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CASTLE MALTING NEWS in partnership with Portuguese
04 December, 2022

Brewing news USA, PA: Country Club Brewing set to open next week in Bethlehem

Just in time for holiday gatherings, a new destination for locally brewed lagers, IPAs and other beers is set to debut next weekend in south Bethlehem, WFMZ reported on December 4.

Country Club Brewing, a craft brewery serving its house-made beer alongside other regionally produced beverages such as wine and cocktails, will hold its grand opening on Saturday, Dec. 10, at 323 Pierce St., co-founder and head brewer Mike Kromer said.

The new brick building, next to the South Bethlehem Greenway between Third and Fourth streets, will feature a roughly 50-seat taproom housing low-top tables, a granite bar and a five-barrel brewing system.

"I am very excited," Kromer said. "It's been a long road, but we can't wait to finally welcome customers in here and serve them our beer."

Kromer started homebrewing more than a decade ago and in recent years joined forces with some of his friends to open Country Club.

He and his partners, Derek Mangin, Ethan Porter, Michael Recchiuti, Jose Rivera and Brandin Robinson, share a love of craft beer and started the search for their forthcoming brewery's site four years ago.

The group originally wanted to refurbish an old garage at the same Pierce Street location, but they changed course when the structure's foundation was deemed unsafe.

Instead, they decided to demolish the structure and rebuild it from the ground up.

The roughly 1,700-square-foot brewery features an industrial look with dark epoxied flooring, metal pendant lighting and reclaimed wood behind the bar. Additionally, bricks from the site's former garage were repurposed and incorporated into the bar's base.

For customers looking for an al fresco feel when the weather is pleasant, the taproom has glass doors that slide open to the front porch, and it plans to construct a side patio near the greenway in the spring.

The brewery will open with eight or nine draft beers, but it has capacity to expand its offerings with a dozen taps, Kromer said.

A variety of flagship and rotating beers will include IPAs, lagers, pilsners and stouts, with some being named after Bethlehem landmarks and individuals such as the nearby SteelStacks campus and former Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan.

Others will feature golf-centric names due to the partners' fondness of the sport.

"Some of the beers that we'll have are Water Hazard, which is an IPA, Who's Your Caddy, which is a double IPA, Birdie Blonde, which is a blonde ale, and Par 3, which is a pale ale," Kromer said.

A flagship will be a "John A" IPA, named in honor of longtime Allentown School District teacher John Annoni.

Annoni, who also founded Camp Compass — a program introducing urban youth to outdoor activities such as archery and hunting, played a pivotal role in Kromer’s life and remains a good friend.

Various-sized glasses of beer will be available, and customers also will be able to purchase flights of four 5-ounce pours, Kromer said.

For the non-beer drinkers, Country Club also will feature canned cocktails from Boardroom Spirits in Lansdale. About a dozen varieties will include a margarita, gin and tonic, Moscow mule, vodka and peach iced tea and pineapple mango vodka soda.

"We're also going to have wine from Franklin Hill," Kromer said. "Our own seltzers will be available down the line."

Brewing at an off-site location over the past few years, the Country Club team brought its brews to local and national beer festivals such as the Schuylkill County Brew Fest in Pottsville and Free the Whales Beerfest in Miami, taking home several distinctions along the way.

One of its first honors came when the team won "best dark beer" and "best overall beer" for its coconut-flavored stout, Coconuts Falling, at the 2018 Allentown Beer Fest.

In Bethlehem, the partners are looking to showcase their award-winning beer in a fun environment, complete with three TVs and regularly scheduled live entertainment.

It also will welcome food trucks, with the Lunchboxxx food truck set to visit during the brewery's opening on Saturday, Kromer said.

Regular hours are still being finalized.

"We're still ironing out our hours, but for our first day on Saturday, we'll be open noon to 10 p.m.," Kromer said. "On Sunday, we'll be open noon to 4 p.m. because we have an event at night."

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