Browsing articles tagged with " Craft Breweries"
How does a new craft brewer stand apart from the pack? A few have hitched their brewery onto the local food bandwagon. Sourcing the ingredients that form beer’s DNA straight from the fields around them.
Last year, more than 400 breweries opened nationwide. It shouldn’t surprise that the craft beer industry is growing at a tremendous rate. In Colorado, there are so many craft breweries they’re starting to blend together.
Kyle Carbaugh’s Wiley Brewing Company is half-finished. Right now it’s just bare floors, a framed bar, and four industrial size brew tanks in a former cinderblock factory in Greeley. The area is already home to numerous microbreweries – familiar names like New Belgium Brewing and Odell Brewing in Fort Collins. So Carbaugh says it became very clear that he needed to be different.
“At the end of the day, beer is an agricultural commodity through and through,” said Carbaugh. “There’s a huge thing going on with the local food movement and farmer’s markets and ‘know your farmer,’ that kind of thing. And the question came up to us, why isn’t anybody doing this?”
To answer Carbaugh’s question, breweries in the Pacific Northwest have perfected the art of a “farm to glass” beer. Few have sprouted elsewhere though. In southern Colorado, the idea is starting to take root.
Water, malt, hops, and yeast are the basic ingredients of beer. While breweries focus on the art of brewing, Jason Cody is perfecting the art of craft malt. Since 2008 Cody’s Colorado Malting Company has been malting barley and wheat from his own fields. He works with specialty grains too, like millet and quinoa. He then sells bags of malt to craft brewers throughout Colorado, like Kyle Carbaugh.
And business is booming.
“The first full year we were in business we sold 20,000 pounds inside the state of Colorado,” said Cody. “And our projection for this year, which we’re right on target with, is about half a million.” Even half a million pounds isn’t enough to satisfy brewery owners who want to create and sell a hyper local beer.
“There are only so many guys you can take care of. With brewers it’s repeat business,” said Cody. “So they brew a beer and then when it’s time to brew again they need more malt so they’ve got to come back and buy more malt. But then it’s hard to pick up new guys sometimes when you’re in that position, because what do you do?”
Steve Kurowski with the Colorado Brewers Guild says craft malting is just starting to take off, allowing breweries to source locally. “There’s just so much beer being brewed now, and the movement to supply local hops and local grain is just getting started,” said Kurowski. That supply hasn’t caught up with the demand yet.
Kyle Carbaugh is still trying to navigate where his supplies will come from for his unfinished brewery in Greeley. His malt will be Colorado grown, but his hops will come from Washington. Eventually he hopes to pour a completely Colorado grown glass of beer.
“It’s really all about telling a story, right?,” said Carbaugh. “Through a product or through materials.” Until his brewery opens up, it’s a story Carbaugh will still be writing.
All week, KUNC will be looking at craft beer in Colorado for our series Craft Beer Week.
Santa Fe Brewing Company, a New Mexico microbrewery, is teaming up with Central States Beverage Company, a local distributor, on a beer that will be on tap only in Kansas City bars later this year. The announcement comes in the midst of American Craft Beer Week, a nationwide celebration of local and independent craft breweries.
The brewing team includes three cicerones (or certified beer experts), two or three home brewers, and a chef. At least two of the team members are from Kansas City: Home brewer Corey Wood and chef Josh Eans. Eans, the interim executive chef at The American Restaurant, was featured in Ink magazine as one of the biggest beer nerds in Kansas City.
The style of the microbrewery’s new collaboration beer hasn’t yet been determined — but Central States marketing director Jon Poteet says it will likely be a “bigger beer” with a relatively higher alcohol content, or ABV. The beer doesn’t have a release date, but Poteet says it will likely hit Kansas City taps sometime between September and November. The beer will be conceptualized in Kansas City but brewed in Santa Fe.
Santa Fe Brewing Company started distributing its beers, which include Happy Camper IPA, Imperial Java Stout, and Santa Fe Pale Ale, in Kansas and Missouri less than a year ago. Sidenote: A friend from Texas recently gave me a six-pack of Happy Camper IPA cans, and I’ve been hoarding them in my fridge. The beer has a bright floral, hoppy flavor and comes in a really cool, minimalist can (see photo).
In other beer collaboration news, Boulevard is teaming with Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. on Terra Incognita, a Smokestack Series beer that hits shelves in mid-June.
For more on Kansas City’s blossoming beer scene, check out this beer lover’s to-do list.
