BONUS: Stop over to Appalachian Brewing Company between 12-4 p.m. Saturday and pick-up Harrisburg Beer Week Event Guides, stickers, join our mailing list — AND, stock up on official swag, including t-shirts, goblets and tote bags. ALL proceeds benefit Harrisburg River Rescue!
Saturday night, I’ll be out for a friend’s birthday party, and while Sunday should be for laundry and rest, I may sneak in some aerial yoga.
After another long and seemingly never-ending winter, I am more than ready to embrace these warmer temperatures.
This past weekend, with few plans and warmer weather awaiting us, I convinced my fiancé, Tim, that we had to go for a Sunday afternoon hike. We hadn’t made any plans to celebrate Easter, and I really wanted to something so it wasn’t just a totally normal Sunday. I feel like I cannot get enough fresh air and sunshine these days, so we decided to head back to Boyd Big Tree Preserve Conservation Area (you can read about our visit there in 2013 here), which is about a 10-15 minute drive from our house in midtown Harrisburg.
With temperatures hovering around 60, it was really perfect hiking weather, requiring only a long-sleeve shirt and shorts. We decided to take the East Loop Trail this time, a 1.9-mile loop that would take us around a good chunk of the park. There are a few other trails, ranging from .2 miles to 2.8 miles, so there are plenty of options for everyone.
The East Loop Trail had us following green markers that were very easy to see and clearly marked. There were a couple of steep inclines, and some downhills that I was fearful would send me tumbling, but for the most part, it was a pretty flat course.
After such a brutal winter, it was great to see some signs of life out in the park, like a few animals moving about and grass growing. We saw a few other hikers out as well, proving that we aren’t the only ones ready for spring.
Overall, it was a pretty easy hike, but it was great to get out and stretch our legs. There were also some stunning views from throughout our hike. It only took us about an hour to hike the two miles, so it was a great break to an afternoon that was packed with normal Sunday activities, like work and food prep.
Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to a brewery after, like last time, since most were closed for the holiday. Instead, we treated ourselves to some ciders at home, and went back to Sunday as usual. Another hour of sunshine and fresh air put a little pep in my step, though.
They’re not quite yet open to the public — the grand opening is slated for 12:30 p.m. on April 8 — but this week hosted their private, soft opening events. Invitees included partners, friends and supporters.
The first time I interviewed Theo and Brandalynn Armstrong, we met at an #HBGtweetup on the deck of the Abbey Bar.
It wasn’t the first time we met, though — we had actually met a year or so before at a former coworker’s Christmas party. Brandalynn and I confessed later than neither of us particularly cared for the other.
Another year or so later, Theo brewed a saison for Tierney’s birthday, and maybe that’s what happens when your friend’s friends bring over a high-tech trashcan full of beer, but eventually the whole lot of us became pretty dang close.
So back at the Abbey Bar, they talked to me about their goals and vision for their brand. They sneaked me a six-pack to take home and sample. At the time, they were in full campaign mode, raising start-up capitol for their dream through the crowdfunding platform, Indiegogo, immediately following their brand launch on April 20, 2013.
It was later that summer that they invited me to their annual “Beer Fest” at their home, a full-on bottle share, plus Alter Ego brews on tap. It was there I got to try Theo’s “BeerFest” Beer, not at all a typical German “fest” beer, but instead just the best mango habanero pale ale I’ve ever had (ever, people), which hopefully I can semi-assist in recreating en masse soon (I’m holding on to some frozen local habaneros).
The Armstrongs were doing a variety of tasting events throughout the area, at craft-friendly bars, BYOB spots and parties. I asked them to do samples for a few of my Booze Cruises, and last summer they brewed a special Booze Cruise IPA and put half the batch on Weiser Orchard peaches, and both were a huge hit.
They also were included in a massive, five-brewery collaboration last year, led by Pizza Boy Brewing Co.
Meanwhile, throughout this time, the pair was working in the background between their full-time jobs to secure a location, funds, equipment, design and plan a renovation and further develop their goals.
They made a conscious decision to plan for a prosperous future, and in so, sought trademark for their brand. Unfortunately, through this process they discovered a global trademark wasn’t available, and the couple at that point opted to change their brewery name and thereby preserve their brand for growth.
In the few years I’ve know the Armstrongs, they continue to impress me. First and foremost, they’re fun people with big hearts. You can’t help but smile when you’re in their presence. But when talk turns towards business — their business — you can see their demeanor shift; they’re serious and dedicated.
The Armstrongs talk often about realizing their dream, but these two are decidedly doers.
Theo is hands-on, the type to do it himself before hiring out, whether building the deck on their home or rigging up a custom, portable sampling system. He is just as calculated when it comes to brewing, which why you won’t find Zeroday’s beers suffering from “first batch syndrome.” His ginger beer (NA) is exquisite, brewed with loads of real ginger, and it’s already becoming a cult favorite.
