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Former editor in chief of an award winning publication, avid outdoorsman, love hiking, kayaking, fishing, biking, visiting state parks, published writer, avid drinker, certified bartender, beer rater and I ran a bar tending school, and blogger writing under title of the Man Can Critic 

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Troegs 60 Scratch Beer- Spring Fest Lager

On Wednesday I headed down for my first trip to the Troegs Brewery. At the end of the self guided tour I stopped by the tasting room to sample the Scratch 60 Spring Fest Lager that was just released on March 23. This beer is on tap and can also be purchased in bottles in the gift shop. The temperature was a nice 42.9 degrees and had a small 1/2" head which was from a draft so its always hard to compare to my traditional bottle pour. The head appearance was frothy and off white with excellent head lacing. The head dissipated quickly and the carbonation was lively with normal clarity and a copper color. The aroma was floral with a barley taste and a light flavor. The beer had an average finish length with a watery mouth feel and a front tongue hit. The body lacing was excellent and overall I would give it an A. This beer is an excellent spring beer for sitting out on the deck and enjoying the cool spring time. It went down easy and was absolutely delicious. I had it with barbecued veggies, farmers cheese, greens and wheat bread which it paired nicely with and was absolutely fantastic. Thanks for reading and as always drink responsibly.

Information from Troegs website

Scratch Beer Series #60

Alcohol by Volume: 5.1%

Hop Bitterness (IBUs): 39

Barley: Pils, Munich, Crystal, Melanoidin

Hops: Tradition, Saaz

Yeast: House Lager

The Scratch Beer series has developed into an experimental beer series where we can tinker with new techniques and brew with non-traditional ingredients. Each batch is extremely small and cases and growler fills are only available in our tasting room. Make sure to stop in for a taste and let us know what you think.
  • Scratch #60-2012: Spring Fest Lager
  • Scratch #59-2012: Mighty Moose Mild
  • Scratch #58-2012: Triple Mango IPA
  • Scratch #57-2012: Weizenbock
  • Scratch #56-2011: Single Hop Pale Ale
  • Scratch #55-2011: Double IPA
  • Scratch #54-2011: Cocoa Porter
  • Scratch #53-2011: Helles Bock
  • Scratch #52-2011: T2 Ale
  • Scratch #51-2011: Fat Scratch Fever
  • Scratch #50-2011: Belgian Style Brown Ale
  • Scratch #49-2011: Fresh Hop Ale
  • Scratch #48-2011: Fest Bier 
  • Scratch #47-2011: White Ale
  • Scratch #46-2011: Naked Elf
  • Scratch #45-2011: IPA 
  • Scratch #44-2011: Belgian Brown
  • Scratch #43-2011: IPA (Bravo, Chinook, Cascade)
  • Scratch #42-2011: Belgian Brown
  • Scratch #39-2011: IPA (Simcoe)
  • Scratch #38-2011: IPA (Centennial, Chinook)
  • Scratch #37-2011: IPA (warrior, cluster, columbus hops)
  • Scratch #36-2011: Beglian style Brown Ale
  • Scratch #35-2010: Fresh Hop Ale
  • Scratch #33-2010: Saison
  • Scratch #32-2010: Keystone Common
  • Scratch #31-2010: Citra IPA
  • Scratch #30-2010: Bock
  • Scratch #29-2010: Belgian style IPA
  • Scratch #28-2010: Beer "Roggen bier"
  • Scratch #27-2010: Chocolate Stout
  • Scratch #25-2009: Mustache Rye
  • Scratch #24-2009: Van de Horn
  • Scratch #23-2009: Keller Fest
  • Scratch #22-2009: Belgian Style White
  • Scratch #21-2009: Naked Elf 
  • Scratch #20-2009: Apollo Imperial Ale 
  • Scratch #19-2008: Imperial Double Espresso Oatmeal Stout 
  • Scratch #18-2009 – Triple Rye IPA 
  • Scratch #17-2009 – Glacier Pils 
  • Scratch #16-2008: Winter Warmer 
  • Scratch #15 - Double Espresso Oatmeal Stout
  • Scratch #14-2008: Saison
  • Scratch #13-2008: Oktoberfest
  • Scratch #12-2008: IPA
  • Scratch #11-2008: Bitter
  • Scratch #10-2008: Grand Cru
  • Scratch #8-2008: Triple
  • Scratch #7-2008:  Weizenbock
  • Scratch #6-2007:Export Lager
  • Scratch #5-2007: Imperial Oatmeal Stout
  • Scratch #4-2007: Barleywine (Flying Mouflan)
  • Scratch #3-2007 - Triple
  • Scratch #2-2007 - Porter
  • Scratch #1-2007 – California Common Beer


