Weyerbacher is a microbrewery located in the picturesque town of Easton, PA that produces a number of great, cellar-worthy beers. A long weekend with friends in the Poconos allowed us the time to visit their facility, take a tour and snap some pics. Some aspects were nice, others, unfortunately, were less impressive.
Edited 10/5/2010 thanks to help from Weyerbacher’s Production Manager
The brewery itself is in a nondescript warehouse on a small sidestreet in Easton. Be on the lookout or you’ll drive right past it! We arrived at the brewery about 5 minutes before the second tour started. The tours are at 12:30, 1:15 and 2:30 and are on Saturdays only. The earlier tour was milling about the bar drinking samples.
We were directed to the back room and the tour guide began to tell us about the brewing process. Right away the tour went a bit off-course. Somebody asked him a question and he got a bit flustered so he passed the rest of the tour off on another guy standing right behind him. The second guide started off by asking “any homebrewers here?” and when a bunch of people raised their hands he pretended like he had forgotten his own question, ignored the raised hands, and began a whiz-bang description of the brewing process. We then followed the guides into the fermenting/bottling room where the rest of the process was described. Then the guide hinted twice that if we stopped asking questions we could go drink the FREE BEER WOW!!! *
I suppose if you’ve never been on a brewery tour before you might think that a short description of the process followed by FREE BEER THAT’S RIGHT FREE BEER is pretty great. But I’ve been on a fair number of brewery tours and they were all better than this one. The tour guides almost always provide anecdotes about the early days of the brewery or tell you about what makes that particular brewery special and that’s what makes a tour worthwhile. This tour had none of that, though the tour guide was pretty happy to tell us what a “beer geek” and “beer snob” he was and how many different beers he had sampled that year. When asked about the wood barrels stacked up to the ceiling the guide just said they were empty and pushed us into the second room.
How about telling us that Old Heathen becomes Heresy when aged in those barrels and Blithering Idiot becomes Insanity? I had to go to the website to find that out.
Because I myself am curious I’ve done a little research and here are some interesting factoids about the brewery:
- Pronunciation: why-er-bock-er
- founded in 1995 by Dan and Sue Weirback (Weyerbacher is an older form of their name)
- they had a brewpub from 1998-2001 but decided to keep focus on the beer
Autumn Aleedit: Harvest Ale is made this year with estate-grown hops
and that’s about it! There’s not much else to find out online.
I have to admit that one of the main reasons to check out the brewery was to see if there was any way to taste some of their rarer brews. Unfortunately Lima, from the Brewer’s Select series was all sold out and Mike is another month away from release. Everything that was at the brewery is available at Beers of the World here in Rochester. In fact BOTW has a few that were not available at the brewery.
There is a nice assortment of hats, t-shirts and other swag. I would have bought a sticker for my primary fermenter but they were 3$ each. Almost all of the other stickers I’ve acquired were free at the brewery. They also had their own bottlecap magnets, something I’ve not seen at other breweries. A pint glass and a tulip glass are also available and you can mix up your own case of 12oz bottles or bombers (though only two beers were available in bombers) or even get a growler filled.
All in all I have to say that if you live in the mid-atlantic or New England and can get Weyerbacher locally there’s not much compelling about this brewery tour. It’s only worth it if you know there is a Brewer’s Reserve available or if you want to stock up on t-shirts and hats and glassware. If you’re from the midwest or the left coast you’ll find it’s a nice way to sample a variety of their strong, highly-flavored beers.
Weyerbacher: please find time to go on tours at Brooklyn or Dogfish. They have awesome tours. When people come out for a brewery tour there is a strong possibility that they are really interested in you and your story. Tell it to them! I would think this would be second-nature to you since the impetus for opening your brewery was a brewery tour at Long Trail in Vermont (also information I found on your website)!
*Note that the samples are served in those microscopic plastic containers that are about the size of the top of the Pepto Bismol bottle. You get a small sip and then throw the mini-cup into a giant trash can. This pales in comparison to Ithaca, which used beautiful little tasting glasses.
As Christian, their Production Manger, politely points out there is no way to use glass if there is no water or drainage where the tasting area is.