Functional Fractals: Mathematical Art For Your Home

Functional Fractals: Mathematical Art For Your Home

I introduced my kids to fractals. We started out simply: drawing a triangle, locating the points, and repeating the pattern as far as we could on a sheet of paper. We drew a window and made a fractal by repeating the window smaller and smaller in the upper left quadrants.

Fractals are repeating patterns. They are found in nature in objects like bird feathers, tree branches, our lungs, ferns, and nautilus shells. They are found in music, of course, as music is mathematics we can hear and fractals are mathematical concepts. Until recently, the idea of fractal mathematics was thought to be too abstract to even think about too much. It wasn’t until Mandelbrot approached the subject and broke it all down that the world was able to embrace this seemingly complex study and view it as simply many small parts repeating and completing the whole. Fractal geometry is all around us and it is beautiful.

Interestingly enough, it appears that the Ancients may have had a better grasp of the fractal nature of life than what we did until Mandelbrot’s “discovery”. Hercules fought the Hydra, a mythical beast whose heads would split into two every time one was cut off. A legend about the inventor of chess portrays him creating this new game for a king and the king enjoying it so much he rewards the inventor with anything he wants. He chooses a grain of rice (or wheat, depending on the version) to be placed on the first square of the chess board, two grains on the next, four on the next, and eight on the next square, and so on and so forth, until the quantity and weight of the grains had become too large to measure. This exponential growth is a fractal concept.

There is quite an interesting video on TED, a talk by Ron Eglash on ‘The fractals at the heart of African designs’. It’s a short 16 or so minutes long and well worth your viewing time. He explains fractals much better than I just have (I’m not a mathematician!) and goes on to show photos and diagrams of fractals at play in African villages and artwork.

So with all this amazing fractal art around us, why not display some functional fractals in your own home? Here are just a few options available. Click through to the original pins that will take you to vendors selling these goods. These are not sponsored pins.

 

Functional Fractals: Mathematical Art For Your Home

Functional Fractals: Mathematical Art For Your Home
Functional Fractals: Mathematical Art For Your Home
Functional Fractals: Mathematical Art For Your Home
Functional Fractals: Mathematical Art For Your Home
Functional Fractals: Mathematical Art For Your Home
Functional Fractals: Mathematical Art For Your Home
Functional Fractals: Mathematical Art For Your Home
Functional Fractals: Mathematical Art For Your Home
Functional Fractals: Mathematical Art For Your Home
Functional Fractals: Mathematical Art For Your Home
Functional Fractals: Mathematical Art For Your Home
Fractal Foundation Online Course is an excellent website to teach you more about fractals. I highly recommend a visit to explore more because math is fun and beautiful!

This selection of functional fractal art and home goods is only scratching the surface of what’s available. Do you have any ideas to add to this list?


Easy Weeknight Pasta and Sausage Skillet Recipe

Easy Weeknight Pasta and Sausage Skillet Recipe

Despite the fact that I enjoy slow cooking and think nothing of marinading pork adobo for three days, taking a week to cure a batch of bacon, or allowing a slow rise of dough in refrigerator before baking, sometimes a quick and easy meal is the way to go. We’re always busy here in our household doing something. School, field trips and outings, entertaining guests, the endless chores that come with owning a largish country house containing four humans and four four-legged animals, work and blogging, playing and having fun … rest assured that just because we are here all day long, it isn’t always easy to keep everything balanced!

Easy Weeknight Pasta and Sausage Skillet Recipe

Ingredients, clockwise from top left: olive oil, garlic, chorizo sausage, pipette pasta, broccolini

There are also my personal hobbies like eating reading books, cooking and baking, and current events.

Yes, I did list current events as a hobby. I have breaking news alerts set up on my phone on certain topics so I know the very latest about what’s happening in the great, big world out there. I’ve enjoyed current events since we regularly had to choose one to share with our class in high school and I’ve been hooked ever since. Right now I’m staying on top of MH370, the Ukraine situation, and a spreading Ebola virus. Oh, and did you hear that the Black Plague was pneumonic and not bubonic?! My world is rocked right now.

