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Best Local Beer

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What's your opinion on local beer? I guess local in this sense can mean South Jersey and Delaware, too. Please, don't say "Lager" or Yuengling; I don't think it's any different from Bud in that it doesn't taste like anything---no, really, it doesn't. I just had Dogfish IPA 60 min, and it was just wonderful. I am wondering whether there is something better you guys can recommend? I know PA is a good brewing state. Is there a place where I can go to sample local beers in Philadelphia? All the beer geeks, welcome!

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  1. dock street brewpub in west philly....google for an address

    1. The South Philadelphia Taproom has a large selection of local, national, and international beers.

      http://www.southphiladelphiataproom.c...

      1. Standard Tap (Northern Liberties) and Johnny Brenda's (Fishtown) ONLY serve local beers (breweries located within 70 miles). Typically, beers from the following breweries will be available:

        Dogfish Head (DE)
        Flying Fish (NJ)
        Lancaster (PA)
        Riverhorse (NJ)
        Sly Fox (PA)
        Stoudt’s (PA)
        Victory (PA)
        Weyerbacher (PA)
        Yards (PA)
        Yuengling (PA)

        These are probably the best two places to “localize” on good Philadelphia regional beer served on tap. Both have solid food as well.

        24 Replies
        1. re: Chinon00

          Two places to go to taste local beers are: Standard Tap, and Greylodge Pub.

          Local beers to try include:

          Troeggs
          Sly Fox (especially their stout)
          Victory (try HopDevil)
          Dogfish Head (try their 90 minute IPA or their 120 if you can find it)
          Flying Fish (I really like their Farmhouse Ale)
          Yards (especially try their George Washington Porter)
          Weyerbachers (Blithering Idiot is great)

          Brewpubs to try include

          Noddinghead
          Iron Hill (I like the North Wales Branch)
          Sly Fox
          General Lafayette Inn
          Crabby Larry's
          Dock Street
          Triumph (in Old City or New Hope)

          And a note about Yuengling. I did a blind taste test a few years ago run by Lew Bryson (the author of Pa Breweries), and son of a gun threw Yuengling Lager into the mix. Yuengling holds up in terms of being an interesting beer, and having a nice balance. I will drink it on occasion, though I will only drink it on tap.

          1. re: cwdonald

            If you go to Standard Tap, the Foodery is right across the street - the best place in Philadelphia to buy local beers by the bottle.

            1. re: cwdonald

              I went to Greylodge Pub's website and they currently have four locals on taps (the other six on tap are outstanding beers but just not local as the OP requested). I suggested Tap and JB because ALL their taps are local ALL the time . GP doesn't provide a greater variety of locals beers on tap than either Tap or JB.

              1. re: Chinon00

                Both Standard Tap and JB are nice places as is Greylodge. And there are many places that serve local beer in the area. I personally find that the selection at Greylodge rotates frequently, and therefore its a worth place to send someone to try local beers. As is Southphilly Tap room, the Draughting Room (Spring House consistently has Victory Hop Devil or another local beer on cask). Bridgits is also notable for its down draught system which has often had Yards ESB on down draught. The point is that there are many places in the city that serve the great beers from the Philadelphia region!

                1. re: cwdonald

                  "The point is that there are many places in the city that serve the great beers from the Philadelphia region!"

                  Well I certainly agree with that. However, can you name for me any other places in the city where you can get 8 - 12 local quality craft brews on tap, all the time, without question, other than JB or Tap?

                  1. re: Chinon00

                    Grey Lodge

                    1. re: Boognish

                      According to the Grey Lodge website they are currently offering only four local beers on tap (Local in CAPS):

                      Rogue Hop Heaven
                      DOGFISH HEAD PUNKIN ALE
                      Schneider & Brooklyner Hopfen-Weisse
                      Barley Creek Angler Black Lager
                      VICTORY HARVEST PILS
                      Flying Bison Aviator Red
                      Ramstein Oktoberfest
                      YARDS ESA
                      Boulder Single Track Copper Ale
                      WEYERBACHER R & R

                      1. re: Chinon00

                        Grey Lodge has about 25 taps running at all times all with different beers (per their website). The list above is just a sampling of the beer they offer.

