The point of The Six-Pack Project is to identify six local beers that best represent our area’s craft beer offerings. Bryan lays down a couple rules:
1. This isn’t simply a “best of” list. The goal is to pick a collection of six beers that represents your state and/or state’s beer culture.
2. Beer must be made in your state, but “gypsy” brewers are acceptable, so long as that beer is brewed with an in-state brewery and sold in your state.
3. Any size bottle or can is acceptable to include.
4. Current seasonal offerings are fine, but try to keep selections to year-round brews as much as possible. No out-of-season brews preferred. Specialty or one-off brews are not allowed.
Be sure to stick around for the After Show. Special thanks to Tierney for coming on the show.
You can listen by clicking above or find The Operation Shutdown on iTunes. If you use iTunes, please consider subscribing. If you enjoyed this podcast, please consider leaving a review and sharing it with a friend.
There are two pieces of technology in my lifetime that immediately after I saw them I understood everything would be different going forward.
The first was Napster.* The summer before Napster turned all of Gen X into pirates, my college strung all the dormitories with high speed internet lines in every room. It was uncanny.
I will never forget the awe of watching Heart of Glass download onto a computer in 30 seconds and then playing it out the booming speakers of my roommates DJ level audio equipment. The Internet officially grew up in that instant for me. Connectivity was real and it was profound.
At that moment everything changed. The music industry in this country can be broken into pre-Napster and post-Napster eras. Nothing was ever the same once music could be stolen.
For me, it started like it does for many people coming to this style, with Heady Topper. Here was a beer with moderately high ABV, hazy looks, solid mouth feel and juicy crushable flavors that makes it quaffable. It was unlike anything I had experienced before in an IPA.
This past weekend I saw Everclear in concert at The Vineyard at Hershey for their annual Merlot and Flash Gord’n release party. It was nostalgic listening to music from my high school years. Music that pumped from my beloved Sony Discman into my car stereo through a cassette tape adapter.
Everclear is both pre and post-Napster. Pre-Napster, the music industry was in balance. Music labels controlled the distribution, consumers paid too much, and artists got screwed by management. It worked…in a sense. After the Napster revolution the revenue plummeted, control by the labels went to hell, and artists still got screwed.
Is the NE IPA here to break up the West Coast IPA’s reign of dominance? Unlikely and only time will tell. Yet, the differences between the two styles of IPA is stark. A well done West Coast IPA is floral, bitter, and in its most extreme, punishing to the palate. NE IPAs are crushable, easy drinking with low bitterness and a subtle sweetness boosting the citrus of copious hops.
Everclear’s second album So Much For the Afterglow was their biggest success. Debuting after the MP3 file sharing revolution, the album’s title could have been a send off for the height of a once dominate industry. Unlike Napster crumbling the foundation of music, NE IPAs should be welcomed as a buttress to a growing movement.
Ryan DeLutis’ Hippy Ki-Yay! shows a brewer coming into his own after several years of plying his trade professionally. While not quite to the standard of the stalwarts of this burgeoning style it is very good nonetheless. In Hippy Ki-Yay!, the Citra and Mosaic hops come through but minus the punishing bitters of the west coast style variants while having that full bodied mouth feel. More importantly it is a way to try the NE IPA style minus the hundreds of miles and days stalking around New England bottle shops and breweries.
It is a very good beer that shows even the small local breweries can push a revolution.
*The second of the two pieces of tech was when Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone. No one had any way of knowing that it would become the most successful piece of hardware in tech history. What I did understand immediately was the power of having the Internet in your pocket. I assumed it would change everything and I had to have one. I still love my iPhone(s) more than any other piece of tech I own. They are personal.
I am also a Apple Fanboy so take all that with the biases regularly associated with this disclaimer.
If you are a Gen Xer you really should watch Downloaded a 2013 documentary about the rise and fall of Napster. It is very, very good and a great run through the music of our youth. Also it has a bunch of Kurt Loder MTV news clips.
