08/13/2014  |  Chestnut Hill’s Jared Cannon Crowned Iron Hill Iron Chef

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Once a year, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant’s head chefs line up to be crowned the annual Iron Chef. The contest, which hosts regionalized preliminary cook-offs and one seriously competitive finale, allows our company-wide chefs to skirt out-of-bounds and illustrate their remarkable talents through original recipes and preparations.

Of course, to keep things interesting, we elevated the in-house battle by throwing challenges, like secret ingredients and timed rounds, into mix. But, after a trio of impressive showcases featuring all of our 10 head chefs, only 3 deserving competitors moved on to the final championship.

The Competing Chefs

With the pressure on, three head chefs, Chestnut Hill’s Jared Cannon, North WalesMichelle Wilson and West Chester’s Anthony Young, stepped up to the chopping block on Tuesday, July 29, in hopes of being named 2014’s Iron Chef. The final challenge? To prepare three unique courses, two appetizers and an entree, all of which must make use of fresh peaches.

Round One

The very first competing dish always sets the pace for the competition ahead, and the high caliber of chef Jared’s prosciutto-wrapped grilled peaches, accented with queso fresco and date jam, piqued our palates, leaving us eager to see what was ahead.

Chef Anthony’s crispy and crunchy, peach- and pork-pumped empanadas, dancing in a pool of chive oil and peach gastrique, were equally as intriguing, a dish we wish we were biting into all summer long.

Then chef Michelle threw us for a loop with her creative spin on corn fritters, producing a feathery rendition punched with hunks of peach and accented with toasted pistachios and a flaky filo crown.

As if judging couldn’t be more a challenge, we moved onto our second wave of intriguing dishes.

Round Two

With no peach preparation like the last, we were soon mesmerized by chef Jared’s vertical peach salad, as constructed on a foundation of grilled slices that sandwiched a generous chunk of pepper-accented goat cheese. Accompaniments of almond emulsion, honey vinaigrette and balsamic drizzle enhanced the overall experience, sending our taste buds through an enticing roller coaster of summer flavors and textures.

We were captivated by chef Michelle’s pork and peach pot stickers, which appeared eye-catchingly plated and possessed attractive accessories like a soy-ginger glaze and fried basil.

A perfect preparation of arancini appeared center-stage on chef Anthony’s second dish, neighboring a duo of seared scallops, charred peaches and a peach puree with chive oil. There wasn’t a judge in sight who rushed through this wholesome and decadent dish.

Round Three

The third and final round may have been the most stressful for the judges, given the challenging task of comparing a remarkable inventory of well-curated, competitive plates.

Chef Michelle presented her final dish first, a soul-warming, refreshing execution of seared scallops cozy with gnocchi. Here, the starring mollusk was laced with a peach glaze and the air-light, pillowy pasta was infused with mint. But it gets better. A delicate peach brown butter was stealing the show on the entree, as was her mad scientist touch of IPA caviar gracing the scallops. The bitterness of the gelatinous beer mellowed the sweetness of the multi-levels of peach, creating an overall terrifically balanced composition.

Soon, chef Jared unleashed his tender, flavor-packed roasted pork, glazed with a punchy peach curry and layered atop a smoked peach chutney. The complementary, profound flavors kept the entree magnetizing, while the whimsical touches of petite peach balls and oven-dried peach chips allowed the entree to provide an overall convivial experience.

As the very last competing dish met our acquaintance, we couldn’t have been more pleased that chef Anthony chose to throw a cooly medium New York strip on the competitive pedestal. A sweetly spiked peach demi-glace puddle graced it underneath, joining a crowd that was double the peach pleasure—a blue cheese-stuffed halved peach and a charred peach-topped frisee salad.

After battling through the appetizing affair of judging nine competing Iron Chef dishes, we rallied—with score sheets—to narrow down the overall champion of 2014’s cook-off. With each chef deserving of a blue ribbon for overall showmanship, recipes, presentation and fine-tuned culinary skill sets, it was daunting task to crown the best in show.

And the Winner Is …

Congratulations to chef Jared Cannon, who distinguished himself as the premier competitor of 2014’s Iron Hill Iron Chef battle. The chef, who you can catch daily at our Chestnut Hill location, smoothly showcased his remarkable talents in creating thought-provoking, intensely flavorful dishes, repeatedly pushing us into culinary oblivion through each and every bite.

Bravo chef, your honor is well deserved!

