June 19, 2017

Craft Beer Trail Explores Philly's Brewing Tradition

America's Best Beer-Drinking City Offers Self-Guided Tour Of 60+ Breweries, Pubs

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Cheers and cheer at Sly Fox Brewhouse & Eatery. Photo by J. Fusco for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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Dock Street Brewery and Restaurant. Photo by J. Fusco for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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Tired Hands Brewing Company. Photo by J. Fusco for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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One hundred years ago, Philadelphia was known as the greatest beer-brewing city in the Western Hemisphere, or the “Cradle of American Libation,” according to food critic Craig LaBan of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Local taverns were arguably the true birthplace of the American Revolution, providing the well-stocked gathering spaces needed for our Founding Fathers and common men alike to execute the American Revolution.

In the mid-19th through the early 20th centuries, more than 90 breweries thrived in Philadelphia proper, with another 100 operating around the region. An area northwest of what’s now Center City, located on the banks of the Schuylkill River near the Girard Avenue Bridge, became known as Brewerytown. As this neighborhood grew, area producers of German-style pilsners and American lagers alike expanded into nearby Kensington, Fishtown and beyond.

The brewery boom came to an end in 1920, when Prohibition brought on the decline—and near demise—of virtually all of Philadelphia’s beer producers, the majority of which remained shuttered beyond the repeal of the “Noble Experiment” in 1933.

Today, innovative craft breweries have proudly reclaimed the region’s reputation by brewing some of the country’s best beer. Well-earned designations from national press include Philadelphia’s appearance in Wine Enthusiast’s “Five Best Beer Cities,” GQ’s “The 5 Best Beer Cities in America” and Frommer’s “World’s Best Cities for Beer.”

To plot out their exploration of the region’s breweries and brewpubs, beer lovers can check out the “Breweries, Brewpubs and Craft Beer Trail of Greater Philadelphia.” Available on visitphilly.com, the self-guided trail features about 60 regional breweries and tasting rooms. In addition to experiencing the breweries themselves, beer lovers can walk into the hundreds of bars that keep local brews stocked and on tap, or partake in the brew-focused events that fill the calendar. Taking place every June, the 10-day Philly Beer Week is the largest beverage celebration of its kind in America.

Here are breweries and brewpubs of Greater Philadelphia, including spots that have opened in 2016/2017.


