In case you haven’t heard, the Billtown Brewfest is this weekend. Lou has all the details on page XX.
I am a big fan of craft beer and we have a lot available in the area, so let’s talk about what’s available locally. There are a lot of establishments in the area that have really great (and rotating!) craft beer lists. The Brickyard, Kimball’s, The Sticky Elbow, The Moon & Raven, The Whiskey Room and Barrel 135 are just a few. But, let’s focus on the few that are actually brewing their own.
In the name of science and information, I went out and taste tested a few of the local offerings to see what’s on tap now and what I liked. I made sure to try a little bit of everything, from IPAs (my personal favorite) to stouts to saisons and ciders.
First up was Boom City Brewing. Boom City is one of Billtown’s newest restaurants and the most recent to open to be brewing beer in house. I recently did a flight with their Last Raft (raspberry wheat), Muddy River (American porter), Azacca (IPA) and B.C. Hefe (hefeweizen). All of them were very good. The Last Raft is a great summer beer. It isn’t heavy and has a great raspberry flavor. The Muddy River has a great flavor and is heavy, but you don’t feel ‘full’ when finished. The IPA has a great hoppy flavor without being too bitter and the Hefe is another light, refreshing beer perfect for summer nights. I have nothing but good things to say about Boom City, and I can’t wait to see what they come up with going forward.
Next I headed to the Bullfrog to see what they have. There I tried the Green Fuzz (IPA), Saison Fievre (semi-wild farmhouse ale), Autohopsaphyxcitration (American lager), Funny Farmhouse Barrel-Aged Cider, Farmhouse Strawberry Wheat, Billtown Blonde (light ale) and the Stout. Overall, all of these selections were pretty good. I was a particular fan of the Strawberry Wheat, the Cider (which is steeped with sour cherries), and the Green Fuzz. All of these are easily drinkable, and perfect for summer. I’ve been all about the fruit in my beer this summer and all of these fit that bill. The Autohopsaphyxcitration was also very good and carried some nice citrus flavors. The Stout and Billtown Blonde weren’t my favorites, but were by no means undrinkable, just not my personal preference. The Bullfrog is a Williamsport staple and produces nationally recognized beer, their rotation is ever changing to keep checking to see what is new!
Last I headed west to Riepstine’s Pub in Newberry. There I tried the Alpha Minor (IPA), Sawdust Summer Ale (a blonde ale), the Saison de Concombre (a golden ale), Newberry Wheat (a fruit wheat), the Kicka** Cider and A Mid Summers Night Cream (a strawberry cream ale). I am always impressed with Riepstine’s offerings. They always have something new and quite frankly interesting on tap. Let’s take the saison for example. This golden ale is steeped with 200 lbs. of cucumbers. Now, I know what you are thinking, but trust me. The combination is surprisingly light, refreshing and super tasty. The Newberry Wheat tastes like blueberry muffins and the Cider tastes like ginger tea. The Mid Summer is quite tasty, but I’m not a fan of beer on nitro, so this isn’t my favorite. The Alpha Minor is solid IPA. The Sawdust Summer Ale was really good and another interesting combination of flavors for beer. There are notes of lemongrass and orange peel, but it’s the coriander that makes it really interesting.
If you enjoy craft beer or want to see what all the fuss is about, be sure to check out the Brewfest this weekend, or even better check out the locals to see what they are offering. They will all be more than happy to help you find something you will enjoy. As always, enjoy responsibly.