March 07, 2010

Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks

By Don

From time to time, we'll also give reviews of brew pubs.

Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks is nestled in the most unlikely of places.  Along Route 45 somewhere between Lewisburg and Centre Hall, PA, you'll find the tiny borough of Millheim, Pennsylvania.  It's in the midst of Amish farms.  And right at the intersection with the only traffic light in town sits Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks.  To prove my point, as we pulled up, an Amish horse & buggy came down the street right in front of the brew pub.

My wife and I have been there before, but last weekend there was a benefit for the family of a local marine killed in Afghanistan with a band playing that we wanted to see, so we trekked out on Route 45 and made our way to Millheim.

Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks welcomes you from the moment you walk through the doors.  The entire front of the building is windows making it nice and bright.  Local art adorns the walls.  We made our way to a table near the bar with a good view of the stage.

I knew what I wanted first as soon as our server arrived ... an Elk Creek Copper Ale.  This one tastes as great as it looks.  Nice caramel and toffee hints in this one.  The sweetness of the malts tames the bitterness of the hops for a great blend.  Beautiful amber color and a nice frothy head.  It's a good drinking ale.

Of course, my wife and I were there to eat something too!  The last time we were there, I enjoyed their "Bangers & Mash."  Let me tell you folks, if you're a fan of really good mashed potatoes, these are simply to die for.  I didn't want it to end!

Elk Creek Cafe also uses local products - local meat, local produce.

We weren't really there for a full meal on this particular Sunday, so my wife and I ordered up their Hummus Platter.  Wow!  I could eat this as a meal.  This hummus has a nice kick to it.  I found it to be a nice compliment to my Copper Ale as well.

The band (Chuck Mason & Blue Reality) started up and soon we were feeling the groove of some blues music while enjoying our great platter and Copper Ales.

After we finished off our Hummus Platter, I was still hungry (and thirsty!).  We decided to give their Belgian Style Hand-Cut Fries a try.  For my second brew, I decided on the Great Blue Herron Pale Ale.

In hindsight, the Pale Ale might have been a better combination with the hummus, since it had a nice kick and the Copper Ale might have been a better fit with the fries, but it was all good.  A nice hoppy kick on this one.  It's a really nice drinking brew.  Same as the Copper Ale ... looks as good as it tastes with a nice golden color, frothy head and good lacing.

Now, let me tell you about these fries.  Once again, WOW!  Hand-cut.  Sinfully tasty.  There was a little cup of ketchup and another with something that looked like salad dressing in it.  I dunked a fry in this dressing and one more time ... WOW!  I had to ask our server what this was.  He explained that it was the Elk Creek Aioli which was Olive Oil, seasoning and pureed onions.  I never used the ketchup after that! :-)

The Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks website gives you the details on their standard offerings along with the seasonal brews.  They also offer a nice mix of music and cater to the "over 35" crowd by having events like the one my wife and I attended, starting at 4pm on a Sunday afternoon!

So, if you find yourself traveling through Amish country in Central PA, make a stop off and visit Proprietor Tim Bowser and Head Brewer Tim Yarrington at the Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks in Millheim.


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