Jason Harris brews classic American pale ales right alongside his own patented version of watermelon beer, illustrating his passion for both traditional techniques and forward-thinking beer recipes. The company he started in 1992, Keystone Homebrew Supply, now employs a staff of similarly dedicated crafters who are wise in the ways and means of making your own beer, wine, cheese, mead, honey, and flavored play-doh. In addition to stocking all the required equipment and ingredients, Keystone's 23,000-square-foot location in Montgomeryville also hosts classes that inspire amateurs to cook up their own tipples and cheeses.
The professional, knowledgeable staff at Vintner’s Circle share their love of the wine lifestyle with hands-on wine classes that teach guests, family, and friends how to bottle wines, distinguish between different varietals, or pair wine with cheese. The shop’s unique, all-inclusive winemaking program takes aspiring vintners through the accessible four-part process in store over the course of eight weeks, which begins with choosing wine juices from a selection of more than 50 internationally sourced varieties. Participants eventually bring home more than two dozen bottles with their own vintage for a total cost of less than $10 per bottle. They can emblazon these bottles with custom-designed labels and colorful tops. Vintner's Circle also stocks a variety of gifts for weddings, holidays, and other special occasions, as well as wine accessories and gifts for wine lovers to enjoy year-round. Wine-education classes, corporate events, and team-building events are also on offer.
Chris, Cardinal Hollow Winery's owner and winemaker, ferments more than 2,000 gallons of juice each year to fill the facility's wood-paneled, cabin-like interior and its tasting room with more than 25 innovative varieties of the potent potable. Both independently and as part of the grape-cobbled highway of the Montgomery County Wine Trail, Cardinal Hollow invites visitors to wet their whistles at tastings and nourish brain orchards in classes. A two-hour lesson includes a full tour of the facilities such as the tasting room, which can be rented for parties of up to 100 people. Along with a tasting, guests will be given an overview of the history and the process of winemaking. During the class, oenophiles sink incisors into salty cheese and crackers while absorbing lessons on wine-and-food pairings at a bar that's supported by sturdy wine barrels. Guests can also peruse Cardinal Hollow wearables at the winery’s retail shop or groove to the live music that permeates the air about once a month.
At Round Guys Brewery and Bistro, most everything is local, including the handcrafted beers, the mead selection, and many ingredients on the panini sandwiches. However, perhaps the most local product of the pub is its jazz—sets are produced on the fly and on the premises every Wednesday night. The only requirement for joining the band is that you supply your own instrument, unless you play the drums (they have a set) or prefer to use bottle caps as tiny cymbals.
Thursday-night trivia and scheduled music acts round out the events calendar at the family-friendly brewery. Even if there's nothing planned for the night, guests still occupy themselves with a menu of pub fare and beer specials. Staff favorites such as the Kiss Off IPA pair well with buffalo chicken and cheddar-bacon-jalapeño sandwiches, and seasonal brews rotate on and off the draft list. These beers also serve as an essential cooking ingredient for the house bratwurst, which is served with onions on a roll.
Every year, as the snow starts falling, the town of Jim Thorpe dusts off a charming sense of nostalgia and channels the holiday spirit for their Olde Time Christmas celebration. A parade at the end of November heralds the tree lighting, which in turn kicks off weekends of lights, stage plays, and Victorian touches that evoke A Christmas Carol without all of the blood-thirsty aliens Dickens was so fond of. Historic mansions combine with small-town elegance to create an ideal tableau for the festival, which hosts events that include a gingerbread house contest, historic ghost walks, and a live nativity. Kids hop on a train with Santa while others settle in for a ride in a horse-drawn carriage, sending the staccato of clipping and clopping through the streets. Dulcet notes from a choir glide through the air at local churches while patrons walk to and fro amongst local businesses and a stand of handmade wreaths.
When Food Network staple Robert Irvine and his Restaurant Impossible crew arrived at Mamma D's, they were overwhelmed. Ambitious owner Luigi Desiato operated an eatery that was equal parts restaurant, vineyard, and petting zoo, a combination that clouded his sizable culinary prowess and led to an overabundance of greased pig races. But Chef Irvine's visit enabled the charismatic Luigi to pinpoint his vision, and Mamma D's has since transformed into a hub for high-end cuisine and fresh-off-the-vine wines. Vinos, such as a dolce vita sweet red and chardonnay pinot, gush from taps beside craft beers at the full-service bar that, along with the outdoor patio, overlooks the idyllic 2-acre vineyard. Sips on these homegrown varietals complement the menu of small plates, chops, and seafood, which, according to the Montgomery News, encompasses a "combination of recipes from Bologna and Abruzzo, where both sides of Chef Louie’s family grew up."
The host of his own Sayre Woods Media series, Wine'm and Dine'm with Chef Louie Desiato, Luigi also presides over daily classes where he shares his bottomless knowledge of cultivating grapes and pairing wines while serving up artisanal cheese and surprises from the kitchen, which is manned by his talented son, Nick Desiato.