Lancaster County is Bursting with Beer along Philly

When I tell people I live in Lancaster County, PA, people will shout, almost without thinking, “Amish.” The correlation of Amish and the Lancaster area is somewhat of a cultural/psychological experience ingrained in the minds of people in US.amish-buggy 

If someone comes to Lancaster and doesn’t experience the Amish tours, or drive to Philly and doesn’t climb the stairs at the Philadelphia Museum of Arts or stand on the top to pose like Rocky, a great disappointment will take over. Some might even imagine having done things they didn’t. Instead, they merely read about it or conceptualized it based on the things they fantasized doing while they were younger. It could be considered a type of “Paris Syndrome”. This is something much more common than people realize. You may catch spouses disagreeing about what one says they did on their vacation and the other will firmly disagree, saying “no, we didn’t”. There isn’t a deception here, both truly believe what they are saying. One just imagined doing it because of a lifetime of expectations.


Now when it comes to beer, the places that come first to peoples’ minds are places like San Diego, Denver, Michigan, Asheville…any place but the peaceful and bucolic, horse-pulled buggy lands of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. For the past decade, something new has been taking over of the eastern population of Pennsylvania. Craft Beer! Within 30 to 90 minutes of driving, one can find a more than a handful of breweries, bottle shops, and restaurants dedicated to delivering quality craft beer libations. The beer Scene in Eastern PA has grown so much, it surprises me a stronger beer tourism business in the area has not been developed. Because of taxes and regulations, Pennsylvania is far from being a “cheap” state to get a pint of your favorite brew. Never the less, the craft beer followers are multiplying and are being very faithful to the local breweries and craft beer bars.

There are some well-known breweries in the area or close to Lancaster/Philly that date back to the mid-1990s and the late 1980s:  Victory, Tröegs, Sly Fox, Stoudt’s, Weyerbacher, YardsIron Hill and some much older like Yuengling, operating since 1829. Among a newer class are some that are making some amazing beer and gaining momentum: Spring House, Lancaster Brewing Co., St. Boniface and and Tired Hands. I love knowing that I can have some friends over for a few days and the Tap Room Spring House Brewing Co.diversity of beer available will leave everyone satisfied.

Still skeptical? Eastern Pennsylvania has much more to offer when it comes to craft beer. You can experience more than just what the locals offer. With excellent beer distribution to a sizable number of bottle shops and craft beer bars, you can get brews from Stone to 21st Amendment, from Ale Smith to Six Point, from Lost Abbey to Firestone Walker…you get the idea.

One of my favorites to visit is the Federal Tap House in Lancaster. They offer more than 100 beers on tap. Also in Lancaster, is The Fridge (amazing pizza), or Hunger’n’Thirsty (great food), and a great bottle shop that you will find me in regularly, The Friendly Greek (more than 500 beers!). Take a drive through the country side toward Philly and enjoy more places with great beer. The Abbaye, The Belgian Café, and TJ’s Restaurant and Drinkery (with more than 250 beers on their list) are just some examples of this craft beer culture that has TJ'sdeveloped in Eastern Pennsylvania. (I could mention so many more bars and Breweries like Dock Street that are amazing). You can even take to the small town of Mount Joy and visit the Catacombs of Bube’s Brewery (pronounce Boobs) an intact historic 19th century brewery and museum complex and their Ghost Tours. In any case, the craft beer enthusiast won’t be disappointed in a visit to the Keystone State, and for those like me that will often travel with the wife and kids, Pennsylvania provides some great craft beer places that have wonderful food and very family friend environment. You want more. Just head to the Harrisburg?York where you will find lots of great places to enjoy craft beers.

You will enjoy the beautiful scenery and have fun exploring the numerous places to drink some wonderful craft beer. And don’t forget to take home some real whoopie pies. Cheers!!!

Brewery List

Sly Fox – Potstown
Stoudt’s – Adamstown
Weyerbacker – Easton
Yards – Philly
Iron Hill – Philly / Lancaster
Yuengling – Potsville
Victory – Downintown
Tröegs – Hershey
Spring House – Lancaster
Lancaster Brewing
St. Boniface – Ephrata
Tired Hands – Ardmore
Liquid Hero – York
Appalachian Brewing Co. – Harrisburg/Lititz
Bube’s Brewery – Lancaster
Dock Street – Philly
Philadelphia Brewing Co. – Philly
Triumph Brewing – Philly
Fegley’s Brew Works – Bethlehem
Rumspringa Brewing – Lancaster
Saucony Creek Brewing – Kutztown
Als of Hampden / Pizza Boy Brewing Co – Enola
Manayunk Brewery – Philadelphia
Crime and Punishment – Philadelphia
Conshohocken Brewing Co. – Conshohocken
Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery – King of Prussia

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Friday Night Hangout – Saison

FNH - Saison - YouTube - CBN

Friday, May 29, 2015 we are drinking and celebrating the Saison / Farmhouse Ale.

