Blogging Contest: WIN a seat on the Merlot Mike Trolley Tour

by: Sara Bozich
June 22, 2016
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Since its inception, The Vineyard and Brewery at Hershey has put a focus on supporting the local community and bringing agro-tourism into a new age. The Vineyard has also been designated PA Preferred, which is a testament to their dedication to keeping things local.

trolley tour



To celebrate everything local, The Vineyard at Hershey will host the Merlot Mike Trolley Tour on July 24, which will be a “farm-to-fermentation” experience that you will not want to miss.


The tour will include stops at a local dairy farm to sample cheese right off the block, a fruit farm to pick some of the freshest fruit possible with the tour concluding with a lunch overlooking the river.

Living local has also been a major theme throughout Not only do we support local business, but encourage our followers and readers to do that same.

Now we want to hear from you!

How do you live local?

Submit a sample of your work following the below guidelines, and you can WIN 2 seats on the July 24 Merlot Mike Trolley Tour. Then, blog about your experience, and your post will be published and shared through and

PLUS: Every entrant gets two (2) tickets to Straws & Stripes on July 9 at The Vineyard and Brewery at Hershey.


All entries should be submitted via Google doc and shared to


  • Ability to attend Merlot Mike Trolley Tour July 24
  • Create original content
  • Follow the topic: “How do you live local?”
  • Min. 400 word count; max 800
  • Follow and Vineyard at Hershey on social media (at least one channel for each)
  • Winners must be able to submit Trolley Tour blog post no latter than July 31.

Winner will be announced July 15.

Quick tips:

  • Use concise writing
  • Utilize links
  • Include pictures
  • Be creative

Starting writing and tell us how much your local community means to you.

Summer Race Roundup: 2016 Edition

by: Kelly Leighton
June 22, 2016

It’s officially summer, so that means it’s time for the local summer race roundup.

kelly harrc after dark

You’ll most likely find me at the Summerfair 10K, Harrisburg Mile, HARRC After Dark and Harrisburg Half Marathon, provided I can avoid injury (which always seems to find me).

What’s on your agenda this summer?

What races did I miss? (Post any additional race info in the comments!)

1- Mile





Half Marathon

Categories: Running

Tags:’s Official “Cans of Summer”

by: Jimi The Intern
June 21, 2016
No Comments

Cans have taken over craft beer. It’s nothing new or surprising (and we’ve written about it a bunch before). If you have visited a brewery lately or stepped into a local distributor, you have seen shelves that once held only bottles now being taken over by the CAN.

Why are cans so awesome?

For summer, cans hold a lot over your traditional bottle:

  1. Cans don’t break when you drop them by the pool. No cut feet, just hurt feelings for spilling your beer.
  2. It keeps out the evil sun! Sunlight hitting beer in a bottle is the fastest way to ruin the flavor.
  3. FRESHNESS! Summer is about drinking light and refreshing beers, and the can helps seal in the freshest taste.


Freshness is extremely vital to a good session IPA. The combination of hop aroma, smooth flavor and bitterness can be the difference between hop-flavored water and a robust IPA with a low ABV.

Iron Hill Crusher – 5% ABV

CANS Iron Hill

The first crack of the pounder can releases a punch of hop aroma. The taste that follows is a perfect balance of bready malt and refreshing hop bitterness. This is definitely a beer that could be drunk all day everyday with no worries of filling up or over doing it.

Flying Dog Easy IPA – 4.7% ABV

CANS flying dog

Easy IPA is no stranger to the craft beer market, but having it in cans is a #GAMECHANGER. Citrus and fruit hop flavors are followed by a crisp and satisfying bitterness. The dry finish makes your palate ready for more and more and more and…….you get the idea.

Ballast Point Mango Even Keel – 3.8% ABV

CANS mango even keel

The one Sara’s packing (along with Numero Uno, below) to take to the beach. This super low-ABV session IPA is super drinkable and our nod to Tierney, who’s calling this the “Summer of Fruit Beers.” This one’s a win — but may be hard to find. We have word that Westy’s should be receiving a new shipment this week. Save a case for Sara!


Lagers are no strangers to cans or summer. The first beer for a lot of people might have been a light lager from a can at the beach. But now those light fizzy suds have evovled to encompass more flavor and balance than ever before.

Numero Uno Agave Cerveza- 4.9% ABV

CANS flying dog numero uno

If there is a more perfect beach beer, I haven’t found one. The lime zest and agave flavors will make you rethink your idea of a traditional Mexican lager.

BONUS: Pair with a shot of tequila to give the agave an extra punch. Our choice was JT’s Tequila, Sauza 901, while listening to the ultimate summer jam, “Can’t Stop This Feeling.” 

