Boxcar Brewing Company in West Chester, Pennsylvania held a “Community Supported Beer” bottling day to benefit the West Chester Railroad on 12/29.
The Railroad is a non-profit, volunteer-supported historic railroad which runs along the Chester Creek from West Chester to Glen Mills.
Boxcar’s Community Supported Beer program benefits a different charity each month by brewing a “one-off” or single-brewing beer. Members of that charity are typically involved in the production of the beer, and Boxcar donates the profits from the beer.
For the West Chester Railroad, Boxcar brewed “A Long Winter’s Ale.” According to Boxcar co-owner Jason Kohser, the ale has 5% Alcohol by Volume and 42 International Bitterness Units, which makes it typical of Boxcar’s style of mild session beers.
The beer contains brown malt and raisins. Said Kohser, “We want to keep it mellow.”
The brewery will donate $5.00 per case or $2.00 per growler fill of “A Long Winter’s Ale” to the railroad. Kohser estimates that sales of the beer will result in a donation of “a few hundred dollars.”
Jason Kohser and co-owner Jamie Robinson have family ties to railroading, and the brewery is developing a partnership with the historic railroad a few miles away. Boxcar holds “Ride the Rails” events and the railroad has painted an actual boxcar with the brewery’s logo (see the slideshow at top of the page). The brewery recently sold functioning model replica kits of that boxcar.
On 12/29, among the record 26 volunteers who came to help bottle A Long Winter’s Ale, on a day when it began to snow about the time that bottling concluded, were railroad volunteers Clark Marshall, Glenn Schwass, Chuck Denlinger, and Joe Wilton.
According to the railroad volunteers, the non-profit group is always in need of spikes, which cost $100.00 per 200-pound keg, and ties, which cost $40.00 each but come in stacks of 250. It takes about 10 gallons of paint, at $30.00 per gallon, to paint the outside of a rail car.
All of the work is done by volunteers.
Denlinger said that most railroad volunteers work and that some drive over an hour for the chance to give their time and effort. The railroad hopes to bring a stainless steel diner car back into service and is already working on converting a caboose for use by small charter groups.
Disclaimer – the examiner is a regular Boxcar volunteer who participated in this bottling day.