Fall Into Spring House Brewing
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Lancaster, PA? If you’re like me, the Amish, farm country, and horse and buggies are the first to pop into your head, but with the craft beer movement there’s another staple of the Lancaster area that needs to join those thoughts, and that’s beer.
More specifically craft beer. In the past few years craft beer in and around Lancaster, PA has boomed with more than a dozen craft breweries in the area. Take for example Spring House Brewing. Brothers Greg and Matt Keasey started Spring House in 2007 in what else, but an old barn. Surprisingly enough, there are more than eight breweries in Lancaster County, placing Spring House in very good company.
Head brewer Matt wasn’t new to the beer world with Spring House, as he started off working for Appalachian Brewing in Harrisburg for two years, and was a chemist at a local laboratory. Both jobs helped to prepare him for the demanding world of brewing on his own, which if his beers have anything to say about it, he’s done an outstanding job of.
So where did the name come from? While Spring House might bring up thoughts of a farm house in the spring, with fields of flowers and even some crops in the background, this isn’t exactly where the name came from. Remember that barn that Matt started brewing in? Well, the house on the same property as the barn is where Matt and his family called home, and was first settled in 1794. As you may have guessed, there wasn’t too much in the way of municipal water back then so in the basement of the house an actual spring was tapped, and supplied water to the house up until 1970, hence the name Spring House Brewing.
Fast forward to today and the new brewery is going strong, and Matt doesn’t have to worry about people parking in his front yard to get a taste of his beers any more.
The story behind any brewery is great, but what really matters is the beer, right? Spring House Brewing has a solid lineup of both year-round and seasonal beers, each with their own unique taste and story behind them.
Seven Gates Pale Ale – The flagship beer for Spring House, Seven Gates Pale Ale is named for a story out of rural Pennsylvania. According to this legend, there was an insane asylum deep in the woods that was surrounded by, you guessed it, seven gates to keep the “guests” of the asylum safe and sound. One night the asylum caught fire, and to their peril the seven gates did their job and kept everyone in, where they haunt still today.
In honor of this not-so-urban legend, Spring House brewed a terrifyingly delicious beer that has a heavy focus on the hop profile while keeping the alcohol in check with 5.6% ABV. Expect a light toasted bread body with citrus and pine hop notes, finishing up with a healthy dose of bitterness. One taste and you’ll see why this is their flagship beer.
Big Gruesome Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout – Scarily good, Big Gruesome is a lot friendlier once you get to know him. This creamy, malty beer uses two different types of chocolate malt with a healthy dose of cocoa nibs thrown in for good measure. Spring House could stop here and have a pretty great chocolate stout, but instead they age it on whole vanilla beans and more raw cocoa nibs to really bring the chocolate character out.
Oh, and throughout the brewing process Matt adds peanut butter to play against the chocolate, giving us a final result that’s surprisingly similar to our favorite chocolate peanut butter cups. Big Gruesome comes in at 8.5% ABV and is available year round.
She-Monster Mango IPA – Mangos and hops work far better with one another than you’d expect, and as proof of this idea Spring House brews their Astounding She-Monster Mango IPA. This 7.7% ABV beer features ripe mango as well as tropical hop aroma up front followed with some amazing hop flavor and bitterness in the middle and end. Add in some alcoholic warmth and you have yourself a dangerously delicious beer that thinks it’s a mango.
Not every beer can be around all year, and that makes them all that much more special. You need to find these seasonal beauties when you can, and enjoy them often. Each of the seasonal beers from Spring House Brewing comes in either 22oz bottles or on draft.
Braaaiins! Pumpkin Ale For Zombies – Zombies need to enjoy a good beer from time to time, too and to suit their special needs, Spring House brewed their Braaiins! Pumpkin Ale just for them. Instead of using real brains, Matt chose to use real pumpkins and just pretend instead.
The pumpkin flavor is nice and subtle, enhanced by some tasty fall spices that remind us of all our favorite fall foods. Pair these with a nice sweet dough character, and this 8.5% beer will warm you up while leaving you with a crisp finish. Best of all, there’s nearly no chance it will turn you into an actual zombie. Availability: August through October
The Martians Kidnap Santa Egg Nog Stout – Those pesky Martians are at it again, and this time they’ve gone after Santa. While we send the National Guard to go rescue him, you can take solace in Spring House’s Egg Nog Stout.
This 8.3% ABV beer pairs the chocolate darkness you’d expect from a stout and the creamy booziness we all love about egg nog and places them together in a match that’s way better than milk and cookies could ever be. Availbility: November through December
Satan’s Bake Sale Mint Chocolate Chip Stout – Smooth, dark, and absolutely evil. No, we’re not talking about Beelzebub, but instead a beer that’s outright evil in how delicious it is. Don’t ask us why mint chocolate chip cookies are the featured item at Satan’s Bake Sale, but to match his baking prowess Spring House made their stout that’s aged on fresh peppermint leaves and dark Wilbur chocolate. At 8.4% ABV, it’s sure to get you in some trouble, too.
These two forces work together to give this beer a powerful aroma and pronounced mint chocolate chip flavor. One drink and you’ll see why it’s so good it’s (almost) evil. Availability: October-December
All Spring House brews are available in 22oz bottles and drafts of 1/2s and 1/6s. Watch for some new packaging in 2016.
Spring House Brewing is proudly distributed in and around Pittsburgh by Vecenie Distributing.