Saison or Farmhouse Ale gets its name from its origins in the French speaking southern Belgian region of Wallonia. Brewed in the colder months to be stored away till the Summer, the Saison was brewed for the seasonal farmhands who works the fields.

Saison is known for its bottle conditioning and for a nice dry tartness. Fruits and spices can also be found in some more modern Saisons. And while the traditional malt bill brings a hazy golden hue, experiments with various darker malts have expanded the style in recent years.

Saison Dupont is considered the standard bearer of the style and has helped to bring the Saison from nearly forgotten to its current renaissance as a style growing in popularity.

Many American Breweries have added their own great brews to this style.

Some examples:

Hennepin – Brewery Ommegang


Hennepin – Brewery Ommegang – photo by Charles Dunkley

Tank 7 – Boulevard Brewing


Tank 7 – Boulevard Brewing – photo by Charles Dunkley

Crooked Stave Artisan Beer


Crooked Stave Saison Ales – photo by Charles Dunkley


And for the Game Of Thrones Fans the newest beer from Brewery Ommegang is their Three Eyed Raven Dark Saison


Three Eyed Raven – Brewery Ommegang – photo by Charles Dunkley


If you haven’t explored this corner of the craft beer world now is a great time to head to your local craft beer shop and take a few home.

If you have a favorite or an opinion on the style drop us a comment below or join us Friday, May 29, 2015 at 10:00PM Eastern for our live Hangout On Air, hosted on our Google+ Event Page and on our YouTube Page. Drop us a note here or G+ or YouTube letting us know your thoughts on the SAISON. Do you have a favorite? Or do you walk right past them on the shelves?  We will be keeping an eye there to share comments live on air.

We want to hear from you.

#FNHBeer style: Saison / Farmhouse




Craft Beer Nation Will Be At Savor DC 2015



We’re excited to announce that Craft Beer Nation will be at Savor this year. Besides wandering around taking in the sips and sights and enjoying a Salon we will be there with our gear to nab some interviews with some of the Craft Beer industry leaders. We’re hoping to be able to broadcast live on air as well at some point from the event.

As the day draws closer we hope to share more details. Till then, prost!

Savor Facebook Page



Measurements: The Pints and Quarts Wrap Up | Boulevard Brewing

Jeremy Danner started at Boulevard back in 2008 as a full time brewer and spent a few years being the brewing face of the brewery, developing the skills that developed into his current role, since 2013 as Boulevard’s Ambassador Brewer.

So just what is an Ambassador Brewer?  According to Jeremy:

“I do our social media. I also am kind of involved with recipe formulation, and cuz of all of the travel I get to see what’s happening in a lot of different beer scenes around the country and try to bring back that information to kind of help us be informed on what’s happening, what sorts of beers we should make and what’s going on.”

As our host Matthew Miller jokingly summed up: “So, you’re a spy. Your Ambassador duties include spying.”

Having never homebrewed Jeremy made his first batch of beer professionally in 2006 in a neighborhood brew pub where he bartended.  He brewed 7 barrels and hasn’t looked back since.

For our full conversation with Jeremy Danner, Boulevard’s Ambassador Brewer watch here


    -Jeremy Danner’s road to Ambassador Brewer


    -Ommegang Nirvana IPA brewed at Boulevard


    -On Boulevard Being purchased by Duvel


    -Imperial Stout X Series


    -The Calling IPA – Boulevard’s new super hopped IPA or, as Jeremy says: “The Beer of Destiny”


    -Boulevard’s Sour process


    -Boulevard Pilot Brewhouse


    -Output and Expansion


    -Brewery Tour


    -Boulevard craft beer at the Royals Stadium


    -Boulevard distribution expansion

Craft Beverage Job of the Week:
Karl Strauss Brewing – Brewer

The Spring issue from our friends over at Under My Host is out:
CRAFT by Under My Host® No.4: Water


Dick Cantwell Resigns from Anheuser-Busch and Elysian



    (Kalamazoo, MI)

Pumpkin Peach Ale

    – Brewed the Easy Way? only 48 bottle It’s  a “screw” you to AB – next week 20 a bottle that will go to Kalamazoo River Valley Trail.

