Weyerbacher Brewery: By: Steph Doan
Not sure how to say the name? No worries, it’s a common snag. Say it like it, “why-er-bock-er” and you’ve got it down. Keeping alive a morphed spelling of this traditional German family name are founders of the brewery, Dan and Sue Weirback. (Note the change in spelling.) The husband and wife thought the original name would be perfect for their brewery.
It all started when the two Weirbacks casually visited Long Trail brewery, located in Vermont. While scoping out the basement brewery, they got the notion that Dan’s simple home brewing could be more than just a hobby. He said he had a love for home brewing and craft beers for several years, but seeing Long Trail was what gave him the confidence to embark on his own brewing journey.
Two years following that fateful day, Dan and Sue opened Weyerbacher brewery, located in Easton, PA. It was 1995, and pale ales were the trend. Originally that’s when Dan jumped on the bandwagon, crafting a Pale Ale and ESB.
That quickly proved to be problematic. Back then every brewery made a Pale Ale. The solution: the birth of the Blithering Idiot in ’98 and the Merry Monks Ale in ’99, originally seasonals. Both helped the brewery stand out from the competition.
“Before we knew it we were generating a lot of free press and interest in these styles, and that’s when we decided to plunge headlong in this direction,” Dan said. “The rest is history at this point.”
The two beers are still offered as year-rounds, and the company is stronger than ever, having moved from its original space of 4500 square-feet, including a brewpub, into a larger space about 10 years ago. Although there is no longer a brewpub, the brewery now has nearly 20,000 square-feet to craft its magic and distributes in 18 states.
Always striving to sit apart from other breweries, Weyerbacher became the first ever U.S. brewery to produce and bottle a quadruple in 2000 as well as to bottle a bourbon-barrel aged beer in 2004.
Looking to warm up to a great December season? One of their best seasonals is actually a quadruple, Dan said. The QUAD is a Belgian-style craft that is perfect for a nightcap or special occasion gatherings. It’ll warm up any holiday affair.
“Its complexity is an epiphany in itself,” Dan said.
The state-of-the-art brewery is open for visiting on Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons. Visitors are encouraged to stop in and learn, sample, and connect while tasting some great crafts. Check the website to see what’s on tap.
Year Round Beers
Last Chance IPA
Never thought you’d hear “lacking in balance” as a pro? This craft will make you look at hops in a whole new way. Released just last May it’s a west coast-style Indian Pale Ale, using a combination of Centennial, Cascade, Simcoe and even Columbus hops. It has a fruity taste and contains 5.9 percent alcohol. For an added bonus, Weyerbacher donates money to regional animal rescue operations, giving this “Last Chance” beer its name and a great cause. So far $9, 881.50 has been donated.
Double Simcoe IPA
One hop, one way is the motto of this beer. But do not let the lack of variety fool you: this hoppy beer packs a punch using only Simcoe hops. This beer is both hoppy and malty, making it a well-rounded beer that finishes clean.
A copper-colored ale made in the British style of traditional barley wine. Its smell is sweet like sugar cookies and molasses. The taste is rich with figs, candied malts and raisins. Sip it in a brandy snifter or wine glass. It has a high alcohol content at 11.1 percent, which means it will keep and grow more complex with age.
This is a delightful and robust imperial stout with a dry finish. Its coloring is as dark as its name. The smell is fruity, but the taste definitely harbors notes of espresso. Weyerbacher says it’s their take on an 18th century English brew. Pair it with flavorful stews, oysters and meats. It has an 8 percent alcohol content.
Tiny by name but not by flavor, this is a dark Belgian-inspired Imperial Stout. Balance is still key with this beer made from Abbey yeast. Containing lots of roasty malts, the beer plays dark chocolate in color and in flavor. It has an 11.8 percent alcohol level, so enjoy sparingly. Available only in 750ml corked bottles.
Formerly known as “Alpha,” this Belgian-style pale ale is transformed into an American classic. It’s made with wheat malts and both Centennial and Cascade hops. “Verboten” means forbidden in German, but this beer with its low 5.9 percent alcohol is anything but off-limits.
Not only a medal-winning Belgian-style tripel but also Dan’s hands-down favorite. He describes Merry Monk as a “bold but elegant beer.” It is aged for added character and made in the style of trappist beers. Made with pilsner malts, it has notes of apricot and earthiness. The beer is bottled-conditioned, meaning that sugar and yeast is added just before bottling the beer. This ensures the tasty beer is as creamy as ever. It has a 9.3 percent alcohol level.