Lancaster Brewing Co. – Milk Stout – This beer was the last one I grabbed in Altoona that is from the state of Pennsylvania. It’s from “that side” of PA where they root for teams from Philadelphia. Yuck. I do get a kick out of this line on their site “As one of few surviving examples the traditional English Sweet Stout” because there are plenty of milk stouts at this point. The roasted barley used in this beer is quite good. They have some coffee notes and the sweet part came in on the back end which is a nice spot for it. Like most stout, the hops is pretty minimal which is confirmed with an IBU 22. This beer isn’t that heavy for the ABV at 5.3% so you can drink a lot of this one. If you want to see if they sell it in your area, feel free to email them here.
Mendocino Brewing Co. – Black Hawk Stout – This beer was in no way local to PA. It’s from Mendocino, CA. When I was grabbing them, I didn’t realize that. This beer is just a straight up Irish style stout. No coffee taste, no sweet milk, no chocolate. But the interesting thing about this beer was that in my notes, I thought I tasted a funk in it. Without mentioning anything on their site, it’s hard to figure out what that funk was exactly. It could be the hops but there’s no way to confirm since they don’t list the style of hops used or IBU. They do list the ABV at 5.2% which again is a sessionable beer. If you’d like to give it a try, they distribute in almost every state so you don’t have an excuse.
Lake Placid Pub & Brewery – Ubu Ale – Lake Placid is at least closer to PA than California. As it happens to turn out, I selected Lake Placid’s flagship beer. Ubu is an English style Strong Ale. It has a different vibe than Seventh Son’s Seventh Son, which is an American Strong Ale. They are similar though. They both end up red in color due to some roasted malt, which is the featured flavor. A malt heavy drink is always a good one in my book. Unlike Seventh Son, this beer just has hints of hops. It crops it head at 38 IBU so it’s definitely in there to spice up the malt. It is also a little spicy going down since it’s 7.0% ABV. They distribute in NY, PA, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont. So if you’re not in the northeast, you’re out of luck because this is a fantastic beer.
Good news from the Wall Street Journal, craft beer has jumped from 2.6% of the market in 1998 to 8.0% at the end of last year. Imports are also up from 8.4% to 14.0%. The big guns still have the remainder of the market at 78%. Miller, Bud and Coors are even labeling beers with new names to blend their craft beer in with the rest of the craft beer. There’s plenty of room for growth because we all drink a whole lot of beer. Support your favorite craft beer and enjoy a #SippyTimeBeer this weekend. – Kevin