Saturday, September 29, 2007

Hooray Beer!

Today I toured Harrisburg’s hometown brewery, Appalachian Brewing Company, with my family in tow. The ABC is housed in an impressive three story brick and timber building that was originally a printing company in the 1920's. Over the years it was reincarnated into several things, including a warehouse for aircraft parts during World War 2, and eventually left derelict after a massive fire. In the mid 1990's it was sold for a dollar to visionaries who conceived that it could be a brewery. We saw the techniques of making beer, from the beginning stages as just hops and barley, thru all the processes it undergoes, including mashing, filtering and fermenting, and then finally bottling and packaging. The tour was very informative and it was amazing to think how much thought and time goes into making my new found favorite nectar. For instance, a lager must ferment for 5 weeks in cold temperatures. Five weeks is a long time, but well worth the wait! After the tour was a round of questions and answers in which our guide explained my mother’s childhood gag reflex when in close proximity to the Yingling brewery, as well as why volcanic rock makes a better filter for beer than a typically used form of condensed Earth. After our questions were answered we were asked if we would like to sample some beers, and an over-emphatic "Yes!" sprung from my mouth. We sat at the bar and drank dozens of samples. Among the highlights were the Hinterland Hefe Weizen, a light beer with hints of banana and cloves making it fruity yet spicy, and Kiponafest, a darker beer with a coffee taste and gentle caramel notes. After learning more about the process of making beer, as well as the many different types produced, I am convinced that beer is the new wine.

No comments: