It's official. Carbon County has it's own local brew.
Red Castle Restaurant owner Frank Potoczak and Red Castle Brewery brewmaster Anthony Serafino introduced three new brews at a networking mixer to members of the Carbon Chamber and Economic Development Foundation that brought out the best in both venues.
On tap were White Knight, a light colored beer with hints of wheat, mango and lime; Queen's Guard, an American pale ale; and Scarlet Throne, an amber beer.
Serafino was on hand to answer questions about his home brewing experiences and Potoczak made food on his new Pellet BBQ Smoker. The evening was a huge hit with chamber members.
Serafino has created 30 different recipes for beer. Presently his brews are on tap at the Castle Grill, Lehighton; Blue Ridge Country Club, Blue Mountain Ski Area and Fireline Hotel, all in Palmerton; Sunny Rest Resort and Riverwalck Saloon, Parryville; Boat Yard Bar and Restaurant, Franklin Township; and Mahoning Valley Country Club. It is soon to be tapped at the Broadway Grill in Jim Thorpe.
"Tourists want local flavor when they visit an area and what better way to give them local flavor that having its own brew," said Potoczak. Potoczak said that the visitors to his restaurant are thrilled to be able to purchase a burger and a specialty beer.
In order to serve beer, Potoczak had to make some concessions at his restaurant. You can no longer purchase kielbasa and other food items in bulk, but he has plans to open a new deli across the river which will accommodate those requests for pierogies and other Polish foods.
"It's actually going to be a co-op of four businesses," said Potoczak. One of the businesses planning to join in is a business which makes dog treats.
As for the brewmaster, Serafino was a chemist at DuPont for 30 years and had owned a restaurant in the Florida Keys. He started home brewing and developing his own recipes and when he met up with Frank. The two talked beer, food and business and the next thing Serafino was brewing beer by the gallons.
"I found the secret to a good crowd," joked Potoczak. "It's called free alcohol."
Everyone had the opportunity to taste all three flavors on tap.
Serafino started his journey into beer making in Lehighton four years ago when he relocated to the area and since starting to brew beer by the gallons, he is delighted to stay.
Presently he has had 10 of his recipes on tap for local beer tasters and they have all met with approval.
"People who say they don't like beer have always tasted bad beer," said Potoczak. "This beer is refreshing."
Potoczak also hosted tours of the beer brewing area. He explained the process of brewing the beer, fermentation process and cooling it before it is put into barrels.
"Presently we have no problem keeping everyone supplied," said Potoczak. "We make 125 gallons a day in each batch and we can easily increase our production to two batches a day or to make 250 gallons a day. Any more than that and we'll have to increase our production at a new location."
Serafino began serving his beer last fall and recently received his brew pub license.
"We're already sourcing hops for three years into the future," said Potoczak. "Right now, Tony makes the beer and I sell it and Tony and I couldn't be any happier."