Blogging Along the Brandywine: A series of disjointed ramblings

Old “Delicious”, a Belgium draft horse came trotting up Route 52 last week, pulling a wagon on an historic trip to the Mendenhall Inn.

This was not the typical horse- drawn carriage that often brings a bride and groom to receptions in the Grand Ballroom. “Delicious”, a rescued Amish workhorse, was bringing the first kegs of Twin Lakes beer to go on tap in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Now, I like covering art openings, musical theater, antique shows or anything historic - but beer? The only beer I ever liked was one I discovered in Germany – Berliner Weisse mit Schuss – a light beer made with wheat and served with a slice of lemon.  
 
But last week I found such a beer on tap at the Mendenhall Inn, Twin Lakes Winterthur Spring Wheat Ale. And even sweeter was the label featuring the art of Chadds Ford artist and museum founder George A. “Frolic” Weymouth.

Twin Lakes Brewery is the project of three local school friends; Matt Day, Sam Hobbs, and head brewer, Jack Wick. The brewery is located only minutes from Chadds Ford on Route 52, on a beautiful 252-acre farm in northern Greenville that has been in Hobb’s family for seven generations.

So why choose the Mendenhall Inn to enter the Pennsylvania market?

“I love the Mendenhall”, Day said enthusiastically. And as the first restaurant on Route 52 over the state line it was, as he said, “the low-hanging fruit.” In addition, the three young founders have a long-standing relation with the three Hionis sons.

Lou Hionis, owner of the Mendenhall Inn added, “They are very close friends. We grew up with them.”
 
“We remember when they were just talking about it. They found a location and took it to the next step. They made a dream a reality.”
    
To start the Delaware brewery, Hobbs returned from the University of Capetown, South Africa where he had earned his masters after earning a degree in physics at Berkley. Wick had majored in science, but discovered there was nowhere in the area to study the art of the brew master. “You teach yourself”, he said.

So Wick spent the next 15 years apprenticing and visiting 200-300 breweries on the west coast and Pacific Northwest learning his craft before returning east.

Wick said it takes five to seven gallons of water to make one gallon of beer. The water for the Twin Lakes Brewery comes from the two spring-fed ponds on the farm, part of the Brandywine and White Clay watershed. In addition all of the beers are brewed naturally without chemicals.  

And I really did find a beer I liked – Twin Lakes Greenville Pale Ale. It was smooth and had a hint of a floral taste.

Wick explained that the light-colored ale was rooted in the Pacific Northwest brewing heritage and used whole flower Cascade hops. It was so good that it was almost like a wine tasting. It would have been a sin to chug this “vintage” down with a common burger and fries.

“Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy” – a quote often wrongly attributed to a certain jovial founding father. But in this case, it just might be true.

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About Sally Denk Hoey

Sally Denk Hoey, is a Gemini - one part music and one part history. She holds a masters degree cum laude from the School of Music at West Chester University. She taught 14 years in both public and private school. Her CD "Bard of the Brandywine" was critically received during her almost 30 years as a folk singer. She currently cantors masses at St Agnes Church in West Chester where she also performs with the select Motet Choir. A recognized historian, Sally serves as a judge-captain for the south-east Pennsylvania regionals of the National History Day Competition. She has served as president of the Brandywine Battlefield Park Associates as well as the Sanderson Museum in Chadds Ford where she now curates the violin collection. Sally re-enacted with the 43rd Regiment of Foot and the 2nd Pennsylvania Regiment for 19 years where she interpreted the role of a campfollower at encampments in Valley Forge, Williamsburg, Va., Monmouth, N.J. and Lexington and Concord, Mass. Sally is married to her college classmate, Thomas Hoey, otherwise known as "Mr. Sousa.”

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2 Responses to “Blogging Along the Brandywine: A series of disjointed ramblings”

  1. Augie says:

    I, too, have never enjoyed beer while those around me seemed to not get enough of it! I enjoyed your article, Sally, and look forward to trying that Pale Ale someday soon. Maybe it’ll suit me as it obviously did you! Cheers!

  2. ccscurator says:

    Time to hop in the car and test the new stuff. Still on tap?

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