Philly Beer Trip #7: Brewed on Premises
Due to archaic laws and governmental fear of change, America’s Best Beer Drinking City only has a handful of breweries and brewpubs in the city limits. This is one of the few areas, beer-wise, where Portland has us beat, but it does have its upside: you can easily visit all of them in a single, beer-soaked day. This particular trip is best done on a Saturday, as it’s the only day you can usually get tours and the only day Philadelphia Brewing Company is open. Start there and wind your way west through the city and all the locally-produced beer you can drink.
A. Philadelphia Brewing Company
2439 Amber Street
PBC’s tasting room is open from noon to 3pm on Saturdays, so get there when it opens to be sure you’re not languishing there all day. This will be the best place to take a brewery tour, as you will get it out of the way, and also have the brewing knowledge in your head for the rest of your trip. Even if you don’t take the tour, though, you can hang out in the beautifully refurbished tasting room and get free samples of PBC’s year-round beers, their current seasonal, and sometimes their cider. While the next stop is a manageable 1.6 miles walking, save yourself some time by walking to Frankfort and Hagert and catching the 5 bus to 2nd and Fairmount—from there it’s a quick jaunt under 95 and across Delaware Ave.
B. Yards Brewing Company
901 N. Delaware Avenue
If you want another—or a first—tour, Yards offers them from 12:30-4pm on Saturdays. If you don’t, their tasting room is open from noon to 7pm so you can linger here a little longer at one of the city’s greatest beer assets. Be sure to check out some of the specials that you’ll generally only find at the brewery, like their bourbon barrel aged beers. Once you’re done, the next stop is another manageable walk of 1.2 miles, but if you re-cross Delaware Ave and hop on the Market-Frankford Line at the Spring Garden station, you can take it one stop to 2nd Street and walk a meager two blocks to your next destination.
C. Triumph Brewing Company
117 Chestnut Street
Ready yourself for some more beer, but this time be sure to pair it with food. Triumph has a solid bar selection of a variety of different foods for lunch or dinner, so be sure to start to soak up some of your tastings from PBC and Yards. But, as you do that, be sure to also sample what Triumph has. They usually offer eight or so beers, some of which differ from their other two locations, so be sure to try them all. Once you’ve had your fill of both food and drink, you can walk the 1.3 miles to Center City or hop on the 21 bus, which will take you all the way down Walnut Street. Hop off at 15th and Walnut and walk the few steps to your next location. If you prefer the train, though, take the Market-Frankford Line down to City Hall.
You’ve now come upon the shining jewel of Philadelphia’s small brewpub scene. Nodding Head has great beer, great events, and if you go in the summer you’ll find one of the country’s best Berliner Weisses. If you’re only stopping here on a random Saturday, though, be sure to check out some of their standards like the Grog or BPA, and then move on to something more adventurous. Since the next stop is a little outside walking distance at 3.1 miles, go to Market Street and grab the 34 trolley all the way down to 49th and Baltimore, a mere block from our final stop.
E. Dock Street Brewery
701 N. 50th Street
Dock Street’s beers are getting better every time they’re brewed, so be sure to check out the full spectrum while you’re here—the OMG Pale Ale is a standard, and the Man Full of Trouble Porter is one of the best of the style produced in Philadelphia. This would also make a great place to get dinner, as they are well known for their pizza and have a wide variety of other foods on offer as well. Sit back, enjoy the food and enjoy the beer in what will be a great end to a full day.