By Karen Blackledge
The Danville News
DANVILLE — Wood décor and iron sculptures painted red welcome patrons to the new and expanded two levels of Old Forge Brewing Co.
The brew pub has doubled the size of its previous location at 282 Mill St.
It was closed for 10 days during the move to the 298 Mill St. building purchased by owners Damien and Maria Malfara.
The pub enjoyed a soft opening Sept. 12 and officially opened Tuesday, according to Damien who is also head brewer and company president.
They had been closed so they could move to the location of the former Lemon A’Peel.
Because they await more equipment to arrive, the menu is limited. After the equipment is installed, they will expand the menu.
The main bar and dining area seat about 75. There is also a dining area upstairs with a small bar and a new upstairs room that can be used for private events for up to 50.
The brew pub has the same number of tanks used in the past, but now they are all together. They use five fermentation tanks and a brew house.
Keith Kocher, of Lighstreet, made the metal sculptures, of old iron tools painted red. A new one, at the entrance, spells out old forge in ironwork and shows visitors Old Forge was established in 2008. Old Forge expanded once in 2010 at its former location.
Kocher also made the main bar with an oak top. It was tested by a laboratory which showed the wood to be 300 to 500 years old, Malfara said.
The artist also crafted, in red, T-rails from the mid-1800s for the bottom of the bar.
“The décor is all handmade locally — he has made every piece of wood,” Malfara said of Kocher.
“He made our lights of wood and metal. They look cool,” he said of the first-floor lighting.
More space, more beer, more employees
In the future, Malfara expects a deck off the second floor.
The expansion has resulted in additional employees. Old Forge now employs about 40.
At the new location, they have 16 beers on tap compared with eight beers in the past.
The main bar is also handicapped accessible and the back entrance has a ramp.
“The kitchen is more than double the size,” said Malfara. The second-floor features its own bathrooms. Second- and first-floor bathrooms are handicapped accessible.
“We also have a more robust climate control system to keep it at a comfortable level,” he said.
In the future, they may do off-site catering.
“Gray Builders did a great job. They were tremendous,” Malfara said of the work to transform the building into a restaurant and brew pub.
The most popular beers they make and serve are T-Rail Pale Ale and Overbite IPA. And they offer seasonal beers “which are always changing,” he said.
Old Forge also produces beer at its Iron Town Commerce location which is sold to distributors throughout Pennsylvania, except in Pittsburgh and Erie, and also in New Jersey.
“We have an outstanding staff who did a great job stepping up to take the initiative to do everything we had to do to make the move and make it right. They worked well with the contractors. Everybody worked together. It’s just amazing we were able to do it in the time frame we did,” he said.
“We had a lot of volunteers — customers and pub club members who came in on weekends and at night to help. We have had great support from the community,” he said.