Brewery Review: Highway Manor Brewing Co.

Highway Manor Brewing Co. opened their doors (finally!) for in-house service Saturday, at 11AM (September 26th, 2020). You can read our preview article here: Brewery Opening – Highway Manor.

From Highway Manor Brewing Co’s Facebook page – a screenshot of our posting about their brewery opening

Saturday night after work got over (7PM) I got the pleasure to get to Highway Manor Brewing in Camp Hill. I left work at 7 and got there at about 7:25-7:30. There was still a decent crowd at the time when I got there (inside tables were full and the tables with the swing seats were full). I ordered the Mr. Blackberry and a Turkey Sandwich to start.

Mr. Blackberry by Highway Manor Brewing Co.

Beer: Mr. Blackberry
Brewery: Highway Manor Brewing Co.
Style: Sour – Other
ABV: 5.2%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: None

First time having this, I’ve had several other Highway Manor beers at various brewfests (Lititz Brewfest, Lancaster Brewfest, possibly Little Big Beer Fest or the Mount Hope RenFaire Brewfest), and this was just as good as all of those. This was super tart, delicious, fruity, with a great berry flavor.

On Untappd I gave it a ****.25
The global Untappd rating (as of 9.27.20) is: 3.73

Soon my food was arriving, and I had already drained my Blackberry sour, so I needed a new beer to help eat the food. (By the way, the entire food menu looked amazing, the turkey sandwich was phenomenal. Top of the line, high quality food, and very cheap, and with huge portions.)

Once my sandwich arrived I needed another beer, and decided to try some of their guest taps that they had running (they had five drafts; all guest taps). I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about Human Robot but haven’t had a chance yet to try anything from them, so I decided to try out their IPA – Dreams of Orgonon.

Dreams of Orgonon by Human Robot

Beer: Dreams of Orgonon
Brewery: Human Robot
Style: IPA – New England
ABV: 6.6%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: Deliciously dreamy juice bomb brewed with sweet golden promise malt and hopped intensely with Citra, Mosaic, and Idaho 7. Its like the sun coming out…

My Untappd Rating: ****.5
Global Untappd Rating: 4.15 (as of 9.28.20)

This was extremely tasty, juicy, dank, and delicious. Everything you want from a New England IPA, this had in spades, plus some. All around amazing beer and went fantastically with my sandwich. By this point I had moved to the center table and sat across from the one swing. I was informed by Johnny (Johnny Compton III – owner/brewer at Highway Manor Brewing) that a friend of his bought everyone a round. I was then joined by a couple – Lucas and Kaitlin who sat next to me.

They were both wearing ‘cat’ pants (pants with dozens of cat faces all over them), and quickly from talking to them I realized Lucas was Johnny’s friend. I thanked him for the beer, and for the rest of the night there, talked with them while we all drank, as well as talked with a few others who were there and one or two that came and went.

Compton Pilsner (a collaboration by Raney Cellar Brewery and Highway Manor Brewing)

Beer: Compton Pilsner
Brewery: Raney Cellars Brewing Company
Collaboration with: Highway Manor Brewing Co.
Style: Pilsner – Czech
ABV: 5.4%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: A traditional Pilsner with Mr Johnny Compton from Highway Manor Brewing. Saaz Hops from start to finish on this Pils.

As I’ve said in the blog here before when doing reviews, pilsners are a style that can be very hit or miss for me. This was a complete hit for me. Blew me away how wonderful the flavor was, how crisp it was, no lingering aftertastes (which I sometimes get from pilsners and why they are often a miss for me). This is just a fantastically brewed beer.

My Untappd Rating: ****
Global Untappd Rating: 3.88 (as of 9.28.20)

Throughout the night I had been texting with the group text of guys from my work, a group of us that regularly meet to play the Game of Thrones board game (and other games) and just group text each other about all kinds of things, from beer to philosophy, to politics, to work, to movies, shows, nerd culture, etc. My one friend and co-worker in the group text decided he would spend the night throwing out some new “blog names” for me instead of using The Beer Thrillers. At this point, I’d like to take a divergence from the brewery review and highlight the best that D. Pezzuti had to offer:

  • Benjamin Buzzin
  • Get Ben’t
  • Bend Over Bens Benders
  • The Curious Cases of Benjamin Buzzin

We then discussed doing a segment of beer reviews of Nitro stouts and rate them in the style of WCW Nitro Years. With five star Nitro stouts being WCW Nitro ’97 and one star Nitro stouts being WCW Nitro ’01. We also discussed calling the faithful to the blog “Hopamaniacs”.

Anyway…. back to the program…

Time for another beer, this time I went for another guest draft – this time from Naked Brewing; Thank Frank.

Thank Frank by Naked Brewing Company

Beer: Thank Frank
Brewery: Naked Brewing Company
Style: IPA – American
ABV: 5.6%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: West Coast IPA hopped with Citra & Amarillo.
Refreshing and perfect for those warm September days. Notes of dank citrus & delicious sticky resin.

A traditional hoppy IPA, this was a change of pace from the crisp pilsner, the juicy New England IPA, and the super tart and delicious sour Mr. Blackberry. This was a good, hoppy, bitter, earthy IPA, old west coast style old-school vibe to it.

