Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hanging with Hank

from left, me, John Trogner (co-owner of Troegs), Hank

This is a long one folks...go fill your beer.

Well, it's the end of June and that means that my good friend, fellow home brewer, and soon to be brewery owner (more on that later) was a few weeks into his annual drive from Arizona to Pennsylvania. As always Hank brought some nice west coast selections with him (thanks dude), New Belgium 1554 & Fat Tire, Alaskan Brewing summer and amber ale, Four Peaks 8th Street Ale, and his very own home brewed mequite agave ale (had one last night, it was awesome).

So what were we going to do all day...Well, um, actually a pretty nice little Saturday, we're going to go to Home Depot. Yeah, buy some wallpaper, maybe get some flooring, stuff like that. Maybe Bed, Bath, & Beyond, I don't know, I don't know if we'll have enough time...Will Ferrell is hilarious in that movie, ANYWAY we had three breweries to get to before the main event of the evening - the 14th Annual York County Micro Brew Fest, lets get started.

Our first stop was Liquid Hero Brewery in York, to see how the guys are coming along with their wall building, tile laying, wire running, welding, shop sink installing, toilet pluggin cetera. These guys have been hard at work for months inside that building, doing almost 100% of the work themselves, it's good to see they're getting close to their goal. The fermentation room and bathroom are framed out and mostly wall boarded, the tile curb for the brew area is finished. We were lucky enough to see their brand new sign that was built and delivered by Pat and Keith at Salvaging Creativity in York (these guys are good folks).

from left: Matt, Christian, Josh

After lunch at Central Market (I told Hank to go for the Roburrito, who comes to York and doesn't try a Roburrito?)with the Liquid Hero guys, Hank and I hopped on 83 and headed North to the land of the Troegenator. Troegs is in the process of opening their new brewery in Hershey, so if you haven't been to the Harrisburg location yet, get there, it will be good to see where these guys started before touring their new mammoth facility in Hershey. It's a nice facility, with a large tasting room where you can sample, or buy full pints. I had a fresh Hopback ale, it was good, obviously.

The brewery tours are almost always done by one of the Trogner brothers, Hank and I didn't make tour reservations (reservations...I know...remember the days when you could just walk in and get a tour? the good 'ol days...), but the good folks at Troegs were kind enough to squeeze us onto Johns last tour of the day. A huge thanks to John Trogner for hanging out after the tour and talking shop w/ Hank and I. Looking forward to the new brewery guys!

Running short on time we rushed over to Appalachian Brewing Company. As I've mentioned in previous posts, they have the best pretzel around. No time for one of those though, just enough time for a Hoppy Trails IPA on the hand pump. Then back in the car and back down to York for the brew fest.

The York County Heritage Trusts 14th Annual Micro Brew Fest, there it all is, moving forward I'll just refer to it as "the brewfest". This was my third time attending this brew fest, and I must say it gets better every year. They switched back to the nice glass for samples instead of the plastic mug of years past, they doubled the amount of breweries and offered 36 beers from 19 breweries, and they upped total amount of tickets from 700 to 1000 - and it still sold out. So if you want to go next year, get your tickets early.

The Stand Outs
- mixed Rogue Chocolate Stout and Dead Guy Ale (good but still too much chocolate)

- Kind Beer is coming to PA! This great brewery from North Carolina has two great beers that are now being distributed in PA - their Belgian Red Ale and their Pale Ale.

- Duquesne Beer is back...never knew they left. Seriously though, they bought the old Rolling Rock plant in Latrobe and have began brewing again. Their only beer so far is the Prince Pilsner. Not bad, not bad at all, AND it's only $16 a case. I don't know how they do it folks, but if it didn't taste good, I wouldn't be writing about it.

- Liquid Hero was there w/ their four (FOUR!) flag ship beers on tap, American Hero, Red Horn Ale, Schweet Ale, and Hero Weizen.

The Liquid Hero guys were even kind enough to bring in the "B Squad" and let me tap off some of their brews for awhile. I gotta tell you, tapping off beers at a brew fest is a lot of fun, I almost want to open up a brewery just to tap beers at upcoming brew fests.

So it was one hell of a day. Three breweries, and a brew fest, and I felt ok the next morning - somehow. It was a great time, and I'm glad I was there for Hansk first brew fest. If you're ever in the Tucson AZ area, make sure to check out Catalina Brewing Company - ask for Hank.

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