HBW and Poured in PA

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April 21 – 29, 2017

Once again as we approach late April, the return of Harrisburg Beer Week is coming upon us. This year marks the third iteration of the yearly celebration of craft beer in the Central PA area. As such, now provides a great opportunity to assess the current standing of craft beer in the (717) area code.

But first, within the Commonwealth, the past year has brought at least one challenge to local brewers in their changing relationship distributors due to legislation. Across the Nation, the total number of breweries has ballooned from 5,000 just a year ago to 5,300. This rapid expansion has been tempered by a very slight downturn in consumption across the industry. The number of guests at the table grew but the size of the pie remained the same.

Locally paints a far rosier picture. We have seen an impressive number of breweries open. There are more choices for local beer drinkers than ever before and the acceleration keeps going.

Since the last HBW, we have seen Collusion Tap Works, The Vegetable Hunter, Ever Grain, Tattered Flag, Desperate Times, Millworks, and Boneshire open their doors. We have seen the expansion of Appalachian Brewing Company and watched Troegs open its new and absolutely gorgeous Splinter Cellar. There are more bars and restaurants that are featuring local brewers; often in unique and interesting ways beyond just a tap handle. Finally, we saw a massive 12 brewer collaboration at Pizza Boy Brewing Co. that put out an outstanding beer and showcased the comradery here locally.

Looking at all of this, Harrisburg Beer Week is a great time to celebrate this now mature community within the Central PA area.

Over the course of nine days, craft beer devotees will be visiting multiple breweries, bars, and restaurants to sample unique brews or raising a pint of their favorite stalwart. We will hunt down rare firkins, tip back pints of what will be an eminently quaffable new (717) Collaboration Lager, and discuss or debate the virtues of this beer or that ale. All while raising a ton of money for a great cause, the Harrisburg River Rescue.

Much like brewers work hard to keep their lineups fresh, the Harrisburg Beer Week crew have worked hard to keep the three-year-old venture fresh with new gear and some new events or “old” events in new places. The Home Brewers Competition has been moved to the Broad Street Market in Midtown. While the ballpark was a fun and an interesting location, moving to the Market will inevitably create a more “Harrisburg” vibe. There are more events than ever, at more locations than ever. They even have a mini golf outing.

Just like craft beer in Central PA and Harrisburg Beer Week have grown, so has the craft industry throughout Pennsylvania. This provides an opportunity to tell a compelling story.

A compelling story is what GK Visual brought us in their documentary Brewed in the ‘Burg. As craft beer has expanded within the area so has their vision as they take on Poured in PA; a documentary meant to highlight craft beer throughout Pennsylvania. Making a project of this size requires money, a lot of it. That is why they have turned to crowd funding. But backing this project comes with perks; some really great ones. In fact, I have backed this project with my own money and if you love PA craft beer you should back it too.

It doesn’t take much to help out the Harrisburg River Rescue or Poured in PA. Both projects are about doing something positive around something we care about, great beer.

Post Script:

If I missed a brewery that opened since April of 2016, I am sorry but I think I caught everyone. If I missed one, let me know in the comments and I will edit accordingly.

I will have a list of my “Can’t Miss Events” next week so check back.

The new label for (717) Collaboration is amazing. It is so good. I really like it.

Also, I am happy to say that Friend of the Show, Tierney Pomone will be appearing on It’s Friday Somewhere this week to discuss all things Harrisburg Beer Week.

Finally, I apologize for the lack of posts here as of late. Between launching the new podcast and writing for October now I just have not had the chance to write much for my own blog. I hope to change that soon and expect that Bearcat on Beer will now be almost entirely my thoughts on what is happening locally.

Cheers!

Ep. 19: First Cut Redux

In Episode 19 of the Operation Shutdown, I welcome back friends of the show Ed Grohl and  and Easy Pretzel. We discussed: Troegs Independent Brewing’s First Cut, some recent travels, Easy Pretzel’s hated of unnecessary tipping, Pergo flooring, and ironing, Bearcat goes an episode without saying hoi polloi or juxtaposition, and Ed recycles some old jokes.

