Near the center of Main Street in rural Central Pennsylvania outpost, Millheim, red-bricked General Store-like bistro ELK CREEK CAFE & ALEHOUSE opened for business in December 2007. A quaint smalltown pub with a warm, friendly atmosphere, the rustic butterscotch-walled coffeehouse is equally at home serving 11 AM weekend brunch as well as the finest homemade draught beer around.
Olden hardwood floors and wood furnishings bedeck Elk Creek and its menu features locally sourced food. The right side 20-seat bar (with a dozen tap handles, local distilled liquor and wines) counters macramé-designed artwork at the left end.
My wife and I stopped in for a plentiful Sunday brunch (Sausage, Gravy & Biscuit alongside a breakfast burrito) on a rainy Sunday morning in October ’07 after visiting nearby Penn State University for a few days. We sampled eight approachable brews as noon time approached.
Easygoing Winkleblink Wheat Ale woke up our tastebuds with tingly lemon-candied spicing and floral-daubed grapefruit notions hovering above doughy baked breading.
Lightly kilned grain malts picked up grassy hop astringency and spritzy orange tartness to saddle Elk Creek Copper Ale’s brown-breaded caramel malting. The hand-pulled nitro version diluted its wavered toffee sugaring for softly creamed Scotch-licked dewy peat earthiness.
Leafy foliage provided autumnal resonance for Elk Creek Oktoberfest 2017, a tea-like pale-toned moderation with red-orange fruit subtleties.
Stylishly ‘bold’ Great Blue Heron Pale Ale covered its splashy citric-spiced tang with peppery herbs peppering and grassy hop astringency.
Maybe the best and most popular offering, vibrant Double Rainbow India Pale Ale brought lingered lemony grapefruit tanginess to grassy dry-hopped astringency and herbal notions.
One of my faves, English-styled Brookie Brown Ale let caramel-burnt dark chocolate malts infiltrate toffee-sugared walnut and almond illusions as well as sweet vanilla wisps.
For dessert, enjoyed the five malt varieties consuming Poe Paddy Porter, where dark-roast chocolate consumed earthen truffle, raw molasses, bitter coffee and cacao nibs illusions.