June 18, 2024
Group photo at Ponfeigh Distillery from the Go Laurel Highlands Pout Tour 4.0 Kickoff

Visiting Breweries, Distilleries, and Wineries on the Laurel Highlands Pour Tour

I was invited by Go Laurel Highlands to join them for the Pour Tour 4.0 Kickoff Day. Now in its 4th year, the Pour Tour features craft beverage makers in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania. The Pour Tour craft beverage passport book has details about the different craft beverage makers in the region. When visiting each location and getting a beverage, you get stickers to add to your passport. The passport is also digital this year and can be found in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

Disclosure: Go Laurel Highlands invited me to join them for the day to learn about the Pour Tour as well as provide drinks, food, transportation, and goodies for the day.

We visited three locations on the Pour Tour kickoff: Forbes Trail Brewing, Ponfeigh Distillery, and SanaView Farms Winery & Cafe. At the first stop, we were introduced to the purpose of the Pour Tour. It was started to bring people to the Laurel Highlands and feature the craft beverage makers. The Pour Tour started in 2019 and has now expanded to 52 different locations in the Fayette, Somerset and Westmoreland counties. We learned much of the Pour Tour is about bringing people together at these locations and encouraging visitors to explore the Laurel Highlands. Pour tour brings in lots of business for places that might be off the beaten path. Many people visit these craft beverage makers for the first time because of the Pour Tour and then find a new place they love or meet others collecting their stickers and making new friends. The Pour Tour will also have to be announced mixer events at different locations in the passport and they will do a larger tour later this year. There will also be a Pour Tour event later in the year.

We started at Forbes Trail Brewing in Stoystown in Somerset County. They opened just a couple of years ago and feature traditional beers and interesting beer flavors. They started as home brewers who wanted to expand and share their brews with others. They waited until they found the right space and location to finally build out a larger brewing facility and taproom. They regularly feature live entertainment and food trucks. In the warmer months, they have plenty of outdoor seating. I tasted a regular oatmeal stout and an imperial oatmeal stout. I enjoyed both. They had a wide variety of different beers as well as cocktails and wine so everyone could find something to enjoy.

Next was the new Ponfeigh Distillery in Somerset. They want to pay tribute to the rich history of rye whiskey in the region and bring back production to the area. The distillery is housed in a former 84 Lumber building. They are still building out their tasting room and event space, but they plan to have regular events at the distillery. Their featured spirit is a Cask Strength Westsylvania Rye Whiskey made with Somerset County Rye Grain and aged in barrels constructed from Pennsylvania Oak wood. It’s a 95% Rye and 5% Malted Barley mix. The whiskey has a sweet honey flavor with hints of oak and spice. I enjoyed it and bought a bottle. They are also planning on constructing a small whiskey history exhibit to showcase the region’s rich history in distilling.

The last stop was the SanaView Farms Winery and Café. They produce small-batch natural wines made using the finest grapes from California, Washington and Oregon all produced without added chemicals. They also feature some fruit wines. I’ll admit I am not much of a wine drinker but I enjoyed everything I tasted. I went with some of their drier options. They have a tasting room with Neapolitan pizza. They also have an event space which is regularly used for weddings and cabins available for rent at certain times of year.

 This was a great kickoff to the Go Laurel Highlands Pour Tour 4.0. Go Laurel Highlands has created a great way to feature so many different types of craft beverage makers. I’m excited to head back out that way to camp and hike and also visit more craft beverage makers in the region.

Cover Photo of the group at Ponfeigh Distillery courtesy of Alex Byers/GO Laurel Highlands.

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