|St. Boniface Brewing Company
1701 W Main St | Ephrata, PA 17522
On Saturday, June 7th, St. Boniface Craft Brewing Company held their inaugural St. Bonifest celebration at the brewery in Ephrata, PA. The event is a nod to St. Boniface Feast Day on June 5, which marks the death of the saint from which the brewery takes its name. A feast it was with several food trucks on site serving up scrumptious nosh and, of course, delicious brews were flowing. Donations of non-perishable food items were also accepted at the festival, to ensure that the less fortunate in the community can feast as well.
For the fest, the parking lot behind the brewery was fenced off and ringed with food trucks. There was also outside seating, a makeshift German-style beer hall in the space that will soon house new brewing equipment (more on that in a bit) and the tasting room inside was also open. The weather was perfect, a beautiful June day with clear skies.
Select beers, including one-off brews known as “Offerings”, were on tap at a temporary outside serving station for $4. They included: Coffee Stout (Offering #14), WIPA 2.0 (Offering #15, a tweaked version of Offering #12) – the event marked the release of these two new beers, Wheat Ale Shandies (back by popular demand) and a firkin of Wheat Ale with Kiwi and Pineapple. Non-alcoholic lemon slushies were also available for the bargain price of $1.
Between Steph and I, we tried the firkin Wheat, the WIPA and the Coffee Stout. Steph’s favorite was the stout, I enjoyed the WIPA. The Wheat Ale with Kiwi and Pineapple was the perfect compliment to the beautiful summer day, though. We skipped the Shandy as neither of us are huge fans of the style, but it is a very popular quaff.
Food was provided by Rocky’s BBQ, The Fridge, Hen House Grilling and Sugar Whipped. Rocky’s served up traditional summer BBQ fare, including pulled pork, brisket and ribs. The Fridge had on-site wood-fired ovens cooking up some wonderful flatbread pizzas. Hen House was grilling up good old-fashioned burgers, hot dogs and fries (and also had free bags of chips, which is pretty awesome.) Sugar Whipped had a slew of unbelievably tempting cupcakes and other confections. I’m getting hungry just typing this.
Live music started in the afternoon, set up in the soon-to-be brewing area. Small music acts have performed at the brewery in the past, setting up in a large open space behind the bar in the tap room. The acts for the event were: Matt Wenger, Sean Hoots of Hoots and Hellmouth and Ron Gallo of Toy Soldiers.
There was also a Facebook contest for those that checked “going” on the event page by 10:30 the day of the fest. The winner was Jeremy Martin, who scored two tickets to the Lititz Craft Beer Fest.
We hit up the event early, arriving around 12:30 and had to head off to more beerventures before the music started. However, since things hadn’t heated up fully yet while we were there, we got to meet and chat with several of the St. Boniface crew. We also got the chance to talk at length with Dain Shirey, the marketing guy and a co-owner along with Mike Price and Jon Northup.
Dain gave us some insight into where St. Boniface has been and where it’s headed. Growth has been steady for the brewery, with a focus on not stretching themselves too thin and concentrating on building a solid local following.They’ve been at their current location for about a year, having the grand opening (and the christening of the tap room) in July of 2013. The brewery was previously housed in a smaller location since its founding in 2010.
Currently, they brew on a three barrel system but are in the process of expanding to a 15 barrel system which should be up and running by September of this year. With the expansion, they plan to move into canning or bottling, right now they only keg and serve pints and growler fills at the tap room. St. Boniface brews can be found in several locations on tap, however, including Canal Street Pub in Reading and they hope to get in to the newly-opened Barley Mow in West Reading.
There are big plans in the works for the future of what will be the annual St. Bonifest event. With some ideas such as holding the event off-site with lots of food and live music or even a full-on beer fest with several other local breweries. Can’t wait to see how this event, and the awesome brewery behind it, grows in the coming years.
We’d also like to give a shout out to some of (our photographer/DD/Steph’s husband) Rich’s co-workers who were also at the event. Janna, Paige, Zoe and Kelley. We chatted about beers and breweries we’d enjoyed in our travels and Steph advised them to hit up Tired Hands Brewing Company in Ardmore, PA, later that day as they were heading to the area. Later on Facebook, we learned they had taken Steph’s advice (usually a good idea) and had enjoyed the trip. Cheers, ladies!