The Hop’ies

By on October 1, 2014
Lititz Craft Beer Fest Sept. 28, 2014 (photo by Mike Shull)

Lititz Craft Beer Fest Sept. 28, 2014 (photo by Mike Shull)

I always like to say, “There are no bad beers, just beers you do not like.” And not to be a hater &tstr; because there were some beers at the inaugural Lititz Craft Beer Fest that were deposited in a hay bale immediately after the glass left my lips – I wanted to highlight some of the best things I found this past weekend. So, welcome to the first Hop’ies Awards! Please know these awards are based solely on my preferences and experiences at the festival (and do not come with a little statue).

Friendliest Beer Rep

Melissa Bruno, Lavery Brewing Company, helps out another happy customer. (photo by Michael Upton)

Melissa Bruno, Lavery Brewing Company, helps out another happy customer. (photo by Michael Upton)

Melissa Bruno, Lavery Brewing Company

The Erie-based brewery was well represented by Bruno. She was just as eager to pose for pictures with brew-fans as she was to tap beers … and her line moved quickly!

Longest Line

Stone Brewing Company

Although it had a few breweries giving it a run for its money, Stone Brewing Company had a long line forming well before the start of the festival. Beer fans lined up to try a rare selection from the Stochasticity Project: Quadrotriticale.

Best Foreign Beer

Mysterieuse Lady, Le Brewery

Le Brewery owned this category … because they were the only foreign craft beer offered. The French brewery sent a selection of bombers including Mysterieuse Lady, a mild, sessionable wheat beer. There is no mystery why this is the Best Foreign Beer at LCBF. At under 4 ABV I could have drank this all sunny day, but there was a lot more beer to try.

Best Seasonal Beer

The Devil’s Pumpkin, Lavery

There’s often a thin line between overdoing and underdoing a pumpkin beer, and Lavery hit the line perfectly. The subtle spicing would make drinking more than one of these a good possibility, as opposed to heavier, sweeter pumpkin beers. The 6.5 ABV Devil’s Pumpkin is dry with just the right amount of toasted malt and hoppy bitterness.

Best Cider

Dark & Dry Apple Cider, Spire Mountain

This is a cider fan’s cider. The folks at Spire Mountain have found a way to combine the heavy flavors of molasses and brown sugar in a cider that is not thick or over sweetened. I had never had Spire Mountain before, but I will now surely seek it out as an alternative to the more mass produced (and sometimes sickeningly sweet) ciders on today’s market.

Most Controversial Beer

Beeranomyces Pale Ale, Turkey Hill Brewing Company

One of two Brett beers, Beeranomyces quickly became a hot topic when describing the spectrum of beers at LCBF. Definitely funky with a bit of sweetness hidden under a glaze of sourness, Beeranomyces was either a favorite or was flagged by the drinkers I talked with. You either loved it or hated it, there was no in between.

Top Threes (in no particular order)

Elysian Space Dust – IPA

Part of their Manic IPA Series, Elysian titles this brew “a totally nebular IPA.” This classic IPA provides plenty of hop flavor (Chinook to bitter plus Citra and Amarillo) without going completely overboard. A limited release, this beer is only available until December. Get it while you can!

DuClaw Old Flame – Strong Ale

It may have been the fall in the air, but one sip of this full-bodied dark amber and I was in love. Its slightly sweet aroma smells like the coming of winter. This was an early appearance for Old Flame, as it is usually released in January.

Saucony Creek Hexerei White Magic – Witbier

This may be a true case of personal preference. I really liked this beer, but my drinking partner did not. A beer Saucony makes available year round, this Wit has a definite orange aroma and flavor. In fact, Hexerei is filtered over blood oranges in order to “enhance the citrus flavor experience.” Adding a bit of coriander makes this beer fun in all four seasons.

So, that concludes the first ever Hop’ies Awards! Did you have a favorite beer or experience at LCBF I didn’t mention? Tell me about it at SomeProMCU@gmail.com or on Twitter @DrinkItWriteIt.

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