Home brews and Pig Iron

By on August 10, 2016

I apologize if I’m pouring salt in a wound for those who couldn’t secure tickets to this year’s Lititz Craft Beer Fest, but a venerable who’s who of regional brewing gathered at JoBoy’s Brew Pub on Wednesday, Aug. 3. Event organizers and a few Lititz Ambucs members joined with brewers and industry insiders like Peter Belz (belzonbeer.blogspot.com) and Tierney Pomone (stoutsandstilettos.com) to taste 70 submissions for the annual homebrew competition run in conjunction with the September festival.

Just like the two previous competitions, this is a free-for-all, so anything goes. Beers ranged from spicy hot to light, as in light beer. There were big hopped beers and farmhouse brews.

Our task was to whittle the mass of beers down to 10. Those 10 brews will compete to win a $500 gift card to Lancaster Homebrew, a free vehicle inspection at May’s Service Center in Lititz, and get the opportunity to feature their winning product at JoBoy’s.

 

 It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it. Lititz Craft Beer Fest organizers, and a few Ambucs, judged over 70 unique craft brews, whittling the number down to 10 who will be competing for the opportunity to feature their winning product at JoBoy's. (Photos by Michael Upton)


It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it. Lititz Craft Beer Fest organizers, and a few Ambucs, judged over 70 unique craft brews, whittling the number down to 10 who will be competing for the opportunity to feature their winning product at JoBoy’s. (Photos by Michael Upton)

 

I tasted some unusual beers that night — think red hot candies. One of the most seemingly frightening beers tuned out to be one of my favorites: Yuzu Session Milkshake IPA. What!? I know. Crazy. This session brew had just enough hops to make it refreshing, while it carried the unmistakable taste of lactose. It tasted like a malted milkshake was mixed with a solid beer, and the result was delicious.

This brew was concocted by the homebrew team of Derek Wolf, Brad Moyer, and Dean Pierce, and will join the following nine beers on the streets of Lititz Sept. 25: Hop! In the Name of Love, by Matthew Kupchinsky; Hazy Shade of Summer, by Craig Fahnestock and Mike Baer; Red Craic. by Brian Wagner; Melon Felony. by Tim Myers; Maple Bacon Coffee RIS (royal imperial stout). by Chris Harvey and Caitlin Miletto; Blood Orange Wheat. by Mike Adair; Goin’ Broke IPA. by Ryan Foltz and Sam Son; Slice of Life/Blood Orange. by John Scanlon; and Moral Dilemma by Matt Topper.

On a completely unrelated side note, I made the trek to Marietta over the weekend to check out Pig Iron Brewing Company. “Bob the brewer” wasn’t around, but the bartender at this small, riverside bar told me he is usually upstairs working on new brews. Pig Iron feels like a neighborhood dive bar rather than a brewery. It has its own charm. Besides its own brews, Pig Iron taps the standard beers like Coors and Miller, but they were also serving drafts from Firestone Walker and Spring House.

 

Pig Iron Old Canal Cream Ale was Michael Upton’s favorite offering at Iron Pig Brewing Company in Marietta.

Pig Iron Old Canal Cream Ale was Michael Upton’s favorite offering
at Iron Pig Brewing Company in Marietta.

 

When I was there, Pig Iron was pouring three of its beers: a seasonal Saison, Pig Iron Pale (5.0 percent ABV), and Pig Iron Old Canal Cream Ale (5.0 percent ABV). The cream ale, which seems to have become quite trendy with small brewers, was by far the best of the three.

We had a nice time, but I couldn’t help but feel Pig Iron was simply trying to cash in on the brewing craze. It’s been open for about a year now. We’ll see how it grows. Cheers and thanks for reading!

Michael C. Upton is a freelance writer specializing in arts and leisure. He welcomes comments at somepromcu@gmail.com and facebook.com/SomebodiesProductions.

 

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