»» Check out Tierney’s Top Summer Playlists and the beers to go with them

Summit Keller Pils – 5.1% ABV

CANS Summit

The most crushable beer out of the bunch. A perfectly balanced pilsner with just the right amount of hop bitterness to accompany a refreshing malt flavor. Reach for this beer after mowing the lawn or wasting the summer night away on the porch.

Tröegs Sunshine Pils – 4.5% ABV

CANS troegs sunshine

The local fave. You know it. You love it. A beer that should be in your fridge, cooler and hand through out the summer.

TIP: Rub a lime around the rim and drop it into the glass to make Sunshine just that more refreshing.


Iron Hill Mahalo Apollo- 6.9% ABV

The lemongrass, amarillo hops, honey and Grains of Paradise all add up to one extremely refreshing beer that packs a punch. European and American influences make this beer extremely unique with notes of coriander, fresh flowers and pepper.

Sadly not every beer is not available in a can, so that is why many local breweries have turned to employing crawlers to deliver the freshest beer possible.

Local breweries with crowlers: 

Whether sitting around the pool, digging your toes in the sand or just relaxing around the house on a hot day you can’t go wrong with any of these beers this summer. Cheers and enjoy!

Categories: Craft Beer, Food/Drink

Books & Booze: Summer Reads

by: Sara Bozich
June 20, 2016
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I wish I read the way I did when I was younger. I’ve been in a few book clubs (some more successful than others), but the one time of year that I do manage to read more is on vacation. I’m headed to slower lower Delaware this weekend, and I plan to dive into a pile of books while listening to the ocean.


I asked the team (and a couple Friends of the Blog) to come up with their best summer reading picks and drink recommendation to go along with it.



Read: The Girls: A Novel by Emma Cline

Drink: Grapefruit Crush

It’s not often I pre-order a book, but the 27 year-old author of The Girls: A Novel got a $2 million advance for this coming-of-age story about a young teenager’s introduction to a cult in 1960s northern California. Something inspired me to click “buy now,” and I was presently surprised when this arrived in my mailbox this month. Reviews have all been glowing, calling the story “fascinating” and “addictive.” I can’t wait to dive in.

Because this will be my #1 Beach Read, I’ll be sipping my favorite beach treat: Grapefruit Crush. Sure, sure, your orange crushes are okay, but for me, nothing beats the grapefruit. My sister and I hang out at Mango’s in Bethany, and our buddy Chris will be making me a number of these refreshers, combining freshly squeezed grapefruit juice and Finlandia grapefruit vodka, a splash of triple sec and topped with something fizzy — soda water? Sprite? I don’t care, it’s delicious.


Read: Beautiful Ruins: A Novel by Jess Walter

Drink: Rosé Spritzer

Apparently I’m really into books that have the disclaimer, “a novel.” Also, grapefruit. The Beautiful Ruins has been on my wishlist for some time now, but I finally picked up this ideal beach read following a love story that begins on the coast of Italy and follows the characters for fifty years. It’s highly rated, and the imagery will match well with my seat in the sand staring at the Atlantic Ocean.

For this beach read, I’ll pair my guilty pleasure: Rosé Spritzer. Throw a big fat ice cube in a Govino shatterproof stemless wine glass (for real, I recommend this), add some rosé and top with grapefruit seltzer.



Read: But What If We’re Wrong?: Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past by Chuck Klosterman

Drink: Vodka, club, cran

I very rarely buy books, because I go through them very quickly, and also, really, the library is FREE. However, I pre-ordered my own copy of this book months ago. Chuck Klosterman has been my favorite author since I discovered his writing in Spin magazine when I was in high school (Though I do prefer his non-fiction to his fiction).

My favorite thing about Klosterman is how out of the box he is. I never know what’s going to come next, and I am almost always pleasantly surprised. I can’t wait to get my hands on this. Klosterman is my favorite author, so I’d pair this with my favorite drink: vodka, club soda and a splash of cranberry.

Read: Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Drink: Wine

I don’t know what persuaded me to pick up this book in a Walden bookstore at the Wyoming Valley Mall in 1999, but I am glad I did. It must have been the cover. Sure, you’ve probably heard of this book, and maybe even seen the movie, but I urge you to read it (or read it again). I have read this story about a high schooler grappling with life more times than I can count.

Even at the age of 30, I still say it’s my favorite book. Today, it’s a comfort thing, this book feels like home to me. I’d pair this with some wine, just like they drink in the park in the book. Red Cat is my go-to because I have the palate of a five-year-old, so cheers to Charlie as he navigates his freshman year of high school.



Read: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (2001)

Drink: Kalimotxo

The Shadow of the Wind is an epic thriller, not about politics, missing spouses, or dead neighbors. It’s a thriller about a book.

