Connoisseurs of finer beer that might find themselves lacking the time or means to venture to the bar might want to swing by the Silk Mill and check out the wide assortment of craft brews.

- Connoisseurs of finer beer that might find themselves lacking the time or means to venture to the bar might want to swing by the Silk Mill and check out the wide assortment of craft brews. In addition to the bevy of fine foods, the Mill Market started carrying craft brews in June 2013. While the market has a focus on beers produced close by (meaning the Mid-Atlantic area) both the cooler and the beer wall are stocked with selections from a gamut of North American microbreweries as well staple styles from Belgium. Although you can’t enjoy a beer at the Mill Market, you can take your selection across the parking lot and enjoy it along with some good eats at Cocoon coffeehouse. The best thing about the Mill Market isn’t the selection, even though it is superb. The fact that you can buy singles or mix-a-six is what makes the market shine. There are only a few “beer delis” in the lake region to begin with and most largely offer only singles of popular macrobrews and several selections each from a few craft breweries. The Mill Market takes just the opposite approach. Macrobrewed beer is non-existent in the case and only a handful of the more locally based breweries get shelf space for three or more varieties. What’s in the beer cooler typically represents the just the single best style (or at least the staple) of two dozen or so beer makers. The ability to mix-and-match a six-pack or two and take it home to enjoy really allows you expand your palate without the risk of making an investment in a six-pack of beer you end up not liking. (Been there, done that.) Similarly, it allows you to pick up a few favorites that you are already familiar with but maybe don’t have the need to buy six of at one time. For example, you might have the urge to have one Victory Golden Monkey (9.5 percent alcohol by volume) but you know you won’t drink six in one sitting, so then fill up on some lower octane brews to keep you going through the night but not put you under the table either. Another plus about the Mill Market is you can buy a refillable half-gallon glass growler for $50 (that’s the cost of the container plus your first fill-up). Then, head over to Cocoon, Glass or Settlers Inn and get it loaded with a draft, such as the house-brand Devil’s Well OccasionAle, FestivAle, or CarnivAle depending on the season. FestivAle is an American style amber ale with nice balance of hops and malt. It’s a winter beer and clocks in 6.2 percent ABV and has some citrus and spicy notes to round out the flavor. Once you finish your original selection, you can refill the growler at any of those locations for about $18 depending on the beer. While you can also get a pint of the Devil’s Well at Cocoon, a choice from the Mill Market cooler, such as Danville, PA’s Old Forge Brewing Company’s T-Rail Pale Ale is a good match for just about anything you might want to munch on from the Cocoon lunch offerings. At 5.5 percent ABV it’s a fine choice for a mid-day brew and lacking a heavy body it won’t leave you feeling sluggish either. Pale Ales, by their nature and if made correctly will pair well with just about any food and the T-Rail is a nice example of the style. The beer was a perfect match with a hearty slice of Quiche Lorraine and a bowl of Cocoon’s “Save Your Life” grain salad. The slight maltiness of the ale played nicely with the smoky bacon in the quiche and some fruity notes in the beer complimented the apricots and heavier grains in the salad. Overall, a nice pairing especially for a quick lunch. The Mill Market is located on the first floor of the Hawley Silk Mill on Bellemonte Ave (aka Routes 6 & 590) and is open Saturday through Thursday from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. and on Fridays from 9 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. while Cocoon is open daily from 7 a.m. - 6 p.m. Stop in to stock up or stick around for a brew and bite to eat...or both. Either way, it’s all good. Want to see what else I’m drinking? Follow me on Untappd at