My Untappd Rating: ****
Global Untappd Rating: 3.75 (as of 9.28.20)

It was starting to get late, I had thought about meeting two friends (D. Arndt and Youngblood) at Ever Grain before Ever Grain closed (at 11 – just like Highway Manor) since they were doing their Anniversary weekend, but Youngblood’s comedy (stand up comedy) bit went on longer and they wouldn’t be leaving their show til just before 11 anyway. So I stayed til closing getting to talk to Lucas and Kaitlin and others.

At this point, we also got introduced to Johnnie’s dog – a great dane and black lab mix – named Luna. Absolutely beautiful and wonderful dog. Fun and playful and nice drinking companion (no, I didn’t give the dog any beer).

So for my final beer of the night, I tried another brewery I never had before but have heard nothing but great things about – Brewery ARS.

Unfortunately for this, I do not have a pic, as just as I was ordering, my phone died and I did not have a charger on me. (9 hour day at work, plus driving using my GPS, plus texting, plus Untappd, and other apps, for notes, etc., really drained the battery).

Beer: Embrace the Day
Brewery: Brewery ARS
Style: IPA – Imperial / Double New England
ABV: 8.7%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: Hazy Double IPA :: mosaic, simcoe, falconer’s flight, el dorado

Another juicy, bright, delicious New England style IPA; this time a DIPA. A great beer to end the night on. This was super easy to drink, juicy, and went down fast (also perhaps because it was the end of the night and my fifth drink, but who knows).

My Untappd Rating: ****
Global Untappd Rating: 4.09 (as of 9.28.20)

Before leaving, I said my goodbyes to everyone, and got to talk to Johnnie Compton a bit more. He is a great dude, knows his saisons, knows his yeast, knows his beer, and very down to Earth. Thanked me for coming out, and sent me on my way with a few (free) bottles of Mr. Peach and Mr. Plum. Which I will be diving into on the next stream with D. Scott for The Knights of Nostalgia.

I will discuss the aesthetics of the brewery now. The building is small, but well laid out (even with the current COVID restrictions), it has two rooms for dining tables, and then an open patio like area. Kind of reminds you of a house in the suburbs with the patio garage area.

The swings are really neat. I am wondering if they may become a problem with an ‘intoxicated’ person, but at a brewery, I highly doubt this will come up, but you never know. The tables and seating area though is gorgeous, both indoor and outdoor. Indoors, it has a rave like vibe with the glowing lights and the glow in the dark paint. (Make sure to check out the bathroom to really see what I mean.)

Lucas summed it up when we were discussing the brewery and the area, that its a “Philly bar in Camp Hill, turned saison bottle brewery.” And thats probably the most apt way to describe it. Johnnie and I were discussing how it was like opening during COVID and everything, and he was saying how nuts he was for opening a brewery primarily based on bottles rather than draft, and to do it during a global pandemic on top of everything.

The food menu on Saturday night looked fantastic. Lamb, turkey, vegetarian or vegan sandwich, and many other options, all for 8$ or less. Not sure if that menu is permanent or if it will be changed or updated or switched, but Johnnie did say he’s hoping to have food trucks in their parking lot area and grass field area across from the brewery on weekends.

The following pictures I took Saturday night while I was there:

The following pictures are courtesy of Highway Manor’s Facebook page:

This will certainly be a stop I will make regularly when on the West Shore, and will be perfect when hitting the area to do a brewery lap. Other great local breweries include Ever Grain, Mellow Mink, Hemaur Brewing, and Pizza Boy (as well as Liquid Noise which is a bit further, but still in the general area). So lots of great options all in the area.

I personally highly recommend checking the brewery out, and trying their wonderful tremendous beers. Especially if you like farmhouse ales, saisons, tart beers, sours, lambics, or all things similar. They also will have a rotating guest draft list that looks great for the area (Johnnie said he would like to keep it relatively full of Philly area beers), so that looks great – getting to try Philly beers and Philly breweries without the 2 hour drive to Philly. The brewery has a super cool vibe. There was a food menu for kids though it might not be 100% the most kid friendly; its certainly not anti-kid, but the venue vibe seems to be aimed away from parents. It is also dog friendly.

Highway Manor Brewing Co.

Be sure to check out some of our other brewery opening articles:

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Thanks for reading everyone and hopefully someday I’ll see you at Highway Manor and have a beer together. Until then, virtually, cheers!

-B. Kline

(Post Script: This was meant to go up Sunday night, but everything kinda got pushed back and thus why its gone up this morning, Monday, September 28th. My parents celebrated their 40th Anniversary on Sunday the 27th, and originally – pre-COVID – we were all going to go to the Bengals vs. Eagles game at the Lincoln Center in Philly; since they are big Eagles fans and I’m a Bengals fan, but unfortunately that didn’t get to work out. Instead, we got to watch the overtime – because the game in regulation time was not aired locally – and we got to see possibly the most apathetic overtime ever played. Six punts by the two teams combined in the 10 minute overtime. Neither team trying on their last plays to score. And on top of all this, the Phillies still had a chance to make the playoffs, and all they had to do was win, against a team that was locked in at their seed, and that they had just lost to twice, ….and of course they couldn’t do it. So despite it being an 8-team playoff for each conference, the Phillies *STILL* couldn’t manage to get in. So disappointing. But needless to say despite all this, the article is now up, just a bit later. Enjoy!)

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