Funk Brewing Co . Elizabethtown, PA

20171217_122222

Puppies, brewery, and barbecue. What a perfect Sunday! We traveled to Elizabethtown to have a puppy meet and greet because we are adopting a pit bull puppy from Pitties.Love.Peace. After two hours of playtime the decision to adopt Brutus was made and, naturally, we were hungry (and thirsty). Lucky for us, Funk Brewing Company was about 10 minutes away right in downtown Etown.

Funk has on-street parking available right in front of their doors. We walked in a few minutes after they opened, found some menus and sat at a  big low top table. The main bar area has a nice stone and brick look to it. The walls in the bar and dining area have funky, 70’s style wallpaper for accent.

The menu at Funk features barbecue, brisket, and sliders which can be either pulled pork or brisket. There is also a kids menu. We opted for Boothy’s Sampler, which featured smoked beef, pork, and chicken served with baked beans and macaroni salad. The kids went with the beef brisket and pulled pork sliders which came with chips and pickles.

We opted for a flight at the bar and, luckily, the choices were full of hoppy, amazing IPA’s. Silent Disco, Mumble (DIPA), Citrus IPA, Babble Imperial IPA, and oddly enough the HAKA Hoppy Brown Ale were all deliciously hoppy offerings. The Silent Disco, Mumble, and Citrus IPA were among my favorites. Since the Citrus was on special at the time for $4 a pint I decided to grab another glass of hoppy, hazy goodness while everyone finished easting.

The other non-hoppy beers in the flight featured Funkenbier Pale Kellerbier, a golden hued beer with notes of biscuts,honey. The Royal Rumble Imperial Baltic Porter was a smooth porter aged for 48 days on Canadian Sugar Maple. It wonders me IPL was also featured, which has citrus flavors upfront with herbaceous complexity. And finally Funk featured Rustle, a Winter Style Lager which has notes of Buckwheat and Honey.

 

Funk always has events going on at the brewery which make sure just about any time you go in an event for the customer is happening. Various can releases, food specials, and new beers hitting the taps make me (and many others) look forward to going back for more.

 

 

Wow, that’s a LONG line….Tree House Brewing Co. Charlton, MA

20171124_142458
The new brewery is just ahead of all those people.
Old Tree House Brewery. Yup, those are Porta Potties.

Over Thanksgiving Break, we decided to get away to our favorite resort located in the Western part of Massachusets. Naturally one of the first questions that came up was, “What breweries are we going to visit”? Our last visit to Tree House Brewing Co in Massachusets was ok, but I’ve been following them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and have noticed they are selling WAY MORE beers per consumer than the five per adult we were allowed during the last visit. Turns out I was going to be getting a lot more Tree House than expected this time around.

The pictures on social media do not do this brewery justice. Just pulling into the compound looks like you’re heading to a mountain lodge. The long, winding, uphill driveway takes you into a massive parking lot where people are moving along with coolers on wheels and, surprisingly, dogs. Lots of dogs. Dogs are allowed INSIDE the brewery. Interesting.

Organized chaos.

We luckily found a spot in the upper parking lot and just saw a massive line of people. I mean massive. Once in line, I guessed there had to be about 100 people in front of me. Tree House has the can selling down to a science. Once inside they have a sign telling customers what beers are for sale. They also release this information on Twitter daily. There are numerous registers and plenty of staff there to help the whole process move quickly and efficiently. The staff scans your driver’s license to make sure that you’re 21 and to ensure you don’t hop right back into line and try to buy more. We brought our moms along for the adventure.  Each adult can purchase one case of Tree House beer. Sap, Julius, and Green were the offerings for the day. In all the excitement I didn’t even think to calculate how much 4 cases of beer was going to cost. Turns out I dropped about $390 for beer. That raised my wife’s eyebrow ever so slightly.  She’s fine- don’t worry.

