Mexitaly brewmaster wants the York restaurant to be beer destination
If you go
Location: 2440 E. Market St., Springettsbury Township
Cuisine: Mexican, Italian
Parking: Strip mall, lot in front
Hours: Open daily 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Price range: $4.99 to $19.99 for entrees
Accepts: Cash and credit
Kid's menu: Yes
Details: Call 717-600-8226 or visit mexitaly.com . You can also "like" their Facebook page.
In a way, Rick Kunkel hit the lottery when he accepted a full-time gig as the brewmaster at Mexitaly Brick Oven Brewhouse.
Kunkel was in the printing industry for 28 years before changing careers and coming aboard at the East Market Street restaurant, which opened in February at its new locale. As part of the move, Mexitaly installed a brewhouse to make its own beer.
"When I got offered this position, I was like, 'How can I pass it up?'" said Kunkel, who graduated from Dallastown High School. "Working for a brewhouse, living five minutes away and doing it full-time? Bye-bye printing."
It all didn't happen overnight, however, for Kunkel. He spent the previous 7 1/2 years at Bube's Brewery in Mount Joy making beer part-time.
"For years, (Bube's) were one of the few around who made their own beer," Kunkel said. "I'd venture over there with friends. One time, we were over and they only had one beer up. We asked what was going on and they said one of their brewers quit. My friends were like, 'Hire him! Hire him!' That's how I got the chance."
Kunkel does all the brewing, ordering and beer scheduling for Mexitaly.
Among the seven homebrews on tap as of Oct. 27, Mexitaly was offering the Supernaut Red IPA, the Lightning's Hand pilsner, the Magic Lantern Pumpkin ale, the Blood Orange Hefeweizen, the Golden Years cider and two stouts, an oatmeal and the Morning Impact coffee stout.
Pints are $5 and a tasting flight of five four-ounce glasses is $7.
"I'm a home brewer gone lucky," Kunkel said. "Brewing is fun. It's a lot of fun. It's exciting watching something go from grain to glass ... It's also stressful, too."
Since the end of May, when Mexitaly began tapping its beers, Kunkel said they sold every one of their 300 growlers they put out for sale.
"It's an even better sign we are on the right track when people bring them back in to be refilled," said Kunkel with a laugh.
Kunkel said the first time he tried making beer was with a Mr. Beer kit around 1999 or so. He said he followed a familiar path with home brewers, starting with extract brewing and working up to all-grain brewing.
"I went into it full throttle," Kunkel said. "To be honest, I can't remember what that first batch from Mr. Beer tasted like. I was early into the hobby. Then once I was at Bube's, maybe six months in, there came a point when I just thought to myself, 'I better start learning what the heck I'm doing here.' I really wanted to do this bad."
Kunkel tries to keep the beers rotating as much as possible. He said he's probably made 30 different recipes including smaller "side batches" since the brewhouse opened.
See what's on tap at beermenus.com and Mexitaly's Facebook page. Beers on tap change weekly.
Kunkel is in the planning stages right now for both a Christmas beer and a New Year's beer.
"I'd love for us to be a beer destination," Kunkel said.