Listening to Everclear these days it is easy to assume that they have more daddy issues than can be found on a porn set.
The first time I had Blind Pig down at Monk’s Cafe in 2012 it was easy to see how this beer sparked the West Coast IPA. Years later I would get to enjoy Russian Rivers’ Pliny the Elder and the Younger. Transcendent beers still to this day. The West Coast IPA style is not in decline in my opinion but the NE style is making waves.
Hippie Ki-Yay! is better than Hoppy Ki Yay by Lonerider Brewing Company out of Raliegh, NC, which I also liked. But the name with the “Hoppy” works way better than Hippie. Sometimes being first pays big dividends.
Also the art work for Hippie Ki-Yay! just does not work for me. Is that a hippie Bruce Willis/John McClain? That is just wrong on so many levels. But it is way better than the stupid meme at the top of this post.
Playing to your strengths is generally good advice. It lets you play the game or do the work with the greatest chance of success. During a recent visit to Moo-Duck Brewery in Elizabethtown, PA that concept of “playing to one’s strengths” came to mind.
I had ordered a glass of Moo-Duck’s 291 Experimental IPA. This slightly hazy, light bodied, 5.8% IPA was unusual. It had a bit of citrus in the nose along with sweet smelling flowers. I was expecting it to be a mosaic hopped beer as I took my first sip but this was herbal and earthy. While it had floral notes, as the beer warmed up in the glass the floral quelled and herbal notes took complete control by adding a slight spiciness to the front and a long finish of faint eucalyptus and mild mint. I liked it.
You would be hard pressed to find a guy more down to Earth than Mike or his wife Kristen. So it makes sense that their beers should also reflect this. 291 Experimental IPA plays to their strengths and in the little I know them, their personalities. Easy drinking but earthy, it is a unique IPA that nicely showcases a new hop profile you probably have yet to meet.
Moo-Duck currently has The Remedy on tap as well. If you are looking for an herbal and flowery beer, brewed locally, you will be unlikely to find one more daring or interesting one. This wheat beer is brewed with local honey and an insane amount of Chamomile.
There are times where certain styles just work for a brewery. A great example of this is Victory Brewing Co. and pilsner. It a style of beer they work with well. They make many other fine beers but if its a pilsner, you can take it to the bank that it will be a world beater.
I have dropped some hints to it on Twitter, but tomorrow night I am recording Ep. 4 of The Operation Shutdown Podcast… and I really think this one will be gangbusters. Expect it to post sometime over the weekend. If I am lucky, it will be done by Friday night.
Some beers are for sipping quietly late at night as a finish to the evening. These beers are subtle, deep, and complex. They are best enjoyed with quiet contemplation and either a book or a cigar.
Some beers are for drinking with a fine meal. They are built to cut through rich foods with flavors curated to compliment.
Some beers are a transcendent experience that can change the way you enjoy and/or think about beer in general. Beers that are to be celebrated by themselves, just as they are and as an achievement. These are beers that can go beyond just mere “whalez” status.
Then there are beers for drinking. These are my favorite. The ones that are not pretension. That are packed with hard, easy to define flavors, and come packing heat. These are beers for cracking open while lighting up the grill or starting the camp fire.
I am drinking these beers because I have nowhere to be, I have no work left to complete. The grass is mowed. The day is done and its only 3 pm. I am day drinking and I am proud of it.
Troeg’s newest once-a-year offering is a double IPA and is slightly outside their wheelhouse* while still being a thoroughly impressive IPA packed with citrus, tangerine, papaya and apricot flavors. It has a bit of pepper in the middle and the finish is peaches with a hint of alcohol that reminds you that this weighs in at a not subtle 9.0% ABV.
Troegs had the bollocks to put this heavy hitter into pounder cans. It’s a statement. This beer is for drinking. This is not a whale that you sip at your friend’s bottle share. This is a beer that tastes just fine right from the can, in the summer heat, quaffed boldly.