  • 2nd Story Brewing Company – At this rustic-chic two-story brewpub in Old City, head brewer Jason Ranck presents classic ales and lagers alongside American bar fare, a justifiably famous Big & Boozy Adult Sundae—and a full bar. 117 Chestnut Street, (267) 314-5770, 2ndstorybrewing.com
  • Bar Hygge/Brewery Techne – Tom Baker and Peggy Zwerver of Mount Airy’s Earth Bread + Brewery have opened a second brewpub in the Spring Garden section of Philly. Named after the Danish social concept of Hygge (“huu-guh”), the feeling of comfort derived from spending time with loved ones, this cozy neighborhood spot specializes in beer styles rarely seen elsewhere, from an historical Adambier to a novel Belgian-influenced milk stout. 1720 Fairmount Avenue, (215) 765-2274, barhygge.com
  • Brewery ARS – New December 2016 – ARS, the brainchild of twin brothers Andy and Sean Arsenault, operates out of a former auto-body shop on West Passyunk Avenue. The Arsenaults specialize in elegant and interesting Belgian-inspired brews, poured on tap eight at a time and rotated by whim and season. If there’s no food truck there, guest can take advantage of the bring-your-own food policy. 1927-29 W. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 960-5173, breweryars.com
  • Crime and Punishment Brewing Company – Inspired by the words of great thinkers—such as the author of the brewery’s namesake, Fyodor Dostoyevsky—Crime and Punishment toys with a Russian theme in its décor. As the first 21st-century brewery to return to the neighborhood known as Brewerytown, the brewpub showcases Eastern European fare and highly experimental beer styles, including quadruple-hopped pale ales a gose brewed with kombucha. 2711 W. Girard Avenue, (215) 235-BREW (2739), crimeandpunishmentbrewery.com
  • Dock Street Brewery and Restaurant – Located in an old West Philly firehouse, this brewpub, the latest iteration of the pioneering Dock Street label, features wood-fired pizzas, vegan and vegetarian specialties, brewpub-exclusive beers, beer cocktails and a weekly movie night. Joining their traditional unfiltered ales and lagers are alternative and experimental styles, such as the Wu Tang Clan-inspired Dock Street Beer Ain’t Nothin’ to Funk With and Walker, a beer brewed with smoked goat brains to honor The Walking Dead. 701 S. 50th Street, (215) 726-2337, dockstreetbeer.com
  • Earth Bread + Brewery – From utilizing reclaimed furniture to composting, Earth’s husband-and-wife owners—who once owned New Jersey’s renowned Heavyweight Brewing Co.—are as committed to reducing their footprint as they are to creating wood-fired flatbreads and pouring a niche selection of beers and wines on draft. The brewpub is known for its ever-rotating, always-changing tap selection, where no recipe is repeated. 7136 Germantown Avenue, (215) 242-6666, earthbreadbrewery.com
  • Evil Genius Beer Company – New March 2017 – Partners Trevor Hayward and Luke Bowen introduced their 185-seat brewpub to Fishtown’s thirstiest drinkers in early 2017, becoming an immediate hit with craft-savvy locals. The 15-barrel operation, complete with draft lines hooked directly into the cold storage tanks, boasts a lineup of cleverly named off-kilter beers, like Purple Monkey Dishwasher, a choco-peanut butter porter; I Love Lamp, a German-inspired hefeweizen brewed with fresh pineapple; and This One Time at Band Camp, a strong double IPA. 1727 Front Street, (215) 425-6820, evilgeniusbeer.com
  • Fermentery Form – New January 2017 – The trick to Scott Hatch, Matt Stone and Ethan Tripp’s North Philly beer destination is that it’s not really a brewery at all. The partners, more fascinated by after-the-fact processes like blending and barrel-aging than the manual from-scratch portion of the tank-to-glass process, work with regional breweries to get their hands on wort prepared to their specs, which they then manipulate with a number of processes to ferment into beer. Since all this takes time, Form is still in the early stages of operation, but plan on ramping it up as the months pass. 1700 N. Palethorp Street, (267) 518-3676, fermentoryform.com