Here is the other rub about the can release days. You cannot buy draft beers while this is happening. At first, I was just slightly pissed because, well, I WANTED TO DRINK THEIR BEER DAMMIT! But, after thinking about it, it makes sense. If they had the taps open for this daily craziness, no one would leave. Hundreds of people at the brewery = craziness. They only tap beers when the line dwindles down to about 10-15 people. Which usually happens at closing time.  Tree House then releases this information on Twitter and, magically, the brewery fills back up,

The Tree House campus is quite impressive. The pavilion is fashioned like something you’d see in the Pocono Mountains. two huge fireplaces are there to keep customers (who are lucky enough to get draft beers) warm throughout the chilly Massachusetts nights. The outside of the building features a koi pond that the kids immediately started climbing around.

This brewery is a beautiful work of art and I do hope we go back soon for more outstanding beers. I’ve never been so happy to stand in a long line for beer, while not drinking a beer. 

Stable 12 Brewing Company Phoenixville, PA

 

The Lowdown:

Location: 368 Bridge St. Phoenixville, PA 19460

Food:  Yes! Burgers, sandwiches, wings, and daily food specials.

Kid Friendly: Yes, there is a kids menu plus various board games just in case they don’t want to watch sports on tv.

Beer to go:  Yes. They can their beers as well as offer growler fills.

The cooler of delicious beers to go.

 

Stable 12 has been a brewery that I have been meaning to visit for quite some time now. Their beers have been featured numerous times at The Barley Mow in West Reading, Pa for tap takeover nights.  Several of my friends and co-workers have said that Stable 12 is a very good brewery that makes quality, on point IPA’s. With a special offer from Groupon, it was time to make this a reality.

Stable 12 is centrally located on Bridge Street, the main thoroughfare of Phoenixville. Whether it be 1/2 off drinks to “in the industry” workers on Sundays, guest bartenders for charity, or various sandwich and growler fill specials, Stable 12 always has an event that will make you want to stop in. We decided to visit Stable 12 on a rainy November night which featured half off wings and half off select beers during the Penn State game.

As expected, many other people came in to watch the Penn State game on their numerous TVs. Speakers are positioned in the ceiling and all over the pub made it possible to listen to the excitement of live college football. While waiting for a low top table we studied the food and beer menu. One appetizer stood out from the rest, fried Oreos. That’s right, fried Oreos. Yeah, I’ll take some of those!

20171118_174506
Fried Oreos
20171118_174033
Bacon Blue Burger

The food menu featured many delicious forms of burgers, appetizers, sandwiches, and wings. We decided to go with 2 orders of wings (half off due to the Penn State game), Bacon Blue Burger, Chicken tenders and, of course, deep-fried Oreos. All sandwiches come with a side of house-made chips, you can sub fries with the burger. Chicken tenders come with fries and a side of honey mustard. Beer BBQ and Alabama White wings were our flavor of choice, which came with a side of celery and blue cheese. Fried Oreos were plated with powdered sugar and buttercream icing. Simply amazing!

20171118_173719
Beer BBQ and Alabama White wings.

 

Thankfully, the beer list featured many different IPAs including DIPA, IPA, NEIPA and West Coast IPA. Stable 12 flights have four pours per flight. We ordered all the IPAs with the witbier, Belgian, and Bourbon Barrel rounding out the flight. If you’re a fan of super hoppy beers, the West Coast IPA is the beer for you. Wild West has an IBU of 108. My wife IS NOT a fan of Bourbon barrel beers at all. However, she did enjoy the complexity of the dark and very strong Buffalo Rodeo Imperial stout. At 10.5%  it surely will warm you on a chilly, rainy night. After the flight, we decided on additional glasses of Crowd Pleaser, which is an NE style DIPA and Sugar Coated Pony Kisses, a smooth IPA with sugar added for a smooth finish.

If you are not a beer fan, it’s no problem. Stable 12  also offer ciders and wines from local distributors.

Overall, the visit to Stable 12 was a positive experience. Delicious beers and food will indeed make you want to come back again and again. The only advice I would give would be to go early if you have your heart set on a low top table. There are seats at the bar, but low top tables are very limited and high top tables do not have chairs at them. So plan accordingly!

