Basking in the sun of #1

By on March 2, 2016

The news broke early on Tuesday, Feb. 23. Craftbeer.com, the webzine of the Brewers Association, named Bulls Head Public House in Lititz the number one beer bar in Pennsylvania.

Bar manager Carson Kegerreis’ phone lit up with texts, tweets, Facebook comments, and more. Breweries like Troegs, Victory, and St. Boniface immediately contacted Bulls Head staff.

“It felt almost like a birthday,” said Kegerreis. “People, brewers, reps, everyone started contacting us. It felt really good to be held in high regard by (fellow beer industry people).”

To many of us who visit Bulls Head regularly, the news came as a shock, but I assume none of us were surprised. This bar prides itself on all things beer &tstr; from selection to service. Kegerreis and the rest of the management team learned about the award a month earlier.

“We knew we couldn’t say anything,” said Kegerreis. “It was really hard. I wanted to get on top of the roof and start telling everyone.”

 

Carson Kegerreis is the proud bar manager at the Bulls Head Public House, recently voted the Best Beer Bar in Pennsylvania by readers of craftbeer.com. (Photos by Michael Upton)

Carson Kegerreis is the proud bar manager at the Bulls Head Public House, recently voted the Best Beer Bar in Pennsylvania by readers of craftbeer.com. (Photos by Michael Upton)

 

Between August and December 2015, CraftBeer.com asked its readers to nominate their favorite craft beer bar in their state. Entries included a brief survey asking about the establishment’s atmosphere, staff, beer selection, and special events. More than 9,000 fans submitted their favorites. The accolade makes note of Bulls Head’s 14 rotating beers on tap, two cask-conditioned ales, and selection of 80 bottles. Kegerreis is the guy who decides what beers make it into the traditional English pub.

“The one thing we do differently than a lot of other bars is keep a line dedicated to specific styles. We try to make it so … there is always a beer for everyone,” said Kegerreis.

So, what kind of visit to Bulls Head would it be if I didn’t have a beer? I asked Kegerreis to choose one for me, something recently added to the beer list. After a few questions about likes and dislikes with beer, he offered me a Mikkeller Frelser.

“I’d never heard of it,” said Kegerreis. “I did some research on it and it’s supposed to be an exceptional beer. (Mikkeller) does a wide variety of things. Some of their IPAs are a little maltier than I prefer.”

The Denmark brewery is a bit quirky; they might be the European version of Dogfish Head. Frelser is a trippelbock and the 11 percent ABV is evident by the stiff alcohol taste. It is rich and malty, caramel colored, and finely carbonated. It is the type of selection perfect for me to enjoy in PA’s number one beer bar.

“Obviously, the beer plays into it, but a lot of it is ambiance and our staff,” said Kegerreis. “Our staff is super educated about beer. If anyone has questions, we can help them along and provide recommendations. We try to be welcoming and accommodating.”

He loves when customers come in and really aren’t sure what they like. A couple questions later, and Kegerreis can have a cold one in their hand they can appreciate.

As for the #1 beer bars in our neighboring states, Maryland is represented by Max’s Taphouse in Baltimore; Two Stones pub in Newark tops the first state; and in northern New Jersey, beer fans flock to the Cloverleaf Tavern in Caldwell. Cheers!

Michael C. Upton is a freelance writer specializing in arts and leisure, and craft beer. His Hop’in Around column appears biweekly in the entertainment section of the Lititz Record Express and The Ephrata Review. He welcomes reader feedback at facebook.com/ SomebodiesProductions.

 

Mikkeller Frelser, currently on tap at the Bulls Head, is a trippelbock with 11 percent ABV. It’s described as rich and malty, caramel-colored, and finely carbonated.

Mikkeller Frelser, currently on tap at the Bulls Head, is a trippelbock with 11 percent ABV. It’s described as rich and malty, caramel-colored, and finely carbonated.

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