On a beautiful day, I made my way up the Lancaster County Autobahn–Route 222–known for its fast driving to Kutztown. I did so in order to visit the Golden Avalanche Brewery. One thing that does slow the mph on 222 is the seemingly endless road construction. As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, “Nothing stays fixed.” I suppose Heraclitus could be the “Philosopher in Residence” for PENN-DOT.
Here is a bit of Kutztown University trivia for you. From the mid-1930s up until 1961, Kutztown’s sports teams were known as the Golden Avalanche. I like to find out why microbreweries are named as they are…so here you go. I thought it could be a name of a drinking game as Kutztown is a college town.
Here is a shot of the Kutztown Tavern where the Golden Avalanche Brewing Company is housed:
It is a great location right along the main drag in town…
College towns can be a little lonely and depressing when the students are gone. It is like a balloon with no air. Kutztown is no exception. The town itself has perhaps seen better days. It look like the town and gown parity has seriously leaned to the gown side. The university itself has done a fine job preserving older buildings unlike my Alma Mater Millersville University which knocked most of them down and put in their place about the dullest architecture imaginable. I don’t know why school building used to be constructed to look penal.
Here is a K.U. building on campus. It has many structural siblings and is not an edifice orphan.
Kutztown is a pretty campus and as I walked around it after drinking my brews and eating lunch, I ran into a acquaintance of mine who I went to grad school with and who has worked at K.U. for years as an admission counselor. He was with a bunch of students in a photo promotional shoot. It felt a little awkward to be wearing a Temple tee-shirt and hat and figured that they probably would not want me in the shots.
Talking about brews, here they are:
This is from the Golden Avalanche website:
“The Golden Avalanche Brewing Company family of beers are brewed according to the German Purity Law of 1516, the Reinheitsgebot. This ancient edict is still observed today in Bavaria and requires beer to be brewed naturally with only water, malted grain, and hops. The three distinct yeast strains our brewmaster selected are all obtained from German sources, and ensure our unique fresh flavor and distinct character. No added preservatives, pasteurization, artificial colors or flavors are ever used in our production process. Even our bubbles are natural in our beers, using the carbon dioxide from fermentation to pressurize the beer.”
Golden Avalanche also seems to favor lagers (like Union Barrel Works, see post)…it must be the Germanic heritage up around Reading.
Here is the aftermath, kind of reminds me of a battle torn American flag a la Francis Scott Key:
The server offered to give me a new placemat; I declined. I like the well-drunk look, sort of like how teens buy new jeans and wreck them so that they look old and well-worn OR they buy them half-destroyed which I have never understood. Only in America.
I was disappointed that the Kutztown Tavern also serves the Bud, Miller, and Coors beers, perhaps a concession to the college students who want a lot of cheap beer. It seemed to reek solely as a straight business decision and I hoped for better. I think it would be possible to educate the college students that the cheaper/more matrix is worthy of escaping. Generally, higher quality anything, over the long-run, is the better choice. For all of my drinking, I try to adhere to the better/less versus worse/more. It seems to be logical. But, then again, I am not looking to get hammered and smash beercans off of my forehead either, like a college student.
There may be some conflict behind the scenes between the brewmaster and the owners on this one. Pure conjecture, no evidence. Most brewmasters, I would have to think, would like to banish the banal big brews. Yet, I am more certain that he likes being employed also.
All in all, I liked the beers. G.A. also has an informative graphic on their website of the brewing process and equipment which is interesting, educational, and informative. The Olde Brick Alt Brown Ale was my favorite. There was a Onyx Stout bourbon-flavored brew that might have been great with the beer and bourbon but they added vanilla to it. For the lack of a better description, it tasted like candied-up cough medicine. Apparently, a crowd favorite. I thought it was kind of gross and gimmicky. Again, just my opinion.
All in all it was a great visit to Kutztown. When I was applying to college, K.U. was my second choice. We had been advised by our school counselors to have a back-up choice. I was fairly certain that Millersville was going to take me so I never visited K.U.’s campus. If I had, I might have been persuaded by its beauty to attend. Who knows.
I am not sure I will be coming back much to Golden Avalanche and the Kutztown Tavern after my 40/40 Tour concludes. It was fine, perhaps even better than some other places. It just sticks in my craw that they sell the big boys beers. They have good beers and should stick with the home team.