New local brewery now open in Franklin County

GREENCASTLE, Pa. (WHTM) – A new locally owned brewery called Hidden Key Brewing Co. celebrated its official opening earlier this week.

The new brewery is owned and operated by two brothers, Rick and Tim Houck, and their mutual friend Steve Bandstra. According to Houck, the two brothers grew up in Pottstown, Pennsylvania and Bandstra is originally from New Jersey.

The three friends first met when they were all studying at Messiah University – two in mechanical engineering and the other in biomedical engineering.

Years later, the three engineers-turned-brewmasters decided to experiment with brewing different traditional styles of beer.

“We all enjoyed brewing and were fascinated by the science of brewing and also by the artistic side of brewing,” Houck said.

After years of experimenting with different brewing styles and techniques, the team of three decided to look for opportunities to start and open their own brewery.

Back in the spring of 2022, after renting a previously vacant space on West Baltimore Street in Greencastle, Pennsylvania, the three owners began building their own brewhouse next to their brewery site. According to Houck, the newly built brewhouse is about 450 square meters and equipped with five stainless steel kegs for brewing their traditional beer.

The new brewhouse also features windows on the outside of the building so guests can go behind the scenes and see where the magic happens.

“We just wanted to brew traditional beer styles – something that everyone can enjoy,” added Houck.

Hidden Key Brewing Co. also has a 1,200 square foot main area where guests can sit, drink, relax and eat. Though Hidden Key doesn’t cook its own food, the brewery has an “informal partnership” with its neighbors called Belle’s Kitchen, which does all the cooking for the brewery’s hungry patrons.

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According to Hidden Key’s website, their brewery’s unique naming choice is meant to represent how beer “was the ‘Hidden Key’ that helped us let go, connect with friends, and celebrate life’s victories.”

Hidden Key Brewing Co. first held a soft opening for friends and family on January 29th to make sure their systems were all working properly – then they recently held their grand opening on Monday February 20th.

The current opening hours of the new brewery are:

  • Thursdays // 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m
  • Fridays // 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m
  • Saturdays // 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m

According to Houck, the owners plan to announce additional hours in the coming weeks – with plans to add two additional days to their lineup.

The owners also plan to create a dog-friendly “outdoor beer garden” that will be located behind their home to give guests the opportunity to enjoy their food and drinks al fresco.

Hidden Key Brewing Co. is located at 101 W. Baltimore Street. New local brewery now open in Franklin County

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