This is the first post in a new LGM series that will likely involve a number of writers. The average LGM writer drinks quite a bit more beer than the per capita American and a lot more quality beer. Given that I have already turned a fairly well-known political blog into my personal life diary, I figured I might as well extend that by talking about the various breweries I visit on my wanderings. So that’s what I am going to do, but other writers may talk about other beer related matter as well. And of course LGM commenters can complain about IPAs or any other style of beer that’s more risky or flavorful than a pilsner.
So let’s start with Voodoo Brewery in Meadville, Pennsylvania. Now, there’s very few good reasons to end up Meadville. It’s a town about 20 miles outside of Erie on a back road on the way to nowhere. Unless you have a reason to be at Allegheny College, if you find yourself in Meadville, it’s either because your life has taken an unfortunate turn, you love seeing Confederate flags waving in the North, you have been forced to spend lots of time in northwestern Pennsylvania and are bored, or you want to visit Voodoo.
Voodoo is one of my favorite Pennsylvania breweries. Northwest PA is not a great area for breweries. There are some that are flat out bad. I may discuss some of these in the near future. But Voodoo is a notable exception. I’ve been up there several times in the last 6 years that I’ve been “lucky” enough to spend lots of time in rural NW PA. I have always found the beer quite good. They have several standards. The Killerpilz is basically a solid hoppy pilsner. The Voodoo Love Child is a high-alcohol (9.5%) Belgian ale aged on fruit that is very, very tasty and very dangerous too! This is the way a fruited beer should be–not too sweet, yet still fruity and flavorable. It’s a great beer to introduce people to Belgian style beers on as well, although advise against having too many.
They also brew a lot of one-off or limited run beers. I tend to go for those, just to see what’s going on. On my visit the other day, I had the Blossoming Down Under Southern Hemisphere Style IPA, brewed with Australian and New Zealand hops and infused with Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay juice, the One Brett, again with the southern hemisphere hops; and the They’re Good Hops Brent American IPA. Each of these beers were solid additions to their line. I probably thought the Blossoming Down Under was the best, a very drinkable IPA that has a bit in common with the so-called “New England IPAs that don’t actually exist in New England outside of 3 breweries in Burlington, or at least that was the case up to a year ago, in the sense that it is almost “juicy” in the way that has become so popular. In this case, it’s the wine, but this is an interesting beer that may appeal to those who don’t like IPAs all that much.
Food: Any good brewery should have some kind of food option. They have a small kitchen that is only open on more popular days, but when I’ve had the food, I’ve always thought it solid. I’d consider it slightly upscale bar food. I had a fried green tomato BLT wrap with green bean fries. That was a very satisfying meal; I wasn’t sure about the green bean fries at first, but was glad I ordered them. I guess I could complain that I wish I had been told by the bartender that the fries were $2 extra, but not a big deal, plus they were worth it.
Building and atmosphere: Pretty standard setup for a brewery, but more than enjoyable, especially for Meadville, or really anywhere else in northwest Pennsylvania.
The other thing to note about Voodoo is that you no longer have to trek all the way to Meadville. In the last 2 years, it has gone statewide, with several pubs. Usually I don’t really support breweries becoming chains, but it’s the logic of capitalism and what are you going to do anyway? In any case, they now have a pub in Homestead, which was absolutely hopping when I was there last summer. And now they have a place in Grove City (a horrible little town with the kind of college Mike Pence speaks at), Lancaster, Erie, and the Pittsburgh airport, as well as a pub at the brewing facility in Meadville itself, as opposed to the bar where I went. Given that at the very least, Homestead, Erie, and Grove City need as many dining and beer options as they can get, at least Voodoo is expanding into some beer deserts. For that matter, the Pittsburgh airport is no great shakes when it comes to dining options either.
So if you ever find yourself in Meadville, at least you can wonder how the hell you ended up there while drinking a good beer.