I love a good Craft Brewery Growth story. Even more so when the craft brewery is local and has solid beer recipes. I’m all about supporting and cheering on the little guy as they take risks and grow their business. Spring House Brewing Company in Lancaster, Pennsylvania is one of those examples.
In 2006, the brewery operated out of a small barn before opening a taproom in downtown Lancaster in 2011. Neither of which embodied the spirit and personality of Spring House. However, it did give everyone direct access to the unique brews that were being created like Big Gruesome Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout.
This past July (2015), Spring House went full tilt by opening an upgraded brewery and taproom all under one roof at 209 Hazel Street, Lancaster, PA. Their craft beer fans can now gather in a comfortable space to drink, eat and socialize while watching the brewing process take place. The entire building is approximately 27,000 square feet and includes a yet to be renovated upstairs space that overlooks the taproom and brewery. That space will soon be available to rent for parties and special events.
I was thrilled to see that the new place is a tastefully renovated warehouse with lots of vintage elements still existing from when it was built in 1901. When you pull into the parking lot, you are greeted by a bold dark grey painted building with wooden doors and shiny bright grain silos towering toward the sky. It’s a striking mix of industrial and natural elements that all work together quite nicely.
Inside the building that theme continues with exposed wooden beams, brick walls, wooden plank floors and ceiling and even an iron furnace door with brick hearth.
FUN FACT: The building was once used for drying tobacco and at one point manufacturing pickles.
Within the expansive taproom space, there are a variety of seating areas: large high top community tables, smaller traditional-height tables for an intimate gathering and a classic bar that goes on for miles. I appreciate the extra wide bar space. That’s generally my preferred seating style and most breweries never have enough space for all the craft beer lovers who also like to sit at the bar. I love to watch the action of pouring beers. Plus, it gives me an opportunity to talk with the bartender about the brewery and its beers.
I also always seem to meet the most interesting and fun people sitting beside me when I belly up to the bar. On this visit, I met another craft beer hunter who gave me great tips on a few breweries in NJ and MD. We chatted about our various beercations and brewery day trips. And, I met another couple that just started a custom growler handle business: Growler Grips.
Another nice feature at the new Spring House is the full menu of upscale small plates, sandwiches, entrees, and salads that use uber fresh ingredients. Some of the dishes have a New Orleans vibe and pack a little punch of heat that is quite tasty when paired with The Astonishing She Monster Mango IPA. There are also daily specials as well as kid-friendly options to enjoy. > View Menu
THE OYSTER BAR
At the far right end of the bar is an extra special treat for raw oyster lovers. The oyster bar is one of the more unique features to the new taproom. Every day, a variety of fresh oysters are available for your eating pleasure. Prices vary on each depending on which you choose. Or you can do a sampler of 8 for just $16. I didn’t get a chance to indulge on these sweet and briny delicacies during this trip but it’s definitely on my to-do list for next time!
My go-to Spring House beers are Big Gruesome and The Astonishing She Monster. But I’m becoming a big fan of their saisons. My first was the 1761 Farmhouse Ale made exclusively for the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open Golf Tournament. I got to enjoy this lemon saison during the actual event and during this visit to the brewery. I couldn’t get enough!
I also enjoyed a flight of some of their other brews (please note the options change daily so visit their site to see what’s currently on tap):
- Joey Orange Saison
- Bloodlust Russian Imperial Stout with Raspberry & Habaneros
- Oatmeal Stout on Nitro
- Beyond the Gates Double IPA
As you are enjoying your brews and food, you also can see directly into the brewery which is located a few feet behind the bar. The new brewery with it’s 20 barrel system will be able to produce 10,000 barrels of beer annually allowing them to keep up with demand from not only their two taprooms but also distributors in current and new markets such as New Jersey, Delaware, D.C. and Philly. That’s triple the amount of brew that was being produced at the original location.
FUN FACT: Part of the second story floor just above the brewery had to be removed to make room for the tall fermentation tanks.
During my visit, I jumped at the opportunity to get up close and personal with the brewing equipment. What’s more beautiful then rows of gleaming stainless steel tanks? Well, colorful graffiti looming over the tanks, that’s what! I kind of fell in love with it. Check it out:
I have to give it to owners, Matt and Nikki Keasey, for digging deep, persevering and realizing their dream of a top notch brewery in the Lancaster area. I really don’t know how they do it. Running two business locations, raising three sons and still finding time to interact and talk with their craft beer fans. Much kuddos and props to them!
Ironically, I met Matt Keasey for the first time at a New Order concert at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Maryland back in 2013. My husband and I were, of course, tailgating so we could drink our own good craft beers before having to enter the concert where macro beers were being served at astronomical prices. We were openly talking craft beer with fellow tailgaters when Matt walks up and goes, “I have a keg of Mango IPA.” Oh no he didn’t! He just said “mango” + “IPA”. I couldn’t scurry over to his keg fast enough. Needless to say, I became an instant and long-time fan of Spring House brews.
FUN FACT: Nikki studied Chemistry & Molecular Biology at Penn State University and Matt Keasey also has a background in Chemistry & Pharmaceuticals. AND, they love classic and modern alternative rock. Just another reason why I heart this duo.
> Learn More About Spring House Brewing Company’s Owners and How It All Started
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