Drinks: Voodoo Brewing expands, Liberty Pole Spirits stews

Can you name the second-biggest craft brewery in Western Pennsylvania? 

Voodoo Brewing Co. says it will be with its new 18,000-square-foot production brewery in Meadville. The employee-owned company had a ribbon-cutting Friday at the former 84 Lumber on Bessemer Street in the Crawford County seat. The 30-barrel brewhouse inside, set up at a cost of about $1 million, will allow Voodoo to eventually nearly quadruple production, to 30,000 barrels.

Brewery spokesman Rob Moss says that would put Voodoo just behind Rivertowne Brewing (near Export, Westmoreland County) in the region. But this year, it is aiming to make 10,000 barrels and ramp up from there.

Voodoo plans to keep brewing at the original brewpub in Meadville, opened in June 2012, almost five years after the owners started brewing there. The new brewery will help supply the Voodoo pubs in Homestead (opened in January 2015) and Erie (opened in September 2016), and distributors across the state and beyond.  

By this summer, the new brewery will have its own tasting room and offer tours, and will host concerts and events in covered outdoor areas. More at voodoobrewery.com.

Voodoo earned some bragging rights this weekend when RateBeer.com rated its ManBearPig imperial stout the best beer in Pennsylvania on the 2016 list of “Best Beers, Brewers and New Brewers by Subregion.” Readers’ pick for the state’s best brewer: Ardmore’s Tired Hands Brewing Co. Read the full list at ratebeer.com/ratebeerbest/BestBeers-State2017.asp.

Stew series

Seeking to re-create the cozy comfort taverns used to offer wilderness travelers in the 1700s, Liberty Pole Spirits in Washington, Pa., is launching a Tavern Stew Series Friday. From 6 to 8 p.m. and at in the same slot on the next two Fridays, the downtown distillery will work with an outside food provider to serve guests warming stews and sides with two cocktails or local wines or beers for $30.

In days of yore, writes Liberty Pole’s Ellen Hough, “taverns would serve ... steaming stew, ale, whiskeys,wine and homemade breads in a cozy room filled with laughter. We thought we’d bring that warm comfort back to our Meetinghouse on cold Friday nights in February.”

This week, it’s Lemon Chicken Stew and/or Lentil Stew with hummus and pita chips by Mr. Gyros, with music by members of Catfish Creek Revival. Next week, it’s Irish Lamb Stew and more from Philomena’s Catering, with music by Pint and a Half. And the following week, it’s Gumbo Stew served with Bread Pudding by The Upper Crust, with music by Bill Loughman Jr. To reserve (required), or for more information, visit libertypolespirits.com/events-1 or call 724-503-4014. 

Liberty Pole is part of the monthly Whiskey Rebellion Winter Music Series happening at Washington’s President’s Pub. The next one is from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Feb. 23 and features whiskey and food specials to the tunes of the Tiger Maple String Band (whiskeyrebellionfestival.com). 

Bob Batz Jr.: bbatz@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1930 and on Twitter @bobbatzjr.


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