The Essential Craft Breweries of Greater Philadelphia
These can't-miss breweries and brewpubs are just the start of an exploration of Philadelphia and the Countryside...
Whether you’re headed out for an evening of tasty local brews with friends or visiting while on a craft beer vacation, there’s no better place to be than Greater Philadelphia. Philly has fast become one of the best large metro areas for craft beer lovers, with more than 100 craft breweries spread across nearly 150 locations in the five-county region.
Are you into giant beer hall breweries with dozens of taps? We got that. Looking for nanobreweries and charming garage brewpubs? Plenty of those. From trendy taprooms to homebrewers striking out for the first time, Philadelphia has all the craft IPAs, porters, lagers and sours you can imagine in a variety of settings.
Philadelphia loves a winner, and the region is rife with large-scale craft breweries with huge tasting rooms and multiple locations. Just as no Philly vacation is over before seeing the Liberty Bell or Rocky Steps, no brewery tour is complete without a visit to the city’s most famous locales like Victory Brewing , Yards Brewing , and Iron Hill Brewery .
Philly has been brewing craft beer for a long time. Founded way back in 1985, Dock Street Brewery was the very first craft brewery to open in Philadelphia since Prohibition. There are plenty of other OG Philly breweries with tons of history you will want to experience as well, including Sly Fox , and Philadelphia Brewing Company .
But progress never stops in the City of Brewery Love. Successful new breweries are sprouting up nearly every month, offering new and fresh takes on craft beer, pushing boundaries and creating plenty of buzz. For trendy styles like hazy IPAs, dessert stouts and crisp saisons, check out places like Evil Genius and Levante Brewing . And be sure to explore some of the region’s most creative and experimental spots like Free Will , Imprint Beer Company and Two Locals Brewing , the city’s first Black-owned brewery.
With so many breweries around Philadelphia and its Countryside, how do you know where to begin? Deciding where to start a tab can be daunting. To help plan your brewery outing, these are the 15 most essential breweries in Philly — the sites you can’t miss and your jumping-off points into exploring the wonderful Greater Philadelphia Craft Beer Trail . Plus: bonus ideas for destination-defining attractions — like museums, parks, trails and historic sites — to pair with your brewery visit(s).
Bob Barrar, who honed his brewing chops at Iron Hill Brewery on his way to becoming one of the nation’s most award-winning brewers (see their popular Delco Lager American Amber for proof) is the partner-brewmaster behind Delaware County-proud 2SP Brewing Company . The awards keep coming for 2SP, with the brewery’s Russian imperial stout having garnered three Great American Beer Festival medals — two of them for gold.
- Aston location : Subaru Park, home of the Philadelphia Union ; Linvilla Orchards ’ family fun on a farm; and gaming, dining and horseracing at Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack
- Chadds Ford location : Great local wines at Penns Woods Winery and Revolutionary War history at Brandywine Battlefield Park
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Born and bred along the Schuylkill River Trail in 2014, Ken Buonocore and John Remington’s Conshohocken Brewing Company is now a serendipitous misnomer as the Montgomery County brewery has expanded to five suburban locations. But visitors to any taproom will enjoy both signature brews (Ring The Bell unfiltered pilsner and the World Beer Cup Award-winning Puddlers Row extra special bitter) and a variety of seasonals (Wooder Melon fruited wheat and unPHLtered hazy double IPA).
- Conshohocken location : LEGOLAND Discovery Center and Wissahickon Valley Park
- King of Prussia location : Valley Forge Casino Resort and the King of Prussia Mall , one of the largest on the continent
- Phoenixville location : Colonial Theatre , filming location for 1958’s The Blob , and the Bridge Street brewery district
- Havertown location : Ardmore’s Suburban Square and Merion Golf Club , one of Golf Digest ’s “100 Greatest Golf Courses”
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In 1985, Dock Street Brewing Company opened as Philadelphia’s first post-prohibition craft brewery, with influential founder Rosemary Certo becoming one of America’s first female brewery owners. While locations have changed over the years (its historic West Philly firehouse recently changed hands), Dock Street continues to go strong at its South Philly brewpub, a 10,500-square-foot space in Point Breeze featuring modern Mediterranean and European small plates and constantly changing beer on tap. Stay tuned for a new Fishtown spot opening in winter of 2023.
It’s one thing to give your craft beer fun names, but another to make funny-named beers great. Served in a funky, eclectic Fishtown brewpub, the folks behind Evil Genius Beer Company have ingrained themselves in Philly craft beer culture by offering delicious-tasting and whimsically-named brews like There’s No Crying In Baseball and Stacy’s Mom American IPAs, I Love Lamp hefeweizen and the acclaimed Purple Monkey Dishwasher porter. The facility offers a viewable brewery, The Lab tasting room and side yard beer garden.
- Philadelphia Record Exchange , slinging vinyl in Fishtown for over four decades
- One of the greatest pies you’ll ever eat at Pizzeria Beddia , a Time Magazine “World’s Greatest Places” and Bon Appetite ’s “Best Pizza in America”
- Historic Penn Treaty Park where, according to legend, William Penn and the indigenous Lenape brokered peace
Puckery sours, hazy IPAs and more shine at Free Will Brewing Company ’s flagship location in Perkasie, which opened in 2012 ahead of the Perkasie brewery boom. The Bucks County brewpub offers a dozen taps of constantly rotating beer, while food trucks dish out eats outside. Elsewhere, visitors to Lahaska’s Peddler’s Village can take a break from shopping with a brew at the Free Will taproom and outdoor deck, as well as its newest spot inside The Broad Theater in Souderton.