A disclosure a quick note:  Troegs was kind enough to send us each a bottle of First Cut Mango IPA in advance of its recent release so that we could discuss it on this podcast. Special thanks to them.

first-cut-12oz-bottle

What We Were Drinking:
Easy Pretzel: First Cut by Troegs Independent Brewing Company, Phantom Chair by Fremont Brewing Company
Ed: First Cut, Stern Line Stout by 3 Daughters Brewing Company
Bearcat: First Cut, Conehead by Zero Gravity Craft Brewing

Link Dump:
Scratch #261 Mango IPA
Scratch #263 Mango IPA #2
Scratch #266 Mango IPA #3
Scratch #270 Mango IPA #4
Scratch #58 Triple Mango IPA
Scratch #98 Triple Mango IPA #2
Cultivator by Troegs Independent Brewing Company
Untappd 3.0
Mago Tago by Tired Hands and its 92 on BeerAdvocate.com (WTF?)
North Country Brewing Company
Brew Gentlemen
Spoonwood Brewing Company
Mindful Brewing
Voodoo Brewery
Dancing Gnome Brewery
3 Daughters’ Bimini Twist and their Ratebeer 34
Steel Reserve High Gravity and their Ratebeer 8
Cycle Brewing
Hunahpu Day at Cigar City
ManBearPig by Voodoo Brewing
Roundabout Brewery
Piggly Wiggly
Publix
Voodoo Employee Owned
Matthew Allyn
Allyn Consulting Services
Sole Artisan Ales  and Sole’s Consulting Arm — Brew Nerds
Susquehanna Brewing Company
Bryan D. Roth‘s There is No Bubble for October
Monkish Brewing Co.
Spring House Brewing Company
3 Floyds Dark Lord
Levante Brewing Company

Be sure to stick around for the After Show where: Dave celebrates, Ed mourns, Bearcat quietly wonders why life is so unfair, and you can learn about Ric Flair’s really expensive shoes.

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.

Cheers!

Ep. 17: Turf Wars and Vacuum Reviews

In Episode 17 of the Operation Shutdown, I welcome back friends of the show Easy Pretzel, and Ed Grohl. We discussed: waiting in the cold for a four-pack, some recent stories about the coming turf war in craft beer, a few breweries that are closing or are for sale, and Ed gives our listeners a vacuum recommendation.

Operation Shutdown cover art 3

You can listen by clicking the bar immediately below or by subscribing on iTunes.

What we were drinking:

Ed: Pork Chop Sandwiches by Voodoo Brewing
Dave: Fruit Infused Water by Capital Region Water Company and Costco
Bearcat: Kettleface by St. Boniface Brewing Co. and Columbia Kettle Works, Voodoo Ranger Imperial IPA by New Belgium

Follow up: A quick update from Ep. 16 regarding Tattered Flag Brewing Middletown and Troegs Independent Brewing.

Link Dump:
Logging Camp (Maple IPA) by Columbia Kettle Works
Pork Chop Sandwiches!
The Coming Turf War in Craft Beer
Six Breweries for Sale or Closing in Oregon
Westvleteren XII (Westy XII)
Delirium
Delirium Cafe
Is the Pittsburgh craft beer market tapped out?
Dancing Gnome Brewery
Mindful Brewing Company
11th Hour Brewing Co.
Brew Gentlemen of Braddock and their “Year of No.”
Millworks, Harrisburg
Ever Grain Brewing Co.
Stone Double Bastard Bigger Longer Uncut (Scotch Barrel Aged Strong Ale)
Untappd Digital Boards in Bars
NTN Trivia
LegenDairy Episode of Operation Shutdown
Boneshire Brew Works
Goose Island Bourbon County Proprietors (2014)
Ed’s New Vacuum — Bissel ClearView Pet Vacuum
Garage Racer IPA by Rubber Soul Brewing Co.
DINKs
Wonderlic Test
Shower Beer
Sprint Football
Franklin Pierce (NOT Easy Pretzel’s favorite President)
Sapp/Clifton Hit Ed Note: For the record Sapp was a dirty player.

