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As part of our DiscoverNEPA Brewer’s Loop Series, we’re hitting the road – yes, all 390-plus miles of it. We’ll be taking brewery tours, sampling stouts, lagers and IPAs, and tasting taproom grub all over Northeastern Pennsylvania. Follow along as we bring you a firsthand look inside the region’s exploding craft beer scene, and let you know how, when and where you can experience it for yourself.

Live Free. Drink Beer.


Somewhere along the crooked elbow in the Susquehanna Stretch section of the DiscoverNEPA Brewer’s Loop, we came across Conyngham Brewing Company.

A fair wind whistled behind our ears as we loaded the trusty Jeep for another adventure on the Brewer’s Loop. The sun was just warm enough to burn off any residual languor and inspire these infrequently roused bones to occupation. We took to the interstate with that “on-the-cusp-of-summer” optimism in our eyes – similar, one can only assume, to the way ancient sailors must have viewed those bluest of blue seas. Our ocean, however, was one of undulating granite, bedrock and bluestone. And our blue seas – the vibrant, virgin greens of late spring in NEPA.

On this trip, we couldn’t help but fancy ourselves akin to those old sea dogs. Our course was set for the southern edge of Luzerne County. No lie – a literal X marked the very spot (well, sort of). Somewhere within the southwesterly quadrant of the 81 / 80 crisscross, lay a unique, little bedroom borough by the name of Conyngham. The Hazleton-adjacent borough, though minute in area and population, is no stranger to the bustle of industry or the march of economic progress.



Since the late 18th century, Conyngham flourished as a milling and logging outpost along the valley’s famous “Warrior’s Path.” Soon, fertile farms dotted the hilly landscape. A main thoroughfare connected it all. And, by and by, a central village came to be. It’s an idyllic and quiet town conveniently settled between the hum of interstate commerce and the hustle of nearby Hazleton. Oh, and it just happens to be possessed, in a sense, by the fiercely independent spirit of a renowned 18th Century pirate. Well, technically, he was a revered Continental Navy Officer or Privateer. Ok, fine, Gustavus Conyngham – feisty Irishman, fearless defender of American independence, and the Borough’s very namesake – was indeed, by all stretches of the imagination, a pirate. It’s a fact that this town, its good people and their unique, Main St. brewhouse celebrate unapologetically.



We dismounted I-80 for Route 93 and sliced our way through the outskirts of the sleepy mountain town. Soon, Main Street brought us directly to an otherwise unassuming house-turned-pub. A hand-painted wooden sign gently swings near the door. On it – the vision of a Brigantine, The Charming Peggy perhaps, charging windward with blue seas spilling from her scuppers, invites a sense of wonder, a promise of adventure, and, at the least, a few damn good pints of beer. This place, me hearties, is called Conyngham Brewing Company.

Let’s pop in and see if we can’t rustle up a bit of grog, shall we?


The Brewery



No swinging the lead on this ship.

The brewer’s space is often a testament to that old “go to work with what you got” mentality. In Northeastern PA, in fact, that very ethic seems most aptly suited these days to the craft brewhouse. And here, at Conyngham Brewing Company, minimalism meets head on with unbridled ambition. The process, the adherence to ancient craft meets the oft-elusive demand of the modern beer palate with a steel-eyed determinism to deliver… every time.

Here, where the story of the place and the taproom’s throwback aesthetic so scrupulously align, it’s almost kismet that the brewhouse, in so many ways, takes on the aura of an old warship’s galley. The tight quarters, hidden directly behind the bar, seem conformed to the muscle memory of the brewer himself. His familiar feet and hands know the room blindly. Never is a tool, knob or dial beyond invitation.



Tools, at the ready, wait exactly where they’re needed. Light flashes from the steel curve of bloated fermenters and traces through a network of piping. Brewer’s hoses, coiled and hung like springs, heed their call to service. At work, the room seems to list and sway in a rhythm conjured from the brewer’s fingertips. It’s wholly his space. And what’s done here is an homage to bygone craftsmanship, to relics almost forgotten, to a lonely singularity of purpose rewarded only by a pint, happily emptied, returning to the tap. And punished, at times, by the pursuit of liquid perfection.


The Taproom



Ease into Old World comfort.

If summoning the look, the feel and the ambient warmth of a 18th century pub is the aim, Conyngham Brewing Company nails it. The taproom bleeds authenticity from the original plank flooring to the handmade bar (also plank flooring) to the centuries-old stamped tin ceiling. A dark, low lit coziness envelopes you. A soft candlelight glow bounces from ornate ironwork sconces to the white plaster walls and pewter-toned ceiling tiles. Natural light pours in and crawls unapologetically along rough-hewn ceiling joists and the charming inconsistency of bare lath walls.



The taproom radiates outward from the classic horseshoe-shaped bar. Here, though, the brewery stays true to its nearly 300-year-old aesthetic. There’s no open floor plan or lighted stage. In fact, there are no TVs, visible speakers or even light switches. The taproom breaks off from the main bar into separate side spaces – all equally cozy in their own right and connected through wide corridors. The side rooms are only a shout from the main taproom, but miles away when it comes to enjoying quieter conversation.