Set in Barcelona, it’s the story of an obsessed man, a mysterious and elusive author, and a corrupt police inspector. It’s also a story of twists and turns, tragedy, lost love, and book burnings. To say any more would be giving away too much.

The Shadow of the Wind deserves a drink that is dark and unusual, but easy to make and sip while you’re engrossed in the page-turner. The Kalimotxo is the perfect accompaniment – half cheap (the cheaper, the better) red wine, half Coca-Cola and served over ice with a slice of lemon. The drink originated in the Basque region in the 1970s, but is popular throughout Spain. It’s a little sweet and a little spicy, reminiscent of sangria without the time and effort, and perfect to sip on as you enter the Cemetery of Forgotten Books.

Read: The Passage Trilogy (The Passage, The Twelve, & The City of Mirrors) by Justin Cronin

Drink: Make it a stiff one.

The third book in Justin Cronin’s The Passage Trilogy, The City of Mirrors, was just released at the end of May, so it’s the perfect time to devour the whole trilogy. Several people have recommended The Passage to me since it came out in 2010 –probably because they understand my weakness for (post) apocalyptic fiction – but I just recently decided to start reading it.

Less than a quarter of the way through the first book, and I’m already deeply intrigued about where Cronin and his protagonist, six-year- old Amy, will take us. The Passage pulls from a lot of different genres, including science fiction and fantasy, but don’t let labels turn you off from reading it. Cronin is an excellent writer who will draw you into his world of government-funded experiments.

I am always drawn to this type of dystopian novel: the kind that’s rooted in enough scientific fact that it’s (mostly) plausible, and even the parts that seem too far-fetched are woven into the story with such deftness that they work. But like most novels about impending doom, The Passage is not for the faint of heart, so make sure your liquid courage is up to the task. A nice whiskey – bourbon, rye, or scotch – will give you the fortitude necessary to follow Amy into Cronin’s dark world.


tierney sampler glass

Read: The Paper Magician Series by Charlie Holmberg

Drink: Summery craft beer

After reading The Night Circus in our now defunct book club, I’ve been hoping for a sequel. Since there doesn’t seem to be one in the works, I’ve started searching for similar books to read. I like getting lost in a book and I enjoy an engulfing story. The Paper Magician three book series is just that. The story revolves around a young magician preparing to be bonded to her specialty when her mentor is kidnapped. Enjoy these on your patio, and pair this read with a summer brew like Atwater Whango or Magic Hat Electric Peel.

Read: The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

Drink: Red wine

I geek out about many things, but secretly I adore reading vampire books. When you mix in a little history with my vampire lore, it’s a guaranteed purchase for me. I found The Historian on the shelf of a Salvation Army nearly 7 years ago and have read and re-read it no less than 10 times since. The Historian is a long story, and would be best read on a rainy afternoon. It chronicles the story of a girl, her parents, and their connection to and hunt for Count Dracula/Vlad the Impaler. You’ll travel through time and across Europe with each character’s own accounts. You’ll want to pair this one with a glass of red wine, perhaps from the Apothic series.



As featured on Lissa’s blog, Made From PA.

Read: The View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman

Drink: Strawberry Basil Gimlet

This summer I’m looking forward to leisurely working my way through Neil Gaiman’s The View from the Cheap Seats. Gaiman is one of my favorite authors. I started reading his graphic novel series, The Sandman, in my teens and have since looked forward to anything he writes, be it a children’s book like The Graveyard Book or a witty adult novel like American Gods.

The View from the Cheap Seats is a collection of Gaiman’s nonfiction essays, his first, and I’m sure his familiar, dryly witty style will make them a pleasure to read.

I’ll pair the book with a strawberry basil gimlet, a recipe I’ve been working on that embraces the first signs of produce season. Local strawberries muddled with some fresh basil and simple syrup, a crisp gin, lime juice and just a little fresh black pepper make for a perfect early summer cocktail.


sara tierney jimi

Read: Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Drink: Tröegs Sunshine Pils

I always read Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut during the summer. I have read it so many times that I actually need a new one. The pages are falling out because the binding is ripped apart, and it is FULL of sand from being at the beach so much. The pages are wavy from falling in salt water, and it smells like sunscreen. It’s a literary classic from one of the best authors of all time.

I always have a Sunshine Pils in my hand at the beach. It’s easy drinking, doesn’t fill you up and in a can it keeps it cold and nice on the beach. Once the Sunshine runs out at the beach, I usually will reach for a local lager or go with the Old Faithful PBR pounder.

Read: Your favorite nonfiction book

Drink: Email Jimi with your picks!

On top of that, I always try to find a nonfiction book to read to always stay learning. Last year, I read the Anthony Bourdain book and followed it up by reading about “Pistol” Pete Marevich.

My mind has not been made up yet, but I am searching for that perfect pairing of learning and entertainment.

Categories: Books, Featured

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