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Dharma Kitchen

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Weyerbacher Brewing Gets an Upgraded Visitors' Center

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Ah, how lucky are we here in the Lehigh Valley? This past weekend, we just had an amazing Baconfest at the Easton Farmers' Market, with attendances in the tens of thousands. We have great restaurants. And we have great beer. Now, it will be even easier for beer tourists—and Lehigh Valley residents, let's not forget—to get in on the Weyerbacher love during the week. The Visitors' Center has expanded, there are new, bigger signs reflecting the updated logo, there are new family-friendly bathrooms, and there are 28 taps (14 on each side--redundant taps) to serve you. Not to mention a gorgeous, concrete-topped bar. But perhaps the most significant improvement is the fact that you can now buy beer from the brewery almost any day of the week: Weyerbacher's hours have expanded from Monday-Saturday, 12pm-7pm.

Currently, on tap and available in six-packs—and this could change at any moment—is the first of the new brewer's select series, called Aries. It's mix of Imperial Pumpkin Ale and Old Heathen. It's a "black and orange," says Bill Bragg, who's the general honcho of the visitors' center and in charge of Weyerbacher's publicity. "It was born out of the creativity of our sales reps, who started mixing them. It doesn't pour like a black and tan, though," he says. And like all of their special brews and seasonal selections, once it's gone, it's gone.

The inimitable Bill Bragg at Weyerbacher Brewing Company, Easton.

The inimitable Bill Bragg at Weyerbacher Brewing Company, Easton.

Fans of Weyerbacher may remember the first brewers' select series went through the military alphabet. Upon tasting some Aries (and then purchasing a six pack), I asked if they're going through the entire zodiac, and Bragg says no, they're going through all of the 44 constellations in the Northern Hemisphere. That's ambitious, but unsurprising given the creativity of head brewer Chris Wilson and his staff. The next one up? "Augira, a strong ale," he says. Stay tuned to Weyerbacher for his updates on availability.

And if you haven't visited in a while, or you aren't aware of this change, you can now buy one bottle or an entire case. Pennsylvania's liquor laws used to dictate that you had to buy an entire case at Weyerbacher. (You could of course mix it up.) Now, as Bragg puts it, "You can buy it by the 12-ounce bottle or the truck. We prefer the truck," he says. Their beers are available in various forms, depending on type, from two-ounce free samples to growlers, bottles, six-packs, 750ml cork-and-cage bottles, to sixtels and kegs.

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If you go, you can get the full tour on Friday nights and during Saturday afternoons, and maybe during the week if there's time. Mostly, Bragg says that he hopes that residents in the area will come during the week for free tastings and sales, which will make things a little easier on the weekends when the visitors' center is much more crammed and people are elbow-to-elbow looking for a taste of the latest Weyerbacher elixir. "We really want locals to come during the week—you get more one-on-one attention that way," he says.

The expansion also bumped the physical plant out toward the back, garnering the brewery an additional 6,500 square feet, with floor drains, so they moved production over there—from fermentation to bottling and kegging. These changes can only mean good things for beer lovers. Just in time for the holidays!

For more information: Weyerbacher Brewing Company, 905 Line Street, Easton, PA; 610-559-5561. Tours: Fridays, 5:30; Saturdays, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm; weekdays, based on availability.