With 10 locations in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey (make a reservation here), we specialize in handcrafted beers and fresh, from-scratch New American cuisine. Monthly releases vary by location, so scout out our beers on tap and visit us soon.

Content provided by Dish Works author Amy Strauss. Photography credited to Brian Penn Photography.

08/07/2014  |  10 IPAs to Drink on National IPA Day

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Forget your troubles, c’mon get hoppy with us on National IPA Day!

Saturday, August 9, we’re inviting you to all 10 Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant locations to sample creative and delicious IPAs from each of our head brewers. Yep, that’s right: All 10 beers will be available at every Iron Hill location throughout the day.

“One of the most exciting things about working at Iron Hill is seeing the inventive work of our talented head brewers as they experiment with different styles of beer,” says Director of Brewing Operations Mark Edelson. “For National IPA Day, we’re proud to feature a special IPA from each of them, side by side, for all of our guests to enjoy.”

So what’s on the IPA Day lineup? Glad you asked:


  • Goldfinger IPA from Iron Hill Newark, brewed specifically for the occasion with balanced hop bitterness, aggressive citrus hop flavor, medium body and golden color
  • Another IPA from Iron Hill West Chester, an aggressively hopped West Coast-style IPA with a bouquet of pineapple, tangerine and pine aromas and flavors backed by subtle, honey-like malt aromatics

  • I.ron P.ale A.le from Iron Hill Media, a deep gold American IPA with flavors of citrus, pine and resin balanced by a toasty malt backbone

  • Yippee-KI-P-A from Iron Hill Wilmington, another American IPA brewed specifically for National IPA Day, with huge American hop flavor and aromas of citrus and pine

  • Hopzilla from Iron Hill North Wales, a medium-bodied American IPA with full malt flavor, pronounced bitterness and remarkable hop flavor and aroma

  • Big Trellis IPA from Iron Hill Phoenixville, an American IPA with overwhelming citrus hop presence balancing full malty flavor and powerful bitterness

  • Hop Stinger from Iron Hill Lancaster, a golden American IPA loaded with citrusy hops for flavor and aroma, brewed with 60 pounds of local honey for added complexity and flavor

  • Martha Furnace from Iron Hill Maple Shade, a West Coast-style IPA that is intensely hopped for firm bitterness and bursts of tropical citrus character

  • Hop Addict from Iron Hill Chestnut Hill, a true West Coast-style IPA brewed with lots of Cascade, Centennial, Amarillo and Citra hops, which impart flavors and aromas of citrus and tropical fruits

  • Some Like It Hoppy from Iron Hill Voorhees, an American-style IPA showcasing quintessential American hops Cascade, Centennial, Columbus and Chinook; grapefruit, pineapple and pine enhance a light caramel malt profile

IPAs will be offered individually on a pay-as-you-go basis or as a delicious sampler for $15, including 4 oz. pours of each of the 10 IPAs. For full National IPA Day details, click here.

Be social! Share the day with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtags #IHIPADAY and #NationalIPADay.

With 10 locations in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey (make a reservation here), we specialize in handcrafted beers and fresh, from-scratch New American cuisine. Monthly releases vary by location, so scout out our beers on tap and visit us soon.

08/01/2014  |  A Commitment to Community: Celebrate 10th Anniversary Iron Hill Twilight Criterium with Us

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Family fun from start to finish: that’s what you’ll find Saturday, Aug. 2, in downtown West Chester, a day packed with trials, trikes and races during the Iron Hill Twilight Race Series presented by the Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce.

What started as the Iron Hill Twilight Criterium a decade ago has grown to a full day of activities, with something for everyone. From kids to amateurs to pros, a community festival to a block party to the inaugural Twilight Trike Challenge, this has become an annual favorite.

“We had the idea to do the race,” said Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant President Kevin Finn. “We approached the Chamber, and they embraced it and made it happen. The West Chester Cycling Club started 10 years ago, and they also have been instrumental in the Criterium’s success because of the number of volunteers from the club.”

Iron Hill has been the title sponsor from the start, working closely with the Chamber, which mounts the day-long event to bring awareness to its members, West Chester and downtown.

“We look at trying to break the mold of what a chamber of commerce can be, and that’s more than networking and business exchanging,” explained Chamber President Mark Yoder. “This is a way to drive business to our members’ doorsteps. Our ultimate goal is to make our businesses more successful. People love the Criterium; tens of thousands flood the streets for a day of fun and great racing.”