Seriously, you should read that article. Fleas didn’t cause it! Amazing! I am fascinated by viruses and have eaten read The Hot Zone about a dozen times, in case you were wondering.

Some days, all I have the energy to accomplish in terms of dinner is a quick and easy meal and this one fits the bill. It makes more than enough for this family of four to eat several times throughout the week. This base recipe stands well on its own but can be easily dressed up to add variety when eating it as leftovers. Add in your favorite seasonings, sauces, or dips to the leftovers for a new spin on a basic, yet satisfying meal. A friend suggested using meatless chorizo, a great idea for vegetarians!

Easy Weeknight Pasta and Sausage Skillet Recipe

Voilà! Dinner is served.

This is a great and easy weeknight pasta and sausage skillet recipe that shouldn’t take you any more than 30 minutes from start to finish. It’s a keeper!

[yumprint-recipe id='4']


The 16 Best Pinterest Accounts To Follow Right Now | Fine Craft Living

The 16 Best Pinterest Accounts To Follow Right Now

Pinterest is one of my favorite internet tools. If you’re a visual person who enjoys looking at organized lists of pretty pictures and you’re not on Pinterest, you should get on that. One of the best new-ish features on Pinterest is that there are unlimited “secret” boards so I can pin research for articles, gift ideas for friends and family, and all the exercise-oriented  stuff that I never use and no one is the wiser. 

Those are my secret boards. Guess they’re not so secret anymore!

Fine Craft Living

An all-around beautiful beer.

If you’re new to Pinterest, it can be daunting to get started. Where do you begin? What kind of boards should you create and who should you follow? For beginners, create whatever kind of boards make you happy! You can always edit them later and you really can’t go wrong. 

Pinterest will recommend boards and pinners for you to follow but if you’re looking for a few of my favorite pinners on Pinterest, here are some. And feel free to follow me, too. I recently passed 5,000 followers on Pinterest which is a huge milestone for me and I’m humbled and thrilled that so many people out there find my pins inspirational enough to feed their addiction along with me.

Because it is. Addicting. Pindiction?

I briefly tried to run two Pinterest boards, one for myself (Amber Roth De Grace) and one for Fine Craft Living. That was just too much, what with homeschooling two kids and freelance writing and running a household. I only have so many hours in the day, you guys! I’m just using my personal Pinterest now and have boards like Eat, Go, Drink, Hair, Self-Decoration, and Home.  As you can see, these already align well with what Fine Craft Living is all about. If you’re on Pinterest, check me out!  

The 16 Best Pinterest Accounts To Follow Right Now | Fine Craft Living

Amber Roth De Grace

Here are a few of my favorite boards and why you should follow them. There are many other fantastic ones out there but these are some whose content I re-pin most often.

Half Baked Harvest: food and recipes

The 16 Best Pinterest Accounts To Follow Right Now | Fine Craft Living

Half Baked Harvest

 

  PurePearls.com: pearls, gemstones, jewelry, travel, fashion

The 16 Best Pinterest Accounts To Follow Right Now | Fine Craft Living

PurePearls.com

 

 how sweet eats: food and recipes, home goods, arts and crafts, design, fashion

The 16 Best Pinterest Accounts To Follow Right Now | Fine Craft Living

how sweet eats

 

  one part gypsy: clothing, bohemian everything, home goods

The 16 Best Pinterest Accounts To Follow Right Now | Fine Craft Living

one part gypsy

 

 Plum Deluxe: travel, food, home goods, quotes, design

The 16 Best Pinterest Accounts To Follow Right Now | Fine Craft Living

Plum Deluxe

 

 Kathryn Meeker: travel

The 16 Best Pinterest Accounts To Follow Right Now | Fine Craft Living

Kathryn Meeker

 

 Bahamas Ministry of Tourism: all things Bahamas, food, travel, design, fashion

The 16 Best Pinterest Accounts To Follow Right Now | Fine Craft Living

Bahamas Ministry of Tourism

 

 Stone Brewing Co.: craft beer, homebrew, travel, design, food and recipes

The 16 Best Pinterest Accounts To Follow Right Now | Fine Craft Living

Stone Brewing Co.

