If you’ve ever enjoyed a bottle of Mt. Carmel beer then you can recall the label: a homey looking farmhouse with a bunch of beer flowing out the back of it. I don’t know why I was surprised when I quickly sped past the entrance to Mt. Carmel Brewery; I guess expecting a larger operation. Of course, it was a quaint white house just as the picture would lead you to believe. The scene around it is a little more populated than the art on the bottle, but all-in-all the label did not let us down. It would have been a real shame to roll up to the brewery and realize it was actually some big warehouse with no character. Point to Mt. Carmel for sticking to their roots.
We showed up about 10 minutes late for the tour and quickly struggled to find parking because the place was packed. A tour was already in progress so we decided to have a beer in the tap room, a room not much larger than a bathroom. It too was a little crowded so we just joined the tail end of a tour in progress. A passionate man in his late 20’s (maybe 30’s, I’m not sure. Does it matter? No.) laid out all the steps of brewing and at each step reminded us what made Mt. Carmel special… most notably, Mt. Carmel’s unique flavors.
I could try to describe all the brew methods and all that crap, but be honest, you want to read that about as much as I want to spend my time typing it. Just go visit it yourself.
At the end of the tour, the guide shared with us his hopes and vision for not only the beer, but the land the brewery sits on. It is easy to share someone’s enthusiasm as they talk about envisioning a place where people can grab a nice beer, see how it’s made, and then play a game of catch or sit in a rocking chair on a farmhouse deck. I look forward to returning when they expand the current site.
After touring a couple different local breweries, it is easy to get a feel for the differences in each place. Rivertown was noticeably younger and smaller in volume brewed each year, but the smallness meant the original founder walked us around in a conversational manner. Mt. Carmel, however, was a more routine tour, with multiple tours happening each day. The tour guide, however, was friendly, informative, and cared about his beer. If I’m making an argument based on value, Rivertown’s $5 deal which includes a glass, a beer, and a tour can’t be beat. Mt. Carmel’s beer and glasses, however, were priced well, and of course, taste amazing. The only bummer was the growler I purchased didn’t have a label on it. The growler at Rivertown had a big label advertising Rivertown Brewery and making it feel unique, but the growler at Mt. Carmel was just your plain, run-of-the-mill dark brown glass. A label would have been great, but at $11.50, it was still a great deal for some great I.P.A. and a new growler for the collection.
After having a beer and getting my new growler filled, it was time to head back home. I must admit, anytime I have a big jug of beer in the car I feel like an old moonshiner bringing my hooch back to the city. This feeling, my friends, is well worth the little trip out of town.
If you’re ever bored, want a good beer, and to see how it’s made, go visit the old farmhouse of Mt. Carmel Brewery.
For times, directions, and more on their story visit their website.