Brandalynn — though she also assists with brewing — handles much of the business side of brewery operations. Coming from an accomplished background in sales and insurance, she is well versed in marketing. She not only gets their shared big picture, but has thoughtful plans on execution, core company values and future growth.
The Armstrongs have a large, but tight network of friends who have become like family. They vetted glassware ideas and t-shirt concepts with select friends, received support from fellow brewers and others in the beer community (Al and Terry from Pizza Boy Brewing helped install their equipment!) and continue to work closely with neighbors, local purveyors and artists, all catapulting the community-supported brewery concept above and beyond its origins.
“It’s humbling — really humbling — that people are still so excited about this project when it’s taken this long,” Brandalynn shared with me before the first event.
Sure, it’s been one heck of a teaser campaign, but it’s here.
Friends, neighbors and other supporters joined this week to celebrate the couple, their long hours and hard work — properly rung in with a freshly made pint.
On Wednesday (April 8), just after noon will mark the ribbon cutting and grand opening of Zeroday Brewing Company.
Four beers will be available on tap to start, including their First Born dry Irish stout, Zeroday IPA (ep. 1), Wits End Belgian-inspired Witbier and Cheap Date, an American blonde ale. Their ginger beer (a freshly made batch!) also is on tap. Top your Wits End with a splash, nicknamed the “Midtown Mule.”
A food menu offers light fare, including their own “Hoptimus” hopped hummus, soft pretzel with mustard flight, select cheese and the “Midtown Half Pound,” hard pretzels with choice of mustard.
In the future, Zeroday Brewing Company will be partnering with area food trucks to provide additional selections during weekend hours.
Zeroday Brewing Company will operate 4-11 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; Saturday noon to 11 p.m. and Sunday noon to 8 p.m.
Following Zeroday’s grand opening at 12:30 p.m. on April 8 they will open immediately to the public.
You’ve seen them around, those giant glass jugs of beer. What are they? Where did they come from? Where do I get one too? Those, my friends, are called growlers, and they are used to take beer out from a brewery or bottle shop. They are reusable, eco-friendly, and your best friend.
Growlers come in a variety of sizes and options. The typical growler is made of glass and hold 64 oz (2L) of beer. They come in screw top and flip top varieties, with the flip top being considered the higher quality of the two. You can also get a smaller 32 oz (1L) growlette, also typically made of glass. Recently, stainless steel growlers have been making appearances allowing for beer to stay colder longer and blocking out evil sunlight. Also, now you can get crowlers (can + growler) at some establishments such as Pizza Boy Brewing and Zeroday Brewing. These are 32 oz and single-use.
Obtaining a growler is pretty easy. Most breweries within the Mid-Atlantic area have growlers for purchase at their breweries. The cost of the actual growler before filling it with beer is usually around $5-15 depending on what type and size you are getting. You can also sometimes get growlers at bottle shops and other retail locations.
Each state has very specific rules regarding the purchase and filling of growlers from breweries, and some don’t allow it at all (I’m looking at you Georgia!) If you’re traveling and hope to get your growler filled, be sure to check to see if your destination offers it. Also, each brewery has their own rules about who’s growlers they will fill, meaning some will only fill their own branded growlers and others will fill any growler. Once again, check in with your destination and see what their procedures are.
Beyond breweries, some bars and bottle shops will fill your growlers as well. In our area, The Sturges Speakeasy and Arooga’s both offer to fill your growlers regardless of the brand.
Once you have your growler all filled up and ready to take home, there are a few important things to keep in mind.
Most growlers are glass and while traditionally amber in color, they still let sunlight in, which is beer’s enemy. Store your filled growler away from direct sunlight, even on the car ride home, by putting it in a cooler, under a towel, or get a growler coozie to keep it cold and dark.
Also, much like a two liter bottle of soda, growlers only keep their carbonation for so long after you open them. Don’t open it until you’re ready to drink it, and if you can’t finish it right then, try to do so within 24-48 hours to ensure freshness and quality of flavor.
Once you’re finished with your growler, please don’t let it set in your sink until you feel like dealing with it. Remember, beer contains grains and yeast, and those will grow, well, some gross stuff. Hand-washing is your best bet. I usually fill and rinse the growler with warm water and a little dish soap.
Make sure to inspect for any internal residue as this will grow nasty mold. For screw top growlers, I soak the lids in warm soapy water for about an hour, rinse, and then check for any residue. Let them air dry afterwards, and store all growlers lids off! If you’re lazy like me, yes, you can put them in the dishwasher if it fits, but some cheap growlers may lose their outside logos.
Last night’s Happy Hour at Ad Lib was fantastic — photos and recap post forthcoming, as well. It was so great to see everyone! Remember, if you want to be the first to know about SaraBozich.com events (like the upcoming Pints & Pedis during Harrisburg Beer Week and the sell-out Booze Cruise), be sure you’re on the list.