Scratch #60-2012 is our harbinger of the coming spring. After reading about the annual German beer festival – Starkbierzeit – and shuddering at the thought of drinking Trogenator all day long in honor of “strong beer time,” we’ve created a Spring Fest designed specifically for “patio time.” Measuring in at 5.1% ABV and 39 IBUs Spring Fest pairs nicely with smoked trout and seems to magically disappear from your glass while spending time with friends. 

Friday, March 30, 2012

Jack's Hard Cider (Gluten Free) and a recap of Monday Night Trivia

So I realize its late in the week and I am trying to get as many of the reviews I did this week out before the end of the week. Monday night was a pretty decent night at trivia at Dorko's. The freezer was back up and running so I got to have a vegan burger for super that night. They also had some Chetty's still on ice at a very nice price which was great. The RZA won the 50/50 along with a couple of the mid round questions but after struggling all night long and over analyzing question after question only to come up with the wrong answer, we came up short. Also it didn't help that the bonus was on the Apprentice which we don't watch to frequently. I ended up having a Jack's Hard Cider that I got from Brewer's Outlet in Pottsville on Tuesday. The temperature was 45.4 degrees with virtually no head lacing and no measurable head size with a white colored head. The head dissipated almost instantly and the beer had a soft carbonation with a sparkling clarity and a straw color. The taste and aroma were apples. The flavor was light and the finish length was long with a dry mouth feel. The tongue hit was towards the back and there was virtually no body lacing. Overall I would rate it an A for being another PA beer which I am partial to things produced in my state and it stayed to what is good about ciders. Also according to the can Jack's is another gluten free option. The beer had a great taste and was easy to drink and made you want to go back for another one. Thanks for reading and as always drink responsibly.

Recipe of the day
I made this sometime this week.
2 whole red peppers with just the tops cut off and seeds removed
1 small red onion sliced
handful of spinach
2 slices wheat bread toasted
2 tbsp Jack Daniels Honey Mustard
3 baby bellas sliced
1/2 cup red wine

Fire roast peppers and onions until blacked over open fire. Heat sauce pan with wine until boiling add mushrooms and cook until all liquid disappears. Make sandwich with slice of bread put on pepper, then onion, then pepper, then mushrooms, then spinach, then mustard and finally last slice of bread. Eat and enjoy.

Nutritional information from the back of the can

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size 1 Can
Calories 100
Sodium 10mg
Total Carbohydrate 11g
   Dietary Fiber 0g
   Sugars 8g
Protein 2g
Iron 4%
everything else was 0

Information from Jack's hard Cider website

A crisp, dry cider with a fair amount of fizz. The predominance of Granny Smith apples lends this blend a note of tart green apple, pineapple and tangerine. Perfect for a hot summer day or anytime you need a little pick-me-up.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Troegs Brewery - Fun, Food, Drinks and a Tour

