Craft Beer Guide: Philadelphia
Our recent beer trip to Philly was nothing short of an adventure. After a long, not-so-smooth, day of travels we landed in the ‘City of Brotherly Love’ thirsty and ready to explore. Once in Philly, we stayed in several AirBnBs and were entirely dependent on public transportation for our brewery visits. This made for an exciting week and was a great way to see the city, however the breweries in the Philadelphia area are rather spread out.
Our first stop was at the world-renowned, Belgian-inspired beer bar, Monk’s Café in downtown Philly. We chatted up some local experts, planned our route for the weekend, and got our first taste of Philly beer by way of Tired Hands Brewing’s Weed Eater – A delightfully refreshing, citrus forward, oat-brewed IPA that really set an excellent precedent for the rest of the trip.
After trying the Weed Eater IPA, visiting Tired Hands became a main priority and was well worth the 45-minute bus ride out to Ardmore PA. Tired Hands is one of the most creatively constructed breweries we’ve ever seen and has two totally unique locations approximately half a mile from each other. The ‘Brew Café’ and the ‘Fermentaria’ offer separate experiences, beer lists, and incredible locally sourced food menus. All and all, Ardmore has a very pleasant little downtown area and is worth visiting if you have a few nights in Philly.
While downtown Philly is probably better known for its craft beer bars and pubs, there are several very cool breweries in the metro area. Yards Brewing Company is a Philly area staple and their beer is available in a lot of restaurants around the city. Yards is open seven days a week and is a very popular local hangout, specifically on weekends. We sampled several flights in the lively, spacious taproom and were quite impressed with the beer. 2nd Story Brewing is a relatively new brewpub housed in an awesome old brick building that has been beautifully renovated and makes for a great dining experience. Philadelphia Brewing Company is worth checking out but is only open limited hours on Saturdays.
One of the most fun afternoons of the trip was when we visited Manayunk, a small neighborhood in the Northwestern section of Philly with a culturally vibrant strip of restaurants, shops, bars, and the highly impressive Manayunk Brewing Company. Manayunk is one of the larger brewpubs we’ve ever come across with two indoor bars, an outdoor bar, a large dining area both inside and outside, and an event space upstairs. We ordered a pint of the Manayunk Lager and the ‘Wet Dreamin’ IPA from the bar before getting to sample a few specialty brews during a behind the scenes look at the brewhouse – These guys are doing some great things! Everything we tried was crisp and creative. The brewers told us they are making efforts to ramp up their production and distribution, so watch out Philly!
Forest & Main Brewing in Ambler PA is slightly off the beaten path for someone visiting Philadelphia, but is certainly worth checking out. The brewpub is in a charming 19th Century Victorian-style home and has a very inviting feel to it. This is certainly not your average brewpub, as they offer a very unique seasonally inspired menu and creative English style ales. Great patio, cool little bar area, and pleaantly quaint dining room.
Last but not least, we stopped by Earth Bread + Brewery in the Mt. Airy section of Philly. This ‘neighborhood’ brewpub is known for their delicious flatbreads, their adventurous beer recipes, and the ‘artsy local’ feel of the brewery. Rumor has it that Earth Bread rarely brews the same recipe twice and has created dozens of masterpieces throughout the years. All and all, Earth Bread was a great place to stop by for a late lunch and wrap up our Philly beer trip.