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Releases: Expanded View

Jul 7 2016

Beer Trail Highlights The Craft Brewing Tradition In Philadelphia, America's Best Beer-Drinking City

Backgrounder

One hundred years ago, Philadelphia was known as the greatest brewing city in the Western Hemisphere, or the “Cradle of American Libation,” according to food critic Craig LaBan of The Philadelphia Inquirer. In fact, Philadelphia taverns were, arguably, the true birthplace of the American Revolution.

In the mid-19th through the early 20th centuries, more than 90 breweries operated in Philadelphia proper, and another 100 operated in the city’s environs. One area northwest of Philly, located on the banks of the Schuylkill River near the Girard Avenue Bridge, became known as Brewerytown. As Brewerytown grew, area producers of German-style beers and American lagers expanded into the nearby Kensington and Fishtown neighborhoods 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 Prohibition in 1933.

Today, craft breweries have proudly reclaimed the region’s reputation by brewing some of the world’s best beer. Notable 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.”

Visitors can tour the facilities and sample the beer by following the “Breweries, Brewpubs and Craft Beer Trail of Greater Philadelphia.” Available on visitphilly.com, the self-guided trail features about 40 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. Most notably, the 10-day Philly Beer Week is the country’s largest beer week.

Here’s a look at the breweries of Greater Philadelphia.
 

Philadelphia:

