On the grounds of Mount Hope Estate & Winery (home of the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire), Swashbuckler Brewing Company has been producing hand-crafted beer fit for a king (past or present). Seems like perfect timing, as our wonderful contributors A Grade Podcast have just finished their King’s Coast Coffee Company episode, so it seems we have a theme …brewing!
By 2013, Swashbuckler Brewing Company expanded with a larger touring and production facility (with an output of 4500 barrels per year) in order to keep up with demand.
On top of the popular brewpub, they take an active part in Mount Hope Estate’s outdoor events, with Flavorfest, Brewfest, Celtic Fling & Highland Games, Blues & Brews (mmm… crabs), and of course, my favorite, the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. Usually we stick with the pirate theme (my costume definitely improved over the years), but there was the year we went as Beetlejuice characters too.
Swashbuckler Brewing Company finds itself pretty busy year round, welcoming visitors to enjoy pints of craft beer and Lancaster County Ciders at their brewery, and in 2017 they finished work on their new beer and wine garden between the brewery and the winery with an outdoor bar, seating area and entertainment space.
We were blessed with a beautiful day as well. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Now on to the beer, the Plankwalker India Pale Ale. The copper and rusty orange pour catches the light nicely, with some nice clarity. Creamy white head that quickly recedes, leaving behind some sticky lacing.
Toasted malts and bitter earthy hop notes initially rise from the glass to your nose. A wonderful display of both piney and citrus hops as you really take in the scent with a deep breath.
Bitter on the tongue initially, the beer is well balanced with the caramel malt backbone. Sweet, sugary caramel malt, hoppy with citrus oils and sappy pine.
Solid carbonation, you could sit and watch the strings of bubbles rise to the top of the glass, mesmerizing you as they course through the copper color. Medium bodied, with a bit of a sticky, oily, not overly dry finish.
I really enjoy this IPA and it is one of my favorites from Swashbuckler (the other being their Pirate’s Pale Ale). Incredibly well balanced, just enough hops and bitterness that you don’t forget you are drinking an IPA.