Today Yergey Brewing opens in Emmaus, the latest craft brewer in the Lehigh Valley’s ever-growing beer scene. Housed in the same building as Triple Sun Spirits, and just a short walk down from Funk Brewing, it adds yet another reason to head to the quaint but bustling town.
The man behind the brewery is Jim Yergey, a retired chemist with a Ph.D. who worked at Merck for 24 years and has since retired. Yergey began brewing in the early 90s with his brother-in-law after he became tired of paying a lot of money for the same boring beers over and over again. After a hiatus from home brewing, he picked the hobby up again and began brewing every year between Christmas and New Year with his kids.
That tradition evolved into his kids learning to homebrew, and the family began having a yearly holiday homebrew competition. Three years ago he joined the Lehigh Valley Homebrewers and in August 2014 he entered Lehigh Valley Beer Week’s “Brewer for a Day” competition, which affords a winning homebrew with the opportunity to be made on a large scale at Allentown Brew Works and be distributed throughout the Lehigh Valley. Yergey’s 9.5% double IPA, Hoptileitious, took top honors and was brewed in February 2015.
It was in 2014 that Yergey started contemplating a commercial brewery, and winning the contest he said put him over the edge. The community, talking to people at Beer Week events about his beer, and the general atmosphere of the week made him concentrate on getting a brewery up and running. The result of that is a beautiful nano brewery, complete with a 2.5 barrel brewing system, a hardwood bar, and tables throughout the venue for patrons to mingle.
The brewery is open Fridays and Saturdays from 4pm to 10pm and will have flights with four 4oz pours as well as full pours available. They’ve got t-shirts and tulip glasses available for purchase as well. On tap will be eight beers:
-Hoptileitious, a 9.5% Double IPA which was our favorite of the bunch.
-A Beer Has No Name, a 7.5% a red IPA with a solid malt backbone and citrus hoppiness
-LV’s Hoppin, a 3-4% session IPA (this wasn’t finished yet when we visited)
-Three Kings & a Wench, a 9% imperial stout that will be great when it starts getting chilly
-Friend of the Devil, a Belgian Dark Strong Ale that clocks in at a hefty 9.2% that offers up the classic spiciness and dark fruit flavors associated with the style
-Simply, Chocolate, a 6.6% chocolate porter brewed with organic Ghana cacao nibs
-HOT Chocolate, based on Simply, Chocolate, which gets spice from a fresh habanero extract (don’t worry, it’s not insanely spicy)
-Weiss Ass Rockin’ Bock, a 7.5% weizenbock that provides the perfect fall transition to all the wheat beers you’ve undoubtedly been drinking all summer