Spirits of the Poconos: Whisky, Wine and Well-Crafted Beer

Grab your tasting glass and journey into the world of whisky, wine and craft beer to learn how they’re made from start to finish with master brewers, distillers and winemakers.
Program No. 24007RJ
6 days
Starts at

At a Glance

Raise your glass and toast to a week filled with fascinating discoveries, new friends and a bottle of your favorite beverage. Delve deep into the spirits of the Poconos Mountains as you learn about the three distinctly different brewing processes of whisky, wine and beer. Join professional distillers, winemakers and brewers on explorations of their facilities and discuss everything from grapes to hops while sampling some of the local specialties. Take what you’ve learned and lend a hand during the actual beer-making process and wind down your days enjoying the beautiful landscapes with a cold glass in hand.
Activity Level
Easy Going
I’m comfortable with some walking throughout the day. I expect to get on and off of a coach, and I’m ready to stroll through cities and to stand for a few hours when we’re learning in museums.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Participate in the brewing process by helping the master beer brewers on anything from adding ingredients to canning.
  • Learn the difference between rural and urban winemaking on expert-led explorations to two different wineries.
  • Study the unique whisky-making process at craft distilleries, including award-winning Silverback, home to the only mother-daughter distilling duo in the nation.

General Notes

The Retreat Difference: This unique, often basic and no-frills experience at a Road Scholar Retreat includes opportunities for early morning exercise, interaction with the local community for insight into local life, an authentic farm-to-table or locally sourced meal, a live performance or event and a value-priced single room.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Midge McClosky
Midge McClosky is the Cultural Program Director for the Shawnee Institute, Executive Director of the Shawnee Playhouse and the Artistic Director of the Worthington Players. Before moving to Shawnee, Midge worked as a professional actress, singer and dancer performing musical theatre in 49 of the 50 states. Her extensive credits cross over into film, television, commercials, voice-overs and live industrials. She and Chris, her husband of more than 20 years, have two active boys, ages 13 and 14.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

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Midge McClosky
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Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The Home Distiller's Workbook: Your Guide to Making Moonshine, Whisky, Vodka, Rum and So Much More! Vol. 1
by Jeff King
Moonshine! A word that evokes images of America’s outlaw heritage. Making moonshine has been such a huge part of our culture that many historians credit it as one of the cornerstones of our nations foundations. How to make moonshine? Is quite likely the very question that brought you here. A yearning to learn the traditions that are in danger of being forgotten in the modern, digital era. I wrote this book to pass along the knowledge that was taught to me in the hills of Kentucky over 30 years ago. Along the way though I developed my own style. I boiled down what I learned and created a simplified style that any beginner can follow. I’ve developed designs that can be used right in the comfort of you own kitchen or out back in the woods! The truth is that Moonshining, aka “Home Distilling” is a folk art that helped build this country. Together we can make it live again, and have a little fun in the process! And a quick thank you to all my readers who have helped make The Home Distiller the best selling book ever on the art and science of making moonshine. Shine On!
For the Love of Beer: Pennsylvania's Breweries
by Alison Feeney
Pennsylvanians have enjoyed a long, rich love affair with beer. The state not only ranks first in the nation for the number of barrels produced but the breweries, beer, and their craftsmen all have interesting stories to tell. This book examines Pennsylvania s brewing history, geography, and cultural richness while highlighting over 100 of the states thriving craft breweries. It explains some of the enjoyable stories and local legends behind the naming of beers, while detailing the unique buildings and architectural treasures that contribute to the renovation of urban areas and revival of small communities. Short descriptions of each brewery provide the reader with an understanding of which brewers use local hops, fruits, and grains in their recipes and how proceeds support local rail trails, waterways, animals shelters, and community events. From long-lasting breweries that survived Prohibition to the most recent openings with upscale food and cutting edge technology, this book describes how craft breweries in Pennsylvania have something to offer everyone. Set out on the road and record your visit to each brewery and enjoy first-hand facts about local breweries with someone who lives, works, and studies this fascinating and dynamic industry.
Techniques in Home Winemaking: The Comprehensive Guide to Making Château-Style Wines
by Daniel Pambianchi
From crushing grapes to bottling wine, this essential handbook enables the home winemaker to make informed decisions about ingredients, equipment, and the winemaking process. Precise step-by-step instructions lead both novice and advanced winemakers through all of the important procedures, including selecting and working with new equipment, determining the best material for specific styles, analyzing the product, monitoring acidity levels, and common troubleshooting problems. Using accessible charts and tables to offer detailed instructions for making Pinot noir, port, and sparkling wines, this newly updated edition also covers often overlooked topics, such as ice wines and blending varieties.

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