Philadelphia Daily News November 30, 1989

 Hoisting a Few the Old Way

AP. In Revolutionary times, every Philadelphia neighborhood had its own brew pub, where a patron could stop for a pint of beer freshly brewed that day. Prohibition seemed to put an end to that, but now there's a place where someone again can get beer tapped directly from the brewing tanks: the Samuel Adams Brew House, on Sansom St. near 15th, a collaboration of David Mink, owner of the Sansom Street Oyster House, and Jim Koch, founder of the Boston Beer Co., which brews Samuel Adams Beer.


A pleasant smell of brewing permeates the air, and the vats are enclosed behind a glass partition, readily seen by patrons. The tanks have a direct pipeline to the taps at the bar's counter. The beer "comes all of five feet from the brewery to your glass," Koch said. "Freshness is the key ingredient," said Mink. "It makes such a difference."


Of the bar's three traditional beers- a golden ale, an amber and a porter- the porter drew the most raves from patrons at Wednesday's opening. Rightly so, since the beer took a silver medal last October at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, said Jim Pericles, the brewer.


One patron, Rich Wagner, described the dark brew- pleasant with a rich, clean flavor." Wagner, a home brewer, said Philadelphia was known for its porters. "It's a shame that the porters died out earlier in the century, but now we've got one back," he said. Another patron, Dan Allan of Philadelphia, was glad that brewing in general had returned.


The city was a major brewing center through the 1800's, when a large influx of German immigrants brought their tradition with them. Most of the smaller brewers died out by the turn of the century. Even the major ones have died out; the last brewery, Schmidt's, closed in 1987.


Brew pubs started, like most U.S. trends, in California, when that state eliminated Prohibition-era legislation banning such establishments, said Dan Fink, staff member of the Association of Brewers, a Boulder, Colo.-based research and marketing institution. The pubs do well in a variety of large cities like San Francisco and Chicago, but are also picking up in places like Tempe, Ariz., and Lawrence, Kan., Fink said.


Plans are already under way to bring another brew pub to Philadelphia. Brewmeister Jeff Ware, whose Dock Street Beer is brewed under contract in Utica, N.Y., also has applied for a liquor license. Plans for the Dock Street Brewing Co. include a 200-seat capacity, with a 40-foot bar and 10 copper brewing vats.