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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.

A Tale of Two Hairy Guys (and a Grand Old House and a Little Brewpub)


A clear blue sky, with all its relentless promise, drew us out of the office and southbound toward the ancient ridges and valleys of the Southern Reach section of the DiscoverNEPA Brewer’s Loop and right into Hairy Guys Brewing.

Back in early May, we loaded up the gear and set out under clear skies and sunshine in search of beer. The turnpike, flanked in electric spring green, opened wide into the southern Pocono Mountains. Jim Thorpe was our destination. We were heading for the other side of the river to the part of town they used to call East Mauch Chunk. This hilly section of the borough unfolds eastward into the foothills of Bear Mountain.


A sturdy, red brick, Second Empire beauty occupies the corner of 2nd and Center streets. The ambitious renovators/new owners dubbed it Pigeon Manor. And their friends, the follicly-inclined gentlemen leasing the first floor brewhouse and pub, have claimed their little part of it as Hairy Guys Brewing.

Let’s pop in and see if we can’t sneak a swipe or two, shall we?


The Brewery



He’s not short and round and stainless steel, he’s my brother.

We made quick work of the brewhouse tour. It’s a back of the house kind of thing – a small, but nimble system tucked away in what may have once been a butler’s pantry. Upon entering the joint, you’d hardly give it a nod as you b-lined for the taproom. Those, however, like myself so unnecessarily “poetic” about beer and the places it’s brewed, might stop for a peak behind the curtain. For so many, it’s about, “Show me what you’re working with!” I write about beer and breweries, and I still couldn’t tell you which hose was filling or draining.



The Taproom



It’s kind of a classy joint – you’re gonna’ want to use a coaster.

On the surface it’s a simple taproom set up. There’s a bar. There are several, somewhat-separate spaces to sit and relax. And that would be more than enough for most thirsty travelers. Only it’s not all that simple. Hairy Guys Brewing lives inside a stately mid-19th century manor house. Their ghosts are Victorian – just kind of in a NEPA sense (think less British accents and Derby Hats and more “heyna” or “friggin”).



This is the kind of place where you get in, grab a beer and find a spot to sit. And you sit there for a minute. And soon, you begin to notice the ornate woodwork and elaborately-trimmed, deep windows. Here and there, the original red brick, likely fired locally at the time, peaks through generations of paint and plaster. High ceilings expose a vein work of thick timber. A sturdy, old Upright Beckwith assumes a sentinel position between rooms – one features the bar and its ensuing noise, the other serves as more of a lounge for sitting in arm chairs and listening to local music.



And then there’s the bar itself. It’s short – seats six. Tall windows blast it with natural light from behind. It’s been well-shined by local elbows. But there’s a little more to the story. The bar top, once cast away under decades of dust in a backyard out building, is actually a single slab of rare American Chestnut. This nearly extinct piece of lumber, in a way, in this place, has entered metaphorical status. It was forgotten — deemed worthy enough to toss on a keep pile, but not quite useful or recognizable as one of the most sought-after pieces of lumber in the world.

Just like this beautiful building and this one-of-a-kind brewery, the relatively short bar at Hairy Guys Brewing speaks volumes about the good people behind it. They know. There’s value in all things – from the humble pint to the hand holding it tight to the grin that precedes a story, a complaint, a proclamation, a “let me tell you about my day.” Everybody deserves to be heard, to be seen, to be served a cold one when they need it most.

That’s the vibe they’re working with here.


The Beer



Small bar, long list of beers… looks like we’re makin’ friends, boys.

A simple approach – 12 beers on tap. Light to dark. All the usual suspects are covered. We tried to cover it all. Short pours and scientific sampling were in full effect.

We started where most should — with the classics.  The first offering — Premium Light, their easy, 3.8% lager hit like one of those big, mega brewery beers (but better…way better). A soft bready sweetness poured into a light hoppy finish. Next, one of our favorites of the day – the Pretzel Keller Pilsner. This 5.3%, crispy opened with clean malt sweetness and morphed into a fresh grassy/hoppy mixture of ever-slight funk.



And onto the ales. First on this list, the Hefe. An easy drinking 5%-er with soft notes of clove and banana bread. Next, the lighter Hazy Pale Ale JTPA at 4% opened a whole new world of all-day drinkability. Too bad for Hairy Guys – if they canned this one, I’d have walked out with at least 2 cases. It opened with a lightly dank nose and then cruised gently into fruity territory. Don’t miss this one!

Two similar IPAs made it into the mix. The Old Skook IPA at 7.1% ticked that West Coast number for ya’. It was delicately balanced between ultra-hoppy and smooth. It opened with that familiar bitterness and rounded out with a floral and slightly fruity finish. The Hazy IPA was your standard New England. And if anything can be said about hazies these days its more about achieving the standard than exploring new territory. And this one, at 7.3%, finds its place right there in the middle. It was smooth and a bit creamy with touches both grapefruit and pineapple.



And now, the dark side. We only made it as far as the WeisPorter – their signature, tongue-in-cheek tribute to a nearby town. While initially intended as part of a gag, this beautifully dark and creamy ale hits all the requisite notes – chocolate, coffee, a nutty, roasted finish. It may be an inadvertent flex, but it works especially at a cruise-able 5%.



We rolled into Hairy Guys Brewing on a bright, sunny Monday in May with just a few, simple asks — Please be cool. Please have a unique story. Please have good beer. Not that we’re ever surprised by these things in the NEPA craft beer scene, but these boys delivered. They welcomed our little crew with open arms, shared their awesome stories, their tasty beer, and maybe a tear or two over mutually-stunted high school wrestling careers.

Regardless, there’s a new attraction in Jim Thorpe. It’s on the east side of the Lehigh. It’s called Hairy Guys Brewing, and if you haven’t been, you need to get there.


Must Try:

WeisPorter – Porter – A perfect balance of mild maltiness, roasted coffee and slight chocolatey sweetness – 5% ABV.

Hazy Pale Ale JTPA – New England IPA – Opens with a little punch of hops and eases into light stone fruit and tropical notes – 4% ABV.

Pretzel Keller Pilsner – Pilsner – Crispy and malty with a light touch of sweetness and a bit of a slightly grassy, hoppy finish – 5.3% ABV.

Spotlight On
Hairy Guys Brewing
Hairy Guys Brewing Image
Tara Kavanaugh