There is just too much beer in the world to only taste twice a month. In the spirit of more is better the Blind Tiger podcast team has decided to add samplesodes to the podcast lineup. These mini-episodes will feature only tastings of hopefully unique or exotic beer, often on location to keep your Blind Tiger intake at a more regular interval.
This week Mike, Jesse, and I traveled up to Elizabethtown to enjoy one of Lancaster County’s newest craft breweries; Moo-Duck Brewery. Located right across from the E-town train station this new brewery is attempting to establish a reputation as the premiere drinking spot in Elizabethtown.
We sat down with owner and head brewer Mike Brubaker to discuss the brewery, the beer, and the unusual name. While I save all that for the episode itself I did want to talk about the beers.
Mike was an awesome guy to share a few flights with. We had his beer before when attending a E-town homebrew and chili competition a few years ago. While I don’t recall having any of Mike’s creations specifically (it was a while ago) I recall being thoroughly impressed by both the chili but the quality of the beer coming from home brewers in Lancaster. There is often some difficult to place characteristic that identifies a beer as being homebrewed when compared with professional brewers. Something that immediately places a beer as of lesser quality. Yet at the E-town homebrew festival I remember leaving feeling like most of the entries were top-notch beers.
Mike has taken that experience and thrown in with his passion for craft brewing. We sampled everything he had on tap and well we were impressed. I was truly impressed by his Barb’s Gluten Free beer because not only was it the first gluten-free beer I know of made by a micro-brewery, it was actually quite drinkable. While the style and flavor aren’t going to top my list (it’s only 20 IBUs after all) I was impressed to really being able to see myself happy to drink a gluten-free beer if offered at a celiac suffering friend’s house.
With it being winter we also enjoyed the Better Than a Lottery Ticket. It was a winter beer with spices that was subtler than that spice bomb of a lot of other beers within that wheelhouse.
I enjoyed the Honey! Basil Blonde and it reminded me strongly of a “pizza beer” that friend of the show (and occasional host) Emily Landis once made. Only this was a bit more balanced and really made me want to get some Italian food or pizza.
Mike is also deeply embracing his role as a local brewery. Not only does he use locally sourced ingredients, he attempts to educate his patrons with a brewpub covered in educational posters on the local environment in and around Elizabethtown. Nowhere else have a seen a commitment to environmental science education thrust upon bar patrons. And while it never occurred to me to illustrate the importance of clean water to beer drinkers while they are having a beer it makes absolute sense.
Finally Mike is the biggest sweetheart imaginable. He chooses a charity each month to donate a portion of his proceeds. These are local organizations that can help make a major impact on the citizens (aka Mike’s neighbors) of Elizabethtown. Moo-Duck is very serious about being a community first business and it shows in their philosophy.
It is extremely difficult to jump off the starting line with super impressive beer. It is extremely difficult as a brewery to ever have amazing beer. Mike has set up shop in Elizabethtown as a great source for good beer. Mike, Jesse, and myself were all pleased with a night of good beer. We are eager to head back up (we discussed it being the first or final stop on a whistle-drinking tour by train) and we expect great things from Mike in the months/years to come.
If you haven’t made your way up to E-town to try their beer you are missing out. And if you happen to see Mike behind the bar make sure to ask him the origin of the name. He totally isn’t sick of that question.