Every month I assemble a mixed six-pack of beer with a different theme. Some beers new or exotic, others tried and true classics, all of them (in my opinion) delicious.
This month we take a trip around my home state of Pennsylvania for a smattering of styles available from their respective craft breweries year round. All of these beers are widely available throughout the northeast United States and should be reasonably easy to find from larger beer stores nationwide. As a result of going for widely available crft beers, I have left out some of Pennsylvania’s excellent small brewers (I’m looking at you Pizza Boy and Tired Hands) and well known domestics (Yuengling.)
As usual, listed in order of how you should sample them…
Full Pint White Lightning: Our first – and probably hardest to find – selection comes from the Western PA craft brewer Full Pint. It’s a wheat beer that honestly shocked me with how delicious it was. Flavorful, a bit complex, but incredibly easy to drink, it’s a great option for all occasions from picnics to fancy restaurants…if you can find it.
Troegs Dream Weaver: An extremely popular offering from Hershey, PA’s ubiquitous craft brewer, Dream Weaver is a solid wheat beer with an ever-so-slight hop bitterness on the backend…but it’s nothing to scare off even the most sweet-toothed drinker. Troegs makes some great IPA’s – to say nothing of their iconic Christmas brew Mad Elf – but this wheat beer is easily their most accessible and beloved.
Yards Philadelphia Pale Ale:Truly the first pale ale I ever really loved and one that started my obsession with hops and drinkable session IPA’s, Yards “PPA” (not actually an IPA) is everything I still look for in a beer. Easily sessionable but with plenty of hop bite to keep your tastebuds happy, this beer is the perfect accompaniment to Eagles tailgates and summer afternoon Phillies games. But since I’m not a fan of Philly sports, I’ll just enjoy it with a cheesesteak while watching their teams lose.
Evil Genius “Stacy’s Mom” Citra IPA: This beer’s got it going on. OK sorry, I promise I didn’t include it on the list JUST to make that pun. It was a big reason but not the only one. All joking aside, this is a really good pale ale with some fun citrus notes and great hops. Seek out this and really any of the pop culture named beers from this Philly area brewer.
Weyerbacher Last Chance IPA: Weyerbacher Brewing, an amazing medium sized craft brewer out of Easton, PA is known for their Belgian-inspired “Monks” series and stronger specialty brews like Imperial Pumpkin Ale and Sunday Morning Stout. But for their entry, I opted for another IPA – the slightly stronger but still easily drinkable Last Chance IPA. Weyerbacher donates a percentage of the proceeds to local animal shelters, totaling nearly a quarter of a million dollars since they began brewing it in 2012. Combining two of my favorite things – dogs and hops – it’s no wonder this is one of my favorites.
Victory Golden Monkey: While I chose to ignore Weyerbacher’s Blithering Idiot due to it’s obscene 11.1% ABV, I do give you a chance to sample another strong one in Golden Monkey from Victory Brewing Company in the Philly suburbs. In fact, if you’re ever in the area, Victory operates a number of cool Victory Brew Pubs in and around Philadelphia. As for this beer? Try not to be too scared of a Belgian Style Tripel, despite the high alcohol content (9.5%) this beer is smooth and delicious with a hint of sweetness to balance the alcohol which is not as easy to notice as you might think. Belgian style beers are beloved by many with good reason and this is a great place to start if you want to sample American interpretations of the style.
Fun fact: My dog was one of the first dogs in the country to play with a Victory Golden Monkey dog toy. As my wife purchased him one at one of their brew pubs the day they were released to the public.
Should you ever want to drink your way around the Keystone State, these six brews should orient you well. If you’re drinking in the Scranton area, make sure to meet up with me for a cold one.