One of my favorite “haunts” in Gettysburg is Battlefield Brew Works, a restaurant, brewery, distillery and pub located in a restored barn just outside of historic Gettysburg. I did a book signing there for the release of my Civil War novel The Lion of the South and fell in love with the ambience and setting.
What could be better for a historical fiction author than sitting in a restored barn that was once used as a Civil War hospital? And, oh yes, the spirits you drink aren’t the only ones you might see at the brewery. The barn is said to be haunted!
The History Of Battlefield Brew Works
It’s always a unique and welcome experience to be able to visit buildings that played a major role in our nation’s history. Battlefield Brew Works is located on the former W.H. Montfort Farm, which served as the location for a field hospital during the Battle of Gettysburg.
The farm was named after brothers Jacob and Henry Montfort, who settled in the Gettysburg area and began building a farm in 1848. They completed their typical Pennsylvania Dutch barn along the Hunterstown Road the following year.
During the Battle of Gettysburg, more than 1,300 soldiers were taken to the property after the unsuccessful assault on Culp’s Hill. Because of its location, the barn became one of the largest Confederate field hospitals in the area. The Confederates occupied the barn, house and grounds as part of the hospital facility.
Field hospitals during the Civil War served as the second level of care given to the wounded. They were usually set up in a house, barn or church near the scene of fighting to treat the wounded as promptly as possible.
Following the Battle of Gettysburg, when the Confederates retreated, they left 446 soldiers at the farm for another 28 days. Many of the wounded left behind were near death or were too seriously injured to be moved. Forty-seven men who died at the farm were buried there, and later re-interred in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Va.
A Sense Of History at Battlefield Brew Works
The stone walls, uneven floors, and huge beams really give you a sense of history — and Battlefield Brew Works is history-making in its own right as well. It is Pennsylvania’s oldest operating brewery and distillery (combination) under one roof.
Much of the wood and brick in the building is original, and the bar was made from a tree from the property, which was considered a witness tree. (A tree that was around during the Civil War and “witnessed” the Battle of Gettysburg).
What’s On Tap At Battlefield Brew Works?
The brewery makes a wide range of craft beer, including an American ale called 1863 Ale, an Irish red called Red Bayonet and stout called Chocolate Stout.
They also have a Pale Ale called Jeremy’s Ghost, as well as a variety of other craft beers. Battlefield Brew Works works with local and regional suppliers to to ensure their craft beers are made with high-quality malt and hops. By using a variety of yeast strains, their brewer crafts staple beers as well as seasonal ales and lagers.
In addition to craft beers, Battlefield Brew Works has artisanal spirits like gin, rum, whiskey and vodka. I bought some of their Double Distilled Vodka, a smooth 80 proof vodka, and and a bottle of Rye Smiles, which is a barrel-aged whiskey made of 95 percent rye and 5 percent malted barley.
All Spirits of Gettysburg Distillery liquors are available by the sample, the shot, in premium mixed drinks, or by the bottle at Battlefield Brew Works Spirits of Gettysburg Distillery or in the downtown tasting room, located at 62 Chambersburg Street in Gettysburg.
Yes, They Serve Food
The food menu at Battlefield Brew Works ranges from wraps and specialty pizzas to build-your-own sub and wings. Their appetizers are wonderful including fried pickles, crab pretzels, stuffed tator tots, meatballs in marinara, beer battered shrimp and cheesesteak eggrolls.
Can you tell that I love to order appetizers?
For those that are a little more health-conscious, they also have salads! And for anyone who prefers not drink alcoholic beverage, they serve their own house made Root Beer and Ginger Ale. It contains 20 percent less sugar than industrial sodas and is caffeine free.
So now you’re probably asking, ‘Is this place haunted?”
Some say that it is. A few women have experienced strange encounters in the area of what is now the women’s bathroom.
You can find the experiences of the Visual Paranormal Investigative team, who spent a night at the barn, HERE.
Why Visit Battlefield Brew Works and Distillery?
If you have a chance to visit Gettysburg, don’t forget to add Brew Works to the places you visit. What could be better than grabbing a bite to eat in a barn that was a witness to one of the most important events in our nation’s history?
Battlefield Brew Works has live entertainment during the summer months and is available for parties and special events.
Brew Works is located at 248 Hunterstown Road, Gettysburg, Pa.