So yesterday was a busy day and I had been planning on going to Hershey to try out the Troegs Brewery that my colleague from work had been raving about. So we got there around 11am when they were just opening up so the place only had a small crowd which worked out well for me. Me and my wife hit the self guided tour and took a bunch of photos and read all the information on the plaques. The plaques had some good information and it was interesting to see all the equipment and to get a look inside their microbiology lab which was really enjoyable for my biology major wife. They also had some cool art all around the place which was really something I had not expected. After we finished our self guided tour we hit the tasting room and had a sample of the Scratch 60. Then I had a pint which was actually closer to 20oz which was nice. I later found out some added information from our New Zealand bartender as to why the 20 oz. glass. She said the owners wanted the beer to have a head on it so it was actually closer to 19 oz. This was really refreshing considering almost every bartender I have ever had is always trying to eliminate as much head as possible which from my knowledge is the wrong thing to do. You should strive for a little head to really bring out the flavor and aroma in the beer. I also had a veggie sandwich with some goat cheese that was made with all local ingredients which was really nice. The bartender also gave me a bunch of other great breweries to hit in the upcoming weeks and months. After we finished hitting the tasting room we made our way to the gift shop to pick up a 6 pack of a couple different Troegs beers. I ended up getting 2 Nugget Nectars, 2 Java Heads, a Scratch 60, and  a Pale Ale. On my quick look through the gift shop with being pressed for time one cool thing caught my wife's eye, it was the beer soap. Soap made from flat Troegs beer. This was probably the most interesting thing I have ever seen made out of beer. Right before I started writing this post I found out that Troegs will start doing tasting tours so looks like I will be heading back there at some time experience the new tour. I think that this brewery is an excellent visit for adults looking for some good food, good beer, and some great information about great beers. Thanks for reading and as always drink responsibly.

Information from Troegs about Brewery Tours

Brewery Tours

Self-Guided Brewery Tours

Monday - Wednesday: 11am - 7pm
Thursday -Saturday: 11am - 8pm
Cost: Free

For visitors on a limited schedule or for families with young visitors, the Self-Guided Brewery tour provides a full facility tour at a pace that meets your needs! Grab a glass of beer in the Tasting Room and take a stroll through our glass-lined tour path.  There's ample information to explain the brewing process and the open floor plan allow visitors to take everything in at any pace.  You'll get an up close look at our 'Scratch Beer' brewhouse, fermentation/filtration hall, quality lab, kegging and bottling lines and our barrel aging room. Tasting Room and General Store staff are glad to answer your questions, or if you run into a brewer or production line worker you can always ask them for process details.

Tasting Tour

Tuesday - Thursday: 2:30 & 4:00pm
Friday - Saturday: 1:00, 2:30 & 4pm
Cost: $5 includes beer samples and take home souvenir glass 
Our calendar and online reservation system is still underconstruction. In the meantime please email tours@troegs.com to begin your reservation process. Please add TOUR RESERVATION REQUEST in the subject line.
The Tasting Tour gives visitors a behind-the-scenes look at a working production brewery. A small tour group will see the entire production process and taste and smell the building blocks of beer from raw ingredients through fermenting beer to fresh beer from our packaging line.
The Tasting Tour is $5 and includes beer samples and a take home souvenir glass. Tasting Tour reservations are highly recommended and are limited to 10 people per tour.
For the safety of our guests, visitors must be:
·         21 years of age or older with a government issued ID or passport.
·         Wearing closed-toed, flat shoes. (“Guest” footwear will be made available.)
·         Able to climb steps and navigate tights spaces.
Guests should be aware of potential hazards including water, steam, wet surfaces, potential trip areas and chemical storage areas. Visitors must stay with the tour guide and take extreme care when walking through the brewery. Safety glasses will be provided to all visitors and ear plugs are available.

Special Tour and Corporate Events

Special request tours must be scheduled at least two weeks in advance.  Troegs does not have a full kitchen on site but you may use a professional caterer of your choice, provided that they are approved, in advance, by Troegs.  Catering staff must remain onsite until the last guest departs, and must return the space to ‘broom-clean’ condition. 
For private tour rates and more information please contact ‘name’ with questions or concerns.
Jon Kaufman
Special Events Coordinator
Troegs Brewing Company
Phone: 717 534-1297

Yuengling Porter an Excellent Dark Beer

This is the review of Yuengling Porter that I did at the end of my Yuengling Brewery tour. The temperature was 40.7 degrees and the head was small at 1" but it was a small cup and the bartender was trying to do a good job minimizing the head size. The head appearance was frothy and medium brown with excellent lacing and a head the dissipated quickly. The clarity was dark and the color was black with a taste and aroma that were a mixture of molasses and coffee. The flavor was moderate with an average finish length. The mouth feel was dry with a middle tongue hit. The body lacing was excellent and the beer was excellent as well. I gave Porter an A and the tour and experience was also an A. Hopefully I'll get to take my wife and kids on this one because it was definitely an experience I think anyone would enjoy. Thanks for reading and as always drink responsibly.

