It’s no secret that I’m always on the hunt for good craft beers. Especially unusual flavors, trendy new styles, hard-to-find rarities, aged, cellared, or limited editions. I search, find, and devour. I’m here today to let you in on a little secret spot where I score some of my best finds: The Black Gryphon in Elizabethtown, PA.
I stumbled across the place several years back and at the time, I had no idea the beer bounty that it held. It’s a place known for local, fresh ingredients in every dish and seasonal refreshes to their menu. But I had never heard of anyone talking about the amazing beer selection.
HOW DID YOU GET THAT?
I really like that there’s a dedicated tap for Dogfish Head beers – varieties that you’re NOT going to find at most craft beer taphouses in Central Pennsylvania. Stuff like Ancient Ales, 120 minute, Sony collaborations, etc. In fact, most of the craft beers I’ve found here are so unusual that I just had to ask Anthony how he selects and obtains these liquid treasures. This while conversing over a glass of Boulevard’s Saison-Brett (farmhouse ale – 8.5% ABV)… on draft. Crisp, hoppy and tart.
The majority of his beer selecting inspiration comes from his travels. When he’s not working at the Black Gryphon he’s out and about locally and long-distance to experience brews that he’s never had before. He’s constantly tasting and researching what should be added to the beer list. His patrons, friends and family also drop off bottles from their excursions and trips. Want proof? Check out the bottle collection that continues to grow when you walk inside the place. It’s awesome.
Eighteen different sources are used to obtain what gets sold at the pub whether it be kegs or bottles. These include self-distributing breweries like Millbock, Round Guys, Red Hook, St Boniface, to name a few. Also, distributors that are willing to help Anthony obtain rare selections and special requests. Those distributors that aren’t going to insist that the mainstream, flagship selections have to be represented. You’re not going to find Shock Top on these taps!
Smaller quantities are obtained so the beer never has a chance to go bad or get stale. I appreciate this because I’ve been to many places that boast gobs of taps only to be disappointed in the lack of freshness. Believe me, you can tell when a beer sits too long, or when the tap lines aren’t cleaned from keg to keg. Blah! I call a place out every time when I encounter either of these taproom fouls. Thank goodness the Black Gryphon staff cleans their tap lines and samples each selection on a regular basis to ensure fresh taste. If it doesn’t taste fresh, it gets pulled from the bar and discarded.
THE BEER CELLAR
It’s at this point in the conversation that Anthony says “Have you ever had a Smuttynose Zinneke Belgian Stout?” Of course, I haven’t. This is why I come here… to indulge in the unusual. And, this selection did not disappoint. Rich, creamy and tart. The perfect follow-up to the saison-brett we had just finished. This guy really knows his beers!
You won’t find the cellared craft beers on the website beer list. Why? This is the rare of the rare. Super limited quantities. Dine-in only. Just ask “what’s in the beer cellar today?” the next time you stop in to see what’s available.
Also, the cellar is safe-keeping for beers that will be served during the many beer pairing dinners that the Black Gryphon puts on throughout the year.
Be sure to “like” the Black Gryphon on Facebook so you get the details on all of their events!
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BEER ISN’T THE ONLY FINE ART HERE
Being a designer by trade and an artist at heart, I like to peruse the walls of the place each time I visit. Anthony supports local artists by hanging their works in the dining room for his patrons to view and purchase, if they’d like.
He’s also an artist, himself. Ask him about his latest works when you stop in.
You can also find the Upcycled Beer Signs that my husband and I make from various beer packaging like six-pack holders, cans, etc. They’re located in the bar area on the back wall. We change them seasonally and try to reflect the great selections that the Black Gryphon has to offer.
These are the same signs we sell on our Ebay Store. Check them out when you stop in. Tell Anthony that Chelsie sent ya. Cheers!
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