The Magic

Humboldt Beer Depot taps into rising craft market

You've got to get a swig of this Hazleton hide-away.

Right outside of Hazleton and off of Route 924, TAP at Humboldt Beer Depot has been hustling hops since their opening this past December 2016. The craft beer bar excels at helping its guests discover new bottles, brews, and music too.

A cozy, timeless environment encompasses the single bar room. Walls are decked out with a shuffle of vintage rock and beer posters, and tables are adorned in black and white plaid cloths. On the patio, outdoor seating and tall space heaters make an easy space to enjoy drinks outside.

The center point of the room has to be the large chalk board behind the bar. The face, crowded with TAP’s ever-changing beer list in colorful chalk, has all the info needed for a mindful selection: brew, style, brewer, international bitterness unit (IBU), alcohol by volume (ABV), and of course, price.

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Perpendicular to TAP’s grand beer list is the line of corresponding taps. There are twenty-five beers at all times: twenty rotating and five dedicated. These rotating taps are brought in by the half keg and switched when kicked. Meaning that if you hesitate on trying a new brew, it might not be on tap next time you come back. Not enough beer for you? TAP has over eighty bottle selections behind that bar, too.

“What people need to understand is most of the beers we provide are not mass produced,” owner Scott Gottstein said.  “I would say 90% of the breweries you will see on our tap list are privately owned companies within the United States, which in return supports our local and national economies, now that most of the large scale brewers are owned by out of country corporations.”

The adjoining corner is met with two shelves of TAP’s bourbon selection—most bottles with the liquor still up to their necks. There’s no real need for liquor when there’s an entire library of beer just an order away.

You can order by the glass or the flight. Flights allow drinkers to create their own six ounce sample platter of four different pours. It’s a popular option for anyone who wants to try four heavy beers without  drinking four full servings of heavy beers. Ask any craft beer connoisseur and they would tell you this: these drinks are not your twelve-bucks-a-case lite or yadda-yadda with lime. Have even two of the higher ABV recipes and you will feel them.

“Our mission is to introduce a new market to the idea of real beer, instead of your typical run of the mill, mass-produced lagers…We are also trying to bring a new music scene to the area, introducing local, regional, national and even some international acts,” Gottstien said.

It’s true; not only has TAP won my heart as a craft beer parlor, but as a venue. Usually revolving around solo acts, unique songwriters, and warm, folky bands, it’s a beer bar with a coffee house atmosphere. This created vibe can be credited to the man in charge of management and booking, Mike Barata of the Big Dirty. Barata has used his established networks to pull familiar names from the NEPA circuit. Whiskeyhickon Boys, Janelle Vibes, and Grexin’ have all graced TAP’s corner stage.

You can check out TAP’s beer selection yourself at one of their upcoming events. Click here to view their full calendar. Bring home draught discoveries in growlers or available six packs at TAP’s carry-out shop next door.

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