Some thoughts after visiting Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant last Saturday.
First of all, it's a brand new animal for the GVille brewing scene, no
other place like it in town. Yes, it's a chain with most locations in
Delaware and Pennsylvania; this is the first entry into the Southern
Market. But make no mistake, this is a serious brewery. Head Brewer Eric
Boice has been brewing for 13 years, mostly in Delaware and that
experience shows up, certainly in the beers we had. He's a
big fan of Kolsch beers and his Upstate Kolsch (brewed on premises) is a
classic of the style. Brewers know the challenge of making a successful
version and will appreciate this one, I think.
In all, we had 12
beers to sample among our group of seven; all were deemed good, solid
brews and all the subsequent pints we ordered confirmed our response.
Eric told me that their plan is to have several seasonals on tap all
the time, and those currently in the fermenters range from a
BerlinerWeiss (no fruit) to an Imperial Russian Stout. And of course,
recognizing the popularity of the style, a new version of the Hipster NE
IPA is in the tank, gathering up the goodness we expect.
A topic of
discussion among our group was what effect this venue would have on
GVille's existing breweries. The consensus seemed to be that Iron Hill
will be popular because of it's location across from the Mall and
especially with travelers from the three nearby hotels who want a good
dining experience (our food was roundly declared as excellent and well
prepared) as well as good beers, but will not pull folks away from our
local breweries because that's a different experience.
It's certainly not going to take us away from Quest Brewing Company's
Ponce release this Friday. Nor from any other local brewery events. We
have a very established craft beer community with a loyal following and
Iron Hill will not change that.
That said, we all agreed that we
would certainly come back to have our faves again and to try Eric's new
releases. It's a comfortable, spacious facility with huge colorful
graphics on the wall, community tables by the bar and a well trained
staff who can seriously discuss the beers on tap (due in large part to
the presence of Big Jon Richards, a Cicerone Certified Server and good
friend to all of us).