The excitement was palpable as I entered the not-yet-opened Touchstone Brewery in York Haven, PA. I was immediately greeted with smiling faces, the sound of laughter, and smell of fresh beer. Co-owners Maria Weist and Keith Stevenson immediately invited us in for an informal tour and clearly couldn’t hide their excitement to have visitors to the building they’ve worked on so hard, and try the beer they’ve been working on even harder.
Eight small fermenters were waiting in their temperature-controlled room containing three brews, located next to their small, but efficient, brewing equipment in the next room over. Keith was happy to show me an innovative system he engineered to get beer from the fermentation area above and through an opening to the next room for kegging and bottling. And, they are hand-bottling each case with a little help from their friends. Keith and Maria discussed a bigger system, bigger fermenters, and starting with a higher level of production, but with both still working their full-time jobs, it’s hard enough just to keep up with what they have now. For them, it’s a hopeful dream to be able to take on Touchstone as their full-time career.
For Maria, being a part of Touchstone Brewery is like starting a second life. After battling cancer years ago, she felt like she was granted a second chance to do what makes her happy. With Keith at her side, this is truly a unique opportunity for a new experience.
Touchstone Brewery will open with their 4 signature flagship beers: Celtic Irish Ale (6% ABV), Perfect Day IPA (6.1% ABV), Hopped O’Mystic English Pale Ale (6.2% ABV), and their Premium Ale (4.8% ABV). They intend to hopefully have their Kolsch ready in time for opening, and want to have an Apricot Wheat later in the summer. They are entirely focused on the quality and consistency of their current recipes before they move onward to expanding their styles. For Keith, it’s a science working on recipes and perfecting their offerings. For Maria, it’s more like cooking; making sure that it looks, smells, and tastes right. Balance between the two of them is key.
In their very small tasting room, you will be able to try their beers and get full pints. You will also be able to get growler fills and 6-packs to go. Touchstone will also be self-distributing to a few local watering holes that are already excited to have a new hyper-local nano brewery in their neighborhood.
They intend to be open to the public on June 4th and will only be open Th/Fri from 4-8 and Saturday 10-3. Maria made it clear to me that they don’t want to be a bar, they have limited hours purposefully. They do hope to have food trucks available on Saturdays, work with local hop farms and growers, and be a thriving part of their community.