LOWER MACUNGIE TWP., Pa. - A Lehigh County brewery is looking to welcome the new year with a bang.
Rising River Brewing Co., established in 2021 at 1955 Willow Lane in Lower Macungie Township, has been nominated in two categories - "best new brewery" and "best destination brewery" - in Breweries in PA's third annual Readers' Choice Awards.
Through a weeks-long process in the fall, readers nominated dozens of Pennsylvania breweries in 14 categories, including other top distinctions such as best IPA, best taproom and best overall brewery.
Voting in the craft beer blog's contest opened in early December, and as of Friday, Rising River is leading in both of its nominated categories.
For best new brewery, Rising River has 24% of the vote. For best destination, it has 21%, although Tröegs Independent Brewing in Hershey is close behind with 20%.
Individuals can vote for their favorite breweries once a day through the end of the year.
"It's a very competitive statewide contest!" said co-owner Ron W. Beitler, noting that more than 70,000 votes had been cast mid-week. "Voting ends 9 p.m. on Friday, December 31."
Rising River is a kid- and dog-friendly brewery featuring flagship and seasonal brews, hard ciders and hard seltzer drinks.
Its 2-acre grove, nicknamed "The Holler," has proven to be especially popular during the warm months.
The tree-lined beer garden, along the banks of the Little Lehigh Creek, features firepits, string lights, picnic tables and more than 120 Adirondack chairs.
Customers can choose to play yard games such as cornhole or relax in a chair in the creek.
The brewery's 1,700-square-foot taproom, dubbed "The Rumpus Room," is housed inside a renovated, 120-year-old barn.
Customers can sip on a variety of Rising River draft brews, including East Texas Blonde (blonde ale), Hex (Belgian-style witbier), Hemlock Hill (pilsner), P.L.M. (American lager), Moon Tower (double hazy IPA) and Squirrel Master (West Coast IPA), while listening to live local music (on select nights).
A garage-style door opens to a newly constructed, 3,000-square-foot "Big Sky Deck," overlooking The Holler and featuring a seasonal tiki bar.
Rising River also partners with several local food trucks, which provide a rotating selection of food offerings throughout the year.
In addition to Rising River, other regional breweries have also been nominated in Breweries in PA's 2022 Readers' Choice Awards, including Imprint Beer Co. in Hatfield (best sour - Pumpkin Schmoogee); Bright Path Brewing in Jim Thorpe (best new brewery); ShawneeCraft Brewing in Shawnee on Delaware (best music venue and best beer garden); Mystic Ways Brewing in Perkasie (best new brewery); Stampede Barbecue in Mohnton (best new brewery); Free Will Brewing Co. in Perkasie (best stout - Ralphius); Sly Fox Brewing Company in Pottstown (best stout - O'Reilly's Stout); and Hidden River Brewing Company in Douglassville, Berks County (best overall brewery and best destination brewery).