Why Go: One reason is if you are the traitor Jubal Early’s troops and you decide to burn the town to the ground after demanding ransom not to. Another is if you are John Brown and need a place to hang out while preparing to take over Harpers’ Ferry. Another is if you are David Brooks and you use the town to make the case for your retrograde belief in America with its desired conservatism, as he did in a 2001 column. Meanwhile, at the present, Chambersburg’s City Council is 8-2 Democratic, and I don’t imagine the place has moved hard left since 2001. But why would we expect Brooks to know what he was talking about? Me, I was on a very long drive from southern West Virginia to the Hudson Valley and needed someplace to stop during a long, heavy thunderstorm.
The Beer: When stopping into random breweries into towns you don’t know, you really have no idea what you are going to get. But Roy Pitz was a real winner. I had two very fine beers there–the Cherry Hound Sour and the Das Pretzel Gose. Both were excellent contributions to the broader sour category; the first delightfully cherry but not in a sweet or cloying way at all (which is one of the great contributions of the sours, reclaiming fruit in beer), the second not really related to pretzels except that the gose style is salty and so is a pretzel. Given that I like salty foods and as it turns out salty beers, I win! They have other styles at the bar, but sours are their go-to. It turns out Roy Pitz does what any high quality brewery operating in an economically depressed town should do, which is open a tap house in the nearest big city. In this case, that’s Philadelphia and their barrel house it turns out is quite well-regarded. I’d like to check out what they are selling there.
Food: Very tasty! They have a grilled cheese/tomato bisque combo for $6, which is a hell of a good price for the quality and quantity. Both were excellent. I would eat them tomorrow if I could drink them with one of their beers. The rest of the menu looked like high quality bar food. Certainly I’d try everything else.
The atmosphere: Pretty typical of a little brewery in that it’s perhaps a slightly sticky old warehouse operation. Chambersburg is not exactly a great town from what I could tell and the one person I know from there, in his mid-20s, hates the place. So it’s not like it is in some great walkable district or anything. But it’s also no doubt quite affordable rent and the prefect place for quality brewers to perfect their art. In that way, it is perfect.
Overall, if for whatever reason you happen to be on I-81 in southern Pennsylvania, you would be well served by stopping for lunch and a couple of sours at Roy Pitz. I’d go out of my way to drink there again. Liquid Art, indeed. Personally, I’d name more beers for how Confederates are evil treasonous slaveholding bastards who burned my town, but that’s just me. However, I did discover a beer today from Fort Nonsense Brewing called the Benedict Amber Traitor Ale, which is the best combination of brewery name and beer name I have ever heard. So it’s possible.