Saucony Creek Craft Brewery and Gastropub Kutztown, PA

The Lowdown:

Location: 15032 Kutztown Rd. Kutztown, PA 19530

Food: Yes! Full menu featuring locally sourced food whenever possible.

Kid friendly: Yes. There is a kids menu that can be colored to keep the kids busy while the adults attempt to unwind.

Beer to go: Yes. Growler fills available along with bottled flagship beers and special bottle releases.

 

 

Saucony Creek brewery is located on the outskirts of Kutztown, Pa. in what used to be an old car dealership. The showroom has been developed into a restaurant and bar. The former garage area has been made into a 15 barrel brewhouse system that includes 30 and 45 barrel fermentation tanks with an annual capacity of 6,000 barrels. We have always been fans of Saucony Creeks fall beer,  Maple Mistress, and were curious about what else they had to offer. With a little incentive from a Groupon, we were able to explore the various beers Saucony Creek has to offer.

The walls of Saucony Creek have been painted a bright lime green color, but it’s not obnoxious.  The decor is well lit, bright, and has a modern feeling.  It’s pre-existence as a car dealership is hardly recognizable.   Plentiful seating of both high and low top tables are available throughout the restaurant section.  Work from local artists adorns the walls and is for sale. A chalkboard advertises events at the brewery such as trivia nights, buck a shuck night, and detox and retox yoga.

We took a place at the long, granite bar and looked over the 12 beers available for tasting.

The flight list has something for everyone. IPA, DIPA, Witbier, Porter, Stouts, Pale ales. You name it, they have it.   Since we were here without our kids we decided to give all twelve beers a try. All pale ales and IPA’s were delicious, most of them below a 5% abv which allows ease when ordering a second pint. My wife isn’t a Saison fan. However, she enjoyed the xReserve Peach and Ginger Saison which was strong with the peach flavor and had notes of ginger afterward. I’m typically not a fan of porters but I found myself enjoying the xReserve Imperial Vanilla Porter. The Porter has a smooth, caramel, malty finish. Perfect for a fall/early winter day. The Hop Suplex DIPA was also quite intriguing. Not just because of former WWF superstars made up as hops on the label, but because of the taste. The 10% beer has a very nice hop aroma with a mellow grapefruit finish. Delicious and deceptive of the high abv. Hexeri is a Belgian style witbier that is just a fantastic summer beer.  Xreserve Bourbon Barrel Lord of Misrule will make you think you ordered a shot of the Heaven Hill bourbon. Saucony Creek soaked this brew in Bourbon barrels to give it an amazing kick yet with a semi-low abv at 9%.

We ordered an appetizer of the Pierogie fries with an onion and sour cream dipping sauce. Upon finishing our appetizer we realized we should have ordered two. For our main course, we ordered a mushroom flatbread pizza and pub burger with lettuce, tomato, and fries. All meals were delicious and done to perfection. Perhaps it was all in the locally sourced ingredients.

Saucony Creek has a commitment to locally sourcing as many ingredients as possible.  They are continuously looking to help local farms by using their crops in their recipes as well as hosting “pop-up” farmers market in their parking lot.

The community outreach doesn’t end with the food. Saucony frequently donates portions of their profits to various local charities. For instance, each purchase of flagship IPA, Stonefly,  sees a portion of the proceeds go towards the Schuylkill River Watershed Restoration Fund.  And, rarely a month goes by when the brewery is not “hosting” some sort of fundraising event.

One more story about Saucony Creek’s philanthropy. A local reverend met with Saucony Creek about doing something special for the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation. It just so happens that Katie Luther, who was married to the founder of the Lutheran religion, Martin Luther, had a homebrew recipe for a Dunkel Weizen. Saucony Creek bottled and sold the beers at a celebration at the brewery with a portion of the proceeds going towards the United Lutheran Seminary Scholarship Fund.

Saucony Creek is quickly becoming a major must visit brewery in Berks County as well as PA. The brewery always has fun events such as local fundraisers, local musicians, pop up local farmers markets in the parking lot  and the Maple Mistress 5k fun run.