  • Manayunk Brewery and Restaurant – This canal-side destination constantly updates its beer selections, which pour from 10 taps, including a hand pump. Patrons wash down stone oven-fired pizzas and sushi with hand-crafted beers that run the gamut from dark and strong to zesty and airy. 4120 Main Street, (215) 482-8220, manayunkbrewery.com
  • Philadelphia Brewing Company (PBC) – PBC operates in a Kensington facility that was originally constructed as the Weisbrod & Hess Brewing Company. Every Saturday, visitors can tour the brewery and sip samples of what’s on tap—including reliably popular year-round brews Kenzinger, Walt Wit, Newbold India Pale Ale and Pennsylvania Pale Ale. 2440 Frankford Avenue, (215) 427-BREW (2739), philadelphiabrewing.com
  • Roy-Pitz Barrel House – New June 2017 – Chambersburg-based Roy-Pitz has extended its footprint into the city with this eye-catching new brewpub in the emerging Spring Arts district just north of Chinatown. With a whopping 17 beers on draft, hardcore beer geeks and neophytes alike are bound to find something they dig, whether it’s a flavor-bomb sour ale or Belgian Tripel or an easygoing pilsner or lager. Chef David Champagne’s menu features bites such as pulled pork panini, shrimp ceviche and a fried green tomato caprese salad. 990 Spring Garden Street, (215) 995-6792, roypitzbarrelhouse.com
  • Saint Benjamin Brewing Company – Though it’s only been open since 2016, this Kensington brewery, taproom and restaurant has history on its side: It occupies an industrial space that was once home to the Theo Finkenauer Brewery. Free tours run on Saturday afternoons but patrons can order beers and food in the renovated 19th-century space every day but Monday. 1710 N. 5th Street, stbenjaminbrewing.com
  • Second District Brewing Co. – New February 2017 – The latest South Philly holding from John Longacre, owner of smash-hit gastropubs South Philadelphia Tap Room and American Sardine Bar, features fascinating brewed-on-site beers from former Dock Street brewer Ben Potts paired with fun-loving food from ASB chef Doreen DeMarco. The bar portion of the space, complete with garage-style doors that open onto the street, seats around 50. 1939 S. Bancroft Street, (215) 575-5900, seconddistrictbrewing.com
  • Urban Village Brewing Company – New June 2017 – Taking over a space in the Northern Liberties complex Schmidt’s Commons, Urban Village is the handiwork of Dave Goldman and Tom Revelli, who have combined their comparable passions for brewing and baking to develop this beer and pizza lover’s paradise. Goldman’s early-going stylings include a Rye IPA, a Citra Pale Ale and Beets by J, a Berliner Weiss brewed with more than 300 pounds of beets. Revelli, meanwhile, is a fellow fermentation fiend whose interests gravitate toward naturally leavened dough; pizzas here are a big food draw, and they’re joined by small plates and sandwiches from Chef Christopher Davis. 1001 N. 2nd Street, (267) 687-1961, urbanvillagebrewing.com
  • Yards Brewing Company – Owner Tom Kehoe helped ignite a craft beer revolution in Philadelphia, and as his 2014 designation as Philly Beer Scene magazine’s “Humanitarian of the Year” proves, he is deeply committed to sustainability and community. Current visitors to Yards’ wind-powered Penn’s Landing tasting room can sample its English-inspired ales while shooting pool or nibbling light fare from the kitchen or food trucks parked outside on weekends. Future visitors—as of late 2017—will head to a new, 80,000-square-foot, 100,000-barrel-capacity brewery at 5th and Spring Garden Streets. 901 N. Delaware Avenue, (215) 634-2600, yardsbrewing.com