This is not a sipper even at 9%. Buy a four pack. Throw it on ice and sit on the deck and drink it. Enjoy the hell out of a big, boozy, tasty beer that tastes like Saturday afternoons in July feel.
Just drink the damn beer. It’s good.
I purchased a case of Nimble Giant in the summer of 2015 and it was really great but the body and the flavors on it this year is just fantastic. It seems like over the past year they took what they learned in making the small run and just took it all up a notch for this wider release.
If you want a fruit flavored filled double IPA this is the one. You don’t need to buy some fruit infused beer to get these flavors.
Yes…A four-pack (or six) of these is quite an afternoon. So what? Where else you got to be?
Total Recall is a fantastic movie. I love the original. It is one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s best movies. It is a fantastically crafted original story by Philip K. Dick, brought to life on the screen and has aged pretty well for a sci-fi flick from 1990.
Pizza Boy recently attempted their own remake of a classic.
Al Kominski had a hand in brewing at least two Tröegs Scratch beers by my recollection: Scratch 58 and 98. Those Scratch Triple Mango IPAs, were high gravity beers with mango and hops in massive quantities. They were great. Classics of the Central PA craft brewing revolution.
I was excited to try it. I recalled the first two Mango Triple IPAs. I even pulled a cellared Scratch 98 out for #DrinkItNow in February. These were great beers. I was hoping for a great remake but I got something else.
The beer is totally opaque and sits thick in the glass. Mouth feel is akin to a thin, lightly carbonated tomato juice. The smell is mangos, dank hops, and booze. This beer is boozy from start to finish; and not pleasantly.
The flavors are of mango puree and mango rind. The hops are aggressive and punishing. The alpha acid bitterness, off the charts and lacking a balance of sweetness or malts to make it tolerable. The finish is that of Everclear and rubbing alcohol. This beer is bombed out so the name is appropriate. As a study for what is possible when pushing flavors to the extreme this beer achieves, but little else as it is nearly undrinkable.
Mango Bomb is like the three breasted mutant hooker from Total Recall. That sounds awesome. I wanted to see that.
But three tits are just weird and I only have two hands. So why was I so excited in the first place? More can sometimes just be more; not better.
Also the remakes rarely live up to the original. This remake was a bomb in name and result.
I have praised Al and Terry many times here on this blog and elsewhere. Unquestionably, they make great beers. Hell, they brewed a phenomenal beer with Boo-Berry cereal. But this one was a mess and just awful. That was a first for these guys. If they go another five years without putting out a bad beer, who could find much fault in that?
I was slow to post this, so now the beer is off the tap list at Al’s. I hope it gets toned down before making another appearance.
I hate ripping a beer. I don’t particularly like doing it.
I sometimes let my five-year-old daughter take a smell of my beers. I generally do this with beers that have a strong aroma. I like to see her thinking about the different things that she can pick up just from taking a whiff.
Recently, she took a sniff of RAR’s Naniticoke Nectar, a hazy IPA with bold citrus and nectar flavors. When she took a deep inhale her response was “I smell an imaginary smell.”
That sums up so much of what makes many beers great. We inhale deeply and savor IPAs with citrus and tropical notes, or piney dankness. We drink grassy farmhouse ales which harken to the earthiness of the barn and the smell of horse blankets. Russian imperial stouts can have vanilla, coffee, and toffee aromas.
These nuanced flavors are often achieved by carefully extracting them from raw ingredients that individually and before manipulation by the brewer do not appear. What we sense are molecular compounds that in their make-up smell and taste like other familiar foods and flavors (i.g. Beer brewed with Citra hops have flavors akin to grapefruit along with lemon and orange zest.) These analogous compounds are described when we talk about craft beer.
They are “imaginary smells.” We are sensing aromas and flavors of things that don’t actually exist within the beer. They often were not used in the brewing process and instead we use widely understood examples to describe what we sense. What a cool concept. It really does make the brewer’s work seem like alchemy.