Image viaSamples of Deschutes Brewery’s Chainbreaker White IPA.Our beer mugs runneth over here in St. Louis. Bend, Oregon-based Deschutes Brewery, the nation’s fifth-largest craft brewery, is set to commence Base Camp for Fanatics, its weeklong campaign to introduce new and specialty beers through tasting events, food pairings and a chance to engage with Woody, a “giant beer barrel on wheels.” Base Camp, which began Friday, May 3, with an appearance at St. Louis Microfest, continues throughout the coming week, with the brewery’s events scheduled each evening.
drink learn more, Gut Check called Erik Frank, Deschutes’ regional events manager, to get the rundown on the brewery’s first-ever St. Louis beer fest.
- St. Louis Microfest Brings 100 Breweries to Forest Park This Weekend
A city of 85,000, Bend is home to fourteen individual breweries, which is kind of crazy. But as Frank explains, Oregon — and Portland in particular — “is often referred to as ‘Beer-vana,’ and is loaded with craft breweries.” (It seems there’s more than just sullen vampires in the Pacific Northwest.)
Deschutes expanded into Missouri in 2012, and its management team views Base Camp as a chance to win over a local following. Frank points to the burgeoning craft-beer scene as the primary reason for choosing St. Louis as a host city, highlighting local favorites including Schlafly Beer and Urban Chestnut Brewing Company (3229 Washington Avenue; 314-222-0143).
In fact, on Tuesday, May 7, at the International Tap House-Soulard (1711 South Ninth Street; 314-621-4333), Deschutes is collaborating with St. Louis brewery Perennial Artisan Ales (8125 Michigan Avenue; 314-631-7300) for an event called Hats Off to Homebrewers. “It’s a grateful nod to, and celebration of, home brewers everywhere, as the craft-beer movement would not exist without them,” says Frank. Attendees can pick up home-brewing supplies and recipe books, and also sample a Belgian IPA designed by Perennial Brewmaster Phil Wymore and Deschutes Brewmaster Brian Faivre.
“Throw in a little Stump the Brewer QA session, and you have a recipe for awesome!” Frank says.
Another objective of Base Camp week is to break out new, never-before-tasted beers. When asked to describe River Ale, Deschutes’ new signature brew, Frank slyly answers our question with a question of his own: “How much flavor can you pack into a small package?” Fair enough. Frank goes on to explain that River Ale is Deschutes’ session ale, a low-alcohol-by-volume beer (4 percent) that satisfies the palate while allowing drinkers to consume several pints in one extended “session” without falling off their barstool at the end of the night. This event takes place on Monday, May 6, at Llywelyn’s Pub-Webster Groves (17 Moody Avenue, Webster Groves; 314-962-1515) and begins at 6:30 p.m. Representatives from Deschutes will be on hand to talk about their latest beer, along with may of their other selections on tap, and to share in the general merriment.
All in all, Base Camp Week is full of opportunities to try new beers from a brewery that is positioned to fit nicely with the current craft-beer scene in St. Louis.
3229 Washington Ave., St. Louis, MO
Show additional locations »
1711 S. 9th St., St. Louis, MO
8125 Michigan Ave., St Louis, MO
17 Moody Ave., St. Louis, MO
The second annual Let’s Brew! Home Brewing Series presentation and beer tasting took a different approach than last year, which focused on the process and science of brewing your own beer. This year the program featured four members of the craft brewing industry who discussed the transition from home brewing to micro brewing and craft brewing.
The night began with a brief history of beer brewing, as told through the personal history of Eric Ottaway, the general manager of Brooklyn Brewery. Although not a brewer himself, Ottaway explained how his family has been connected to brewing on multiple occasions, from the hop-growing region of Kent in the UK during the 1700s, an Ottaway Brewery in upstate New York before Prohibition, to his childhood encounters with bathtub brewers in the American ex-pat enclaves of the Middle East, where Shariah law prevents the consumption of alcohol.
Given his experiences, Ottaway provided the bulk of the historical perspective, spanning its birth in Mesopotamia to the growth of the American brewing tradition that began in Brooklyn as immigrants continued the brewing traditions learned in Europe.
“Somewhere in my DNA there is beer,” joked Ottaway.
The craft brewing industry has only been around for about 35 years and exploded in the early nineties, with over 2500 registered brewers in the US, according to the Brewers Association. Craft breweries differ from microbreweries in that they are the next level of expansion in the industry, but maintain the practices of an artisan.
“I thought that the history of the beer industry was incredibly fascinating,” said Jessica London ’13. “I didn’t realize how recently the craft brewing industry began and how fast it’s grown. A lot has happened in our lifetime.”
For those in attendance seeking advice in their home brewing endeavors, Fegley’s Brew Works’ brewer Lewis Thomas and Two Rivers’ brewmaster Wayne Milford provided the expert insight into the brewing process. Both Thomas and Milford emphasized the importance of artistry and science in the craft brewing industry.
