Brisket and Brews

East Branch Brewing Co.

If you get lucky enough when walking up to the old stone firehouse building, you may get to smell the smokiness of the barbecue. East Branch Brewing Co. opened its second-level restaurant and bar in April, and it does not disappoint.

Holding off to feature this spot as the first Brisket and Brews find, the brisket and beers are something special. Located in Downingtown, the brewery first started producing its beers in September and added the food just a few months ago, but you would never know.

The taps keep flowing the seasonal favorites and the 10-barrel brewery's star players. With 12 taps filled with diverse flavors, everyone can find something they like from pale ales to its German styles to the darker ale and oyster stout. The newest additions are the Antoine and the Carte Blanc. Antoine is a french farmhouse ale that has "aromas of lemon, pepper and earth." Carte Blanc is a German pilsner with "notes of white grape and peach of the nose" and "a mild spicy herbalness."

One of my favorite beers is East Branch's Alluvium, left, a lighter IPA with tastes of "citrus, dank pine bitterness and tropical fruit with a touch of sweetness." The New England-inspired IPA has a balanced taste and cleaner look. Another popular draft is Great Expectations, right, a refreshing American Wheat Ale with mild hop notes brewed with orange and grapefruit. The pints range from $5-7 and bar-goers can get flights of beers at $2-3 for each 5 oz. East Branch also offers 32 oz. crowlers for $10-12 and 64 oz. growlers for $18-22.

And the bar doesn't stop at its beers, they offer craft cocktails like an Old Fashioned, Rum Punch and "Everything Nice," made with Bluebird Rye Whiskey, lemon, honey and Korean chili flake served on the rocks. The cocktails are made with PA spirits, and the bar offers PA wine from Penns Woods Winery and Wayvine Winery & Vineyard as well as PA cider from Dressler Estate cidery. For just opening in September, these guys have some serious skills and know how to support local, and we haven't even gotten to the kitchen yet.

The kitchen has a variety of mix-and-match options from shareables, sandwiches with choices of toppings and sides, and main dishes filled with freshness. 

But let's get talking about the main star: Brisket. USDA certified angus prime brisket, smoked with oak, from PA of course, seasoned with salt and pepper. Keeping it simple.

East Branch offers some amazing Brisket options like its sandwich on a toasted potato roll that can be topped with garlic aioli and slaw, Korean barbecue sauce and kimchi, or pimento cheese and bread n' butter pickles. But the main dishes are where the Brisket is put on its pedestal: the slab of brisket, the new brisket mofongo, and the best dish there — Brisket Noodles.

When you order this dish, the server will most likely ask if you like spice. Safe to say they look out for you, but don't let that make you timid. The spicy szechuan chili oil that sits in the bottom of the bowl adds a tasty heat to the noodles and the brisket, especially if you mix it up once it comes out. The slab of smoked brisket sits on top of sesame noodles with kimchi, peanuts and scallions.

Talk about a different take on brisket at a brewery. This is it. I heard that this dish was amazing and when I ordered it, the server said it was his favorite. And after the first bite into the brisket, then the noodle with a bit of the spice, I was sold. I couldn't stop eating it, every bite being something new, and aside from the chunk of brisket on top on the noodles, bites of brisket on the side of the noodles fall apart in your mouth like butter. The spice in the dish fills you up as much as the food itself. And the food is so good you almost forget about the great beer you have sitting right next to the bowl to cool your mouth off.

Grilled zucchini shareable with cherry tomato vierge, shaved squash and Korean chili flakes.

Before opening the kitchen and bar on the second floor, East Branch operated its bar on the first floor, and welcomed food trucks to feed its visitors. Expanding its area within the former firehouse, the brewery now hopes to open a third-floor rooftop area soon.

The East Branch brews don't only fill the taps at its own bar though. Below the bar is the new restaurant Estrella Tacos y Mas. East Branch has all its beers on tap at Estrella, which gives the restaurant easy access to great beer and gives the brewing company a whole new reach.

Can't wait to keep a look for them to branch out and get their beers on taps other places and see what the construction to the rooftop area brings.

To keep up to date with East Branch Brewing Co., follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

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