|Selin’s Grove Brewing Company
121 North Market Street | Selinsgrove, PA 17870
Selin’s Grove Brewing Company is located in a historic Federal style stone governor’s mansion in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. The building, which is on the National Historic Register, was completed in 1816 by Pennsylvania’s third and only three term governor, Simon Snyder.
During the late nineteenth century the mansion was home to Matilda J. “Tillie” Pierce Alleman who is best known for her famous book written about her experiences as a girl living in Gettysburg during the Civil War. She was only 15 years old when the Battle of Gettysburg was fought in her hometown in July 1863.
Selin’s Grove Brewing Company was founded by husband and wife team Steven and Heather Leason in 1996. Steve began homebrewing in 1985, and Heather began brewing with him in 1991. The couple has been married for 20 years, and they are ready to celebrate the 21 years working professionally in the brewing industry. That journey began back in 1993 when both Steve and Heather worked full time on the bottling line at New Belgium Brewing Company in Fort Collins, Colorado. They later moved on to brewing and cellaring positions before heading back east to open their own brewpub.
The brewery at Selin’s Grove is housed on the ground floor in the governor’s kitchen, which features two walk-in fireplaces. Steve originally brewed on a tiny 3 barrel system squeezed into a 9 by 13 foot room in the basement of the mansion. In 2003 the 1930s cement block garage was renovated, and he was brewing on a 7 barrel direct fire brew system by August 2004. Since then, several 8.5 barrel tanks, an updated mash tun and new kettle have been added, increasing production even more. In 2013 they brought in 10 barrel tanks.
We parked on Market Street and strolled downtown Selinsgrove for a bit before heading to the brewery. From Market Street, we headed down the stairs to the rear of the historic mansion, where there is a parking lot. We admired the brewery’s hop garden, then entered through the small outdoor eating area. The front room houses the bar (which comfortably seats 8 people), a walk-in fireplace, and a few tables under the rustic wooden beams and surrounded by the gorgeous stone walls. A second dining room offers additional seating by the second walk-in fireplace.
The beers on tap during our visit included:
- Captain Selin’s Cream Ale – a 4.5% ABV smooth and delicately hopped cream ale brewed with a percentage of corn to give a golden color and distinct clean taste.
- Two Penny Ale – a 4% ABV session ale brewed using the parti-gyle method. Two Penny is from the later, weaker runnings and offers fragrant hop aromas and a malty, not sweet, flavor.
- WIT – a 5.2% ABV Belgian style wheat beer brewed with bitter and sweet orange peel, coriander, lemongrass, and a secret spice.
- Grodziskie – a 5% ABV traditional Polish style smoked wheat beer brewed with smoked wheat, and the beer was kettle soured for 24 hours with lactobacillus followed by normal ale fermentation.
- Stealth Triple – a 9% ABV golden Belgian style ale made with Belgian candi sugar and a special Belgian yeast strain.
- Black IPA – a 7.5% ABV dark, strongly hopped ale offering a spicy aroma, fruity characteristics, and a lingering hop finish.
- Milk Stout – a 5.3 % ABV full-bodied sweet stout served on nitro brewed with unfermentable milk sugar offers flavors of coffee, molasses, and cocoa.
Most beers are available in 4 ounce, 8 ounce, and 16 ounce pours. Some beers are available in pitchers, and most can be purchased to go in glass or stainless steel growlers. Prices and availability vary depending on the beer style.
I was very impressed by the Grodziskie. The unique brew was smoky, tart, crisp, dry, and refreshing. Steve shared with me that this brew was inspired by a Polish friend who assisted in the smoking of the wheat malt over beech wood. After smoking the malts, Steve needed to find a Polish beer style that used smoked malts!
The “forgotten beer style” of Grodziskiewas traditionally brewed solely with wheat malts dried over oak or beech wood, imparting a slight smokiness. Some believe the tartness character was from a sour mash technique. The style was known for being “very lively” and highly carbonated, giving it the nickname “Polish Champagne”. Read this article from Badass Digest to learn more about Grodziskie.
I also enjoyed the deceivingly easy to drink Stealth Triple, which offered wonderful fruity esters and a clean, dry finish. The Black IPA was another standout with dark, roasty, almost smoky malts balancing the strong hop flavors.
The IPA and Saison de Peche are both expected to be back on tap very soon. The APA will be tapped at the end of August.
In addition to hand crafted beer, Selin’s Grove brews their own root beer soda and features Pennsylvania wines from Spy Glass Ridge, Shade Mountain Vineyards, Brookmere Winery and Mount Nittany Winery. They also serve a local cider made from fresh Pennsylvania-grown apples, currently from Otto’s Pub and Brewery in State College, PA.
The menu at Selin’s Grove consists of appetizers like Artichoke Spinach Dip Bread Bowl, Hot Soft Pretzel (a very popular menu item), and a local cheese board that showcases local farmers and cheesemakers. Salads include a Curried Almond Chicken Salad and a Taco Salad. A variety of sandwiches include five vegetarian options (I recommend the Santa Fe Wrap), all served with your choice of side (but most people opt for the creamy and delicious potato salad). Each week features a unique soup, entree, and dessert. During our visit, the specials were Roasted Red Pepper Soup, Chicken Cacciatore, and Blueberry Whoopee Pie Sundae.
As I mentioned earlier, Selin’s Grove has their own hop garden where they grow 4 different varieties of hops. On September 6 and 7 the staff of Selin’s Grove will team up with community members to harvest the hops. Locals will earn a pint of beer for every pound of hops picked and have a chance to win prizes. Steve will use these hops to brew an English-style fresh hopped beer called Hop Nouveau. The beer was inspired by a trip to a brewery in England about a dozen years ago when Steve remembers trying his first fresh hopped beer. Since the recipe calls for about 65 pounds of fresh hops and the hop garden typically produces about 40 pounds, Steve will call on the locals to contribute homegrown hops.
If you find yourself in Snyder County, Pennsylvania, be sure to stop at Selin’s Grove Brewing Company. The gorgeous building and friendly staff will invite you in, and the delicious food and hand crafted beers will keep you there.
One final note… the dog on the Selin’s Grove logo was inspired by the historical account of a distillery and brewery in Selinsgrove in the 1830s that used stray dogs to run in a wheel to power the pumps. Each year the brewery donates to several local no-kill animal shelters.