It's that time of year ... some time off between semesters. This is the time I get to catch up on stuff around the house, hang with the families, and do a little touring with my beer geek friends to get our 'fix'. The shower is tiled and ready to be grouted and we should be showering again by Sunday (fingers crossed). We had a nice Christmas and got to spend time with both families - and my brother even decided last minute to come in from Idaho.
Tues. 12/30: But on to the beer! On the Tuesday after Christmas, we (me, Dave and Justin) drove up to Williamsport by lunch time. We started at The Bullfrog Brewery, where we met up with Bill (of Marzoni's) and Mark (homebrewer and regional beer writer). The funny part was that Bill was in Indiana just the day before delivering yet more Avalanche IPA to The Coney (he's now bringing over half kegs instead of sixtels, so it's selling well) and over lunch we each found out the other would be at the Bullfrog the next day. Anyway, Terry (Bullfrog brewer) had given Bill and Mark a tour and we got a round on him. Thanks, Terry!
I tried a few new beers over lunch, including Bruggetown Blonde, XXXX Quad, Fast Eddie's Pale Ale, and a Coffee Cream Stout. I bought a book of Busted Lawnmower to go and a growler of the Quad.
From Bullfrog, we drove across the river to Duboistown to have a few samples at Abbey Wright - once again running into Bill and Mark. I tried another sampler here, including two new ones - a Kölsch and a saison. After the samples, we chatted with Bart (the brewer) for a few minutes before getting back on the road.
Next stop: State College. Neither Dave nor Justin had ever visited Zeno's. If you've not been, you must! One of the best beer bars in PA, and I'd put it up against Eulogy and Sharp Edge - maybe not as many Belgians on draught, but quite a selection. Here, I sampled Otto's Scottish Ale (on cask), De Ranke XX Bitter, Hair of the Dog Ruth, 3 Fonteinen Doesjel, Deus Brut des Flandres, and Voodoo Big Black Voodoo Daddy. Fantastic!
Our trip finished out at Otto's, where we once again ran into Bill and Mark. Here I picked up a growler of the Apple Tripel and enjoyed a glass of Jolly Roger.
Wed 12/31: Did have a couple of pints of Avalanche IPA for lunch at the Coney with my good friend Mike (also former college roommate and my best man). He was in the region for Xmas, having driven all the way from Santa Fe. He brought me a 20th anniversary wooden collectors box from Santa Fe Brewing containing: Sangre de Frambuesa, State Pen Imperial Porter and an Imperial Yippee IPA. I look forward to trying these soon. Thanks Mike! I of course sent him home with some goodies.
More to come in Part II.