Best breweries in Philadelphia
Tom Kehoe, a pivotal figure in the Philly beer scene, opened Yards in 1994 in a garage in Manayunk. The establishment recently moved from Fishtown to a massive brewery and taproom in Northern Liberties, where guests can stop in for flights off of the 20-tap draught line and beer-friendly fare from chef Jim Burke. Yards’ signature beers are all over the menu, including mustard accompanying a Bavarian pretzel, Philly Pale chicken with fried potatoes and greens, and a dessert float featuring Love Stout.
Merging old-world style with modern techniques, Philadelphia Brewing Company operates in the oldest and largest brewing facility in Philadelphia. The brewery churns out more than a dozen varieties each year, most with monikers inspired by the City of Brotherly Love. Year-round offerings include options like Pennsylvania Pale Ale and Walt Wit, while limited and seasonal varieties have names like Rowhouse Red and Broken Bell Double IPA. The on-site Peacock Room Bar and Garden is open every day but Monday, and free tours and tastings are offered on Saturdays from noon until 3 p.m.
Head to West Philadelphia to enjoy exclusive brews, delicious bites and festive atmosphere at Dock Street Brewery and Restaurant. The brewery takes its name from the Philadelphia seaport district that was the nation’s largest producer of beer in the 1700s. Today, varieties on tap and in bottles range from traditional flavors like Honey Blonde and Summer Haze pale ale to experimental options like the Man Full of Trouble brown porter and the Louder than Bombs, which is brewed with blue agave nectar. Earlier in 2017, Dock Street opened a cannery and lounge next door to its flagship location, where guests can enjoy beer, cocktails and light bites.
Grab a seat overlooking the Schuylkill Canal at Manayunk Brewery and Restaurant. Ten taps pour the brewery’s unique varieties, like the Coconut Crunch chocolate porter, the Morning Fix coffee cream ale and the Hopgasm IPA. The kitchen serves dishes like cheesesteak dumplings, pork ribs, truffle ravioli and fresh sushi, and a sumptuous prix-fixe brunch is set to a soundtrack of live jazz. The family-friendly outpost even offers a kids’ menu with options like grilled cheese and hot dogs.
Founded by two friends who met on the sixth-grade school bus in 1973, Victory Brewing Company set up shop outside the city in 1996 and has since grown into a massive operation that distributes to 37 states and 10 countries. Three facilities comprise the Chester County-based business: a brewery and full-service restaurant in Downingtown, a brewhouse and restaurant in Parkesburg and Victory at Magnolia, a 300-seat brewpub in Kennett Square. The Downingtown and Parkesburg facilities offer public brewery tours, and private tours are available upon request.
Inspired by brewing styles from France, Belgium and the USA, Tired Hands focuses on small-batch brews. The company embraces the concept of staying local, sourcing raw ingredients and giving back to the community. Two locations in Ardmore provide varying ways to enjoy the Tired Hands experience: a brew café serves a simple menu of house-baked breads, local cheeses, meats and seaonal produce, while the fermenteria offers dishes like tacos, ceviches and composed plates. And of course, both locations feature a variety of brews on tap.
Fishtown welcomed Evil Genius’s 185-seat brewpub earlier this year, offering a powerful lineup of craft beers in bold flavors 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. The operation includes a stable of 15 barrels, and a rotating selection of experimental varieties is available exclusively in the on-site tasting room, dubbed the Lab. Take a guided tour on Saturdays; the $8 fee includes a free pint.
Conshohocken Brewing Company is all about small-batch brews. Core varieties include the Type A IPA and the User Friendly blonde ale, while seasonal styles come in flavors like the Blood Money blood orange IPA and the Blueberry Berliner Weisse. Experimental options are usually available to try as well. The brewery operates two locations: a production brewery and taproom in Conshohocken and a brewpub and beer garden in Bridgeport, each of which serve beer on tap. Cocktails and wine are also on the menu in Bridgeport.
Vault Brewing Company’s Bucks County outpost channels the spirit of a Prohibition-era speakeasy. The facility is housed in a former bank that dates back to 1889, with the beer-conditioning cellar set in what was once a secure vault. Rather than equipping the venue with TVs and in-house entertainment capabilities, the space encourages patrons to connect and interact with one another. The food menu focuses on locally sourced, homemade dishes, and a rotating selection of on-tap brews might include options like the Coconut Lime IPA or the Full City Coffee Stout. Stop in on Tuesdays to taste test Vault’s experimental varieties.
Iron Hill’s beer-laden empire includes twelve Philadelphia-area combination breweries and restaurants, including locations in Ardmore, Maple Shade, West Chester and Media. Each outpost offers a casual, family-friendly atmosphere in which to enjoy handcrafted beer and approachable cuisine, and on-tap and reserve brews vary by location. A jam-packed calendar of on-site events includes fun activities like gardening, yoga, painting and throwback dinners.
Sly Fox Brewing Company set up shop in 1995 and has since put out more than 100 inventive beer varieties. In 2006, the company opened the Mid-Atlantic region’s first craft beer canning facility, embracing the concept that stellar craft beer can, in fact, come in cans. Today, two separate sites are open to visitors: this brewery and tasting room in Pottstown and a brewhouse and eatery in Phoenixville. Stop in to try offerings like the Black Raspberry Reserve wheat ale, the Pikeland Pils German-style pilsner, and the Royal Weisse, a Bavarian-style wheat beer.
Home brewers Jamie Robinson and Jason Kohser transformed their passion from a hobby into a business in 2007. Boxcar Brewing Company specializes in microbrews, with care and commitment evident in every batch. The family-friendly outpost in West Chester aims to make guests feel at home and welcome, with entertainment like old-school arcade games, live music, weekly Quizzo competitions, open-mic nights and more. While on site, patrons can enjoy Boxcar beers, cocktails, wine, shandies and a food menu that includes crowd-pleasers such as guacamole, flatbreads and seven varieties of poutine (seven!).
Built on the concept of passion for great craft beer, 2nd Story Brewing Company creates its suds on site in Old City. The bi-level facility brews and serves classic varieties like the Declaration IPA, made with four types of hops, as well as unconventional options like the Schwartz Court, which incorporates notes of coffee and baker’s chocolate. A full cocktail and wine menu offers alternatives for non-beer lovers, and the from-scratch kitchen delights the taste buds with options like mussels, fish and chips, brisket poutine and house-made doughnuts.
Brothers Andy and Sean Arsenault opened Brewery ARS in December 2016 in a former South Philly auto-body shop, where they offer on-tap varieties that might include offerings like Endnote, made with Ethiopian coffee; Passyunk Prime IPA; and Diggable, billed as an “IPA-ish” brew. While the facility doesn’t feature a kitchen, an arsenal of food trucks is often parked on site. Patrons are also welcome to bring their own food to enjoy while they sip their suds.
Located at the Piazza at Schmidt’s in Northern Liberties, Urban Village specializes in two types of fermented products: craft beer and pizza made with fresh leavened dough. Brewers Dave Goldman and Tom Revelli create unconventional brews, including a Rye IPA, a Citra Pale Ale and Beets by J, a Berliner Weiss made using more than 300 pounds of beets. Chef Christopher Davis helms the kitchen, which offers small plates and sandwiches in addition to cheesy, saucy pies.
Wanna follow up your tasting with a cheesesteak?
In a city overrun with options, here are 10 spots to find the city’s most famous sandwich at its best