On Saturday, July 2nd, a small but enthusiastic group of us conducted a tour of local brewpubs and taverns in Lancaster County. Trip commenced at St. Boniface in Ephrata, our area’s newest nano-brewery started by two homebrewers, Mike Price and John Northup. While their doors have only been open since late winter, they have been producing high quality beers that are worth checking out.
They’re open for growler fills and tastings. Look for them on tap at an ever increasing number of locations. One item of special note our own Mike Kuhns has been working with Mike and John and you may run into him if you stop by on a Saturday morning.
Next up was the Bulls Head Public House in Lititz. Though not a brewery, they offer 14 rotating International and American craft beer selections combined with two rotating cask ales. As you probably guessed, Bulls Head is modeled after an English Pub, with all service conducted through the bar (no waiters or waitresses). When you visit, make a point to visit the Mens Room. However, joining the nice lady in the bathtub is strongly discouraged.
After two stops we were all in the mood for food. What sounds better than craft beer and BBQ? You definitely need check out JoBoys BrewPub in Manheim. They’ll tell you up front that their focus is the Southern style BBQ and beer is secondary, but we all came away impressed with their draft selection including American IPA, Manheim Red, Porter, Wheat, ESB and Raspberry Summer. Try the sampler when you visit and then order a pint of your favorite. And if you leave JoBoys hungry, that is your own fault. Tasty brisket, chicken, ribs and pork will make you think you are in North Carolina, not Pennsylvania. For those who like jalapenos, check out the Atomic Buffalo Turds appetizer. On the way out the door, we were fortunate enough to meet Jo Harless, who owns JoBoys with her husband Jeff. Jo was kind enough to sign copies of Lew Bryson’s Pennsylvania Breweries.
Our last stop was the recently opened Spring House Brewing Company Taproom in downtown Lancaster. Spring House Brewing was founded by Matt Kasey in 2007 and crafted in a converted barn in Conestoga, PA. Since then, Spring House has experienced strong growth and in February 2011 opened the Taproom on 25 West King St. The barn has become the production facility while the taproom offers pints, growler fills, 22oz bottles and six packs to go. Beer is definitely their main focus, however an expanding food menu is available with appetizers, soups, sandwiches and pizza. Unfortunately, we just missed a visit with Matt. However these beers are so good that I am sure Spring House will again be a stop on the next tour. Order a sampler and take a minute to play a game of shuffleboard.
Special thanks go out to Colin for volunteering to be DD. — Eric Dickson
Photos courtesy of Erin Negley