There's a big chalk board just inside on the left that welcomes and entices. Straight ahead lies a wonderful u-shaped bar with oaken-plank bar-top, perhaps 40 feet long (seating for maybe 18) and lit by some nice pendants and fronted by a slick oak Chicago bar rail. The bar overhang is supported by rugged corbels underneath. There's a unique canopied back bar with shelving holding three sizes of gleaming beer glassware to the left and right of the large center mirror etched with Marley's Brewery and Grille logo. Beaded trim used throughout--bar front, backbar trim around cabinet doors, etc.

To the right and continuing down to the back of the taproom are pub tables. Half-way down the right wall is a passageway with hostess station, that leads to a more intimate dining room with booths beyond. The neat transom over the opening to the passageway depicts the equipment and stages of the brewing process.

To the beer.

In order of preference I liked the Tire Chaser IPA the most. It tastes crisply different for these parts and it doesn't snarl at ya. It's just absolutely Deeeeeelicious! (I would like to know what hops were used in this.) The aroma on this one really opens up from a shaker pour!

The Wagging Tail Wit made me want to get out and mow the lawn it's so dang good. Nota bene: I can never get enough Belgian wheat beer.

The Guard Dog Porter is almost a stout with so much chocolate that it had me thinkin' I'd time traveled to Valentine's Day and overdosed on a box.

You know what I like about US Porters? They're all different and not beholden to some antique stylings. And now we have three fine local examples: Petey's Porter from Old Forge Brewing Company, Grumpy Bill Porter from Berwick Brewing Company and now Guard Dog Porter. Deeeeeeeelicious!

We live in great times, don't ya think?

The Kong Kolsch is, well, a kolsch which I'm not a huge fan of. Very drinkable though.

Finally the Dog Runner Red is my least favorite. Too malty for me, but I ain't no Saint Michael.

The last two beers, the Rope Tug Rye (sounds good doesn't it?) and the Droopy Ear Alt won't be on until sometime next week according to our barmaid.

I may be wrong about this, but the rye may just be the first rye produced by any of the local breweries. I count local as Danville northeast along the Susquehanna to Plains.

I can't wait to try it.

If my eyes don't deceive me (and lately they have been) the beer menu lists the sugar content of the beer pre and post-fermentation in degrees Plato: °P. °P is roughly the number of grams of sugar in a 100 gram aqueous solution. Now when's the last time you saw anyone relate Plato to beer and on a beer menu to boot?

I had to look it up, but a rough conversion is to take the °P and multiply it by 4 to obtain specific gravity. This is what I'm most familiar with in homebrewing. So I took the IPA as an example and did the multiplication. It gave me an original gravity of 1.054 and final gravity of 1.0096. That sounds about right for a 6% ABV.

Speaking of barmaids, you won't find a nicer bunch. Hi Babbling B!

The canine theme continues with the pack of growlers over there. (I brought one home filled with the Tire Chaser IPA and I can't wait until The Best Part of Every Day™ to crack it!)

Marley's is located in downtown Bloomsburg on East Main Street (also known as route 11). If you're coming from the west, it's easy to reach from the Lightstreet exit (236) of I-80 by taking 487 south into town. If you're coming from the east, take the Berwick exit (241) of I-80 onto 11 south.

There's a municipal parking lot one block behind Marley's and a block north (towards the college). There are signs on East Main St. that will lead you right in to the parking.

In short, there's lots to like about this place. The beer's cold and good and there's a Happy Hour when two of the beers (brewer's choice) are a buck off. They do serve some wines too, so even those without a lusty jonesin' for a beer goin' on can be appeased. There are beer flights which we sampled. The beer can be ordered in 12, 16, and 23 ounce pours and the prices are pretty good for these parts. The service is great: attentive and quick. Can't speak for the food, other than a wee pretzel snack we enjoyed the heck out of.

It seems the staff was ironing the kinks out of the point of sale system, but they were managing to keep it all under control.

I did not see a whole lot of college-age kids but there were some. Not that there's anything wrong with that--beer does not discriminate based on age.

I think what we have here is a worthy addition to our now on-fire beer scene. And I hope this never ends.

Good luck Marley's.

And we'll be back.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Victory Brewing Company to be Featured at Valentine's Day Prohibition Themed Beer Dinner

This just in from our roving beer reporter, contributing today from the Savannah bureau.

Victory Brewing Company beers are to be featured at a beer pairing dinner being held at The Distillery in Savannah Georgia, on February 14th 2011, starting at 6:00 pm.

