When Rob Jahn stopped by Brewer’s Apprentice in Freehold, New Jersey with some friends to brew and bottle his own beer, he had no idea how much he would enjoy the process … and how much it would eventually impact his life.
A home-brewing kit was purchased and Jahn made it his mission to learn all that he could. He described it as “basically a chemistry set, but you happen to be making something really fun.” By 2012, Jahn took that hobby to the next level and founded Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company, one of the first craft breweries to be established in Bucks County.
On Saturday, June 11, at its original Croydon taproom, 909 Ray Ave, Neshaminy Creek is hosting a 10-year anniversary celebration that’s open to the public from noon to 7 p.m. Ahead of the event, The Times caught up with Jahn, who reflected on how far the brewery has come over the past decade in an ever-expanding industry.
“Ten years of being open is kind of wild. We’ve had some ups and downs and a lot of change, but we’re always growing and maturing,” he said. “At 10 years old, we’re some of the older guys, especially in the region. But to be a staple brewery in the county and Philly, that’s what I like the most and want to be for everybody. I want to be a reliable source of consistent, great beer. I think at 10 years old, we’re still doing that and we want to continue doing that for decades to come.”
The celebration on June 11 is slated to feature live music, food trucks, tattoos, family-friendly activities and the unveiling of two new beers in honor of Neshaminy Creek’s major milestone.
Tenured Triple IPA, which cleverly sits at 10 percent ABV, is brewed with Phantasm, a compound derived from New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc grapes, which lends citrus, guava and passionfruit aromas. Decadence, 12 percent ABV, is a pastry stout brewed with mounds of flaked oats, two-row, pale chocolate and crystal malts.
“We’re trying to express our artistic side and try new things,” Jahn said of Neshaminy Creek’s forthcoming offerings.
In summer 2020, the brewery opened a second location inside the Ferry Market in New Hope, followed by a spot inside The Station in Dublin a little over a year later. While Jahn said he hopes to add even more in the future, Croydon will always be where it all started. According to Jahn, this town was selected because of its affordable rent, close proximity to Philadelphia and New Jersey, and the limited craft beer options in the area.
“Bucks County was ripe for a brewery, so it was kind of hitting on all cylinders there,” he said of Croydon.
Not only has Neshaminy Creek expanded over the past 10 years, but so has the craft brewing industry as a whole. Residents and tourists alike can explore nearly 30 breweries along the Bucks County Ale Trail, in addition to the slew of spots in nearby Philadelphia and New Jersey.
According to Jahn, Neshaminy Creek has been able to keep up with the competition thanks to a willingness to evolve and brainstorm fresh, new ideas. Though this is no easy feat (“You can think of a name right now and I can guarantee that four different breweries have that name”), the team’s weekly Thursday discussions regularly result in unique concepts.
Examples include Showtime at Sundown, a recent partnership with The Mahoning Drive-In Theater in Lehighton, and the seasonal Silver Dollars, inspired by the classic film Jaws with its blood orange tint and sea salt character. All aspects of each release, from the name to the intricately-designed can, are planned out about a year in advance.
“It’s an open, fun atmosphere. You’re not worried that you’re gonna get shut down,” said Jahn. “Craft brewing is all about trying to express yourself in a physical glass of beer for a consumer. We just did a rebrand this year and are working to change our identity without scaring away our fans.”
For Jahn, presenting a top-notch product to Neshaminy Creek’s clientele is vital. In fact, the brewery won gold for its Warehouse Lager at the 2022 World Beer Cup, a global competition that’s considered the “Olympics of Beer.”
Jahn said, “You can get someone to buy beer once, but that’s not the challenge. The challenge is for them to go and buy that beer again for a second time, third time or more. The next time that person buys that beer, it better taste the same or better.”
A decade of consistency is something Jahn prides himself on. Even during the uncertain days of the COVID-19 pandemic, neighbors knew they could always stop in to pick up some quality beer.
“The public supported us tremendously throughout those two years,” he said. “Alcohol and beer brings people together for community and connection, and that didn’t change during the pandemic.”
Looking ahead, Jahn’s goal for the next 10 years is simple – for Neshaminy Creek to keep growing and adapting.
“It’s not an easy game. It’s taxing,” he admitted. “But whenever you have these events and you see people happy and enjoying your beer, it goes a long way.”
Details and updates on the 10th anniversary celebration can be found at bit.ly/3z8PHBM.
Samantha Bambino can be reached at email@example.com