Next time you are near Berks County or near Kutztown University (Go Golden Bears!) visit Saucony Creek for amazing food and beer.  You will not be disappointed.

 

 

Tired Hands Brewing Company. Ardmore, PA

The Lowdown

Location: Brew Cafe-16 Ardmore Ave Ardmore, PA 19003 (610) 896-7621

TIred Hands Fermentaria -35 Cricket Terr Ardmore, PA 19003 (484) 413-2983

Beers to Go: Growler fills, both 32 oz and 64 oz. are available as well as special bottle releases and cans (if you can get them).

Kid Friendly: They don’t have a kids menu or anything like that but they are tolerant of the young ones.

In my previous post, I wrote about my brewery experience at Tree House Brewing Company. As I chatted with the staff the asked if I ever went to Tired Hands near Philly. I hadn’t visited it and thought it was crazy that I visited this brewery that was hours away from my house but I hadn’t visited Tired Hands yet. Well, that changed thanks to my wife giving me an early Fathers Day present.

B.b Syndicate and tap list.

Tired Hands has two different locations, both within walking distance from each other. The Fermentaria is a very large, open brewery/restaurant with plenty of tables and a few patio seats. The Fermentaria has a large menu and 12 taps. We started our exploration of the Fermentaria on a Saturday shortly after lunch time. It was very crowded, the host explained to us there was a 45-minute wait due to the large crowd. Apparently, we visited on a day that was filled with families from local college graduations. However, we were able to wait at a high top table close to the main bar. This area did have a server and we were able to order some food and beers while we waited for our table.

We started off our beer tasting with the B.b Syndicate (IPA) and Royal Double IPA made with sushi rice. Both glasses were hazy in appearance and had a nice aroma of hoppiness. The B.b Syndicate quickly became a favorite of ours as out of the beers we sampled. Their Saison and witbier offerings all shared a tartness and almost sour taste to them. Unique and different than what I was expecting.

Appetizers were on the agends for this brewery trip, so we ordered nachos with chicken and a side of fries. The nacho chips were made in house with chunks of chicken and cilantro. Both appetizers were a bit on the small side but still very good. The Fermentaria also had menu options of burgers, salads, and paninis.

I walked around to snap pictures of the brewery itself and some of the strange, eclectic artwork which I feel reflects the owner. This  artwork also reflects in the strange, eclectic beers which Tired Hands has to offer daily. Kumquat Saison and DIPA brewed with sushi rice isn’t exactly a popular can to grab at the local bottle shop. TIred hands beers are mainly available at the brewery.  They have a difficult time kegging for other bars, their website states they are not accepting new clients and are on a waitlist dating back over 2 years. Also, kegs aren’t available to the public. Only growler fills, bottles, and cans (if you can get your hands on them).

After trying a few other beers (which if it wasn’t an IPA tasted sour) we decided to get a 32 oz of the B. b Syndicate. A cool fact about Tired Hands, they will trade out a 32 oz growler from another brewery for one of theirs. The growler they give you has an awesome Tired Hands logo on it with a flip top on it.

A cozy, more intimate Brew Cafe

Next up we walked a few minutes up the road to the Brew Cafe. The beers at the Brew Cafe are not the same as the Fermentaria except for 2, The Hop Hands and The Saison Hands were the same at both locations. The Brew Cafe is more of a small, cozy, intimate setting compared to the Fermentaria. A humongous artistic painting takes up the whole side of the building. Iron artwork ot the Tired Hands brand is right at the front door. Art work from the owner is framed everywhere, as well as art work on the windows on the upstairs windows.

We decided to try another appetizer, so we ordered a bread and butter platter which came with a dash of sea salt and Fennel Pollen on the side. Both restaurants try to  source their foods as local as possible and as often as possible. The bread had a fresh taste to it, as if it were delivered that morning.

