Southeastern PA - news, releases, updates, etc. (2019)

Discussion in 'Mid-Atlantic' started by jmdrpi, Jan 1, 2019.

  1. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (5,910) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Happy New Year everyone! Time for a new thread for 2019.

    Big jump from last year, there are now currently about 200 breweries/brewpubs within a 50 mile radius of Philadelphia. So consider this a catch-all thread for area updates and news.
     
    thebeers likes this.
  2. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,908) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    To celebrate New Year’s my wife and I attended German New Year’s Eve at Workhorse Brewery:

    · We’ll have an emphasis on our German lineup, including Helles, Marzen, Vienna Lager and our new Doppelbock

    · All-you-can-eat German fare prepared by world-class German Chefs. Wild Blue Creative Catering has provided a menu including German classics like Schweinbraten, Frankfurters, Weisswurst, Spätzle, German potato salad and of course, bavarian pretzels to pair with your beer.

    https://www.workhorsebrewing.com/shop/german-new-years-eve-ticket

    Needless to say but I indulged in numerous beers and ate lots of German food. My quick impressions of the beers:

    · Helles – very good

    · Vienna Lager – very good’

    · Marzen – OUTSTANDING

    · Doppelbock – very good- excellent

    · Pilsner – very good

    · New England IPA – very good

    And we took a tour of the brewery. It is presently a pretty large brewery and there is tons of room for expansion if the market demands warrant it.

    We had a great time!

    Prost & Frohes neues Jahr !

    @rotsaruch
     
    Kadonny, NodEast, bret717 and 5 others like this.
  3. kdb150

    kdb150 Devotee (434) Mar 8, 2012 Pennsylvania

    I don't know if anyone else is as interested in this as I am (was), but the Local 44 bottle shop has some bottles of Allagash Coolship Resurgam currently in stock, or at least they did yesterday. It's a pretty impressive beer. Allagash's website gives the impression that this is going to be sent out in distribution pretty regularly albeit in limited quantities, but this has been #1 on my wants list for a very long time so I was super happy to see it on the shelf.

    Also tried the 2SP Bourbon stout and the Fermentary Form beer they had on tap for the anniversary party, and both were outstanding. As was the house-made scrapple.
     
    thebeers likes this.
  4. rolltide8425

    rolltide8425 Meyvn (1,243) Feb 18, 2011 Pennsylvania
    Trader

    I remember reading that their goal is to become a regional brewery along the lines of a Victory or Troegs in terms of size.
     
  5. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,908) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Which is a challenging goal given today's very competitive craft beer market. Just ask Bill and Ron of Victory; they made the decision to sell out over 2 years ago.

    Cheers!
     
    YamBag and phillyman like this.
  6. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (10,624) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    Yes, and they're set up for it. The brewery is large as it is, and they've got room to expand.

    The question is, will the market allow them to grow that big given their choice of doing mostly German-style beers?
     
  7. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,908) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Jim, I would even remove the aspect of "German-style beers" to your above question. Is there sufficient room in the craft beer market for another larger, distributing brewery? It seems to me that the level of competition in the craft beer market is extreme right now and just getting more intense as more and more small, local breweries open up in the area (and beyond).

    What I have been seeing in the past 2-3 years is business aspects of consolidation (e.g., Victory, Southern Tier, Sixpoint,...) and larger scale craft brewery closures (e.g., Green Flash - Virginia Beach. Redhook - Washington state, Saratoga,...).

    Would you be planning to open a larger, distributing brewery right now?

    Cheers!
     
  8. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (10,624) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    All very good points Jack, things that I foolishly considered to be naturally assumed. I believe that you are correct, now is not the time to open a larger brewery.

    They do have the tasting room which works in their favor though (cash flow), but their location is not great and they'll have to really work it. Still, I think it's possible... but back to my original question, is it possible with what they're trying to sell? That more than anything should determine how many tap placements they're able to pull, and thus how much volume they'll be able to produce.

    Looking at their current line-up I have no doubt that they'll be able to sell their doppelbock and Imperial stout to beer bars, but those are still kind-of seasonal. Their NE IPA, although not the best I've had, should work as well, and I think maybe their West coast IPA too, while still keeping in mind that IPAs are the tightest category to sell into right now.

