REVIEW: Race Street Brew Works
Andy has a tendency to try to temper my expectations when he feels I’m getting too excited about something from his neck of the woods.
There isn’t a lot to do in Elk County, and I have spent much of my time reading and relaxing at my in-laws (which is wonderful also), but I’ve been pushing to explore some of the nearby sights, like wineries and distilleries, and I’ve been carefully watching a slowly growing craft beer community.
I had hoped to visit 2-3 breweries on this trip, but one isn’t yet brewing its own beer and the other pushed back its open date to the end of the year.
Pulling in to the parking lot, Race Street is located in the middle section of a building that was a former FCI Electronics plant. We followed the path past middle school-era lockers, minor and seemingly random decorations like tree branches mounted on the walls, bottle caps lining the top border of the walls — and for a moment, I wondered if Andy was right. Just how bare bones was this? What were we getting ourselves into? Would I have to fake enthusiasm for sub-bar brews?
And then we turned the final corner.
Race Street Brew Works is adorable.
Two longtime friends (originally of Phillipsburg via State College) just started brewing beer one day, realized they were pretty good at it, started throwing parties for friends, and when asked enough times, “Hey where can I buy your beer?” the duo realized their future.
The tasting room sits just ahead of the brewery, a 10-barrel system producing enough beer to fill 14 taps. A petite front bar with metal stools (which reminded us of shop class) wraps around to a kitchen window from which to order tasty eats (we did not do this, however).
A variety of different sized and shaped tables dot the rest of the room, the perimeter lined with chain link fence and occasional “Authorized Personnel Only” signs. A few side rooms — one with church pews, another with a wooden fooseball table — provide additional gathering options.
An upstairs mezzanine has a long wooden bar — a repurposed relic from the original Dubois Budweiser plant — and large wrap-around couch and massive wooden coffee table that my husband coveted.
The decor was subtle and oh so hip (old timecards, string lights and poms, decorated beer bottles), but it reminded me AGAIN of Asheville’s breweries, which I promised to write about but didn’t (but hey maybe I still will). To anyone who asks, I’m a broken record about how they do a bare bones decor, serve great beer, and the crowds fill the space. Stickers are decorations, and so are repurposed glassware, metal etc.
HEY WHAT ABOUT THE BEER, SARA???
14 beers on tap. 4-flight samplers for $7 (TAKE NOTE, PEOPLE), so Andy and I chose two completely different options.
- Thai Tea Porter
- 10 Pound Torpedo Imperial IPA
- Saison Primitive Farmhouse Ale
- Susquehanna Dry-hopped Pale Ale
- Milk Mooo-Stache Milk Stout
- Easy Coast Abbey
- Alpine Ascent Citrus Session Pale
- Loud Mouth Oaked IPA
Honestly, everything was really good. Andy was really impressed by the Alpine Session Pale, and I was really into the 10 Pound Torpedo Imperial IPA, a series they do varying only the type of hops in each brew. We took home a growler of that as well as the Susquehanna Dry-Hopped Pale, and because we’re nice we grabbed a 1-L of the Thai Tea Porter for Andy’s older bro and sis-in-law.
I also sampled the Jack Hammer Big Pumpkin Ale (the last keg, sorry!), and it was that perfect combo of spice and squash, so it doesn’t taste dessert-y, but is pleasing for the season.
We would have liked to stay longer and try more, but we definitely will be back. I’m hopeful there’s a chance we can see them at PA Flavor on April 23, and perhaps at some Harrisburg Beer Week events as well. They’ve got my number.