Hop’in Around: Shenanigans abound!

By on March 21, 2018

Sporting shamrock green and white at Black Forest Brewery March 17 were (left to right) Michael Wolfe, Lauri Ulrich, Mike Ulrich, and Lainey Wolfe. (Photos by Michael Upton)


The worldwide Irish rite of passage fell on a Saturday this year, and beer lovers (for the most part) flocked to local watering holes to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this past weekend. I grabbed the family and headed out early to check out the scene.

Our first stop was Black Forest Brewery, simply because I knew the place would fill up quickly with revelers. At two in the afternoon the place was already packed as folks enjoying early pints of Shamrocks & Shenanigans Irish red ale, Shreck Tavern Stout, and the new NEIPA, G.O.A.T. Slayer, because, well, the Eagles are green, too! We were lucky enough to squeeze in at a table and grab a bite to eat (Irish nachos) just before a busload of partygoers arrived.

After fueling up, we headed north to St. Boniface just in time to catch a performance by students from Hooley School of Irish Dance. I literally had to get off the make shift stage when I walked in so they could jig for the crowd. The youngsters from Hooley were busy Saturday, visiting The Hill, Olde Lincoln House, and Dutchmaid in Ephrata. In Lititz, dancers appeared at Dragonfly Café, Tomato Pie Café, and Bent Creek Country Club. All of this after holding an open house at their studio in Brownstown in the morning! Way to go, kiddos.

Since it was such a nice day, we thought we’d take a drive over to Elizabethtown and check out what was going on there. Moo-Duck was cooking up corned beef and cabbage paninis and offering specials on their Purple Trout Irish red ale and Mistopheles Imperial Stout. (If you haven’t had Mistopheles yet, it is a really good beer.) Also in E-town, it turns out Funk Brewing Company is the craft beer place to be if you want to relax and avoid the debauchery of St. Patrick’s Day. Only a handful of customers were pregaming at Funk, who created their Irish Rover beer for the celebratory day. The Irish Rover is a thick and cloudy pub ale, which pours an almost nonexistent head, has a sweet aroma, and a raisinated aftertaste. Think liquid bread. “Inspired by Mrs. Plunkett’s Irish soda bread recipe” reads the description; I assume this beer hits the nail on the head. (I still have no clue who Mrs. Plunkett is).

The Hop’in Around crew and I really like the majority of Funk brews, especially White Christmas and Citrus, but I can never get a full grip on what they are serving for food.

So, being a bit hungry, we headed over to T.J. Rockwell’s. In complete (and abashed) disclosure I’ve never been to this Lancaster County fixture. A 32-ounce Troeg’s Perpetual IPA under $11 assures that this will not be the last time I visit the American-style eatery just off Route 283. A full staff of happy, green-clad servers made sure our drinks and food made it to our table quickly, rounding out an American-Irish St. Patrick’s Day 2018.

Cheers and thanks for reading!

Michael C. Upton is a freelance writer specializing in arts and leisure. He welcomes comments at somepromcu@gmail.com and facebook.com/SomebodiesProductions.

No lie — you can get a really big beer at T.J. Rockwell’s in E-town for a really decent price. Shown is a 32-ounce Troeg’s Perpetual IPA (right) dwarfing someone’s root beer.

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