Inside Hijinx Brewing Company

by theelvee_w2oe3m

On a recent grey, dreary day we stopped into a nondescript (well, amost…there was a firkin sitting outside the door) garage in Allentown with Sublime playing on the sound system to check out the Lehigh Valley’s latest commercial brewery. 
Yes, you read that right.  Commercial brewery in a garage.  It’s the brainchild of brewer Curt Keck, whose Hijinx Brewing Company we have written about in the past.  The visit was just two days after Hijinx released their first ever commercially available beers during a mini tap-takeover at the Tavern on Liberty.  On tap were Pitch Penny ESB, Hop Havoc, and Steal Your Face Stout.  The event was a fairly crowded one with many homebrewers and friends in attendance waiting to finally get a taste of Mr. Keck’s brews. 
So popular was the tap takeover that one keg kicked before we left, only a little while after the first beers were being poured.  We decided to stop over on Labor Day to shoot some pictures of their brewing operation and check things out for ourselves.
The operation is a modest one.  The team works on a 1bbl system in a stand-alone garage in the back of a residential area.  The walls are plastered the sides of various beer boxes, some of which haven’t been in production for years.  In the corner space, an office of sorts, hangs a lot of ribbons for Mr. Keck’s homebrewing awards over the years. 
Homebrewing isn’t the gamut of his experience, however.  He brewed with the former Old Lehigh Brewing Company in Allentown as well as Weyerbacher in their earlier days.  Today, many years and many beers later, Keck is brewing a porter, the style that won him gold at the Masters Championship of Amateur Brewing in 2009, besting hundreds of other beers. 
While sipping a Woodford bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout that was brewed nearly three years prior (and was holding up gorgeously), we took in the sights of his small but impressive operation.  Keck has 24 kegs (not enough, he notes) that he will be filling with various beers and distributing throughout the Lehigh Valley.  As we were there another keg was dispatched to the Tavern on Liberty. 
It’s exciting times, for sure.  We’ve been looking forward to Hijinx going into production mode for a long time and the day has finally come.  And the beers, particularly the stout (dark, strong but not boozy, full-bodied and roasty),and the ESB (fantastic bread character), were tasty. 
This is just the beginning for Hijinx, which was named after the hijinks that have allegedly ensued in that very garage over the years.  The vision Mr. Keck shared with us was a promising one, full of expansion, experiments, and, of course, lots of beer.  We’re excited to show you the production facility of Hijinx and want to thank the Hijinx crew for inviting us over.  Keep an eye out for their brews at bars across the valley in the coming weeks and months.

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PennState September 17, 2012 - 11:47 pm

Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy or a better brewer. Congrats Curt, way to hang in there!

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