    It's their other beers that give me pause. There is a resurgence of popularity for Pilsners going on right now (yeah!), but it has nowhere near the strength behind it that IPAs still hold, and it hasn't yet spread to other beers in a similar vein, at least three of which they're making: helles, Märzen, and Vienna lager. (I don't even want to mention the American Brown Ale).

    On top of that let me say that although I feel their beers are very good they lack a certain sparkle or edge that the same beers from Victory had going back years (decades?).

    My conclusion, and what I probably should have just said outright the first time, is that I think they'll need to adjust or loosen up their original intent and just give in and ride the wave, brewing whatever the market is looking for at the moment. Their next up is a Brut IPA so it looks like that's what they're doing.

    I wish them luck!
     
    Kadonny, jmdrpi and thebeers like this.
  9. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,908) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    That was the beer they served at Munich midnight (6:00 our time).

    Cheers!
     
  10. Kadonny

    Kadonny Meyvn (1,330) Sep 5, 2007 Pennsylvania
    Trader

    Found some Hop Wallop last night at Exton Beverage. Boy is it really good. I'll be honest, I liked the old label better, but the beer itself with the hop changes is really good.

    There is something to be said in this NEIPA beer world we now live in to really enjoy a nice hoppy resinous bitter and fruity traditional style WCIPA. Cheers to Victory for reviving this classic if only for a little while. I grabbed 2 sixers@ $9.99/six, not bad.
     
    IronLover, sulldaddy, ESHBG and 6 others like this.
  11. onthebusin03

    onthebusin03 Initiate (139) Jan 11, 2008 Pennsylvania

    Agreed on the Hop Wallop. Had some at the KSQ location, thinking I would pay my respects and have 10 oz be the end of it. Walked out with a six pack and wish I had bought more. Very welcome break from all the haze.

    (Also wish I had bought more than 3 of the 2017 Red 750s for $11 a piece. Really thought that they'd made an error on that.)
     
  12. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (5,910) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania
    Society

    So I assume you've had that beer in the past?

    I missed that one, but looks like it got really good (albeit limited) reviews:
    https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/345/248034/
     
  13. onthebusin03

    onthebusin03 Initiate (139) Jan 11, 2008 Pennsylvania

    Yep. Untappd tells me I had the 2016, so maybe I was wrong and the bottles I picked up were from the same year. Can't find a listing for the 2017 vintage. Regardless, a lovely beer.
     
  14. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (5,910) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Joe Sixpack has a writeup about the historical brewing that a new under-construction Lansdale brewery Ür Brewery plans on doing.
    https://www.phillybeerworld.com/col...ansdale-will-brew-old-time-philadelphia-beer/
    Sounds like some cool concepts, but add me to the list of skeptics about downtown Lansdale needing a 3rd brewery (in addition to the 2 in North Wales, 1 in Hatfield, and 1 in Harleysville).
     
  15. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (5,910) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Free Will releasing a canned beer called Scrambled Pron. The name gave me a chuckle, and the label is well done. The kids today don't understand the struggle to see boobs pre-internet!

    But personally not particularly interested in this beer - it's dark beer season, so trying to take a break from IPAs for a few months.
     
  16. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (10,624) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    On top of that they'll be making basic beers. I love the brewerania / nostalgia side of it, and I myself am a fan of basic beers (cream ale, pale ale, porter, English IPA) but I'm not sure that's going to go over too well in the current market. I fear the same thing for Workhorse in K.o.P. although they've got plenty of room to break out of the mold they've built for themselves. Limiting yourself to old labels seems problematic, especially when the sale depends a lot on that label - meaning you won't get as many draft sales without the nostalgia right there in front of you.
     
  17. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (5,910) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania
    Society

    The article didn't even mention anything about bottles. But a 10 barrel system would be seem to be oversized for only brewpub draft sales.
     
  18. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (5,910) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Joe Sixpack has a brief update on 11 new breweries set to open in early 2019, plus some later in the year:

    https://www.phillybeerworld.com/new...a-brewery-openings-to-look-for-in-early-2019/

    A few thoughts I had after reading:

    - I didn't realize Conshohocken was building a production brewery. I guess that will end their contract brewing at Sly Fox?