As promised, their beer was totally different than the Fermentaria. We sampled the beer on cask, Invisible Font, an IPA conditioned with mangos. Nice aroma and had a semi-sweet taste with very little IPA hop kick. We also sampled the Marmalade Eyes, a Kumquar saison. Intriguing, but not surprisingly, sour also. The best of the bunch we sampled (in my opinion) was the Belew, their American Amber/ Red beer. Very smooth, tasty and easily drinkable. Sadly, I had to trade in my 32 oz Weyerbacher screw top growler for a brand new Tired Hands flip top growler.

The Tired Hands brewery trip was quite an experience. Walking around and experiencing new, funky beers while admiring  (sometime  scary) funky art is a delight for the taste buds and the eyes.

 

St. Boniface Brewing Company. Ephrata, PA

 

Location: 1701 W Main St. Ephrata, PA 17522

Food: Yes. Sandwiches, brick oven pizza and appetizers.

Beer to go: Growler fills but cans are available at local distributors.

Kid friendly: Kids are welcome.

Beer Quality: Untappd

Saint Boniface is a quaint little brewery located just off Main st. in Ephrata, PA.  The brewery is attached to the brewery to ensure overall beer freshness. There is plenty of parking lot spaces available along the sides of the brewery and in the rear.  Along the side of the brewery is additional patio seating for patrons to enjoy the PA weather.

Inside the brewery there are plenty of tables as well as a bar for additional seating. The decor of the inside bar is mainly reclaimed barn wood and metal. The same can be said for the bar and the tap systems. Beers on tap (as well as guest taps) are written on chalk slates just above the bar.

We had a few St. Boniface beers at the Reading Phillies games  and were anxious to try some other St. Boniface offerings.  We decided to have a flight of 5 St. Boniface beers and one guest tap beer (Molly Pitcher NEIPA). The first beer we sampled was a Hefeweizen. I found it to be  light and, crisp, not overly hoppy.  Offering #33 Mosiac IPA was next and, in my opinion, the best of the flight. It was everything you could want in an IPA. 69 IBU and a 6.9% ABV  yet not overly hoppy and refreshing. 3lb DIPA was next up next. This beer had a nice hop kick on the back end with slight bitterness up front. Very nice DIPA.  Libation had a nice level of hoppiness.   The last beer of the flight was an ESB. I’m not a huge fan of ESB beer but I could see how this beer could be a crowd pleaser.  Not overly bitter and just malty enough to make it an easy sipping beer.

For food we decided to go with a turkey BLT with chips on the side. The sandwich featured thick bacon with lots of lettuce and tomatoes piled high on pita bread. It didn’t last long. Finally we decided to go with a pretzel with mustard on the side .  Next time we visit we must try the brick oven pizza and calzones that I have heard so much about.

St. Boniface  brewery was a quick visit but a memorable one. This brewery knows how to make a delicious IPA and DIPA.  Its also nice to see this brewery branching out to offer their beers to local distributors in neighboring counties and at Reading Phillies games. I will definitely be on the look out for more of their seasonal beers and other beers.

Oakbrook Brewing Company. Reading, PA

The Lowdown

Location: 628 Park Ave , Reading PA 19611

Food: Yes.  There is BBQ,  sandwiches, nachos, soft pretzels, and various vegan dishes.

Kid Friendly: Yes. There are games available to keep kids busy while sipping on beers.

Beer to go: Currently growler fills only

Overall quality of beer:  Untappd

Oakbrook Brewing Company almost never came to be.  Owner/Head Brewer Kyle Neuheimer had a legal battle on his hands for years before he was able to restore an old firehouse into his vision of a brewery. His case went to court over and over due to pressure from the private club next door.  Luckily, Kyle prevailed and started the very long restoration process with a little help from firefighters and community members to make it what it is now.     Kyle has done his very best to update the current brew hall while preserving the old-time feel of the fire company, even down to the original paint colors.

Just two years in, and Oakbrook has the feel of an establishment that has been part of the community for decades, there are friendly servers who make everyone feel like a regular, the cafeteria style seating affords for an unpretentious welcoming experience, and the owner is almost always in-house happy to chat about; the vision, the journey, and of course the beer.

