Carol and Ed Stoudt already ran a popular restaurant in Adamstown, Pa., the Black Angus, but a trip to Germany inspired them. They fell in love with the German lagers - beers with much more flavor than American lagers. So the couple decided to turn their restaurant into a brewpub in 1987. Now, more than 20 years later, Stoudt's Brewing Company is one of the most established breweries on the East Coast.
Carol and Ed Stoudt already ran a popular restaurant in Adamstown, Pa., the Black Angus, but a trip to Germany inspired them.
They fell in love with the German lagers -- beers with much more flavor than American lagers. So the couple decided to turn their restaurant into a brewpub in 1987. Now, more than 20 years later, Stoudt's Brewing Company is one of the most established breweries on the East Coast.
"We were the first micro brewery in Pennsylvania, and Carol, I believe, was the first female brewer since Prohibition," head brewer Brett J. Kintzer said.
Carol Stoudt is no longer involved in the day-to-day brewing, but her influence is still felt. Stoudt's Pilsner is one of the best American-brewed German-style lagers available.
"That's a very true, traditional brewed German pilsner," said Kintzer. "The Stoudts aren't really willing to compromise quality and tradition just to pump out more beer."
But just because they were founded with German lagers in mind, does not mean Stoudt's limits itself. They brew many styles, influenced by many countries -- Belgium, England and the United States.
"They initially opened as a German lager brewer, and of course, over 20 years, we've added many different styles," Kintzer said.
Stoudt's American Pale Ale is "by far" Stoudt's most popular beer, Kintzer said. Pale ales are a traditional British style, but like many U.S. versions, they use all American hops. That brings the hop flavor and some bitterness to the forefront, while still having a sweet backbone from the malts.
It's a crisp, easy-drinking beer -- not too hoppy, yet there is enough there that you can still taste them.
The Gold Lager is a Munich-style helles bock, a lighter, golden-colored lager. Kintzer said it is a traditional German recipe, and also a great cross-over beer for those who typically drink light beers.
"It's lighter on the hops than the other beers," he said. "You have a nice, little, smooth, medium-bodied, well-balanced beer."
The fourth and final of the year-round beers is the ESB, or English-style bitter.
"The ESB is modeled after the English Style, but ours is slightly modernized, Americanized," said Kintzer. "We use American and German hops, rather than British hops. It's pretty well-balanced."
Stoudt's also has three "big beers," or beers high in alcohol.
The Fat Dog Stout is an imperial oatmeal stout with 9 percent alcohol by volume. Despite the high alcohol, this beer is extremely smooth, and the roasted malts, producing flavors of coffee and chocolate, can really hide the alcohol.
The Double IPA is an in-your-face, hoppy double India pale ale. If you like hoppy beers, this is the one for you.
"The Double IPA definitely has an over-the-top hop character," said Kintzer. "There's a little bit of warmth to it."
The third "big beer" is the Belgian Tripel, which Kintzer said is a traditional recipe, with hints of plums and raisins in the flavor.
Also, Stoudt's has several seasonal beers.
The current seasonal is Heifer-in-Wheat, a Bavarian-style wheat beer. Kintzer said the brewery uses traditional German yeast in the beer, and it brings out some flavors of bubble gum, bananas and cloves.
In August, Stoudt's most popular seasonal beer, the Oktober Fest, will hit stores. The August release is earlier than usual, but there is a high demand for the beer, Kintzer said.
"It's modeled after a German-style, Marzen (Oktoberfest beer)," he said. "That's a very good beer, well-balanced with a high malt presence."
This year, the style for the winter beer is still up in the air. Stoudt's tries to change it up every couple of years. Last winter, they brewed a robust porter, this year Kintzer said it will most likely either be a hoppy brown ale or a red ale.
The spring seasonal will also be new next year, he said. They are replacing the maibock, a German-style lager brewed for the spring, with a kolsch, which is a light, German-style ale. He said test batches have received rave reviews.
Norman Miller is a Daily News staff writer. For questions, comments, suggestions or recommendations, e-mail email@example.com or call 508-626-3823. Check out The Beer Nut blog at http://blogs.townonline.com/beernut/.