Did you know that Pennsylvania has more breweries than almost every other state in the US? We are second only to California. It works out to just over five breweries per 100,000 adults over the age of 21 in the state.
If you are a fan of craft beer, there is little better place to live to enjoy that hobby. We are also super fortunate that we have several really great breweries right here in our backyard.
This Friday is actually International Beer Day, so it seemed like perfect timing to discuss beer, breweries, and what’s available in our area.
All beer falls into two categories — ales and lagers. And there are tons of styles of each, but let’s stick to the most popular.
India pale ale (IPA) is today’s most popular craft beer style. Its calling card is hops. It imparts aromas and flavors like citrus, spice, tropical fruits, pine and berries. These beers tend to be on the bitter side.
Pale ales are usually lower in ABV and hops than an IPA. They have a more balanced malt character, characterized by a biscuit-like flavor.
Stouts are dark-colored ales made with roasted barley that impart chocolate or coffee flavors. Some are aged in Bourbon or other wood barrels for deeper and boozier character.
Wheat beers, like hefeweizen, witbier, dunkelweizen, and American wheat, are brewed with a generous amount of grain, which adds body and flavor.
A gose is a wheat ale brewed with salt, which gives it a savory character. It can also be blended with fruits.
Lager is the most popular beer style in the world. Yuengling, Coors Light, Corona, and Michelob Ultra are all lagers. These come from large beer producers, which accounts for roughly 87% of the beer marketplace in the USA.
Pilsner is an easy-drinking, highly carbonated lager with slightly spicy notes from hops. It’s named after the city of Pilsen in the Czech Republic, which popularized the style.
Kölsch, an ale fermented at lager temperatures. This clear, golden style hails from Cologne, Germany. It has a crisp yet fruity flavor.
So, now that we’ve covered the basics let’s talk local brews.
If you read me at all, you know that Riepstine’s Pub is my absolute favorite. I’ve even got my own custom mug! On their current lineup, you can’t go wrong with their Nor’easter IPA, their flagship Alpha Deuce (a double IPA), the key lime salzwiesen, and their newest edition, their cream ale. Their new cream ale is absolutely fantastic and will give Genny a run for their money.
Downtown at the Bullfrog, you can never go wrong with the Edgar IPA (Double IPA) or the Billtown Blonde. There is a reason both of these beers have been staples for as long as they have.
Speaking of downtown, over at Boom City Brewing, you have to try the Last Raft. It’s a raspberry wheat that has placed at the PA Farm Show for the last two years. Their Muddy River Porter also picked up 3rd place at the 2022 PA Farm Show!
We have two new breweries in the area that are also doing amazing things.
Roskow’s Brew House has a gose and a blonde ale (both fruited) that are my must-try soon. But I’ve never had a bad beer from Roskow’s, and the staff and ownership are always super nice!
If you want simple beer done right, John Ryan Brewery is the place to go. You won’t find anything wacky on the tap list, but you will find really good, well-made beer. I highly recommend the French porter.
Outside of Muncy, up on a hill with a beautiful view, you’ll find Therapy Brewing. They always have something new (and delicious) on tap, and you really can’t beat the scenery. It’s worth the trip!
With over 500 breweries in the state, this is just a small selection, but they are all out there killing it with their beers and can’t do it without local support, so head out this weekend and try them out (safely!).
And if you want to see what the rest of PA has to offer, I recommend heading to breweriesinpa.com; there, you can download an extension of sorts for Google Paps that will allow you to see all the breweries in the state as you are traveling this summer!