Part 2 of my retrospective finds me mentally tumbling through the local bars, breweries and bottle shops that made 2014 the year of beer. With this, I can finally put 2014 to bed and wake up to the beer-filled dawn of 2015. There’s plenty to get to with the release of Hopslam, Founder’s RIS, Nugget Nectar cans and everything else that makes winter drinking great. I also preview some of my plans for the Web site this year, so let’s get to it…
I walk the mean streets of Lititz, PA with a bottle of Prairie Bomb in my pocket, a cold wind at my back and a mission to have Bourbon County Vanilla Rye in my gut by the end of the night. Can’t think of a better way to spend a Wednesday afternoon. I push through the double doors into the Bulls Head Pub and find it is busier than usual, already half-full of like-minded regulars. Regulars might be a bit generous as the promise of draft BCBS along with its Coffee and Vanilla bottled brethren has dredged up all the flexible work schedule casual and enthusiast beer drinkers from across the region.
I sidle up to the smooth, lacquered bar top that I’ve sidled up to many times before and peruse the tap list. A coaster absently spins under my nervous fingers. It’s an hour and a half until the Bourbon County event kicks off, but there are worse places to kill time. The Bulls Head is one of the top beer bars in the North East (made official by CraftBeer.com’s user-voted Great American Beer Bars competition) and a British style pub, meaning no T.V., plenty of room temperature cask beer, bar only ordering, and a partially British menu to match. The décor follows suit; dim lighting, a mix of high top tables and booths, and wood covering every surface like a forest exploded. Just about every element of the bar was brought over from England to be as authentic as possible and it all adds up as one of the best places in PA to get some fish and chips with your craft beer.
You may have heard of Lititz because of its coolest small town in America designation, earned in 2013 for its long running 4th of July celebration (197th annual), the oldest commercial pretzel bakery and the Wilbur chocolate factory among other things. I heard of it because I grew up here. I traveled and lived all over Pennsylvania, but found my way back.
I came to learn that the safe, boring small town of my youth was actually a charming place boasting an excellent BBQ and brewery in JoBoys, another brewery just blocks away in Appalachian and one of the top bars in the northeast in the Bulls Head Pub. Lititz has evolved into a city that celebrates the rustic and artisanal; a beer friendly town that appreciates craft beer as well as the people that brew, drink and serve it. Craft beer appreciators can now add another reason to toast this little town as Main Street became the backdrop for the first annual Lititz Craft Beer Fest.
Quick Take: This is a great IPA and one worth trying when encountered in the wild, but any comparisons to Heady Topper, which I have heard on a few occasions, should really be kicked aside. Wings isn’t rewriting the book on DIPAs, but damn if it’s not a delicious IPA that I will welcome into my mouth any time. I look forward to slamming this in the future whenever I see it, but I wouldn’t go to extraordinary lengths to get it.