A new brewery seems to be opening in Pennsylvania every week, and as such, there is no shortage of memorable, if not amazing, craft beer being brewed in the Keystone State. The breweries do a great job at distinguishing themselves, and many open their doors to guests to show the process and introduce their wares. This is our list of the top 10 breweries you have to visit in 2017.
Hidden River Brewing Company
Hidden River Brewing Company—tucked into a quaint spot in Douglassville near the Schuylkill River—is still somewhat of a hidden gem in Pennsylvania’s burgeoning craft-beer scene. (How appropriate. “Hidden River” is the translation of the Dutch term “Schuylkill.”) From its setup in the 300-year-old Brinton Lodge, Hidden River serves an array of offerings in both food and drink. The tap list contains old-world styles brewed traditionally, as well as impressive takes on hop-heavy IPA. It’s worth a stop for any brewer or beer lover looking for a few drinks paired with the farm-to-table menu—but do remember to BYO food on Sundays!
Levante Brewing Company
Fresh from releasing its first canned beer, Levante Brewing Company has gone into 2017 with momentum. The taproom in West Chester has become the go-to spot for the local craft-beer community, and promotes a laid-back atmosphere that is conducive to all-day hangouts. The growing brewery and barrel program should continue its success, especially with positive reviews spreading via word of mouth.
Aurochs Brewing Company
Aurochs Brewing Company, in Emsworth, north of Pittsburgh along the Ohio River, specializes in gluten-free beer. Using quinoa and millet in place of barley and wheat, the brewers replicate classic styles meant to be enjoyed by those suffering from celiac disease or gluten intolerance. The owners have been diagnosed with the disease themselves, which is what pushed them to start the business. Whether you’re gluten-sensitive or not, it’s worth a trip to belly up to the stainless-steel bar, take in the unassuming black and white textures and splashes of wood paneling, and taste Aurochs’ variety of gluten-free craft beer.
Vault Brewing Company
Housed in an old bank in Yardley, Vault Brewing Company delivers excellence in a glass. Its beers are often true to style with a slight deviation—think intense New Zealand hops that yield less bitterness, a herbal and floral summer stout or a barrel-soured porter. The food menu intrigues with such options as a Waffle Grilled Cheese Burger, a lip-tingling Chili Pizza and Wood-Fired S’mores. Weekly, the small brewery also releases a “Trial and Error” brew, representing the brewers’ attempts to create a great beer by adding an “off” ingredient to one of the base beers in the name of science. Vault is notable for its regal yet simple ambience and its open floor plan, as you can taste its beers while sitting directly across from where they were brewed.
The Brew Gentlemen
Along the Monongahela River, east of Pittsburgh in Braddock, The Brew Gentlemen takes a high-class approach. During the day, the welcoming taproom’s storefront windows illuminate exposed brick and wood; at night, clever cascading lights cast a warm glow on guests enjoying their brews. Those offerings, which range from saisons to stouts, are often served by a bartender in formal attire. Despite its eye to elegance, The Brew Gentlemen taproom, like its beers, is approachable and low-key. Grab a growler to go, too.
HiJinx Brewing Company
HiJinx Brewing Company, in an unassuming office/warehouse building in Allentown, is set up with a wide-open brewery directly across from the bar and seating area, helping to create a fun and relaxing atmosphere. The selection of brews does not disappoint: CitraSqueeze IPA hangs with the best of them, and Barista’s Choice Coffee Porter delivers a robust kick perfect for a weekend morning or midnight treat. You can play one of many board games while enjoying a flight, and grab cans to-go as well.
Penn Brewery’s 30-year heritage rings loudly with pride in a quality product, while the location in Pittsburgh provides a traditional take on a tied brewery and restaurant. Originally dedicated to German classics—like lagers—Penn Brewery won fans by adhering to the strict quality standards of the 16th-century Bavarian Reinheitsgebot purity laws. That attention to detail has spread to a diverse beer menu. Food items such as schweinebraten showcase the German heritage, and go perfectly next to a pint of the flagship pilsner, a traditional take on a well-rounded lager balanced by a touch of Noble hops to temper the malty, toasty and toffee notes.
Tröegs Brewing Company
Three large oak foudres greet visitors through a large window, and act as the first sign that Tröegs, in a grand building in Hershey, is truly a mecca for craft beer. Inside, the long bar sits in front of large kettles and mash tuns, where brewers can be found working. The extensive tap list and taproom-exclusive Scratch Series show interest in brewing a variety of styles, and tours of the brewery—both guided and self-guided—show visitors just how far the Trogner brothers have brought their brand over two decades.
Round Guys Brewing Company
This Lansdale craft brewery has been slowly building a reputation over the last four years as a casual spot for grabbing solid brews paired with stick-to-your-ribs eats like cheesesteaks, bratwurst, pulled beef, chicken and pork, and nachos (plus a few vegetarian and gluten-free nibbles). Belly up to the bar under the ever-changing tap list or grab one of the tables scattered about the softly lit brewpub. Round Guys shows off its “well-rounded” brewing chops with a range of offerings including the richly hopped Kiss Off IPA, citrus-forward extra pale ale Beat Pulsing, intense slow-sipping imperial stout Russian Messenger and sublime quad Chronomancer. There’s always something new—thanks to 16 taps—at Round Guys.
This list is just a start to the list of talented brewers in our state. For a full list of Brewers of Pennsylvania members, click here.
The Brewers of Pennsylvania is a nonprofit trade association that brings together leaders of Pennsylvania-based breweries in order to promote and protect the brewing industry in the state. Established in 2011, the Brewers of Pennsylvania serves the consuming public of Pennsylvania by encouraging brand diversity in the market. We believe in the nobility of brewing and hold dear the great traditions and history of Pennsylvania brewing.
Photos, top to bottom: Cam Soergel, HiJinx Brewing Company, Bryan Kolesar, Tröegs Brewing Company