Editor’s note: This will be the final Brew Dude column, as Mark moves on with his busy schedule. We appreciate his colorful contributions to The News-Item about beer over the past five years.
Those who know me know I’m apt to be found at Marley’s in Bloomsburg, sometimes several times in a week. With its proximity to Elysburg, courteous staff, fine food, and commitment to craft beer, it’s become my go-to watering hole. So when an opportunity to chat with brewery manager Andy Fisher fell into my lap, I was all in.
Over a pint of hoppy Route 44 Brown Ale, Fisher detailed the last several months at Marley’s. Brought on board in March, new brewer Kyle Kalanick isn’t new anymore. This is Kyle’s first gig running the show, but he’s hardly a newbie, having cut his teeth as an apprentice for Guy Hagner at One Guy Brewing and then teaming with Donny Abraczinskas at Turkey Hill.
Fisher proudly pointed to Marley’s crowded tap list. A dozen of a possible 14 occupied. It spoke volumes about their hard work. In addition, the list is diverse, including a light and refreshing Just Kitten Kölsch, a malty (and award-winning) Pack Dog Peanut Butter Ale, several dark brews, and three types of IPAs. Fisher also mentioned that a robust 8% ABV Blue Jay Doppelback (for the Central Columbia folks) is due shortly and the ghost of Jacob Marley will return again with his 2018 edition spiced Christmas Ale.
But Marley’s is about more than just filling a tap list. Fisher stressed the brewery’s commitment to quality and consistency, and sourcing local ingredients whenever possible, such as maple syrup from Fork’s Mountain Farm in Sullivan County for its Beltha’s Maple Oatmeal Stout.
Fisher especially wanted to thank the community for its continued support. He admits that the brewery has had its share of behind-the-scenes travails. Designed to brew traditional German lagers, the equipment can be unreceptive to some of the newer brewing methods. And sometimes, with the limited space, it’s a logistical chess match to move so many brews from fermenter to tap.
Please enjoy this month’s selections from Marley’s Brewery and Grille. Space allowed me to only include a few of them. And don’t forget about the food. The menu has something for everyone, and the kitchen boasts several weekend and monthly specials. Lastly, those looking for something to do on Mondays can join Andy for trivia. It’s a rousing (and occasionally humbling) good time.
Sadly, this is my last Brew Dude column. Too many irons in the fire and not enough time. Something had to give. I can’t thank Editor Andy Heintzelman and the staff at The News-Item enough for taking me on and for their constant support. Kudos also go to Karol, my much better half. Throughout the column, she’s provided ideas, helped with reviews, served as a DD, and toiled as my pruf redder. And naturally, I can’t thank my readers enough for their kind words. It’s meant a lot to me.
If you happen to see me at Marley’s (or any of my other favorite local haunts), don’t be shy about stopping by to say “hey.” Beer is a social beverage. With that, Karol and I bid you adieu, wishing a Merry Christmas to all and a most prosperous 2019. Cheers!
Delightfully crisp and refreshing, Just Kitten Kölsch is Marley’s biggest seller. Kölsch is one of my favorite summer styles, but it’s great any time of year. Just Kitten pours light straw in color, with delicate aromas of malt. Light in mouthfeel, it tingles on the tongue. Flavors of bready Pilsner malt meld with biscuit, and then segue to fruity hints of apples and pears. A Hallertau hop bite adds a finishing crescendo, making you crave another pint. Marley’s recommends pairing Just Kitten with any of its pork or fish dishes.
Set your GPS to find robust flavor, and it will lead you to Route 44 Brown Ale. This bold American variation is one of my favorite cold weather styles. Ruby highlight shimmer within a deep mahogany pour that sports a respectable tan head. Aromas of sweet toffee mix with earthy hop notes. Flavors of caramel, chocolate, and hints of roast then team with solid hop punch to produce a satisfying finish. At only 5.4% alcohol, Route 44 is remarkably sessionable, belying its intense flavor. My friends from the Altoona area thoroughly enjoyed a growler during my last visit.
Prepare to take off with Flight 870 IPA, inspired by a trip to San Diego—the home of IPAs. Flight 870 pours clear straw, with a two-finger head of foam. Aromas of citrus and pine overwhelm the scents of malt. Yet there’s still enough malt backbone to support the flavors of citrus fruit and resinous pine from a blend of Simcoe, Centennial, and Citra hops. It finishes with a solid and lingering bitterness from a generous addition of Warrior hops. A sublime example of the West Coast style, Flight 870 has been my go-to brew during my last few visits.
Named after the Bloomsburg High mascot, Panther Porter, has been a big hit. Marley’s has already brewed a second batch. Dark brown and opaque in color, it means business. Aromas of caramel balance with notes of roast. The mouthfeel is smooth and velvety, with flavors that are a delightful mélange of caramel malt, and chocolate — plus a few hints of dark fruit. There’s plenty of roast and hoppiness at the finish to keep the sweetness in check. Pair this delicious Porter with a slice of chocolate cake for dessert.
For comments or questions, don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.