Yuengling also has a Porter Worthy moments page.

Nutritional Information from myfitnesspal.com

Nutrition Facts

Yuengling Beer - Porter

Calories150Sodium0 mg
Total Fat0 gPotassium0 mg
Saturated0 gTotal Carbs0 g
Polyunsaturated0 gDietary Fiber0 g
Monounsaturated0 gSugars0 g
Trans0 gProtein0 g
Cholesterol0 mg
Vitamin A0%Calcium0%
Vitamin C0%Iron0%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Strongbow a Gluten Free English Dry Hard Cider

So last night I was feeling like hitting another one of the strong ciders in the fridge. This was another sampling that I had gotten at Brewer's Outlet in Pottsville. Out of the three ciders I have had this is the one that I enjoyed the most. It also happens to be another gluten free beer option. I haven't really had anything less than excellent from the Great Britain Area. So last night my beer of choice was Strongbow distributed by HP Bulman. The temperature was nice at 42.3 degrees with a very small to nonexistent head that had a white appearance for the extremely short time it lasted. There was no head lacing and very little carbonation. The clarity was sparkling with a gold color and an apple aroma and taste. The flavor was light and the finish was short with a dry mouth feel. There was virtually no body lacing and a tongue hit that was towards the back. Overall I would give it an A for a solid taste that is a good representation of the style that doesn't have any frills but renders a great taste with an easy drink ability. Thanks for reading and as always drink responsibly.
This is one of the new pictures I am using to give a pictorial image to my reviews.

Strongbow before being opened and poured.

Strongbow after being poured.

Beer bottle art featuring Strongbow.

Side view of recent ciders and English beers featuring Strongbow.

My last beer reviews featuring Strongbow at the top.

Picture of recipe of the day

Recipe of the day
This doesn't really go with Strongbow but I made it the day after I drank the Strongbow so I figured I'd add it in because it is amazing.

One small red onion diced
One large vine ripened tomato diced
1 of each small red, yellow and orange peppers diced
1 large jalapeno diced
2 cups cooked yellow corn
16 oz dry black beans
1 tbsp cumin
1 cup dry brown rice (I used half cup jasmine and half cup brown but I think all brown makes it more southwestern)
1 large mango sliced
1 tbsp olive oil

Cook brown rice and black bean to package instructions separately.  In hot frying pan olive oil and onion turn down heat to medium and cook 2-3 minutes. Add peppers, tomato and cumin and cook on high for 3-5 minutes or until most liquid evaporates off. Mix everything from frying pan into a bowl with cooked rice and black bean and garnish with sliced mango.

Nutritional information from myfitnesspal.com

Nutrition Facts

Strongbow - Hard Cider

Calories240Sodium0 mg
Total Fat0 gPotassium0 mg
Saturated0 gTotal Carbs31 g
Polyunsaturated0 gDietary Fiber0 g
Monounsaturated0 gSugars0 g
Trans0 gProtein0 g
Cholesterol0 mg
Vitamin A0%Calcium0%
Vitamin C0%Iron0%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Information from Strongbow website

Strongbow ® is a crisp, premium imported cider from the U.K. which delivers maximum refreshment in an authentic, traditional English recipe.

At the heart of every successful brand is a clear message. Strongbow® is built on the promise of maximum refreshment of body and mind – through this all the characteristics of the brand are connected.
With its clean refreshing taste and striking livery, Strongbow® appeals to import beer drinkers everywhere.