Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Susquehanna Brewing Company Tour

Back at the end of May I made mention of the Susquehanna Brewing Company which I often ride past when I'm scootering to the north end of the valley, and I noted that I intended to take a tour of their brewery one of these days.  That day was this past Friday, the fifth of July.

I called their main office around 10 AM assuming that they'd be open by then if they weren't going to be closed as part of an extended Independence Day celebration.  There was no answer so I left a message on the machine, and then later, around noon I took a drive there with my sweetie only to find the office locked.  On a lark I tried the door where a sign said the tours begin and found it unlocked.  I peeked in a called to see if anybody was around, but got no reply.  On the way back to the car a friendly guy popped out and asked if he could help us.  We said we hoped that we could take a tour.  He said that the official tour would be at 5 PM but offered to give us a brief tour right then and there.  We were impressed by his friendliness.

As soon as we were inside the guy, who is actually named Guy, poured us each a cup of beer and barely begin speaking when we noted aloud that we were amazed at how clean the place is.  With no exaggeration, I'd eat something off the floor anywhere in the building without giving it a second thought.  The whole place is immaculate from top to bottom!  Unfortunately, Guy barely started walking us around when a buzzer sounded and he told us that he needed to unload a truck, inviting us to help ourselves to a refill, look around, and let ourselves out when we were finished.  We thanked him for his hospitality and made plans to return at 5 for the actual tour.  When we got back to the house I got a call a little later in response to the message I'd left to let me know that there would be a tour and I assured the gentleman that we'd be there.

When 5:00 came we pulled up to the same door which was propped open with an empty half barrel and walked right in.  Kevin, our tour guide, poured us each a brew, and it became apparent after a few minutes passed that the whole tour was going to consist of the two of us and him.  Now it was absolutely sweltering both outside and inside, and with only two people there for a tour I wouldn't have blamed Kevin if he wanted to cut the tour short and get home into the air conditioning or maybe a pool and start the weekend.  Guess again!  We got the tour that the President might have gotten if he'd been there.  Thorough.  Most cordial.  Informative.  Especially friendly!  We were there for about an hour and a quarter and we had an excellent time learning all there was to know about the Susquehanna Brewing Company. And we found out that Guy wasn't the truck unloader; he's one of the higher ups in the organization!

The engineering behind the entire brewing process at SBC is remarkable.  Other breweries that I've seen look like they were put together largely as an afterthought with no seeming rhyme nor reason to their layouts.  Susquehanna Brewing's entire production line is elegant and just beautifully executed.  Form and function are interwoven seamlessly from beginning to end.

I called the brewery yesterday and asked if I could speak to one of the owners, who Kevin assured us was very down to earth, just to express our delight with the tour we were given.  I was told that he was with somebody, but the spokesperson gave me his cell phone number and asked me to give him a call in about a half an hour.  I did just that and found Mark to be every bit as cordial as Kevin.  He was most appreciative that I called to let him know that we loved the tour and their beers, as I was to be welcomed to call him on his cell phone.  I don't know too many business owners who are so accessible to the public.

I'm not going to go into any detail here about the company and its history because I'd rather encourage you to take the tour yourself if you're here in the valley or hereabouts.  I would be remiss, though, if I didn't mention that I like all of Susquehanna Brewing Company's beers which isn't something I can say about the other breweries I've toured.  Though their Pils-Noir which I discovered at a hockey game this past season is my favorite, their lager, ale, and IPA are very enjoyable as well.  I won't pretend to be a connoisseur, but I know what I like, and all of SBCs beers are on my list.

I'll leave you with a few links regarding SBC and its history, and my recommendation that you try their beers and take their tour.  You should be impressed with both!

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