At 7:10pm on September 11, 1993, Chuck McKenna pitched yeast on his first batch of beer. After homebrewing for 24 years and toying with the idea of opening his own brewery for the last six, he was given the choice to either open up a brewery or stop the discussion. He decided to pursue his dream rather than to give up and Chuck and his wife Sue signed their lease in January 2017 and opened Aston Abbey Brewing Company October 21st, 2017.
Located at 340 Turner Industrial Way in Aston, PA, Aston Abbey prides itself on being a Belgian-focused brewery that celebrates old world styles. With their mission of being “Unfiltered. Unpasteurized. Unrepentant.”, they embrace their differences from other breweries, meanwhile being unapologetic about never brewing an American IPA as they feel that you can go anywhere in the country and find an American IPA on tap and want to simply just offer the Pennsylvania beer scene something different.
With their vow to never brew an American IPA, you may be wondering just what exactly they are brewing. Their tap list features their Belgian “Psalms” as their flagship offerings. At any given time, you can get a taste of the traditional Belgian styles through the lens of their Wooder Works Wit, Blondenosis Blonde, Toil and Trubbel Belgian Dubbel, Abbey Tripel and Bombs Quad. While Chuck has a passion for these beers, the brewery also features their “Hymns,” or seasonal beers that have included an English IPA, Irish Stout, and their Russian Monk, a collaboration with their neighbors, 2SP Brewing Company. Through their celebration of traditional styles, Aston seeks to be the gathering place of a community, centered around the styles of beers that inspired the craft beer renaissance.
Along with their desire to be a gathering place for craft beer drinkers, they wish to remain as a fixture in their community. As parents themselves, Chuck and Sue created their taproom on the basis of being family-friendly, providing delicious beers for parents and a plethora of board games for kids and adults alike to step away from their electronics and spend quality time together. Co-owner Sue also wishes to keep the taproom as a female-friendly environment after not having that opportunity herself where a woman can come in alone, have a couple drinks and not feel threatened or uncomfortable. Creating this type of safe space is integral to their mission.
Over the next year, Aston Abbey plans first to give back to their community. On December 22nd, 2017, they released an Irish Red, which they will donate $1 of each pour to the Aston Township Fire Department through the winter. In the spring, they will do the same with the Aston Township Police Department with a beer yet to be determined. As for brewery plans, Aston Abbey plans to release bottles of their Quad and Barleywine in the fall and begin barrel aging beers, with a Brett Saison as their first planned batch.
Stay tuned for updates from Aston Abbey as they continue to grow over this next year. Be sure to stop by their brewery in Aston Township and check in on their neighbors 2SP Brewing Company, who are just minutes away. Hope to see you there!