The Snack Capital of the World edges ever closer to becoming the craft brewing capital of Central PA
Suddenly, Hanover has become a hub of craft brewing.
Four establishments are brewing or planning to brew beer in the York County town, which houses just over 15,000 residents. All four are within walking distance – or, at most, a very short drive – of one another.
I recently tracked down Bill Seidler – co-owner of the newest Hanover brewery, Something Wicked – to get the early word about his place and to chat about the sudden brewing boom in the borough.
The quiet, restored building that houses Something Wicked wasn’t open to the public yet, but when I walked in, Seidler was there with three of the six co-owners – Jim and Cindy Staub (Cindy doubles as the brewery’s graphic artist) and Scott Pivoris. (The other two partners are Bridget Seidler and Steve Buenzow.) The group had met to witness their final paperwork hurdle in getting the doors of their brewery open.
It was a Friday afternoon, and I was ready for a beer, but nothing was flowing in the tanks. The lines were all on hold until the final health inspection. Luckily for me, the Something Wicked folks are all avid homebrewers and had a couple sixtels on tap in the back for personal use.
I followed Seidler into the brewing room to meet The Duffmeister – their handcrafted, 1.5-barrel brewing system. The shiny contraption looked eager to get to work, but I was much more interested in what sat across from The Duffmeister: two wooden barrels, which used to hold Dad’s Hat Rye Whiskey. Seidler explains he got them so he could age Something Wicked’s vanilla bourbon stout and a new creation he expects to have available in October – a pumpkin ale aged in the barrels and conditioned with rum.
Seidler and I got off track while we shared our passion for rum, but I was quickly pulled back on course when Pivoris handed me a sample of his chocolate coconut stout (which, in full disclosure, was brewed off-site). I loved it. Imagine the taste of a liquid Mounds bar, and you’ve got the idea.
Something Wicked plans to brew four flagship beers – a 94 IBU IPA made with seven pounds of Citra hops, the chocolate coconut stout, a hefeweizen and an apricot Kolsch – along with a rotating selection of 15 different seasonals.
We headed out of the brewing area, as Seidler wanted to give me the grand tour. Something Wicked leases the entire first floor of the building and, despite the fact that brewing was set to begin, the business itself was still very much a work in progress.
He led me through a door right next to the tasting room. Inside was the remains of an old bar room, probably last remodeled in the ’50s or ’60s. Parts of the walls were removed, the ceiling was in need of repair and there was renovation equipment throughout the space.
Eventually, the room—with its attached kitchen—will serve food and quadruple the number of patrons Something Wicked can host. The building has had many uses over the years: civil defense, tailor, liquor sales and a private club. Until recently, it sat abandoned and vacant (except for a handful of pigeons who took residence in what is now the fully renovated “pigeon room” bathroom).
The 130-year old building now houses four apartments on the second floor and the hidden jewel of 34 Broadway – a retro ballroom that takes up the entire third floor. The ballroom is not part of the brewery’s plans, but it is owned by one of Something Wicked’s partners. (I told Seidler it would be an awesome spot for a firkin fest once it is finished being restored.)
Even if the folks at Something Wicked don’t take that suggestion, it seems there’s plenty to look forward to in Hanover if you’re a fan of craft beer. So, why a Hanover brewing scene and why now?
“There were not a lot of outlets in Hanover for craft beer,” Seidlers explains. “There used to be KClinger’s Tavern, but they closed down. When he closed, it created a drought.”
Seidler says Hanover lacked after-hours activities. There are some great shops to bring in people, but there was nothing to keep them here after 5 p.m.
Now, though, there’s plenty to do. With Something Wicked joining Warehouse Gourmet Bistro & Brewpub, Miscreation Brewing Company and Aldus Brewing Company, you can put together a bona fide Hanover brew crawl.
• 34 Broadway, Hanover
• Hours TBD; opening in late May