So, I return to my old home of York County, Pennsylvania to see the family, and the whole damn place has apparently become a microbrewing hot bed! A rural-suburban county (population: just over 400,000) about an hour north of Baltimore, just on the PA/MD border, the county boasts at least a half-dozen commercial microbreweries!
The first brewery I experienced with my parents (hi, guys!) was in my hometown of Red Lion (population: 6300). The folks at Black Cap Brewing Company converted the old post office downtown into a brewery and small brewpub, and through the power of flights, I was able to sample most of the 8 beers they have on tap. I'll cover 3 of their beers right now, then 2 with some additional notes later on this week.
We'll start with the Cream Ale, the most basic of their selections. The goal is to play to the macrobrew crowd with something better, and they do a nice job achieving that. The Cream Ale is a crisp, clean pale lager-type that has significantly more flavor (most notably some mild fruity notes) than what you'll find in the macro pale lager category.
Next up is the Rye Saison. The Belgian-style sweetness is obvious from the outset, along with some hints of fruit. There are also some spicy and crackery/grainy notes coming from the rye that blend with the peppery notes from the style. Saisons aren't quite my thing (despite 2 in this review), but this one was pretty enjoyable.
Finally, another Saison, their Saison de Gui. This is their Christmas seasonal, and I found it to be very ambitious. The added ingredients to this beer served to make the standard Saison aspects get cranked up to 11. The ginger is subtle but certainly present, and adds an additional bite to the peppery quality. Cloves and honey added to this Saison almost made it a tad oversweet, but I got used to it as time went on. The use of those ingredients, especially the honey, almost invoked a mead-like flavor for me. There was a whole lot going on in this beer.
Later this week will feature a couple more from Black Cap, including a very good IPA and an excellent porter.