Columbia Kettle Works Serves Up Great Beer and a Host of Homegrown Pennsylvania Goodies

Columbia Kettle Works Serves Up Great Beer and a Host of Homegrown Pennsylvania Goodies
Columbia Kettle Works
40 North 3rd Street | Columbia, PA 17512
(717) 342-2374

Columbia Kettle Works recently opened at 40 North 3rd Street in downtown Columbia, PA by friends and co-workers Bill Collister and Rod Smith. Bill works as the business manager, while Rod does the brewing.

The brewpub has become a family affair with Bill’s sons Greg and Dan Collister working as server and chef, and Bill and Rod’s wives, Paula and Kristine, working behind the bar.

The handcrafted bar, which seats 12 comfortably, faces the 5 barrel brewhouse, but the first thing I noticed was the case of Bud Light on a shelf under the fire extinguisher sign (no worries, the actual fire extinguisher was under the shelf). After seeing that, I knew I was going to have a fun evening.


During my visit I enjoyed a sample of each beer on tap.

  • Apricot Pale Ale – huge fresh apricot aroma and flavor from organic extract with a substantial hop flavor and finish. 5.2% ABV / 75 IBUs
  • ESB – beautiful copper color; refreshing, malt forward session beer with lingering caramel sweetness. 4.2% ABV / 37 IBUs
  • Coffee Stout – rich and smooth beer with aroma and flavors of roasted grains, oats, and coffee. 6.2% ABV / 28 IBUs
  • Tricky Fingers – Belgian style Tripel brewed with Belgian Candi sugar, coriander seeds, and sweet orange peel; named after brewer Rod’s wife Kristine. 9.0% ABV / 25 IBUs
  • Black IPA – roasted malt flavor upfront followed by spicy hop flavors; finishes with a slight dark chocolate bitterness. 6.0% ABV / 85 IBUs
  • Dunderhead – Scottish Wee Heavy with sweet malt flavors and hints of smoke and vanilla; a “dunderhead” is an urban term for a stupid person. 7.5% ABV / 25 IBUs
  • Amarillo Rye – a Rye IPA aggressively hopped with Amarillo hops, creating a nice balance between the bitter hops and the spicy rye. 6.0% ABV / 110 IBUs


In addition to the seven Columbia Kettle Works beers, Wyndridge Crafty Cider from York, PA was also on tap. This clean semi-sweet hard cider offering a crisp, fresh apple flavor.

Cool birthday gifts

My favorite of the sample was the Coffee Stout, which also happened to be the go-to for the local sitting next to me. She shared with me that the coffee used in the beer was roasted just down the street at Café Garth.

Beers are $4 for a pint, $7 for a flight of four, and $12 for a growler fill. Pennsylvania wines are also available by the glass or bottle from Allegro Winery in Brogue, PA. A Lime Margarita is also available, produced at Tamanend Winery in Lancaster, PA. Soda cans and bottled water can be purchased.


Food available at the brewpub include snacks, meat and cheese plates, and paninis. The snacks include fresh-popped popcorn from Crazy Corkey’s Kettle Corn in Columbia, PA made with an exclusive blend of brewer’s yeast, salt and black pepper. Bags of popcorn can also be purchased to go.

I enjoyed the pickles from Dynamite Dill in Lancaster, PA. I tried all three flavors: Garlic Dill, Habanero Garlic Dill, and Jalapeño Garlic Dill. It should be no surprise that the Habanero Garlic Dill were my favorite. Jars of pickles are available for purchase as well.

Apparently when the Blonde Ale was on tap, upon request they would add a habanero pickle and some brine, creating a tasting concoction. Clearly I must return when the Blonde is back on!


There are also pretzels from Hammond’s Old Fashioned Sourdough in Lancaster, PA, which are served with the house mustard, and Gnawjaw Premium Beef Jerky, which comes in Sweet, Cajun, Angry Dill or Nuclear Lick.

The paninis are made with Thom’s Bread from Lancaster, brushed with grapeseed oil and served with Dynamite Dill pickles. The meats and cheeses are from S. Clyde Weaver in East Petersburg, with the salami coming from the Mandros Imported Foods in Lancaster.

An exciting collaboration is in the works between Columbia Kettle Works and St. Boniface Craft Brewing Company.  Jon Northup, head brewer at St. Boniface, headed to Columbia Kettle Works on Sunday, August 31 to brew a 9%-ish ABV Hoppy Red Ale. Rob, brewer at Columbia Kettle Works, headed to St. Boniface the following day to brew the same recipe. Look for this beer to be on tap at both locations within the next 3 or 4 weeks.

Other beers to look for in the near future are a Saison and the IPA 2.0. The IPA was brewed before, but this altered recipe will be dry-hopped with whole leaf Cascade hops. Hopefully Bald Guy Imperial Ale will be back soon, too. I hear that one is super tasty.


Columbia Kettle Works will be pouring at the Lancaster Craft Beer Fest on September 6 and the Lititz Craft Beer Fest on September 28. Check out their events page for more information, including details about live music at the brewpub.

I definitely recommend checking out Columbia Kettle Works. The beers are tasty, and the eats are unique and delicious. The staff (er… family?) is welcoming and fun to chat with. Hopefully you’ll get lucky enough to sit next to a local and chat it up while sipping on a pint of the Coffee Stout.

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  1. Pingback: Columbia Kettle Works First Anniversary Celebration | Beer Busters

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