Philly Beer Week is swiftly approaching, but if you cannot wait until May, quench your thirst at the storied pillars of Philadelphia’s craft brew scene any time of the year. Philadelphians are as proud of their beer as they are of monuments like the Liberty Bell, the Betsy Ross House and the Rocky Steps. Nothing could possibly go better with a Philly cheesesteak than an ice-cold brew.
In 1829 David G. Yuengling brought Yuengling beer to Philadelphia, and since then Philadelphians have helped make it one of the largest American-owned breweries. Yeungling’s success was followed by a craft brewing industry explosion in the Greater Philadelphia area.
Years later, an influx of young artists, musicians and designers tired of rising rent in Brooklyn, have turned neighborhoods like Northern Liberties and Fishtown into small havens for gastropubs that feature local craft beer, like the Standard Tap and Kraftwork. Due to the rising popularity of Philly’s craft beers, the Philadelphia Horticultural Society has created summertime pop-up beer gardens across the city to showcase these local lagers, some of which have won nationally recognized awards.
For a true taste of Philly’s spirit, take a tour at any of these 10 craft breweries. We have a feeling you will be coming back for more.
Visit the oldest and largest brewing facility in Philadelphia on any Saturday from 12-3 p.m. for a free tour and tasting of Philadelphia Brewing Company’s resident favorites, Kenzinger, Newbold IPA, Rowhouse Red and Walt Wit.
Rated one of the best pale ales in the country by The New York Times for its Philadelphia Pale Ale, Yards also boasts Pennsylvania’s first 100 percent wind-powered brewery. Free tours and tastings are held on weekends from noon to four.
Brewing since 1985, this brewpub was the first Philadelphian microbrewery. Try their original recipe, or go for the Man Full of Trouble Porter, made with black and chocolate malts and named for one of Colonial Philadelphia’s first drinking spots, Man Full of Trouble Tavern. Free Saturday tours and tastings are available by appointment through their website.
Victory Brewing Company distinguishes itself in its hops. The brewers here use whole flower, unprocessed hops for fuller flavor, as opposed to the pelletized hops used at most breweries. Try Victory’s famous Hop Devil and a few other brews off its broad menu of 11 year-round beers and nine seasonal beers. Free tours start at the top of every hour Fridays from 3-5 p.m., Sundays from 12-4 p.m. and every half-hour Saturdays 12-4 p.m.
Nodding Head originally formed as a quiet competitor to celebrated Belgian beer bar, Monk’s Café. This year, this brewpub closed a location to expand into another with the intention of adding limited edition and barrel-aged beers to their already nationally celebrated craft brews. Try their award-winning Berliner Weisse beer, a tart acidic beer without the bitterness of hops.
Look out for the famous Flying Fish Exit beers; its Belgian style trippel, Exit 4, has caught the eyes of beer drinkers across the nation and snagged several awards. Visit Wednesday-Friday 3-8 p.m., Saturday 12-6 p.m. and Sunday 12-4 p.m. for self-guided or guided tours and tastings.
With nine beers on tap, Manayunk Brewing Company presents hops in a double IPA, sweetness in a Scottish Ale and caramel malt in its Philadelphia Porter. This friendly brewery works with visitors to help them make the most of their visit, simply call ahead to make arrangements.
Iron Hill’s first maker started as a home brewer. Now, the brewery has multiple locations each with its own brewer. The company has been medaled every year the Great American Beer Festival since 1997 and the World Cup of Beer since 2002. Named the best small brewpub in the world, their classic Pig Iron Porter, new White Iron Wit, and bottled reserves don’t disappoint visitors. Simply ask your server to take a free tour of the brewery any time during Iron Hill’s hours, available on their website for each location.
Off the beaten path, Sly Fox won Great American Beer Festival’s first medal ever awarded to canned beer. The brewery is open for tours on Saturdays and Sundays at 2 and 4 p.m. and the tasting room is open Wed-Thurs 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri-Sat 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m., and Sunday 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m.
is a Brooklyn-based writer, translator and traveler previously hailing from France and Russia.