Hop’in Around: A hidden gem in Middletown

By on May 15, 2019

Tattered Flag is separated into several different sections for fun. There’s a corn hole room located upstairs. (Photos by Michael Upton)

 

At the beginning of the month, Woodridge Beer Fest successfully met its goal by raising $10,000 for the Lititz swim club. While talking with organizer Jeff McSparran about the event, he couldn’t help gushing about one of the entities making an appearance: Tattered Flag Brewery & Still Works.

It’s not the first time I’ve heard someone highly recommend the Middletown makers of craft beer and small batch spirits. So, I thought I’d better stop procrastinating and see what this place was all about.

The Berry Ring of Fire NEIPA is brewed with Mosaic hops, blackberry puree, and berry ring candy.

All the accolades I’ve heard did not do this place justice! Walking into the large, historic building in downtown Middletown we were immediately greeted by a company rep who explained the layout. The brewing area took up the space behind him; upstairs (with elevator access) was a restaurant and drinking area welcome to families and filled with games; and downstairs, nestled into the first space to occupy the brewery, was a quieter spot for those looking for mellow conversation by the still works and attached Nuclear Bean coffee shop.

I was wrong to assume that the opposite of a quieter spot upstairs would mean rowdy beer drinkers, but the noise comes from frivolity and fun by families and friends playing NES games, corn hole, board games, darts, etc. There’s also a good-sized bar surrounding a tap selection where anyone could find a beer they like.

Located in the former home of the Middletown Elks Club, the building now home to Tattered Flag was practically razed by fire in 1910. Check out the old bricks for the visual story.

And we’re on to beer. Thanks to Tattered Flag’s offering of multiple (and affordable) pour sizes (5, 8, and 16 ounces) we were able to enjoy a number of selections available this past weekend. I was hoping to get a sneak peek at the veteran-owned PA breweries collaboration DIPA, which is scheduled for a Memorial Day release, but I was bit too early.

Instead, our server recommended another collab brew (with Hanover’s Miscreation Brewing Company); Tattered Creation Abbra Collaba Sour IPA is hopped with El Dorado and Mosaic and brewed with 200 pounds of fresh pureed pears. This beer has one of the best aromas ever. It is shockingly malt-forward at first and grows on the palate over time. To contrast, we also ordered a small pour of The Moon Is A Dead World, a Black Milkshake IPA. Another collab (this time with Lancaster’s Hunger-N-Thirst and Chrononaut Brewing Co., from somewhere in this galaxy), this brew may be the most fun in brewing I’ve ever seen. Modeled after space ice cream, the beer incorporates strawberries, vanilla beans, and cacao nibs and tastes just like that crunchy weirdness found in NASA gift shops.

For rounds three and four, we found two more collab brews; there seems to be a theme working here. The Blue Raider Prickly Pear Kolsch is a team-up with The Brewery at Hershey and is fermented on 40-plus pounds of prickly pear fruit. The Berry Ring of Fire is a sour NEIPA created with Chatty Monks Brewing Co.; with the incorporation of Mosaic hops, blackberry puree, and berry ring candy, this brew is not as sickeningly sweet as it may sound and serrano peppers add a slight, slight warmth. It’s like a thick, juicy, pink, beer smoothie!

My only complaint is that this place is so far from my doorstep. I could see myself spending a lot of time here. 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.

The Moon Is A Dead World, a Black Milkshake IPA (front), and Tattered Creation Abbra Collaba Sour IPA are two of several collaboration brews now on tap at Tattered Flag.

 

Welcome to Tattered Flag. A high-top area upstairs is a favorite for kid-free diners while the adjoining rooms are filled with games like shuffleboard, cornhole, and NES systems.

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