REVIEW: GearHouse Brewing Company

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Beer started flowing through the taps at GearHouse Brewing Company exactly one year to the day after they acquired their space in an old Chambersburg railroad building.

Chambersburg is no stranger to craft beer; Roy Pitz has long been the lone brewery in the town, but now there is double the reason for a craft beer road trip to Franklin County.

GearHouse was the brainchild of six owners, which includes head brewer David Kozloski, who has brewed at places like Tröegs Independent Brewing and Flying Dog Brewing Co. before venturing out on his own.

After opening with just a few beers on tap, they have quickly expanded to nine drafts with something in the lineup for everyone.

The beers

GearHouse doesn’t have a set list of flagship beers, but they are working on recipes to get there. You will see a lot of test batches and other beers that don’t yet have official names. They aren’t playing it safe though either. Any craft beer fan can find a favorite on this list.

(This was the list at the time of posting; taps are always subject to change.)

Canary Blonde 4.8% ABV – An easy drinking, flavorful blonde ale that is true to style with slight bitterness to balance out the sweet malt backbone.

Multigrain Saison 6.0% ABV – Nine different grains give this saison a fruity flavor along with a great nose. French saison yeast lends the classic spices you would expect from this style. This is my type of saison.

Saison Du Rhubarb 6% ABV – Same saison base as the Multigrain with tartness from fresh rhubarb added.

IPA #1  6.4% ABV – The nose on this is so dank. It smells like you put your nose in a pile of hops. Apollo and Columbus hops lend a bite of citrus that is rounded out by earthy flavors of pine and resin.

Birch Run Brown 6.25% ABV – A flavorful brown ale with notes of chocolate, caramel, and roasted malt are backed up by a slight hop profile to give this beer extreme drinkability.

GINary Blonde 5% ABV – This is the same recipe as the Canary Blonde, but aged in gin barrels from One-Eight Distillers in Washington D.C. The nose gives off the typical gin-like aroma with the adding a nice fruity and oaky taste to this extremely refreshing brew. A must-try.

Liar Liar IPA 8% ABV – An imperial rye IPA brewed with Apollo and Chinook hops for bittering and flavor. The rye isn’t too overpowering and is balanced by the resinous and citrus hop flavor. Be careful, this beer does not taste like its 8% ABV tag.

Pale Ale 4.8% ABV – This easy drinking pale ale is packed with bright hop flavors of mango, pineapple, and citrus that make it go down easy.

Session IPA 4.2% ABV – A great session IPA needs to have great hop flavor with all the bitterness you would expect from its big brother. Despite the low-ABV, this session does not compromise on hop flavor or aroma. Hop heads will want to give this a go.

GearHouse also offers a few local wines and spirits from Thistle Finch Distillery out of Lancaster.

The space

GearHouse found its home in an old railroad building, originally built in 1894, which was used for directing trains as they came through town. The building is updated but maintains its old charm and is a perfect place to spend an afternoon getting lost in a good beer.

They have a large bar area plus two more rooms with long tables and a lounge area complete with an antique shuffleboard table. Most of the seating area is outfitted with locally reclaimed products including a lot that was found in the building and repurposed to fit the brewery.

Just outside, GearHouse started their own hop yard to grow fresh hops for their beers. Many of the poles are repurposed old telephone poles.

Ample parking is available in the front of the building plus in the gravel lot next to Jim’s Farmers Market.

The food

Currently, GreaHouse offers a limited menu that specializes in smaller plates with locally sourced ingredients. A full kitchen is already in place to expand the menu after their grand opening.

Current menu

  • York City Pretzel Sticks – Bavarian-style pretzels with housemade beer cheese and stone ground mustard
  • Bread and Butter – Gettysburg Baking Company bread served with Trickling Springs Butter, housemade herb salt and flaked sea salt
  • GearHouse Poutine – Fried tots, housemade beef gravy, and beer cheese with Caputo Brothers cheese curds
  • Charcuterie – A rotating lineup of meats, local cheeses, and dried fruits.

GearHouse also features special plates on a rotating basis. Be sure to check the menu for the weekly special and beer pairing.

The brewhouse

GearHouse is brewing on a five-barrel system with several fermenters and three serving tanks to give their thirsty customers the freshest beer possible.

The brewhouse is visible through a multipane window in the middle room,  and you get a great look at everything from brew vessels to some local whiskey barrels from Thistle Finch.

GearHouse is currently open from 4-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. A grand opening is planned for Jan. 27, and they plan to add additional days and hours in the coming weeks. 

Sara Bozich
Author: Sara Bozich

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