When you visit Gettysburg & Adams County, PA, do you think about its craft beer, cider, wine, and spirits? Maybe it’s time you did. A newly-created Adams County Pour Tour offers the best and brightest in all four liquor styles and it’s definitely worthy of a trip. From breweries to distilleries, and a little bit of everything in between, here are seven must-visit stops on the Adams County Pour Tour.
Sure, I used to think about Gettysburg, PA, as a place to get my Civil War history on. But a recent visit to Gettysburg and Adams County has changed both my and Mr. Locke’s minds. Both the county and the city have jumped on the liquor trail – and that’s great news for craft liquor fans. Happily, this time I didn’t have to be designated driver (thanks, Destination Gettysburg!).
Over the course of two days, we visited seven of its 17 stamp locations and found several new spots to dig. Here are the highlights, the fun, and the perks of checking out the Pour Tour.
What’s the Adams County Pour Tour?
In a nutshell, it’s a self-guided tour of Adams County, PA’s, craft breweries, distilleries, cideries, and wineries. You can grab a Trail map and Passport at your first stop (or request one online). There are 17 stops on the Trail with a potential for 20 stamps. Pour Tour swag is given out at the 5, 12, and 20 stamp marks and range from coasters to beverage glasses.
If you’re in town, you can also stop at the Destination Gettysburg office at 571 West Middle Street and grab a map and passport as well. The office is open Monday-Friday.
You can pick and choose which stops to visit based on your preference, too. And while I don’t need to remind all the responsible drinkers out there, bring a designated driver with you. You know the drill.
With well over 40 years of wine making under its belt, Adams County Winery is a destination winery in my eyes. Not only does it offer wines from dry to sweet, it has a beautiful outdoor dining area and amazing wood-fired pizza.
The fifth oldest operating winery in Pennsylvania, the current owners are celebrating their 20th anniversary as the onsite wine makers. And they’ve done very well for themselves, too. Winery standouts include red and white wines and wine slushies.
Tears of Gettysburg: Its flagship white wine since 1988. A sweet blend of Seyval, Vidal, and Niagara grapes, it’s pear and honeysuckle notes compliment beautifully. Did I mention it’s won 29 awards? Yeah, that, too.
Rebel Red: Semi-Sweet and fruity, it’s a 24-time award winner. One of the winery’s most popular reds, it goes will with just about any food you can pair with it.
Location: 251 Peach Tree Road, Orrtanna, PA
The drive to Boyer Cellars is a beautiful one and its history just as lovely. While it’s only been making wine for a few years, its partnership with Great Shoals Winery has given folks a reason to stop for its wines and hard ciders.
A quick history on the property: The orchards have existed since about 1880. In 1900, William Boyer started the farm, producing fruit for locals. These days, 500 acres produce fruit including cherries, peaches, pears, and of course, apples. With a tasting room that opened in 2016, the partnership has a great way to test drive its hard cider and wine/sparkling wine menu.
Here’s a little FYI for you: Adams County started the commercial apple industry. Pretty cool, right?
Boyer Nurseries & Orchards uses integrated pest management to farm its fruit and its standouts include:
Northern Spy: A still hard cider using Northern Spy apples straight off the property. Dry and flavorful, it’s affordable, too, at $15 a bottle.
Zinfandel: Oaky and dry, this red wine smells like red berries and goes down smooth.
Location: 405 Boyer Nursery Road Biglerville, PA
Five Acres. Five grape varietals. Two agro-scientists. Do the math and you’ve got a family run winery in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. and while a vineyard and winery wasn’t the original plan for the land, a love of hobby winemaking has turned into Halbrendt Vineyard & Winery.
When we visited, we loved the quaint tasting room and outdoor patio. I also adored hearing about the science that goes into wine making. Standouts are the semi-sweets:
My Cherry Amour: Made from 100% Cherries, the red wine pairs very well with chocolate.
Vidal Blanc: An award-winning dry white, you’ll taste melon and pear.
Location: 23 Baltimore Street, Gettysburg, PA
80 years of fruit farming, especially apples, turned an annual family brewcation into Thirsty Farmer Brew Works. The Knouse farm grows its own hops to use in ales & lagers – and even its ciders. If you’ve never seen a farm of hop bines (not vines!), it’s a beautiful sight to behold.
