Tasting Tuesdays Kicks Off with Local Craft Beer

Photo Courtesy/ ESU Flickr The inaugural Tasting Tuesdays event started with craft beer samples and background on local breweries.

Max Augugliaro 

Staff Writer

It’s not too often that you see students having drinks with their professors, let alone the President of the University. Well, that’s exactly what happened last Tuesday at the first-ever Tasting Tuesdays event. 

From 6 to 8 p.m. in the Innovation Center, the ESU community was able to hear from local brewing companies and of course, try their products. 

Tasting Tuesdays allow ESU students and faculty the chance to try products from local businesses.

It consists of three parts: the first part being a speech from a keynote speaker, the next part is a “round table” in which the showcased companies present background on their products, and the last part (and arguably the most fun part) the tasting of the products.

The keynote speaker for the inaugural tasting Tuesdays was Dr. Alison Feeney, a geography and earth sciences professor at Shippensburg University. She is also a Pennsylvania breweries historian and author of the book, “For the Love of Beer: Pennsylvania’s Breweries.

Photo Courtesy/ ESU Flickr Several breweries from Northeast Penn. presented their product for people to taste at the ESU Convention Center.

She discussed how she was interested in how brewing was once a female-dominated chore, how the land for these early breweries was passed down, despite being in dry counties now, and how a once prevalent activity became outlawed in some areas. 

Then Dr. Feeney was asked to map out local breweries near state parks.

“When I started mapping them, I was expecting a cluster in Pittsburg and a cluster in Philly, but what really got me was all the one we had in like the little small towns throughout the state, and so that was where I started traveling and visiting them, and really recognizing how important these little businesses were to keeping communities going,” Dr. Feeney said.

Her keynote speech focused on various historical aspects of brewing, such as how breweries had an impact on their towns, how outside influences affected various state breweries, and how beautiful some breweries’ buildings are.

The event features three local breweries: Shawnee Craft Brewing Company, Barley Creek Brewing Company, and Mountain View Vineyard Brewery.

Trip Ruvane, the representative from Barley Creek, talked about the defuncted Stroudsburg Brewing Company, the ground of which 

Barley Creek stands today. According to Ruvane, the Stroudsburg Brewing Company only lasted 13 years. They tried to come back a few times but it did not work out. 

“The last time they tried to come back, it went into bankruptcy and the equipment was bought by the Lion Brewing Company up in Scranton [Wilkes Barre]” he said.

“When they did that, and you could not get away with this today, 30,000 gallons of beer, that was in Stroudsburg, was dumped into the Broadhead [Creek]… What a waste!”

Michael Alberts, the representative from Shawnee Craft Brewing Company, went into the history of the adjacent Shawnee Inn and how it led to the creation of the brewery, as well as how the brewery contributes to the community. 

“We don’t have to [Contribute to the community], remarked Alberts, “But we like doing these things, it feels good to be good to the community, we think it’s cool, and the good thing is that it becomes what these craft breweries are selling, and people are willing to pay a premium… because they are mostly buying the whole story.”

Lastly, Linda and Randy Rice, the representatives from Mountain View Vinyard Brewery, went into how they brought up their winery and distillery, and how the idea of adding a Brewery came about. 

“We kept growing and we had folks come to see us and said, ‘There’s a farm’, it was 90 acres, ‘And it’s about to go on the market and be subdivided into 30 or 40 homes, are you ready to expand?  Is there any chance that you can rescue this property?’” explained Linda Rice.

After joking about putting their grandkids up for collateral in order to buy the land, he said, “Randy decided at that time, that he wanted to get into brewing.”

Randy Rice finished off the story with how he was introduced to homebrew by a friend and vineyard helper, and how he had to get some big brewing equipment in order to make bigger batches after a successful tasting, as well as how the local breweries actually collaborate together very well. 

The tasting happened on the Second Floor of the Innovation Center, and each of the Breweries had two products on view, make for six items total on the sample.

A personal favorite of the night was Mountain View’s Mountain View Porter (MVP) which had a sweet iced coffee taste to it, with Barley Creek’s sour Citribellum coming in a close second, but all products on the night were pretty good and highly recommend.

The sampling had a diverse range of University attendees that night, from students to faculty, to even President Welsh herself.

One attending faculty member, tutoring director Dr. Kelly McKenzie, noted that it was great that the University could provide a safe place where everyone can come together over trying different things out.

For information on Tasting Tuesdays visit www.esu.edu/tasting-tuesdays.

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