It’s a now-familiar story: homebrewers wanting to open up a professional brewery. But this story is on its way to realization for three local homebrewers working to build the Lehigh Valley’s latest brewpub. Homebrewers Tim Kerrigan and Honoree Kerrigan (disclosure: longtime friends of ours), along with partner Paul Szabo, are currently scouting locations around the Lehigh Valley in hopes of realizing a long-held goal.
Tim, an operations manager at Porsche, Honoree, who has a long career history in architecture, and Paul Szabo, a machinist, are all BJCP certified beer judges and have been involved in the LV homebrew scene for many years (Paul since 2007/2008, and Tim & Honoree since 2009).
The Kerrigans aren’t new to the brewpub scene by any stretch of the imagination. In 2008 Tim, originally from New Jersey, and Honoree, originally from Nevada, retrofitted a van to include a sleeping platform and travelled the country from California to Washington and eventually to Pennsylvania, brewpub hopping the entire way across the USA. Tim and Honoree met Paul at their first Lehigh Valley Homebrewers meeting back in 2009 and have collaborated throughout the years.
Since then, the Kerrigans, along with Szabo, have served their beer at popular festivals across the Lehigh Valley like Bethlehem’s Harvest Festival, the PBS Brewfest at Coca Cola Park, Bethlehem’s Blueberry Festival, and Keystone Homebrew events. They’ve been a recurring fixture at the Shakespeare Festival’s Luminosity Gala where they brew themed beers for ‘King Henry’s Pub.’ Their efforts have earned them accolades in American Homebrewing Competitions, garnering two bronze medals and a gold certificate.
Szabo and the Kerrigans decided approximately six months ago to go into business and have been making moves to open a commercial operation, eyeing spots in Nazareth and Bethlehem. The Nazareth location, a 4400 sq ft. space located in a former Ambassador Bank at 131 S Main St, recently went before the zoning hearing board and was approved for use as a brewery/residential mixed use building. In addition to the Kerrigan/Szabo team, there is another potential brewer looking at the property, although the property owner could not elaborate on whom.
Ambiance, art, and music will play an important part in the brewpub at whatever location they choose. Tim, an accomplished musician who performs with Sunshine Symphony and Kira Wiley,
said that they hope to capture some of the feel of legendary Lehigh Valley venue Godfrey Danielswhile still keeping the volume at a talkable level. Artists, from painters to sculptors, will fill out the space with artwork that will showcase local talent. “Don’t expect a lot of TVs flickering,” noted Mr. Kerrigan.
Instead of opening something specialized like a Belgian beer bar, the group says they hope to open something accessible to a wide local crowd. “Back to the basics” was how they described their brewing philosophy, with staples like an IPA, robust porter, a wheat brew, and a Blonde gracing the taps, which will number around 8-10. They plan to brew in-house on a 5 barrel system and serve up small plates using locally farmed/produced ingredients down to the veggies, sausage, and cheese used in their food.
The three recently tested the waters of Nazareth at the ribbon cutting of Xpresso Café and at last weekend’s Martin on Main festival, where they tore through 25 gallons of beer before the end of the day. Wherever they end up, it’s probably safe to say that the Lehigh Valley will have a thirst for their beer. We’ll keep you updated on the project as the Kerrigans and Szabo choose their location and begin their operation.
Photos provided for this article were taken by Douglas Benedict.