Philadelphia Breweries + Beer Tours

Yard's Brewing — with their historically accurate 'Ales of the Revolution' based on recipes from founding fathers — is one of dozens of successful breweries in Philadelphia.


Philadelphia’s Craft Beer Scene

Philadelphia, called the “Best Beer-Drinking City in America,” has a history that dates back to colonial times when William Penn, the city’s founder, left detailed instructions for the construction of a brewhouse at his estate in Pennsbury, Bucks County.  Breweries and malt houses were popular in the colony, and the city was rapidly growing a national reputation for their suds, with Philadelphia beer drawing favorable comparisons to the time-honored ales of England. In fact, those amber-colored ales helped fuel the American Revolution. By 1793, Philly was making more beer than any other city in the colonies.

Today, Philadelphia’s craft beer scene continues to be robust.  Each June, Philly Beer Week, the largest beer celebration of its kind in the United States, features hundreds of events including festivals, dinners, tours, pub crawls, tastings and meet-the-brewer nights. 

Below is a sampling of the many Philadelphia breweries operating within the city limits, along with tour information:

Yards Brewing Company

Started in a Manayunk garage by Tom Kehoe in 1994, “Philadelphia’s Brewery” recently moved into a shiny new 70,000-square-foot facility at 500 Spring Garden St. in the bustling Northern Liberties neighborhood. Chef James Burke’s beer-friendly menu pairs well with their approachable ales and lagers, especially their historically accurate Ales of the Revolution — a series of beers made using original colonial recipes from our Founding Fathers. 

Tours: Not offered at this time.

Second District Brewing

Opened in 2017 and located in an old saw-and-tool sharpening shop, this Newbold brewpub is named after the City Council district where the brewery sits. Their cross-pollination of humble and weird ingredients — think Morello cherry puree, Matcha green tea, Mexican chocolate, Ethiopian coffee beans, fermented grape skins — has the Philly’s biggest beer geeks lining up. Try their flagship pale ale: Bancroft Beer.

Tours: Upon request, ask your bartender.


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Evil Genius “The Lab”

This retro 1990s-themed brewery opened in 2017 in an old rail-car factory under the Market-Frankford El on Front Street. “The Lab” focuses on pop culture references and features menus wrapped in VHS-tape cases and an old-school Sega Genesis. Adventurous drinkers can sample beers with playful names, like a caramel macchiato porter called New Phone Who Dis?” — and “These Pretzels Are Making Me Thirsty” pretzel lager.

Tours: Available Saturdays; 3-3:30, on first-come, first-served basis.

Crime & Punishment

Opened in 2015 and situated next to a reclaimed Gothic-style church in Brewerytown, Crime & Punishment wrote the book on experimental and hazy IPAs. Their rotating “Damka” series, brewed with everything from pink guava to blueberries, along with their juicy flagship Space Race IPA pairs well with the Russian-influenced menu coming out of the kitchen. Try The Grod Inquisitor, a smoked wheat sour — and enjoy the thought-provoking artwork on display, where different local artists visit the brewery every First Friday.

Tours: Upon request, ask your bartender.

Brewery Techne

This serene neighborhood brewery set up shop in 2015 inside Fairmount’s Bar Hygge. “Hygge” applies their namesake coziness and conviviality to the brewery, with a well-rounded draft list that runs the gamut from fruit-forward sours and funky saisons to over-the-top barleywines. Their Lemon Meringue IPA is a smooth-sipping crowd favorite.

Tours: Upon request, ask your bartender.

Dock Street

The first post-Prohibition craft brewery to open in Philadelphia — their original brick and mortar opened in Logan Square, in 1989 — owner Rosemarie Certo has long been a pioneer. Today, they brew eccentric pale ales (try The Walker (brewed with goat brains)) and robust porters (try the medal-winning Man Full of Trouble Porter) and fire up some of the best wood-fired pizzas in the city from the confines of a converted firehouse in Cedar Park.

Tours: Saturdays, by appointment, at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Brewery ARS

Since 2016, twin brothers Sean and Andy Arsenault have been making crushable hop-forward ales and Belgian-style saisons in a brick garage on West Passyunk Avenue. Part of the brewery’s charm is the imaginative cartoon sketches that adorn their beer labels, like a mouse double-fisting beers on their Diggable IPA and a drunken bee on their Simpleton Biere De Miel.

Tours: Upon request, ask your bartender.

Saint Benjamin

Named after the city’s patron saint and housed in the carriage house stables of the now-defunct Theo Finkenauer Brewery in Kensington, Saint Benjamin interprets classic and forgotten beer styles, putting their own creative spin on them. Cult favorites like Junto, an amber-colored coffee kolsch and Pilsner Prosim, a Czech-style pilsner, have earned them local and national accolades. The brewery opened in 2014, followed by their taproom in 2016.