Be sure to stick around for the After 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.

Cheers!

Ep. 16 Beer in Review

In Episode 16 of the Operation Shutdown, I welcome back friends of the show Easy Pretzel, and Ed Grohl and we are joined by special guest Jeff Kupko. We discussed our favorite beers from 2016, Troegs Independent Brewing Company’s transparency, obligations to their customers, and their abysmal parking lot, as well as our thoughts after a shared happy hour at Tattered Flag in Middletown, and Ed’s love for everyone and everything.

Update: Tattered Flag reached out to me via direct message after listening to the episode and had the following to say: ” I just wanted to let you know that after I heard a complaint, that night, I did check it, I’ve actually been constantly checking that beer since before we put it on tap, nervous that the sourness was a sign of infection. I’ve had weekly tasting panels, and today after listening to you guys I had another professional brewer try it. We are not getting infection taste but your review and others on Untappd have my attention. It’s a 50/50 love hate in the brewery with that beer.”

Tony (the brewer) offered for us to come back and visit along with a sit down to discuss the beers. I have taken him up on the offer and invited him to appear on a future episode of the Operation Shutdown. I want to offer my appreciation for Tony reaching out and writing to me directly and to reiterate that our time TF was really great and if you go (and you should go) be sure to check out the double IPA.

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Easy Pretzel’s haul from an epic Smokey and the Bandit style run to the North East.

You can listen by clicking the bar immediately below or by subscribing on iTunes.

What We Were Drinking:

Resolute BBA – Brothers Craft Brewing
Rebel Raw – Boston Brewing
Pumpkinator Imperial Pumpkin Stout – Saint Arnold Brewing Company (Editor. Gross)
Java Cask – Victory Brewing Company
Kevin Kevin Sour IPA – The Veil Brewing Company
Recurrent – Wicked Weed Brewing Co.
Jai Alai IPA – Cigar City Brewing Co. 

Some of Our Favorite Beers From 2016:

It’s Complicated Being a Wizard DIPA – Burlington Beer Company
Helms Deep – Three Taverns Brewery
Juicy – Hill Farmstead
Even More Jesus – Evil Twin Brewing
Green – Tree House Brewing Company
Double Dry Hopped Galaxy Fort Point and Fort Point – Trillium
Gbop – New England Brewing
Coconut Porter – Broken Compass Brewing
Toof Toof Ache Ache – The Veil Brewing
Morning Wood – Funky Buddha Brewery
El Jefe – J. Wakefield Brewing
Liminal Moment – South County Brewing Company
Joose Juicy – Ever Grain Brewing Co.
Tickle Me Nelmo –  Mission Creek Brewing Co. (Editor: Extra points for 2nd coolest name ever.)
Excommunication – Max Lager’s
PNC – Firestone Walker
Oro Negro (BBA) – Jackie O’s
Barrel Aged Devil’s Abyss – Jagged Mountain Brewery
Nimble Giant and Barrel Aged Flying Mouflan – Troegs Independent Brewing
Tweak – Avery Brewing Co.
InTenSity BBA Barleywine – Hoppin Frog Brewery
Mexican Cake – Westbrook Brewing Co.
Simcoe Nerd – Sole Artisan Brewing
Lacto Calrissian Sour Double IPA – Pizza Boy Brewing Co. (Editor: Coolest Name Ever.)
Tropical Bitch – Flying Dog Brewery (Editor: Even thought its not good.)
Santé-16! – Brasserie Fantôme

Link Dump of Other Stuff We Discussed:

Frank Pepe’s Pizza
Sole’s Society
Bearcat’s Lacto Calrissian Post
Sour Murren River (Code Name Allison) Pizza Boy Brewing
LegenDairy IPA and Ep. 13 The LegenDairy Podcast
Michigan Maple Jesus – Evil Twin
Tattered Flag Brewery and Still Works
Beer Busters Podcast (Editor: It’s a very well done podcast.)
Steph and Richard Heffner from The Beer Busters Podcast
Tactical Nuclear Penguin – Brew Dog
Sink the Bismarck – Brew Dog
Tottenham Hotspur
Warwick Hotel (AKA – The Wick)

Be sure to stick around for the After Show where we discuss: Rogue One (No spoilers… I promise), The Pinstripe Bowl, Ed is drunk (again) and so am I.

