Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Hoke Fest: An Epic Day Of Beerdom

To date, this is the local beer trip of local beer trips. We wanted to treat our good friend Josh Hoke (Head Brewer of Liquid Hero) to a relaxing (Epic!) day of Beerdom for his birthday. So we created the 1st Annual Hoke Fest - a thirteen hour, 136 mile trip covering five breweries, a cask festival, one taproom, and one bottle shop. It was so epic we even made t shirts...

1st Annual Hoke Fest: An Epic Day of Beerdom
Total driving time: 3hrs 14min
Total distance: 133 miles
Trip Type: Epic Day Long Journey
Destinations: 8
Travel Map & Directions At Bottom Of Post

Destination #1: Troegs Brewing Company
Hershey, PA www.troegs.com

As mentioned here, the new Troegs Brewery in Hershey, PA is quite the place and should definitely be on your to-do list. It offers a large selection of beers on tap, including their entire year round line up, as well as two to three selections from their Scratch series. Call ahead to book a guided tour, or grab a pint at the bar and take the self guided tour through the actual brewery. If this is your first stop on this trip I suggest being there to open the place up at 11AM. Their new Snack Bar offers some great locally sourced food, and their french press coffee is sure to wake up and prepare your DD for the day long journey.

Destination #2: Bube's Brewery
Mount Joy, PA www.bubesbrewery.com

After your stop at Troegs, head to your next (and much different) location - Bube's Brewery in Mount Joy. This is one of my favorite places to visit and I always make a point to take my out of town friends here. Grab a seat at the bar, order one of their brews, and take the time to fully appreciate this historic land mark. As far as food goes, the wings are good, and the fish tacos are really good. Don't forget to ask someone for a tour of the catacombs and upstairs hotel!

Destination #3: Bulls Head Public House / General Sutter Inn
Lititz, PA www.generalsutterinn.com www.bullsheadpublichouse.com

The General Sutter Inn is an historic landmark in operation in Lititz since 1764, that is connected to the Bulls Head Public House. The Bulls Head offers a great selection of micro beers and Trappist selections. An epic day of beerdom requires an epic event, and we were lucky enough to schedule Hoke Fest the same day as The General Sutter in Spring Cask Festival. The festival offered 16 different cask beers all by breweries that start with the letter "S". We tried selections from Spring House, Swashbuckler, Southern Tier, and many more. They host a spring and fall cask festival each year, make sure to check their websites for details and check out the fall one.

You're probably thinking: "Wow, 16 different beers did you try them all?"

You bet your ass we did.

Destination #4: Stoudts Brewing Company
Adamstown, PA www.stoudtsbeer.com

So at this point our day was already pretty epic. After the cask festival we were, well lets say in need of a reset and some food - enter the sausage sampler at Stoudts Brewing Company...

..which includes one each of the traditional bratwurst, kielbasa and weisswurst sausage, served with PA Dutch sauerkraut, red cabbage and German potato salad. Coming in at only $22 for this feast, it's the perfect snack to split with a friend. We also had a cheese platter as an appetizer - which I would also recommend. Stoudts is another unique destination and well worth the stop. The tap list includes their year round selections as well as seasonals - their Golden Lager is one of my favorite beers for summer.

Destination #5: Lancaster Brewing Company
Lancaster, PA www.lancasterbrewing.com

After our feast at Stoudts we headed back down 222 and onto Route 30 to Lancaster Brewing Company - a local staple. You see their beers at your local case store, and on tap at several locations around York. They offer a great selection at the brewery, including my favorite, Celtic Rose:

Our version of the traditional Irish Amber Ale combines the richness of malt with the delicate and spicy British hops for a taste worthy of the Red Rose City.

Malts: 2 Row Pale, Caramel, Munich 20, Vienna, Wheat Malt
Hops: Cascade, Willamette OG: 14 ABV: 5.0% IBU: 16

Destination #6: The Spring House Taproom
Lancaster, PA www.springhousebeer.com

Tired? Intoxicated? Hungry? All of those things are expected by this point in your epic day of beerdom. There is a good chance you've been to or at least heard of the Spring House Taproom. I doubt you've been there in this state of mind though, keep it together, you're almost done your epic day of beerdom. I suggest you grab a sampler and step over to the shuffle board for a few games - remember no drinks over the table. Say hello to Zoltar (remember Tom Hanks in Big?) in the back by the bathrooms and head out - as you're close to the finish line.

Destination #7: The Fridge
Lancaster PA, www.beerfridgelancaster.com

The Fridge is a direct result of the economic downturn of '08/'09. Two friends lost their 8-5 day jobs and took a risk. The result of that risk is The Fridge, an amazing bottle shop that offers both unique and classic takes on flat bread pizza, a nice tap list of about ten beers, and the largest bottle selection I've seen locally. If you've been searching for something, there is a good chance their selection of over 500 varities has it. The Fridge is a great stop in this epic journey, but is also a great Saturday afternoon lunch destination.

Destination #8: Iron Hill Brewery & Restaraunt
Lancaster, PA www.ironhillbrewery.com/lancaster

Finish line...I'll be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect from Iron Hill. Is it a brewery? Is it a restaurant? Usually when I see the words "Brewery & Restaurant" I translate that to "mediocre beer & generic food". Not the case with Iron Hill - at all. I was really, really impressed with all aspects of Iron Hill. The beer selection was not only huge, but full of quality. The service was great, training for their servers includes tasting, food parings, and general beer knowledge. The food is also very good, I went with my usual fish 'n chips.

We left Iron Hill and got back to York around midnight. It was a long day since we were at Troegs at 11AM. You can try to do this in one day. Don't plan much for the day after though. All of these stops are great places to visit, each with a different and unique experience. A huge thanks to my wonderful wife for being our DD for the day. If you do decide to take this trip, let me know how it went, or feel free to email me at travelsinbeerdom@gmail.com for info or logistic questions.

And remember, always, ALWAYS have a designated driver.


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