Brewery: GearHouse Brewing Co.
Date of Visit: Saturday, February 18th
Address: 253 Grant Street, Chambersburg, PA
Beers to Try: GearHouse Porter with Nathan Miller chocolate, the Mad Machinist Double IPA, and ConocoGIN barrel aged brown ale.
Thoughts: Having been gifted with an unseasonably warm weekend in February, my family jumped at the opportunity to expand our brewery range a bit and head up to Chambersburg, PA to checkout the newly opened GearHouse Brewing Co. Located about an hour north of Hagerstown, MD just across the PA state line, the journey was manageable.
There was some confusion upon arrival as this well hidden gem was hidden a bit too well, not even having a sign visible from the road. We spotted a large crowd gathered outside of a rustic looking older building, and figured that must be it. We were right! Much of the outside was still under development (grass newly planted, sidewalk still not poured, and the early workings of a hop yard!), but the building was quite nice. The inside featured exposed beams that gave the brewery a unique vibe. The line was completely out the door to get a beer, due to the arrival of a group of bicyclers on a brewery pedal.
The beer list included a reasonable array of beer (a huge pet peeve of mine is a ‘brewery’ that only makes two or three styles). Immediately, I was drawn to a few of the barrel-aged options they featured. I opted for the ConocoGIN, a gin barrel-aged version of their brown ale (6.3% abv). Having never had a gin barrel-aged beer, I was skeptical of what to expect. The result was a decent brown ale with some unique juniper hints coming through – a welcomed combination. The second one up was their Mad Machinist – an aptly named IPA with a great hop bill including Mosaic, Centennial, and Columbus. This beer was one of my favorite IPA’s I’ve had in a while, and would highly recommend it at 7.7% abv. My final beer ordered was their Rye Whiskey Barrel Aged Porter. I had high hopes for this beer, so I couldn’t help but want a bit more out of it after tasting. At only 5.5% abv, I’m not sure if the beer was boozy enough to extract enough of the tannin from the barrel and the result was a very slight oak taste – definitely present, but on the weaker side. I also can recommend from sampling the Multi-Grain Saison and the LIAR-LIAR IPA – both of which were true to style and rather tasty.
The Area: Chambersburg is one of many smaller cities in Pennsylvania that is making a resurgence. The large network of now-vacant industrial buildings is allowing small popup operations to takeover. Within only a few miles of GearHouse, you can find Roy Pitz brewing their ‘Liquid Art’ and a full Nathan Miller chocolate bakery and café with great pourover coffee. There is more than enough in the area to justify a day trip – so what are you waiting for?
Closing Thoughts: GearHouse is a newly opened brewery in Chambersburg, PA. Having only been open since December 2016, they are still very ‘green.’ Their beer list (while rapidly growing) is yet to be refined for styles that work well together. They offer a number of quality brews at reasonable brewery prices, and feature a solid menu of snacks, wines, and ciders. For the warmer months, they have an awesome patio with ample space for larger groups. This place has a lot of potential going forward, and is a place I’m sure I’ll visit again.