JoBoy’s: Up and brewing (again)
The long-awaited opening of JoBoy’s Brew Pub in downtown Lititz has come! After nine months of renovation to the Rudy Building at 27-31 E. Main St., patriotic veteran and brewer Jeff Harless opened July 4. Now he has his work cut out for him.
Making the move from a tiny half-barrel facility in Manheim has been a challenge, but also a blessing for the blossoming brewery. The new two-barrel, four-fermenter system at the Lititz location is identical to the famous Dogfish Brewpub in Delaware and will help JoBoy’s grow well beyond the capabilities of their former location. Harless also implemented a new carbonation system, cutting that process from 24 hours to around 12.
“We’re brewing six times the quantity; it’s made a huge difference. We’ve gone from a half-barrel to a four-barrel capacity,” he explained while taking some rare time off from brewing last week. “We are selling so much more beer here than we were in Manheim. We’re still struggling to get our feet under us.”
To keep up with demand ,Harless has brought on several new employees. Counting himself, the brewpub now employees two full-time and two part-time brewers. Longtime assistant and brewmaster “Tug” McGall serves in an advisory position. The JoBoy’s crew starts the boil of the brewing process around 7 p.m., and the brewers work until about 3 a.m. By 10 a.m., the brewery is cleaned and ready for an 11 a.m. opening.
Because of the high demand, JoBoy’s is not currently filling growlers, but Harless said he hopes to start providing carry-home beer soon with growler fills and eventually bottles. But before bottles, Harless is looking at a mobile canning company to help get his brew into the outgoing hands of his customers.
“We are looking forward to that,” he said. “That would be really good for us.”
Harless is also able to brew more varieties. This will allow him to offer more brews, but more importantly customers will not be drinking down one particular keg at a time, allowing him to eventually build a stock of beers.
“The more beers you put on tap, the more chances it gives you to stay on top of things,” he explained.
Currently, JoBoy’s is tapping seven offerings: a pale ale, a red ale, two I.P.A.s, a porter, a lager, and a wheat. I recently stopped in for a German wheat (5.9 percent ABV – a spicy, fruity brew created with all German wheat and yeast) to check out the new brewpub, and I have to say it is beautiful. Harless designed the new look himself, which plays on a blues/rock ‘n roll theme where the waitstaff is dressed in blue jeans, white shirts, with black vests and ties. The bartenders sport classic cocktail server attire and were busy polishing glassware for an evening rush. Business is booming at JoBoy’s, now all they have to do is get ahead of demand.
Michael C. Upton works as a freelance writer specializing in arts and leisure. His brew-themed “Hop’in Around” column is published biweekly, exclusively in Local E. He invites your comments and suggestions at facebook.com/SomebodiesProductions.