The dinner will be featuring seven of Victory Brewing Company beers paired with five food courses. Beers for the dinner include: Storm King Stout, V-12, Schwartz Pils, Hop Wallop, Helios Farmhouse Ale, Old Horizontal, Prima Pils....and possibly a few other appearances.

This dinner will be a true "Prohibition" themed event. The Distillery will have paper up on the front windows and the front doors will be locked. All attendees must use the side door with a secret knock with a secret password (given at time of making reservations).....just like the ol' Speakeasies. There will be music from the 20's and 30's, and dress from that time era is encouraged. A prize will be given for the best costumes.

Cost is $60 for beer club members and $70 for non-members.

See your bartender or call The Distillery at (912)236-1772 to make a reservation and find out details of the food pairings.

The key to your baby's heart on Valentine's Day in Savannah this year, won't be found in a box of chocolates but in a glass of Victory Beer and some fine food pairings.

The Distillery is the Savannah area's only true craft beer bar and restaurant with 21 rotating craft beers on tap and over 100 bottled beers. They offer Savannah fine fresh pub food inspired by the craft beer showcased. Spanning the Beer Globulet, so you can just sit there, drink beer, and have fun. And communicate pithy commentary from your smartphone every now and then.®

Friday, January 28, 2011

Sliding into Damenti's Ice Bar for a Quick One!

Last night S and I slid in to a crowded Damenti's Ice Bar in Mountain Top for a quick one and a good cause.

The barmaid told us that the proceeds from the $3.00 cover charge this year are going to repair a local Mountain Top man's barn that was also his home, which recently burned down.

The first thing you'll notice is that this year marks a change in the ice bar design in that it's no longer all-ice like an igloo, but instead is built under a permanent roof.

Inside the crystalline objet d'art, we found a sensational 30' ice bar where we could pick from a selection of canned beers (none of which terrifically tickled our tails), plenty of cocktails and a wicked rum punch that turned out to be deeeeeeeelicious! Careful now, anything placed on the bar is liable to slide right off.

The inside walls are adorned with sometimes stunning natural scenes depicted in sunken and Bas-relief.  The few pictures here don't do the artistry of the 500-plus man-hours of work justice.

This whimsical snail utters: "Welcome to Damenti's Ice Bar."

Every ice bar needs a throne upon which the Ice Queen's fat arse may rest!

The back bar is a wonder and it even has an ice mirror!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Hey Tazio, What's in the Beer Meister (Single malt IPA, Slimy the Imposter, #homebrew)

Aah, yes....

The Meister be filled and we be whittlin' away at some fine homebrew for the past few weeks.

The Espresso Stout is about kicked, barely holding on 1/2 way out the back door of the Meister, but, no fear: we've got a new roomie lined up. More about that later. This stout was a good beer, a fine beer--don't get us wrong: chocolaty and faintly espresso flavored, with just a wee bit of hop flavor and taste. Beautiful color and a tempting chocolate-milk head. We were a tad disappointed by the espresso flavor--didn't use anything special for the espresso, just grocery store Espresso Napolitano. Will be brewing this again but will try some other espresso.

The second keg contains our first attempt at all-grain that started out as the Blackfoot River Brewing Co.'s single malt IPA clone. But sans the correct hops (Citra substituted), it turned quite good in its own right: a grapefruity vunderkind knockout which even S enjoys the hell out of. This one's a bit foamy and never calmed down much and it too's almost kicked.

But wait: there's more...

The third keg is an all-grain repeat of Slimy the Imposter, but this time with the correct hops, but the wrong yeast. (Sidebar: our starter never, um started, and in a masterstroke (not really, more like a desperate attempt to save brew day) pitched a outdated packet of Munton's ale yeast into the starter. It did the trick and this version turned very clear (the Munton's yeast perhaps?) unlike the previous ver. Fine and dry as tinder be. D loves it but T enjoyed the previous version which had Amarillo substitution and seemed truer to the real thing. Pliny the Elder really does live up to the hype.

So, if all goes according to plan, a sensational (?) little black CDA should be taking up residence in the Meister, two weeks hence. We're calling this Zeroth Degree CDA in honor of our first zero degree brew day yesterday. We hit pre-boil gravity right on a 1.06 and starting gravity of 1.07. It's percolating nicely now.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Damenti's Ice Bar is Open!


Just passed by Damenti's ice bar on the way home from work and I see that it's now open for the year.

Here's some pics of what it looked like last year.

Gotta stop in tonight and see what Kevin and Helen have in store this year.

A scurvy dog tied to the yardarm?

Grog anyone?