                        1. re: Boognish

                          And in your experience how many of the 25 taps are local craft (typically)?

                          Thanks,

                          Dave

                          1. re: Chinon00

                            At least a quarter if not more. It does vary. I like that in addition to the rare (ish) local beers they carry on a regular basis, they carry a lot of beers you simply cannot find in the city.

                            Personally, I don't get up there very often, but am always happy I made the trip once I have. Friday the Firkinteenth shouldn't be missed. All of that said, I frequent Standard Tap and Jonny Brenda's more often, mainly due to their proximity to me. But if you haven't been up to the Grey Lodge, go!

                          2. re: Boognish

                            Well I ventured to the Northeast tonight strictly due to this thread to visit Grey Lodge. As I walked in I noticed that they had exactly ten taps. I asked the bartender how many total taps that they had and he told me ten and that they have always only had ten taps. The ten they had were fantastic (I had Great Divide Fresh Hop, Stone Ruination and Sly Fox Target IPA). But of the ten only two were local (the aforementioned Sly Fox and Yards Washington Porter).
                            So, again it is my contention that if one wishes to have broad access to local Philadelphia regional beer in one location on tap, there are only two places that I am aware of: Standard Tap and Johnny Brenda's. Each regularly have 8-12 local Philadelphia regional beers ONLY on tap all the time.

                            1. re: Chinon00

                              Did you go upstairs? They have other products on tap upstairs.

                              1. re: cwdonald

                                I second cwdonald's question...upstairs? I know there's a good 10 taps downstairs, but there's plenty more upstairs. That said, I hope you tried either their mussels or the cheesesteak. Droooool.....

                                I don't disagree with the idea that JB's and Standard are the two places to go for strictly local brews...just look at the entrance of Standard! Yards and Victory! That said, there have been times when I've felt constricted by the choices at both pubs. Too narrow a selection, which is why I trumpet Grey Lodge despite the fact I've only been there several times.

                                I can't wait for the big beer festival this spring. Does anyone know who to contact for volunteer positions?

                                1. re: Boognish

                                  If we we're strictly talking great beer selection, neither Tap nor JB would make my top 5 in the city personally.

                                  1. re: Boognish

                                    Ok, so I visted Grey Lodge (upstairs) tonight and again I had just a wonderful beer experience. However, as I got seated upstairs, I noticed (as downstairs) that there were ten taps available. So I asked the bartender "are these all of your taps upstairs"? He responded "yes". I said "are you sure?" He again said "yes". I went on to ask "are the taps upstairs identical to downstairs?" The bartender for a third time responded "yes" (save for woodchuck cider served downstairs as well).
                                    So to clear up any nonsense and for the last time; Grey Lodge has a great beer selection. However, they had tonight, out of ten taps, four local beers:
                                    Sly Fox Black Raspberry
                                    Yards Washington Porter
                                    Troeg's Dead Reckoning Porter
                                    Victory Hop Wallop
                                    And as I've stated repeatedly in the past, both Standard Tap and Johnny Brenda's serve 8-12 local Philadelphia regional taps all the time. Therefore, if one wants to experience a wider variety of locals beers on tap, there are only two places to go that I am aware of:

                                    Standard Tap
                                    Johnny Brenda's

                                    Thanks

                                  2. re: cwdonald

                                    According to their website the second floor is open from Tuesday thru Sunday (I visited on Monday). I will visit again and venture upstairs (expecting fifteen additional taps of which at least half will be Philadelphia regional beer products).

                                    Thanks

                          3. re: Chinon00

                            The point of a thread like this is to provide the person who asked options.. Take Tria for example, which has a great variety of beer, including options like Double Simcoe from Weyerbacher or Dogfish Head Golden Era Pilsner and paired with food. It deserves to be mentioned as much as Brendas or ST or the Grey Lodge.