One of Iron Hill’s core values is giving back. Since the start, Kevin and co-founder Mark Edelson have been involved with the Jaycees in Delaware and have expanded that commitment to service to wherever there’s an Iron Hill—and that includes the entire Iron Hill family.

“In the spirit of our mission to give back to the communities we serve, we encourage employees to volunteer, on us,” Kevin added. “Managers may volunteer and participate in non-profit or charity events a half-day each quarter, and our employees can earn up to 24 hours of paid time off each calendar year for doing the same. Of course, many go above and beyond on their own time, a testament to the quality of character of our Iron Hill family.”

Mark Yoder tips his hat to the Iron Hill crew, as well. He adds, “We’re very lucky to have this type of involved, engaged sponsor who believes in not only events but also what this one can do for the town, and how it benefits the greater West Chester area.”

The Iron Hill Twilight Criterium is the ninth race of 10 in the prestigious USA CRITS Championship Series, making it one of the last opportunities for riders to protect or improve their standings before the final invitational. The action begins and ends in front of Iron Hill, at the intersection of Gay and High Streets.

“To me, personally, it’s really satisfying because I live in town and own a business in town,” Kevin said. “It’s amazing to do something this exciting and big for the town, and to see how much people enjoy the day. We really appreciate all the other sponsors, too, who make it possible.”

Here’s a quick rundown of what’s available on Saturday, Aug. 2; learn more and get the full details online.

  • 8 a.m.–3:45 p.m.: Rothman Institute Amateur Trials at Bayard Rustin High School

  • 4 p.m.: Kinetic Physical Therapy Community Festival, Meet WHYY’s “You Bet Your Garden” host Mike McGrath, Market Street Block Party and the West Chester Dental Arts Kids’ Race

  • 4:45 p.m.: Twilight Trike Challenge Presented by Tolsdorf Oil Express

  • 5:45 p.m.: Rothman Institute Amateur Men’s Criterium

  • 6:45 p.m.: Avanté Salon Pro Women’s Criterium

  • 7:45 p.m.: Iron Hill Twilight Criterium

With 10 locations in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey, there’s an Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant near you. We specialize in handcrafted beers and fresh, from-scratch New American cuisine. Monthly releases vary by location, so scout out our beers on tap and visit us soon.

Content provided by Dish Works author Nina Malone.

07/23/2014  |  Employee Spotlight: Iron Hill West Chester’s DeAnn Yerkes

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Great food and fresh beer at Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant? That’s a no-brainer. And so is amazing service. Each month, we’ll introduce you to a superstar who works hard to make sure your experience is as satisfying as your meal. This month, we’re spotlighting DeAnn Yerkes, a server at our West Chester location.

How long have you been at Iron Hill?

I’ve been with the company two years.

How did you come to work at Iron Hill?

We moved from Newark, Delaware, to West Chester in January 2012 to eliminate my husband’s hour-long work commute and to give my son the opportunity to go to school in a better school district. When my best friend came to visit, she made me walk with her to every restaurant in town to get a job application, and Iron Hill was one of the restaurants that called me to come in for an interview.

Why Iron Hill versus other restaurants and/or breweries?

My decision to take the job at Iron Hill over the other restaurants in the area came from my knowledge of its success in Newark. I also did a little background research through online articles and customer reviews. I found Iron Hill had a positive connection with the local community. I liked the idea of the company being involved with local charities such as Home of the Sparrow (supporting homeless and low-income women and children) and the Souperbowl (benefiting the Chester County Food Bank) and that the company provides the opportunity for organizations to raise money by participating in our Give 20 fundraiser, where Iron Hill donates 20 percent of each dining check to the organization. I also learned Iron Hill had won local and international awards for its beer and has been recognized with The News Journal Top Workplaces award three years in a row.

What’s your favorite part about working at Iron Hill?

The culture of teamwork that is always present, even as we have staff come and go. A busy restaurant is a stressful environment, but everyone is able to be friendly and work together to get the job done every single day. I’m proud to be a part of that kind of work environment. We’re able to rely on each other during each shift to make sure our customers have a great experience every time they visit. I also love how the company continues to keep us educated about our ever-changing food and beer, which allows us to communicate so well with our customers.

What’s your must-have menu item?

Portabella Mushroom Sandwich with mesclun salad or sweet potato fries as my side.

What Iron Hill beer are you drinking right now?

