“White Rose Beer"

A month ago my wife asked the loaded question “Do
you have anything planned this weekend”? Usually this
means that if I don’t have a parade scheduled she’s
going to attempt to get me to board an airplane for a
quick getaway. The brief trips are always nice, but the
hassle of standby seating and airport security
regulations are a definite drawback, so I guardedly
replied “Why do you ask?”, knowing full well what she
had in  mind.

When the anticipated “I thought we might go some-
where for a couple of days” was heard I immediately said
“I’m NOT flying anywhere”! “Not to worry” said she,
“this is an automobile trip”. Nothing pleases me more
than driving a car ( well..maybe drinking a beer) so I was
OK with the suggestion, but she wouldn’t tell me where
we were going. It was a “mystery” destination for my
birthday. Not until we were backing out of the driveway
did she tell me we were headed to The White Rose City
of York, Pennsylvania, first Capitol of the United States
and birthplace of my mother.

I’m quite familiar with York, having been there hundreds
of times since my childhood for family reunions and
visits to my grandparents’ home on liberty weekends
from Quantico Marine Base, only two hours away. But I
had no idea of why York was chosen for this surprise,
so I kept badgering her until she relented and disclosed
that the trip revolved around my rabid interest in all
things beer.

We checked into our hotel and headed out for a bite at
Cobblestone’s Pub on S. George St., an enormous
tavern housed in an old Knight’s of Columbus hall,
featuring upstairs balcony seating, two grand staircases
descending into the main bar area, tables, booths, and
the huge bar behind which were almost sixty tap
handles offering such varied choices as Bell’s Cherry
Stout, Rogue Dad’s Little Helper Black IPA, and 21st
Amendment Allies Win the War Strong Ale. Even our
own New Jersey local, Cricket Hill Nocturne, was available.

Samplers are inexpensively offered and I was able to
add Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, Roy Pitz Ludwig’s Revenge,
Weyerbacher Papa, Six Point Diesel Stout, Philadelphia
Joe’s Coffee Porter and Liquid Hero American Hero Pale
Ale to my beer log. This last is a product of York’s
Liquid Hero Brewing Company, conveniently located
directly across from beautiful Sovereign Bank Stadium in
North York, home of the York Revolution of the Atlantic
Baseball League. Looks like a little baseball and beer trip
may be on tap this summer. Cobblestone’s has very
decent pub grub and is a perfect stop for lovers of craft

But that was only a precursor to the featured event of
the evening, the “Ghost Tour” at Bube’s (NOT
pronounced like those things that protrude from a
woman’s chest, but rather just like booby trap) Brewery
in nearby Mt. Joy, Pa. Bube’s is a twenty year old micro
housed in the nineteenth century home of the original
Bube’s Brewery, founded in 1876 by Alois Bube and
lasting until prohibition.

The tour, which is soon to be featured on Sci-Fi TV’s
“Ghost Hunters” is presented by Jean Ellis, great
granddaughter of Alois and takes in every part of the
beautiful old brewery complex, from the upper floors
“hotel” to the three stories below ground level
Catacombs Restaurant and the “intact, just as it was in
1880” hotel bar. Her presentation was interesting and
informative, but after a fellow tourist started to relate
his ghostly feelings of “warmth and fire” (this only after
Ms. Ellis had told of the fire that occurred many years
ago and caused the mansard roof to be rebuilt) I began
to long for a visit to the Bottling Works, the in house
pub, for a pint of Scottish Ale to douse the flames.

The next morning we arose early to visit my
grandparents’ graves and the Central Market House,
one of three farmer’s markets in York. I remember
visiting this market many times since I was a kid and
seeing the Pennsylvania Dutch “plain people” selling their
sausages, pan haas (scrapple), pies and numerous
other things that make you fat and keep you happy.

But now there’s an even better way to get happy when
visiting the Central Market: the Mudhook Brewery, a
small brewpub on Cherry Lane, but which is also
accessible directly from the market on market days. This
pub, only open since late spring 2011, simply makes
great beer.

The owner and bartender, Jeff Lau, explained to us that
his son-in-law, an avid homebrewer, needed
employment and a larger venue for his brewing skill and
they opened the pub to solve the problem. The whole
family likes to fish, hence the names of both the pub
and the beers: Deep Sea Stout, Live Bait Amber,
Panfish Pale Ale, Heavenly Hefeweizen, (angelfish…little
stretch, there), Redeyes Irish Red and my favorite,
Crappie Dunkelweizen.

The ambiance of the nineteenth century market house,
the friendly personality of the owner and outstanding
quality of the beer are well worth a visit. The only
downer was what I thought to be an outrageous price
for a growler and a souvenir pint glass. The $33 charge
was too steep, but I should have asked first and the
bartender was busy so I just signed the credit card
receipt and left. Only later did I think that maybe he had
forgotten that I had already paid for my sampler in
cash, but if that wasn’t the case, I should asked the
price before ordering. Let the buyer beware.

A quick nap in the hotel refreshed us for a return to
Bube’s for our reservations only wonderful dinner in the
previously mentioned Catacombs. The atmosphere of
the vaulted stone ceilings, food service and sampler of
Bube’s beer ( Belgian Dubbel, Black Lager, Monkey Gold
Ale, Kolsch, and Speakeasy Pale Ale) are great reasons
to return. I’m glad my wife had made the reservations
several weeks before, because after hearing our glowing
recommendation a friend was shut out when trying to
schedule a similar surprise for her beer loving husband
on the next weekend.

The Ghost Tour, Medieval, Roman, and other feasts,
murder mystery dinners, and the Catacombs are all
apparently sold out well in advance, but that’s okay with
me. I’ve never really need an excuse to drink beer,
especially beer of the quality of Bube’s.  Mt. Joy is only a
two and a half hour drive from the Newark area, but
interestingly, the tiny town has an Amtrak station,
making it possible for Beer Nexus  writing colleague
Hannemann (Rails to the Ales) to contemplate a future
trip as well. It would be well worth it.


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