How did Boxcar get started?
Our brewery began as any great idea begins: a late-night conversation with family, friends and beer! While enjoying some homebrews at the wedding of two of Boxcar’s chief members, we began talk of starting a micro-brewery in Pennsylvania. Within a year, Jason and his now-wife Kristen moved back to the West Chester area, where Jamie and Kymberly had been living, and began a rigorous cycle of brewing, sharing, and drinking 10-gallon batches of beer. Two years later, while enjoying a batch brewed for Jamie and Kymberly’s wedding, all four members got together and thought it was time to start Boxcar Brewing Company.
What were some of the biggest hurdles “going pro”?
For us, scaling up to a 310 gallon batch was difficult in many ways. Besides the obvious recipe changes, there were many things to consider: how to brew that much beer, where to store it, and where to sell it. Simple things like bottling 140 cases by hand seemed fairly easy on paper, but after six months of 12-hour bottling days, it was obvious we needed a “better way.” We also had consistency issues early with the Original Ale, our flagship, which is a delicate beer. All of the equipment in our brewery was repurposed from elsewhere. Our funds were limited so we had to get very creative with how we built our brewery. We ferment in dairy tanks, our boil kettle at one time mixed BBQ sauce, our newly found bottling machine was built in Philadelphia at Crown, Cork, and Seal in 1963. There were growing pains involved with adapting this equipment for use in a brewery, and adjustments had to be made.
Who is Boxcar?
Along with our four chief members – Jason and Kristen Kohser, James and Kymberly Robinson – Boxcar is a growing and changing family of volunteers, friends, relatives and beer enthusiasts. These people have given us the support to continue to grow this Community-Based Brewery.
What is a “Community-Based Brewery?”
Boxcar was founded on the idea that the community and the people around us will be an enormous part of our brewery. We host weekly Community Bottling Days, where volunteers come and spend one or two hours helping us bottle and talking about all things beer. We try to donate as often as possible to local charities and benefits. We recently started a C.S.B. (community-supported beer) program; these monthly one-off batches will be sold in very limited runs and a portion of the proceeds from the sale of these brews will go directly back to different local charities. We also host several “Ride the Rails” events along with the West Chester Railroad, a local non-profit, volunteer-run organization.
What is “Ride the Rails”?
“Ride the Rails” is a nostalgic trip down the West Chester Railroad line on passenger cars from days of old. We start the train in West Chester, Pa and take a 35-minute ride down the tracks to Glen Mills station. There we supply beer, BBQ and live music. After a few hours, we board the train and head back to WC. This event has sold out every time. We ran this event for Philly Beer Week last year and it was a great success and a ton of fun. We are currently planning this year’s Beer Week event for June 2nd. Tickets will be available on our website soon.
Where did the Name “Boxcar” come from?
Besides Jamie and Kristen’s love for hobos, Boxcar Brewing Company got its name from a long history of family members working on the Railroads. Kymberly and Jason (cousins) had and still have multiple family members working on trains.
What Beers are available from Boxcar?
- Original Ale 5% – our flagship brew is a crisp English mild with hints of citrus.
- Brown Ale 5% – medium-bodied brown with hints of cocoa and dried fruit.
- India Pale Ale 7.2% – deceptively sessionable IPA with tropical fruit overtones.
- C.S.B. Program – one-off batches with proceeds benefiting local charities
How can someone get involved with Boxcar?
We send out weekly updates via email about what’s happening with Boxcar; you can sign up at www.boxcarbrewingcompany.com. People are encouraged to join us for community bottling days or other volunteer work around the brewery or to help out with tastings and festivals. We also keep people informed on different events on Twitter (@boxcarbrewery) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/boxcarbeer). Or email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.