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1. 2nd Story Brewing Company117 Chestnut St, Philadelphia
2. Forest & Main Brewing Company61 Main St, Philadelphia
3. Tired Hands Brewing Company16 Ardmore Ave, Ardmore
4. Free Will Brewing Company410 E Walnut St , Philadelphia
5. Naked Brewing Co.51 Buck Rd, Huntingdon Valley
6. Do Good Brewing Company3245 Amber St, Philadelphia
7. Saint Benjamin Brewing Company1710-14 N 5th St, Philadelphia
8. Round Guys Brewing Company324 W Main St, Philadelphia
Yes, the second-floor brewery gives this brewpub its name, but fried starters by the basket and other savory bites are just as good a reason to hit up this Old City spot that formerly housed Triumph Brewing.
The Saison Solaire is enough to turn any Saison hater into a believer. The hoppy brew with malted spelt and fermented with the brewery’s foraged yeast culture is the perfect introduction to spring on the Belgian side. On the British side -- the brewery’s other focus of inspiration -- there’s the malty dry Queen Anne with hints of coffee, or if you’re looking to get the job done at a faster pace, try the 10 percent barley wine Telemachus.
Possibly the coolest place on the Main Line, the Ardmore brewery continuously updates its beer menu with a little something for everybody, available in 8oz glasses for sampling, or pints for grown-ups. The brewers often dub their creations with creative names like the IPA Vienna Melt called Neutral Impulse From the Visual Cortex, or last winter’s flowery saison-inspired brew, the Truthbomb. Also, don’t call it a brewpub: it is a brewery and pub. Its pub fare includes artisan bread made on site and fresh selections of cheeses and charcuterie -- not a basket of frings.
The Bucks County brewery likes to infuse non-standard ingredients when concocting its brews, such as last year’s Saison de Rose, with grapefruit and hibiscus, or SAFEWORD! with mango and habaneros. You can find Free Will brews all over any self-respecting beer-loving bar in the city, but for a real treat head to the brewery itself and play some Mario Kart.
Naked Brewing tends to emphasize taste over tipsiness, except when it comes to special brews like the 10 percent age imperial stout, The Gentleman, (apple brandy-infused oak and flavors of caramel and vanilla) which does both. Come autumn, the brewery pulls off an impressive feat for the season: creating a perfectly apropos fall brew without having to use any pumpkin flavor.
Native Philadelphian Thomas Sheridan named his brewery Do Good Brewing as an homage to Ben Franklin’s pen name. He started setting up shop in early 2013 to match every brew with a specific cause in the least hokey charitable way possible. Benji would be proud.
Like most things in Philadelphia, Saint Benjamin Brewing Company makes itself an historic home: they brew suds from within an 1870s carriage house designed by Otto Wolf. You can spy right in on the process from the taproom in front, which incorporates reclaimed decor elements, and original brickwork that the owners had to free from layers of paint and paper. Eats are made to soak up beer, with jerk chicken, shrimp and grits, and fat burgers to ground those sampling the 12-pint tap.
Scott Rudich took a cue from homebrew hall-of-famers such as Dave Grosch and Josh Wiekert with his four initial brews, until expanding to sours and beyond. Most importantly, the brews represent the flavor and spirit of the Delaware Valley and surrounding areas, with inspiration found in the mining communities of central PA, and the usually clean sand of the Jersey shore.