Levante Brewing Company Elevates the Craft Experience With Beer and Dogs

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The tasting room at Levante Brewing in West Chester.

Dogs and beer have one trait in common—they just make life better. So when I heard that Levante Brewing Company allows dogs in their taproom, I had to go. It isn’t often that I can put my dog, Wyoming, on her leash and head out to get beers with my friends, so to say I was excited is an understatement.

The West Chester brewery is located in an industrial park like a lot of others, but the first difference I noticed about Levante is the huge glass garage door in the front that shows off the busy taproom.

Right as we walked in, Wyoming spotted an old basset hound lying on the floor and I was surprised by how crowded it was inside. I’d been to the brewery a few months before, and about half the amount of people were there. Now, the taproom was packed with all kinds of customers—a table of West Goshen cops, students getting away from the insufferable crowds in downtown bars, and customers like me just looking for a friendly place to drink good beer and socialize (with people and dogs).

On this particularly busy night, I was able to sit down with Eric Santostefano, co-founder and brewer of Levante, and Jim Adams, co-owner and taproom manager, to talk about their beer, “no rules” mantra, and (most importantly) the love they have for their customers and community.

What makes Levante so welcoming? “The very chill atmosphere that we have is certainly a draw…there’s no rules,” says Adams. “You can come in with a big group. One person might have a dog, one person might have a kid; everybody can get together—you can’t do that at other places,” says Santostefano. The guys say that the taproom is an “extension of your living room;” somewhere that people can go to and feel at home.

Wyoming eying the Jenga tower.

Wyoming eying the Jenga tower.

I’ve been to my fair share of breweries and it’s rare that I’ll get into conversation with a stranger. It’s not like I’m unsociable—it just doesn’t happen. In one night at Levante, I talked with an older man about his dog for about a half an hour, a couple chatted with me about their beach house (while eating food from The Flying Deutschman, the food truck for the night), and I hung out with a group of people while they played a giant game of Jenga that went past our heads (which Wyoming later knocked over). This is the living room vibe.

The good vibes are constant, but different every day. Adams says, “You can come here three times a week and never have the same experience.” For right now, Levante is open Thursday through Sunday, and every day there’s a different food truck, so one day there may be German food, while another day there could be Brazilian BBQ. Sometimes there’s live music, and they’ve hosted events like the West Chester Story Slam.

A lot of the events they have come from the minds of customers. One of them includes “Kegs n’ Eggs,” a special breakfast and beer release party happening at the brewery this Sunday, February 7th from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Food truck PB and U will be serving foods including bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches on a brioche bun, Greek yogurt parfait, and PB&J options for the kids. There will also be music by Jason Farley. Essentially it’s going to be the ultimate pre-game experience for the Super Bowl, and they’re expecting between 400 and 500 people, but that’s just a guess.

Supporting the community that supports them is a priority for Levante—they sponsor a vintage baseball team, the West Chester and Lancaster Story Slam, and help out a number of local non-profits like BUCK Cancer Foundation, West Goshen Police Department’s “Run 2 Remember Richie”, CMMD’s Food for Fight Campaign, and Philabundance, just to name a few.

As for the beer, Santostefano says that they aren’t “reinventing beer,” but with so many breweries in the area, each one needs to have their own special “thing” for them to succeed. The way that Levante does this is by making their beers “balanced and drinkable.” They steer clear of beers that are “gimmicky,” because in Santostefano’s words, “as special as something may seem, if it’s not drinkable then what’s the point of it?”

If you were to go there this weekend (you totally should), you’d have a choice between a rye ale, a wit, an ESA, a double IPA, and an American double stout just to name a few. And they are good. Really good. Personally, I enjoyed their newest brew, Monk’s Night Out, a Belgian double IPA.

So at the end of the day, Levante isn’t just another craft brewery. It’s a community meeting space where everyone can get together and enjoy themselves in their own extended living room. This weekend, grab your dog, grab your kids, meet up with friends, and experience the brewery for yourself. I promise you, it’s worth the trip.

Levante Brewing Company [Official]