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.

Cheers!

Post Script:

If the episode is a little choppy when you are listening I apologize. I had some technical difficulties during the recording but I think this episode turned out pretty well despite the issues. I am working on a solution to eliminate this in the future. (Podcasting is hard.)

A quick aside: The LegenDairy Milk Shake IPA by Pizza Boy Brewing discussed at length in Ep. 13 of the Podcast made a Top Ten list for 2016. Thank you to BreweriesInPA.com.

Thank you to everyone that appeared on the show over 2017: Fetish Brewing, Sara Bozich, Tierney Pomone, Ffej Herb, Chelsie Markel, Al Kominski, Bryan D. Roth, and Jeff Kupko.

But the biggest of appreciation is for you, the listeners. I can’t say how proud I am of the fact that the show grew from single digits to 200+ listeners in just 15 episodes. I am very thankful for each and everyone of you. I hope that you continue to listen through 2017 and beyond.

Also Easy, Ed, and I have some big plans in the works for the near and not so near future involving the podcast. I am very excited for what the future will bring and we can’t wait to share it all… when the time is right.

From Easy, Ed, and I we wish you health, happiness and good beers in the new year. Cheers!

Ep. 14: Bourbon Barrel Aged Splenda

In Episode 14 of the Operation Shutdown, I welcome back friends of the show Easy Pretzel,  and Ed Grohl to discuss bourbon barrel aged beers, Black Friday as a craft beer holiday, and Easy’s Splenda intake.

bcbs-2016-label

Beers and Coffee We Drank:
A Night on Ponce by Three Taverns Brewery
#BOC Black Label by Voodoo Brewery
Starbucks with Nonfat Milk and Three Splenda

Link Dump:

Gentrification of Food
Chicken + Beer
Brew Gentlemen
Braddock, PA
Roundabout Brewery
Appalachian Brewing Company
Pittsburgh Toilet
Bourbon Barrel Aged Impending Descent by Troegs Independent Brewing
Shady McGrady’s
Shady’s Twitter Trolling
Hunger-n-Thirst
White Hill Cafe “Where Professionals Drink”
Don’t Drink Beer (The Internet’s Best Beer Blog)
Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon
Columbian Coffee Crystals
Hildy’s Tavern
Boneshire Brew Works (We will be getting Alan on in 2017… Right Alan?
The Wrecking Bar
The Porter Beer Bar
Max Lager’s

Be sure to stick around for the After Show: We discuss Easy and Ed’s recent trips to watch football games where Easy spends all is money on a 12 pack of beer and Ed drinks on the kindness of strangers and big corporate beer like a hobo.

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.

Cheers!

Post-Script:

After 14 Episodes I am really starting to feel like the show has taken on a certain form. I do think that by and large the later episodes are an improvement over the prior ones. But as I prepare for 2017 and a whole new run of podcasts I would love to hear from you, the listeners. I would love  to know what you think of the show.

What can we do better?  What kind of guests would you like to see? What topics should Easy, Ed, and I pretend to have an authoritative voice about in the future? Which world leader would you think is most likely to end up on the show accidentally and do you think they actually like Fruit IPAs?

Hit me up in the comments below, via email BearcatOnBeer@gmail.com or Twitter @BearcatOnBeer.

