York County shows off craft beer amongst the Pennsylvania countryside

The last two years have been kind to York County beer lovers in Pennsylvania. Photo: susquehannaaletrail.com

YORK, Pa., April 17, 2013 — Mention York and Lancaster Counties and thoughts for many turn immediately to rolling farmland, the legacy of Pennsylvania Dutch, and the integral role the region plays in storied Amish Country.

The past two years have seen a handful of new brewers enter the landscape, bringing greater access to locally-made beer than has been available for many generations.

The emergence of the Susquehanna Ale Trail is further evidence that the area is awash in a continually-developing brewing scene. There are currently fourteen beer-related establishments listed as participating members in the organization.

Three of these participating members (Holy Hound Taproom, Liquid Hero Brewery, and Mudhook Brewing Company), plus two others (Gunpowder Falls Brewing Company and South County Brewing Company), were visited during a recent After Hours trip to York County to sample from some of the evolving craft beer scene. The three members are all located in downtown York while the other two are located farther south in the county.

Liquid Hero Brewery - Fortuitously located across the street from the home of the York Revolution baseball team, this nearly two-year-old brewery has grown quickly into a local favorite. The brewpub is located in a 100-year-old freight terminal and serves their own beer and no food, but has a stack of takeout menus available from local restaurants that deliver to the pub. Favorites include the solid American Hero Amber Ale (5.6% ABV) and the ever-changing Hop Hero, whose alcohol and hop levels vary from one batch to the next.

Mudhook Brewing Company - At the heart of the City of York sits the historic 100+ year old Central Market. This cozy and tastefully designed brewpub is located in the corner of the market (with an additional entrance from the street to support off-market hours of business) and, like Liquid Hero, is also approaching its second anniversary. Mudhook, in addition to its wide spectrum of flavorful beers ranging from lighter wheat beers to bigger stouts and double IPAs, runs a full kitchen serving up mostly a soup, salad, and sandwich menu.

Holy Hound Taproom - Nearing its first anniversary of opening its thirty taps to great craft beer, this new bar is located just around the corner from the Central Market and Mudhook Brewing Company. The draft list turns quickly at this popular bar set inside a former hotel and department store and features many local beers from the mid-Atlantic region as well as around the world. And while the Taproom does not have a full-service kitchen, it partners with local vendors to serve up prepared food products.

Gunpowder Falls Brewing Company - This brewery, which can be found practically on the shoulder of I-83, may be less than six months old but has been quickly opening minds and palates of southern York County, Pa. and northern Maryland (only but a couple of miles from the state line) residents. During an After Hours visit, other customers had driven from across the county and north from Baltimore to check out the very well-made German-style Pilsner and Dunkel lager beers. The current space, while a bit difficult to find for the first-time visitor and absent noticeable signage, has plenty of room inside to expand brewery operations as the company’s popularity is certain to grow.

South County Brewing Company - There likely exists no other brewery farther south in the State of Pennsylvania than the nearly two-year-old South County Brewing Company in tiny Fawn Grove. While brewing up less than the other new breweries on this list, the slow-growing brewery has gained notice for its solid AmericAle Amber Ale and Sessions Extra Special Bitter.

As for the Ale Trail, it is comprised of members who endeavor to provide “a way for beer enthusiasts to explore the many breweries and related attractions around the region with one simple guide. Participating establishments provide tours, tastings, educational opportunities and a look behind the scenes at the brewing process and craft beer industry…along Pennsylvania’s scenic Dutch Country Roads region, all committed to the art of making great, local beer.”

Members participate in and conduct events throughout the year to capitalize on their proximity to each other and the “beer traveling” consumers that pass through their region seeking new beers.

This coming weekend concludes the two-weekend 2013 Passport Event. From its website: “Standard passports are $15 and include three-five craft beer tastings, a 10% discount on merchandise, a souvenir Susquehanna Ale Trail mug, light snacks and, at participating locations, a presentation from the brewer and a tour. Designated driver tickets are $5 and include a 10% discount on merchandise, light snacks and, at participating locations, a presentation from the brewer and a tour.”

To further explore the Susquehanna Ale Trail for yourself, join the weekend fun from April 19-21, check out all the details at its website, and discover a side of Lancaster and York counties that you may never have known existed.

Read more of Bryan’s work at After Hours in the Communities at the Washington Times.

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This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Bryan Kolesar

Bryan Kolesar has been tracking down great beer for over twenty years. From the most hard-to-find delicately balanced low alcohol beer to the big monsters weighing in at over 10% ABV, he has yet to find a style that does not have a story to tell and a taste to share. Though, when pushed, Kolesar has historically staked a claim to the Saison style as one of the most versatile and his favorite.

In 2005, Bryan co-founded The Brew Lounge blog/website as a canvas to illustrate the best of the craft brewing industry and to document his own travels within it. Though he has lived in Philadelphia and is currently headquartered in the city's western suburbs, Kolesar shares a wealth of information and images that he collects from his travels around the world and some of the best beers that he has tasted along the way.

In 2010, Kolesar came aboard the Communities section of The Washington Times to contribute stories from across the craft brewing industry as it continues more than ever its explosive growth amongst increasingly more of the mainstream alcohol-consuming public. 

While the beer - its tastes, aromas, and incredible pairing opportunities with food - is often the beginning of a story, he often finds it more interesting to dive into the stories behind the people, places, and events associated with the final product. 

Locally around Philadelphia, he has been named a Beer Writer of the Year finalist multiple times, hosted beer/running events during each annual Philly Beer Week, served as a Philly Beer Geek judge, paneled local beers for submission into the Great American Beer Festival competition, judged beer and food competitions, been featured in local publications chronicling the beer scene, and been named the "Best Beer Guy" of 2008. 

In addition to his beer-y pursuits, Kolesar works a professional career in the business world by day and dabbles in distance running, cooking, homebrewing, gardening, photography, and is a staunch advocate for animal rescue/adoption. He lives with his wife, Patty, of fifteen years and has been a long time, mostly suffering, supporter of local Philadelphia sports.

Contact Bryan Kolesar


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