Right now? HoneyDoWit (Belgian witbier brewed with orange blossom honey). I have too many favorites: Fe10 (favorite whenever it comes on tap because of its complex Belgian quad flavors), Mahalo Apollo! (favorite summer wheat ale), jpa (favorite IPA for a great cause: Pints for Prostates), Funkadelphia (favorite sour beer) and Kaldi Kreme (favorite coffee stout).

Tell us a little about you.

I grew up in Newark, Delaware, near the University of Delaware’s main campus. I’ve been married 16 years to Matt, and we have one son, Matthew Jr., now a senior in high school. Our other “baby” is our 5-year-old cat, Free.

What’s on heavy rotation on your music list?

My favorite band: Sevendust.

What movie could you watch over and over again?

The Fountain.

When you’re not making the Iron Hill experience amazing for customers, what do you like to do?

I enjoy seeing live music, locally and at festivals. I also like writing poetry and reading. I’m always reading something new to challenge my view of the world and change my outlook on life.

With 10 locations in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey, there’s an Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant near you. We specialize in handcrafted beers and fresh, from-scratch New American cuisine. Monthly releases vary by location, so scout out our beers on tap and visit us soon.

Content provided by Dish Works author Nina Malone.

07/22/2014  |  8 Not-to-Miss Beer Releases & Dinners to Attend with Iron Hill

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With a full calendar of events rounding out July and August, we are all about making this your most delicious, thirst-quenching summer ever. Read on for all the details, and be sure to save your spot where reservations are required!

Beer Releases

Bavarian IPA Release: Iron Hill Newark, July 24

Raise a glass to the lazy, hazy days of summer with this unfiltered Bavarian wheat beer brewed with American hops. It’s light, it’s effervescent and it’s just the right dose of tanginess and distinct yeast character accented by a generous amount of American hops. King of the Hill (KOTH) Rewards Club members, join us for exclusive raffles during the event!

Batch #500 Beer Release: Iron Hill Maple Shade, July 26

Celebrate Iron Hill Maple Shade’s five-year anniversary with the release of its 500th batch of beer (that’s quite a milestone!). Head Brewer Chris LaPierre will also be putting all of his Pine Barren IPAs—Dancing Bandit IPA, Butcher’s Forge IPA and Carranza IPA—on tap in conjunction with the release. KOTH members, be sure to try your luck on Iron Hill’s Wheel of Fortune.

Golden Ram Lager Release: Iron Hill West Chester, August 22

School’s back in session! In honor of West Chester University, we’ve brewed up a clean, crisp and refreshing classic American Pilsner with sweet, grainy aromatics and flavors from the use of flaked maize—all balanced by the subtle use of American and Noble hops. KOTH members can dig in to blueberry cheesecake small bites during the event.

Beer Dinners

Bistro Beer Dinner: Iron Hill Voorhees, August 5

Ooh la la … Partake of a touch of French bistro cuisine, skipping the wine and going straight for the good stuff (and by that we mean the beer, of course). Indulge in five delicious courses, each paired with a unique Iron Hill beer selection—c’est magnifique! $65; reservations required. Call (856) 545-9009 to secure your spot.

Di Bruno Bros. Beer and Cheese Dinner: Iron Hill Chestnut Hill, August 19

Iron Hill Chestnut Hill is partnering with Di Bruno Bros. to bring Philly’s premier cheesemongers to the ‘burbs for an event that will showcase beer’s versatility with cheese as well as the amazing ways that cheese and beer can be paired. $45; reservations required. Call (215) 948-5600 to snag your seat.

End of Summer Beer Dinner: Iron Hill Wilmington, August 20

Is it over already? Join us on Iron Hill Wilmington’s patio as we say goodbye to summer with a Brewmaster’s Beer Dinner. Make the most of these last days of the season with five courses and five beers, including Grilled Fig Tartlet paired with Bumblebee Hefewiezen and Chile Dusted Prawns paired with Saison. $75; reservations required. Call (302) 472-2739 to save your seat.

Caribbean Beer Dinner: Iron Hill Maple Shade, August 26

A taste of the islands can be yours at this five-course beer dinner inspired by cuisine from the Caribbean. Conch Ceviche, Red Snapper Criollo, Bajan Spiced Pork Tenderloin and more—each perfectly paired with one of our signature beers … Just close your eyes and imagine yourself in your own tropical retreat! $65; reservations required. Call (856) 273–0300 to secure your spot.