My friend and I went on a warmer Monday afternoon in April. Warm days at Oakbrook mean they let the bay door open and let the air into the brewery. Long wooden tables are positioned where the old firetruck used to be.  Music from decades past played softly in the background. There are no televisions at Oakbrook. However, they do have board games available to pass the time while you sip on awesome beers.

I went there looking forward to trying their pineapple IPA that was advertised on Facebook. She put the glass under the tap and PFFFTTTTTT. The keg kicked. No other kegs were available.  Oakbrook keeps its draft list updated on Facebook, and if you don’t make it time to try something new that Kyle whipped up, you might just miss it. The beer gods have frowned on me that day. No worries, I had a variety of other options. Oakbrook usually has 12 beers on tap and a guest tap that features a PA brewery.

Oakbrook has a unique menu that defies typical “brewery food” while still being food that tastes really good with beer. The menu features local favorites like  Muddy’s BBQ used for pulled pork sandwiches and Kielbasa.  Appetizers such as flatbread sandwiches, pizza, and Reading’s own Bell Alley Soft Pretzels, etc. They also have vegan options such as vegan Italian sausages, salsa and chips, and hummus. I decided to go with nachos with chicken served with a side of sour cream and salsa.

When it came to the beer, I started with a flight that featured The Blood Orange IPA, Oakbrook Seasonal Wheat, Oakbrook IPA, and Chocolate Moose Stout. Every beer we sampled was on point and delicious. There wasn’t a beer there that we didn’t rate under 3.5 on Untappd. The Oakbrook IPA reminded me a lot of Jai Lai by Cigar City. Cloudy, malty, hoppy, delicious! The Wheat is served with a lemon slice and would be the perfect summer beer on a hot PA day.

As we drank we walked around and looked at the various items donated to Oakbrook by members of the surrounding community.  Many people donated pictures, uniforms, etc. from their parents or grandparents who served at the fire station. Everyone who donated the items expressed their joy about having new life in the old fire hall, happy that it was not torn down and made into a parking lot. Family members frequently come in and reminisce about their grandparents, parents, and their youth spent in the fire station.

Kyle Neuheimer is also committed to giving back to the community. When you buy a beer, you get a chip. You then get to choose which boot gets the chip. There is a shelf near the register that has three different boots on it. Each boot represents local nonprofit charities. To date, Oakbrook has donated thousands of dollars to such charities as the Reading Public Library, Trout Unlimited, and the Reading Police Dept K-9 unit.

Oakbrook always has various events taking place at the brewery. They have a 108″ projection screen in the brewery that features movies such as Ghostbusters, Austin Powers, and other such cultish classics.  They also have formed a cycling team with JB Mountain Bikes with the proceeds benefiting the Friends of the Reading Police K-9 Unit.

Kyle has recently invested in a smoker which has led to the very popular “Wood Smoked Wednesday”!  The smoked wings have apparently gone so well that an even larger smoker was called for in response to the demand.

Oakbrook is an outstanding brewery that has a tremendous amount of positive attributes. Giving back to the community, awesome beer and good food in a unique atmosphere make this a great place to visit when in the Reading area.

Tree House Brewing Company. Monson, MA

 

 

The Lowdown.

Location: 160 E Hill Rd, Monson, MA 01057

Food: No.

Kid Friendly: I’d say yes. They’re tolerated.

Beer to go?: Cans are available and limited release bottles. They have growlers but a growler fill wasn’t an option when I was there.  Five cans per adult were all that was available for to go beer. One draft beer per adult to consume at the brewery.

The quality of beer: Ridiculousness….

The late, great Charlie Murphy once said, “If Prince taught me anything, it’s that you can’t judge a book by its cover. This cat can ball!” The same can be said for Tree House Brewing Company.

Tree House is in the middle of a rural part of Monson, Massachusets. As we drive on the road I wondered if the beer was all hype or was it as legit as EVERYONE has said it is. Once I saw a house with a huge painted sign in front that read, “This isn’t Tree House, keep driving” I knew the hype was justified.

