Saturday August 9th was the opening day of the 2003 edition of the Stoudt’s Summer Bier Festival. This year was the 24th year the German Beer Festival was held at Stoudt’s festival hall, in Adamstown, Lancaster County Pennsylvania. As usual, it was a great time.
The festival is held annually during 3 weekends in August, and features great bier, good German food, and fun German music. Your host for the evening is Ed Stoudt. The Stoudt compound, as I like to call it, features a brewpub, the Black Angus restaurant, a expansive antiques mart, the bier garden, and of course the famous Stoudts microbrewery run by Ed’s wife Carol Stoudt.
On the spur of the moment, my wife and I decided to drive the 90 minutes from my home, and drive through the beautiful Pennsylvania countryside to drink great bier, and pretend to be in Germany for an evening.
For $15 dollars I got admission, coupons for 3 biers, and a commemorative Stoudts pint glass. We cheerfully paid, and entered the hall.
The first thing about this place is the length they go to make it feel like you are someplace different, like you are really in Germany. A toe tappin’ German polka was being played by the house band, the smell of bratwurst, sauerkraut, and fresh bread was in the air. Not to mention that magnificent smell of fresh bier. The right side wall is all glass, and gives a great view of the brew house.
Ed Stoudt walks around mingling with the crowd, posing for pictures while wearing a German outfit of Liederhosen and Hosentraeger. Carol Stoudt looks fetching in her authentic Drendel. The Stoudts really love their German heritage, and it shows in the whole experience.
After eating an overwhelming amount of variously cooked cabbage and roasted pork sausage, I decided to try my beer. My wife hadn’t had any of their biers, so she stuck to the simple Gold Lager for her first selection. My first beer was the Pils, from draught of course. As good as these biers are in bottles, they are even more spectacular on draught.
My wife then tried the Weizen, which she didn’t like, and sadly switched with my Abbey Triple. I had about half of each of those two, and they were delicious — full of flavor, and unbelievably fresh.
I finished up with the Honey Mai Bock, I found it surprisingly refreshing and tasty. I normally don’t like honey biers, but this one was surprisingly good.
The whole evening was a great time. I left very full from the food, and smiling from the beer. American bier often gets a bad rap for being weak and not true to the spirit of real bier. Whoever has that notion hasn’t tried Stoudt’s, or have never visited this little piece of old fashioned German Gemutlikeit (good cheer) in the heart of the lush rural Lancaster county countryside.
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