Aside from the Revolutionary Era-styled taproom, one of Conyngham Brewing’s most impressive and most comfortable spaces is what we’ve deemed “The Barrel Room.” The wide room features all the classical appeal of the main bar, only with the added comfort of a gorgeously dark, leather Chesterfield sofa and matching chairs. A massive barrel rack on the room’s far wall closes the otherwise cavernous space. And yes, most of them are full of beer.

The Barrel Room’s coveted seating area is flanked by a scattering of hefty, natural wood high tops complete with cushioned stools. Another room (before you wrap back around to the main bar) offers plenty more space to spread out with a few chunky, wooden six seat tables. And, don’t worry, a cleverly disguised sound system delivers music throughout the entire place.

In all, the taproom at Conyngham Brewing is both communal and private. There’s space for more intimate outings and those nights out with your misfit crew. It entices quiet conversation and merrymaking just the same. And, with a solid stable of artfully crafted beers, either endeavor is equally attainable.

Speaking of beer…


The Beer



Fiercely independent to the last drop.

The beer list at Conyngham Brewing Company offers a wide-range of classics with the occasional modern twist and unique interpretations of ancient styles. The brewer brings a west coast, “OG” craft beer influence coupled with a homegrown, blue-collar straightforwardness. On one hand, there’s that universal pull toward simplicity. On the other, a deep-seated drive for nuance and envelope pushing.

The goal seems not to be cranking out the standard market IPA or achieving perfection through the inherent simplicity of a pilsner. At Conyngham Brewing, as much as the brewer challenges himself, he’s also aiming for provocation – through unexpected flavors, approachable, yet intense variability and by doing things his own way.



We began our adventure on the lighter side of things. First up, Conyngham’s perennial best seller and multi-award-winning Jalapeno Lager. Subtlety seems to be the main ingredient, followed closely by a strict attention to detail and fierce loyalty to process. Up front, it’s a superbly clean, pale golden lager with a sneaky, peppery effervescence throughout that lends itself perfectly to the classic, slightly fruity backdrop. And it rounds out at 4.6% with a very simple kick of spice. Dress it with a lime slice and cruise on this one all day.

From there, we headed toward tropical climes with Somewhere on a Beach. This summer styled lager, at 4.2%, is a clear, crisp and easy poolside sipper. It’s brewed with a hint of citrus and begs for a lemon slice. Yep, a lemon slice – probably a first for you, too. Trust us, it works.



Conyngham’s IPA program is headed up by their popular Brutal IPA. This slightly hazy, brut slugger weighs in at 7.6%. It offers a bright, dry tropical touch with a clean hop profile. It’s almost a little too drinkable, hence the name, I guess. Next, we checked out the Ginger Lemongrass Saison. This Belgian Farmhouse Style Saison delivers a punch of ginger and spice right up front and settles into a subtle lemon and herb aroma before carrying through to a malty sweetness. It rings in at a pleasant 6.5%.

Soon, it was time to venture into much darker, much heavier territory. Their flagship stout – Into Darkness – settles in at 8%. The rich, creamy ale poured beautifully black and brought delicate aromas of roasted cacao beans, sweet vanilla and finished with an unmistakable note of tangy dark chocolate.



Pirate’s Gold, another flagship, is a Belgian Golden Strong Ale. This LA International Gold Medal winner brings spice and fruit to a whole new level in a deceptively pale countenance. It finishes dry with a lingering subtle sweetness creeping into the back of the throat. At 11%, it’s dangerously smooth and delicious. Be careful with this one.

Finally, we just had to try Conyngham Brewing Company’s legendary Shipwreck Stout. This barrel-aged beauty clocks in at around 18%. And she delivers (in small doses, hopefully) a deep, rich, black molasses sweetness with notes of raisins and cognac. One and done, please.

Conyngham Brewing also offers many of their beers in cans and bottles. The taproom even offers a crisp, refreshing seltzer program. And definitely be sure to look out for beers in their Ancient Series.



We made our way to Conyngham Brewing Company on a sunny Tuesday in May. Spring had just broken toward summer. A mid-day sun mingled with the bright blues and greens of the season, leaving little choice but to take it easy with a few cold ones. Thankfully, our new friends at Conyngham Brewing obliged. And with that, they dusted off the bar, lined up the pints and let us in on a story or two.

Do yourself a solid, and add this one to your list.


Must Try:

Jalapeno lager – American Lager – Delicate peppery aroma with a slight kick to the finish — 4.6% ABV

Brutal IPA – Brut IPA – Slightly hazy with a clear, tropical sweetness and a near-perfect hop balance — 7.6% ABV

Into Darkness – Stout – Gorgeously dark, rich and creamy with sweet aroma and subtle bitter finish — 8% ABV

Spotlight On
Conyngham Brewing Company
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Ryan Wood