Ep. 10: I Want To Spray Paint Your Bottle

In Episode 10 of the Operation Shutdown, I welcome special guest Chelsie Markel from Stouts & Stilettos and It’s a Brew Life to discuss design in craft beer, fingerless gloves, a little about Harrisburg Beer Week, and her new blog.

headshots-website-chelsie

A quick aside about this post… It has a ton of links about the breweries we discuss and I tried to keep them in the order we discussed.

A big thank you to Chelsie for coming on the show. You can follow Chelsie on Twitter @dzyngrl. Also be sure to check out her new blog It’s a Brew Life and read her stuff at Stouts & Stilettos.

What We Were Drinking:

Crooked Stave Wild Sage
Almanac Beer Co. Tropical Platypus
The Alchemist: Focal Banger and The Crusher (Thanks to listener @Brookaveli and Dave for hooking me up with this beer.)

Breweries We Discussed:

Troegs Independant Brewing
Dogfish Head
Flying Dog Brewery (Ralph Steadman)
Highway Manor Brewing (Camp Hill, PA)
Creature Comforts Brewing Co.
Sole Artisan Ales
Roundabout Brewery
Fetish Brewing Company
Maine Beer Company
Russian River Brewing Company
Deschutes Brewing
Stone Brewing Company
Free Will Brewing Co.
Tired Hands
Green Flash Brewing Co.
Otter Creek Brewing Co.
Clown Shoes
3 Floyds Brewing Co.
New Belgium Brewing Co. (Fat Tire)
Appalachian Brewing Company
Golden Avalanche Brewery (Kutztown)

Other Links:

Oh Beautiful Beer
Brewed in the Burg by GK Visual
Harrisburg Beer Week
The Eternal Tap in St. Mary’s, PA
Death of Flagships: But Why?
A Tribute to a Mentor and a Friend
Market Cross; Carlisle, PA

House of 1000 Beers; New Kensington, PA

Beer Busters Podcast

Be sure to stick around for the After Show in which we discuss writing a beer blog, the design ideas behind Bearcat On Beer and The Operation Shutdown.

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.

Cheers!

Ep. 9 What’s a Ffej?

In Episode 9 of the Operation Shutdown, friend of the show Ed Grohl and I welcome special guest and beer bon vivant Ffej Herb from Troegs Independent Brewing.

ffej-3
Ffej and his best friend Pleepleus

In this episode we discuss: Ffej’s travels far and wide for good beers, his love of goats and his stuff animal collection, the epic party that is Ffej of July, #PairsWellWithNow, Ffej’s band Solar Federation, and we take a look behind the curtain at Troegs; specifically the making of Nimble Giant and maybe some news of an upcoming release.

Many Thanks to Ffej for coming on the show. Be sure to read his very nice blog The Pour Travelers, follow him on Twitter (@FfejHerb) and check out upcoming shows from his plethora of bands.

Beers we Drank:

Wild Elf – Troegs Independent Brewing Co.
Murren River – Pizza Boy Brewing Co.
Single Hop Series: Azacca – Flying Dog Brewing Co.
Fort Street – Trillium Brewing Co.
Tears of the Entitled – Pizza Boy Brewing Co.
Impending Descent (2015) – Independent Brewing Co.

Show Notes/Links:
The Beer Mapping Project (A little spammy, consider using a content blocker.)
Goat races Slyfox
Goat Races in Middletown, PA
Goat screaming videos
Slayer’s Angel of Death with a Goat
Pleepleus and Drinking Made Easy
Three Sheets (TV Show)
Tears of the Entitled blog post
Barrel Aged Impending Descent
#PairsWellWithNow
Solar Federation (Ffej’s Rush Tribute Band)

Other beers and breweries mentioned (not a complete list):

Selin’s Grove Brewing
St. Boniface – Maple Porter, Padeia
Saucony Creek – Maple Mistress, Hop Suplex, Baloney Beer
Hidden River Brewing Company
Stickman Brews
Oakbrook Brewing Company

Be sure to stick around for the after show where Ffej gives us his thoughts on the Operation Shutdown’s Central PA Six-Pack and Ed is far too drunk for podcasting.

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.

Cheers!