 

 Heather Physioc: vegetarian food and recipes, design, fashion

The 16 Best Pinterest Accounts To Follow Right Now | Fine Craft Living

Heather Physioc

 

 Four Peaks Brewing Company: craft beer, homebrew, food and recipes, design

The 16 Best Pinterest Accounts To Follow Right Now | Fine Craft Living

Four Peaks Brewing Company

 

 Haiku Kwon: travel, food and recipes, quotes

The 16 Best Pinterest Accounts To Follow Right Now | Fine Craft Living

Haiku Kwon

 

 My Life’s A Trip: travel

The 16 Best Pinterest Accounts To Follow Right Now | Fine Craft Living

My Life’s A Trip

 

 Keegan Adriance: food and recipes, design, home goods, fashion

The 16 Best Pinterest Accounts To Follow Right Now | Fine Craft Living

Keegan Adriance

 

 Norrie Vladuchick: food and recipes, costuming, fashion, design, handcraft goods

The 16 Best Pinterest Accounts To Follow Right Now | Fine Craft Living

Norrie Vladuchick

 

 Megan Powell: craft beer, food and recipes, fashion, home goods, quotes

The 16 Best Pinterest Accounts To Follow Right Now | Fine Craft Living

Megan Powell

 

 Tabitha Phillips: food and recipes, childhood, home goods, fashion, handcraft goods

The 16 Best Pinterest Accounts To Follow Right Now | Fine Craft Living

Tabitha Phillips

 

  What are your favorite Pinterest accounts to follow?

4 Things You Maybe Didn't Know About Spring | Fine Craft Living

4 Things You Maybe Didn’t Know About Spring

Spring is knocking on the door.

4 Things You Maybe Didn't Know About Spring | Fine Craft Living

Full-breasted and proud robins are gathering, inspecting the ground for early worms. A warmer wind sweeps through still-naked and weary branches, causing them to shiver and tap beats against each other. A veined pattern can be seen on the ground at the end of one corner of our property, almost like a caul, signs of a mole burrowing under ground that is beginning to soften into a delightfully mushy mess.

4 Things You Maybe Didn't Know About Spring | Fine Craft Living

Spring is the time for rebirth. It is a time to open the windows, sweep out the cobwebs of a long winter, and let hope know that it needs only hang on for a little while longer until sunbaked days return. It is a time to prepare, to cultivate, to cleanse and purify. Surely winter is not death, it is a restful sleep, a season for rejuvenating pause. Spring is the reawakening and it is nearly upon us.

4 Things You Maybe Didn't Know About Spring | Fine Craft Living

Since the earliest times, Spring has been an important part of worship and life. The Bible has Jesus, crucified and then resurrected after three days, an everlasting symbol of Life itself. Ancient Egyptians had the Mother goddess Isis, who represented fertility and birth. While Bacchus is the god of drunkenness and revelry, his association with Dionysus, who is the god of wine and fertility (among other things), and that his festival occurred shortly before the Vernal Equinox, can be seen as another ancient celebration of Spring. 

4 Things You Maybe Didn't Know About Spring | Fine Craft Living

Here are four things you maybe didn’t know about spring.

4 Things You Maybe Didn't Know About Spring | Fine Craft Living

1. Vernal means “spring” and equinox means “equal night”. During the vernal equinox (or autumnal equinox, if you’re on the other side of the equator), the center of the sun is positioned directly over the equator, causing both day and night to be nearly the same amount of time. The date of equal day and night actually occurs before vernal equinox but it is the day in which the sun rises due east and sets due west, and is the day that begins six months of light at the North Pole and six months of darkness at the South Pole.  If it doesn’t make sense that the sun rises and sets due east and west but the actual date when day and night are equal are the same, keep in mind that our orbit is not a true circle but rather is an ellipsis.

2. There is all indication that the Sphinx was built facing due east, at precisely the point where the ancients knew the sun would rise on the vernal equinox. This portrays intimate knowledge of the heavens and a reverence enough for the changing of seasons and rebirth of spring that a large monument was built to keep watch for it year after year, as it still does today.

