Finding Mount Gretna… Brewery

By on June 27, 2018

 

Mount Gretna Craft Brewery is bright and airy, and has a big bar that looks out into traffic at the intersections of Routes 322 and 117 in Campbelltown. (Photos by Michael Upton)

They have yet to hit their first anniversary. They’ve been to a brewfest in Lititz. Festgoers in Ephrata over the weekend got a chance to check out their brews. So, I thought it was time to head up to Mount Gretna Craft Brewery and check ‘em out.

You can’t miss this place; the word brewery is emblazoned on the side of the building at the intersection of Routes 322 and 117 just before Hershey — which is actually Campbelltown. My buddy Jer and I stopped in on a Sunday and took two of the few open spots at the large bar overlooking traffic outside.

After my visit I gave a call to Brad Kleinfelter, who co-owner Allison Kleinfelter describes as “husband/owner/brewer.” I really wanted to know why the name and location of the brewery were different; even though the two locales are just a couple miles away, they feel much farther apart. One is a busy intersection between Hershey and Lebanon. The other is a quiet, otherworldly hamlet focused on arts and recreation.

“We live in Mount Gretna. It’s a little treasure in Lebanon County and I always envisioned a brewery in Mount Gretna,” said Brad Kleinfelter, who started brewing out of college 20-years ago. “Unfortunately, there’s just not a lot of commercial space available. It’s not conducive to a brewery, and while we looked for a very long time, it became difficult to find a space that would accommodate a brewery, even a small one.”

So, the Kleinfelters expanded their search and found Campbelltown, which immediately helped name one of their most popular brews, Campbelltown Kolsch. The 5.2 percent ABV brew follows all the markers of this traditional, German style beer; it is bright in both its light-golden hue and crisp, clean flavor.

“I consider myself more of a traditionalist,” said Kleinfelter, when it comes to brewing styles. “I like a variety of beer, but I’m more of a traditionalist; I like the traditional styles. I like seasonality.”

The flagship, year-round beers at Mount Gretna are the kolsch, Governor Dick Pale Ale, Big Red Amber Ale, 1883 Iron Master Stout, and

One of the most popular offerings at Mount Gretna Craft Brewery is their Campbelltown Kolsch. The 5.2 percent ABV brew follows all the markers of this traditional, German style beer; it is bright in both its light-golden hue and crisp, clean flavor.

Chiques Creek IPA. Kleinfelter is not opposed to “exploring” new flavors, though. Other brews currently on tap at Mount Gretna include a Grapefruit Pale Ale, an Old Ale based on a recipe by Thomas Jefferson, an Imperial/DIPA clocking in at 90 IBUs and 8.4 ABV, a Belgian cherry wheat, a Blonde Ale, and the Star Barn Saison — I got a growler of this to go.

A mild saison, Star Barn pours a thin, lacing head, which quickly releases the effervescence of yeast. On tasting, the dominant yeast blends well with the malt and hops to create a subtle, earthy, farmhouse-style ale. It is a solid effort and stands out in a world where saison brewers can easily fall back on the crutch of overhopping and fruit incorporation. Before even speaking with him, it was obvious Kleinfelter had an affinity toward Belgian beers.

“I enjoy Belgians a lot. They are a specialty I like, so there is always going to be a Belgian on tap,” said Kleinfelter.

Cheers and thanks for reading!

Michael C. Upton is a freelance writer specializing in arts and leisure. He welcomes comments at somepromcu@gmail.com and facebook.com/SomebodiesProductions.

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