TAMAQUA, Pa. -- Schuylkill County has a long and successful history when it comes to brewing beer. After all, Pottsville is home to America's oldest brewery, Yuengling.
One local beer lover identified a Schuylkill County borough as an area that's on the rise, so he started a local craft brewery.
The building in Tamaqua wasn't viewed as a fixture in town. It was vacant for about a decade. Before that, it was a dry cleaner.
Even though the future of the structure was at one point in doubt, Doug Drost always saw potential.
"I've been homebrewing since the mid-'90s. This is something that I wanted to do back then, but life kind of happens, and I took a different turn, so it's always been in the back of my mind."
That passion for brewing led the Hazleton native to launch Stoker's Brewing Company. The name pays homage to the history in this part of Pennsylvania.
"Stoker, in this case, is the person shoveling the coal into the train to keep the train running," he explained.
The microbrewery just opened up in mid-August. Drost identified Tamaqua as a place that's evolving.
"The renovations that I've seen taken over the years, the Tamaqua train station is essentially in our backyard. The Tamaqua Community Arts Center is right up the street. The new Hope and Coffee Shop just opened. It seems like an area with a very bright future, and I'm very glad to be a part of it."
The tables in the main seating area are authentic German beer garden tables that came from Munich, Germany, Oktoberfest 2017.
There is a game room where people can hang out, play some games, and eventually, there will be a beer garden.
Currently, Stoker's has eight ales on tap. They're all brewed in the back and take about two weeks. In the future, some lagers will be added to the beer list.
"The greatest satisfaction to what we're doing here is seeing how it allows people to socialize and interact with each other," Drost said.
Stoker's Brewing Company is open Thursday through Sunday.