Pottstown Brewpub Plans Unique Approach

Pottstown Brewpub Plans Unique Approach

A new brewpub is coming to downtown Pottstown.

Business partners Steve Armstrong and Adam Burke hope to open Armstrong Alehouse this fall at 251 E. High St., in the building that previously housed Warrick Jewelers, a couple doors down from the Steel River Playhouse.

Armstrong previously ran Armstrong Ales in East Pikeland Township, Chester County. Burke is the owner of Lily’s Grill at 115 E. High St. in Pottstown.

“I’m totally excited to get up and running,” Armstrong said Thursday while taking a break from work on the pub. “I’m happy that things are starting to move forward again and we can soon start serving beer again.”

A Great Opportunity

Armstrong Ales was a one-barrel brewery that Armstrong ran from August 2013 to June 2015. It was located in an industrial park just outside Phoenixville, Chester County, and closed because of zoning concerns with East Pikeland Township, Armstrong said.

Burke was in the process of purchasing the High Street property in hopes of opening a brewpub when he heard Armstrong was closing his original brewpub. Although he did not know Armstrong, Burke contacted him to gauge his interest in opening a brewpub in Pottstown.

“We took a walk through it, he told me what he wanted to do and I thought it was a great opportunity seeing the way the borough is and the whole feel of the town and what could be here,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong started work on the brewpub about a month ago. The first floor has been gutted down to its original brick walls, and Armstrong hopes to begin working on the plumbing this week. He is doing a lot of the work himself and is being assisted by his father, owner of a heating, ventilation and air conditioning company in Malvern, Chester County, and other family members.

“I’ve been doing mechanical contracting with my dad since I was about 12 years old,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong and Burke received some assistance for the project from the Montgomery County Commissioners, who last year approved a $71,000 downtown business incentive grant. The grant program incentivizes business owners to renovate historical properties on High Street.

“It was huge,” Armstrong said. “It helped us out a lot.”

A Variety of Beer

When finished, the brewpub will initially have 12 taps. Armstrong will brew a variety of different beers using recipes he developed at his old brewpub as well as new recipes. He has several standard beers that will be offered, including a pale ale, an IPA, a pilsner and an Irish stout.

Armstrong will do the brewing on either a 3- or 5-barrel brewing system.

“Nothing huge,” he said. “It will be enough to service what we want to do here and maybe a little bit of distribution, but not much. If we do distribute, it will be down the road with a different site.”
The brewing system will be located in the basement, and unlike many other brewpubs, it will not be visible to customers.

“The space here is limited, and we don’t have the floor space to showcase that kind of stuff,” he said. “We’re hoping the decor will be enough for customers.”

High-End Pub Food

Burke, who opened Lily’s Grill in November 2013, will handle the food side of the brewpub. He plans to serve “high-end pub food,” such as house-ground hamburgers, elk burgers, turkey wings, short ribs, steaks and seafood.

“Things you can’t find at every other pub,” he said, adding that he plans to use as many local ingredients as possible. “What we wanted to try to do is take Irish-American pub food, but do it local and organic.”

The brewpub will be different from Lily’s Grill, which is named after Burke’s dog. The grill is more of a casual/fine dining establishment, he said.

“I want people to be able to come here, have a beer and a burger and not have to worry,” he said.

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