Rich. Malty. Complex. Hints of coffee, dried fruit, and dark chocolate… that’s HiJinx Brewing Company’s Steal Your Face Stout- an imperial stout that earned the brewery a stack of accolades.

 

Steal Your Face Stout was the startup’s inaugural brew after kicking things off in Curt Keck’s garage in November 2011. Now 10 years later, the brewer is hosting not just 10 but 11 days of “shenanigans” to mark its 10th anniversary, or as HiJinx has titled it, a “Decade of Debauchery.” 

“We decided to make the party 11 days, instead of 10, to look forward and celebrate the year ahead in addition to the decade behind us,” says owner and head brewmaster Curt Keck. “Our business motto is similar to how we make our beer; we like to have fun, do the unexpected, and do things a little differently,”

And that motto is what keeps HiJinx customers coming back to fill their pint glass time after time. Keck has many regulars who have been visiting the taproom weekly since the brewer first set up shop in Allentown inside the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center.

Customers drop in for a tasty beer and a unique experience at HiJinx. The brewery is located on the city’s South Side in a former Mack Trucks plant, creating an industrial atmosphere. The building’s distinct sawtooth 15–30-foot roof provides an open-air concept, enhanced by the suite’s warehouse garage door, which is drawn up and open when weather permits. Patrons sit at a custom-built wood top bar or around keg tables, complete with a prime view of the brewing equipment. Bands and musicians frequent the space, food vendors often park outside, and customers sip on beverages ranging from a German Lager to a coconut IPA to a Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter to seasonal selections.

HiJinx brewing interior

To commemorate his business’ milestone, Keck has something special up his sleeve. On November 11th HiJinx will unveil its Anniversary Brew, a rye imperial stout aged in whiskey barrels. Keck collaborated with fellow Bridgeworks beverage manufacturer County Seat Spirits to craft the exclusive brew, using the distillery’s whiskey barrels for the occasion. “This celebration means a lot to us,” said Keck. “We’re recognizing not just the longevity of our business, but our strong community of beer enthusiasts, customers, and partners. We want them to know we appreciate their support.”

HiJinx has plenty to celebrate this November. As with most entrepreneurs, Keck will tell you, operating a small business over the past decade has been anything but a walk in the park. Things don’t always run as smoothly as the brewer’s “Helles Yes” draft pours out of its tap today. The process of maintaining a small business, from its inception to persisting through the COVID-19 pandemic, has caused Curt and his team to adapt regularly and readjust.

Inside view of HiJinx, taken from outside on Harrison Street.

The early days

The HiJinx concept was born in 2007 when friends were hanging out in Keck’s garage, imbibing in his homebrew. The group was so impressed by the brew that they encouraged Keck to establish his own brewery. After a few years -and a few more beers- Keck made the leap of faith and went into business with former partner Chris Becker. Both men were accomplished brewers who met through the Lehigh Valley Homebrewers Club; Curt had worked for Weyerbacher, and Chris was a veteran homebrewer. The two officially launched HiJinx in November of 2011 and began brewing craft beers such as Pitch Penny Ale, an English bitter, Kung Fu Gnome, a Belgian blonde ale brewed with jasmine flowers; and the fan-favorite, Steal Your Face Stout, a malty imperial stout.

The guys brewed out of Keck’s garage until the end of 2013. In 2014 Keck, Becker, and their third partner, Jack Romaine moved into the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center to join AEDC’s incubation program.

“HiJinx initially joined the Bridgeworks incubation program due to the resources offered specifically for manufacturing startups,” says AEDC Executive Director Scott Unger. “They went from running a startup with a single barrel system in a 400 square foot garage to operating an established brewery with a 10-barrel brew system in a 4,000 square foot manufacturing suite.”

By joining the Bridgeworks incubation community, HiJinx expanded its manufacturing capabilities to 310 gallons and enhanced its customers’ experience. The brewers had space to install an on-site tasting room with the additional square footage, and HiJinx patrons have been making great use of the bar ever since!

We’ll toast to that

Before the festivities kick off on November 4th, we stopped by to ask Keck just what the occasion means to him. Whether it was a twinkle of pride or a well of emotion, we can’t be sure, but whichever it was, we saw the glisten in his eyes as he admired his exclusive anniversary merchandise. “It’s been a long road,” said Keck. “Being a small business owner is both challenging and rewarding. I’m proud of what we’ve created here at HiJinx.”

Proud of his product, proud of his business, and proud of his milestone achievement, Keck looks forward to celebrating with his team of dedicated staff (including his two sons) and thanking his many supporters, customers, and friends.

AEDC staff wishes to congratulate HiJinx on the milestone as well. David Dunn, AEDC’s Manager of the Bridgeworks incubation program, states, “HiJinx represents entrepreneurship in its purest form. Curt Keck has transformed his passion for making great beer into a business that is recognized for its quality, great taste, and value.”

Curt Keck (L) and Erin Hudson (R) of AEDC preparing for Lehigh Valley Beer Week in Spring of 2021

The details

From November 4-November 14, the award-winning brewer will host eleven days of special events. The celebration will occur at the brewery’s location inside AEDC’s Bridgeworks Enterprise Center. Festivities include disc golf, beer pong, trivia tournaments, live music, “Crafts and Drafts,” an LGBTQ event, beer and cheese pairing, Eagles football viewing party, and the release of its Anniversary Beer. HiJinx will offer anniversary merchandise as giveaways and for purchase. Visit HiJinx online for event details and the most up-to-date information.

HiJinx Brewing Company’s “Decade of Debauchery” Celebration Schedule of Events:

11/4/21 Brewer’s Birthday Shindig; Marksman Disc Golf 5-10 PM

11/5/21 Beat the Brewer Bar Pong 6-10 PM

11/6/21 Anniversary Week Kickoff Party: Live music, Grateful Dead Theme 6-9 PM

11/7/21 HiJinx Trivia 1-3 PM / Eagles Watch Party 3:30 PM

11/8/21 “Crafts and Drafts” 6-9 PM

11/9/21 LGBTQ Event 6-9 PM

11/10/21 Beer and Cheese Pairing 6-9 PM

11/11/21 HiJinx 10th Anniversary Toast and Anniversary Beer Release 6-10 PM

11/12/21 Live Music by Sons of Izzy; National Happy Hour Day 4-10 PM

11/13/21 HiJinx Anniversary Bash with Live Music by The Mixed Nuts 1-9 PM

11/14/21 Sunday, Bloody Sunday: Football Brunch and Bloody Marys 12-5 PM


Erin Hudson

Marketing & Communications Specialist
ehudson@allentownedc.com * 484-368-6854