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The Beer Circle » Beer Release, Breweries, Bullfrog Brewery » Bullfrog Brewery — Williamsport, PA

Bullfrog Brewery — Williamsport, PA

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Et Tu Brute

For Paige, living in State College means that she has easy access to Bullfrog Brewery in Williamsport, PA.  She went to their last beer release for OUD 15 and made the 70 mile trek back last Friday for their newest bottle release, Et Tu Brute. Et Tu Brute is a “malt beverage aged in oak barrels with cherries”, which in our book translates to “delicious.” Weather wise this release was a welcome change from OUD 15’s, as no one had to cling to trash cans of spent grain in order to maintain a reasonable body temperature. Armed in a hoodie and her boot, she arrived around 9:30 for the 11am release and was about 10th in line. That position in line meant that she was under the awning when it started raining, but the owner, Steve, was generous enough to let the line far enough into the building so that no one had to stand in the rain.

The time until 11 was spent talking to Glenn, who Paige had met at the previous release, and Corey and Cecil who had also been at Voodoo the week before. The staff was busy prebagging all of the beers for optimal release speed, and we had bought our allotments, sat down, and ordered beer by 11:10. Bullfrog’s releases continue to be the most smoothly run, quick, and pleasant experiences. While the group was eating, Steve popped open a few bottles of Et Tu Brute to share with the individuals who came all this way to buy it. (Mad shout out to the person who brought his parents as mules). Steve and Nate, the brewer, walked around talking to everyone. The personal touch that Bullfrog has in terms of its releases is really enjoyable and unique. Et Tu Brute is about 7.5%, which makes it a whole different animal from OUD 15’s 14.5%.  It’s a very lovely shade of pink, with flavors of tart cherry, vanilla and cinnamon. It’s insanely drinkable, and we can’t wait to open one of the bottles to get a larger pour and enjoy it. Paige also had a glass each of the Peche Speciaal, a farmhouse wheat ale fermented with lambic yeast and steeped with fresh peaches, and the Le Roar Grrrz Druiven, a gueuze aged on grapes.  The “Grrrz” as we started calling it, was one of the standouts of the day along with Gouden Ezel, a 50-50 blend of barrel aged sour and fresh blond ale.  Druiven is only one of the variants of the Grrrz, as there is the original as well as a Kriek, according to Steve.  Their goal is to release them this calendar year, though this could be delayed because the labels are currently in the purgatory that is Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) during government shutdown. We just hope that it will be warmer outside than it was last January!

A full sampler of light beer

A full sampler of light beer

After leaving the release Paige gave Russ a quick call, mostly just to brag about how easy it had been and how delicious all of the beer was.  He had never actually been to Bullfrog before, despite being familiar with Williamsport as the home of Little League Baseball and Penn Tech, and so we decided that was the perfect way to spend the day while he was up in State College.

Sadly, the Grrrz and Et Tu Brute were all gone, but what we were able to get was a seven beer sampler (costing a mere $8.50) and lunch. The Gouden Ezel and Peche Speciaal remained, as well as Bullfrog staples such as the Farmhouse Apricot Wheat, Billtown Blonde, and Edgar IPA and a few others.

Russ most enjoyed the Gouden Ezel and ended up buying a growler of it, but the hopsphyxcitration, a pale ale steeped in oranges, and the Peche Speciaal stood out as well. We had a quick argument over whether or not Otto’s Apricot Wheat or Bullfrog’s Apricot Wheat was better, but that is an argument for another day.

Overall, Bullfrog is a diamond in the rough that is the beer scene of Central Pennsylvania. When beer geeks complain about Pennsylvania not having rare, one-off releases to compete with other states, they’ve clearly not heard of the sours fermenting in the shadow of the Bald Eagle Mountain.

Peche Speciaal

Peche Speciaal

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Written by Paige Deckert and Russ Beck

Paige is a fifth year graduate student at Penn State; she received her craft beer education while bartending during undergrad at the University of Illinois. Over several months, Rogue’s Dead Guy served as her gateway beer, because it was $2/pint on Thursdays, and thus offered the highest ABV/$. This eventually turned into enjoyment, and everything is history from there. Her first legal beer was Robert the Bruce on cask at the Blind Pig in Champaign, followed by the Duchess de Bourgogne. Paige has visited over 15 breweries, including Great Divide, Bells, Jolly Pumpkin, Three Floyds and Dogfish Head, with plans to add more in 2012 via trips to San Diego, Phoenix, and Austin. Paige became friends with Russ (and subsequently Garrett) when they became friends on untappd. She clearly remembers seeing a check-in of his and thinking, “Who is this clown checking into Miller Light at the Shandygaff?” Soon thereafter he introduced himself at a Zeno’s beerfest, and they bonded over their beer geekery (sans adjuct lagers). Find Paige Deckert on Google Plus

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