                            1. re: cwdonald

                              That's a good point. My only goal though was to offer "one stop shopping" to the OP.

                              Thanks!

                      2. re: cwdonald

                        I think the problem is that I'm more of an ale person than lager person. Yuengling has a pretty good finish (slightly grainy and nutty, although the finish is a little shorter than I'd like) compared to commercialized beer like Bud. But in terms of fragrance and taste, it doesn't hold up to good ales...but then again, this is just my humble opinion. Thanks for all the nice response. I'll try these places. I've been to foodery, but is it me or is the place very overpriced? I understand that they charge slightly less than bar prices, and I do like the "mix-and-match".

                        1. re: baekster

                          I understand exactly what you are saying however I personally hate to see "lager" generalized in such a fashion. Samichlaus is a lager at 15% abv and with the flavor and aroma of scotch, raisin, leather, honey, toffee . . .

                          Thanks!

                          1. re: Chinon00

                            I'm not sure what aroma of scotch may be (since that can vary so much from one to another). Samichlaus sounds interesting, I'll give it a try.

                            1. re: baekster

                              peaty, smokey, marvelous.

                              1. re: baekster

                                Ludwig's Biergarten sometimes has it on tap. A true treat.

                            2. re: baekster

                              If you are not from PA, you will defintely find The Foodery to be overpriced. The problem is that until recently, beer stores could only sell beer by the case in PA. A few places like The Foodery operate under an exemption that permits places that serve food to sell beer by the bottle. Every place you go in PA that takes advantage of this exemption is very expensive but the only option if, like me, you want to buy beers by the bottle and not the case.

                              Plus The Foodery's selection is excellent and you can also find Russian River and Lost Abbey beers there (more Californians worth seeking out).

                        2. Here is a resource that can help you with directions:

                          http://beermapping.com/maps/citymaps....

                          1. Check out the restaurant at the Victory Brewing Company in Downingtown, PA. Beers are great and the food is pretty decent, too. It's about a 45 min drive from the city

                            1. I must agree with the last poster; go to Victory Brewing! Excellent beer )try the Golden Monkey) and the food is good for being a brew pub. I enjoy the mushroom pizza.

                              1. Yuengling Porter.

                                1. Check out the latest Scratch brew from Troegs'--their Imperial Oatmeal Stout. Most worthy.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: PaintedHandFarm

                                    I am a big fan of both Standard Tap and the Grey Lodge but they are far from where I live. I am quite close to the Drafting Room in Spring House, which always has 20 taps of very interesting beers and ales. Some are local and many are not, so while it isn't exactly what this post is about, it is nonetheless one of the best places in the area for experiencing new and interesting beers and ales.

                                    1. re: Schpsychman

                                      If we're talking outside of Philly, Quotations in Media has a phenomenal beer list and always makes a point to include local options.
                                      And in Philly, I can't imagine a beer that isn't on the list at Eulogy. I'm sure you can go there and sample all different varieties in one spot.

                                  2. The best local beer is Troeg's Nugget Nectar, brewed by Troeg's Brewery in Harrisburg. A strong hoppy ale, with a malty smooth finish. The perfect beer from an amazing brewery.

                                    Other favorites:

                                    Yards Philadelphia Pale Ale - the ubiquitous "official" beer of Philly, and deservedly so. Crisp, hoppy, and served best at a Phillies game with a Schmitter. The only Philly Pale tap (I think) at the stadium is right around the corner from McNally's stand.

                                    Sly Fox O'Reilly's Dry Stout - This beer outs Guinness as the overrated mass-produced stale swill that it is. Try a fresh O'reilly's (Phoenixville) and you'll never order a Guinness again.

                                    Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA - The 90 Minute is fantastic but not for everybody, so as IPAs go, you can't get any more drinkable than the 60 min.

                                    Victory Golden Monkey - As close to a Belgian Triple as you can get without being brewed by Monks. Extremely drinkable, but look out at 9% abv the monkey will bite you in the a$$, like quick!

                                    Stoudt's Double IPA - My favorite double IPA. Awesome!

