Saturday, June 4, 2011

Marleys Brewpub

We were finally able to get into Marley's Brewpub in Bloomsburg.  We walked in for lunch, and came away satisfied. The food was right on par.  We had a chicken cheese steak and ranch chicken wrap, and both filled us up.  I was able to have two beers. The first that I had was their Kolsch.  A good Kolsch is clear, crisp ale that is then lagered.  It portrays grassy qualities with slight bitterness. The beer is typically a great refreshing beer for the summertime.

I had high expectations for this Kolsch, as Mr. Lew Bryson is a fan of the brewer's former Kolsch at the Swashbuckler Brewery at the PA Renassaince Fair.  I was not disappointed. It was cool, clean and collected.  It proved to be a great compliment to my wrap, and was great to drink when walking in from the hot, humid weather outside.

My second beer was the Belgian Pale Ale.  I was really surprised with how good this was.  It has a Belgian yeast spice punch with a strong hop flavor and aroma, without an over powering bitterness. I had low expectations for this one, and it came out great.

Overall, I cannot wait to get back an try some more of their beers- definitely will try their other Belgian styles.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Session #52- Beer Collectibles & Breweriana- Gift Edition

I did not post for The Session last month.  Why? I know nothing about cheese. This month, the topic comes from All Over Beer:
As host of Session #52, I’ve decided not to focus on the substance of beer, but the material that plays a supporting role. Bottles, coasters, cans, labels, ads, tap handles, church keys, hats, t-shirts, tip trays, glassware and signs have been collected by fanatics ever since beer has been sold.

Like all other beer geeks, I have a rather large glassware selection.  Mine came to me through giveaways at bars (mostly Max's Wednesday pint night).  But I will not bore you with my favorite or memorable glasses. Instead, I will talk about gifts- while it is not totally on par with The Session topic, I will write anyway.

First is a gift I gave my brother- the somewhat-expert homebrewer. When traveling to a friends house to sample each other's homebrews, he would take along a leftover six pack holder from a case of beer he drank. I took note, and then found (on Etsy) a guy who made custom wooden six pack carriers.  It instantly became the talk of their little homebrew circle (I made up a logo for his "brewery", and had the ever famous Be Franklin misquote on it).  Even after they moved, he still uses it to lug his beer around, sometimes from the kitchen to the living room.  Definitely the coolest 6er I have ever seen.

The second gift I will talk about was the chalkboard they got me for Christmas this past year.  After buying our house, we were in need of cool beery decorations, enter the Tetley's mirror/chalkboard.  It works well as a mini show piece, as well as a makeshift brew schedule. I do not have many beer items on the walls, but this one is allowed to keep its place.

So for me, these two pieces of beer items are cool to see and talk about.  Hopefully someday I will get my own six-pack carrier.  And if you are looking for one, or looking for a great gift to give someone, check out that link.

Memorial Weekend

I believe that we should respect and honor those who have given their lives for our freedom. I try to be the first at the bar to buy a drink for a soldier/police officer/firefighter, as they are doing something that everyone should respect and admire.

Memorial Day is the national holiday to honor those who lost their life, while protecting ours. The weekend has turned to vacation, cook outs and camping for many people.  While I too took in the weekend to relax, I tried to keep in mind why we have the long weekend.

All of that being said, a group of us traveled up to the cabin to relax and enjoy the nice weather and good brews.  Along for the ride were 7 people, 5 dogs, 2 cases of homebrew and 2 cases of craft beer (Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Intercourse Brewing variety case). All turned out to be great beers to drink all weekend long.  The Intercourse are brewed at the Lion Brewery in Wilkes Barre, with the names representing towns in/around Lancaster County.

The variety case included the Blue Ball Porter, Mount Joy Light, Bareville Pilsner and Paradise Pale Ale.  Along with the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, none of the main beers we drank this weekend were above 5.6%.  My love of SNPA is well stated throughout this blog.  Of the Intercourse beers, the Bareville Pilsner was perfect for the hot weather (it was around 90 degrees plus humidity most of the weekend). Sure, it is a basic pale American lager, but it has more of a body and crisper taste than the Macro bunch of beers. The other Intercourse beers were fine as well.  The Mount Joy Light was, well, light, both in body and flavor- better than a Miller Lite or Bud Light, but I prefer it to have a little more ummph. The Paradise Pale Ale was another average (in a good sense) beer- nice malt base with a citris hop bitterness. In one word, typical.  But when there is a SNPA sitting next to it, there is no comparison. I only had one of the Blue Ball Porter, but as I remember it was dark, roasty and quite bitter. Not remarkable at all, but drinkable.

Overall, we had a great weekend.  Nice weather, good beer and good friends.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Beer in a Grocery Store?

That is the Weis Markets in Bloomsburg, PA. They were able to open their deli, with in store seating and separate cash register, what I like to call the Wegman's rule. The selection looked adequate.  With there being some Pennsylvania craft beer, but mostly macro and mini Macro (Magic Hat) beers in the coolers- I didn't get to see what was on the shelves, as we were shopping for our cabin trip. 

I will get back to really investigate the selection/pricing and follow up.

Help a friend in need- Wilderness Brewing

I truly believe that you cannot have too many A) Breweries and B) Beer Blogs.  So what happens when writers of a beer blog, Thank Heaven for Beer, are able to pursue their dream of opening a brewery?  I try my best to support them.

 Thank Heaven for Beer has been one of my favorite reads for the past year or two.  It is written by two guys who love craft beer, give great homebrew advice and truly show a passion for everything that is good about beer. If you are looking for tips on homebrew or commentary on the beer industry, this is a great place to catch up. They are always responsive when posting comments too- it is amazing how many blogs lack this communication.

So please, if you have a few extra dollars (I know, not many people do, but if you can scrounge some change up, anything helps), donate it to this startup.  Check out their StumbleUpon page, and give it the old Thumbs up. Help out someone who is trying to bring more good beer to the table. (Also, pass this on to anyone that can help them out.)

Also on Reddit- give it an up vote.