By Ronna Dewey

When I heard that Sly Fox Brewery was finally opening their brand new Tastin’ Room in Pottstown, PA on July 12th, I knew I had to swing by for a visit. The Tastin’ Room, on the site of Sly Fox’s new 30,000 square foot production brewery, offers 30 taps (not all are always active) as well as brick oven pizzas for the beer enthusiast who wants to make the trek out to this cool locale. I grabbed a girlfriend and off we went in search of some good beer and adventure.

I arrived at the Tastin’ Room and was immediately made to feel at home at the long wooden bar with Nick as our bartender. He was eager to show us all that the new Tastin’ Room had to offer and poured us samplers. I chose the Standard Pils, Black Raspberry Reserve, Hefeweizen Doppelbock, Instigator Doppelbock, Charles Bridge Pilsner, and Homefront IPA. This was a wonderful way to sample a few different styles of beer. Nick educated us about several of the beers and even gave us a quick tour of the brewing facility and walk in refrigerator (which was like being in really cold heaven with cases and kegs of beer lined up as far as the eye could see!)

It was really enjoyable to talk to an employee who had so much knowledge about the beer and the brewing process.  Of particular interest was the background of the Charles Bridge Pilsner. It is a Czech style Pils and named for a bridge in Prague. I encourage anyone who wants to know more to ask questions of your server, not just sample. You can get a science, geography and history lesson all while sampling some delicious brews!

We ordered the margherita pizza, which was a great accompaniment to the beer. The Tastin’ Room also offers a ½ chicken that is brined in the Abductor Saison that caught my eye. That will have to wait for my next visit!

The Tastin’ Room can seat approximately 100 patrons at the long communal wood tables. It has the feel of a German Biergarten where you can sit down with friends and strangers to try a few beers.  They are also hard at work on an outdoor seating area which will be a great place to hang out. Because the Brewery and Tastin’ Room is on the grounds of the Pottstown Airport, I imagine it will be a fun place to sit back and watch planes take off and land while chilling with beer and friends.

The official grand opening hasn’t been announced yet, but rumor has it a Kickoff party with the band Holt 45 may be occurring on July 27th. Additionally, stay tuned for details of Sly Fox’s next Can Jam Tournament and outdoor fest at the end of September.

As long as we were out and about and trying beers, we decided to swing by Appalachian Brewing Company (ABC) in Collegeville. ABC has been in this location for a little more than a year and is one of 6 that are now open. The flagship brewery is located in Harrisburg. The Collegeville outpost is a bit difficult to find if you don’t know where it is. Make sure you set your GPS to West 3rd Avenue and Chestnut Streets, not the actual address, or else you will end up someplace entirely different in Collegeville. Don’t ask me how I know this, but I do!  ABC is located in an adorable building called Collegeville Station on the 2nd floor, tucked next to a post office and behind the Collegeville Diner.

ABC is a beautiful brewpub with wooden beams, stained glass, and comfortable seating areas. We sat at the bar and had a chance to talk with our bartender Cherise, who has been with ABC at this location since it opened. ABC was showcasing two different varieties of their signature Hoppy Trails IPA on cask: one made with Amarillo hops and the other made with Nugget hops. It was interesting to note the subtle differences between the two varieties.

I noticed that there was a Coconut Porter on tap and asked for a taste. I wondered if it would be too sweet because I prefer beers that have a more bitter characteristic. I was correct in that I enjoyed a taste, but doubted that I would enjoy a full 16 ounces. It tasted like the perfect beer to introduce to your friend who likes Rum and Coke.  Cherise immediately poured me another taste of something and asked for my opinion. The beer was not as sweet, but still tasted of coconut. I was sold. Cherise explained she had mixed the Coconut Porter with the Anniversary Maibock. She had come up with this concoction at the request of another bar patron, and she affectionately refers to it as the ABC Pina Coloda!

Of course we had to have some food to go with our beers and ordered the smoked chipotle wings.  The wings were crispy and spicy and came with a side of house made chunky bleu cheese dressing that was delicious.

One of the highlights of this beer day trip was talking with the staff and uncovering gems of information, secret drinks, and local charm. I always like a food and beer adventure and it is comforting to know I can do this in my own backyard.

Find Sly Fox Brewery and Tastin’ Room at the Pottstown Airport Business Center, 331 Circle of Progress Drive in Pottstown, PA. Hours of operation are as follows: Mon. – Tues., closed; Wed. – Thurs., 11:30 am – 9 pm; Fri. – Sat., 11:30 am – 10 pm; and Sun., 11:30 am – 8 pm. Find Appalachian Brewing Company Brewpub of Collegeville at 50 West 3rd Avenue, Collegeville Station 2nd floor. Hours of operation are as follows: Sun. – Thurs., 11 am – 10 pm (Kitchen closes at 9 pm); Fri. – Sat., 11 am – 12 am (Kitchen closes at 11 pm).

About Ronna Dewey: Ronna is a Mom, President of the West Chester Beer Ladies and the self-proclaimed Chester County Beer Goddess. The West Chester Beer Ladies meet every 6 to 8 weeks at local establishments to socialize while tasting and learning about beer. More information can be found on WC Beer Ladies on Facebook or on Twitter.

Photos credited to Nina Lea Photography.