Full disclosure… I have a difficult relationship with most fruit beers. They are, in general, just not to my taste. Fruity beer leaves me conflicted at best and very unsatisfied at worst.
Mostly, fruit in an IPA is one of those “less is more” ideas. The less it is leveraged via the use of actual fruit the more likely I am to enjoy it. If there are fruit flavors to be had in a beer I believe the best way to achieve them via the proper use of grains, hops, yeast and other traditional ingredients. Bombing out a beer with fruits (or so help me an EXTRACT) is always fraught with danger. To do so with an IPA is even more suspect.
When Grapefruit Sculpin first hit taps and later cans… I jumped in line to give it a try and I liked it. McGrath’s in downtown HBG got it on Nitro? I had to get down there. It was a great beer. Still is. It is just no longer novel and was simply existing as the crest of a giant wave.
The niche became a trend and soon, if not already, it is a fad run amuck.
I was interested and intrigued by the concept of a fruit infused IPAs when it was novel but now that they are downright ubiquitous they are uninteresting. Some taste like nothing but fruit juice mixed with a slightly hopped beer. Most seem to me more fruit than IPA. I think they are generally, overly sweet, lack subtly and are above all derivative.
The citrus, fruit or “tropical” and IPAs which use massive quantities of fruit to achieve their distinct flavor are going to burn hot and fast. I suspect it will pass through the industry in short order. Then on to the next trend.
I regret nothing.
Is this a sign of an “organic homogenization” of craft brewing? I hope not but with the industry in an interesting state of flux, competition getting hot, and buyouts at every turn this might be part of the fall out. Everyone chasing trends and a bit less diversity in offerings.
The Craft Beer Industry has been chasing trends for a long time but these days they seem to come faster and faster. Additionally, there is little to differentiate each beer when these trends take hold.
I admit that initially the trend was intriguing, I quickly turned against that feeling. These beers are just not all that interesting. Doubly true for the pineapple and watermelon IPAs; they make no sense to me.
The only thing worse than pineapple beers is watermelon beers. The only thing worse than watermelon beers is pumpkin beers.
The only thing worse than that is pumpkin beers in July. Look at this. Southern Tier advertises that Pumking is availble in JULY.
Extra special thanks to lil’ Ms. Bearcat for being my muse on this one.
This year’s collaboration beer has me thinking less about my journey to enjoying and now writing about craft beer. Instead I am thinking about the position of craft beer in Central PA and what it tells us about brewing decisions.
Before I even had my first sip of (717) on opening night, I was gathering thoughts about the brew as word slowly leaked out. I heard some rumors early on that this year’s collab brew would be draft only. Two theories swirled around this rumor: 1. Last year’s (717) did not sell well. It wasn’t well received and some cases languished on shelves. 2. It’s hard to get cans.
The later reasoning came from a more reliable source and it is the one I believe. I can understand not getting pounders, everyone but for the very biggest of contracts is getting squeezed by that issue. Even getting 12oz cans printed and ready on short notice can be nearly impossible.
The former was speculation with a halo of truthiness and at least had anecdotal support. While I enjoyed last year’s HBG Beer Week ale it was not widely loved and many people openly derided it as being a “hot mess.”
So maybe the brewers played it a little safe this year. They made a big, tasty ale but one that is more approachable and in line with a current and rising trend (e.g. citrus IPAs).
The 2016 version of (717) is an American IPA brewed with Citra, Nugget, and Azacca hops and the zest of 400 oranges. The opening aroma is nothing but orange. You pick up the oranges as the beer is pouring from the tap in front of you. They are abundant and wonderful. The hops fill out the middle with citrus, mango, and other tropical fruits. This is an IPA but it is not a bombed out bitter west coaster. The finish is long and leaves you with orange oils. This is an easy drinking IPA that belies the 7.17% ABV. The red hue of the medium bodied ale is really great and kind of mystifies the style and taste.
