On Saturday April 26, 2014, we made the 88 mile drive through the Appalachian Mountains from State College to the State Capital of Harrisburg. The weather was in the early 60’s and the buds were now starting to appear on the wide variety of trees that cover the hillsides lining the US 322 that winds through the picturesque Pennsylvania countryside.
Upon arrival in Harrisburg we checked into our Downtown hotel and walked the couple of miles past the State Capital building to the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex where PA Flavor was being held.
This ‘Ultimate Beer & Food Pairing’ event is described as follows:
PA Flavor is presented jointly by the Brewers of PA, the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association, the American Culinary Federation and the Department of Agriculture’s PA Preferred Program, and is designed to showcase the many unique beer and food offerings in Pennsylvania. Focusing on Pennsylvania products, this event brings together Pennsylvania breweries along with PA Preferred food producers and PA Preferred restaurants in a sampling event.
Alas the event organizers hadn’t considered that some people might walk to this event and had only placed signs in the parking lot so we discovered just how big the Farm Complex is and that walking the long way round the building took some time though fortunately we reached the line 5 mins before the doors opened.
The event had two types of tickets:
- 1-2PM VIP RECEPTION (Includes butler passed hors d’oeuvres and additional specialty beers)
- 2-5PM GENERAL ADMISSION
and the following pricing structure:
- $39.50 Early Bird Special before March 4, 2014
- $44.50 Pre-sale General Admission
- $50.00 on site General Admission
- $75 VIP Admission (gives attendee an extra hour including butler passed hors d’oeuvres and additional specialty beers)
- $20.00 Designated Driver
We had opted for the Pre-sale General Admission so 2pm was our start time and the line to get in took around 10 mins for us to reach the main hall.
Once inside we found the lines were short, if any, at most booths and there were around 30 breweries and at least twice that number of food vendors and restaurants. The range of food available for sampling included sausages, pork sliders, duck, steak, fudge, desserts, cheeses, fruit… the selection was endless!
The main reason for our visit was to check out the PA breweries which included a number of familiar names plus some new breweries and brewpubs who had opened within the last year or two. Below are most of the breweries who were pouring at the event together with the beers that we managed to sample (ABV & IBU’s included where known together with our rating out of 5.0):
- Barley Creek Brewing Company
- Iron Arm Belgian Style Witbier @ 4.2% – 2.0
- Fegley’s Brew Works
- Space Monkey Saison (with raspberries) @ 7.0%, 25 IBU’s – 4.0
- Free Will Brewing Company
- Danae Hoppy Rye Saison @ 7.9% – 3.5
- Golden Avalanche Brewing Co. (Kutztown Tavern)
- Blonde Lager @ 4.2% – 3.5
- Liquid Hero Brewery
- Adam’s Stout @ 5.8% – 3.5
- Irregardless IPA @ 6.5% – 3.0
- Strawberry Wheat (squeezed strawberry juice was added to the secondary fermenter) @ 5.4% – 4.0
- Marzoni’s Brick Oven and Brewery Co.
- Belgian Style Tripel @ 8.2% – 4.0
- Millbock Brewing Company
- Belgian Style Rye @ 6.5% – 4.0
- Black Russian Imperial Stout @ 9.8% – 3.0
- Brown Porter @ 5.5% – 3.5
- Belgian Style Golden Strong Ale @ 10.0% – 4.0
- White Ale (with oak chips soaked in Orange Liqueur) @ 5.5% – 4.0
- Neshaminy Creek Brewing
- Mudbank Stout @ 6.5% – 4.5
- North Country Brewing Co.
- Liquid Love Chocolate Stout (on orange peel) @ 6.8% – 4.0
- Slimy Peeble Pils @ 5.0% – 3.5
- Roy-Pitz Brewing Company
- Best Blonde Ale @ 4.5% – 3.0
- St. Boniface Craft Brewing Co.
- Hegemony Stout @ 8.0% – 3.0
- Paideia Pale Ale @ 5.0% – 3.0
- Sly Fox Brewing Company
- Royal Weisse Ale @ 5.6%, 11 IBU’s – 4.0
- Snitz Creek Brewery
- Exxagerator Double Bock @ 7.0% – 4.0
- Sprague Farm and Brew Works
- Hellbender Farm Brewed Porter @ 7.2%, 45 IBU’s – 4.0
- Spraguer Logger Märzen Lager @ 5.0%, 20 IBU’s – 3.5
- Spring House Brewing Co.
- Peanut Butter Jelly Stout @ 8.3% – 4.0
- Swashbuckler Brewing Company (Mazza Vineyards)
- Hefeweizen @ 4.5% – 3.0
- Helles-Bock with honey @ 8.0% – 3.0
- The Vineyard & Brewery at Hershey
- Irish Red Ale @ 5.1%, 25 IBU’s – 3.0
- Troegs Brewing Co.
- Sunshine Pils @ 4.5% – 4.0
- Union Barrell Works
- Double Scitch Ale @ 7.1%, 23 IBU’s – 4.0
- Victory Brewing Co
- Summer Love Ale @ 5.2% – 3.5
- Weyerbacher Brewery
- Last Chance IPA @ 5.9% – 3.0
- Merry Monks’ Belgian-style Tripel @ 9.3% – 4.5
- Yards Brewing Company
- Saison @ 6.5% – 3.5
Overall we certainly enjoyed our trip to this beer & food pairing event and if you are a foodie who also likes their beers then our advice would be don’t eat anything that day prior to arriving as there is more than enough choices of food to satisfy anyone’s appetite!
If you have any comments or would like to tell us about a Beer & Food pairing event in your Country of State then please let us know in the comments below.