Are you tired of spending your weekends at the same bars Manayunk? If you’re looking to switch it up, look no further than a DIY Beer Tour in Philadelphia!
This past Friday I embarked on a tour of Philadelphia that centered around one thing: beer. Not only did we cover a variety of bars and pubs, we also managed to make our way throughout different neighborhoods in Philly. Here’s an outline of the tour itself, and how I (a lightweight) fared drinking eight pints (and a shot) in one night.
- Paige Norris (me)
- My dad
- My friend Bobby
- Bobby’s Cool Dad, Dave (and the designer of the tour)
If you’re going to replicate the tour yourself I recommend you stick to the rules of the tour:
1.No more than 1 pint per pub. There are eight to ten pubs/bars on the tour so it’s unlikely you will make it through the whole thing if you overindulge at one of them. My group planned a dinner stop about half way through (which included a beer) and got bar snacks at several of the places we visited to help keep us going.
2.Thou shalt consume beer (and nothing else). This was very pointedly directed at my dad and I meaning we couldn’t drink wine in lieu of beer. Water however, is allowed (and encouraged).
3. Thou shalt be 21 or over. Because….drinking laws.
START TIME: Approximately 3:45 PM. Cab to Yards.
1.Yards Brewing Company, 901 Delaware Ave, 12-7PM
- Open 11:30AM – 7 PM
- Food served from 12:30-6:30PM
- Small menu, also have a “Food Truck Saturday” so keep an eye out for that.
- Arrived: 4:50PM
- Bartender: Ben
- Choice of beer: The Chocolate Love Stout, 6.9%
2.Eulogy Belgian Tavern, 136 Chestnut Street
- Belgian style and casual American food
- “The typical meal of the Belgian includes plump North Sea style mussels in flavorable sauces available along with the only authentic Belgian Frietjes and dipping sauce found in Philadelphia.”
- Arrived: 6:15 PM
- Bartender: Dave
- My Beer: Their “Special Ale,” from California, 6.5%
- My Dad’s Beer: Abbey Belgian Style Ale, from Colorado, 7.0%
3.Khyber Pass Pub, 56 S 2nd Street
- Arrived: 8:10 PM (we were running behind schedule so went to Gaslight first and then came back here after).
- Bartender: Dave
- Beer of Choice: Bells Hopslam, 10%
4.The Gaslight, 120 Market Street
- 7:15 dinner reservation
- Happy Hour 5-7 PM: All 14 Craft Beers on tap for $3
- Good beer list, average food. If you’re looking for a great food place nearby I recommend Amada (or really any of the Jose Garce restaurants) but this does the trick for the tour and is less expensive than Amada.
- Arrived: 7:00 PM
- Bartender: Brittney, AKA “Keeper of the Mad Elf”
- Beer of Choice: Mad Elf, 11.1%
- Each one of us had Mad Elf with dinner. Great beer and can be difficult to find because bars can only buy it in a sixtel (1/6 of a full keg of beer) and have to keep a different Troegs beer on tap throughout the year in order to serve the Mad Elf. We were told they had just kicked what was left of the Mad Elf right after we put our order in but the bartender Brittney, saved the day by bringing out 4 glasses of it just as we were putting in a new order.
5.Plough and the Stars, 123 Chestnut Street
- Jameson and Guinness
- Only spot where non-beer is allowed (in the form of Jameson). In this case, it’s an Irish bar where they can actually pour a great pint of Guinness.
- Arrived: 9:00 PM
- Bartender: John Doe
- Choice of Beer: Guinness (of course), 4.3%
- Addition: Shot of Jameson on the house.
6.Strangelove’s, 216 11th Street
- Food served until Midnight
- Pub food with Vegan options! I highly recommend the vegan carrot cake.
- Arrived: 10:20 PM
- Bartender: Abbey
- My Beer: Great Lakes Edmunds Fitzgerald, 6.0%
- My Dad’s Beer: Strange Love Yards Heavy Manners, 7.5%
7.Varga Bar, 941 Spruce Street
- Food served until 1 AM
- Favorites: Kobe beef sliders, truffle Mac n Cheese, and crispy smoked ham and cheese egg rolls.
- Arrived: 11:30 PM
- Bartender: Kelly
- My Beer: Lagunitas “Brown Shugga” Ale, 9.6%
- My Dad’s Beer: Russian Imperial Stout, Forgot to record alcohol percentage
- Aim to arrive at approximately 12 AM
- Kitchen closes at 1 AM and their Pommes Frites are a must have.
- Arrived: 12:55 AM
- Bartender: Bernadette
- My Beer: Russian River Damnation, 7.75%
- My Dad’s Beer: Russian River Blind Pig, 6.1%
9.Good Dog Bar, 224 S 15th Street
- Optional, this on the way back to the hotel we are staying at.
- (FYI: We didn’t make it there)
10.Bob and Barbara’s, 1509 South Street
- Home of the Citywide Special: PBR and a shot of Jim Beam
- They are the originators or “inventors” of this idea that was later copied by many bars in Philly.
- Fun concept and allows you to indulge in a bit of history.
- From a practical standpoint, we did not add this and would definitely have regretted it in the morning. But if you feel up to it, go for it!
The tour was a blast and I recommend trying several if not all the bars I’ve listed. Dave also printed us out an excel spread sheet so we could keep track of each beer we drank and the bartenders that served us. He did the same thing five years ago, when he took his eldest son, Billy, on the same tour and had some of the same people serve us this time around. Connecting with the bartenders about a beer they served Dave and Billy five years ago, was a memorable experience and made the tour that much more enjoyable.
Huge thank you to Dave for organizing and to my Dad for spending an extra day in Philly before flying back to our home town in London so he could participate. Check out the hard copy of our tour record below and happy beer drinking!
Next time you’re looking for something to do on a weekend night, definitely give this DIY beer tour a try!