    -In Phoenixville, is it a bubble that continues to grow, or is it sustainable?

    -The two new Ambler places better have a good game, if they want to compete with Forest&Main
     
  19. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (10,624) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    Understood, but I'm guessing the idea is that there will be contract brewing behind it.

    As for the 10 bbl system I don't find that really oversized, but neither do I expect they'll be working it that much either. Monetarily, to buy a 5 or 7 bbl system versus a 10 bbl system you're not saving that much and you'd be much better off with a cushion; and your space requirements shouldn't be that much greater either. They might be able to brew 5 bbl batches depending on the equipment; but what really intrigues me is the open fermentation - that requires more room.
     
    jmdrpi likes this.
  20. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,908) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    “Conshohocken Brewing (King of Prussia) – Large production brewery expected to open about Feb. 1.”

    This place is scheduled to open in just three weeks.

    Does anybody have additional details here? Where will it be located (address)? Will it be production only or will it have a tap room?

    Cheers!

    @rotsaruch
     
  21. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (5,910) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Searching the PLCB database, Conshocken only has addresses registered at their Conshohocken and Bridgeport locations.

    And the only two Brewery licenses that show up under a "King of Prussia" address are Workhouse, and the expired license for Rock Bottom.

    **EDIT**
    But Joe Sixpack's website (Philly Beer World), does have a mapped location of 3100 Horizon Drive, which is in an industrial/office park
    https://www.phillybeerworld.com/listing/conshohocken-brewery-king-of-prussia/

    With the note: "New 30-barrel production brewery with tap room expected to open Feb. 1, 2019"
     
    JackHorzempa and drtth like this.
  22. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (10,624) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    One thing to note, at least for my area, is that Don no longer lists Roxborough Brewing Company as opening although he does still have Twisted Gingers.

    That bites as Roxborough would have been walking distance for me (and not too far uphill!). Also, I find it odd as the civic group had told me that the residents were against Twisted Gingers opening but they're still there.
     
  23. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,908) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Yes, that is indeed an industrial park area and 'ironically' it is less than 1/2 mile from the recently opended Workhorse Brewing Co.

    In my opinion it is pretty weird to have two large(er) brewing companies open so close to each other with the same dynamic:
    • Very large brewhouses (30 barrels)
    • Located in non-retail locations (middle of industrial parks)
    Maybe the business plan for Conshohocken is to mostly use this as a production facility for providing beers to their non-brewery businesses (e.g., The Rec Room in Phoenixville, Town Tap in Havertown)? And perhaps they have more satellite locations in planning for future openings and they need more production capacity?

    Cheers!
     
  24. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (5,910) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Do you know if currently any of their draft beer is being contract brewed, or just the canned stuff? All the distributed cans I've seen read "Pottstown, PA" on the label, which could only be Sly Fox's facility.

    I would assume if you're doing things correctly, having your own brewery results in higher profits in the long term. But building-out large capacity in the current environment seems like a gamble. Seems that as long as the contract brewing was going well, it gives them more flexibility and offloads some of the risk.
     
  25. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,908) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    No, I do not.
    I am not a Finance major but I have interacted with enough of them to know that there is no easy answer here with lots of variables like:

    · The cost of borrowing money to purchase the equipment needed

    · Lease costs (Industrial Park rents are cheaper than prime retail space)

    · Cost of labor (e.g., the brewing team) including benefits

    · Insurance costs

    · Etc.

    Did you read this recent thread (and linked article): https://www.beeradvocate.com/commun...ng-staff-installs-new-leadership-team.601891/

    I posted in that thread:

    It appears that some of the strategies of Hangar 24 are:

    · Saving money by reducing staff: “Speaking to Brewbound, Cook said the decision to lay off six of the company’s 13 brewery employees was aimed at “right-sizing”...”

    · Having their largest selling beers be produced by another brewery: “For his part, Cook said that shifting production of Hangar 24’s higher volume brands — Orange Wheat, Betty IPA, Aventura Mexican-style lager, and Peak Blonde — to Gordon Biersch will create “economies of scale”...”

    It seems to me that the owner of Hanger 24 Brewery (Ben Cook) thinks it is ‘better’ (cheaper?) to have their high volume beers contract brewed (Gordon Biersch) vs. brewing it themselves with their own brewery staff.

