Jenkintown getting a brew pub

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Guild Hall is just south of the Hiway Theater in Jenkintown.

Montgomery County's beer scene seems to be on the upswing.

In Lafayette Hill, construction is in the final stages at Barren Hill Tavern & Brewery - the brew pub at the former General Lafayette Inn. Following close behind will be the reopening of Brittingham's.

In Conshohocken, plans are coming together for Conshohocken Brewing Co. on Elm Street, a brew pub behind the new Bar Lucca (the former Totaro's).

And here's a biggie in Jenkintown, where Owen Hutchins and Jennifer McGuire are hoping for a late-February-ish opening of Guild Hall Brewing Company, a brew pub on Old York Road next door to the Hiway Theater. Its 80-year-old building was a Rolls-Royce garage but most recently was the Jenkintown Antique Guild.

Hutchins was brewmaster at the General Lafayette at its opening and went on to make beer at Downtown Brewing in Wilmington and Crabby Larry's in Chalfont before taking a steadier job with the City of Philadelphia.

But, said his wife (program coordinator at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania), they wanted to get back into the beer business. "We decided that the only reason we're not doing it is because we're not willing to try," said McGuire.

They said they found an "astonishing space" in Jenkintown. Though the roof leaked like a sieve, "all we could see was the potential," she said. "Jenkintown is on the cusp of a renaissance." Two new parking lots will help.

They enlisted the services of Metcalfe Architecture & Design to set up a 146-seater with brewery. The menu will be classic and English pub food, and besides their own four flagship beers, they will serve Pennsylvania wines on draft.

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