Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Great Beer Run

Prologue: My friend Mike recently told me about a good source of micro-brews located in Altoona, PA - the Brew Zoo. Last month he put an order together of assorted ales and stouts which I took part in. There were many beers to choose from, but one that no-one opted for was the Voodoo Black Magick, an imperial stout aged for 6 months in bourbon casks:It went for $130 a case and, with all the others to choose from, this one was left stranded. Something told me if I threw it out to my MD/DC/PA/VA pals, we could split this thing up and everyone would be able to try it. I sent an email and exactly 24 minutes later it was sold out - with many folks left out in the cold. Matt at the Brew Zoo emailed me to say he had another case and in another 15 minutes, that one was sold too.

This post is about my trip out to pick them up. Knowing that there was really no good time to drive 7 hours to pick up some beer I left work Thursday at 4pm. Arriving in Altoona at 6:20, I met Matt and took this photo of their microbrew aisle.
After throwing three cases of fine stout into my backseat, I hit the road for Salix where Mike lives. There was quite a bit more snow in Cambria County and I arrived at Mike's a little before 7pm. So far, the timeline was perfect. Mike and Brenda had prepared some really tasty italian meatball, spinach, portobella pizza on whole wheat crust and we dusted off a bottle of McClaren Vale Shiraz to wash it down. Around 8:30 we headed down to the Windber Hotel, a recently renovated pub with a great draft beer selection and cool atmospherics. Mike and I have a couple draft pints of Victory Storm King stout and some good conversation with owner (who used to work in Huntingdon). The place is really comfortable. Sort of like Boxer's, but with a much larger bar. The owners built the bar out of recycled bowling lanes and restored the tin ceiling panels by hand. In addition to the draft beer selection they have a nice cooler of bottles to choose from.
Left the Windber around 10pm and made it home safe and sound a little after midnight. Here is my haul from the orginal buy that Mike put together. And here is a bottle of the Voodoo Black Magick at 15.5%ABV it's a sipper (and can be aged for years if you have the patience. Call or email me if you were in on the Voodoo order.
Mike told me that there are two more watering holes of renown in the Johnstown area, one downtown with great food and taps flowing with the likes of Ten-Fidy, Green Flash, Delerium, etc.; and the other a pub that specializes in Belgian ales on draft (6+ taps of Belgians).

With three quality mt biking options nearby and three pubs of interest, I am sensing a late spring weekend trip - anyone?


camps said...

not to mention the fine x-c skiing nearby

pabiker said...

indeed the skiing is good.

Lars, you would have enjoyed the vibe at the Windber - blue-collar denizens mixed with historically-interesting surroundings, combined with artistically-crafted ales and multi-faceted conversation.

Anonymous said...

Holy crap. We need to put in for gas and time.


The Wiser Weiser said...

We're definitely in!

Rob said...

Heck ya.

My wife's taking my to Brassiere Beck in DC for Valentine's Day and we're going to try a bunch of belgians. I'm stoked.

Gonna try and get up and ride Gambrill again on Monday, hopefully with the warm weather, all the ice will be gone.

Rob said...

Finally got a good look at the rest of this entry, it keeps crashing Firefox on my old mac I surf on usually, but safari handles it fine....weird.

Was looking at your haul on. I've heard the voodoo is good, and that the brooklyn chocolate stout is very good and the chocolate is very dark a bitter. I had a bit of the bells expedition and it was excellent, I'm a big fan of the kalamazoo stout.


scalpel15 said...

The PSU Cycling Brew Haus has been busy too. After One failed attempted, (never try to cool a wort that is in a glass container in the snow, my brew partner is a material science major why didnt he think of that), are first brew is in its final stages. There is also a special black mo double IPA on the way too. Let me know the next time you wil be up. The snow is actaully melting now!!!!!

pabiker said...

Let me know how that PSU Brew Haus stuff turns out.