Scoats and I did the Upstate Beer Run on Wednesday, gathering up the final beers for the Upstate PA Beer tasting we're doing at the Grey Lodge Sunday night. Scoats came out to my place early Wednesday morning, and while I was finishing my Cheerios and strawberries, Cathy made him a quick bowl of oatmeal. Sustaining. We set out, Passat rolling (I'd get 39 MPG on the day, too), and telling each other tales.
First stop was to be the Bullfrog Brewery, but we were ahead of schedule, so we went up over the mountain to see One Guy. Guy pulled in just after we did, and we met the Two Other Guys (he's hired assistants) as we went in. We sampled the hefe -- nice, tart -- the Berwick Lager -- clean, smooth -- and the IPL, a batch of Atomic Punk IPA Guy made with lager yeast. "I could sell this," Scoats said, and he's definitely right: good stuff, clean, hoppy, like Prima Pils with more body. We toured the huge place (huge place, tiny brewery), saw the pizza oven (waiting on time and money), the beer garden (waiting on time and money), and the bottling area (waiting on...).
We got out, and now, of course, we're late (sorry, Terry), and get to Bullfrog about 11:20. No problem, Terry says, and takes us downstairs to see the operation (That first picture is Terry and me down in the midst of things). Wow. Lots of barrels, "kegs gone wild," bottling tanks just for the wild ales... Terry's found a big niche market for soured beers in Williamsport; who knew? He gave us a sample of his latest: a beer brewed with wild yeasts and 100% cacao chocolate. An amazingly layered beer that punches funk and chocolate in ways that are quite appealing. We put away 2/3 of a pint in short order. Once we grabbed a sixtel of Beesting Saison, away we went.
Not far, though. We just went over a few blocks to Kimball's Pub, a place that wasn't much to look at (clean, but real plain), but had a damned nice selection of beer. We were picking up another sixtel: Bavarian Barbarian Square Feet Wheat dunkeweizen. Mike Hiller had dropped it off there for us; he was in DC on Wednesday, showing off his First Snow winter warmer at the Brickskeller. Not bad for your first year!
Off we went, down Rt. 220, then over the ridges to Millheim, where we spent some very pleasant time with Tim Bowser and the crew at Elk Creek Cafe (my man Sam Komlenic was there, too; always a pleasure, Sam: that's Tim and Sam with Elk Creek's brewhouse to the right), sampling and shooting the breeze. Elk Creek's a beautiful place and no doubt; if you haven't been, go. A sixtel of Belgian strong, and we were on our way (after a quick stop at Penns Valley Meat Market for some house-made ring bologna and jerky).
One more stop: Old Forge Brewing, in Danville. Wanted to get here for months now, and I have: worth the trip. Great, simple place, well-populated even at 4 on a Wednesday afternoon. I got the alt, and it was good: proper hop bite, not over-alcohol'd, not too much hop aroma; maybe a bit dark, maybe a bit sweet, but Damien said he was aware of that and on top of it, this was the first batch. I did get a glass of Sensessionale, and it was excellent session stuff, a definite all-day sucker.
What really put us both away, though, was the food. I'd been told the menu was simple but well-executed, and man, was that true. Best $6 quesadilla I've ever had, perfectly done, cheesey, chicken, thin-sliced apple, just great. And the soft pretzels are very German, big, soft, chewy-tasty (and made the WaWa 'soft pretzel' I had on the way to Philly Beer Geek last night taste like a hard sponge); made at a Mifflinburg bakery. Great eats.
And then we drove home. Good day, good beer.
A big thanks to Scoats for the pix: I forgot my camera!