We arrived at the brewery around two pm on a Saturday. Just in time, as it would eventually turn out. The wooden sign that says “Live well” in front of the brewery is a beautiful touch, showcasing some of the amazing talents of the local woodworkers. There was another item that jumped out at us as we pulled into the spacious stone parking lot; an orange construction cone that has a sign on it that said, “Lot Full”. Again, the hype is justified.

Probably complaining about the 1 beer rule….

As we walked in I took notice of the surrounding features to keep the customers occupied while they sip on their hoppy goodness.  Several corn hole games are available, a koi pond is on the back end of the property, as well as numerous picnic tables and Adirondack chairs. The outside of the brewery is not anything grand or spectacular. It looks like a huge garage that someone constructed to rebuild cars in. Lining the front of the building you will see the bathroom facilities, four porta-potties. Again, don’t judge.

The inside of the brewery is open and spacious. There is a small bar as you walk in with rustic, carved wooden decor. They sell various shirts, hats, bags, stickers, bike shirts,  and glasses with the Tree House logo. As you walk past the bar you will see tables set up with cans of beer for sale. I feel fortunate as I wait in line because there are only a few cans left for purchase. I immediately start thinking about how many I can buy and how I’m going to carry all these cans out to my soccer mom van excitement is building!

As I approach the tables a very nice and helpful young lady walks me through the Tree House protocols and procedures.  Five beers may be purchased per adult.  (say again? five total cans?- Yup)  Luckily, my wife was with me and counted as another adult. I was able to buy ten cans of Haze in the purple can. Unfortunately, the kids couldn’t purchase beers for me. That would have been an awesome early Fathers Day present.  Additionally, since the supply was running so low at this point in the day,  we were only permitted purchase one draft beer per adult.  We were given two tickets to take to the bar along with my ten cans.  Here is where I must give a lot of credit to Treehouse Brewery. The cans of beer were only five dollars. In my mind, I was thinking $7-$10 per can because, well, they could probably charge that and no one would blink an eye at the cost. Nope, only five dollars. That is a deal!

Enjoying Alter Ego.

My wife and I made our way over to the bar to get our first taste of the beer I’ve heard rave reviews over. Our hands were marked with an X so that way we couldn’t be sneaky and try to buy two beers per person (Someone, somewhere, at some time, tried it. Otherwise it wouldn’t have become protocol).

We received the tap list and were told our only option was Alter Ego,  an IPA.  It had a delicious citrusy aroma and had an amazing hop kick that seemed to just stay in the pallet. One sip and I could tell that the hype was justified. It was amazing! I have never sipped on a single beer for so long knowing that I couldn’t get another one. I felt like a condemned prisoner enjoying their last meal.

As I sipped on my beer I turned to see the employees write “SOLD OUT” on the chalkboard. Not even twenty minutes after I arrived they sold out of all the beer they can on site.

In noticing the shock and awe on my face one of the barmaids started to fill me in on the phenomenon that is Tree House Brewery. The brewery has its own canning machine that makes 2,000-2500 cases of beer a week. They always sell out every week and have a very difficult time keeping the beer in stock. They don’t keg or sell outside to other distributors because the demand is so high for the beer. Their main avenue of social media is on Twitter, where they give updates on what beer is for sale, how long the line is, and quantity of beer left. To just give a quick example, I looked on their Twitter feed and saw they sold 190 cases of beer in three hours with extraordinarily long lines at the brewery. This will be a helpful tool for my next brewery trip.

Tree House is planning to open up a second brewery in Charlton, MA in the middle of summer 2017. Very good news for all craft beer fans because it will more than double their current output and (hopefully) allow customers to have more than one beer per visit.

This was a very quick brewery visit, perhaps thirty minutes total. No food, no decisions to make, I had only one option for my cans, and one option for my draft. My wife said, “if this is what’s left, imagine how good the stuff is that people show up early for”? Definitely, a question I will remind her of when I drag her out of bed early on our next trip to Massachusetts.   I do look forward to going back to the Tree House Brewing Company before the end of 2017.

I will be heading back to the Tree House Brewing Company in the fall of 2017.  Hopefully, my visit will be at the new brewery. If it is, I’ll be sure to grab plenty of pics and write about it.