Hi-Wire (Asheville, NC) Man Eater Imperial IPA – Brewed with Citra and Amarillo,  8.3% ABV – Tomorrow

New Belgium (Fort Collins, CO) Skinny Dip Blond Ale 4.2% ABV – April 13, 2015

Breckenridge (Denver, CO) Comic Con Hulk’s Mash Pale Ale – March 1st

Fegly’s Brew Works (Allentown,PA) Bethlehem 17th Anniversary Ale  – April 16, 2015

Saint Arnold ( Houston, TX) Bishop’s Barrel No 9 – April 15, 2015

Avery (Boulder, CO) Tectum et Elix Barrel Aged Series N026 – April 19, 2015

Great Divide (Denver, CO) Rumble Oak Aged IPA – April 16, 2015

Saucony Creek (Kutztown, PA) Barrel Aged Imperial Stout – April 19



North Carolina Beer Month

    Various Location , NC


    April 1 to 30

Kansas City on TAP
Kansas City, MO
April 25

Parkville Microbrew Fest
Parkville, MO
April 25th

Boston Beer Summit
Boston, MA
April 17 – 18

Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America
Portland, OR
April 14 – 17

TAP New York
Hunter Mountain, NY
April 25th and 26th

North Texas Firkin Fest
Arlington, TX
April 14 – 17

Royal Oaks Beerfest
Royal Oaks, MI
April 25

Community Tap Fest
Greenville, SC
April 25

Thanks to Craft Beverage Jobs for being our sponsor. And a big Thank You to Jeremy Danner of Boulevard Brewing for spending some time with us.

And Craft Beer Nation will be at Savor this year. We’re looking forward to seeing you there!

Related Links

Pints and Quarts Playlist

Craft Beverage Jobs

Boulevard Brewing

Craft Under My Host



Craft Beer Nation Explores the Ale

FNH - FNH Ale Trilogy - YouTube - CBN

Every Friday evening Craft Beer Nation gathers together for a Hangout On Air on Google + that is also broadcast live on YouTube. Each Friday we explore a different style of Craft Beer.

We recently took a 3 week journey through the Craft Beer Ale, exploring, drinking, discussing, Pale Ales, India Pale Ales and Double/Imperial India Pale Ales.

We drank a lot of beers, and had some great roundtable discussions on the variations of these styles. Throughout the three weeks was a lot of discussion on Hops and all they bring to craft beer.

Here’s a breakdown of our Ale trip.


Beers drank/reviewed:
Matthew Miller – Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Charles Dunkley: – Bronx Brewery, Bronx Pale Ale
Lola Lariscy – Intuition Ale Works, Victory Pale Ale
Tom Snyder – Icelandic Pale Ale – Einstok Olger
Doug Nolan – 3 Floyds, Zombie Dust
Randy Gardner – DC Brau, The Public
Ricky Potts: Firestone Walker Pale 31
Jeffrey J. Davis – Alaskan Big Mountain Pale Ale


Beers drank/reviewed:
Randy Gardner – DC Brau / Oskar Blues – Smells Like Freedom
Matthew Miller – Rhinegeist – Truth IPA
Lola Lariscy – Veterans United – Hop Banshee
Gil Melo – Santa Fe Brewing – Happy Camper
Charles Dunkley – Sixpoint Bengali
Patrick Webster of Erie Better Beer Bureau – Bell’s Hopslam


Beers drank/reviewed:
Ricky Potts – Firestone Walker – Double Jack
Charles Dunkley – Rooster Fish – Hop Warrior
Jeffrey J. Davis – Odell Brewing – Myrcenary
Randy Gardner – Trillium – Upper Deck
Gil Melo – Founders Doom

Besides giving our impressions of the above craft ales we also dove into discussions about sub styles like the Black IPA. And what constitutes a Double or Imperial IPA. We also touched on Hype and its impact on pricing craft beers.

And of course we shared our love of the Hop itself and all of the wonders it can bring to a beer.  We had a great time and each learned something new, tried new beers and overall enjoyed our exploration of the Ale. Like most craft beer drinkers we also took quite a few beer pics during each episode.  You can find those on the Google+ Event pages (found in each episode article linked below.

Above are the full Friday Night Hangout Episodes for each style.  For snippets from each show you can click on the Sips and Clips Playlist link below.

Next we’re moving to the other side of the spectrum and will be spending a couple of shows exploring the Lager, beginning with the Pilsner.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the Ale, and on our upcoming Lager shows. And if you have a style of craft beer you’d like to have us dive into drop us a comment here or hit us up on one of our Social Media sites.

Related Articles

Friday Night Hangout – Pale Ale
Friday Night Hangout – India Pale Ale
Friday Night Hangout – Double/Imperial India Pale Ale

Craft Beer Nation YouTube Sips and Clips Playlist




Friday Night Hangout – Pilsner

Pinterest - Pilsner

Friday, April 17, 2015 will be Craft Beer Nation Friday Night Hangout Episode 154: Pilsner.

PILSNER is a Pale Lager, named after the city of Plzen, Bohemia, Czech Republic where it was first brewed in 1842. The well known Pilsner Urquell is still brewed there to this day.

One staple of the Pilsner is the Saaz Noble Hop, which gives this style its mild, herbal and earthy notes, along with a little spice. The Saaz Hop is the dominant hop produced in the Czech Republic. Our own Gil Melo is a huge fan of the Pilsner.

