Steelton native brews up Rubber Soul Brewing Company after leap from Dogfish…

Before opening Rubber Soul Brewing Company, Jesse Prall set out to home brew a prototype beer for the brewery.
He admitted he was slightly nervous.
Rubber Soul Brewing Company opened July 4 in Salisbury, Maryland. It is co-owned by Jesse Prall, a Steelton native, who worked for 10 years at  Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Delaware.Provided  
Not to say the Steelton native hadn’t been immersed in the world of craft beer for the past 16 years, nearly 10 of them at Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Delaware.
“Once that water hit the malt, I was like ‘Oh yeah, this is what it’s about,'” Prall said.
In July, Prall, who was previously a brewing supervisor at Dogfish Head, opened Rubber Soul in Salisbury, Maryland.
He is joined in the project by five partners, all mostly childhood friends from Steelton including Jon Sullivan, Beau Faulkner, Frank Hrestak and Corey Deibler.
The 2,400-square-foot open brewery combines a brewing facility, a tasting room and small retail area.
The brewery is named after Prall’s love of cycling. (“The soul of the bike meets the ground and gets you were you are going,” he said.) It is also the name of a Beatles album.
Rubber Soul’s signature Other Woman Blonde Ale, Pogo Double IPA or Urban Style Honey IPA fill six to eight taps. Growlers and crowlers also are available for purchase and fill ups.
The project took nearly two years to develop.
“In the brewery industry I think everybody brewing has that dream of opening a brewery,” said Prall, a Bishop McDevitt graduate.
For a decade he worked at Dogfish Head under craft beer superstar Sam Calagione after a stint as head brewer at Appalachian Brewing Company in Harrisburg.
Moving from Appalachian to Dogfish was a big leap, especially to be at Dogfish during its biggest growth years, Prall said.
At Dogfish, Prall supervised the brewery and took over as a production scheduler at the more than 200,000 barrel a year facility.
The experience, Prall said gave him the confidence to open Rubber Soul. For several years Prall toyed with the idea of opening a brewery but the time never seemed right. Two years ago, after some prodding by Deibler he forged ahead with the project.
“It all just kind of fell into place. I was like ‘You know what? I’m ready. Let’s do it,’ Prall said.
Deibler said he has watched Prall’s brewing skills develop over the years, and calls his friend a perfectionist who is very driven when it comes to the art of brewing. It’s amazing to see what Prall has pumped out of Rubber Soul’s one barrel system, Deibler said.
“A lot of people in this industry are going from small to massive. He’s going from massive to tiny,” Deibler added.
Choosing the location in Salisbury in the Delmarva Peninsula was a no-brainer. Prall said the town is undergoing rapid growth and development.
In fact, Prall said he is eyeing a possible second project in Salisbury linked to his friend Josh White, who plans to open Smoke BBQ later this summer in Cockeysville, Maryland.
In the meantime, Prall said he is concentrating on producing Rubber Soul’s core brands and awaiting the delivery of a seven-barrel system with plans to add more seasonal and experimental beers next year. Rubber Soul will stick to traditional styles such as IPAs, pilsners and lagers.
“If it’s called IPA, that’s what it’s going to be,” Prall.
Locally, the beer will have a significant presence at places such as Al’s of Hampden in Hampden Township, The Warwick in Hummelstown and Sturges Speakeasy in Harrisburg by the fall, Deibler said.
More than one month into the operation, Prall said Rubber Soul has allowed him to move out from full-time production and interact with the beer drinking public.
“Truthfully, one of the reasons (I wanted to open a brewery) is I missed the intimacy of the people drinking beer,” he said.
If you go: Rubber Soul Brewing Co. is located at 1930 Northwood Drive, Salisbury, Maryland. 443-304-7685. It is open noon- 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday and noon-5 p.m. Saturday. 

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