TFBW’s logo is particularly noteworthy as it incorporates the on-property Historic round Barn, another must-see when you visit. During our trip, we walked around (literally) the barn’s lower floor and shopped for everything from baked goods to salsas. Upstairs is a whole other beauty, though. The architecture truly shines on the second floor and it’s no wonder that parties and wedding receptions are held there.
Back to the Brew Works. Adams County’s newest craft beverage producer, I loved the farm chic look and feel of its tasting room. What’s even more creative is the tasting menu: fan faves are integrated with test drive hard cider batches. Incorporating the farm-grown fruit with craft beer, menu highlights are flavorful and creative:
Pale Ale: Citra-hopped, has a crisp flavor and pretty color.
Brown Ale: Malty and sweet, it’s smooth and delicious.
Location: 290 Cashtown Road Biglerville, PA
There’s no way to mention Center Square Brewing without first mentioning The Altland House. A beautifully-decorated inn, it offers lovely accommodations with complimentary breakfast and VERY affordable pricing. If that wasn’t enough, there are two on-site restaurants, the oldest of which President Eisenhower adored for its Chicken and Waffles.
As for Center Square Brewing, it’s happy to promote that it has the only female brewer in the entire region. Its brews (and menus) are based on the four seasons, so no matter what time of year you visit, you’ll find just the brew for it.
We took a tour of the property and, I have to write, both the owners and staff love to talk about its history with pride. As for the beer, Mr. Locke has several favorites from the menu:
John Abbott Alt: Tastes like a bit like a brown ale. Malty and smooth, the uncommon style was the best of the batches.
1763 Lager: Exemplary in the fast that it’s exactly what a lager should be: light in flavor and drinkability.
Location: 1 Cemter Square #100 Abbottstown, PA
A century-old furniture factory turned craft brewery and restaurant, Mason Dixon Distillery’s philosophy is an easy one: handcrafted and local spirits with amazing flavor. It’s this take on spirits that have won locals over, especially when it comes to its signature cocktails.
We took an hour-long tour of the back room distillery on our visit and heard plenty of interesting back story from the owner. Battlefield grains from 47 acres of Gettysburg National Military Park are used in its products: vodka, whiskey, rum, & brandy. Only water is added to its spirits to keep them pure with an over-the-top flavor and smoothness.
As for the restaurant, they like to call the menu items “comfort food with a twist”. For me, it’s the Strawberry Pecan Salad that’s worth an order. Mr. Locke, carnivore at heart, love the Bahn Mi, a whiskey blazed pork belly sandwich.
Lavender Lemonade: Fresh lemon juice and lavender syrup mixed with in-house vodka. It’s sweet and tart at the same time.
Rum Punch: The ingredient list is a secret, but no matter what the concoction, it’s in-house white rum made with dark molasses is a hit.
Location: 331 E Water Street Gettysburg, PA
Wine. Hard Cider. Gorgeous Views. While the description of Reid’s Orchard & Winery can be created in five words, it’s so much more. a 42-year farming business, Reid’s became the pioneer for cider in Adams County with its first batches. While cider wasn’t a hit at first, the winery turned to red wine to gain fans. Happily, cider is making a comeback and I couldn’t be happier.
On average, Reid’s has 15 ciders available for tasting and purchasing at any given time, and its standouts are always on the shelves:
Apple Crisp: the #1 selling cider for Reid’s, it’s sweet taste is made with 100% estate-grown apples.
Country Bear: A blend of Raspberry and apple, this one is definitely my favorite.
Where We Stayed
If given the option of an historic hotel or not, I’ll choose historic every time. We stayed at Gettysburg Hotel and it did not disappoint. Established in 1797, its 119 rooms are so pretty. The attention to details are plentiful, too: electric candles in each window, an outdoor patio and pool during warmer months, and free wifi. There’s also an in-hotel bar that’s quite a hit with locals and guests.
We loved our king room. It has a large bathroom, flat screen television, and plenty of room to move about. As for the bathtub? It was giant – perfect for soaking after a long say of touring.
Ready to hit the Adams County Pour Tour? Or maybe you’ve been and you have a favorite location? Please let me know in the comment section below!
Disclosure: I was graciously hosted by the folks at Destination Gettysburg to give you fine folks the scoop on its Adams County Pour tour. All opinions are my own!
Want More Craft Brew In Your Life?