    Cheers!
     
  26. Chroma914

    Chroma914 Initiate (91) Oct 13, 2006 Pennsylvania

    I think it's pretty weird that Consh has 4 locations (5 with the new production brewery) when their beer is just the definition of average. Gotta keep those shelves warm somehow, I suppose.
     
    ESHBG likes this.
  27. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (5,910) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Perhaps they move more beer at their taproom locations than through distribution? Or maybe Glenn Macnow has more marketing power than you'd think.
     
  28. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,908) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Every time I visit a Conshohocken Brewing location I order Type A IPA and I am always happy with that beer; it is very good in my opinion.

    I am not well experienced with their other brands.

    Cheers!
     
    IronLover, bret717 and YamBag like this.
  29. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (5,910) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Type A is pretty good, their other IPAs that I've had have been up and down. A Day Without Dawn (Imperial Black Ale) is probably the best I've had from them but it's a seasonal. It's cool they have an ESB as one of their year round beers, but it doesn't stand up to Yards ESA (although now that's draft only).
     
  30. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,908) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Agreed.

    Cheers!
     
  31. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (10,624) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    I was actually thinking the same thing. I've always liked their beers but I've never had anything that blew me away. On my scale of 1 to 5 for breweries with 5 being best-in-world class (Cantillon, etc.), 4 the upper-echelon (Sierra Nevada, etc.), and 3 fitting most of the rest I'm putting Conshohocken at a 3 but towards the mid or lower end of that 3. I don't see a lot of demand for their beers on the shelves (although maybe I'm wrong), and I'd guess this is a really tough time to be trying to maintain that shelf space. Whatever works though.
     
    ESHBG likes this.
  32. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,908) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Jim, I do not know what your local Retail Beer Distributors look like but at mine there is an insane amount of beer brands to choose from (and the list is growing). Just yesterday I noticed in the beer refrigerators they had beers from the Bronx (Gun Hill Brewing and The Bronx Brewery). I just thought to myself: Holy cow! They are even bringing in beer from the Bronx!?!

    I don't understand how any brewery "maintains" shelf space in today's beer scene.

    I have no purview into the business plan of Conshohocken Brewing Co. but I just gotta believe that they are presently (and planning in the future) selling the vast majority of their beer on premise.

    Cheers!
     
    FatBoyGotSwagger likes this.
  33. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (10,624) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    Exactly Jack, I've noticed a clear shifting between what's on the shelves. It's changing, and there's very little holding ground. Sierra Nevada, Sam Adams, Tröegs, Victory, Yards, Dogfish Head, and Goose Island/Lagunitas/Devil's Backbone (A-B brands) are some off the top of my mind that seem to be holding their ground. Other players like Abita, Southern Tier, Deschutes, Left Hand, Avery, Stoudt's, DuClaw, Philadelphia Brewing Co., Magic Hat, Otter Creek and even Shock Top and Yuengling have lost shelf space! Important to note here is that I'm only noting domestic brands - imports have been really hurt!

    So I agree with you, they're probably planning on selling on-premise. As long as their new production brewery has a tasting room they can self distribute to their other locations, covering all of their base beers, and allowing the smaller locations to brew new and interesting things.

    But that makes sense, and I'm pretty sure under current laws that still works. But will it work with consumers? In my experience it will. People don't seem to mind if some of the beers come from elsewhere as long as some of them are brewed on premise. Perfect example, Goose Island Brewhouse in Philadelphia.

    What that doesn't change is that their beers on my scale are still just a 3 out of 5, but I'll give that over to the experience/atmosphere of a brewery, and the convenience of being close to a brewery. If I lived next to a brewery I'd go there all of the time even if their beers only hit a 2.75 on my scale, as long as the atmosphere was good. That might not be the case for this brewery given its location.

    Only time will tell.
     
    drtth and JackHorzempa like this.
  34. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,908) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Jim, have you visited the Conshohocken Brewing Co. facility in Phoenxiville yet? I have been there 2-3 times to meet friends and every time I was there the place was jammed packed.

    There is no brewing capacity that that place; all of the beer is trucked in.

