the best craft breweries in suburban Philadelphia
Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs are home to what feels like a bajillion breweries. Not that I'm complaining- it's awesome to have access to so many unique beers so easily! This weekend, I'm heading to Neshaminy Creek Brewing for the Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market's taproom takeover. I'll be there drinking craft beer and slinging my crafts among some of the area's coolest vendors! In honor of the March 4th event, I thought I would call out some of my own personal favorite local breweries. In no particular order, here goes . . .
Their Downingtown location is the O.G. brewery of suburban Philadelphia. They opened in 1996- one year after Delaware's Dogfish Head and two years after Central Philly's Yards Brewing, two other grandparents of the craft beer revolution. And over twenty years after their original facility opened to the public, Victory Brewing still finds ways to surprise and delight. Although I love to try new beers, I know that I can absolutely never go wrong with a Victory beer. Some of my fav brews: Hop Ranch, Hop Devil, and Golden Monkey.
Talk about Philadelphia having awesome beer history- Dock Street is older than me! Founded in 1985, their website states that they were one of the first post-prohibition craft breweries in the country - and Philly’s first all-grain brew pub. I go to Dock Street at least once a year after I vend at the Go West! Craft Fest and it never disappoints. Their wood-fired pizza is THE BEST after a long show and of course their beer is top-notch. The vibe is chill, too- the brewery is now housed in an old firehouse and has really nice outdoor seating on the sidewalk out front. Some of my fav brews: honestly, they're always switching it up, so get a flight!
This is one of my favorite breweries to take out-of-town friends to because it's such a unique spot. Living in an old house in Ambler, this microbrewery started out specializing in traditional British-style and Belgian-style brewing and has since blossomed into a whole slew of all kinds of varieties of beers. They often hold special bottle releases, where beer fanatics line up around the block for the chance at limited-edition flavors. Their brewpub is the perfect blend of a cozy house and awesome beer. Bonus: they have a nice front porch and lawn for when the weather is good. Some of my fav brews: same deal- they have a rotating draft list, so get a flight!
I am personally more of a fan of their original brewery location, but they recently opened a spacious brewpub in Bridgeport that has the same great beer and an expansive food menu. However, the original brewery is within walking distance of my apartment so that's the clear winner in my book! Anyhow, this brewery is right on the Schulykill River Trail, making it a popular destination for beer snobs and bike snobs alike. When the weather is nice, they roll up the garage doors to expose a deck with great exercise-people watching. Some of my fav brews: Type A IPA, the There Is No Try series, Island in the Sun
My first visit to their brewery was only very recent, although I've had their beers many times. It's not much to look at from the outside, but I love the vibe of the taproom- it's like an arcade meets a brewery meets a small airplane hangar. It's dog friendly (Conshy Brewing is as well) and has lots of space for events. If you look at their labels (art by JP Flexner) and digest the names, you can tell the brewery has its roots seeded in rock'n'roll. My personal favorite name is The Shape of Hops to Come, because who doesn't f*ing love The Refused?! Anyhow, I'm excited to be back here for the Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market on March 4th! Some of my fav brews: J.A.W.N. and alternately Coffee J.A.W.N., Tribute Tripel, County Line IPA
This Bucks County newcomer (2014) is also a new favorite of mine. Situated in a small industrial park near Neshaminy Creek Brewing, their taproom kind of reminds me of a large office breakroom, but the employees rioted, took it over, and converted it into a brewery. No matter- their beer is interesting and worth a sip. Well, more than a sip for sure! They also brew a house Amber Ale for local pub favorite Dog & Bull in Croydon, which is how I found out about this brewery in the first place. Their website is rough and their beer label designs are atrocious, but give them a chance for sure- here's hoping they stick around for a while! Some of my fav brews: I got a flight and to me, the Bubba's Tea Bag stood out as a clear winner. Delish!
To find out about all the beer that the Philadelphia area has to offer, I recommend checking out drinkphilly.com -I subscribe to their newsletter for all the latest booze news!