Happy anniversary, St. Boniface

By on February 11, 2015

A steady stream of craft beer fans flooded St. Boniface Craft Brewing Company as the popular business celebrated its fourth anniversary Saturday. Barbecue, sweets, and music filled the Ephrata brewery while customers collected tickets to win St. Boniface schwag.

I got to the watering hole early to secure a spot where I could take in all the merriment and soon found myself surrounded by old friends and influential people in the local craft beer scene.

First thing first, I ordered a beer.

The tradition at St. Boniface is to create unique brews outside of the standard set of beers; these are called Offerings. Offering #19 is a traditional ale labeled Northern English Brown Ale (despite teasing on social media, more than likely in jest, the beer was going to be a pumpkin peach ale). The one-shot brew has a deep but gentle maltiness and a crisp clean finish. The brown ale is balanced with the traditional English hop, East Kent Golding. I stuck with the 5.2 ABV brew throughout the majority of my stay. Since Saturday was special, St. Boniface offered a few other specials.

Rocky’s BBQ, which often provides eats to St. Boniface customers, joined Sugar Whipped Bakery to feed celebrating patrons.

Rocky’s BBQ, which often provides eats to St. Boniface customers, joined Sugar Whipped Bakery to feed celebrating patrons.

The crew infused the popular Hegemony stout with Lititz-based Whiff Roasters Mombasa Bold Roast coffee for those looking for beer with a kick. Ans just before it was time for me to leave I discovered the most olfactory pleasing drink, the oak aged Extra Special Bitter. Once I had just a sip of this concoction I knew I had to have a full pint; with all the mellow caramel flavor of their standard ESB, this version adds a simple earthy, oak flavor, which is instantly noticed yet not overpowering.

As is custom at the kitchen-less St. Boniface, food was served via food truck in the parking lot. Helping celebrate the brewery’s fourth anniversary was Rocky’s BBQ, which can often be found at St. Boniface on weekends. By far its most popular item, along with its ribs, was The Sparky, which sold out before 3 p.m. The Sparky is a big bowl of homemade macaroni and cheese topped with burnt ends (the misshapen, super-savory, crispy ends of beef brisket). Rocky’s also offers sandwiches (pulled pork and brisket) and a variety of sides. Food flowed from the truck to the taproom steadily.

For dessert, St. Boniface enlisted the services of Sugar Whipped Bakery, another food truck. However, the truck itself failed and owner Stephanie Samuel improvised by setting up shop near the recently expanded brewery’s original equipment, close to the taps. Many cupcakes and other treats left “to go.”

St. Boniface regular Jeff “Chud” Faulds (facing camera, lower right) braved the crowds to get a few celebratory pints. (Photos by Michael Upton)

St. Boniface regular Jeff “Chud” Faulds (facing camera, lower right) braved the crowds to get a few
celebratory pints. (Photos by Michael Upton)

At 6:30 the sounds of Colebrook Road filled the brew space. The five-man, bluegrass-inspired band from Harrisburg consists of guitarist Jesse Eisenbise, Mark Rast on banjo an dobro, bassist Jeff Campbell, Wade Yankey on mandolin, and Joe McAnulty on fiddle.

St. Boniface co-owner Mike Price didn’t know exactly what to expect. Four years is not the greatest of milestones in the grand scheme of things, but people flocked to the brewery Saturday to show their support and share a few pints. Now I’m looking forward to anniversary number five!

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

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