By Vanessa Orr
Everyone loves a wine trail – except perhaps those who prefer to sip craft beer or sample distilled spirits. Others may want to partake in all of the above.
For those who have open minds as well as adventurous palates, York County, PA has introduced a concept that may be the best of all possible worlds: the Good Libations Trails.
If you’re looking for variety, York has it all: the Mason-Dixon Wine Trail, which features 15 family-owned wineries in central Pennsylvania and northern Maryland; the Susquehanna Ale Trail, which highlights 13 breweries in and around York; and the brand new Keystone Craft Spirits Trail, which provides access to York County’s first distillery since Prohibition as well as 12 other spirit-makers.
There’s no end to the different drink selections you can try. At Old Republic Distillery in North York, for example, you can sample six of the eight types of spirits they make, which include two vodkas, two rums and four fruit liqueurs. The Apple Pie Moonshine, made from apples from local Brown’s Orchards, is the number one seller at this brother/sister-owned distillery. You might also fall head over heels for Love Potion rum, with a label that features the sweet story of the owners’ grandparents who were married for 44 years.
York’s drink purveyors are smart to take advantage of local agriculture, and nowhere is this skill more on display than at Logan’s View Winery, which is located within Brown’s Orchards & Farm Market in Loganville. The farm, which was started in 1948, provides the fruit that gets transformed into award-winning products, including a rich, dark bing cherry wine that won a gold medal at the 2016 PA Farm Show. In fact, if you want, you can sample nothing but award-winning wines during your visit; at last count, there were 17 bronze, silver and gold medal winners on the tasting menu.
If you’re looking for truly original flavors, stop into Center Square Brewing in The Altland House in Abbottstown, where Sarah Kovach, the only female brewer in Adams County, creates unique concoctions from her own recipes. One of her specialties, a sunflower wheat beer using more than 50 pounds of seeds, fast became a local favorite. Guests at this more than 100-year-old establishment have included the late President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Billy Joel. People come from miles around to partake of its renowned chicken and waffles, as well as to hang out in the oldest continually running tavern in America in the same location. The Altland House even stayed open during Prohibition.
Aldus Brewing Co., located in Hanover, has established a passionate loyal following since opening in 2014. The brewery and brewpub features a number of flagship beers as well as seasonal offerings; owner Jason Mininger says that were they to stop brewing their Scottish Wee-Heavy, they would have a mutiny on their hands. Named after Aldus Manutius, the creator of italic type who made inexpensive books available to the masses, the brewery’s goal is to make craft beer accessible to everyone. The brewpub’s menu, while small, promotes local products, including pizza dough, sauce, cheese, olive oil, hot dogs, chips and pretzels.
If you’re looking for upscale comfort food paired with a glass of hard cider or craft beer, Wyndridge Farm in Dallastown offers some impressive options. As York County’s first and largest hard cider company, Wyndridge takes advantage of the local apple crop to create a truly unique Crafty Cider line that includes champagne-style hard ciders in cranberry, apricot and pear flavors as well as non-bottled seasonal ciders. Wyndridge also produces American farm-brewed beer, which includes flagship and seasonal offerings created on-site. And don’t forget to try the baked short rib triple mac and cheese.
One other note: if all of this alcohol sampling builds up an appetite, you’re in the perfect place to find some munchies. York County is the Factory Tour Capital of the World. Just a few of the snack stops you can make include Martin’s Potato Chips, Revonah Pretzel, Snyder’s of Hanover, Utz Quality Foods and York City Pretzel Company.
To learn more, visit www.yorkpa.org.
Old Republic Distillery: www.drinkord.com
Logan’s View Winery: www.logansviewwinery.com
Center Square Brewing in The Altland House: altlandhouse.com/center-square-brewing
Aldus Brewing Co.: www.AldusBrewing.com
Wyndridge Farm: www.wyndridge.com