In 1776, General George Washington and his army marched through parts of Bucks County, but before they reached New Jersey for the historic Battle of Trenton, they had to make their way across the Delaware River through a wintry mix of snow and ice. Though these men had just experienced an incredibly tough loss in New York just a couple months prior, they never gave up. If they hadn’t persisted through the harsh Northeastern winter, then one of the most monumental battles of the Revolutionary War would not have been won by Washington’s army, and the cause for freedom may have been lost.Just a few short miles up the road sits Vault Brewing Company. Opening its doors in October 2012, Vault Brewing Company, once the Yardley National Bank during the 19th century, serves up some of the finest brews in the area, accompanied by its wood-fired kitchen and live jazz. During the Great Depression, Yardley National Bank went out of business, but the building continued its life as a financial institution for several years later. However, in 2012, the former historic bank was given new life – not quite a brewery and not quite a pub, but a unique brewpub. (Note that while the brewery and park are within a few miles of one another, we strongly encourage a designated driver, taxi, or Uber!)
About the Park
Familiar with the area? Then you are most likely aware of the historic significance of the Washington Crossing Historic Park – I mean, it’s in the name!
On December 25, 1776, General George Washington and his exhausted, but still just as determined, army of men “hatched a plan” to cross the Delaware River overnight with hopes of completing a successful, surprise attack on the Hessian outposts, or German troops hired by the British, at the Battle of Trenton. (Since I’m encouraging you to venture to this beautiful park, I’ll refrain from telling you the whole story!) Despite the odds, Washington and his army captured the entire Hessian force stationed in Trenton, significantly boosting his and his army’s morale, inspiring reenlistments to join the cause and fight for freedom.
In 1917, the Bucks County Historical Society, the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Patriotic Order of the Sons of America, and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, urged the Commonwealth to create and establish the Washington Crossing Park Commission. Established later that year, the 500-acre park is also home to restored Colonial buildings, such as the McConkey Ferry Inn, hinting at how our Bucks County ancestors lived during the 18th century.
Welcoming thousands of visitors each year, Washington Crossing Historic Park represents the willpower and the dedication of Washington’s army. Walking through the park, you are able to immerse yourself in history, picturing not just General Washington crossing the Delaware, but the horse-drawn carriages and even a few men enjoying a pint of beer. (Now, I’m not saying the place is haunted – but I’m certainly not going to deny it, either!)
About the Brewery
“Industrial, old-world, and modern.” The lack of televisions, pop music and its non-traditional menu has Vault visitors feeling as if they stepped back in time (or at least before every bar or brewery blasted Katy Perry or had the latest sports game playing over your conversations). It’s certainly a nice place to snag a uniquely-brewed pint, such as the Breakfast Stout brewed with Vermont maple syrup, sweet cream, and Hershey’s Syrup. Vault Brewing Company’s beer is unfiltered and brewed on-site in their 310 gallon brewery (the tanks are literally right behind the bar). Brewing twice a week, Vault’s beer lines run directly from the tanks and served via draft, nitro, or cask – talk about a fresh pint!
Before Vault opened its doors in 2012, the building was home to several regional (and national) banks, including the Yardley National Bank in 1889, the Philadelphia National Bank, and then lastly, Bank of America, which closed in 2009. Sitting vacant for three years, James and John Cain, along with their father Jim, decided to purchase the building and began working on their plan. In April 2012, construction began, converting the building into the local brewery we know and love today. The brewpub is certainly a piece of local history – visitors get that historic-feel when they step inside and see the original vault repurposed as a beer-cellar.
A unique experience combined with great beer, fantastic wood-fired food and just a short drive from Washington Crossing Historic Park. Pairing history – with more history – and pints has never been so satisfying.