Seafood Beer Dinner Lite: Iron Hill North Wales, August 27

Seafood and summer, just perfect together. Iron Hill North Wales is honoring the bounty from the sea at this four-course seafood and beer pairing featuring Ahi Tuna Sliders, Smoked Scallop & Potato Pierogie, Cheesy Bacon Shrimp “Poppers” and (of course!) dessert. Each course meets its match alongside the perfect beer. $40; reservations required. Call (267) 708-2000 to reserve your seat.

So, what’s your fancy? Join us for one, join us for all eight. After all, summer comes around just once a year!

With 10 locations in in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey (make a reservation here), we specialize in handcrafted beers and fresh, from-scratch New American cuisine. Monthly releases vary by location, so scout out our beers on tap and visit us soon.

Content provided by Dish Works author Michele Kornegay.

07/14/2014  |  Grill & Chill with Iron Hill

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Step away from the grill!

From Friday, July 11, through Sunday, July 27, let us do the cooking with our Grill and Chill Summer Steak Menu. Six juicy steak selections are the perfect match for our first-ever canned beer, Mahalo, Apollo!, which is making its debut in all 10 Iron Hill locations on July 11.

“Grilling steaks outdoors always sounds great in theory, but it usually ends up being a ton of work. Getting the coals to the right temperature, searing the meat without overcooking it and coming up with sides to go with it all take time and effort,” says Assistant Director of Culinary Operations Dan Bethard. “With our Grill and Chill menu, guests can enjoy perfectly grilled steaks, with none of the set up or cleanup, and chill with a can of Mahalo, Apollo!”

The Grill and Chill Summer Steak Menu includes:

  • Carne Asada, lime- and green chile-marinated flank steak with tomato rice, stewed black beans, guacamole, pico de gallo and flour tortillas

  • Char-Grilled Ribeye Steak, with smoked cheddar smashed potatoes, creamed corn and poblanos, chile-dusted onion rings and avocado butter

  • Hickory Smoked Beef Brisket, with creamy bacon slaw, jalapeño cornbread and Kansas City-style BBQ sauce

  • Steak and Potatoes, a 12-oz. New York strip steak with wedge-cut fries, local tomato salad and chimichurri sauce

  • Black Pepper Seared Filet Mignon, with sweet potato mash, garlicky kale sauté with bacon and blackberry demi-glace

  • Surf and Turf, black pepper seared filet mignon and sautéed jumbo shrimp with smashed Yukon gold potatoes, roasted asparagus spears and blackberry demi-glace.

All of these hearty summertime favorites (available weekdays for dinner and Saturday and Sunday all day long) have been created by Iron Hill’s culinary team to complement Mahalo, Apollo! for the perfect warm weather meal. Mahalo, Apollo!—a golden, complex and refreshing summer wheat beer spiced with lemongrass and Grains of Paradise fermented with Belgian yeast—will be available exclusively in 16-oz. cans (priced at $6.25) starting July 11 and ending July 27, in limited quantities, at all 10 Iron Hill locations. The beer will also be sold in four-packs available for takeout (priced at $16.75).

“Cans are an environmentally friendly packaging option that are also ideal for summer sipping: lightweight, easy to carry and fun,” says Director of Brewing Operations Mark Edelson. “Nothing says ‘summer’ quite like the sound of a can’s top being popped, and we’re thrilled to expand our beer offerings with our canned debut.”

Kick back and chill out! And be sure to share your experiences eating and drinking on social media using the hashtags #grillandchill and #mahaloapollo.

With 10 locations in in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey (make a reservation here), we specialize in handcrafted beers and fresh, from-scratch New American cuisine. Monthly beer releases vary by location, so scout out our beers on tap and visit us soon.

Content provided by Dish Works author Michele Kornegay.

07/08/2014  |  Celebrate Blobfest 2014 with Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant

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With Chester County as the backdrop to the 1958 campy horror flick, The Blob, a film themed around a man-eating red alien “blob” invasion, it’s a no-brainer that locals annually celebrate the region’s silver screen success.

With the big-time Blob celebrations hitting Phoenixville this year on July 11–13, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant couldn’t miss out on the fun-filled festivities either! Below, discover the many ways you can celebrate Blobfest 2014 with our Phoenixville team.

