The Poconos!  Or, How I Couldn’t Stop Singing The Beach Boys “Kokomo” Incessantly, For Days On End…

“Because we’re going to the Poconos, we’ll get there fast and then we’ll take it slow, that’s where we wanna goooo…  Go to the Poconos!”

-The Beach Boys (original draft lyrics, I think)

We’re continuing our year of quick little adventures!

Holly and I rarely get two days off together, so we try and squeeze every ounce of goodness out of our occasional weekends (read: Wednesday and Thursday) off.  We called up my Aunt Delia, who owns a house (from now on, and forevermore, it will be referred to as The Chalet) on Camelback Mountain, in Tannersville, PA.  We love The Chalet because: 

A.  It is under 2 hours from NYC

B.  It’s quiet, with a ton of outdoorsy-type activities

C.  Our favorite Pennsylvania brewpub, Barley Creek Brewing Company is less than a mile away.

Holly picked me up from work, and we drove through the Lincoln Tunnel, past the seven layers of the Candy Cane Forest, through the sea of swirly, twirly gum drops…  I’m sorry, that’s how you get to the North Pole.  We did stop for Disco Fries at a Diner in New Jersey, though, and they were crispy, salty and DELICIOUS.

First stop after dropping our bags off at the Chalet was the aforementioned Barley Creek.  I’ve been coming to the Chalet for nearly ten years, Holly for about 4, so we’ve dined at Barley Creek many times before.  We’re always delighted, and this time was no exception.  Our bartender Nick, was so friendly and welcoming, he almost made us forget we’d been awake for nearly 20 hours.  They had a 2 for $10 appetizer special, so Holly and I shared two Bavarian pretzels with mustard and beer cheese, and a Beer Cheese Soup.  Whenever we come here with my brother-in-law Matt, we refer to Barley Creek as “Pretzels for Dinner.”  

Pretzels for Dinner.  Giant, twisted, golden delicious, crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside and flecked with crystals of salt that gleam, beckoning you for just one more bite.  

Holly rocking a bite of Beer Cheese Soup made with Barley Creek Antler Brown Ale.

From left to right: Rescue IPA, a malt forward, English-style IPA with a bit of citrus hop presence, Summer Double Wheat, a hefty Hefeweizen at 7.2%ABV, Too Bitter ESB, another balanced, English-style ale, and one of the guest taps (they have several), Otter Creek Brewing Company Citra Mantra, an IPL (India Pale Lager), made with pilsner and Munich malt and hopped with Citra for an amazing grapefruit and pineapple dance around your taste buds.  

I told Nick about the blog (shout out to Nick for being amazing!) and told him we’d be back before we left.  We, of course, made good on that promise.  More on that later…

Myself and Nick the bartender, just two guys holding a Barley Creek Growler.

We got back to the Chalet, exhausted, but so excited to finally be on a mini-vacation.  So guess what we did?  We opened a bottle of wine, and popped in a VHS copy of Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, and wound down on the giant, comfy couch.  Because that’s how we do.  Christmas in July, baby.

Chaise Lounge, anyone?

I also opened a bottle of Fegley’s Brew Works Hop’solutely Triple IPA.   It poured a beautiful orange color with very little foam.  This didn’t have a date on it, but usually with IPAs this high in alcohol content (it clocks in at 11.5%), even if the hops fade from age (hop flavor begins fading as soon as beers hit the bottle, which is why it’s important to drink them fresh), the alcohol heat and the smooth, sweet malts create a nicely balanced beer with a bit of citrus, and a nice cherry sweetness from the malt.

Tim Curry was interested to see what I was drinking…

Hop’so…  LUTELY!

The next morning, we ventured out pretty early to take a tour of the Tannersville Cranberry Bog (which is as amazing and…  well, boggy as it sounds.  And yes, they do have cranberries, although none were ripe enough to eat.). Our guide, Darryl, had been working for the Tannersville Conservancy for nearly 30 years and you could tell that he was absolutely in love with his job.  At one point, he pretended to fall into the bog, face first.  The guy was a clown.  

Darryl.  Sweet, Funny, Pratfalling Darryl.

If you stepped into this, you would be really wet and also in a bog.

These plants are carnivorous, luring insects in to drink water and then slowly digesting them.