“It’s an art to write the recipe; it’s a science to brew it,” said Thomas. Milford went on to explain that the main challenge facing craft breweries is maintaining consistency between batches. The difficulty in expanding operations lies in the expectation of the consumer that the beer will preserve the flavor associated with a craft beer while providing a reliable product. Major breweries like Anheuser-Busch employ quality controllers to regulate their brewing process for a consistent product, though beer aficionados will often cite them for poor flavor.
When asked about the types of degree that were best suited for the brewing industry, the panelists unanimously stated that a degree in chemistry, biology, or most sciences will provide a good background for quality assurance positions. As craft breweries begin to expand, the demand for quality assurance personnel with science backgrounds will increase.
If the business side of the beer industry is more up your speed, Ottaway and Brew Works’ brewery sales manager Anthony Wardle will direct you to the supply side of the industry. “To get into the beer industry on the business side, work for a beer distributor,” Ottaway said.
Wardle further explained that with the increase in the amount of craft breweries, the industry has developed a bottleneck that formed between brewers and retailers.
As Wardle puts it, “most craft brew drinkers are promiscuous (no, no, no, not that way),” in that they enjoy sampling the various
products of the many small-scale breweries. The only problem for fans of the craft brews is widening the bridge between breweries and retailers, especially as brew pubs are surpassed in numbers by straight production breweries.
His solution? Create more wholesale beer distributors that can help market the products and get them on the shelves. Any economics majors with a taste for beer and an interest in science might find that perfect career in distributing craft brews.
A rendering of Brew Hub in Lakeland.
Staff Writer- Tampa Bay Business Journal
Brew Hub LLC has signed a 50,400-square-foot industrial lease at 4100 South Frontage Road, building 700, in Lakeland.
St. Louis-based Brew Hub is a new business model in the craft brewing industry. It allows craft brewers to partner with the company and brew their beers onsite, and then have the beer packaged and distributed using the Brew Hub distribution system.
This will allow craft brewers to expand their distribution without the overhead costs of building new breweries or transporting beer across the country.
The facility, expected to start construction in May, will be built according to Brew Hub’s specifications. The company also will offer craft breweries services including sales, marketing, logistics, legal and government affairs.
The Lakeland brewery will have an initial brewing capacity of 75,000 barrels, or one million cases, annually.
Edward Miller and Dolores Seymour of Colliers International Tampa Bay represented the tenant in the transaction. Jan Boltres of Colliers International Tampa Bay represented the landlord, Aspyre Properties.
Mark Holan’s beats include commercial real estate and residential real estate.
Email to a friend
Saturday, April 06, 2013
How’s that look? Foolproof Brewery is producing local beer that’s created with activities in mind.
Watch out other craft breweries–there’s a new beer brewing company tapping into Providence this year.
Since Nick Garrison got a brewing kit from his parents for Christmas and brewed the beer for his own wedding, he’s had a passion for brewing, a passion that has led to the birth of Providence’s hot new brewery: Foolproof Brewing Company.
GolocalProv took time to speak to Nick Garrison, the founder and owner of Foolproof Brewing Company, and and their professional brewmaster, Damase Olsson.
Could you explain your brewing process?
Nick Garrison: We approach brewing a bit differently at Foolproof. Before we even start talking about ingredients, flavors, and beer styles, we look at life experiences. We actually brew our beers with specific activities in mind. The names of each of our brews reflect these sacred beer drinking experiences.
We’re basically trying to get people to think about and treat beer as more than just an alcoholic beverage, but instead as an experience that should be savored and enjoyed.
I truly believe that we as beer drinkers consciously (or subconsciously) associate beers with various experiences, weather, places, moods, and activities. At Foolproof, we really wanted to take that concept to the next level, and that’s how we developed our philosophy of experience-based brewing.
We treat each of our beers as a tribute to a specific experience, and we encourage our friends and fans to go out and create their own experience. I love the idea of somebody picking up a six pack of our beer and taking it camping, heading to the beach, or maybe just staying at home on a rainy day and then sharing that experience with us.
Are there any traditions, or special styles you follow?
Damase Olsson: I do try to use only malt, water, hops and yeast in my recipes. I will also add various other things such as vanilla or honey if that is a flavor I am looking for in the beer. As for styles, I tend to brew mostly ales (as opposed to lagers), as ales will ferment more quickly (two weeks as opposed to five to six weeks), though I do enjoy brewing good lagers when I get the chance and time in the brewery permits. One style I have consistently brewed is a Russian Imperial Stout, so maybe that would be my special style.
A secret recipe?
Olsson: Now that would be a secret, wouldn’t it? But in reality, I have no secret recipes, as each brewer can take the same ingredients and have a slightly different flavor, depending on their brewhouse. After all, with only four ingredients, it is tough to have secrets.