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: G Goo

                                      Pittsburgh here - haven't heard of Sly Fox, they're not carried by distributors out here, but we do get about everything else mentioned. Gives me a reason to visit out East...

                                      If y'all are out this way, there are several locations of Sharp Edge, Gooski's on Polish Hill and also Fatheads on Carson that all serve a good variety of non-lagers on tap and by bottle (Sharp Edge also boasting the most comprehensive selection of appropriate glassware).

                                      On that Victory Golden Monkey... I thought they took it over the top. It became unenjoyable after the first couple of cloying sips... tasted like mulled beer. Then again I'm much more the hops guy than a Belgian fan.

                                      1. re: Panini Guy

                                        Sly Fox is a local brewery/brewpub that has a limited bottling/canning production. I'd be surprised to see them anywhere outside the Delaware Valley. They do great stuff.

                                        Sounds like you are just not a fan of the style. Golden Monkey is about as true to a Belgian style triple as you can get. Not for everybody, but more for me!

                                        1. re: G Goo

                                          Sly Fox has a wonderful repuation nationwide. First of all they are part of a national trend for reintroducing the can as a means of delivering good beer. I was taking a tour of Stone's Brewery this year in Escondido, and after we all introduced ourselves, the brewer asked what I thought of Sly Fox.

                                          The O'Reilly's Stout has been doing so well it has actually be knocking Guiness of local taps, and gotten the notice of the Guiness importers. Expect good things to come from Sly Fox.

                                          I always wondered about Golden Monkey. I thought of it more like a strong ale such as a Duvel or Delerium Tremens rather than a true triple. Am I mistaken?

                                          1. re: cwdonald

                                            I believe it is a triple. Every time I try a Belgian triple my taste buds say "gee tastes like a Golden Monkey". Golden Monkey was my introduction to Belgian ales 8 or 9 years ago....I guess it's hard to forget a first impression.

                                            Great to hear Sly Fox is gaining a reputation outside Philly. Well deserved. They taught me that great beers can come from a can.

                                    2. Here are some of my personal favorite locals by style:
                                      1. Pale Ale - Hop Hazard (Riverhorse), Troegs Pale Ale
                                      2. India Pale Ale – 60 Minute IPA (Dogfish Head), Yards IPA
                                      3. Double IPA – Stoudt’s DIPA, Simcoe (Weyerbacher), Eleven (Weyerbacher), 90 Minute IPA (Dogfish Head), Hop Wallop (Victory)
                                      4. Stout – O’Reilly’s (Sly Fox),
                                      5. Imperial Stout – Storm King (Victory), Worldwide (Dogfish Head)
                                      6. Pilsner – Prima (Victory), Pikeland (Sly Fox), Stoudt’s Pils
                                      7. Doppelbock – Troegenator (Troegs), St. Victorious (Victory)
                                      8. Saison – Yard’s Saison, Grisette (Sly Fox)
                                      9. Hefe-Weizen – Royal Weisse (Sly Fox), Dream Weaver Wheat (Troegs)
                                      10. Pumpkin/ Imperial Pumpkin – Punkin Ale (Dogfish Head), Imperial Pumpkin Ale (Weyerbacher)

                                      1. Check out TJ's in Paoli, on Route 30, right next to the Paoli train station. I never saw a bigger selection of beer in my life. I dont know what they do, supply one bottle of everything on the planet or what. But it's so worth the trip. I was first introduced to IPAs there, and it seems there is no limit to their selection. And of course you can buy by the bottle, a variable 6-pack of whatever you grab, $14. I think the beer menu is 20 pages long. And I love the food there, too.

                                        1. i've seen it mentioned already, but i've got to put in a second vote for victory golden monkey. i don't know much about beer but i LOVE that beer. i *think* they had it on tap at that society hill bar at 3rd and chestnut in old city. i've also had it at charlie's on 3rd near arch, i think also on tap.

                                          we also got a 6-pack from a deli before going to chloe (BYO) and it was a great sub for wine to go with our food, and convenient because the deli is right next door.