2016’s (717) is a beer that will not be challenged in finding happy imbibers. This is a double edged sword for me. I like this beer and I like it a lot. Yet I personally enjoyed last year’s “hot mess” more. It was pushing boundaries and challenged the craft beer drinker. It was a bold beer that played with clashing styles. It’s various and competing flavors borrowed heavily from the three brew houses. 2015’s (717) made for a more dynamic beer with multiple layers of stratified flavors.
This year’s (717) is riding at the crest of a wave of tropical and citrus IPAs that are washing over the craft beer market and should make for a very popular beer during Harrisburg Beer Week and beyond… until it sells out. Go grab one and tell me what you think.
Trust Lando Calrissian himself Mr. Billy Dee Williams: “Pizza Boy Crowlers work every time!”
Before we begin… This post is about three things: The shelf life of Crowlers, Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian), and Sour IPAs. I swear by the end this will all make sense and the three actually belong together.
Al’s of Hampden was the first in Central PA to get a Crowler, instantly it was a hit. The popularity of Crowlers became very apparent to me when Al’s Pizza Boy Brewing released Bourbon Barrel Aged Sunny Side Up Stout. It was a phenomenal beer. BBA Sunny Side Up was only sold on draft, which meant that you could have a glass at the bar or get a Crowler of it to take home. That was until Al sold out of all his cans. This led to some really pathetic bitching on social media by entitled beer drinkers.
Part of why the Crowlers sold out was a number of people buying 6, 8, 10, or 12 Crowlers to horde in stock or to trade. In December, I got into a bit of snit with some guys on Twitter that were talking about still having cans of BBA Sunny Side Up in their fridge. What are you holding on to beer in a Crowler for?
Buy the beer, take it home and then drink it. Enjoy it.
Crowlers are not like the beer version of freezing Han in Carbonite.
“Yes. He is alive and in perfect hibernation.
He will stay very fresh.”
Speaking of Lando… I wonder what it would cost for Billy Dee Williams to cut a Colt 45 like promo for Lacto Calrissian. It is a sour double IPA, also by Pizza Boy, and one of the best damn beers I have had so far in 2016. This lactobacillus bacteria “infected” ale has a depth of flavor few beers can match. There is citrus peel in the front end then a subtle alpha acid hoppiness along with some unique lime in the middle. The finish is both creamy and slightly sour as the lactic acid is more than evident in the beautifully bodied brew. The finish is strong and long lastingly pleasant, which is good because this 8.2 ABV ale has no alcohol burn and could sneak up on you like Greedo.
If you have a chance to swing by Al’s and get a draft of Lacto Calrissian I doubt you will be disappointed. And if you choose to take a Crowler of it home… Don’t sit on it.
Post Script Thoughts: Sour IPAs, like Tropical or Citrus IPAs, are hot right now; like Tatooine and her two suns hot. These twists on the the craft beer lover’s old stand by are showing that we are a long way from brewers running out of innovative ways to give us new and exciting styles. It is also a way to introduce sour beer to the skeptic. Both are good things.
In regards to the above mentioned people buying 4, 6, 8, 10 or 12 Crowlers of BBA Sunny Side Up: Do what ever you want with your money. I have no complaint with you purchasing all that beer. I just find it ridiculous to horde a Crowler. That stuff has a serious risk of going bad. It has to be at risk of going flat. Please… don’t horde Crowlers.
Han shot first. There is no debate.
MS Paint FTW! I mean, just take in the work at the top of this page. Just look at it!
I am bit of a Star War’s geek… so this post was more fun than you can possibly imagine.
The Serial Podcast is one of the many and various podcasts I listen to during my long commute from Lancaster into Harrisburg every day for work. Season One of Serial was innovative, enlightening, and enthralling. For a story about a 15 year old murder of a young girl it was highly entertaining and at times fun.