Blob-Themed Beer Release

Brewers Tim Stumpf and Nadine Banks have whipped up a cheeky film-themed beer release exclusive to Blob festivities, which hits the taps on Saturday, July 12 at noon. Our signature Cherry Blob beer is crafted with a base of our award-winning tripel that hosts the addition of tart, Michigan Montmorency cherries. It’s tart, it’s bright red, and it’s 9.3% ABV. Beware of this ruby, dangerously delicious release!

Exclusive TV Dinner

Head chef Tim Andrews is having fun in the kitchen with this fun-filled food feature. He’s created an elevated, ’50s-inspired feast constructed with a Kobe Salisbury steak rocking your dinner plate, accented with morel mushroom gravy. Killer side dishes of fried risotto balls, beer-glazed carrots and an unforgettable peach cobbler will complete this whimsical experience. Have fun with this family-appropriate dish for just $20.95.

Blob Tasting Menu

In honor of the sci-fi flick, Andrews also launches a special Blob-inspired tasting, which features a three-course, beer-paired feast for just $40. Curious what’s on the menu?

  • Course 1: Fried mac & cheese blobs with sweet and spicy tomato sauce; paired with Vienna Red Lager

  • Course 2: Char-grilled pork porterhouse with bacon fat roasted fingerling potatoes, grilled asparagus and red cherry blob sauce; paired with Cherry Blob

  • Course 3: Red velvet bread pudding with marshmallow blobs; paired with Abbey Dubbel

More Blobfest Festivities

The Colonial Theatre will screen The Blob throughout Blobfest weekend, with additional, equally campy films being screened in conjunction with the film festival. A Blobfest street fair will also hit downtown Phoenixville on Saturday, 11 a.m.–4 p.m., so come ready for all the fun with tin foil hats on!

Find Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant of Phoenixville at 130 Bridge St. To reserve your Blobfest table, click here or call (610) 983-9333.

Content provided by Dish Works author Amy Strauss.

07/02/2014  |  President & CEO Kevin Finn’s Travel Guide to Drinking Craft Beer in Ireland

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by Kevin Finn

I recently visited Ireland and am proud to report that the beer scene there is thriving and is better than it has ever been before. I had the opportunity to try a variety of craft beers and was quite impressed with a few, especially a beer from Galway Bay Brewery (more on that later). The craft beer market in Ireland grew by 35% last year and seems to be growing just as fast this year.

The primary reason I went to Ireland was to play soccer. Most years I travel with a bunch of guys, the “Old Boys” soccer team, which is made up of 40+ and 50+ age men from soccer leagues in Chester County. The leader of the Old Boys is Glenn Clarke, and as he said, the best way to describe the trip is “10 days of drinking beer interrupted by 3 games of soccer.” I think the scores reflected that adage (I’m not willing to share them), but we did play well enough to make the quarter finals at the Salthill Devon National 5 sides tournament.

Prior to this trip, I had visited Ireland twice, once in the early 1980s with my business partner Mark Edelson and more recently with my family in the summer of 2012. Even just two years ago, the craft beer scene in Ireland was pretty sparse, so I was quite surprised by my first beer on this visit, a very hoppy Galway Bay Brewery Full Sail Dry Hopped IPA, as enjoyed on the Paddywagon (picked up en route to Galway). It was a delicious, hoppy start to my trip, and I would soon cross paths with the brewer from Galway Bay.

My next beer stop was at Oslo restaurant, which also happens to be the home of Galway Bay Brewery, for a sampler of beers that included their Saison, Pirate Ben Peanut Butter Porter and Pale Ale. While there, I was greeted by both the assistant brewer and the head brewer, Chris, who were heading out the door as I was coming in. They took a few minutes to talk to me, and I told them I would stop back soon.

Our first game was in Taum, which is a short ride out of Galway. We wore our Victory Brewing Company jerseys for the match (thanks to Ron and Bill for sponsoring our trip!), but unfortunately it did not bring us much luck. After the game we stopped by the Rossi’s Cellar Bar, which is the local pub for the team we played in Taum. It was a wonderful traditional Irish pub, and I got to meet Rossi and his wife, Mary, who were exactly what you would expect from a proper publican in Ireland. Like many small pubs, Rossi’s did not carry any craft beers, but I did sample my share of pints of Guinness and swapped stories of working in the restaurant business.