  • 2nd Story Brewing Company – At this rustic-chic two-story brewpub in Historic Philadelphia, head brewer John Wible presents classic ales and lagers alongside American bar fare, a justifiably famous Big & Boozy Adult Sundae and—rare for a brewery—a full bar. 117 Chestnut Street, (267) 314-5770, 2ndstorybrewing.com
  • Bar Hygge/Brewery Techne – Tom Baker and Peggy Zwerver of Earth Bread + Brewery have opened a second brewpub, in the Spring Garden section of Philly. True to form, Baker is concocting beers not generally seen elsewhere, from an historical Adambier to a novel Belgian-influenced milk stout. 1720 Fairmount Ave, (215) 765-2274, barhygge.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 Russian fare and international (including Polish) beer styles. 2711 W. Girard Avenue, (215) 235-BREW (2739), crimeandpunishmentbrewery.com
  • Do Good Brewing – Do Good—named for both its spirit of philanthropy and Ben Franklin’s nom de plume—produces unusual beers such as a balsamic saison, a Limoncello IPA (the first beer in the Italian-inspired Birra Forte line) and United Ale, a cream ale with blood orange and coriander, whose profits generate money for charity. The seven-barrel brewery in a former textile mill in Philadelphia’s Port Richmond neighborhood is open by appointment. 3245 Amber Street, (267) 752-3548, dogoodbrewing.com
  • Dock Street Brewery and Restaurant – Alongside traditional unfiltered ales and lagers are alternative and experimental styles, such as the Wu Tang Clan-infused Dock Street Beer Ain’t Nothin to Funk With and Walker, a beer brewed with smoked goat brains to honor the TV show “Walking Dead.” Located in an old firehouse, the brewpub features wood-fired pizzas, vegan and vegetarian specialties, brewpub-exclusive beers, beer cocktails and a weekly movie night. 701 S. 50th Street, (215) 726-2337, dockstreetbeer.com
  • Earth Bread + Brewery – From utilizing reclaimed furniture to composting, the 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. 7136 Germantown Avenue, (215) 242-6666, earthbreadbrewery.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 beers that range from fruity mainstay Schuylkill Punch, a berry ale made with real cherries and red and black raspberries, to sour and barrel-aged options. 4120 Main Street, (215) 482-8220, manayunkbrewery.com
  • Philadelphia Brewing Company (PBC) – PBC operates in a Fishtown 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—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
  • Saint Benjamin Brewing Company – Though it’s been open two years, the Kensington brewery has at long last built its long anticipated tasting room and expanded brewhouse. Free tours run on Saturday afternoons but patrons can order beers and food in the renovated 19th century brewery every day but Monday. 1710 N. 5th Street, stbenjaminbrewing.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 remains notably committed to sustainability and community. Current visitors to Yards’ wind-powered Penn’s Landing tasting room and sample its mostly 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, 85,000-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 this brewery produces some unusual beers (think a Belgian Pale with basil), 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 hot-dog concoctions, such as the Uncle Paul Dog, with peanut butter, jelly, marshmallow fluff and bacon, for a unique twist on the traditional 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. 31 Appletree Lane, Pipersville, (609) 439-2468, buckscountybrewery.com
  • Doylestown Brewing Company – Just one year after opening his operation, son of a saloon owner Joe Modestine has created a beer, whiskey and food campus in downtown Doylestown. A brewpub and upstairs whiskey bar lie just around the corner from the brewery and tasting room. Modestine is also building a beerhall-like alehouse, set to debut in the summer of 2016. Marketplace Brewery, 22 S. Main Street; Hops Bar & Grill, The Still, Ale House, 52 E. State Street, Doylestown, (267) 454-7240, doylestownbrewingcompany.com
  • Free Will Brewing Company – Emerging as a leader in the sour beer trend, Free Will has vastly expanded its downtown Perkasie space to include a ground-level brewery and taproom and is devoting its former brewing space solely to the production and storage of sour ales. That doesn’t mean the other intensely flavorful beers—such as Mango Wheat, Kragle IPA or Safeword (mango habanero IIPA)—are going anywhere. 410 E. Walnut Street, Perkasie, (267) 354-0813, freewillbrewing.com
  • Mad Princes Brewing – Brothers Kurt and Jim Ludwig began homebrewing together more than eight years ago and have been brewing commercially since the beginning of the year. Their specialty: farmhouse ales. What you won’t find here: IPAs. 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 – 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 Bucks County’s original brewery has built a tasting room and expanded several times. Next up? An offsite taproom in Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood. 909 Ray Avenue, Croydon, (215) 458-7081, 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. In 2016, the team began working on moving its production to a larger building nearby, which should mean more space at the brewpub. 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 
  • 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 nine of the brewers’ beers 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 Poor Clock Management wild red ale and Chain-Smoking Soccer Mom smoked wheat. 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, sterlingpigbrewery.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 at “Conshy” to fuel up on the waterfront deck with a beer and chili, pulled pork sandwich or house-made garlic hummus. As of mid-2016, the team is building 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 are revamping their comfy tasting room to better serve 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 wines and ciders from surrounding counties and Belgian, English and hoppy beers made on-site. 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 a brewery, which features a taproom pouring some barrel-aged and funky beers and a kitchen serving snacks, shareable plates and brunch. 324 W. Main Street, Lansdale, Montgomery County, (610) 715-1512, roundguysbrewery.com
  • Tired Hands Brewing Company – In 2015, owner Jean Brouillet IV opened Fermentaria, a production brewery and second brewpub down the street from his original—and still operational—Brew Cafe. 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, for its Brew Café. 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 11 locations in the region, with its latest in Ardmore and another on the way in Huntingdon Valley, Montgomery County. The acclaimed beers have accumulated a wealth of awards from the nation’s top beer festivals. 8400 Germantown Avenue, (215) 948-5600; 130 E. Bridge Street, Phoenixville, (610) 983-9333; 3 W. Gay Street, West Chester, (610) 738-9600; 60 Greenfield Avenue, Ardmore, (610) 228-2280; 30 E. State Street, Media, (610) 627-9000; 1460 Bethlehem Pike, North Wales, (267) 708-2000, 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 gotten it named one of the world’s 35 best breweries in the world by CNN. 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 Brewing Company 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

VISIT PHILADELPHIA® is our name and our mission. As the region’s official tourism marketing agency, we build Greater Philadelphia’s image, drive visitation and boost the economy.

On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.
 

Contact(s):
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