How long have you been brewing beer? Have you hit any road bumps or accidents along the way?
Olsson: I have been brewing non-professionally since 1993 and professionally since 2006. I haven’t had any real bumps or accidents along the way, professionally at least. As a home brewer, I have made my fair share of mistakes, one of which was dropping a batch down a flight of stairs. Glass carboys will always lose a battle with a cement floor.
Garrison: I’ve been brewing for about five years and have been running a brewery for less than three months. It was certainly a challenge pulling this whole crazy idea together. It took me four years to take Foolproof from a dream to reality, and we definitely hit some bumps along the way. Financing, equipment, licensing, branding issues…you name it. Every new brewery faces an uphill battle, but I think we’ve done a great job working through all of the hurdles.
I’ve dumped my fair share of homebrew (things don’t always work out as planned!), but as Damase [Olsson] mentioned, we can proudly say that we haven’t had to dump any beer down the drain yet at Foolproof. I think it’s a testament to Damase’s talent as a brewmaster.
What made you decide to start brewing beer?
Olsson: I enjoyed the flavors of craft beer (though it was called microbrew back then), and I had the opportunity to take a weekend course taught by URI professors when I was living in Narragansett, so I decided to give it a go. Been giving it a go ever since.
Garrison: I received my first home brewing kit as a Christmas gift from my parents. I never thought that two plastic buckets could actually change my life. Within a year of picking up homebrewing as a hobby (ok, borderline obsession), I knew this was what I had to do with my life.
What does beer mean to you?
Olsson: They say beer is what started civilization, and I tend to believe that. Beer is the great equalizer. Every society has had a grain-based beverage, whether it be from corn, wheat, sorghum, or barley. Beer is consumed by folks in every level of society, so if civilization began with beer, every society has had some form of beer, and every strata of society drinks beer. I guess you could say that beer is what keeps the world humming. Or, to paraphrase Groucho Marx, “Sometimes a beer is just a drink.”
Garrison: Working at a brewery for a living, beer is obviously a very important part of my life. In fact, it changed my life. To me, when enjoyed responsibly, beer is something that brings together family and friends, and ultimately, we drink beer because it’s fun. I really wanted the Foolproof brand to reflect that idea – good beer is something that will always bring people together.
Pairing Your Brews
In the mood for getting together with friends for a BBQ? Backyard will match the friendly, smokey atmosphere. Olsson gives us the inside scoop on how to pair Foolproof with your experience, and what to pair it with to make your taste buds tingle:
Barstool – something light in flavor, so it will not overwhelm the beer. Some folks have had it with sushi and loved it. So I would definitely say fish, chicken (not BBQ’ed but baked or lightly grilled), or even a salad.
Backyard – Now there is a BBQ beer, so something more robust, and spicy. Mexican would also work well with this beer.
Raincloud – The roasty flavors remind me of a nice roast, beef, or pork, which would all work very well with this beer.
Revery – I am going out on a limb here, but a French vanilla ice cream beer float works very well. But if you do not want to put ice cream in your beer, you can have it on the side, on top of a warm brownie.
Bringing in a Local Taste
The local brewery hopes to get even more local in the next year, looking to use Rhode Island hops in some of their batches. Currently, the brewery uses hops from all over the world. “We have hops from the Czech Republic, England, Germany, and the Northwest of the United States,” Damase says. “We hope to be using Rhode Island hops next year in some of our batches.”
Try a Taste
Get down and check out the brewery for yourself, see the brewing process, and try the beer a tour Fridays and Saturdays for $10. You can grab a taste of the golden drink at any of these locations.
Foolproof Brewing Company, 241 Grotto Avenue, Pawtucket. Click here to visit the website and for more information.
- 10 Getaways for Beer Lovers
- A Weekend for Beer Lovers
- COLLEGE GUIDE: Best Places to Get a Beer
- Great Gifts for Beer Lovers
- NEW: Get Ready for Beer Week
- NEW: Narragansett Beer Announces the Return of Oktoberfest Brew
- NEW: Travel + Leisure Names Providence #4 Beer City in America
- Narragansett Beer Takes Top Honors
- Stella Marie Soap Co. and Narragansett Beer Create Natural Soap Bars
- Miriam Expert: Is Beer Good for You?
- Don’t Miss: “Blackout” Vertical Beer Tasting at Newport Storm
Enjoy this post? Share it with others.
Email to a friend
The craft brew craze is exploding in the U.S. and small brewers are popping up in towns across the country. But keeping track of the newcomers and knowing if any brewer is worth the trip can be hard to figure out.
