Matt Lindenmuth, who opened Saucony Creek Brewing 6 years ago, is turning his side project – The Larimer Beer Co. – into a real brewery. Founded two years ago as a gypsy brewery that made beer in Colorado, The Larimer will build an R&D brewery with taproom in Chester, next to Talen Energy Stadium, home of the Philadelphia Union.
It’s a bold move, given Chester’s rep. In 2018, the city had the second highest murder rate in the nation, behind only East St. Louis, Ill., and ahead of Camden, N.J. With a population of about 34,000, it is also one of the largest Pennsylvania towns without its own brewery. (See below.)
Lindenmuth – formerly a professional vert skater who competed in the X-Games – is optimistic about his brewery’s chances for success. For one thing, he noted that the feds and local government are plowing economic redevelopment money into the region.
“The stadium sells out every game, 19,000 people,” he said. “Plus, there are a lot of industrial jobs along the riverfront. We’ll see a lot of customers.
“Maybe this is what it takes,” he continued. “Somebody like us to show you can exist down here. I hope it helps open the gate.”
In fact, there is ample evidence that small breweries can improve neighborhoods, through boosting tourism, jobs and providing a source of civic pride. A recent study by researchers at the University of Toledo found that breweries can increase nearby residential property values. (One caveat: the positive effect is amplified by the presence of a cluster of breweries, which attract even more visitors.)
The brewery will be small – only a 3-barrel outfit. That gives Lindenmuth an opportunity to experiment more freely with unusual styles. When I spoke with him this week, he was the midst of a collaboration brut IPA brew at Dogfish Head, with Bryan Selders.
He’ll brew larger batches at the Mainstay Independent in the city, where the beer will be canned for wider distribution. Look for 99 Problems, a peach and ginger kettle sour and La Resistance, a pink Himalayan salt gose (both above), and Regulators IPA.
Construction has begun and the brewery has its federal permit. Lindenmuth hopes to be open by late May, in time for Philly Beer Week.
Chester is the sixth-largest town in Pennsylvania without its own brewery. Here are the state’s top (bottom?) 5 most unfortunate towns: *
1. Upper Darby (pop. 82,795) – To those who’d blame this on the general lack of breweries in Delaware County, I have one word: Aston. The Delco town (pop. 16,706) has two breweries.
2. Scranton (pop. 77,118) – Closest brewery is in Moosic. Moosic?
3. Bensalem (pop. 61,500) – This grievous absence will come to an end when Broken Goblet moves into its new State Road facility later this year.
4. Levittown (pop. 52,407) – Is there even a craft beer bar in this town? And, no, I’m not counting Sparky’s.
5. Norristown (pop. 34,370) – Well, there’s a distillery. Otherwise, troop across the DeKalb Street Bridge to Conshohocken’s Bridgeport Brewpub.
*Haverford Township (pop. 49,000) also lacks a brewery, but it does have a full taproom from Conshohocken Brewing.