As we continue the tour of the bustling beer production epicenter of Hanover, PA, population about 15,000, we move on to a bistro that has a whole lot going on, as well as couple of tasting rooms.
Warehouse Gourmet Bistro and Brew Pub is brewing beer under the Warehouse Craft Brewing label, in addition to their already-established restaurant and catering business. During dinner, I had their Small Town Brown. They say it's closer to a porter, and I found that to be fairly accurate. The pint I had was super-carbonated, almost to the point of harshness and interfering with the flavors. Once I got used to it, I found it to have pretty straight forward characteristics: malty and roasty with hints of cocoa. Overall, pretty solid beer--I'd love to give this another try, see if the carbonation isn't quite as harsh the second time around.
The next brewery visited was Aldus Brewing Company, starting with their Olde Factory IPA. There was a fruitiness, along with a fairly high alcohol content (7% ABV), that made this beer feel more like a Double IPA. Mild hops were present, but the generally dominant flavor was that of dark fruit sweetness. The next beer I reviewed is also sweet, but intentionally so--we'll get to that. In general, even in beers I merely sampled, everything seemed to be on the sweet side. I imagine this is a play to their audience, though it's not necessarily my favorite.
The second beer was called Frankenbru, and is a fruit ale. Obviously, many sweet flavors in this beer, most notably apples, the core of the fruit ale. Also has some maple syrup sweetness, which tended to linger, and the beer had a low-to-medium body. Again, with the sweetness, these were not necessarily my favorite beers to taste, but I certainly respect what they are doing--these are solidly-made beers.
The final beer of our tour is not from Hanover, but a short distance away in York, PA. Crystal Ball Brewing Company has a brand new tasting room that we got to experience that was notable in that we were mere feet away from all of the brewing equipment (and not behind glass or walls, like some small breweries). Their Cold Weather is a black wheat ale that is probably perfect now that the Christmas week heat wave is over and it's actually cold up there. Also somewhat sweet, but not that surprising, given this falls into that "winter warmer" category of beers. Also, the cranberry infusion contributes to that sweetness. A beer with low-to-medium body, it poured a deep deep ruby color that was quite beautiful. The cranberries gave the beer a tartness that cut through some of that still-present but not overpowering sweetness. Still, that sweetness did linger after the drink. Overall, a really nice, well-executed beer.
After sampling several of the breweries in York County (and even including ones I've visited previously like Liquid Hero Brewery, the beer scene in my old home is really terrific. Add to it some of the region's nationally-notable breweries like Troegs and Victory, and this south-central Pennsylvania region really is booming for craft beer.