Keepin’ it crafty in Dallastown
So, a guy walks into a bar … but it’s really a tasting room. And a restaurant. And it’s attached to a 120-year-old barn. And all of it sits on a picturesque 77-acre farm.
Forget the bar – welcome to Wyndridge Farm. This family-owned craft cidery began more than a year ago and has since proliferated into an event venue – one that has a restaurant and produces its own craft soda, beer and wine.
What originally began as a farmhouse and a barn has been transformed into a tasting room with a deck built onto the barn, as well as the conversion of the farmhouse into an office, all with enough room to brew and bottle upwards of 30,000 kegs worth of cider, beer and soda each year.
Owners Steve and Julie Groff began the transformation three years ago, and after 13 months of construction, the beautiful and revamped Wyndridge Farm opened in September.
The Groffs opted for a rustic, elegant design with wooden floors, which perfectly complements certain areas of the building like the original support beams in the old barn. The barn is reserved for hosting weddings, events and live music and seats 280 people.
It’s the tasting room that sees much more regular action, with seating for 70 people, a food menu and a choice of seven drinks exclusive to Wyndridge Farm.
Its flagship drink is the Crafty Hard Cider, a drier take on a beverage I usually find entirely too sweet. This one is made with fresh pressed apples that Wyndridge Farm gets from just down the road at Brown’s Orchards. From there, it’s up to Scott Topel – the resident cider master – to do his work.
The cider naturally ferments to 7% ABV, but it’s diluted with apple juice to bring that ABV down to 5.5%. Anything higher, and it would legally be considered a wine.
Wyndridge Farm offers a second cider that has a splash of cranberry for added flavor and color. All of the cider is brewed and bottled on-site – an impressive process that Steve plans to eventually show the public.
“We want to do tours of the facility, and we’re working toward that,” Steve says. “We think we have a pretty unique thing going here all the way around, given the farm setup.”
The shiny new toy currently at Wyndridge Farm is the craft beer brewery. Six fermenters and two bright tanks are run by Jared Barnes – the Wyndridge Farm brewmaster. Once it’s in full operation, they will have the ability to make 18,000 kegs of beer per year. Wyndridge Farm has already capitalized on the growing hard cider market and has its beverage in bottles and on tap all over Central PA. The craft beer will be treated the same way.
Steve knows the potential. Back in the tasting room, there’s a line of 20 taps available for use. Only five are hooked up now. It looks bleak, but it represents the direction Wyndridge Farm is heading.
“If we were going to do this, and build all of this, we wanted to do it right,” Steve says. “We’re all-in on this facility.”
After being thoroughly impressed by Steve’s tour of the facilities, I pull up to an L-shaped bar in the tasting room. The kitchen is an open design, and patrons can see right into the stainless steel area where all the food is being prepared.
Matthew Siegmund is the executive chef of Wyndridge Farm and he’s put together a fresh menu of basics from soups, salads and pizzas to more creative dishes like shaved Brussels sprouts and seafood sliders.
I opt for an appetizer and two separate dishes to sample. First up was a fire-roasted tomato bisque with basil, Parmesan cheese and house-made croutons. After that, out come three short rib tacos, which feature a homemade barbecue sauce that incorporates the house cider, and a lobster meat mac and cheese in a skillet. Portion sizes are good for the price, and the trio of plates cost $23.
As I chow down and take in the place for the first time by myself, the beauty of Wyndridge Farm is in its simplicity. It looks rustic, but it feels new. There is plenty of wood everywhere, but there’s still an elegant feel to the place. A gas fireplace is on the inside in the tasting room, but opposite the fireplace on the outside of the wall is a wood-burning fireplace on the outdoor patio.
The whole place just feels homey. If you’re thinking it would be a great place for a wedding, dozens are already ahead of you. Wyndridge Farm is booked two years out.
You’d be better off just saddling up to the bar and trying whatever new craft creations Wyndridge Farm has on tap.
• 885 South Pleasant Avenue, Dallastown; 244-9900
• Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.