3. Zoroastrianism celebrates their New Year, or Nowruz, on vernal equinox. This practice dates back thousands and thousands of years and is still common in areas with those of Persian descent, like Afghanistan, Iran, and surrounding countries. All across the world, before Nowruz, houses are thoroughly cleaned (spring cleaning) and families prepare for the upcoming year. While Nowruz is a secular holiday at this point, its roots probably originated with Zoroastrianism because it is held that Zoroaster himself introduced vernal equinox as the time for new beginnings.

4. Even if you’re not a believer in astrological symbology, you’ll probably recognize their names as constellations that can be seen in the night sky. Since ancient times, man has looked to the skies for signs. In our modern age, astrology and astronomy mix and mire and share many like morsels of knowledge. In the current stage of our Earth’s precession, the sun presides in Pisces as vernal equinox dawns. The Age of Aquarius is yet to come. Astronomically, we will enter Aquarius around 2597. Astrologically,  it is debatable. 

I know I’m looking forward to welcoming all the splendors of Spring.

What is your favorite way of greeting and preparing for Spring?

Germaine’s Cheesy Bread Recipe

I had a request last week for this recipe, which I shared a version of once before and is lost on the internet somewhere. This comes from “The A.W.E.F.U.L. Cookbook” (The Association of Walking Epicurean Females Usually Lunching), that I purchased in 2007 in St. Lucia, while honeymooning. All credit goes to the cookbook.

I wish I had a photo but, alas! I do not. I will be making this again soon, though…

[yumprint-recipe id='3']

Photo courtesy of Austin Psych Fest

Austin Psych Fest 2014

It is official! Our lodging has been secured for the 7th annual Austin Psych Fest 2014 in Austin, TX. I can’t wait to share a bunch of photos from the charming place we will be staying. We found it on Airbnb and it is nearly the same price per night as if we were staying in a budget hotel except it’s a full house to ourselves. I prefer unique lodging when we travel, whether it’s a house rental or a hotel offering something special. This is our first time choosing a rental through Airbnb and the site makes it convenient to choose a suitable place, the transaction is secure and easy, and communication with the host(s) is efficient – all done right through their site. 

Photo courtesy of Airbnb

Logo courtesy of Airbnb

What is Austin Psych Fest?

Well, it is a music festival. This will be the third multi-day festival my husband and I have attended together, the others being Roadburn Fest (Tilburg, Holland) and Maryland Death Fest (Baltimore, MD). We travel for beer and we travel for music. Austin is a city that offers some of the best of both those worlds and we are stoked to gather with other musically like-minded individuals to listen to, view, and experience this psychedelic festival.

Where is it located?

Austin Psych Fest will be held at Carson Creek Ranch again this year. It’s an outdoor venue featuring beautiful natural elements like meadows, pastures, and it’s right on the Colorado River. There are camping areas right on the Ranch (we aren’t camping), three stages with light shows

… light shows! …

and the expected array of band merch, local food, handcrafted clothing and goodies, and art exhibits. 

Why am I looking forward to attending Austin Psych Fest?

For starters, like I mentioned above, I love traveling, especially for music and craft beer. Food is high on that list, too, and I can’t wait to sink my teeth into some of what Austin has to offer. I’m obviously too young to have had a chance to attend one of the most famous music festivals, Woodstock, but I can’t help but feel that Austin Psych Fest embodies much of the liberated, free, acid-tinged, groovy experience that Woodstock must have been. 

I’ll be covering the event for a digital magazine through mobile photography, so I’m thrilled to be doing that to share with everyone who views that publication. I hope to be writing about the event, too – a recap of this year’s festival and tips on how to plan your own trip next year. 

Because that’s one reason why I enjoy writing, to share ideas on how to best experience a new place or event.

What bands will I be hearing at Austin Psych Fest 2014?

Okay, you guys. This is where I start getting tingly with excitement. Some of my favorite bands will be performing at this year’s event and I’m overjoyed to have the opportunity to see so many of them in the same place. Here are just a few, with sound clips for you to have yourself a little listen.

Photo courtesy of Austin Psych Fest

Official poster courtesy of Austin Psych Fest

 

The Black Angels – I’ve seen them a few times before. Excellent every time, everywhere.

