Thursday, July 22, 2010

Iron Hill Maple Shade, a year later

Iron Hill will mark the first-year anniversary of its Maple Shade brewpub on Saturday with a fitting soiree that runs from 1 to 5 p.m.

That's brewer Chris LaPierre in the video above, shot June 26th during the Garden State Craft Brewers Guild festival. Below is what Chris put out in his email notice to Iron Hill devotees and mug club members about Saturday's happenings:

As usual we'll show our appreciation with a complimentary buffet from 2-3 p.m. and raffling off a slew of prizes at 4 p.m. As for the beer, (can't forget the beer!) we've got a lot of special stuff saved up for you. ... we'll be tapping our Anniversary Ale (Sour Cherry Belgian Dubbel), Christmas in July (our Winter Warmer that's been aging in a used Bourbon barrel since the holidays), and vintage kegs of English Strong Ale and Flemish Red. I've even got a special cask for you (I haven't yet decided whether to tap the last firkin of Dark Situation or the last pin of our Bourbon Quad).
Follow this link to see what it was like on that inaugural day of business when Iron Hill opened its first location in New Jersey and became the first new brewing enterprise in the Garden State since Krogh's up in Sparta jumped into the game in 1999 with a 5-barrel system.

Iron Hill's reputation with its eight locations (spread among Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey) is one of great beer. But its backstory is about three Jersey guys who had to leave the Garden State to pursue their vision just to be able to return to their home state with that vision. (Are you listening Gov. Christie? IH's saga concerning high-cost, commerce-unfriendly New Jersey is not unique.)

But the expansion has been rewarding.

The Maple Shade location has become one of Iron Hill's busiest (are you sorry you spurned them like you did, Sagemore plaza in Marlton?), drawing a lot of beer enthusiasts from throughout the South Jersey region. And that's happened despite the rather confounding interchanges with Routes 73 and 41 that lead to the brewpub.

Iron Hill's success says something else about South Jersey: That it truly was looking for another player in its beer scene.

And South Jersey scored big time.

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