Now, you can jump on one of the hoppiest, most tasteful road trips that cuts all the confusion – and best of all, you don’t need to worry about doing the driving. Beer Tours USA takes people on personalized tours of breweries around the country.
Beer tours operate like winery tours and they’re gaining in popularity as Americans discover their love for craft beers.
“As they start drinking that type of beer, there might be something else they might want to try,” said Robin Fuchs, founder of Beer Tours USA. “People have fun when they are going around.”
Fuchs, a financial adviser who lives in Springfield, Ill, started Beer Tours USA in 2011 after he discovered some small-batch brewers producing some big beers. Fuchs, who says he is currently in the planning stages for his 2013 beer tours, has a host of trips to choose from, including historical themed tours. Groups typically go to between 6 to 8 craft breweries and brew pubs to look at how the beers are made and to sample its products.
His tours, offered throughout the U.S., include hotel stays, a continental breakfast, and background information on breweries. No need to bring along a designated driver — because transportation to all of the breweries is provided by a chartered bus, so guests can enjoy every last drop of the many brews they will taste along the way.
Visitors can sample beers in tasting rooms, tour breweries, and check out the town. The two-day trips start at $179.
Here are some of Fuchs’ favorite beer tours:
Potosi Brewing Company
Founded in 1852 – but then abandoned in 1972. Locals came together and re-opened it as a non-profit in 2008. “This has got to be one go the best places in America to stop if you like beer and American beer history,” said Fuchs. The National Brewery Museum is on site. The brewery has a lagering cave that was to brew the beers before the days of mechanical refrigeration. “We still use the cave to age the barrel varieties that our brewer creates,” said Larry Bowden, member of the Potosi Foundation board of directors.
Great River Brewery
Desks turned to beer taps! The brewery was designed in what was once an old school in the Hawkeye state. Here they print their own labels on their cans allowing them to be more versatile with their products. It’s a friendly atmosphere. “We encourage social drinking and meeting new people through the art of conversation,” said master brewer Paul Krutzfeldt. Some of their brews include Roller Dam Red, 483 Pale, Farmer Brown, and Redband Stout all on tap at $4 a pint. Fuchs said the brewers know their products well. “A huge amount of talent and knowledge.”
Triumph Brewing Company
Located in the “old city” area of Philadelphia, this brewery is walking distance from the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. An old building with a modern feel – “there are never-ending rooms and seating,” said Fuchs. The brewery opened its doors in 2007. Come hungry, because brewer Josh Gambrel said the tasting experience is delicious with the food they offer. “All the pairings and all the flavors,” he said. Popular on tap: The Amber and Bengal American IPA. Much of the décor came from scraps of the building renovation. Other locations are in New Hope, Penn. and Princeton, NJ.
Six Row Brewing Company
St. Louis, Missouri
Fuchs described this stop as “very small and charming.” The building was first used by the Falstaff Brewing Company, which opened in 1911. Here they offer 24 brews at a time. Brewmaster Evan Hiatt said “the tasting experience is much like you would taste a wine. We look at the color of the beer then the aroma and finally the flavor and tactile (feeling) of the beer.” They are also famous for their meatloaf. “Our main dining room is just small enough to get a pleasant aroma of good food cooking in the kitchen along with beer brewing in the kettle behind the glass curtain wall,” said Hiatt.
Galena Brewing Company
The small town of Galena had 9 breweries in the 1800s and the last one closed in 1938, according to Warren Bell, owner of the Galena Brewing Company. “(We’re) unique in connecting Galena residents and visitors with Galena’s rich brewing history.” They opened their doors in 2010. “This place explodes with fun and charisma!” said Fuchs, who complimented their live entertainment. “Walk the streets till late, and you’ll always find something fun going on.” Tastings are also included in their tours. Their Nutbrown Ale won a silver award at the 2012 World Beer Cup.
Patrick Manning is part of the Junior Reporter program at Fox News. Get more information on the program here.
SUDS CELEBRITY: It’s impossible to mention the rise of quality craft beer without mentioning San Diego. The city made a sudsy stand for itself throughout the aughts, both through very (very very very) popular festivals and a number of new taverns serving a rainbow of thick, hopsy, small-batch ales. And we don’t simply mean that people should mention San Diego in a California context; the city holds court with Portland and Denver for doing it right. But the innovation in a pint glass hasn’t slowed; it’s just trying out new spots. Say, like a hotel. Hotel Solamar, to be specific. The Kimpton property, which is snug in the Gaslamp-Ballpark nexus, is going the home-brewing route. It’s a charming turnaround from what usually happens; an ambitious foam fan will try and replicate a business’s brew at home. Now a hotel is supporting that homey, made-in-one’s-kitchen flavor, and chef Christian Graves is at the helm.
