Jul 28 2008 9:26 am

Tulpehocken stockers and pennsylvania lagers

You know what’s cool about Pennsylvania?  Everything?  You're right.  That's true.  But I was thinking specifically that there are at least four large, independent, pre “craft beer revolution” lager breweries in the state: Yuengling, Lion, Straub, and Iron City (though it’s not clear if Iron City is “independent” anymore).  That’s a lot compared to most other states.  Wisconsin may be next?  I’m not sure.  And Rolling Rock was independent until quite recently.  And I suppose Penn Brewery could sneak in under the wire as it was founded in 1986.  Pretty cool if you ask me.


The annual family reunion was this past weekend and many a Straub Dark was consumed.  This beer is a very light dunkel lager.  A whisper more malt character than the standard Straub, though I’d like to try them side by side to really see how different they are.  Straub was founded in 1872 in St. Mary’s PA and has been family owned and operated since then.  St. Mary’s is in the middle of nowhere.  My parents grew up about eight miles down the road from St. Mary’s.  There’s a Walmart in St.Mary’s.  And a hospital. 


The Lion Brewery was founded in 1905 and is located in Wilkes-Barre PA.  My brother had a couple bottles of Lionshead so I drank one.  This beer is very light and highly carbonated.  The great thing about it is that you can get an entire case of bottles for $11.  About the same price as two 12 packs of Schmidt.  I’d have to say Lionshead is better though because it’s made in PA.  But again, I’d like to try them blind, side by side, to see if my PA bias can hold up.   


Last Friday I woke up at 5am so that I could swing by the Tulpehocken on my way to the family reunion which was in Annapolis Maryland.  If you know where these two places are then you know the one’s not exactly on the way to the other.  But such is life.  The Tulpehocken has a great Trico hatch and I wanted to catch it at it’s peak.  So did everyone else apparently.   That’s often the problem with fishing in Pennsylvania: even at 6am on a Friday morning the river is full of people.


Funny thing about the Trico hatch is that I didn’t catch a single trout on a Trico pattern.  I caught a bunch of baitfish, but not one trout.  I caught all my trout on a beetle pattern.  Beetle patterns rule.  I think late summer from now on I’ll only fish beetle patterns.  I caught a rather nice 18” rainbow but he slithered away before I could get a picture.  The Tulpehocken is mainly a stocked fishery but holdover rates are apparently very good. 


In other news, after spending nearly a month in Pennsylvania I’m now back in the Hoosier state for five days.  When I arrived last night there was a piece of mail waiting to inform me that I was not in fact a finalist for Fly Rod and Reel’s Traver Award.  It was probably way over their heads, what with the metaphysics and the epistemology and all.  Next year I’ll submit something far more sentimental.  During these short five days in Bloomington I have to move across town.  I love moving.  I love packing.  Then, on Saturday morning at 6am, I leave for the airport where I will fly directly to the Pecos River in New Mexico via jet helicopter and shoot skeet and fish for one week. 



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