Ale Street News June/July 2006

Regional News: Philadelphia

By Rich Wagner

 Summer time can be a slow season for the city’s bars and restaurants as vast portions of the population flee to ocean and mountain resorts, but Philadelphia is a tourist destination itself, even for those locals who “have never seen the Liberty Bell.”

 If you are arriving by rail, Independence Brewpub is an escalator ride away from the loading platform at Market East Station. At 30th Street Station, Bridgewater’s Pub is a great place to relax while waiting for your train. There are local craft beers on tap and the kitchen offers a wide variety of upscale pub fare.

 If you decide to take in the panoramic view of the city from atop City Hall, there are plenty of great beer destinations within easy reach starting with McGillan’s Old Ale House in the shadow of Billy Penn at 1310 Drury Street. On tap at the nearby Nodding Head Brewery and Restaurant at 1516 Sansom Street enjoy the award-winning Berliner Weisse or tropical-inspired Monkey Knife Fight Ale flavored with lemon grass and ginger. On July 8 they will be hosting the Royal Stumble from 1-5 pm, and each Sunday there’s a Jazz Brunch starting at 11 am. Fergie’s Pub is also nearby at 1214 Sansom, and in addition to their extensive beer menu, they always have a cask of something from Nodding Head.

 On June 6, from 5-7 pm, Monk’s Café at 16th and Spruce will feature Jerome Rebetez, brewmaster/owner of La Brasserie de Franches-Montagnes in Switzerland. He will be bringing along 5 or 6 of his highly regarded ales. On June 13, at 7 pm, at Monk’s meet Johnny & Claudine of Global Beer Network and enjoy a four course dinner paired with some of their fantastic Belgian ales. In July Tom Peters will be rolling out a private-label house gueuze called Cuvee de Monks which is a blend of three-year, two-year, and one-year old lambic ales that he personally selected from the casks at Belgium’s Cantillon Brewery. He describes it as a great summer refresher, “an acidic tart beer with a fair amount of citrus flavor and a barnyard aroma.” Monk’s is also the exclusive purveyor of Urthel Bock, a Belgian ale that Tom says “at 9% is way too quaffable.”

 Not far from Independence Hall in Old City is Christ Church at 20 N. American Street between 2nd and 3rd. Visitors will find themselves in the midst of many great beer destinations including one of the city’s quintessential beer bars, Sugar Moms, at 225 Church Street. Nearby the Khyber at 56 S. Second Street features $2 pints during happy hour from 5-8 pm, Monday through Friday. Eulogy at 136 Chestnut Street is yet another stop featuring Belgian beers, and boasts of carrying “300 of the best beers you’ve never had” including lots of American craft favorites on tap.

 Tourists visiting the Art Museum, the recently opened Water Works, or Eastern State Penitentiary on Fairmount Ave. are within walking distance of local beer destinations including the Bishop’s Collar and London Grill at 23rd Street. Bridgid’s, at 24th & Meridith Streets, will be hosting a beer sampling of Yards products with appetizers on June 19.

 In Manayunk, the 22nd Philadelphia International Championship Bike Race is taking place June 9-11, and the Manayunk Arts Festival is being held June 23-25. Be sure to check out Manayunk Brewery and Restaurant which should have a Belgian Triple, American Amber, California Dreamin’ Double IPA, Vienna Lager, Schuylkill Punch and Bill’s Elixir Pils on tap.

 Baseball fans can choose from an assortment of local craft brews at Citizens Bank Park at “Brewerytown,” on “Ashburn Alley,” and behind Sections 113 and 139.

 On Sunday July 16, from 2 to 5 pm, Yards Brewing Co. will be hosting a BBQ to kick-off a week of events to promote the Buy Fresh Buy Local Campaign. The events are being sponsored in conjunction with the Fair Food Project of the White Dog Café Foundation and include a fundraiser for the Slow Food Philadelphia Convivium on Saturday, July 22, from 5:30-8:30 pm, at Philadelphia’s New Market at 2nd and Lombard Streets, which will pair food from ten local restaurants with beer from as many local brewers. For ticket information or call 718-260-8000.

And congratulations are in order for brewer Jason and his wife Kerry whose son Jackson arrived May 5th!

 Regardless of whether you’re coming from out of town or exploring your native habitat, there is plenty of great beer to be enjoyed this summer, some from half way around the globe but much of it produced right here in and around Philadelphia!