Bucks County:

  • Broken Goblet Brewing Company – It’s true that Broken Goblet produces some unusual beers (think a Belgian Strong with figs and plums or an ale brewed with strawberry-grapefruit green tea), but what may be more surprising is the fact that the industrial-park brewery comes equipped with a soundstage, professional audio/video capabilities and a parking lot large enough to host more than 1,000 guests. That means beer festivals, concerts alfresco, trivia, karaoke, comedians, live music and movies inside. Couple this with some noteworthy grub from Philly’s own Nick’s Roast Beef for a unique taproom experience. 1500 Grundys Lane, Bristol, (609) 868-6385, brokengoblet.com
  • Bucks County Brewery – Though he hasn’t quite reached all of his environmental goals yet, devoted conservationist and owner Andrew Knechel strives to brew as efficiently as possible with the eventual help of solar and wind power, biodiesel and employees who bike to work. Friday nights are the best time to visit the brewery, dance to live music outdoors and nosh on dinner from a rotating selection of food trucks. The brewery shares a space with Hewn Spirits, a small-batch craft distillery. 31 Appletree Lane, Pipersville, (609) 439-2468, buckscountybrewery.com
  • Doylestown Brewing Company (DBC) – Not too far removed from the 2011 launch of his independent brewing operation, Joe Modestine has created a thriving beer, whiskey and food triumvirate in downtown Doylestown. DBC’s primary restaurant space, Hops Bar and Grill, sits just across the way from his other venues, Doyle’s Down the Alley and The Still. In addition, there’s a new 5,000-square-foot brewery and 12-tap tasting room facility opening soon to showcase DBC’s easy-drinking ales and lagers. 52 E. State Street, Doylestown, (215) 340-1414, doylestownbrewingcompany.com
  • Free Will Brewing Company – Already an established Pennsylvania craft brewery, Free Will has expanded its downtown Perkasie space in the past few years to accommodate the production and storage of distinctive small-batch sour ales. The creators of stalwarts like Community Kolsch, Mango Wheat and C.O.B. (an imperial brown ale) have also opened an eight-line taproom at Peddler’s Village in Lahaska. 410 E. Walnut Street, Perkasie, (267) 354-0813; Peddler’s Village, Route 263 & Street Road, Unit 47, Lahaska, (267) 544-0760, freewillbrewing.com
  • Mad Princes Brewing – Brothers Kurt and Jim Ludwig began homebrewing together years ago and have been brewing commercially since late 2015. Their nano-brewed specialties include seasonal farmhouse ales, traditional German witbiers, barrel-aged stouts and more. A small tasting room features seven taps pouring the brewery’s beers made on a half-barrel system and a communal wooden table the brothers made themselves. 2537 Bogarts Tavern Road, Buckingham, (267) 697-9235
  • Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company (NCBC) – Neshaminy and its head brewer and co-owner Jeremy Myers have racked up numerous local awards since opening in 2012, which may help explain why the Bucks County brewery has built a tasting room and expanded several times. New to the flock: Borough Brewhouse, a massive taproom in Jenkintown pouring NCBC beers along with grub from the team behind Revolution Taco. 909 Ray Avenue, Croydon, (215) 458-7081; 208 York Road, Jenkintown, (267) 636-5858, neshaminycreekbrewing.com
  • Tower Hill Brewery – Culinary Institute of America graduate and landmark local deli owner Stan Kreft sources from local farms to make the full and shareable plates on his seasonal food menu, and he pours six house beers, plus guest wines and ciders to match. 237 W. Butler Avenue, Chalfont, (215) 527-1192, towerhillbrewery.com
  • Triumph Brewing Company – The eastern Pennsylvania location of the mini-brewpub chain pours mostly standard Belgian, German and English styles (including ciders) from six taps and a hand pump. The rustic-industrial space hosts live bands on weekends and open-mic nights on Sundays. 400 Union Square, New Hope, (215) 862-8300, triumphbrewing.com
  • Vault Brewing Company – Housed in a circa-1889 bank, Vault’s allure comes as much from its quirky, speakeasy-esque design—including the original, 125-year-old, 8,000-pound vault door that opens into the beer-conditioning cellar—as its beer. On Tuesdays, guests have the chance to try rare small-batch beers from their experimental Trial & Error series. 10 S. Main Street, Yardley, (267) 573-4291, vaultbrewing.com

Chester County:

  • Boxcar Brewing Company – What started in a garage in 2009 has become a full production brewery (that cans its beer) with a Prohibition-themed brewpub. Located in a former music venue, the pub hosts bands and family entertainment. 142 E. Market Street, West Chester, (484) 947-2503, boxcarbrewingcompany.com
  • La Cabra Brewing – New October 2016 – A modern brewpub imbued with an anything-goes philosophy, La Cabra (“The Goat”) has set up shop across Lancaster Avenue from the Berwyn train station. Homebrewer-turned-pro Dan Popernack offers a diverse slew of creatively tweaked styles, with big plans for the funky wild ales currently barrel-aging in his bar’s basement. A locally sourced and inspired menu, with some subtle Latin touches, complements the bar selections. 642 Lancaster Avenue, Berwyn (610) 240-7908, lacabrabrewing.com
  • Levante Brewing Company – Taking its name, which means “rising,” from a region in Italy, Levante rose up from two home-brewing friends who wanted to make beers in the explorative tradition of the Old World. Patrons can try 14 of the brewers’ beers on draft in the taproom and grab food from the food trucks parked outside. 208 Carter Drive, Suite 2, West Chester, levantebrewing.com
  • Kennett Brewing Company – With just about a year of commercial brewing under their belts, co-owners Jossy and Mark Osborne are brewing two dozen traditional and esoteric beers at their family-friendly brewpub, where live music makes it a space for people of all ages to hang out. 109 S. Broad Street, Kennett Square, (610) 444-0440, kennettbrewingcompany.com
  • Stable 12 Brewing Company – Founded at the horse farm where CEO Rick Wolf grew up, now relocated to a storefront in downtown Phoenixville, this taproom serves food and a rotation of the brewery’s dozen English, Belgian, German and American beers. 368 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, stable12.com
  • Stickman Brews – Stickman’s artsy and industrial taproom is known for experimental farmhouse-style beers that come in various sizes and have funny names, such as Table to Face lager and Hanging with Carnies nitro cream ale. 326 N. Lewis Road, Royersford, (484) 938-5900, stickmanbrews.com
  • Victory Brewing Company – Founded by childhood friends Ron Barchet and Bill Covaleski, who met on a school bus in 1973, the brewery formally began operations in February 1996. Victory now distributes to 37 states and 10 countries and owns and manages three operations in Chester County: a brewery and full-service restaurant at the original Downingtown site; a second brewhouse in Parkesburg with an on-site restaurant and self-guided tours; and a 300-seat brewpub called Victory at Magnolia in Kennett Square. It also operates a vast indoor-outdoor beer hall amid South Philadelphia’s stadiums at Xfinity Live. 1100 Pattison Avenue, (267) 443-6418; 420 Acorn Lane, Downingtown, (610) 873-0881; 3127 Lower Valley Road, Parkesburg, (484) 718-5080; 650 W. Cypress Street, Kennett Square, (484) 730-1870, victorybeer.com

Delaware County:

  • 2SP Brewing – Longtime local brewer Bob Barrar has earned himself the nickname “Medal Machine” because he just won’t stop winning international awards for his beer. Now working for himself, Barrar keeps ’em coming, with the 2016 Best New Brewery award from Philly Beer Scene magazine and several others. 120 Concord Road, Aston, (484) 483-7860, 2spbrewing.com
  • Sterling Pig Brewery – Media restaurateur Loïc Barnieu teamed up with accomplished brewer Brian McConnell to pair classic beer styles with salads, wood-fired pizzas and lots of barbecue to be sampled at the bar or in the dining room. 609 W. State Street, Media, (484) 444-2526, sterlingpig.com

Montgomery County:

  • Appalachian Brewing Company (ABC) – As an outpost of a Harrisburg brewpub that runs several locations, ABC’s Collegeville restaurant brews beer, root beer, white birch beer and ginger beer—all to wash down a vast selection of gourmet pub fare. Collegeville Station, 50 W. 3rd Avenue, 2nd Floor, Collegeville, (484) 973-6064, abcbrew.com
  • Conshohocken Brewing Company – Bikers on the Schuylkill River Trail plot a stop in Conshy to fuel up on the waterfront deck with a beer and chili, pulled pork sandwich or house-made garlic hummus. The team has also built a full brewpub with a small brewing system in Bridgeport just five miles away. Production brewery and taproom, 739 E. Elm Street, Suite B, Conshohocken; Brewpub, 3 DeKalb Street, Bridgeport, (610) 897- 8962, conshohockenbrewing.com
  • Crooked Eye Brewery – The three relatives who own this nano-brewery have expanded to seven barrels and have upgraded their tasting room. A lively roster of live music and comedy bring regulars every night of the week. 13 E. Montgomery Avenue, Hatboro, (267) 246-5046, crookedeyebrewery.com
  • Forest & Main Brewing Company – Home to some of the most esoteric beers in the region, the half-British, half-Belgian brewery and restaurant serves a full lunch and dinner menu out of a charming 19th-century mansion. A bottle series highlights the airborne yeast in the brewery’s cellar. 61 N. Main Street, Ambler, (215) 542-1776, forestandmain.com
  • The Naked Brewing Company – The two home-brewing friends who started Naked offer a comfy tasting room, plus regular live music and food trucks, to fans of their flights and pints of year-round, seasonal and sour beers. 51 Buck Road, Huntingdon Valley, (267) 575-0166, nakedbrewingcompany.com
  • Prism Brewing Company – Brewer/owner Rob DeMaria has gone from contract brewing in a small suburban brewpub to opening a warehouse brewery, complete with a taproom that features gourmet hot dogs, pizzas and cookies. 810-B2 Dickerson Road, B2-Rear, North Wales, (267) 613-8572, prismbeer.com
  • The Proper Brewing Company – Nestled into downtown Quakertown, The Proper prides itself on providing a homey environment where families can munch on locally sourced sandwiches, burgers, flatbreads and quesadillas while the grown-ups sip Belgian, English and hoppy beers made on-site, plus wines and ciders from surrounding counties. 117 W. Broad Street, Quakertown, (267) 490-5168, theproperbrewing.com
  • Round Guys Brewing Company – Biologist Scott Rudich took on home brewing with the intent of opening this brewery and pub, which features barrel-aged and funky beers on draft and a kitchen serving snacks, shareable plates and brunch. 324 W. Main Street, Lansdale, (610) 715-1512, roundguysbrewery.com
  • Tired Hands Brewing Company – In 2015, owner/brewer Jean Broillet IV opened Fermentaria, a production brewery and second brewpub down the street from his original—and still operational—Brew Café in Ardmore. In less than five years, the Belgo-French cafe-brewery has won some of the world’s most prestigious awards, including second place in RateBeer’s ranking of the best new breweries on earth. Fans of Tired Hands’ unorthodox beers queue up weekly to for limited-release cans and bottles. 16 Ardmore Avenue, Ardmore, (610) 896-7621; Fermentaria, 35 Cricket Terrace, Ardmore, (484) 413-2983, tiredhands.com

Multiple Locations:

  • Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant – The East Coast’s fastest growing group of brewpubs counts 12 locations in the region, with locations in Center City, Philadelphia and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware on deck for 2018. The acclaimed beers have accumulated a wealth of awards from the nation’s top beer festivals. 8400 Germantown Avenue, (215) 948-5600; 785 Huntington Pike, Huntington Valley, (610) 602-9255; 60 Greenfield Avenue, Ardmore, (610) 228-2280; 30 E. State Street, Media, (610) 627-9000;1460 Bethlehem Pike, North Wales, (267) 708-2000; 130 E. Bridge Street, Phoenixville, (610) 983-9333; 3 W. Gay Street, West Chester, (610) 738-9600, ironhillbrewery.com
  • McKenzie Brew House – Eaters and drinkers in Philadelphia’s western suburbs have three McKenzie’s brewpubs to choose from. Patrons at each sip beers that have earned the company almost a dozen Great American Beer Festival medals and earned it a place on CNN’s list of the world’s 35 best breweries. 324 Swedesford Road, Berwyn, (610) 407-4300; 451 Wilmington-West Chester Pike, Glen Mills, (610) 361-9800; 240 Lancaster Avenue, Malvern, (610) 296-2222, mckenziebrewhouse.com
  • Sly Fox Brewing Company – Since launching in 1995, Sly Fox has expanded and moved several times and now consists of a brewhouse and eatery in Phoenixville and a brewery and tasting room in Pottstown. Sly Fox, which launched the Mid-Atlantic’s first canning line several years ago, garnered numerous medals at The Great American Beer Festival and won best new beer at the 2014 Philadelphia Inquirer Brew-vitational. The Pottstown brewery is open for tours and tastings. Brewhouse & Eatery, 520 Kimberton Road (Route 113), Phoenixville, (610) 935-4540; Brewery & Tasting Room, Pottstown Airport Business Center, 331 Circle of Progress Drive, Pottstown, (484) 524-8210, slyfoxbeer.com

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