Lititz Craft Beer Fest: The beers

By on September 28, 2016

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You have to be dedicated to try every beer at beer fest. This is definitely true at the Lititz Craft Beer Festival, which took place on Sunday, September 25. The event brought more than 125 beers (and ciders) from 62 breweries (and cideries) to the downtown streets. Breweries came from as close as JoBoy’s Brew Pub to as far away as San Diego, California (Green Flash Brewing Company). I couldn’t get to them all (even though I tried my hardest), so here is a rundown of some standouts.

“Anything with bacon,” was the reply overheard while waiting in line to try the 2016 special brew for the Lititz Craft Beer Festival. Organizers went back to the folks at Great Lakes Brewing Company (Cleveland, OH) to create a one-time specialty brew: a bacon-smoked, whiskey double, American porter.

“This year [organizers] reached out to us and Rooster Street. It’s really exciting to work with two established brands in your own hometown,” said Stoll & Wolfe co-owner Erik Wolfe.

His Lititz-based whiskey was used to soak wood chips, which were then trucked up the street to Rooster Street. At the specialty meat and cheese shop, proprietors Kristina and Tony Page smoked bacon with the chips. The chips then came back to Wolfe and were soaked in whiskey a second time. After getting good and tipsy, the chips were sent to Great Lakes where they were used in a special keg of their Edmund Fitzgerald porter

“Anybody for Nosferatu,” called out Dave Walker of Great Lakes, trying to get people to try the other beer he had on hand. He had no takers. The line for the porter stretched down the street.

The beer was awesome and well worth the wait. The next beer I was over the moon pleased with was Dock Street Brewing Company’s Sustained State of Ruin. This surprisingly malty “golden Saison” was aged in red wine barrels for 8 months; it was oaky and mildly spicy with citrus and fruit notes intertwined.

As soon as my lips hit Evolution Craft Brewing Companies Wandering Monk I knew I found something special. I had to go and ask about a taste I could not get enough of: the yeast. Evidently Evo uses Achouffe yeast, an abbey-style yeast from south-east Belgium. It is a unique flavor.

I met up with Wolfe again near the Founders Brewing Company table. I had in my hand a glass of RübÆus.

“Branching the divide between beer and wine,” said Wolfe while describing the beer.

It’s like drinking fruit juice from a sippy cup. The fruit beer is made with fresh raspberries incorporated at five different times in the brewing process. This could be a dangerously refreshing beer on a hot summer day.

Stickman Brews from Royersford, PA brought some big beers. The brewery’s focus is on Belgian-inspired beers with “American twists” and I had the Frankie Holland Bier de Garde. This 6.8 percent ABV brew is easy to drink and does not carry a heavy alcohol presence.

While sipping the Frankie Holland, I wandered down the street and found Bell’s Brewery. They were offering their Brett Berliner Weisse, which was not too sour. Supposedly, only 3 kegs of this session brew made it to Lancaster County this year. I’m glad I got a chance to try it.

Port Brewing Company from San Marcos, CA brought their Anniversary Ale, a big Imperial IPA (90 IBUs, 11 percent ABV)-a style I usually stay away from. Being that they came all the way from San Diego County, I had to give it a go and I was surprised by the maltiness of the beer. It had that overbearing and overpowering hoppiness usually found in big west coast IPAs, but it seemed well balanced.

The folks at Anderson Valley Brewing Company always put out a good product. So, I went for the Fall Hornin’ pumpkin and yam beer aged for six months in Wild Turkey whiskey barrels. That’s how you do a pumpkin beer!

It seems like whiskey was a running theme at the third annual Lititz Craft Beer Fest. A big thanks to event sponsor May’s Service Center who handed out beer Coozies and were clever enough to fold the tops over so they could fit the six-ounce festival glass. New this year, organizers posted the entire tap list on the event website. It was handy for those who like to preplan their route. Till next year, cheers!

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