 

 

The Black Lips – You may recognize this particular song from a T-Mobile commercial that’s currently airing.

 

 

Graveyard - I love Swedish rock. Enough said. I’ve been following these guys for years and they continue putting out gold.

 

 

Dead Meadow – I’ve seen them several times and they are always on my frequent listening rotation.

 

 

Kadavar

 

 

Terakaft – Tuareg guitarists. Amazing stuff.

 

These are only a very small sampling of the incredible artists that will be bringing their psychedelic magic to Austin Psych Fest 2014. The current full line-up can be viewed here.

So when is Austin Psych Fest?

May 2-4, 2014. 

Are tickets still available?

Yes! Who knows how long they’ll last, though. Regular admission for the entire festival is right around $157.59 and a deluxe pass is $260.59. 

Weekend camp passes cost around $80 and do not get you into the festival. Likewise, if you want to camp, you’ll need to pay the additional cost for a spot.

Is Austin Psych Fest on social media?

Of course.

Facebook

Twitter

YouTube

Instagram

Soundcloud

Webpage

What should we check out in Austin while we’re in town? We’ll have a few extra days to explore!

Als of Hampden and Pizza Boy Brewing Company in Enola, PA

Al’s of Hampden and Pizza Boy Brewing Company in Enola, PA

I was invited to attend a beer writers’ meetup this past weekend by local celebrity, Sara Bozich (check out her site for all that’s hip in the Harrisburg area). There were several bloggers there who I’ve followed for quite awhile online and never met before so this was a fun opportunity to put voices to faces and names that up to this point have just been pictures and text on a computer screen.

We met at Al’s of Hampden in Enola, PA, and I was thrilled to have an excuse to check out their restaurant and brewery, Pizza Boy Brewing Company, for the first time. Their new facility is right around the corner from their previous location but they’ve gained a tremendous amount of space in the trade-up in brewing capacity, kitchen area, and seating area for patrons. During warm weather, you can sit on the  enclosed patio which has several garage-style doors that are opened to bring the outside ambiance into where you’re seated.

Als of Hampden and Pizza Boy Brewing Company in Enola, PA

Arck Angel 4IPA. Yes, a quad IPA. This big beer was right around 14% abv!

Al’s of Hampden’s menu includes a variety of pizzas, strombolis, sandwiches, subs, and meals. My husband and I split The Wissler stromboli, which had pepperoni, ham, banana peppers, and garlic oil inside. We opted for a cajun spice on top and it was served with the standard side of marinara sauce. What a delicious stromboli! It had a balance of sweet, tangy, spicy, crunchy, and creamy. I’d order this over and over.

The Wissler stromboli with cajun dusting

The Wissler stromboli with cajun dusting

It looks like there are right around 100 rotating taps at Als of Hampden, many of the options being Pizza Boy Brewing Company beer that is brewed on-site. While there were some fab choices like Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA, Weyerbacher Heresy, and Bell’s Two Hearted, I chose to sample the Pizza Boy offerings. I had a Pizza Boy/VooDoo collaboration that was a black farmhouse saison, aged in wine barrels. I also tried their Citra IPA, Arck Angel 4IPA, and tasted the Hoptart, an unusual sour-type beer brewed with grapes ( must?) and dry hopped.

Al’s of Hampden’s new building has been open for almost a year and when we arrived at 1pm on a Saturday, it was packed. Order your beer by its number on the board above the bar. I think using electronic screens for menu boards is so smart and while I’ve been to places that use them where it’s hard to read because of glare from windows, the menu at Al’s of Hampden is crisp, clear, and easy to read. The restrooms were clean and even with so many people at the restaurant and bar, there were no waiting lines. Lines are the worst, aren’t they? 

Following are shots I took while touring Pizza Boy Brewing Company. They have a lot going on back there and I would keep my eyes and ears open for more of them in the future, if I were you! 

I don’t make it up to Harrisburg often but would absolutely venture up there again just to go to Al’s of Hampden and have more Pizza Boy beer. If you want to know more of what’s happening in the capital city area, check out sarabozich.com and Stouts and Stilettos.

