New brews at Ephrata Brewfest

By on May 30, 2018


The third annual Ephrata Brewfest is less than a month away, so I gave fest co-organizer Patrick Reed a call to find out what may be new and exciting for 2018.

“Every year we get (breweries coming) in and out of the brewfest, so that is not unusual,” said Reed. “At the same time…we try to make it so that people don’t come to the same thing every year. What we herd from people last year is that they were looking for more, and that they were looking for some different breweries.”

New and different breweries coming to the June 23 event include Neshaminy Creek, Mount Gretna Craft Brewery, Rotunda Brewing, Pizza Boy Brewing, and Tröegs.

Most festgoers will recognize Neshaminy Creek from their super label can art and those who made the festival circuit a couple years ago will remember the release of Punkless Dunkel, an awesome, pie-inspired pumpkin wheat ale aged for six months in bourbon barrels-when that wasn’t yet a regular occurrence. Don’t expect to see this brew at the fest as it seems to be retired, and it’s not quite pumpkin beer season yet.

Mount Gretna is the county’s newest brewery and I had a chance to check them out at a recent fest; their Governor Dick pale ale is a flavorful brew, which pairs well with sunshine. Pizza Boy is the brewing arm of Al’s of Hampden, a longtime destination for indy beer fans near Harrisburg; expect some sort of sour. And we all know Tröegs.

The one name on that list I did not recognize was Rotunda Brewing. A quick search on the Google machine led me to the Batdorf Restaurant. I love that place! I guess it’s been too long since I’ve paid them a visit because the Annville institution has started brewing beer. I’m excited to check out what they’ll bring to Whistle Stop Plaza. This past weekend Rotunda released Sea Nymph, a New England-style DIPA made with calypso hops. And speaking of New England

“There’s also a beer distributor out of Philadelphia and he is going to be pouring Henniker Brewing out of New Hampshire,” said Reed.

Due diligence must be done, so I got on the phone with Henniker marketing director, Ryan Maiola.

“We like to think of ourselves as a well-rounded brewery. If you have a flight of our beers you are going to get a little bit of something you might not get at other breweries,” said Maiola. “We’re brand new to the Pennsylvania market. This is the first time we’ve been distributed outside of New England.”

Sour Flower, from Henniker Brewing in New Hampshire, is an American wild summer ale with a 5.70% ABV. It is dry-hopped with Chinook, Simcoe, and Mosaic. (Photos by Michael Upton)

Henniker Brewing has been in existence for five years and they have focused on creating a variety of well-crafted beers-lower ABV, but with full flavor, explained Maiola.

The Ephrata Brewfest takes place on June 23 from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Whistle Stop Plaza, Main Street, Ephrata. Tickets are $35 per person and can be purchased online at or in person at the Ephrata Public Library and Ephrata Rec Center.

Cheers and thanks for reading!

Michael C. Upton is a freelance writer specializing in arts and leisure. He welcomes comments at and

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