CHESTER — Threatening skies that ultimately postponed the Philadelphia Union’s home match Saturday night didn’t slow down the Larimer Beer Company from greeting fans entering the stadium area.
The brewery, located in the first block of Engle Street, was unable to hit its goal of a July 6 opening and instead opted for greeting fans with a merchandise table and canned beer samples in front of its building. The opening is now scheduled for July 19, according to founder and brewer Matt Lindenmuth.
“Because of the holiday weekend with the Fourth of July, everything got shifted back,” said Lindenmuth. “We should have our final (inspections) just before the weekend of July 19. We’re on track to nail those dates.”
The Larimer plans on a “casual” opening on Friday, July 19, ahead of a Union home game the following day. “Who knows what (the home game) means – we know only as much as we witness from tailgating,” said Lindenmuth. “It could be chaos; we’re going to be ready to manage it with our crew… hopefully we can get into our normal routine after that.”
Lindenmuth said the brewery team will be working with parking attendants to not impede off-site stadium parking in the area. The brewery will have an estimated 20 dedicated parking spots on a first-come, first-served basis, with handicap spaces directly in front of the building.
“It’s going to be a little bit of learning curve,”Lindenmuth said. “We made good friends with our neighbors; we’re figuring it out.”
With production currently in Colorado and Philadelphia, the Engle Street site will be a pilot brewhouse producing small batches of test beers. Lindemuth told the Times in May that “the ultimate goal (in Chester) would be to consolidate those outpost production locations and eventually do production here.”
The Larimer has planned out its first 14 beers for the Chester site, including a Mexicana baja-style lager, “a couple of new fruit sour beers, a few different IPAs varying in style, a coffee stout,” according to Lindemuth. The brewery will have a Frose machine to make frozen drinks with some of the fruit beers on tap. “We’ll have guest taps, and wine and cider on draft; we’re kind of covering the bases on something for everybody,” he said. “We’re going to have a couple cocktails… we want to feature our beers and what we do, but we understand that there are people who maybe don’t drink beer or can’t drink beer.”
The Larimer bears the name of William Larimer, a Western Pennsylvania native and state militia general who headed west in the mid-19th century and founded Denver, Col. Lindenmuth, a Berks County native and current Philadelphia resident, saw a historical precedent in Larimer to his own life; founding The Larimer in Denver two years ago during a relocation period. Lindenmuth and business partner Darin Urbaczewski, self-described soccer fans and Philadelphia Union supporters, saw the Engle Street property was available and chose to base the new brewhouse immediately outside of Talen Energy Stadium.
The brewery is also located two blocks from the Second and Palmer streets site of the former Chester Brewery that shuttered its doors in the 1950s. “There’s not a lot of info out there (on Chester Brewery),” Lindemuth said. “I’ve got some beer history nerd friends out there; I’ve got to tap into them and see what they know.” Beyond information on Chester Brewery history, Lindemuth eventually hopes to locate harder information such as recipe notes.
“If anything we can definitely do something inspired by their ‘Beer That Makes Friends’ slogans,” he said.