If you’re interested in making a weekend (or longer) trip to Central PA, there are many excellent options! I’ll be posting some sample itineraries for you here on Fine Craft Living within the next month or so.

Als of Hampden and Pizza Boy Brewing Company in Enola, PA

The Details for Al’s of Hampden and Pizza Boy Brewing Company

Address: 2240 Millenium Way, Enola, PA  17025

Phone: 717.728.3840

Facebook

Twitter

Website

Hours: Sunday-Wednesday 11am-10pm and Thursday-Saturday 11am-11pm

 

Henry Miller Sultzbach (1867-1936) - De Grace line

A Genealogy Quest for the Roth-DeGrace Family Tree

Ever since I was young I have been fascinated by the history of my family. Where did we come from? What did my ancestors do for a living? Did they love to travel? What scandals were they involved in? What mysteries can I find and hopefully solve?

One memorable assignment I had to do in elementary school was to choose an elderly relative and interview them. I interviewed my great-grandmother, Effie Kopp Smith. She was living in a nursing home at the time and I loved visiting her – although I remember disliking giving her hugs because she had these mischievous little chin hairs that tickled my face! She wore thick glasses, smelled of camphor, and had the jolliest laugh I knew in my then-short lifetime. 

Henry Miller Sultzbach (1867-1936) - De Grace line

Henry Miller Sultzbach (1867-1936) – De Grace line

We often think of genealogy in patriarchal terms: who your father’s father’s father was. The men. I’ve forever had a fascination with my matriarchal lineage. Any culture who honors the Mother as a person of power and wisdom is one to which I gravitate. Great-grandma Effie was my mother’s mother’s mother. My grandmother, Betty Jane Smith Matthews, is still living, still a firecracker, and still living in the same house that she was born in going on a century ago, in 1926. Isn’t that amazing?

That kind of living history excites me and that interview with Effie was the first time I ever had a taste of genealogy and realized how interesting the study of one’s past is. Effie told me about when she was a little girl, how she would run beside wagons and chase them. I’m sure my mom still has that interview somewhere – I need to look for it. 

Richard Martin Roth II and Debra Lee Matthews Roth – Roth line 

Periodically over the years I would try to research our history here and there using the internet. More often than not, I’d run into dead ends where sites like ancestry.com would tease me, telling me they had the information I was looking for but that I’d have to pay to access it. I’d put off spending the honestly nominal fee and not be able to find any other information and give up for another two years.

About a month ago, I decided to just pay the cost for a month’s membership to ancestry.com and I wish I would have done so years ago.

Ancestry.com has a treasure trove of information available for those who pay for membership by the month or year. I went from not knowing who my maternal grandfather’s parents’ names were to being able to trace their line the whole way back to them being Sheriffs of Nottingham (yeah.. the antagonist in the Robin Hood story) and even traced Grandpa Matthews’ line back to the Vikings in Norway and Sweden. 

 My husband and I assumed that the name De Grace was French, since we knew Grandpa Joseph De Grace came from Canada, New Brunswick, to be exact. Imagine my surprise when, just last night, I discovered that the De Grace family wasn’t in New Brunswick for long before emigrating to the United States – and before that they came from Palma, Mallorca! Spain! They were the Gras family over there. Amazing!

My biggest roadblocks so far have been military records, my Cherokee bloodline, and illegitimate children/adoptions. 

Some may see researching genealogy as a time-consuming interest, and indeed it is. But it’s one that is important to me. I want to put faces to names and add names to the tree … our tree. I want my kids to know where they’ve come from. Someday, I want to retrace our roots with heritage travel. I want to take my parents to see where our ancestors walked, lived, worked, breathed, loved, and died.

I’ll be adding genealogical information on here periodically, both personal tidbits that I find interesting in my own tree and tips for you to discover your own roots. 

Have you researched your own genealogy? 

(I am not affiliated or sponsored by ancestry.com. I do hope to become an affiliate for them at some point! I promise to let you know when and if our relationship changes.)