The story of death of Hae Min Lee, Adnan Syed’s conviction, and the gaps that appear between reasonable and doubt when it comes to justice sucked me in week after week.
Season Two of Serial tackled the politically charged story of Bowe Bergdahl, a man who deserted his unit in Afghanistan. This season, in my opinion, is not as enthralling or as interesting. The story of Bowe Bergdahl is weighted down with a deep political gravity warping peoples ideas of the story with preconceived notions of what Bergdahl did or didn’t do by walking off his military base; myself included.
Season One featured a case no one knew and people came with a blank slate. Season Two had none of that, it was dripping with preconceived notions of what Bergdahl did, why he did it, about the price paid for his return, and what should happen to him now that he was back in America.
Season Two is reporting, in depth, a story that has to be told; that people need to hear. This yeoman’s work of journalism of telling a massively complex story is just the type of work Serial’s Sarah Koenig and the This American Life staff need to tell.
But Season Two…it’s hard to enjoy. At times it is like eating your vegetables. The story is one that has to be told and should be heard, but it can feel heavy and lack the surprises, twists, turns and interest of Season One. It is weighed down in a way that the first iteration was not.
Samuel Adams’ The Nitro Project feels kind of the same. For years Samuel Adams was doing the yeoman’s work of bringing craft beer into the forefront and building a nationwide distribution. Samuel Adam Boston Lager was a remarkable beer when it first hit the market and it continues to be a great beer when you are looking for craft in a bar with nothing but Bud and Coors on tap.
Jim Koch has been an evangelist for craft beer and has been nothing but good for the industry. Koch is known for innovating and pressing the envelop when it comes to brewing beer (See: Utopias or Infinium). This latest move, Project Nitro takes a well established technology (nitrogen infused beer in a can) and adds a little bit of a twist (white ale and IPA in a nitro can, not just the usual stout).
Infusing beers other than stouts with nitrogen has been an interesting way to put a twist on well established styles at craft beer bars for years. Using nitro and their very tiny bubbles to make a hoppy IPA creamy with a silky mouthfeel yet bitter floral bite for beers like Sculpin or Green Flash IIPA was interesting.
The Nitro Project takes this same occasionally seen concept from your local craft beer bar and puts it in the hands of a broad range of consumers. This is taking a story that should be told and giving it a wider audience.
Sam Adams has put out three beers in nitro cans: White Ale, IPA and Coffee Stout. I bought a four pack of each and while none of them are world beaters or going to change the way the experienced craft beer drinker thinks about their favorite beverage, it will get a wide audience exposure to a different way to enjoy craft beer.
The Nitro White Ale was the best of the three, The grains of paradise, a frequently used ingredient at Samuel Adams, comes through in the finish and provided a nice spiciness at the end of this 5.5% ABV, medium bodied beer. It’s a refreshing beer that is easy drinking and pleasant.
The Nitro Coffee Stout has the most difficult time right out the gate. Exceptional coffee stouts served on nitro are beyond ubiquitous. The Sumatran coffee flavors in this example provide a good roasted flavor but the body is as thin as its two brothers. The lack body here gives the beer a lack of substance as beer goes down. If this brew could really up the body and have a thicker, fuller texture it would go a long way as the flavor profile was approachable and balanced.
Not too long ago I tried Guinness Nitro IPA. That experience made me a little worried about trying Samuel Adams’s version. The Guinness idea of an IPA ended up being poured down the drain. It was bad…awful on multiple levels. The Samuel Adams version was better but it too fell flat. There were hops but they are at best muted. The pine, citrus, and floral notes just never quite showed up in significant amounts to really make this beer good, let alone great. I can’t say I disliked the Boston Beer Company’s attempt but I didn’t like it either. It just was kind of… there. Taking up space in my fridge until I drank it all.
The Serial Podcast Season Two is telling a story that should be told. Samuel Adams is brewing a beer that some people should try so as to get the exposure to a different way of enjoying craft beer.
