Raise a pint to St. Paddy's in Collegeville

Photo by Gene Walsh/21st Century Media A rack of samplers sits on the bar at the Appalachian Brewing Co. in the Collegeville Station in Collegeville.
Photo by Gene Walsh/21st Century Media Dinning area at the Appalachian Brewing Co. in the Collegeville Station in Collegeville.

IF YOU GO

Where: Appalachian Brewing Company, Collegeville. 50 W. Third Ave., second floor, Collegeville.

Hours: Sunday to Tuesday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (kitchen closes at 9). Wednesday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. (kitchen closes at 10). Friday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight (kitchen closes at 11).

Online: http://www.abcbrew.com/brewpubs/collegeville/

Contact: Phone 484-973-606. Email: abcinfo@abcbrew.com

St. Patrick’s Day often is often associated with parades, shamrocks and leprechauns.

For many, the holiday also provides a convenient excuse to enjoy a night out on the town and knock back a beer or two. And if you’re a fan of craft beer and you haven’t been to Appalachian Brewing Company’s digs in Collegeville, you’re missing out.

Opened in 2011, the expansive Collegeville pub, featuring its rustic post-and-beam interior, is one of several Appalachian Brewing Company locations scattered across the southern portion of Pennsylvania. The company, headquartered at the main brewery in downtown Harrisburg, also has brewpubs in Camp Hill, Lititz and Gettysburg. Another location is set to open soon in Cumberland County.

Located on the second floor inside Collegeville Station, the pub offers a wide range of selections that will be sure to whet the whistle of even the most selective beer aficionados. Appalachian’s flagship brews, Purist Pale Ale, Water Gap Wheat Ale, Mountain Lager, Susquehanna Stout, Trail Blaze Brown Ale and Broad Street Barley Wine are all brewed year-round and are available on tap as well as in bottles. There’s also Hoppy Trails IPA, which pub manager Brett Litten said is “probably” the pub’s most popular brew.

But it just wouldn’t be St. Patrick’s Day without a little Celtic flavor, and Appalachian Brewing Company has it covered. “Jolly Scot” Scottish Ale, another flagship brew, is a smooth, sweeter beer that offers up a taste of the British Isles, even if the brew’s full amber coloring belies the St. Patrick’s Day tradition that demands everything be bedecked in green.

In addition to its stable of year-round brews, Appalachian Brewing Company also has a series of 12 seasonal beers, released monthly. Celtic Knot Irish Red Ale, which was released just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, is available on tap throughout the month. Next month’s offering, Outta Focus Double IPA, is scheduled to be released on April 4. Other seasonal releases include Chocolate Avenue Stout, Zoigl Star Lager, Aero-Head Maibock, Hinterland Hefe Weizen, Volks Weizenbock, Kipona Fest, Rutty Buck Pumpkin Ale, Batch No. 666, Grizzly Spiced Ale and Pennypacker Porter.

The biggest fans of Appalachian’s craft brews can join the Collegeville Mug Club, which entitles its members to special perks, including a 10-ounce sample of the monthly seasonal beer, as well as discounts on the brewing company’s merchandise. Fans can also “hike” the “Appalachian Brewing Trail” by drinking a pint of each flagship beer, a pint of each seasonal brew and visiting each of the company’s brewpubs.

What sets this brewpub apart from so many other establishments is that some of the beer poured from the wide array of taps behind the massive wooden bar has been brewed on location. The Collegeville site has its own Newlands brewing system, and tours can be arranged, but they are by appointment only. Longer tours are also available at the company’s flagship brewery in Harrisburg, where the majority of the Appalachian’s beer is brewed.

However, there’s much more to Appalachian Brewing Company than just great beer. Litten said the pub is currently offering up its Irish Fest menu — available through St. Patrick’s Day — and the pub’s selections are uniquely Celtic. You can start off your meal with an appetizer such as potato leek soup, potato pancakes or glazed beet and egg toast, and follow it up with bangers and mash, corned beef and cabbage or Irish fish cakes. Finish everything off by trying out the buttermilk custard with a blackberry glaze for dessert.

Not a fan of the Celtic fare? The pub also has a broad range of selections of appetizers and entrees featuring traditional American cuisine, like garden salads, trail burgers, steaks, crab cakes as well as several different types of flatbread pizza. For diners currently observing Lent, the pub also has a special, Fish-Fry Fridays, featuring all-you-can-eat, beer-battered fish and chips for $12.50. The pub’s menu also offers up an impressive assortment of vegan and vegetarian selections for even the most persnickety palate. In addition to the Irish Fest selections and its regular menu, the pub also offers dinner specials Monday through Saturday.

For the non-drinker or designated driver in the group, Appalachian Brewing Company also has its own selection of craft sodas, including root beer, ginger beer and white birch beer, in addition to offering an assortment of traditional sodas. The staff is friendly and service is prompt, even on the occasions where the restaurant gets a little crowded.

Looking for more? Litten said the pub also has live entertainment featured on the first Friday of every month, although he added that no special entertainment is planned for St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

Appalachian Brewing Companyis located at 50 W. Third Ave., second floor, Collegeville.

Hours are Sunday-Tuesday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (kitchen closes at 9). Wednesday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. (kitchen closes at 10). Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight (kitchen closes at 11). For more information visit: http://www.abcbrew.com/brewpubs/collegeville/; call 484-973-6064 or email abcinfo@abcbrew.com