One of the things I cherish about summers is that my husband’s place of employment features long-anticipated summer hours, meaning every Friday he gets to leave at 1 p.m.
Having just that extra afternoon makes a huge difference in our Friday adventures, since his commute time to work is about an hour each way.
We went on a customary Friday afternoon hike last week to Apollo County Park, and afterward we drove along the river and wound up at Mount Joy Borough’s recent craft beer addition, Twisted Bine Beer Co.
A bine is easily confused with a vine, yet there’s an important distinction between the two. Vines, like the Virginia creeper, which is in the grape family, climb by using suckers that latch on to objects. Hops are a bine, meaning they climb by twisting around objects in a single helix pattern.
Therefore, the name Twisted Bine is a charming nod to that most sacred addition to beer used for bittering, preservation and flavor: the humble hop.
The space is wonderful — open and grand with plenty of table seating and a large bar dominating the center of the room. I appreciated the do-it-yourself elements of pallet tables with matching cushioned chairs and benches. A wild storm raged through town while we were dining and drinking, and the view of the wind-lashed rain was dramatic and exhilarating when safely viewed through the full window frontage of the brewpub.
As soon as we walked in, a friendly employee came right over to us and explained the process of how to order.
Beers can be ordered either at the bar or with one of the servers working the floor. The tab for that will be separate from the tab for any food and nonalcoholic drink orders placed at the food window to the right of the bar.
There is a limited menu featuring various sandwiches, salads and appetizers. The poutine was calling my name, but I figured I’d give that a go next time. And while there wasn’t enough chalkboard space to feature it when we visited, they can do sliders, grilled cheese and chicken tenders for little humans.
My kids were huge fans of the grilled cheese and chicken tenders. Asher gave the grilled cheese two thumbs up and asked when we can go back for another, and Lotus gave the tenders 700 thumbs up.
They can be choosy eaters so you can trust the judgment of my darling restaurant critics.
I opted for a slider sampler trio. They had a smoky, chargrilled flavor, and firm yet tender buns held all the goodies in where they belonged. Quite enjoyable, but I think my favorite part of the platter was an onion ring skewered on top of one of the sliders.
A well-fried onion ring is a simple pleasure of life and is often ill-executed.
The atmosphere grew increasingly loud as the afternoon pressed toward evening, and all the melded voices rose to a din that made table conversation somewhat challenging.
On our visit, there were nine beers on tap and six Pennsylvania wine selections.
Let’s talk about beer.
Bitter Jack was a 4.8-percent ABV beer brewed in the extra special bitter style. It poured somewhat murky and was a blend between dark tan and burnt amber in color, depending on how it caught the light. The aroma offered caramel, biscuit, fresh bread, water cracker and pine while the flavor featured pine, orchard fruits like pear, more fresh bread and a sweetish caramel backbone that persisted the whole way through.
This easy-drinker was pretty nicely brewed to Beer Judge Certification Program style with exception to its clarity.
I normally try New England IPAs when I see them on the menu because it’s not my favorite style, and I’m always eager to find some that change my mind. Twisted Bine’s New England IPA, Barbara Street, hit at a pleasing 6.5-percent ABV and was a light amber haze bomb topped with a creamy white head.
The aroma burst with pineapple, guava, passion fruit and mango. It tasted of those same juicy, tropical fruits throughout, yet was punctuated with a defined pithy bitterness from mid-sip to the end.
If you’re a fan of this style, give Barbara Street a try and let me know what your thoughts on it are. I thought it was OK, but I would absolutely choose the last one I sampled over this one every time.
I finished off with The Good Ship, a 6.7-percent ABV American porter, and talk about saving the best for last. It was a deep, dark brown with a tan head and smelled of roast, chocolate and pine bitterness. The flavor was a delightful balance between heavy roast, bittersweet chocolate, caramel sweetness and just enough bitterness to keep it from being oversweet. The Good Ship is an absolutely lovely porter that I’d drink over and over.
Contact Amber DeGrace with comments and questions at firstname.lastname@example.org and find her on Twitter at @amberdegrace.