Zymurgy Fermentation

New Brewery Honors History Of Brandywine Valley

Article by Julie Brown Patton

Photography by Courtesy of The Artillery Brewing Company

Originally published in West Chester Lifestyle

Some people joined a Revolution on April 9.

...That's the day a new type of local microbrewery reopened. 

Paul Zippel and Mike Loveless began home brewing together in 2013, but their passion for zymurgy -- the science of fermentation -- began long before. Mike became enamored with brewing science in the 1990s while living in Germany. Paul came from three generations of winemakers in America. Mike has always been a fan of the cannon as a symbol, since it was a logo on the soccer gear he used to wear. 

When choosing a brand for the home brew Paul and Mike established in 2015, they recall believing it, of course, had to feature a cannon. Tying into the rich American Revolutionary War history of the Brandywine Valley, and the nearby historic Brandywine battlefield with its many full-size replica cannons dotting the landscape, the branding crystallized in their minds: The Artillery Brewing Company.

In 2019, these entrepreneurs began small-scale brewing and opened new taps on a 310-year-old, Revolutionary-era farm in the Brandywine Valley. Mike says little did they know the grand opening of their small, organic nanobrewery had gone viral on social media. Approximately 1,200 beer enthusiasts arrived and drank the entire Artillery inventory in a half day. Within a few more months, it happened again.

Mike says they then realized they needed to move to bigger pastures in the borough. "I enlisted friends, Greg Lingo and Steve Troncelliti, to help fund and facilitate repositioning Artillery into the Granite Alley location during February 2020," he adds. "Beginning in March, the COVID-19 pandemic introduced great uncertainty, and construction of the brewery was delayed for nearly a year. Greg offered services from his construction company, Rockwell Custom."

Paul says additional private investors contributed vital funds to the company until it opened in its current West Chester location on April 9, 2021.

During January, head brewer/co-owner Sean Naughton joined the team to brew craft batches to support the spring launch -- enlisting skills from his brewing science certificate and mechanical engineering degree to help with construction. 

"Diverse and drinkable" is how Sean describes Artillery's beer lineup. "When someone comes to the taproom, I want them to find something they can enjoy unashamedly. This means brewing many different styles. We have 12 taps behind the bar to offer 12 unique drinking experiences for patrons," he says.

"The greatest measure of a beer is to enjoy the full pint and order another; it's the standard I hold Artillery beers to. If I can't enjoy a full glass, the beer doesn't get served."

Sean adds he tries to brew beers that are flavorful, but not overbearing. "I strive for subtle flavors that drinkers can discover over the course of the pint. I try not to let any one ingredient dominate the recipe so the more nuanced flavors can find a way through." He confirms he gets frequent questions about specific ingredients he uses, "which tells me our customers care about the product and want to learn about the approach that makes Artillery unique."

The first home-brewed beer under the label was The Cannonball, a Belgian-style golden strong ale. "We still have our original 2019 1-barrel system for limited-release batches, but the brewery is scaled up to match demand with a 10-barrel brewing system and 20-barrel fermentation vessels," says Paul.

Sean reveals to look for richer, darker beers this fall to match cooler nights. "One beer I'm excited to brew is The Campfire. I still need to finalize the recipe, but the name says it all -- a stout brewed with a touch of smoked malt, marshmallow and dark chocolate. I also have brews for an Oktoberfest lager, fresh hopped amber ale, and some lighter English style ales to pair with watching football on Sunday afternoons."

Beer Names Just Fun To Even Say

Ordering a cold one at The Artillery is a feel-good exercise, considering their thematic names:

  • The Six-Pounder – Belgian IPA 
  • The Cannonball – Belgian Golden Strong 
  • The Musket – Belgian Saison 
  • The Brown Bess – English Brown Ale 
  • The First Inspection – Coffee Vanilla Brown Ale 
  • The Black Powder – Black IPA 
  • The Patriot – Mid-Atlantic IPA 
  • The Rebellion – Raspberry Berliner Weisse 
  • The Soldier's Ration – Dry-hopped Belgian Saison
  • The Last Call – German Helles Lager 
  • The Fog of War – Hazy IPA 
  • The Mercenary – Dry Hopped Blonde
  • The Volley – Bohemian Czech Pilsner 
  • The Howitzer – Imperial Saison 
  • Agent X 001 – Rye IPA 
  • Agent X 002 – Tart-Hazy IPA 

In addition to beer, they serve Grand Dad's Old Fashioned, and cocktails with vodka, gin and rum. They offer the Penn's Woods line of wines, as well as periodically The Scout, a hand-crafted Sarsaparilla soda.

Don't Forget The Food

The new brewhouse and taproom also features a two-story revolutionary mess tent kitchen facade, rustic live-edge wood bar and grand brick backdrop to create a warm, colonial atmosphere for satisfying hunger cravings.

Appetizers include the company's own brew via Chorizo beer cheese/chips, pulled pork nachos, a hummus platter, stuffed jalapenos and house-made pimento cheese spread with soft pretzel pieces.

Paul actually created the in-house sourdough culture that's yielded generations of sought-after, Artillery sourdough pizzas, which are cooked in a wood-fired pizza oven. Pizza choices range from Margherita, bacon/onion and pepperoni to mushroom or Mediterranean. There's also the pulled pork sandwich on a pretzel roll, done the Memphis Style with spicy pickles and slaw on top.

"We also sell red, white and brew merchandise, such as shirts, hoodies and sweatshirts," says Mike.

He says they plan to host in September a 5K Run/1-mile Walk event called The Cannonball Run, which will donate a portion of the overall proceeds to the Wounded Warrior Project. They also contribute to Revolutionary War battlefields, historic museums or area historical societies from their ‘Battlefield Series’ of beers. "We hope to develop and name new beers after other Revolutionary War historical events that occurred throughout our local region," Mike adds.

The Barracks in West Chester, 333 Granite Alley

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