Live from Pocono Winter Beerfest 2016

Loyal readers (all 12 of you), I’m reporting live from the front-lines.  That’s right, as I type, I’m here at the Historic Sherman Theater in downtown Stroudsburg, PA, enjoying the live music and fresh brews that are on offer here.  The first act was a solo guitar artist, Adam Jacob.  I paired his able 90s radio-rock covers with a few pours of locally (and I mean locally) homebrewed selections, including a pilsner fermented with Belgian wit-bier yeast and an Imperial walnut stout.  When you homebrew, you can do anything you want, and make the beer YOU want to drink.  Oddly enough, I want to drink it too.  Hats off to Abomination brewing.

A blues band now plays downstairs, amid the mobs and mobs of attendees.  You see, dear readers, I splurged on my ticket, and got the VIP early admission to the event.  It started at 12 noon for me, 1 pm for everyone else.  I was able to have quick chats with the brewers, their reps, and other beer enthusiasts.  Among the “familiar faces” I saw Weyerbacher, Yards, and Long Trail.  To all three I had to compliment them on their product, as I enjoy selling it where I work.  I had a few sips of LT’s SMaSH project (single malt and single hop) that consisted of Pilsner Malt and Galaxy hops.  The result?  A clean, citrusy offering, easily sessionable.  I also had the privilege of trying a fresh glas of their newly released imperial stout- smokey and equally tasty.

It also pleases me to see plenty of people in line for Barley Creek Brewing Co.’s beer, a local here in Stroudsburg.  If you ever drive up to The Crossing Outlet, have lunch at Barley Creek- tasty beer and excellent bar food to accompany it.  I’m currently enjoying my second round of their Belgian Wit.  Spicy, zesty, cloudy, easy to drink and not commit too many typos for this post.

Another highlight goes to Rusty Rail Brewing, in Mifflinburg, PA.  Their Wolf King Warrior (American Stout) is made with cold-brewed coffee.  Very drinkable and smooth.  Lighter body that belies the 8.2% abv.  I’d have more than one sample, but the mass of bodies down on the floor is too much to bear.

This is my first beerfest event, I’ve ever attended, and I’ve got to say, it’s not for me.  While I do like the variety and the small sample size (allowing you to try more than an average flight), the mass of people in this small concert-theater is less than ideal.  Don’t get me started on the cost of a bottle of water here.  Among the beer tables are cigar sellers, smoked meat sellers, baklava, cupcakes, and popcorn.  However, the people I’ve interacted with, from the actual theater staff to the brave souls slinging brew- all friendly and enthusiastic.  But call me crazy- I’d rather visit a brewery or a great beer bar on a slow night, and enjoy the relative serenity of an empty room.

I was tempted to take a gonzo-journalism approach to my experience here, but unlike most journalists out there, I just want to report, and let you decide.  I think anyone that likes good beer should attend an event like this at least once.  If it’s not for you, then more for others, right?

To riff on the words of the most interesting man in the world, “Stay thirsty, my readers.”

This is John, signing off.


An IPA Tear, or: I love my job

Those of you who look forward to my reviews may have noticed that there was no posting on Sunday.  It’s been a bit crazy, but I appreciate you sticking with me.  You see, I have an employer who appreciates my knowledge of beer and skills as a writer.  Recently we tried some wonderful brews, and I realized it marked the first time I got “paid” (since I was at work) to taste beer and get paid to write about it.  The links below are to the three separate reviews on the IPAs newly acquired by my workplace.  Next up, in a few days?  Evil Twin’s Molotov Lite (a Double IPA).

Green Flash Tangerine Soul Style IPA

Green Flash Pacific Gem Single Hop

Founder’s Azacca IPA



I Can’t Hait(i) This: Founders’ Azacca IPA


On the docket:  12 oz. bottle of Founders’ Azacca IPA

Poured into a 6 oz wine glass

S: Amber orange, clear body supports a thick, foamy off-white head. Excellent retention. Consistent, thin bands of lacing left on the glass. Tiny bubbles wend their way up to the surface.

A: Intense, tropical nose of mango and citrus. Just a hint of pine, plus apple or pear. Heavenly to inhale this aroma. A simple, clean malt flavor provides a touch of sweetness.

T: Much of the nose carries over into the flavor. The mango and citrus are there. The malt starts early, then dies off, giving way to the fruity hops. The pine finishes out the experience, drying the tongue and providing a great bitterness counterpoint.

F: Medium body, excellent carbonation with tiny bubbles to aid in resetting the palate for the next sip.

O: My first experience with the Azacca varietal, and a very pleasant experience.

S: 4 A: 4.5 T: 4.5 F: 4 O: 4.25

Pair with: Salads with a citrus vinaigrette dressing, glazed chicken

Note:  Azacca is the god of agriculture to the native religion of Haiti.

Something Berry Different: Pacific Gem Single Hop


On the docket:  Green Flash Brewing Co.’s Pacific Gem Single Hop (American Pale Ale)

Poured into: 6 oz wine glass

S: Hazy honey-gold body that supports a nearly tan head.

A: Berries! Blackberry leads the procession, followed by a darker fruit note… black currant? Some woody note in there too, plus a cracker-like malt in support. Subtle, inviting.

T: More berries, in the taste. In addition, a white-bread crust shows up in a clean crisp malt. Ends quite fruity, rather than bitter and hoppy.

F: Medium-light body, average carbonation, but that’s ok. The flavors here are subtle and delicate- less scrubbing action needed.

O: My first experience with a Pacific Gem single-hop beer. Enjoyable, easy to session.

S: 3.75 A: 4.5 T: 4.5 F: 4.0 O: 4.25

Pairs with: Fruit salad, mild cheeses, chicken or pork with a berry-reduction sauce.

A Tangerine Dream: Green Flash’s Soul Style IPA


On the docket:  12 oz. bottle of Green Flash Brewing Co.’s Tangerine Soul Style IPA

poured into: 6 oz wine glass

S: Sienna colored body with an off-white head. It builds, then slowly recedes. Great lacing. Cloudy body that… wait… is that actual tangerine rind? Why yes, it is.

A: A tangerine dream! Sweetness from a clean, simple malt backbone. Tangerine for miles and miles, it’s like I was standing in the orchard.

T: As anticipated, plenty of tangerine in the flavor. Very present, but very authentic-tasting. No shortcuts used here! Mid-palate provides a bit of doughy malt, while the finish is a touch tangy and citrusy, though not very bitter. Juicy, like freshly squeezed fruit.

F: Medium-light body, prickly carbonation. A long, juicy finish of, you guessed it… tangerine. Wow.

O: Highly enjoyable fruit-forward American IPA. Excellent flavor and aroma.

S: 4 A: 4.5 T: 4.5 F: 4 O: 4.25

Pairs with: mandarin orange salad, Hawaiian pizza, chicken kabobs, Thai or Indian food

Come See Your Favorite Beer Reviewer

If you travel in the northwestern regions of Warren and Sussex County, NJ to frequent bottle shops AND want to meet your favorite online beer reviewer (me), stop in and see me here.  We’re in the middle of a full-scale rearranging of the store in an effort to provide better maneuverability for our customers and better quality and product variety.  Be on the lookout for a more robust cigar selection, more six-pack choices, and new 22 oz. / 750 mL. bottles of your favorite American and foreign craft brews.

Mention you read my post and I’d be delighted to talk beer with you.  I can’t give you “friend prices,” but you can sign up for our loyalty card, and receive a modest discount off A NON-sale craft sixer.