Brew Review

Beer Review – Lancaster Brewing’s Amish Four Grain Pale Ale, Strawberry Wheat, and Hop Hog IPA


Lancaster Brewing Trio

A while back, I was in Lancaster, Pa and picked up a Lancaster Brewing Sample pack. This post contains a review of three of those beers: Amish Four Grain Pale Ale, Hop Hog IPA and Strawberry Wheat.

Lancaster County has a rich brewing history that dates back to the early 1700s. And with a brief hiatus during Prohibition (although bootlegging was prominent), and a slightly longer hiatus in the latter part of the 20th century, the tradition continues today. The company began in 1995 as the Lancaster Malt Brewing and was purchased by Lancaster Brewing Company in 2001. Lancaster produces 4 regular beers (the three in this review and the Milk Stout) and 4 seasonal beers (an Oktoberfest, a Winter Warmer, a Kölsch and the Rumspringa). Both the Kölsch and Rumspringa are available in cans which makes transportation to less glass friendly locations (i.e. picnics and pools) much easier.

Let’s get on with my reviews…

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Amish Four Grain Ale

Here is what Lancaster has to say about their Amish Four Grain Pale Ale:

Our multi-grain pale ale summons the sweetness of oats, the complexity of rye and the smoothness of malted wheat, balanced by a generous dry hopping of imported, noble Saaz hops.

I found the Amish Four Grain to have the following characteristics…

  • Appearance: Amber with light foam.
  • Aroma: Sweet malt and not much else.
  • Taste: A little flat and a little doughy with a slightly hoppy finish.
  • ABV: 5.3%

The Amish 4 Grain was not very interesting or very well balanced. I thought the malt was too prominent and the beer good have used more hops.

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Strawberry Wheat

Here is what Lancaster has to say about their Strawberry Wheat:

This American wheat lager-style beer, with the subtle suggestion of real, strawberries, is the perfect pint of true refreshment. Light and crisp, our Strawberry Wheat is a “must try” for fruit and beer lovers alike.

I found the Strawberry Wheat to be…

  • Appearance: Amber with slowly dissipating foam.
  • Aroma: Sweet malt and berries.
  • Taste: A little thin but sweet, crisp and refreshing.
  • ABV: 4.7%

The Strawberry Wheat was okay. Not a really fruity beer or overly sweet, this would probably be a good beer for a hot summer day.

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Hop Hog IPA

Here is what Lancaster has to say about their Hop Hog IPA:

This formidable India Pale Ale has a hop aroma that demands attention. The bold, citrus hop flavor is balanced by a dry malt character that makes this refreshing ale a true classic.

I found the Hop Hog to be…

  • Appearance: Amber with nice tan foam.
  • Aroma: Sweet with a nice hoppy tang.
  • Taste: Just like it smells with a good balance of malt and citrus and a crisp, hoppy finish.
  • ABV: 7.9%

The Hop Hog is by far the best of the three. This was well balanced, flavorful, and long on in the finish.

3 replies »

  1. I’m with you. Hop Hog is the best of this trio, but it’s not their best overall beer. Their Milk Stout is respectable and their Kolsch is pretty good too.

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  2. Wait a minute….. (no, seriously – a full minute, otherwise you lose the effect and I’m putting a lot of effort into this….)

    OK – So as is often the case I’m minding my own business and chatting with a couple of old buddies on the Atlantic City PD while on line (the IRL version) to enter the inaugural AC Beerfest. I planned to meet another buddy and sometime craft beer blogger once inside. Soon after I got in he comes up to me with a huge British muscle head in a tight black t shirt. My buddy introduces me to his friend, Robert. Guy is apparently a chef and was a big deal in England. All I know is that he’s large, hysterical and possessed of a legitimate British accent – almost as good as mine.

    Anyway, I spent the afternoon with him hitting the brewery reps (almost literally) and chatting with Professor Calgione who was manning the DH table back then. I learned that this guy also had a Food Network show in development (turned out to be Dinner Impossible) and a serious addiction to Lancaster Strawberry Wheat. Fortunately for both of us, he also knew Lancaster’s President (also manning their table) and he “arranged” for our sample pours to fill Lancaster pint glasses. This allowed both of us to properly evaluate the brew. After all, it was loud and there was a line for Utopias (which we were able to crash).

    My takeaway on Strawberry Wheat: Not awful. A tad on the sweeter side but not syrupy and reasonably crisp. Back then it was a fair choice for a really hot day. Now there are plenty of much better options like DH Festina Peche, 21st Amendment Hell or Watermelon, RJ Rockers Son of a Peach, and so on.

    The other two are completely forgettable. Neither are necessarily bad or unbalanced but they’re just two more dented compacts in the long term lot.

    And another thing – I think the caps qualify as buttons which means they aren’t proper Amish dress. I suspect the Stolzfus what delivers them drives something bigger and louder than a little horse drawn black buggy. Probably rocks out to Weird Al’s Amish Paradise along the route.

    Cheers!

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