Downtown brewery’s beers named to state’s top 25 list

MIKE REUTHER/Sun-Gazette From left, Alicia Koch, Nate Saar, Steve Koch and Bob Koch gather around the bar, with its seven top-25 beers, at Bullfrog Brewery.

Seven of the top 25 beers brewed in the state come from an address in downtown Williamsport.

Besides rolling out such top-rated beers as Le Roar Grrrz Druiven and Et Tu Brut, the Bullfrog Brewery also has been named to the list of the top 100 brewers in the world.

Bob Koch and his son, Steve, are proud of the latest accolades to be bestowed upon their business, but it’s not what they expected.

“I was certainly taken aback,” said Steve. “We weren’t trying to be on any of these lists.”

After all, the world of craft beer is a competitive one, with nearly 200 brewpubs in the state and more than 22,500 brewers worldwide. Bob said it boils down to being open to coming up with different beers for customers who come to their downtown restaurant establishment at 229 W. Fourth St.

“We allow our brewers to experiment,” said Bob. “They get experience. They see what works.”

Bob and his son agree that it’s simply part of their business. Beer trends come and go, and many beer drinkers have discriminating tastes.

“There used to be wine snobs,” said Steve. “Now there are beer snobs.”

Right now, India Pale Ales are “all the rage,” he noted.

Customer demand calls for brew pubs such as The Bullfrog to put out a revolving list of beer selections. All the beers brewed are barrel-aged wild fermented ales, said Steve. Brew master Nate Saar said coming up with new flavors is a never-ending process.

“We like to experiment,” said Saar, who has been with The Bullfrog for more than a decade. “You have to have the will do different things.”

Saar credits brothers P.J. Williams and Ryan Williams with helping him with the brewing process. He said anywhere from 15 to 20 percent of the brew pub’s beers are new ones.

The five other Bullfrog’s beers on the top seven list are: Le Roar Grrrz, Le Roar Grrrz Kriek, Le Roar Grrrz Apricot, Le Roar Grrrz Aardbei, and Le Roar Grrrz Plum.

For all the praise heaped upon their beers, Bob made it clear that The Bullfrog, which last year celebrated its 20th year in business, is above all a restaurant. In addition to food and a selection of beers, The Bullfrog offers up musical entertainment many evenings.