WEEKLY SOCIAL: If you’re at the Solamar from 5 to 6 p.m. on any Thursday, you’re likely to find Chef Graves hobnobbing over hops and flavors and body and such with guests. That’s “Craft Beer Hour” at the hotel. But Chef isn’t simply jumping into this as a new enthusiast; he’s a home brewer himself, meaning he’ll be able to discuss the brews guests are enjoying. (They’ll hail from San Diego’s best craft breweries, fyi, so this could be a good way to catch up with what the area offers.) He’ll also discuss home-brewing techniques, too. Call it the traditional hotel wine hour updated for those who love a really solid, made-by-hand lager or porter. Remember when chefs used to ask you if you were enjoying your meal? We rather like the idea that they’ll discuss with us our own kitchens and brewer aspirations.
Copyright NBC Owned Television Stations
Pennsylvania has a rich tradition in beer brewing. Throughout its history, hundreds of breweries have called the Keystone State home.
At one point, nearly every community across the state had its own brewery.
“Years ago, it was Schmidt’s of Philadelphia, Iron City in Pittsburgh,” said Dick Yuengling Jr., president and owner of D.G. Yuengling and Son in Pottsville. “It was all local breweries. There were three breweries in the Allentown area. Reading had the old Reading Brewery and Sunshine.”
Lebanon County was no exception – between 1759 and 1959, at least 33 breweries of different sizes operated in the county.
In the 20th century, however, Prohibition and the rise of giant brewing companies like Anheuser-Busch, Miller and
Coors conspired to drive many Pennsylvania brewers out of business. By 1994, there were just a dozen breweries scattered across the state.
Things have begun to turn around recently, and microbreweries, craft-beer breweries and brewpubs have been popping up all over the state during the past 20 years. There are currently 116 breweries and brewpubs of various sizes in Pennsylvania, according to the state Liquor Control Board.
“Pennsylvania has a very long history and tradition in brewing,” said Chris Trogner, co-founder of Troegs beer in Hershey. “It only continues to improve and improve as more craft breweries come along and offer a larger variety of beers. Pennsylvania is definitely a great brewing state, and it just continues to get
better and better.”
Unfortunately for local residents, there are currently no breweries in Lebanon County. The last local brewery, Lebanon Valley Brewing Co., ceased operating in 1959, and beer has not been produced commercially in the county since then.
That could change in the near future with Snitz Creek Brewery’s plan to open a brewpub in downtown Lebanon later this year.
If you can’t wait that long, here are a few breweries that are within easy driving distance of Lebanon
D.G. Yuengling Sons
We’ll start with America’s oldest brewery, Yuengling, maker of the beer simply referred to as Lager.
To visit the Yuengling brewery is to take a step back in time. The brewery, located on a side street a couple blocks off Route 61 in Pottsville, Schuylkill County, was built in 1831. Other than new brewing and bottling equipment, it does not appear much has changed.
Visitors to the brewery can take a guided tour that includes the bottling and canning line and underground caves that were used to keep the beer cold in the days before refrigerators. You might also see president and owner, Dick Yuengling Jr., the fifth-generation Yuengling to own the company.
The tour ends in the brewery’s
rathskellar, where tour-takers are offered two free samples of beer.
If you want more than those two beers, you’ll have to go elsewhere – the brewery does not sell any beer, whether by the glass or in cans, bottles or kegs.
Yuengling makes seven year-round beers – Lager, Light Lager, Premium, Light, Black and Tan, Lord Chesterfield Ale and Porter – and two seasonal beers – Bock and Oktoberfest.
Like many other Pennsylvania breweries, Yuengling struggled in the mid-20th century and nearly went out of business itself.
“I remember the girls in the office, they worked for my grandfather, and they would say, ‘You better find something else to do because we’re barely getting by here,’” said Dick Yuengling, who started working at
the brewery in 1958, when he was 15.
Things turned around in 1988 when Yuengling introduced its Amber Lager. Today, the company produces about 2.5 million barrels of beer a year. Because Anheuser-Busch, Miller and Coors are owned by foreign companies, Yuengling has the distinction of being the largest American-owned brewer.
Troegs Brewing Co.
While Lebanon County might not presently have a brewery to call its own, an award-winning craft-beer brewery is close by.
Troegs was founded by brothers John and Chris Trogner in Harrisburg in 1996, and moved to Hersheypark Drive, about a mile west of the Lebanon County line, in October 2011.
Last year, three of its
beers – DreamWeaver Wheat, HopBack Amber Ale and Sunshine Pils – won gold medals at the Great American Beer Fest in Denver, and the brewery was named mid-sized brewery of the year.
