While exploring Philadelphia's historic sites and iconic museums, travelers to the City of Brotherly Love ought to take a moment to stop by one of the many breweries around town. As awesome as the cheesesteaks and soft pretzels are in Philly, the locals are pretty good at brewing up batches of beer as well.
U.S. News asked local experts around Philadelphia to pick out some of the best breweries around town. These are the ones that they think stand out from the rest.
Yards Brewing Co.
Founded by a pair of local college buddies in 1994, Yards Brewing Co. has exploded over the past two decades, becoming one of the best-known and most well-liked breweries by locals and visitors alike. You can find Yards brews at nearly every Philly restaurant.
[Read: The Best Hotels in Philadelphia.]
"Any visiting beer aficionado should visit Yards Brewing Co. and spend some time in the tasting room," says Daniel Vetrano, concierge at Sofitel Philadelphia.
The tasting room, located in the Northern Liberties section of town, is open Monday through Thursday from noon to 7 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. On the weekends, Yards offers free brewery tours from noon to 4 p.m. and hosts various local food trucks on weekends.
In November 2017, Yards Brewing Co. plans to relocate to a new 70,000-square-foot location just a few blocks away on Fifth and Spring Garden streets. The new site is double the size of the current brewery and has a kitchen.
Dock Street Brewing Co.
Dock Street Brewing Co., which opened in 1985, is Philadelphia's first all-grain brewpub. Dock Street produces more than 2,000 barrels of beer per year and is poised to double that in the next few years.
Owner Rosemarie Certo moved the brewpub from its first location at 18th and Cherry streets to 50th Street and Baltimore Avenue in the heart of West Philadelphia in 2007. Stop by the brewpub to enjoy a meal while you sample the beer. Or, go next door to Dock Street Cannery + Lounge for tastings and small bites served Thursday through Saturday evenings.
"They adapt the beers they serve to the seasons. Dock Street does a fantastic job rotating out their selection," says Damien Infantino, event services manager at The Inn at Penn, A Hilton Hotel. "They do pizzas as well, that's their big push – they do high-end pizzas, brick-oven-style."
Tours of the brewery are available by appointment on Saturday at 2 and 4 p.m., and cost $5 per person. The brewpub is open Monday through Thursday from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday from noon to 1 a.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
Manayunk Brewing Co.
Situated along the banks of the Schuylkill River in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia, the Manayunk Brewing Co. has brewed more than 600 varieties of beer since it opened in 1996.
While the beer and food are impressive, the building it occupies might be enough reason to visit this local brewpub. Built in the 1820s, the building served as a cotton mill and was converted into a wool mill in the early 1900s. In a nod to the building's history, the owners display the original industrial scale for weighing wool in the front foyer.
It's open seven days a week and offers free tours of the brewery on Saturday between noon and 2 p.m. Roshid Milledge, concierge at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Philadelphia, says one highlight of the Manayunk Brewing Co. is the outdoor deck area where it holds tastings.
The brewery is open for a live jazz brunch on Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. For lunch, it's open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. For dinner, it's open Monday through Saturday from 4 to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 4 to 9 p.m.
Tired Hands Brewing Co.
Less than a decade old, Tired Hands Brewing Co. – located just outside of Philadelphia in the town of Ardmore – has already made a name for itself in the local brewing community. The owner operates the Brew Cafe and Fermentaria, each offering a unique dining (and drinking) experience for visitors.
Though Tired Hands Brewing doesn't offer tours, Vetrano calls the experience "among the area's best."
The Fermentaria – housed in a converted trolley repair shop – keeps 12 beers on tap and serves as a production facility that can produce up to 10,000 barrels per year. Or, order a charcuterie plate as you sample beer in the Brew Cafe just a few blocks away.
The Brew Cafe is open Tuesday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to midnight, Friday from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m., Saturday from noon to 1 a.m. and Sunday from noon to 11 p.m. It's closed Monday. The Fermentaria is open Sunday through Tuesday from noon to 11 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday from noon to midnight and Friday and Saturday from noon to 1 a.m. For both locations, kitchens close an hour or two earlier.
Bonus Recommendation: Philadelphia Distilling
It's not beer, but it's worth noting that the first craft distillery to open in Pennsylvania post-Prohibition is located in the City of Brotherly Love. Philadelphia Distilling, in the Northern Liberties section of town, celebrated its 12th anniversary in 2017 – the same year it opened a brand-new state-of-the-art distillery.
"They actually show you how their spirits are made," Milledge says. "They have the machines and everything, and they give tours of that, which is really unique."
To tie it back to the brewing community: Philadelphia Distilling worked with Yards Brewing Co. to make its first limited-release malt whiskey in December 2016.
The distillery offers tours and tastings on Thursday and Friday at 6 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday at 2, 4 and 6 p.m. Tours can be scheduled in advance.
The cocktail bar and lounge is open Thursday and Friday from 4 to 11 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 11 p.m.
To experience more of what Philadelphia has to offer, check out the U.S. News Travel guide.
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