Happy Anniver8ary, St. Boniface!

By on February 6, 2019

According to a quick search on the Google machine, the number 8 is pretty good. “The number 8 is generally read as indicating material abundance and career success,” reads a tarot card website I stumbled on. That’s fitting for St. Boniface Craft Brewing in Ephrata as they celebrated their eighth anniversary on Feb. 2.

The all-day event, billed as Anniver8ary and keeping with past themes of incorporating numbers into the word anniversary, brought out tons of people. I got there around 4 p.m. and the place was standing room only.

“We had a huge turnout,” said co-owner Dain Shirey Monday after the event. “It was awesome to see so many familiar faces and a lot of new faces, too.”

Since 2016 (their fifth anniversary), St. Boniface anniversary parties have featured the release of a special Hegemony Reserve stout using old school ingredients from the original recipe, like pure honey. The rich brew still pours a thick head, and its dark color lets little light pass through the glass. Since its inception, Hegemony has become a benchmark for stouts and recently took home a blue ribbon for best stout at the PA Farm Show.

The 2019 reserve edition brew was tapped on Saturday and is still available for drafts. Also available Saturday were drafts of Hegemony Reserve from 2016, 2017, and 2018. To make room on the tap board, standards like 3 lb. and Paideia were delegated to can sales only — don’t worry fans, those beers are back on draft now. St. Boniface bottled 100 cases (1,200 bottles) of 22-ounce Hegemony Anniver8ary Reserve “bombers.”

St. Boniface co-owner Mike Price with a bottle of 8th Anniversary Hegemony Stout. (Photo by Michael Upton)

“We’ll continue to sell them at the taproom and we’ll sprinkle some out to distributors in Lancaster County,” said Shirey. “We’ll use some for special events. We will save some. And there might be a couple cases of 5, 6, and 7 around that we are saving.”

Shirey hinted at the option of releasing five-year verticals for the 10th anniversary in 2021. I don’t think he’s the only one saving a few bottles of early anniversary Hegemony Reserve. In fact, I wrote in 2016 that I wanted to hold onto Anniver5ary bottle #538 until 2017 — and I still have it!

“All signs point that they will hold up okay,” said Shirey of older vintage Hegemony Reserve bottles.

While the Hegemony reserve celebrates the old, there is plenty new at St. Boniface, as a bit of redesign has happened. First, the brewery has teamed up with Lancaster-based design company Foxduck to create some new shwag, including t-shirts. But, more important to beer drinkers is that the majority of St. Boniface beer labels have changed.

“We’ve redesigned all the 16-ounce (cans). We’re using Bennett Creative Company (of Lancaster); Stephanie Bennett was the one who originally designed the (Best of Both Brews) Square One Coffee IPA label,” said Shirey. “We wanted to redesign some labels … and man, we’ve had such a huge response from that.”

The new Hegemony label comes out in March. Cheers and thanks for reading!

Michael C. Upton is a freelance writer specializing in arts and leisure. He welcomes comments at somepromcu@gmail.com and facebook.com/SomebodiesProductions.

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