Guest Post: Kevin Walter’s Farewell and Hometown Hero Returns as Lancaster’s New Head Brewer

by | 11/29/2022

Lancaster native Chad Rieker is returning to take the tiller on the brewhouse at Iron Hill Lancaster.  Chad has brewing in his blood.  His family founded the Rieker Star brewery in the 1800’s which produced fine pilsner beer largely consumed in the Cabbage Hill neighborhood.  During prohibition, Rieker Star beer was pumped through a hose in the sewers straight to the thirsty patrons of speakeasies.  Eventually the federal stranglehold on the once strong American brewing tradition proved too much for the Rieker Star brewery.  The building was razed during World War II and the land was turned into Crystal Park in 1957.

Chad has years of homebrewing under his belt, including brewing the first batch of St. James Brown Ale dedicated to his church in downtown Lancaster.  Chad scaled the recipe up to brew it in Iron Hill Lancaster’s brewhouse during his time as an assistant brewer here.  Releasing St. James has become an annual tradition that the beer drinking community of Lancaster looks forward to every November.

After almost two years in Lancaster, I am transferring to our West Chester location in anticipation of starting construction for a brand new Iron Hill in Voorhees, NJ, ending the five and a half year tradition of importing head brewers from Philadelphia.

I’ve got to know a lot of great people during my time in Lancaster and will surely miss them.  I can happily report that during my tenure we brought home the first Great American Beer Festival medal for this location, a Silver medal for Rauchtoberfest.  We’ve had a lot of fun at events and shared some good times together.  While I’m sorry to be leaving I’m happy to hand over the mash shovel to Chad.


the Brewer