Joe Zeidner drove more than three hours from Philadelphia to Williamsport early morning Friday, only to stand for an even longer time outside the Bullfrog Brewery in the cold chill of a January morning.
Zeidner wanted to be sure he wouldn't miss out on the Bullfrog's limited edition of Oud 15, a Flemish-style sour ale.
Bartender Andrew McDonald, right, and Bullfrog Brewery owner Steve Koch, second right, sell bottles of OUD 15 to customers at the Bullfrog Friday morning. Around 50 customers were in line at 6 a.m. for the 11 a.m. opening to purchase one of the 500 bottles of the limited edition beer.
"I was the first person in line, actually," he said.
By the time the downtown brew pub opened at 11 a.m., about 40 people had showed up for the same reason.
They included people such as Winston Heffelfinger, who drove the couple hours from Allentown to arrive at 7 a.m.
"I just came out for the atmosphere mostly," he said.
After braving the cold, patrons plunked down $60 for three wine-sized bottles of the ale.
Zeidner, for one, felt the price - and the wait - were well worth it.
He heard online that the brew pub would be offering Oud 15 on Friday and wanted to ensure he didn't miss out on buying what he called world-class beer.
"It's a Belgian, Flanders style. It's aged for two years," he said.
He also knew, he said, of the reputation of The Bullfrog for brewing good beer.
Looking around the crowded room, Zeidner said, "But we are all beer dorks."
Brent Downs, of Lancaster, is no stranger to such events.
He and his sister, Karen Phillips, of Selinsgrove, were on hand to purchase some beer as well.
Janey Williams, of Williamsport, arrived not long before The Bullfrog's door opened with her three small children in tow.
She said she was eager to buy and sample the beer.
Bullfrog manager Steve Koch said OUD is the sort of beer to be found in countryside barrooms of Belgium.
While $20 a beer is expensive for most people, he said it's a fair price given the product.
The beer, he said, is aged for two years in second generation red wine barrels to give it a distinctive flavor.
It is blended and steeped with Montmorency sour cherries and bottle conditioned with Belgian candi sugar.
"It's a totally different animal," said Zeidner, who described it as having a "sour, funky" taste.
Koch noted that Bullfrog brewer Nate Saar helped come up with the beer.
"My whole goal is to make beer that everyone else likes," Saar said as he stood in the barroom, holding a glass of the ale. "It's always nice when other people are enjoying it."
About 500 bottles were made available.
Koch said he may enter OUD 15 in the Great American Beer Festival in Denver.