In central Pennsylvania, an intense rivalry between two breweries has been heating up for years, and is about to boil over.
It is a rivalry of epic proportions, contending with those having historical impact. It’s Coke vs. Pepsi, Apple vs. Microsoft, Edison vs. Tesla, North vs. South, Hamilton vs. Burr, Da Vinci Vs. Michelangelo, Axis vs. Allies, Batman vs. The Joker, Hatfield vs. McCoys, Alexander the Great vs. The World.
It is Light vs. Dark!!!!!!!
Or, Sunny vs. Dark?!
Ok, to be fair, there really isn’t any rivalry between these two breweries, at least none of which I have any knowledge. But, there are a few similarities of note. One, both of these breweries are owned by Als. It was, interestingly, at Albert Kominski’s Pizza Boy Brewing Company, that I met Alan Miller, owner of Boneshire Brew Works. Two, they both produce excellent quality craft beer. Three, they are both located in the Harrisburg, Central Pennsylvania area. Four, they happen to also produce very terrific tasting coffee stouts. Since they have so much in common, and do not seem to actually be in opposition, I think it would be entertaining to pit two of their finer offerings against each other.
I give you, a new, epic rivalry, Pizza Boy Sunny Side Up vs. Boneshire Brew Works Dark of the Forest!
Boneshire Brew Works Dark of the Forest – This pours pitch black into the glass, and is topped by a wispy head that pulls a disappearing act mere seconds after it shows up. I will attribute this to being poured from a growler. When I sampled this on draft at the brewery, the head was much more full, stayed atop the beer longer, and had much more prominent lacing. To be candid, Dark of the Forest’s base beer, LazaRis, never struck me as particularly “heady.” The nose is strongly evocative of rich, chocolate fudge, infused with mellow coffee. It could be said that this smells like espresso brownies. The body is chewy, and tastes very intensely of dark chocolate, and cocoa, with a bitter, roasty finish. This is essentially liquified dark-chocolate-covered espresso beans. I very much enjoy Boneshire’s Russian imperial stout LazaRis, but the first time I tried Dark of the Forest, it was truly a game changer for me. This beer elevated my perception of Boneshire considerably, has pleased my palate greatly, and continues to be a beer whose appearance on Boneshires menu I greatly anticipate. This is delicious! Keep up the great work Alan and company! 9/10
Pizza Boy Brewing Company Sunny Side Up – The coloration of this coffee stout is similar to that of Boneshire’s offering, but the creamy, mocha head lingers long after pouring, significantly differentiating Sunny Side Up from Dark of the Forest. The nose is the invigorating scent of freshly brewed coffee, with subtle, dark, malty notes after the intense coffee. The body is smooth, creamy, and perfectly balanced with coffee, malts, and just the tiniest hint of bitterness. After each sip, the glass never quite makes it back to the table, just like the perfect cup of refreshing, morning coffee. I am aware that I have reviewed this particular beer more than once, but when legitimate contenders rise, it is only fair to give them a shot at the title. Though there is no (apparent) rivalry between the two Als, or their breweries, the beers themselves put up a fine argument for best coffee stouts in the craft beer world. The reigning, and still coffee stout champion, though, is Sunny Side Up. Great job Al and crew, this is world class! 9.5
The great news about this manufactured rivalry, is that for those in the central Pennsylvania area, craft beer drinkers are real winners, as we have immediate and regular access to both of these amazing beers!
Do your palate a favor, and go get some of each!