Tours: Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m.

Philadelphia Brewing Company

Founded in 2007, Nancy and Bill Barton brew no-frills beers in the 133-year-old Weisbrod & Hess Oriental Building. Philadelphia Brewing has been instrumental in helping to revitalize the Kensington area, as evidenced by their reliable flagship beer: Kenzinger.

Tours: Saturdays from noon to 3 p.m.

Fermentery Form

Opened in 2017, this brewery/speakeasy lies hidden down an alley in North Philadelphia and doubles down on brewing funky, complex sours while experimenting with wild fermentation. For example, “Soft” starts off as a Belgian Wit and then is blasted with orange zest, coriander and chamomile — it tastes like a beer mimosa.

Tours: Check social media for opening times.

Roy Pitz Barrel House

This newcomer from Chambersburg, Pa., opened their doors in 2017 and immediately won favor with their delightfully wacky barrel-aged sours and unique German-style wheat beers. Roy Pitz Barrel House, with an industrial look built into old truck docks on Spring Garden Street, is a liquid tribute to all things Pennsylvania.

Tours: Upon request, ask your bartender.

2nd Story

This bi-level brewery in Old City has been part of the beer scene since 2014, encouraging both their brewers and guests to embrace what they are passionate about through their own “second story.” Owner Deb Grady sources hops and barley from her 90-acre farm whenever she can; and their Fritzie’s Lager relies on all-Pennsylvania ingredients. 

Tours: Upon request, ask your bartender.

Manayunk Brewing

Founded in 1996, this expansive riverfront mecca on Main Street in Manayunk has earned a stellar reputation for doing a wide array of beer styles. The brewery has survived multiple floods, the most recent was in 2014, due to their proximity to the Schuylkill River. One of their notable brews is French Toast Crunch, a roasty porter and delicious ode to breakfast, loaded with cinnamon and maple syrup.

Tours: Saturdays from noon to 2 p.m. Ask about kayak tours!

Iron Hill Chestnut Hill

Founded in 1996 by home brewers Mark Edelson and Kevin Finn, Iron Hill’s innovative “craft kitchen, scratch brewery” concept has 12 locations in the Mid-Atlantic region with three more announced for 2018. At their Chestnut Hill brewpub, in a cozy brick building on Germantown Avenue, they pour six signature beers: Vienna Red Lager, Iron Hill Light Lager, Witberry, White Iron Wit, Ore House IPA and Pig Iron Porter, and fans seek out their special Harry Potter beer every October. Their 21-year winning streak at the Great American Beer Festival is the longest by any independent craft brewer in the country.

Tours: Upon request, ask your bartender.

Urban Village

Located at Schmidt’s Commons in the backdrop of the old Schmidt’s Brewery, this Northern Liberties brewpub opened in 2017 to much fanfare during Philly Beer Week. Today, they are churning out some of the tastiest beers in town, including a Berliner Weisse made with 300 pounds of red beets and Rye Bread, a rye IPA brewed with caraway seed.

Tours: Upon request, ask a bartender or server.

Wissahickon Brewing

Inspired by the natural beauty of the Wissahickon Creek, the 5,000-square-foot production brewery and tasting room in East Falls features wooden tables and a mountain lodge feel. The brewery is both dog and family friendly. Check out Devil’s Pool, a double IPA brewed with six different hops, or Kelpius Kave, a Belgian golden ale.


Beer-related Tours

Historic Philadelphia Tippler’s Tours

Colonial Pub Crawl that cheers the “spirits” of ’76.  Enjoy traditional drinks and 18th-century history at Colonial and modern-day watering holes as your Colonial guide shares tales of taverns of old.

Philly Brew Tours

Daily all-inclusive beer focused tasting and tour experiences including more than 15 different beers, VIP tours at breweries, a beer lunch/dinner tasting, and round trip transportation from downtown Philadelphia. You drink, they drive!

Grim Philly Tours

Prohibition Pub Crawl through Philadelphia’s colonial brewing, bootlegging and gangster history with three tavern stops, drink specials. 

Philly Tour Hub’s Philly on Tap Beer Tour

Enjoy a taste of Philly’s finest local beers on this happy hour tour of the unique and historic watering holes throughout Center City Philadelphia, and learn about Philly’s brewing history and today’s most popular brews from your guide.  Several drinks and a snack are included. 

 

 

The Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) is the official tourism promotion agency for the City of Philadelphia globally and the primary sales and marketing agency for the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Updated April 20, 2018


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