More than 350 craft breweries are located in Pennsylvania, several of which pre-date Prohibition, including the oldest brewery in the country.
With many offering tours of the facilities as well as beer tastings, experience Pennsylvania’s rich brewing history with a trip to one of these breweries:
SLY FOX BREWING COMPANY
The original Sly Fox Brewhouse & Eatery was founded by the Giannopoulos family in Phoenixville in 1995. The family later moved the brewery to a larger site in Pottstown, but the pub is still a destination spot for beer lovers. Its annual Bock Fest & Goat Race on the first Sunday of May draws crowds of 2,500 or more to town every year. In 2012, beer production tripled with the opening of the new 30,000-square-foot brewery in Pottstown. There is a restaurant and tasting room next door.
Only one brewery can claim fame as being the oldest brewery in the United States, and it’s Yuengling. In 1829, David G. Yuengling established the Eagle Brewery on Centre Street in Pottsville. For nearly 190 years this family-owned and operated brewery has prided itself on quality production and taste. Travel through the factory to view beer production, examine the caves that were used for storage before refrigeration, and sample the heritage beer. Tours are free and open to the public.
YARDS BREWING COMPANY
Yards Brewing Company was founded in 1994 by friends Tom Kehoe and Jon Bovit. The brewery specializes in ales, particularly those in the English tradition. In 2003, Yards partnered with City Tavern to create the Ales of the Revolution, a line of historic beer re-creations based on the original recipes of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin. You can visit the tasting room every day and tour the brewery for free on the weekends.
The Straub Brewery is one of the oldest breweries in the United States and one of the few still owned by the original founding family. The Straub’s have been brewing beer using all-natural ingredients and nearly the same process since 1872. Tours of the brewery are free of charge and open to the public but must be booked in advance. After your tour enjoy a complimentary glass of ice-cold Straub right from the source.
Weyerbacher Brewing Company was founded in 1995 by Dan and Sue Weirback in an old livery stable in Easton. Weyerbacher is a pioneer of aging beer in wooden barrels previously used for aging bourbon and its beer is known for its bold taste. At the Weyerbacher Visitors Center you can taste any of the six beers in stock and tour the brewery; both are free. Learn about the history and ingredients in the beer as well as the entire brewing-to-packaging process.
TRÖEGS BREWING COMPANY
Brothers Chris and John Trogner founded Tröegs brewery in 1996. The brewery focuses their production on specialty and seasonal beers and only distributes beer to nearby states to maintain freshness. You can visit the newly expanded brewery in Hershey, complete with a tasting room that offers a full view of the brewhouse. Self-guided tours are available daily; guided tasting tours, which include beer samples and a souvenir, are available by appointment.
VICTORY BREWING COMPANY
Victory Brewing Company opened in 1996 in an old Pepperidge Farm factory. Owners Ron Barchet and Bill Covaleski are German-trained and brew more than 20 varieties and more than 100,000 barrels annually. Tours of the Downingtown facility are free of charge and take you through the brewhouse and fermentation room. After your tour, head over to the brewpub for a bite. Or, enjoy a chartered bus trip tour and Victory beer experience in the Parkesburg brewery for a fee.
CHURCH BREW WORKS
The Church Brew Works is set in the confines of a restored Roman Catholic church. Painstaking attention to detail and the reuse of existing fixtures helped to create an unusual brewpub experience and a can’t-miss destination for those visiting the Pittsburgh area. Enjoy handcrafted beer in a warm and inviting atmosphere and be sure to save room for the “American Eclectic” cuisine offered at the Church Brew Works.
APPALACHIAN BREWING COMPANY
Appalachian Brewing Company is located in a three-story brick and heavy timber structure built circa 1915 in downtown Harrisburg. Appalachian is the first and only brewery in the state capitol. In addition to Harrisburg, Appalachian also has brewpubs in Gettysburg, Camp Hill, Lititz, Mechanicsburg, and Shippensburg. Tour the Harrisburg Brewery for free every Saturday at 1pm and enjoy beer tastings at the end of the tour. Other brewpub locations offer shorter tours due to smaller-sized brewing systems.
ERIE BREWING COMPANY
Erie Brewing Company has been brewing traditional-style ales and lagers for 25 years and in 1999 transitioned from a brewpub to a full-fledged microbrewery. The brewery’s six flagship brews and five seasonal varieties are all handcrafted on site, where visitors can enjoy tasting the five to six beers on tap. Finish tasting and take a tour to see how your new favorite craft beer is made; tastings and tours are available Wednesday to Saturday.