Steel City coffeehouse & brewery is now open
WE ARE ALSO SERVING MAPLE SPRINGS VINEYARD AND MANATAWNY STILL WORKS WHISKEY, GIN & VODKA
Steel City owners-operators Laura Vernola-Simpson and Ed Simpson have said that starting a brewery has been their intention from the day they purchased Steel City Coffeehouse a little over two years ago. Laura says: “We may not know much about brewing beer, but we know how to run a business and we are working with some of the most talented beer geeks around. Between their knowledge and our passion and business acumen, we are confident that we can produce a product that will be just as impressive - if not more so - as our coffee and food menu.”
What's on tap:
Head Brewer Seth Clearwater, a multiple-medal-winning brewer and Phoenixville resident, is planning a steady rotation of beers inspired by the pubs of England and beer halls of Germany, some of which incorporate the locally-roasted coffees that Steel City is rightly famous for. “We’re not going to be a ‘beer bar,’” Clearwater says. “This is still a coffeeshop, live music venue and café – but it’s going to be a all of the above with some of the best beer you’ll find anywhere in the Philadelphia area.
Seth Clearwater’s journey to craft beer and brewing was definitely more tortoise than hare. He enjoyed craft-ish beers in college (Guinness and Fosters counted in Gettysburg) and slowly expanded his interests in the years after, though he never had the “Eureka!” moment associated with any particular beer. In 2008, building off a deepening interest in food and from-scratch cooking sparked by his wife Leslie, Seth made his first beer with a basic starter kit and a classic homebrewing text. The first beers weren’t great. But they were indeed beer, they were his, and the satisfaction of drinking your own beer makes improving a labor of love. His efforts started to sing, but that momentum was hard to sustain while starting a family (Seth and Leslie have two sons, Gabe and Oliver). But in 2013, armed with a better beer palate, new brewing techniques, and a touch more free time, he dove back in with both feet. He soon joined the Stoney Creek Homebrewers and built a minimalist-yet-sophisticated basement brewery. Seth is a certified Beer and Mead Judge, organizes competitions for SCH, and has won numerous awards for brewing at local and not-so-local competitions.
Read more about Seth Clearwater...
Brewing operations will be supported by Josh Weikert, internationally-famous (he’s huge in Latvia) beer writer, Contributing Editor of Craft Beer & Brewing magazine, and two-time Eastern Pennsylvania Homebrewer of the Year, who will be advising the owners on everything they don’t know about beer and brewing, almost certainly to the point of boring them to tears. He brings to the table eleven years of experience in writing about, talking about, and brewing beer. “I can’t wait to see what Seth produces,” Weikert says. “We’re going to add something useful to the local beer scene, not compete with it: a personal, approachable craft beer experience than you might not find at a dedicated brewery. This will be a fantastic gateway for soon-to-be-beer-lovers and beer geeks alike.”
Josh Weikert took up homebrewing in 2007 as a way to stay sane during graduate school. He is a founding member of the Stoney Creek Homebrewers, has medaled in every BJCP beer category, is a BJCP Grand Master Judge and Certified Cicerone, and was twice the Eastern Pennsylvania Homebrewer of the Year. His writing is featured in several brewing publications including Beer Connoisseur, Brew Your Own and Craft Beer & Brewing (as Contributing Editor), and he leads a double life as the jet-setting author of the Beer Simple blog (beer-simple.com).
Josh is a professor of political science, and lives in Collegeville, PA with his wife, Barbara (also an award-winning brewer), and their dog Biscuit (not yet an award-winning brewer).