It was about 85 degrees that afternoon, but in the bog felt closer to 856,972 degrees…  Celsius.

We spent the rest of the afternoon in the community pool back at the Chalet, and doing a little shopping at the Outlet Mall.  At the Mall, we did a wine tasting, and I had a Honey Wine, which was sweet and syrupy, and a Bourbon-Barrel Aged red wine that was amazing.  The wine took on the caramel and vanilla characteristics you usually associate with bourbon, along with the oak from the wooden barrel.  It was fantastic.

After working up a powerful hunger at the Outlets, we were trying to decide where to go to dinner.  Nick (our bartender from Barley Creek) recommended we go to ShawneeCraft Brewing Company, about a 30 minute drive from where we were.  We did go there on the way home, but we decided that we’d both be happy going right back to Barley Creek.  But, not before going to Target and picking up Galaxy Quest and Nacho Libre for $5, to watch back at the Chalet.

Barley Creek looks amazing lit up at night.

My cute little Holly Kay with a big ol’ Barley Creek Farmhouse Porter.  Smooth, creamy, malty chocolate and coffee, with some funk, citrus, and hay.  It’s a lovely cross between a farmhouse saison and a porter.  

We shared a Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza and a plate of Buffalo Wings.  It was National Fried Chicken Day, but Holly Kay protested that wings DO NOT count as fried chicken.  They still tasted amazing.  

We fell asleep about 15 minutes into Galaxy Quest, but woke up the next morning and watched it again.  Everyone loves a good Tim Allen film, but Alan Rickman is outrageous, and on a completely different level.  It’s wild.  It was Holly’s first time seeing it, and she loved it.

We packed our things, and decided we would go for a hike along the trails at Camelback.  Let me preface this by saying, neither of us are hikers.  Holly has said, many times before, “I refuse to run unless something is chasing me.”  We’re both up and about all day at our jobs, but that’s on solid, steady ground.  This was a mountain.  So I’ll go ahead and say that the “Easy” trail we chose was, to us city folk, a solid “Intermediate.”

We took the Indian Trail, which was rocky, but that view was unbelievable.
The view from the halfway point of the 1.3 mile trail.  Gorgeous.  What you can’t see is the 90 degree drop off  just beyond these bushes…

We’re hikers (I think)!
Look at my hiking gear!  I’m such a professional HIKER!
Oh, also, about .3 miles from the exit to the trail, Holly Kay made a noise.  This is a blog, and it will not do this noise justice, it sounded like this…  “WOO, WHOO!!!”  And this wasn’t a celebration, this was a WOO WHOO of surprise!!(!)  I looked around, not knowing what was happening, if perhaps we were about to be, or already were, in serious danger.  Holly yelled, “SNAKE!”  I looked towards the ground, and watched this legless, wiggly monster slither (thankfully) away from our general direction.  At that point, we hustled just a bit faster than we had been, as we were done hiking, basically.

On our way home, we made good on our promise to Nick, and stopped by ShawneeCraft Brewery, tucked away behind the Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort, right next to the Delaware Water Gap.

We discussed with our bartender the meaning of this symbol (Holly Kay said it was pagan in origin, I said it looked like a Native American dream catcher.).  She told us that the owner of the brewery created it as a conversation piece, and its meaning is a mystery (OOH…  Mystery.)
Hop Bines, with four different varietals of hops.

We sat at the bar and were welcomed warmly by our bartender, and ordered a flight to share.
From left to right, Saison Cuvée, a kettle sour saison blended with a red wine barrel aged saison, (our favorite of the flight),with flavors of tart grapefruit, cherry, sweet red wine, Dry Hopped Saison, which had an aroma of barnyard, citrus and medicine, with a flavor dry, white wine and citrus, Session Porter, on nitro, which tasted like melted chocolate, and went down easy at 4.5% ABV, and Raspberry Blanche, also on nitro, a wheat ale brewed with fresh raspberries.

The bathrooms at ShawneeCraft were located in the brewhouse, so I will leave you fine Blog readers with a few pictures of my trip to the restroom…

Barrels upon barrels of delicious beer!

HIKING!  DANGER! MYSTERY!  PERIL AT EVERY TURN!  These are the adventures…  Of the Benedict Beer Blog!  Tune in next week, when Patrick and Holly Kay do something less perilous probably!
Until next time…


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