The next day we took the scenic route up to Donegal and stopped for lunch at The Strand Bar in Strandhill, County Sligo. On tap was a style of beer made by many of the new Irish craft brewers, a Red Ale. This particular version is made by Rye River Brewing Company in Kilcock, County Kildare and was called McGargles Granny Mary’s Red Ale. It was a very smooth and drinkable red ale, but I really I loved the graphics on the beer. All of their beers have whimsical illustrations of characters; this one of Granny Mary, the patriarch of the McGargle family, was great.

On the return trip we stopped again for lunch at a pub (you are probably starting to get the idea here) and I got to sample yet another beer, Donegal Brewing Company’s Blonde Ale, from Ballyshannon, County Donegal. In a land dominated by InBev and Guinness, Heineken and Carlsburg, the ale was a perfect example of the type of beers you now see popping up in the craft beer scene in Ireland. It was a very refreshing ale that I enjoyed instead of the InBev products.

Back in Galway, I reached out to Chris from Galway Brewing Company, who I’d run into a few days prior, to set up a brewery tour. Graciously he toured us around the petite, 10-hectoliter brewery that turns out beer for eight restaurants in Ireland. He explained that he was hired right out of college with only homebrewing experience. It seems that the previous brewer had enough of the long hours and Chris happened to be in the right place at the right time. He has a background in engineering, which has helped him keep the brewery going.

Chris, who’s been brewing for two years, shared a very special beer with us, 200 Fathoms—an imperial stout aged in an Irish whiskey barrel. It was a wonderfully delicious beer with just a hint of the barrel aging. It seems he can only brew the beer once a year, but he happened to have one more keg left and we were lucky enough to taste it.

I would have to say my highlight of the trip was my visit to Galway Bay Brewing Company. What really surprised me was that they are brewing some outstanding beers in a small brewery—styles that you are more likely to find in the United States, not in Ireland. I really enjoyed my visit with Chris and I hope to do a collaborative beer with him next year. That gives me another excuse to visit Ireland!

One last beer memory from the trip is McGarth’s #2 Irish Pale Ale, brewed by Clanconnel Brewing Company. It is made in Northern Ireland and is what I would call a sessional pale ale with lots of hop flavor and aroma. It was a wonderful beer to sip at a pub overlooking the Shannon River in Limerick opposite King John’s Castle!

P.S. The 2014 Irish Craft Beer and Cider Festival is September 4-7 in Dublin. Great way to visit Ireland and drink craft beer!

Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant was founded by home brewers Kevin Finn and Mark Edelson and restaurateur Kevin Davies in Newark, DE in 1996. Since, we have blossomed from one restaurant and brewery to 10 locations across the mid-Atlantic, with an 11th location, in Ardmore, PA scheduled to open in this year. We specialize in handcrafted beers and fresh, from-scratch New American cuisine. Monthly releases vary by location, so scout out our beers on tap and visit us soon.

06/26/2014  |  Growler 101 with Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant

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Have you ever sampled a beer at Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant and fallen in love with its flavor? Silly question, we know. Oftentimes, we hear patrons rave about our award-winning beers and wish that they could take some home to enjoy. Growlers (64 ounce glass jugs) are the perfect way to bring a taste of Iron Hill beer to your next backyard barbecue or beach trip or simply to savor it in the comfort of your own home.

Head brewer Andrew Johnston from our West Chester location gives us the full 411 on how to  maintain your growler and keep your beer tasting like it’s fresh from the tap.

How long does beer stay fresh in the growler if unopened?

“At Iron Hill, the practice has always been to consume your growler beer within a 48-hour window. The reason is that beer is kept under pressure, free of oxygen and at a certain temperature. Once you open that tap handle and dispense beer into a glass or a growler, you are removing it from that pressurized environment. This allows carbon dioxide to escape out of the beer. That’s why those last few sips of beer from your pint glass don’t taste as carbonated as those first sips. You also expose your beer to oxygen, higher temperatures and light—all of which begin to degrade and change the flavor of your beer. Beer is bottled under a very regulated and pressurized environment, so bottled beer will keep longer than your growler of beer.”

How long does the beer in a growler stay fresh once it is opened?

“Once you open your growler, I would recommend drinking the beer within the next couple of hours. Make sure you have a friend around to help you polish one of those growlers off! After I open a growler and pour off my beer, I will seal it up and place it back into the fridge or ice chest.  The colder environment will help to keep the beer fresher and from degrading too fast. Plus, I like my beer cold. If I fail to finish off my growler, I will usually find some way to incorporate it into a dish I am cooking. Beer makes a great substitute for water in many recipes, especially baked goods.”

