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Weyerbacher: Small Beginnings, Big Brews

Our Journey

Although Weyerbacher is a pretty well-known name throughout the craft brewing industry, this wouldn’t have been true just two decades ago.  Then again, not many would have expected a craft brewery to pop up in a livery stable in Easton, Pennsylvania in the 1990’s either.  However, it happened, and the path to discovering their niche was filled with interesting brews and some serious quality that we have come to love as enthusiasts.  These folks focus on quality and producing some truly big brews that hit the perfect notes within our craft beer community, which has given them the success they so rightly deserve.

Who are the folks that make Weyerbacher so great?

Dan Weirback is the Founder of Weyerbacher and is strongly backed by his wife, Sue, who encouraged him to open the business in 1995 after several years of homebrewing on his own.  Having run a small business before, the concept was not as daunting as it can be for many who jump into the industry with no business experience, but a love for brewing great beer.  With over a decade of business experience to rely on, Dan already had a good idea of what to expect when opening the company and had no problem digging deep as he set up the brewery in the small former livery.  Backed by several outstanding staff, he’s been the keystone of the company and traveled across Europe more than a few times to research local brews and see what the more traditional brewers were doing.

From the Founder and President to the great Finance Department Management, the company has gained a serious wealth of experience over the years, including Joshua and Barbara Lampe, the Chief Operations Officer and VP of Finance and Administration for the company.  Together with Dan, they have worked hard to help bring the company forward in marketing finance, as well as anything else that needed to be done in the formative years.  Josh has been a jack-of-all-positions at times, while Barbara began as a consultant and eventually became responsible for everything administrative.  Chris Lampe also joined the company later on after several years working in Archeology.  With a love of working with his hands, he made a perfect addition to the production team and eventually took over the position of Production Manager, where he is responsible for many of the same tasks that Josh handled years before.

In addition to these great folks, there are a good number of production employees that ensure the company stays in running order day-to-day, from Marketing to Finance, Sales to Production, and of course the many folks they consider to be “part of the team” who help to test the brews (whom we’re a bit jealous of, to be honest).  No matter the position, every employee of the company is important and the head staff at Weyerbacher make sure they know that every day.  We’re certainly glad they do because this big family brings plenty of great brews to the table for all of us to enjoy.

Where did it all begin for the brews?

While many new craft breweries were focusing on well-balanced, well-mannered brews, Weyerbacher wanted to be something bigger, something greater.  Thus, they focused on brews that really popped with flavor and aroma.  These brews are known for having a “Best By” date that can range up to five years past the bottling date, and there is a good reason for that.  Many of their brews are highly ageable in the bottle and the evolution of those brews in the bottle is seriously amazing.  For example, their brew called Blithering Idiot is a great example of a brew that can be bottle aged to your preference and we’re not talking a week or two.  We’ve tried this brew more than once, with some of the bottles aged up to three months out and each one seems to be better than the last, which says a lot considering the brew is outstanding straight off the line!

Another brew that has been around since the inception of the company is Merry Monks, a brew with big flavors and a heck of a following.  Several spin-offs of the brew have been created over the years and Weyerbacher’s penchant for retiring some of the brews over time has made these brews highly collectible.  With so many of their brews being bottle-aging giants we’re not surprised that folks would want to hoard them away for later, especially with that retiring habit!  We’re currently hoarding a few bottles of Heresy (seen at left) that we would not part with at any cost.

With early brews like Blithering Idiot and Merry Monks, it’s no surprise that Weyerbacher has become known for outstanding quality, big flavor, serious aroma, and collectability that seems to outlast nearly every brew out there.  Sure, there are plenty of brews we love to collect for their label art, or just because we know it’s a “One Run” brew that won’t be back, but the folks at Weyerbacher have turned out plenty of brews that go beyond those simple reasons.  The ability to age the brews simply adds to the allure and that is a hard track to follow for many breweries.

What are some of the great brews that Weyerbacher has retired?

Believe it or not, the retired brews list is not as long as you would think.  Sure, there are plenty of brews on there, but that’s not to say they won’t be back someday.  It simply means they were a limited run and have been set aside for now, or perhaps forever, we’ll never know, because the folks at Weyerbacher aren’t giving away any secrets.  Some of the great brews of runs past are Heresy (pictured in this article), Althea, The Jester’s Tree, and Verboten, all great brews that had their run and were sent to the label boneyard of sorts.  All of their retired brews are great, but we chose to focus on those we’ve personally tried for the purpose of this article.  That’s not to say the others aren’t just as noteworthy, as we’ve heard great things about Sour Black, Prophecy, and Hops Infusion IPA.

We can only hope that the folks are Weyerbacher choose to bring back some of those retirees, because we’d love another chance to taste and collect a few bottles of each, as would several people in the craft beer community.  However, for the moment, until the folks at Weyerbacher decide to surprise us someday, we’ll have to settle for reminiscing about these brews and hope to find a bottle or two out there for trade.

Year-round delights from Weyerbacher

Since we can’t enjoy the retired brews any longer, we have to focus on what is available from this amazing brewery right now.  That list is pretty impressive as well, with several year-round brews for us to enjoy, as well as a laundry list of seasonals and specialty brews that we enjoy waiting for each year.  Below we’ve listed a couple of the year-round brews that you can enjoy right now from Weyerbacher, as well as a small description of each brew.

Blithering Idiot – This brew, with an ABV of 11.1%, is what we consider to be the “Flagship” brew of Weyerbacher.  Having survived a long line of other brews coming along, this one is still a go-to brew that really stands up to the quality tests of the craft beer community.  Not only is this a traditional-style brew with British origins, it also has a great age ability in the bottle, which continues to impress us every time.

Last Chance IPA – This brew is outstanding.  It has a great flavor profile that has made it a firm favorite with Weyerbacher’s patrons and we can certainly understand why.  With an ABV of just 5.9%, the brew is not too heavy for a fun night out, while the really great and lasting flavor makes it one that you’ll want to drink all night as well.  The tangerine and grapefruit hints hold out through every sip and we really enjoyed trying it.  The fact that the brew is dry hopped with Mosaic and Citra hops only intensifies the flavor, while the rest of the hops mixed in help to keep a strong balance throughout.  If that wasn’t enough, this brew’s sales provide assistance to small animal rescues in their area.  What better feeling could you have than knowing that you’re enjoying a great brew AND helping out animals?

Paying a visit to this outstanding brewing company is definitely recommended, as you’ll certainly benefit from their expertise and willingness to discuss their craft, as well as enjoy their amazing craft beer.  We hope you leave us a comment if you do visit, as we love to hear from our readers about the brews they’ve tried, breweries they’ve visited, and what they thought of both!

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Apr 17, 2017