Cheers!

 

 

 

Stone Brewing Company Enjoy by 4-20-17

The original J.L.O

This was a gift from my good friend, Sven Peterson a.k.a balloon knot, a.k.a. Senator Congressman Ohlinger, a.k.a Jared.

This beer by Stone Brewing Company is surprisingly fresh tasting. Not overly hoppy,  Tastes like it was just bottled. This left me wanting more. And I will have it. Someday.

Troegs Independent Brewery. Hershey, PA

The Lowdown:

Location: 200 E Hersheypark Drive Hershey, PA 17033

Food: Full menu, very eclectic dishes: http://www.troegs.com/snack-bar-menu/

Kid Friendly:  No coloring books or a kids menu. However, during the warmer months, I imagine the kids running around the outside patio.

Quality of beer: https://untappd.com/  Averages 4 out of 5 stars.

Beer to go: Growler fills, bottles, cases, and limited releases available in the gift shop.

What else to drink: Maine Root Sodas, cold jar iced tea, milk, apple juice, and water are available.

After spending about 80% of your last paycheck in Hershey Park, you should drive into Troegs for a tasty dinner and a plentiful assortment of year-round beers and Scratch Batch offerings. The beautiful glass front brewery has a large parking lot and is quite easy to enter and exit from. 

Once you step through the doors the wonderful aroma of hops and freshly brewed beer captivates the senses. The tasting room/restaurant is straight ahead. Off to the right is a gift shop and a beer lab (which looks like the chemistry room in high school).

Outside seating

Upon walking into the tasting room you’ll be greeted by a friendly hostess who gives you a beer menu and invites you to grab a seat wherever you feel comfortable. The bar area has plenty of high top stools and tables. The dining area in the back has lower tables and booths. During warmer weather outside seating is also available.

Everything is cafeteria style.  Once you pick a  seat you can order your beers and delicious food at the appropriate stations.

We decided to order the Fish wrap with fries and Sourdough grilled cheese with tomato soup. We were handed a buzzer and had a short wait until our food was ready. The grilled cheese is an enormous portion, while the fish wrap was loaded with delicious vegetables, beer battered fish with fries and curry ketchup. Very filling!

Once we received our food it was time to shift our priorities to the important part of our journey, the beer! Since we’ve been enjoying IPA’s as of late I decided to order a flight with different IPA’s that Troegs has to offer.

Jimmy hooking me up with a Solid Sender

In the flight we ordered Scratch Batch #276 (Farmhouse Rye Saison), First Cut (American IPA with mango) , Perpetual IPA (American IPA),and  Solid Sender (Pale Ale), Out of these offerings the Farmhouse Rye was the best in our opinion. However, since we’ve been on an IPA kick, we bought a glass of the Solid Sender that our helpful bartender Jimmy poured us.

Artwork everywhere!

After the food and beers we walked around to explore more of the brewery.  Troegs does an annual  contest where they challenge contestants to use anything Troegs has to offer (labels, bottle-caps, etc) to be used in art. Throughout the brewery there is a variety of art inspired by the Troegs brand.

There is also a self guided tour of the brewery that takes you through the fermentation, filtration, and kegging process. All very interesting to learn about (if you’re into that).

Inside the Splendid Cellar.

We then came upon the corner of the brewery which housed three, 20 ft high oak barrels which was called the Splinter Cellar. Inside these barrels is where beers like LeGrave (a Belgian style triple) and Wild Elf (Mad elf aged in the foeders for a year with cherries)  are made.

In the gift shop we found another hidden gem, Java Head Stout Coffee. This coffee is locally roasted by St. Thomas Roasters in Linglestown, PA. It is smooth with just enough flavor blend. I have been looking forward to waking up in the morning knowing I’ll have a pot of this waiting for me.

Troegs offers remarkable beer, great food, and the opportunity for guests to become educated in the brewery industry. Troegs has become one of the major breweries in PA and is a worthwhile destination for those visiting the Hershey area.