The Chocolate Fetish | Fine Craft Living

Valentine’s Day Gift Idea – The Chocolate Fetish

The Chocolate Fetish, in Asheville, NC, is one of my favorite chocolatiers. I first tried their handcrafted deliciousness while on a trip with my husband on one of our anniversaries. I purchased some for my mom, some for my mother-in-law, and some for myself. I’ve gotten at least one box a year since then and it remains one of my favorite crafters of fine chocolate.

The Chocolate Fetish | Fine Craft Living

I’m particular to their Ecstasy Truffles collection, with flavors like Blossom (with a crystallized violet petal on top and infused with the likes of lemon and saffron), Ancient Pleasures (dusted and infused with cayenne), and Wine & Roses (topped with a crystallized rose petal and infused with red wine). 

A dozen truffles in a regular box costs $24.95 before shipping fees. Gift options and many other wares are available.

 

Gunpowder Falls Brewing Company | Fine Craft Living

Gunpowder Falls Brewing Company

Gunpowder Falls Brewing Company is located off Route 83, close to the Mason-Dixon Line on the Pennsylvania side in New Freedom. Gunpowder Falls’ namesake is actually a sizable state park in Maryland, between the brewery and Baltimore, where owner Martin Virga opened two breweries over the years and was owner of one of them. While many American breweries specialize in ales, Martin focuses only on lagers. He apprenticed and was formally trained as a brewer in the lagering Motherland itself, Germany, and brews his beer according to the German Purity Laws, or Reinheitsgebot.

The Reinheitsgebot states (among other things) that beer may only contain water, barley, and hops. Nothing else. Gunpowder Falls only uses these ingredients and no adjuncts in their beers.

What can you expect when you walk into Gunpowder Falls Brewing Company? It is a simple and functional brewery and tasting room that is located in an industrial strip complex facing the highway. When you arrive, you’ll enter at the rear of the strip and drive around for parking out front or in an overflow lot to the side. It’s right beside a cheerleading facility, Titanium Athletics. Don’t expect fancy decor and fine dining. Do expect outstanding lagered beer and a rotating selection of food options, clean bathrooms, and friendly faces ready to pour you a pint, fill your growler, or sell a case. During football season they  have the game on for you to watch on Monday nights and their normal business hours as of February 2014 are Friday 4pm-8pm and Saturday-Sunday 1pm-7pm. They have special events going on like beer release parties (which I highly recommend) and chili cook-offs.

I was invited to stop out for a tour and tasting and was thrilled to do so since I’d tried their Pilsner and Dunkel before and enjoyed them immensely. I was there a few days before a release party for their Schwarzbier and was able to give that one a taste along with their other flagship beers. One thing I like about Gunpowder Falls Brewing is that they focus on brewing a quality beer with quality ingredients and brewing it with consistency. They’re only making a few beers (all lagers) and they’re all right on style.

What’s the difference between a lager and an ale? There are several and here they are in a tiny little nutshell. A lager is bottom-fermented at cooler temperatures and takes longer before it’s ready for consumption. An ale is top-fermented at warmer temperatures and is often ready to drink quite soon after brewing. 

They do their own bottling in the back of the warehouse where the brewing happens. It smells beautiful, of course. The air had a lingering malty sweetness despite it not being a brewday when I was there. It is clean and tidy. If there are any doubts that Martin was trained in Munich, the labels on the brew panel that are all in German should lay those doubts to rest. There is plenty of room for Gunpowder Falls Brewing to expand in the future but in the meantime there are always at least two beers for you to taste at the brewery.

There will soon be a release party for the Export Hell, which “has a malt profile similar to the Pils, but over all is slightly sweeter (maltier)”* than their pilsner. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for more information on that.

 

 

It looks like as of right now, Gunpowder Falls beer is only distributed in parts of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Washington DC. Here in York, PA, it can be found in beer distributors and bars. I actually have a case of their Dunkel in my own refrigerator right now. 

Check out Gunpowder Falls Brewing Company’s lagers if you live in the area or are just passing through. Do you prefer lagers or ales? Do you have a favorite? Share it with me below!

The Details

Address: 15556 Elm Drive, New Freedom, PA  17349

Phone: 717.759.0330

Hours: Friday 4pm-8pm and Saturday-Sunday 1pm-7pm

Facebook

Twitter

Celebrating all that is finely crafted in life.