Special edition: Lititz Craft Beer Fest

By on September 27, 2017

White Oak Jai Alai IPA from Cigar City Brewing of Tampa, Florida, features the brewery’s flagship IPA aged in American White Oak barrels.

An unseasonably warm day welcomed beer fans from all over to Lititz on Sunday, Sept. 24, for the fourth annual Lititz Craft Beer Fest.

Of course, I was there to check out the brews from both new and familiar faces. Local breweries like St. Boniface, JoBoy’s, and Black Forest were in attendance. I searched out Francisco Ramirez of Mad Chef Brewing right away to inquire about his family in Puerto Rico — his family is safe. (Not all is well with most of the island’s inhabitants after Hurricane Maria. Ramirez is in the early stages of planning a benefit for those who need vital supplies. Stay tuned …)

I usually start at the Shangy’s gate, but this year, after meeting up with some friends, we started the fest down by the General Sutter Inn and visited beer stations in alphabetical order. Too busy yapping, I never noted what we did at A, but at B we beelined for HiJinx Brewing Company from Allentown and Cigar City out of Tampa, Fla. HiJinx was offering their CitraSqueeze, an easy-sippin’ IPA, and their red ale called Far Darrig. This, too, was a mellow beer and served as a great starting off beer; everyone seemed to like this beer, whether they were red fans or not.

One of the few saison’s at the fest, Patina is a solid and slightly sour farmhouse-style ale from 2SP Brewing of Aston.

In the last installment of Hop’in Around I guessed Cigar City would be bringing their seasonal brew. Just after the issue went to press I was informed I was wrong and they brought their Maduro Brown Ale. As good as that beer may be, it wasn’t what brought most beer fans to the Cigar City tent. A line formed early to get a pour of White Oak Jai Alai IPA; the brewery’s flagship IPA is leveled up by aging in American White Oak, which dulls any bitterness in this clean and crisp brew.

From there, we hit a couple more breweries with a stop at Ever Grain Brewing, who had a great selection: Joose Juicy IPA, Oktoberphest, and Camp Pils. I love when a brewer can take a classic style and just nail it; that’s what Ever Grain does with their pilsner. Although “juicy” is a buzzword soon to be cliché, it was deserving of Ever Grain’s IPA. Massive amounts of grapefruit carried through the nose and aftertaste, which bookended a variety of fruit flavors like pear, plum, and mandarin orange.

On a completely different flavor profile, I wasn’t going to miss Evil Genius’ fest-special Purple Monkey Dishwasher. For Sunday, the crew infused the Chocolate and Peanut Butter porter with espresso beans and oak chips. (Purple Monkey Dishwasher gets its name from a 1995 episode of The Simpsons titled “The PTA Disbands.” Through a whisper down the lane scenario Bart Simpson’s comments are misconstrued as “purple monkey dishwasher.” It was the first beer name brewer-owners Luke Bowen and Trevor Hayward came up with when dreaming of starting Evil Genius.)

I could go on and on with highlights.

Dedicated Hop’in Around reader Joe Kane gets a beer from HiJinx Brewing Company. (Photos by Michael Upton)

With every beer event, there is the good and the bad. I personally witnessed the demise of only two sampling glasses; that’s not too bad. My crew and I ran into a couple beers with off characteristics. One smelled of Band Aids and the other had a forward taste of oily Chapstick. I also became victim to a couple who felt the need to butt, even after being told there was a line, but overall the event was yet another success. The crowd was happy and social. I didn’t see anybody wavering around wasted and I was impressed with how eventgoers respected the private property of homeowners and businesses throughout the day.

Kudos to everyone involved! I also ran into a handful of regular Hop’in Around readers (some from as far away as North Carolina); it was great to meet you.

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.

Mathew Samuel (left), co-owner of Sugar Whipped Bakery, waits with employee Cass Kachel for customers before the opening of the Lititz Craft Beer Fest.

Pictured here is the Oktoberfest offered by Philly’s Locust Lane Craft Brewery.

From just north of the MasonDixon line in York County, South County Brewing Company brought a keg of their Liminal Moment double IPA

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