“Pilsner are very delicate beers. Softness and freshness are crucial.” – Gil Melo

The Modern Pilsner falls into three main categories:

German Pilsner


Jever Pilsner – photo by Charles Dunkley

Victory Pils

Czech Pilsner


Lagunitas Pils – photo by Charles Dunkley

Pilsner Urquell*
Lagunitas Pils

European Pilsner


Heinekin – photo by Charles Dunkley

Stella Artois*

After spending three weeks celebrating the boldness of the American Hop, this week we take a sharp turn back in time to the Lager side of the spectrum and specifically to the Pilsner. We will be exploring Lagers further in a couple of weeks, diving deeper into this traditional well. But for #FNH154 it is all about the Pilsner.

The traditional Pilsner is a difficult style for the craft beer drinker to explore as many of the main players that helped create and build the style are now owned by the major Macro Brewers. More American craft brewers are delving into the style, beginning to offer a bit more of a selection for those among the craft beer drinkers who choose not to give any of their money to the Macro Breweries.

“Because Pilsners are soft and crispy in flavor, any defects that may exist in the beer are more perceptible than in most other styles. You can not mask a bad Pilsner.” – Gil Melo

While the Pilsner may seem a simple style of beer it is its own artform. A great Pilsner stands forward providing that crispness and refreshment with no loads of hops to mask deficiencies. Pilsner is the acoustic folk singer of the craft beer world. Out there with nothing to hide behind. And when done right it’s that perfect beer for a hot Summer day.

“I love Pilsners. They are wonderful example of balance. When the summer comes I grab all the Pilsners I find to enjoy in those sunny hot days while grilling my BBQ.” – Gil Melo

Join us Friday, April 17, 2015 at 10:00PM Eastern for our live Hangout On Air, hosted on our Google+ Event Page and on our YouTube Page. Drop us a note here or G+ or YouTube letting us know your thoughts on the PILSNER. Do you have a favorite? Or do you walk right past them on the shelves?

We want to hear from you.

#FNHBeer style: PILSNER

Category 2: Pilsner – BJCP Review Session | Craft Beer Nation

*Denotes beer owned by Macro Brewers such as ABInBev, SABMiller, etc.



Avery Brewing – Tweak

Beer Name: Batch No. 1 TWEAK (Formerly known as Meph Addict and Coffeestopholes)
Brewery: Avery Brewing Co.
Style: Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Coffee Stout
Availability: Rotating – 12oz Bottles
17.81% ABV, 107 IBUs

Glassware: Snifter

Tweak is Avery Mephistopheles Imperial Stout, with Avery adding 1.6 pounds of Ozo Coffee Co.’s Organic Isabelle Espresso to every barrel of beer . The brewery aged this beer for four months in bourbon barrels.

Appearance: Pours like 10,000 miles past due for an oil change 0W 20. The beer has a grappling hook and will not let go of the sides of the glass. Holds on for dear life. Like tears that won’t stop.
Aroma: Oak and Bourbon leaps out like Bruce Lee with a vengeance. Beautiful aromas of vanilla, oak, and bourbon. Playing joyfully on the playground with an already Imperial Stout.
Taste: Boozy, real boozy, but what did you expect from 17.81%? Yet, smooth. Doesn’t make sense right? Oh well, you don’t have to take my word for it.
Mouth feel: Coating and luxurious. Sin in a glass. Bourbon flavors exploding with all the characters you’d expect from a rich imperial stout. Deep roastinees, strong malt flavors, cloying (welcoming if you know what to expect). Homerun
Overall Impression: When I first met this Avery Tweak, I can remember that damn thing like yesterday. The way she drank reminded me of a brown stallion horse with skates on, you know. Smooth like a hot comb on nappy ass hair. Her aroma had me almost paralyzed, smelling like a glass of malt with extra bourbon. Sheen beaming like four carats, just blinding a drinker. Felt like I drank a whole case of Heady, my heart was beating so fast. Never knowing this moment would bring another love into this world. Funny how stuff comes together sometimes, you dig?

Okay, so the inspiration for all that was from Outkast (SpottieOttieDopalisciousAngel…look it up), but it is more than appropriate. WORTH THE PRICE!



Breckenridge Brewery Unveils New BRECK IPA on Pints and Quarts

On Episode 38 of the Craft Beer Nation Pints and Quarts Breckenridge Brewery unveiled the artwork for (and were drinking) their new IPA:


Here’s a clip from the Pints and Quarts episode.  You can find other snippets from our shows on our new “Sips and Clips” Playlist which will highlight moments/reviews from our weekly Friday Night Hangout and Pints and Quarts shows.

Screen capture from Craft Beer Nation Pints and Quarts Ep. 038

Screen capture from Craft Beer Nation Pints and Quarts Ep. 038