In the end both are worthy, and in some cases necessary and important. I am just not overly excited about consuming either at this point.
Post Script: I had multiple reservations about doing this post. i.e. I was in danger of becoming overly political. I was not looking to make a judgement call on Bergdahl’s actions. Also I do not take the death of a young high school girl or the pursuing miscarriage of justice lightly even though years later it created an amazingly compelling story.
Hell… I don’t even know if the above comparison makes sense. But when you have a one hour commute, each way, every day you tend to have some really strange ideas sitting in the car by yourself.
If you think this post didn’t work… that is cool. Just tell me so and we can all move on and I can try to do better the next time. Until then… Cheers!
Boxcar Brewing Company in West Chester has been a regular stop for me when I travel out to the area. I always enjoyed swinging by the old brewery located in a small industrial park. I would pick up a couple growler fills and later as they grew, some six packs. Boxcar’s Mango Ginger IPA was always a hit and worth the stop by itself.
Recently, Boxcar opened a pub/restaurant a short drive from their brewery. It took over a club, The Note, which was owned and operated by Bam Magera of Jackass fame. I never had the pleasure of visiting the old haunt but the new place, completely remade by Boxcar, is a wonderful establishment for grabbing a beer.
Delicate winks to the train and hobo themes they use in naming their beers are carried out smartly for a warm atmosphere. Antique luggage and train memorabilia throughout, along with wooden train whistle tap handles provide a nice touch. It has a prohibition feel with enough consideration towards the namesake to make the theme different than other 20’s era brewpub decor.
When I visited, the place was playing an excellent mix of swing, Rat Pack and Ska music. Seriously, great music selection. I have a soft spot for Save Ferris.
My first beer was Coal Runner Stout (Nitro) served in a beer can glass. This Irish Dry Stout had plenty of coffee notes in the nose. Roasted malts and chocolate flavors in the middle were accompanied by a creamy and thick mouthfeel. The finish was very dry and easy.
Dolly Flopper Season IPA was the best part of my trip. This floral and citrusy IPA was phenomenal. It had an orange marmalade like finish that was long and sweet and unlike any other IPA. I asked the friendly bartender (Nicole) what hops were used in this beer or if orange peel was incorporated. She did not know.
So she just picked up the phone and called one of the owners, Jamie Robinson. He got on the line with me and we talked about Dolly Flopper for about ten minutes. Five hops were used in the boil; none particularly remarkable or unique except for the last one… German Mandarina Bavaria.
German Mandarina Bavaria is an experimental hops strain that has strong tangerine and citrus notes. Jamie was really happy with how the beer turned out and he should be. Dolly Flopper was an excellent beer and is highly recommended. The orange marmalade finish completely made the beer. Jamie taking the time out of his busy day to talk with me about his beer and Boxcar’s brewing process was much appreciated and showed the level of interest they have in the consumer.
The other seasonal beer that day was Citrus Wit. Cloudy and refreshing this beer is just as advertised. Lemon and orange in the nose and crisp and dry in the finish. Light-bodied and perfect for a hot day or with a light lunch.
Boxcar’s flagship beers are all worthy of your consideration but especially the previously mentioned Manger Ginger Pale Ale (especially good when fresh) and Boxcar Passenger Ale. Passenger Ale is a light-bodied mildly hopped drinking beer. A classic pub ale, this one clocks in at 4.7 ABV and goes down easy all day.
Taking the next steps and transitioning from brewing and locally distributing beer out of what was an industrial park sized garage to opening a restaurant/brewpub is fraught with issues. The financial implications are serious and the expansion and growth can cause various headaches, if not fatal flaws to a business. To see Boxcar take this big step with aplomb and early success is great news going forward; and good for the area.
If you are in West Chester I hope you take the time to check out Boxcar Brewing Company. They are making some interesting beers, not just the exceptional Dolly Flopper. Their hours and offerings are on their website.