Far From India: India Pale Ales in the 21st Century. Desperate Times Desperate Measures, Red IPA, Carlisle, Pa. @ FNB Park, Harrisburg
Date: March 26, 2019
The Story— It’s almost here! Baseball returns to major and minor league parks this week. Once a sea of yellow silly suds, parks all over the country are presenting a vast array of local and craft beers. You’ll pay premium bar prices for crafts, but few parks are without interesting choices. In our Mid Atlantic base, Nationals Park has specialty local beer stands throughout the park, Philly features Pennsylvania stalwart Victory and local favorite Yards as well as a raft of surprises that even include the Williamsport newcomer new Trail. Baltimore’s Camden Yards, which featured local crafts long before they were a phenomenon even has a brewery on site. Minor league parks throughout the region celebrate the “home club” breweries in their region. We’ve found Flying Dog beers in Frederick’s stadium that we couldn’t get at the brewery.
Harrisburg’s FNB Park is one of our favorite for beer drinking. For starters, every Thursday from the time the gates open to 8PM, a designated craft beer goes for three bucks. The park’s selection varies from year to year, but we always find something we haven’t had before. Bar seats ringing the outfield and give you plenty of personal space and a bartop to rest your beer as you peer over the fence only feet away from future major league stars. Appalachian and Troegs beers are always available, but some surprises show up as well.
One reason we love to drink at the park is that we ignore the parking lot and stay in the city. The park sits at the end of a foot bridge across the Susquehanna that is a stunningly beautiful walk at night when other bridges are illuminated and the city rises above the river. The Hilton hotel is our favorite of the choices that cluster a few blocks from the other end of the bridge. City House B&B, a scenic mile and a half walk from the park offers river views from some of its rooms and offers a quiet retreat in a first class B&B. If you have the dough, pedicabs aren’t hard to find and will be glad to wheel you to your room.
Today’s feature beer was a big hit at the park a year ago– we’d be happy to see it back. The Desperate Times brewery is a bit of a hike or a short drive from the center of Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Carlisle is one of the featured towns in our “Brews and Snooze” guide to Mid Atlantic breweries and inns, and Desperate Times is one of the gems in its crown. They serve a good range of well-brewed styles along with a sausage-centered and interesting menu that features some German recipes handed down through generations of the family.
The Beer— We object to many red beers because careless use of Crystal malt can produce flavors of burned sugar and leather that Ellie is not fond of and I hate. This one avoids those traps and delivers a rich but clean sweet caramel malt balanced by quick resiny hops. It’s clean, if a bit dusty, chewy and strong by the end. It drinks well and its 6% abv. makes for a strong session, but one that won’t blind you. They’ll cut you off at the end of the 7th and let you sober up for the walk back.
Value — Fair to good. Eight bucks, plus a buck tip if you have a conscience, is not cheap for mid-Pennsylvania, but it’s part of the cost of enjoying and not just attending a ball game.
Values: “fair” is a good beer at an above market price, “good” is worth the money, “very good” is a bargain, and “excellent” is a steal.