What is the best way to clean your growler?

“I recommend a rinse with warm tap water and either running it through a dishwasher (if your growler says it is dishwasher safe) or soaking the inside with a little dish detergent and then rinsing with warm tap water. At Iron Hill, we frequently replace your growler with one that we have cleaned ourselves. We have specially designed dishwasher racks on property that fit in our glass-washing machines. This helps to get those Iron Hill growlers good and clean for their next go around.”

Do I have to have an Iron Hill growler, or can I bring in one from another brewery?

“At Iron Hill, we will fill up any brewery’s 64 fluid ounce growler. And, if the growler from the other brewery is dirty, we will trade you for one of our growlers. I can’t tell you how many different breweries’ growlers I have collected over the years from people trading them out with us!”

Are there any beers you won’t put in a growler?

“The only two types of beers we won’t put in growlers are our nitrogenized ales and our cask-conditioned ales. Nitro ales are served using a blend of 75% nitrogen and 25% carbon dioxide. Our typical draft beers are served using a blend of 80% carbon dioxide and 20% nitrogen. Nitrogen, just like carbon dioxide, wants to leave the liquid, but is much faster about it.  Think about the delicious cascading head of our Dry Stout—it’s creamy and full of nitrogen bubbles escaping the beer. Once that nitrogenized ale hits the glass, it loses carbonation at a much faster rate. Carbonation doesn’t keep in those beers as well as our regular draft items. So if a guest were to take our nitrogenized ale home in a growler, he or she would be disappointed upon pouring it. Cask-conditioned ales are naturally carbonated, meaning we don’t force carbon dioxide into it, we allow the beer to undergo a secondary fermentation in the cask.This secondary fermentation creates a softer carbonation, which can only be truly enjoyed at the restaurant.”

What else should we know about the maintenance of growlers?

“The most important thing to remember is to keep your beer cold and free from light once it is in your growler. Also, drink the beer in your growler within that 48-hour window to ensure freshness. If your glass growler has been around the block a few times, it might be time to trade it in for a new one. I’ve heard stories of freak accidents where an old growler has cracked on the car ride home from the brewery or bottle shop because it had so much wear and tear on it. That is one reason to cry over a spilled beer!”

How much does a growler of beer cost?

“The prices will vary depending on the beer. For instance, our house beers will cost between $17.75 and $18.25 for the beer and the growler, while a refill will range between $13 and $13.50. The price of our seasonal beers will vary greatly, costing between $20 and $30 for a fill. Check with your bartender or server for details.”

Growler Deal!

Are you ready to take some of our beer home with you? Swing by any of our locations and get two pizzas and a growler of house beer for just $25! This deal is good for take-out only until 11 p.m. daily. Seasonal and Belgian beers are available for an extra charge.

With 10 locations in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey, there’s an Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant near you. We specialize in handcrafted beers and fresh, from-scratch New American cuisine. Monthly releases vary by location, so scout out our beers on tap and visit us soon.

Content provided by Dish Works author Ronna Dewey.

06/24/2014  |  Vote for Iron Hill in Philly Mag’s Battle of the Burgers

Category: Uncategorized  |  Posted by: thetowndish  |  Add Comment

Philadelphia magazine’s Battle of the Burger is back for 2014, and Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant is stepping up to the plate to compete in the beefy competition.

Starting today, June 19, through Thurs., July 31, throw our mighty Mexicali Burger a vote once a day to help enter us into the running for the Philly area’s top 20 best burgers. What happens if we score top-20 status? We and our very own spicy burger, crowned with pico de gallo, pickled jalapeño, pepper jack and chipotle thousand island, will score competitor status in the magazine’s official burger cook-off, which unfolds Sept. 10 at the Piazza at Schmidt’s.

Only 20 of the 50 restaurants competing in the online competition will score cook-off slots—and Iron Hill wants to be one of ‘em! Remember, you can vote once a day, so keep circling back to this beloved burger and throw us some support.


Vote for Iron Hill’s Mexicali Burger in the Battle of the Burger.

In the meantime, dying to try the Mexicali Burger? This juicy brewhouse special is available at all 10 of our locations in in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey (make a reservation here). We specialize in handcrafted beers and fresh, from-scratch New American cuisine, so be sure to try some of that too while in house. Monthly releases vary by location, so scout them out and visit us soon.