Troegs produces six year-round beers – DreamWeaver Wheat, HopBack Amber Ale, JavaHead Stout, Pale Ale, Perpetual IPA and Troegenator Double Bock – and five seasonal beers, including the wildly popular Nugget Nectar and Mad Elf Ale. Troegs also makes small batches of experimental beers it calls scratch beers.
Chris Trogner said Troegs doesn’t have a strategic plan when developing new beers.
“We start with what we enjoy,” he said. “We’re a craft-beer brewery so we like the experimentation of trying new ingredients and new techniques.”
Visitors to the Troegs brewery will find a large tasting room with a long bar and many tables where you can sample all of Troegs’ year-round beers, as well as seasonal and scratch beers. There is also a snackbar run by an award-winning chef and a general store where you can buy beer to go as well as merchandise.
Trogner said the brewery is running at capacity, which is about 45,000 barrels a year. Two new bottling lines and new fermentation tanks are on the way to help increase capacity, he said.
“The brewery is firing on all cylinders,” he said. “Our fermentation capacity is maxed out, so that’s why we have the new tanks coming in so we can increase capacity for next year.”
Stoudts Brewing Co.
Founded in 1987 by Ed and Carol Stoudt, Stoudts was Pennsylvania’s first microbrewery. It is located just east of Lebanon County in Adamstown, Lancaster County.
Although it is the state’s oldest microbrewery, Stoudts is definitely not one of its biggest. If running at full capacity, Stoudts could produce between 15,000 and 16,000 barrels a year. In 2012, the brewery put out about 12,000 barrels.
“Why get big?” said Ed Stoudt. “Big didn’t work so good for the dinosaurs. Bigger is not always better.”
Stoudts makes seven year-round beers, including four “flagship beers”: American Pale Ale, Gold Lager, Scarlet Lady Ale and Pilsener. The brewery also produces four seasonal beers and a variety of small-batch beers called Brewers Reserves.
Stoudts’ beers are well-renowned and have won more than 20 medals at the Great American Beer Festival.
Ed Stoudt offers free tours of the brewery on Saturdays and Sundays. In addition to the brewery, those visiting Stoudts will find a full-service restaurant and pub where you can sample many of Stoudts’ beers, a gourmet bread and cheese shop, and an antique market.
About 70 percent of Stoudts’ sales are in Pennsylvania, so if you don’t live nearby, you’re pretty much out of luck.
“We got in the beer business because I wanted a good German beer, so that’s what we started with, all German beers,” Stoudt said. “You don’t have to drink my beer, there’s a lot of good beers out there. But I’m having a great time. I’m a happy guy, and the brewery’s showing a profit.”
Swashbuckler Brewing Co.
If you’ve been to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire recently, you’re probably familiar with Swashbuckler’s beers. If you haven’t been there, there’s a chance you never heard of Swashbuckler.
Located at Mount Hope Estate, home of the popular faire, just south of Lebanon County, Swashbuckler has been brewing beer since 2000 for faire visitors.
When the brewery first opened, it was capable of producing about 100 barrels a year and brewed strictly for the faire. The brewery was expanded three times during the next 10 years and, by 2010, it was brewing about 1,500 barrels a year. About half of that was sold during the Renaissance Faire.
In 2012, the brewery was moved outside the faire’s fence to another building on the grounds of Mount Hope and expanded once again. It can now produce about 5,200 barrels a year.
“We started out with a 10-barrel system in 2000 to cover the grounds, and for many years it was sufficient,” said Christian Heim, one of the brewmasters at Swashbuckler. “We were able to make enough beer, and then for the last two years we kept running out of beer.”
Swashbuckler brews four year-round beers – Swashbuckler Gold, Red Sea Amber, Captain Rude’s Blackwater Stout and Plankwalker’s IPA. It also makes several seasonal beers, including Helles Bock, Read Beard’s Irish Red, Scotland’s Terror Scotch Ale and a heffeweisen.
The problem with Swashbuckler’s beers is availability. The brewery does not offer tours and, unless you are attending the Renaissance Faire or another event at Mount Hope, figuring out exactly when you can get your hands on a Swashbuckler beer can be difficult.
“Now, it’s like a combination lock,” Heim said. “If all the stars are aligned, can I get a beer at Swashbuckler?”
That could change later this year. Plans are being discussed to open a brewpub on the grounds of Mount Hope that would be open year-round, Heim said.
Victory Brewing Co.
Victory is a little farther drive than any of the other breweries on this list – it’ll take you an hour-plus to get there if you take the turnpike – but it’s worth the trip.
