Beer-cation Pt 3 – North Country Brewing, Slippery Rock, PA

imageWhile driving home to Florida I figured I would stop and see some breweries on the way. This one is a little gem I found on-line the other night. Slippery Rock, PA, like a lot of other western Pennsylvania towns is known for agriculture, coal and a small college (Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania). But it is also known as the home of North Country Brewing (which a sign proudly states as you enter the town limits).

The original construction of the buildings (house and barn) were built in 1805. It has been an Inn, a cabinet and furniture making shop, and finally renovated into the brewery. From the website… “In the spring of 1998, Jodi and Bob McCafferty fell in love with the old storefront and immediately started renovating. They personally rebuilt the structure from the foundation through the roof with gathered local hardwoods and recycled on-site materials. Jodi and Bob McCafferty handcrafted the hardwoods, as well as black walnut and curly maple left from the Uber’s furniture store, into the custom feel found only in Slippery Rock, Pa.”

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As you walk in you see the generous use of wood both in decoration and function, which is a feature I love. The front door has a bearded man’s face carved into the front and his backside carved into the opposite side. The tables inside, the rails, the bar all made from large natural wood planks. They pick up the light well and add a warmth to the place. Even the menu is constructed so that the front and back covers are two thin wooden planks (see pic below). If I had to try and peg hole the style of décor I would definitely say an Olde Irish pub, with a little western saloon mixed in.

North country menu
North country menu

Since all I had for breakfast was an apple when I got into town around 11 AM I thought a hardy lunch was in order. I must have been one of the first people there for the day. I was asked if I wanted to sit at the bar and I said sure.

The young lady behind the bar (Danielle) was friendly and knowledgeable about the menu and the beers. I asked about a flight of beers and she showed that they could be ordered in quantities of six, nine or thirteen. And she quickly pointed out that one of the taps on the menu wasn’t available and they had a substitute. I selected six of the thirteen drafts available (see menu below) and ordered one of the lunch specials.

Brew menu

The lunch was called The Breakfast Burger. It’s a half pound angus patty, topped with egg, bacon, ham, cheese and a hash brown served on Texas toast. I ordered it with a side of fries. The burger was on of the best I ever ate. I think the combination of flavors complemented each other. The fries were cooked “Fair Style” and I think had some seasoning on them. They were definitely fresh and delicious. But with the pickle spear and the burger I was lucky to be able to eat half of them.

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The six beers I ordered are listed below with a description of them:

Station 33 Firehouse Red – a rich, malty red ale that was smooth tasting.

Squirrel’s Nut Brown – a crisp, malty Scottish ale with hints of nut flavors

Keystone Swankey – This is a common or steam beer that uses a lager yeast but is brewed at ale temperatures. It had a very smooth, slightly bitter taste.

Paddler’s Pale Ale – Clean, crisp dry ale with a hoppy flavor.

Paleo I.P.A. – If you like IPAs you will like this. Strong hops flavor and very aromatic.

Liquid love Chocolate Stout – Chocolate malt and Belgian chocolate were used to make this but I tasted strong hints of coffee.

Of the six I tasted they all were good representations of their particular style of beer, but four stood out. The Station 33, the Paddler’s Pale Ale and the Paleo IPA all has very good flavors to them. But I really liked the Keystone Swankey. I don’t know if I have had a Common (or Steam) Beer before, but I liked the flavor a lot. So much so that I got a growler to go.

I highly recommend stopping by North Country Brewing if you are ever in the area. Not only is is good beer and good food, but the staff are friendly and the bar itself is my idea of the perfect pub. I will definitely try and get back there in the future.

 

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