Friday, December 17, 2010

Okay, now I know I'm crazy

If you've been reading my blog since near the beginning you may remember that I once questioned my sanity after attending the Troegs Splinter Blue release.  However, after Wednesday, I think I have crossed that line and left it in my dust.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Wednesday was the release of Troegs Splinter Black and I went to that too.  Splinter Black is an Imperial Stout brewing with cocoa nibs and turbinado sugar, then aged for three months on oak with vanilla beans, and finally bottle fermented.  According to the brewery it comes in at a whopping 13%.  To say I'm excited to drink it would be an understatement.

My wife and I (yes, I brought her with me this time but she totally volunteered, I swear) left Philly at about 4:45am.  Did we really need to leave that early?  As it turns out, not really, but it made the day more fun for both of us.  We arrived at the brewery at 6:30 and there were already a few people standing outside.  The sun hadn't even come up, it was like 25 degrees, and there were already people outside.  Plus, they gave out numbered wrist bands and we were already numbers 188 and 189.  It's times like that when I realize that while I'm crazy, there are other even more crazy people out there.
There's me freezing my butt off at like 7am.  This time I brought some cookies (these absolutely awesome cookies from a book called Chocolate Chocolate and named Chocolate Savannahs) and a bottle of Weyerbacher Riserva.  Using the bottle of Riserva to break the ice, I started chatting with a couple groups of people.  I met the intern brewer for Spring House (a small brewery near Lancaster), talked with two Troegs employees, Ed and Josh, and hung out with some other guys whose names I can't remember.  I probably should work on that since it seems to be a theme.  Here's a picture of a few of us standing around being cold.
At least for this picture the sun was up although it actually got a little colder when that happened.  Stupid sun.  Finally 8am rolled around and Ed started letting people into the brewery to buy bottles of Splinter Black.  This time, Troegs set up 3 registers, 2 cash only and 1 credit card.  Considering their credit card machine is from like 1985, this was a good plan.  Jo and I made it in the door by about 8:45 and bought our bottles easily.

After buying our bottles, we went to a nice little breakfast shop called Breads & Spreads in Harrisburg.  Well, to be honest, we first went to a hole in the wall diner in some random town nearby, but we fled that place since it was freezing and sort of creepy.  Once it hit 10am which is when their tasting room opens, we headed back to Troegs so I could show Jo the room and buy a new brewery t-shirt.  (It's super cool, thanks for asking.)  So, even though it was 10am, I got a glass of their new Scratch 38, an IPA, because we were there and you can only get their Scratch beers at the brewery so I figured I had to try it.  Internal peer pressure, works every time.
Mild hops smell with not much else.  First sip is hoppy and slightly bitter but without lingering.  Very easy to drink IPA.  Right now, Troegs is in the middle of brewing four different IPAs for their scratch series, Scratch 37-40.  I'm not sure what they are planning, but I'm guessing they are trying to figure what style or recipe of IPA they want to add to their regular line up.  Don't know for sure though.

After that I got a sample of their Scratch 36, what they call a Bruce Wit.
Smell was sort of tart with some basic wheat backing it.  Initially had some spices (like coriander, not cinnamon), clean wheat flavor, and some basic sweetness.  I'm not a huge Wit fan, but I actually enjoyed this quite a bit.  It had a nice balance between tartness, spiciness and wheat that made it very easy to drink.

By 11am, we hit the road and headed back to Philadelphia after another successful trip to Troegs.  As I said earlier, it turned out we didn't need to show up at 6:30am because they had a large (well, larger) amount of Splinter Black than Blue and still had plenty of bottles left when we were leaving at 11.  However, if we had done that, I wouldn't have been able to hang out with random people and we would have done the two hour trip and almost immediately turned around to head back to Philly.  I'd much rather lose some sleep and have fun than doing that.  The next Splinter release will probably be Splinter Tan so we'll see if I manage to make it to that one as well.  My wife has no doubts I'll go so I should probably stop fooling myself by pretending that I haven't decided yet.


  1. Did you go back to bed when you got home? You guys are crazy - all the other 200+ of you too. Can't they hold these events on weekends???

    Were the cookies a hit with the crowd?

    Glad you guys had fun!

  2. I actually went to work for a few hours when we got back to Philly.

    As far as holding them on the weekends, their tasting room is apparently mobbed on Saturday since they do tours that day so they won't do a release then because it would be unmanageable.

    As far as the cookies, people liked them seemingly but it was 7am and the Troegs guys brought out donuts so only a few people had one.

  3. offtopic, but -- do you get Old Dominion Brewery stuff in Philly? Been enjoying their Baltic Porter...

  4. Honestly not sure. I think we do because I remember seeing their oak barrel stout on shelves, but I've never bought anything from them. I'll look out for it.

  5. I'll try to save a couple. Or I'll think of you when I drink them tonight. One of those.

  6. Donuts are pretty awesome. You should try making them. Maybe that could be your new thing for 2011?