Founded by childhood friends Ron Barchet and Bill Covaleski in 1996 in a former Pepperidge Farm bakery in Downingtown, Chester County, the company started out modestly, producing about 1,700 barrels of beer a year. Since then, Victory has steadily grown. It now brews nearly 100,000 barrels annually, and its beers are distributed in 28 states.
The company makes 12 year-round beers and nine seasonal beers. If you visit the brewpub at the brewery, you might also find special beers that are only available there.
Hop Devil, an IPA; Golden Monkey, a Belgian-style golden ale; and Prima Pils, a traditional German pilsner, are the company’s top sellers, accounting for more than half of its sales. Its other beers include lagers, stouts, pale ales and weissbiers.
“We’re taking a lot of traditional ingredients, traditional processes and traditional styles of beer, and then giving them a little twist,” said Adam Bartles, Victory’s director of brewery operations.
The brewery does not offer tours of the brewing area, but there is a full-service restaurant that serves up tasty food and a long bar where you can sample nearly all of Victory’s beers. There is also a store where you can purchase kegs, cases and six-packs of beer to go, as well as merchandise such as T-shirts, hats and pint glasses.
Victory is poised to open up a second brewery in Chester County this summer that will more than quadruple its production, likely propelling Victory into a national brand. The new brewery will be located about 12 miles west of Downingtown in Parkesburg, and it will have a capacity of about 600,000 barrels a year.
email@example.com; 272-5611, ext. 145
For news about beer, follow Brad Rhen’s blog, RhenTime, at http://blogs.ldnews.com/rhentime.
Almanac Beer Co.Co-founder Jesse Friedman at Almanac Beer Co.When someone says “I don’t like beer” my reaction is almost always the same: “Challenge accepted!” It’s not that the so-called beer-hater doesn’t like beer — it’s that they don’t like any of the beers they’ve had up until now. Chances are, it’s been a pretty narrow selection of what’s out there.
We’re in an American Craft Beer Renaissance: an explosion of new bottles and tap handles, each offering a personal story and a distinct creative point of view. Craft beer-focused bars and restaurants are overrun with new choices, and new craft breweries are edging their way into restaurants and bars that might have once dismissed the idea of a “beer menu.” There has never been a better time to be a craft beer lover. If you are someone who cares about trying new flavors and possibilities, the craft beer world’s doors are wide open and welcoming.
- Biere de Chocolate: Almanac and Dandelion’s New Blend
- Beer of the Week: Boston Beer Company Revives Historic New Albion Ale
- Hold Onto Your Livers — SF Beer Week is Coming
Beer offers the widest possible range of flavors for food pairings, and the best opportunities to chase transcendent pairing moments. It easily goes places wine can’t by balancing sweet and bitter, malt and hops, yeast and water to offer the best playground for bringing food, pairings, and people together.
The modern American brewing landscape offers unprecedented choice and opportunities. The all powerful, dominant West Coast IPA is a big part of it, offering bright citrus, pine and floral aromas against a backbone of caramel malt, balancing sweetness with a bitter structure, with layers and layers of aroma hops on top. I like to pair them at dessert, pulling the citrus aromas out and using the bitterness to counterbalance a sweet dessert.
Sonya Yu/Almanac Beer Co.Brewers are rediscovering almost abandoned lost European styles, and recreating them with gusto and bravado. Track down a “Gose” — a tart German wheat beer brewed with a touch of salt. The salt adds a touch of savoriness against the wheat beers yeasty character; similar to salt on food, it pulls more savory notes from the brew and makes its flavors pop.
Or try a a spontaneously fermented beer. For those in the wine world, they’d be called “naturally fermented,” meaning that local yeast and bacteria in the air are used create a complex, tart, barrel-kissed wild beer. Inspired by (but not beholden to) the great sour beers of Belgium’s Lambic region, these sour ales mature for years in wine barrels as the biology works it way through the beer creating deep and soulful flavors.
A personal favorite is a Saison. Originating from the Belgium/French border, this farmhouse ale uses simple ingredients to create complex flavors. Based on a recipe of pale malt, wheat, light hops and a distinctly assertive yeast, these ales have aromas of banana, clove, black pepper, spice, citrus zest, and if you’re lucky, a touch of barnyard funk. I brew mine with local honey, ginger and French oak. Pac Brew Labs emphasizes the fruit character with hibiscus. Both beers are Belgian in heritage, but would be unrecognizable in the old country. They are distinctly American creations.
Unshackled from history and tradition, “does it taste delicious?” is the only thing that matters in brewing today. While everyone complains that nothing is made in America anymore, you can go to your local brewery and try something unique that doesn’t exist anywhere else. It’s pure creativity on tap.
Jesse Friedman is the co-founder and Chief Brewing Officer at Almanac Beer Co. Follow him at @beerandnosh