NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP >> Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant celebrated the opening of its Newtown location on June 17 with its first pour, a tradition dating back to the opening of its first location in 1996 in Newark, Delaware.
The founders of the Delaware-based company - Kevin Finn, Mark Edelstein and Kevin Davis along with CEO Kim Boerema - joined the management and staff of the Newtown location and invited dignitaries in raising a toast to Newtown’s newest eatery and brewpub at the Village at Newtown on South Eagle Road.
“It’s exciting to be part of Newtown. We’ve been looking in this area for a long time. We feel this is a great market for us and a great place to be,” said Finn, who built a passion for brewing into a hugely successful brewery and restaurant chain.
Originally scheduled to open in late April, the pandemic forced Iron Hill to hold off its opening until now. Currently, it’s only offering reserved outdoor dining and curbside pickup. It hopes to open at least a portion of its indoor space when the county enters the green phase of the Governor’s reopening plan on June 26.
The new brewery and restaurant can seat up to 350 people, including 70 seats in its outside patio area. Iron Hill Newtown is the group’s 17th location and its 11th in Pennsylvania.
Since its founding in 1996 in Newark, Delaware, Iron Hill has blossomed from one restaurant and brewery to 17 locations up and down the East Coast, including Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and South Carolina.
Each brewery and restaurant has its own scratch kitchen and craft brewery, allowing individual chefs and brewers the creativity to pair the freshest ingredients with the highest quality grains and hops.
Due to the pandemic, Iron Hill has pared down its new American cuisine offerings to a 28 item menu. “We still offer items from all categories - appetizers, salads, entrees, burgers. We have something for everyone and we are looking to expand our menu to a larger one in the next three to four weeks,” said Regional manager Warren Sewell.
Iron Hill Newtown opens with 11 beers on tap, including six signature beers and a selection of seasonal offerings. The beer menu includes the brand new Philly Special, a Philadelphia IPA brewed with flaked oats and wheat, and two farmhouse ales, the Farmhouse and the Brambleberry.
“We’ve tried to make sure that there’s something for everyone’s pallet,” said Sewell. “IPAs are very popular, but we also have four well rounded beers for the novice beer drinker. We like to call them our gateway beers.”
For 22 years, Iron Hill has incorporated beer in everything they do. As a result, Finn, Edelson and Davies are viewed as innovative business leaders in their home state of Delaware and in the Mid-Atlantic region.
They started Iron Hill at a time when small breweries were just beginning to gain mass appeal around the country and their entrepreneurial, forward thinking helped build them into what they are to date. Each individual location has its own head brewer.
At Newtown, the head brewer is Pete Corbett, a Council Rock graduate and Holland native. He’s been working for Iron Hill for the past six years at North Wales, first as a server, then as an assistant brewer, lead brewer and then head brewer. Before that he worked as a bartender at the Philadelphia International Airport for 12 years.
“After all that time it’s great being home. This is my neighborhood. I grew up here,” said Corbett. “I can’t tell you how good it feels. It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be a little bit of a high school reunion,” he predicted.
At Iron Hill, Corbett’s job is to brew the beer. He’s also responsible for planning the seasonal selections.
The brewery has been equipped with on site brewing equipment, which includes a mash tun, heating exchange, large brewing tanks, and a grain mill.
“This equipment will allow my team and I to to brew 50 or 60 seasonal beers throughout the year, including my favorite styles which are IPAs, Porters, Old Ale’s and German Lagers,” said Corbett.
All the beer, said Corbett, is brewed on premises. “We always have a signature list, available at all of our locations. We also have our seasonable brews, which are up to the head brewer to select. That kind of makes every Iron Hill unique,” he said. “All together it’s an awesome experience. The food and beer are all from scratch. We have an awesome product. We focus on quality.”
Each Iron Hill location dedicates itself to the freshest ingredients and friendly atmosphere for all age groups – helping change overall perceptions about brewpubs one meal, one pint and one community at a time.
In addition to its good brews and good food, Iron Hill will be bringing a new, exciting vibe to the shopping area with an outdoor dining patio adjacent to an outdoor public amphitheater where shoppers can relax and will eventually enjoy live music.
“A lot of places have outdoor seating and you have a nice view of the parking lot, a road or a brick wall. Here, you’re below the highway. You can’t hear the traffic. You have this nice amphitheater area. And you have a beautiful view of my office,” Corbett laughs, referring to the brewing equipment visible through a window at the far end of the patio.
“It’s really going to add a new vibe to the shopping center,” predicted Corbett. “This is going to be like the Times Square of Newtown.
“I can’t believe I’m working right now. I have a beer in my hand and I’m in a beautiful location,” he said with a smile. “This place is just mind blowing. And it’s very humbling being back home.”
Iron Hill is accepting reservations for outdoor dining and curbside pickup through its website - Ironhillbrewery.com.
When they arrive, outdoor diners can expect sanitized tables and chairs, social distancing and one use menus.
Drinks and food will be delivered to each table by servers wearing masks and practicing social distancing.
“When we go to the indoor dining, we have already made plans with our operations team to keep the same style of service that you’re seeing outside with social distancing,” said Sewell. “In some operations we have removed bar stools. Others we have removed tables altogether. Or we have marked them clearly that they are not to be used.
“We also have clear designations on each table whether a chair or table has been sanitized completely before a new guest can be seated,” he said. “We are following very strict processes to keep our employees and our guests safe.
"At Iron Hill, we are committed to our guests,” adds Sewell. “Rest assured, we are still your same Iron Hill. We have great food, great beer and awesome service. And with that in mind, we’re going to take that to the next level and ensure your safety. I know there are people who are a little hesitant, but they can be assured that we have always delivered in the past and we will continue to do so in the future.”
Newtown Business Association President Bill Sheffer, who attended the first pour, said Iron Hill is a great addition to the township. “It’s a beautiful building, a beautiful facility and layout. They’ve done a great job.”
Also on hand to welcome Iron Hill was Newtown Township Supervisor John Mack.
“This is a great space here. What I would love this to become is kind of like a town square. We don’t have anything like that,” said Mack. “I hope Brixmor (the owners of the shopping center) is amenable to that. And I think they are. They have talked about having events and bands playing here. They’re going to do a great business,” he predicted.