    Just yesterday I posted about this place:

    Plenty of the new small. local breweries are doing well because they serve their local markets well and that could be for reasons other than the quality of the beer they are serving. Some examples of why customers might visit the tap room besides seeking high quality beer:
    • Live music on the weekend
    • Plenty of way to entertain themselves: pool, darts, etc.
    • Trying to meet people (e.g., of the opposite sex)
    • Food they enjoy eating
    • etc.
    As an anecdotal example: a local craft brewery opened a separate tap room in another town and they market this places as the Rec Room:

    "The Rec Room by Conshohocken Brewing Company offers great beer, great food and a great time on the ping pong tables! 4 shuffleboard tables, 5 ping pong tables, and a foosball table make this the ultimate hang out right on Bridge Street in Phoenixville."

    http://www.conshohockenbrewing.com/recroommain/

    The thread: https://www.beeradvocate.com/commun...ft-beer-headed-now.601486/page-3#post-6341014

    Cheers!
     
  35. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (10,624) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    Well there is certainly something to be said for the brewery experience, which is different than a bar - but one part of which, as you've noticed, is really not that different - that some people are there trying to meet people, which is always and everywhere, but not always as easy. I think the more open and less commonplace experience of a brewery allows people to be more open, especially if they know about beer and have something in common to discuss right off the bat.

    However, I disagree with your language to explain that as "opposite sex" - I'm not sure about men, but I am sure that lesbians love microbrew! Well, many of them.

    What exactly the difference is between bars and breweries I'm not sure, but I feel it, and I think it has do with a sense of not following the norms - it's not a bar. Maybe not??? But there's craft brew! I believe it's like many other things, and that people are using it as a tag or banner to show who they really are - kind of like a bumpersticker but better.

    In the end, if this works for Conshohocken Brewing Co. that's great, but I hope we're not headed back into a time of "tied-houses" like England had. I don't think that will happen, but I do think that some "free house" bars will be hurt by it.
     
    #35 NeroFiddled, Jan 12, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
  36. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,908) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    I have heard rumors that the new Conshohocken facility in Havertown (Town Tap) will have guest tap handles, it will be interesting to see if that ever happens.

    Cheers!

    P.S. If that works out well in Havertown maybe they will do the same in Phoenixville?
     
  37. makalarch

    makalarch Aspirant (240) Jul 31, 2011 Pennsylvania
    Trader

  38. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (5,910) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Interesting beer release from Free Will, I assume this means the wort was not boiled at all, not just that all hops were "post-boil":

    [​IMG] Free Will Brewing Company

    • 1.26.19 • CAN RELEASE •
    • Angel – New Age “No Boil” IPA w/Galaxy, Vic Secret, & Mosaic – 6.3% ABV
    Brewed with Local Malt from Deer Creek Malthouse
    16oz. Cans. 4-packs Available. Both Locations.

    …And with one sip, fluffy, pillowy, ethereal, droplets of hop-filled liquid so divine that one might say it was brewed by an angel, descend upon the palate and coat the mouth with heavenly beer… Angel was brewed with local malt from Deer Creek Malthouse and utilized a “New Age, No Boil” method in order to achieve the fluffiest, most feathery mouthfeel possible for an earthly beer. Combine the cherubic body with the luscious papaya, mango, banana custard, tropical fruit juice hop notes, and blissful Angel got its wings. Hopped with Galaxy, Vic Secret, and Mosaic.

    Angel was created specifically for BeerAdvocate Extreme Beer Fest (Boston 2019) on February 1st & 2nd, but we’ll have draft and cans available in BOTH of our Taprooms this Saturday, upon opening. We strongly suggest you snag yourself some of this delightfully delectable beer before it’s gone—Cheers!
     
  39. TomFoley

    TomFoley Aspirant (205) Mar 19, 2005 Pennsylvania

    pass

    will be there Sunday
     
  40. makalarch

    makalarch Aspirant (240) Jul 31, 2011 Pennsylvania
    Trader

    Kunda posted that they have hopslam, anyone else see some in the area?
    The Newtown Square Whole Foods finally opened this past weekend. Checked it out and like the Devon one seems to be focused a lot more on wine than beer. Nice bar with a tv and corner seating with a view though.
     
    NodEast likes this.