After manning a bustling bar and restaurant for a recent Friday evening shift at the newly opened Station Taproom, co-owners Mark Barthmaier and Sean McGettigan each enjoyed a bottle of Sam Adams Utopia with close friends.
The sampling was their pleasure, something you would assume two local beer connoisseurs–who just opened a handsome beer-centric pub–would do on their downtime. The vintage Utopias, considered the “holy grail” to those hop-obsessed, boast 27% alcohol by volume and are comparable to a port or a cognac, revealed McGettigan.
“Don’t know if you can consider it a beer at that point,” suggested Barthmaier. “It does have a lot of flavor and a lot of burn.”
Together, the managing duo, who previously worked side-by-side at The Drafting Room of Exton, maintain a hefty knowledge for an endless amount of beer and their brands, achieved through personally tasting their way through many hopped pleasures. Such experience and knowledge shaped Station Taproom’s beer menu.
“We have a good rotation here of a wide spectrum of beers to drink,” said McGettigan of their five-week-old Station Taproom, situated directly across from Downingtown’s Train Station. With 12 beer taps, in addition to a decent-sized bottle list, the knowledgeable partners introduce new varieties to their lineup as soon as a tap opens up.
“Draft beer is always the way to go,” said McGettigan. “It allows you to test drive before purchasing a pint.” Open to allowing guests to taste of any of the offerings, Station Taproom spouts are currently pouring Victory Brewery’s Donnybrook Stout, Gaffel Becker & Co.’s Kolsh, Lake Placid’s 46’er Pale Ale, Bear Republic’s Apex and the Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel — to name a few.
But, not only are McGettigan and Barthmaier “beer guys,” they also are “food guys” at heart. Providing patrons with an eclectic and upscale interpretation of pub-styled fare, as perfected by their chef, Tim Smith, the fresh eatery provides well-groomed plates ranging from snack sized to entree sized.
Listing an array of Cuban and Caprese paninis, truffle fries, steamed mussels, buffalo wings, fish and chips, minted lamb or curried chickpea burgers and mac ‘n cheese, the resident chef and the co-owners insist that their Thai Red Curry — served as an entree, with wings or with mussels — is their best dish.
Chef Tim Smith, a native of England, brings his skilled, traditional flair into the pub’s grub while incorporating the best local ingredients that go swimmingly with craft beers. Before answering Station Taproom’s ad on Craigslist and passing their interviewing process, Smith worked in Rochester, New York at a similar beer bar, The Old Toad.
“I’m lucky to work in a place very similar to where I had was previously working. There are similarities in both places; it’s a perfect challenge,” he said.
“We love that we didn’t have to make our chef love beer; he already enjoys beer like we do,” said McGettigan. “That is a huge thing for us.”
Also, the establishment’s forward-thinking team is additionally motivated, as their menu scribes to, “wherever possible, use fresh and local ingredients.” Lucky to be located in the farm-fresh County of Chester, Station Taproom sources goods from Milky Way Farms, Talula’s Table and Conebella Farms.
For example, the always-available cheese plate allows individuals to select three cheeses from a list of seven creamy pleasures that Talula’s Table perfectly pinpointed. May’s round-up included Beemster Goat’s Milk Gouda, Saint Nectaire’s washed-rind cheese, Savoie’s Tomme Crayeuse and Landaff Creamery’s earthy cheddar.
And, although McGettigan and Barthmaier are extremely passionate about beer, as it does offer fantastic accompaniment to their acclaimed cheese boards, they too take “great pride” in their wine selection.
“We didn’t want to rule anyone out,” said Barthmaier. “We are about simplicity and approachability, as seen through the best of quality ingredients.”
“We are happy to fill the void for a place like this, providing something for everyone,” concluded McGettigan. “We love being about to provide an urban experience unlike most others in Downingtown.”
Station Taproom, 207 West Lancaster Avenue, Downingtown, 484-593-0560, stationtaproom.com. Hours: Mon. – Tues., 3 p.m. – 12 a.m., Wed. – Thurs., 3 p.m. – 12:30 a.m., Fri. – Sat., 3 p.m. – 1 a.m.