Across the county line: York

By on June 1, 2016
Upton sampled a flight of beers at York city’s Mudhook Brewing Company, attached to York Central Market.

Upton sampled a flight of beers at York city’s Mudhook Brewing Company, attached to York Central Market.

 

I crossed the county line to catch up with some new brew friends. I met JR Heaps and his fiancée at Meeting of the Malts in March. He had established himself at a table with a good sightline for the annual Brewers of Pennsylvania’s keynote event (featuring craft big guns Dick Yuengling, Jim Koch, and Ken Grossman), so I grabbed an open seat. Then the beer started flowing. Next thing I know we are exchanging cards and I’m promising to make it to his southern York County brewery sometime soon.

When I say southern, I mean southern. To get back into Lancaster County after visiting South County Brewing Company I literally had to drive into Maryland to catch a road heading north, but now I’m way ahead of myself.

Like many local beer fans, I’m familiar with a handful of York breweries. In the city is one of my favorites, Liquid Hero. Matt DePrato, Christian Quinlivan, and Josh Hoke started brewing next to PeoplesBank Park in 2011. It’s good beer “Irregardless” of what they may name their brews. Also in the city is Crystal Ball Brewing Company. I must have had some worthy beers from this brewery at the Little Big Beer Fest in April, because I picked up their card, but failed to make notes about the beers I drank. I must have visited them late into the fest. One city brewery I have never tried is Mudhook Brewing Company, so I started my mini-tour of York breweries here. This brewpub is conveniently attached to York Central Market and offers eight beers on tap. After a flight, I took off for Red Lion.

 

Virgil, a limited edition American strong ale is aged in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels giving it a bit of a whiskey-woody bite.

Virgil, a limited edition American strong ale is aged in Heaven Hill
bourbon barrels giving it a bit of a whiskey-woody bite.

 

I’d never heard of Black Cap Brewing Company until I Googled “breweries in York County.” When I pulled up to the intersection of High Street and North Main I was stunned by the building. Black Cap is housed in a former Post Office building erected in 1935. When I got inside I was met by owners Greg Bentley and Jim Waller. I poked around the building as much as I did the beer list while enjoying a wonderful Cream Ale. My wife is the hop head, but we both fully approved of the Postmaster’s Series #4 DIPA, with its strong malt base, which held up against Simcoe, Chinook, and Cascade hops. For the sole reason of having other things to do, we headed south.

During the drive I realized why JR said most of his clientele comes from Maryland. I warned him I’d be a bit early, and he was glad to show me his single room, scientifically intricate brewing space in Fawn Grove. In the tasting room I jumped on the chance to get a taste of Virgil, a limited edition American strong ale (12 percent ABV). Dark and rich, Virgil was aged in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels giving it a bit of a whiskey-woody bite. It was well worth the trip. We left with a six pack of Day Rider IPA-probably one of the better IPAs brewed on the east coast.

Up next in Hop’in Around, “Across The County Line” takes a break. Stay tuned!

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

 

Beer reviewer Michael Upton and his children, Teagan (left) and Halli, photographed at South County Brewing in Fawn Grove.

Beer reviewer Michael Upton and his children, Teagan (left) and
Halli, photographed at South County Brewing in Fawn Grove.

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