Saturday, December 17, 2005

Tröegs HopBack Amber Ale

Some years ago – never mind how long precisely – my wife and I took a day trip out to Lancaster, PA, with my mom, my brother and his wife. To be truthful, she wasn’t even D’Wife yet, just some chick I met in a bar; who lived in Jersey; whom I could mooch rides down to the shore with. The five of us were in my brother’s Crown Vic: Donna between me and Mom in the back; Jeff in front of me, at the wheel.

As we were returning on PA Rt 30., we passed one of those quintessential Amish buggies. The driver was in full “Witness” mode, with the back pants, blue shirt, suspenders and straw hat.

My mom, having seen the movie many times and spent an equal number of hours combing through Amish barns, looking for rare treasures, remarked, “That guy’s not married.”

“How can you tell?” Donna asked.

Jeff shot me a look in the rear view that said, with a roll of his eyes, “Here we go.”

“Well it’s easy. Amish men aren’t allowed to grow beard until they get married,” Mom explained.

“I heard something like that.” The hook has been set.

“Yes, they’re very strict about marriage, and sex. That’s why they’re always building barns.”

“Huh, I don’t get it.”

“Well, they believe – if ‘believe’ is the right word – that those activities should be kept outside, out of the purity of the home; since it’s kind of an ‘animal’ thing that you’re doing. So they have to do it outside.”

“I knew they were backwards, but come on.”

Jeff looked back again, “Mom’s reeling her in.”

“Now some families, just starting out, don’t have barns yet, so they have to go in the buggies. Have you noticed that there are two kinds of buggies? The ‘convertibles’ like that guy was driving are for single men, so the folks can keep an eye on him. The ‘hard tops’ are for married people, so they can have ‘alone time’.”

By this time Donna was at the rail; Mom had the gaffing hook ready.

“But just to keep everything ‘flowing’ throughout the community, they have to do it while the buggy is moving. You know they can’t have buggies stopped all over Lancaster County while people are screwing. It would be bad for the tourism, plus the traffic would be terrible. So, Donna, if you ever see a hardtop buggy, and it looks like no one is driving …”

The Gods of Coincidence smiled on us. At that exact moment, we passed such a vehicle. The driver was sitting well to the back, so it looked like it was on auto-pilot.

“Oh … my … God.,” Donna was equally fascinated, embarrassed and exasperated, “They’re …?”


Get the net.


Harrisburg is a little further west, down the Turnpike from Lancaster, but it’s great country, especially if you ride. Bikes (road or mountain), cycles (cruisers, choppers, or motocross), horses, it doesn’t matter, this is great riding country.

I first heard of Tröegs HopBack Amber Ale, from an ad in DirtRag magazine. It’s really good, comparable to Magic Hat Blind Faith. It has a great rich amber color, a thick creamy head, not too fizzy. It has some nice orange, mango flavors, with a sharp hoppiness I always enjoy.

I had a couple after a wonderfully sloppy ride on my home trails. It was a nice warmer, after getting out of my cedar swamp water soaked and pine-needled gear.

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