- Perkasie location : Tours of the Pearl S. Buck House , former home of the acclaimed author, and outdoor adventures around Lake Galena in Peace Valley Park
- New Hope location : Scores of cute indie stores at Peddler’s Village and Main Street New Hope ’s quaint art galleries, sophisticated dining choices and eclectic shopping
- Souderton location : National touring acts at Sellersville Theater and professional stage productions at Montgomery Theater
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Of the 100-plus craft breweries located in Greater Philadelphia’s five counties, Imprint Beer Company in Montgomery County is the top-ranked Philly-based spot on popular beer-ranking app Untappd. Look to the brewery’s fruited-sour “Schmoojees” as a big reason it holds the coveted position, in addition to big dessert stouts and New England IPAs. The brewery’s Hatfield brewpub offers gastrofusion dishes from onsite Cantina Rabo.
Since opening in 1996, regional powerhouse Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant has found great success, expanding to multiple locations around Philly’s five counties alone. Its blend of made-in-house craft beer, delicious pub fare and a welcoming brewpub atmosphere appeals to families and brew-heads alike. Founded in Delaware, Iron Hill quickly expanded to Pennsylvania, opening a second location in West Chester in 1998. But its most expansive location is its flagship in Center City East in the shadow of City Hall serving 15 beers on tap like the popular Iron Hill Light Lager and Philly Phavorite IPA.
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Taking its name – meaning “rising” – from a region in Italy, Chester County’s Levante Brewing Company arose from two friends’ love of homebrewing who wanted to make beers in the explorative tradition of the Old World. Patrons can grab a bite from food trucks parked outside, then settle in with one of the more-than-a-dozen beers on draft including a wide selection of New England and Double IPAs and flavorful stouts. The brewery also offers a seasonal beer garden and tap trailer at Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show Grounds in Glenmoore.
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Husband and wife team Kevin (formerly of Iron Hill Brewing) and Melissa Walter unveiled Love City Brewing and tasting room in 2018 in a warehouse space on the brick streets of Callowhill that once manufactured train parts for the Reading Railroad. The lively brewpub is known as one of the city’s friendliest, and features a grand selection, including signature brews like Love City Lager American lager and Eraserhood, a triple-hopped hazy IPA inspired by former neighborhood resident David Lynch. The brewery also offers top-notch pub fare and a seasonal beer garden under the Rail Park down the block.
With a name like Philadelphia Brewing Company (PBC), you bet this pioneering Kensington brewery is essential Philly. Cherished for its gorgeous warehouse-style brick facility — originally constructed by 19th-century brewers Weisbrod & Hess — PBC has sated the thirst of craft beer fans in the city and beyond since 2007 with handcrafted ales and limited-run microbrews, including the inexpensive and ubiquitous Kenzinger American lager.
Since launching in 1995 as one of the Philly region’s original craft beer purveyors, Sly Fox Brewing has won numerous medals at the Great American Beer Festival for its classic brews, including German-style Helles Golden Lager, Pikeland Pils and Grisette Belgian wheat ale. After a number of moves and expansions, the brewery now offers tasting rooms in Pottstown, Phoenixville and Malvern (among its six Keystone State locations). It’s also known for its many outsized brewery events, including Bridgetoberfest, Sly Fox Cyclocross and the Can Jam Music Festival.
- Pottstown location : United States Hot Air Balloon Team for a bird’s-eye view and horseback riding, hiking and disc golf at French Creek State Park
- Phoenixville location : Downtown Phoenixville where historic charm meets a modern mindset, and outdoor/history haven Valley Forge National Historical Park
- Malvern location : Quaint West Chester and water sports and hiking at Marsh Creek State Park
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It’s worth a stop at Tired Hands Brewing Company if only to sample their selection of milkshake IPA’s, a super-hazy and massively juicy style that’s exploded nationally but was invented right here at their Ardmore brewery in 2016. The rest of Tired Hands’ beer lineup, including its crisp lagers, massive stouts and tingly saisons, have accumulated accolades from RateBeer and The Daily Meal as well as being shortlisted for a James Beard Award. Along with the flagship Ardmore Fermentaria Tap Room, Tired Hands also offers a brewcafé just three blocks away, as well as their St. Oner’s (double entendre intended) Fishtown restaurant and storefront catering to those who partake.
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Brothers Richard and Mengistu Koilor had been homebrewing their unique beers for four years when they launched Two Locals Brewing Company just as the pandemic began, opening Philadelphia’s first Black-owned craft brewery, and one of the few nationwide. You can’t visit in person ( just yet ), but cans of their up-and-coming brews like Prolific hazy IPA and Nubian brown ale are available online, at a variety of popup beer gardens and at Craft Hall through a partnership with Mainstay Brewing.
Nearby Craft Hall:
Founded in 1996 by childhood friends who met on a school bus, Victory Brewing Company is one of the Philly region’s original craft breweries. Twenty-five years later, the successful brewery — the largest in the region — now distributes crowd-pleasers like Hopdevil IPA or Victory Helles Lager in nearly every state and overseas. Enjoy the selections at one of Victory’s five Philly region taprooms, including their home base in Downingtown, west in Parkesburg, out in Kennett Square, with a rowdy crowd at Xfinity Live! at the sports complex or their new 14,000-square-foot facility at 1776 Ben Franklin Parkway in Center City.
- Downingtown location : Water sports and hiking at Marsh Creek State Park and shopping and dining in downtown West Chester
- Kennett Square location : World-renowned displays at Longwood Gardens and the Mushroom Museum , heart of the Mushroom Capital of the World
- Parkesburg location : Hiking and birding at Natural Lands’ Sadsbury Woods Preserve
- Center City location : Everything to see in Center City from the Museums on the Parkway to City Hall to pictures in front of the LOVE statue
- Xfinity Live! location : Citizens Bank Park , Lincoln Financial Field and Wells Fargo Center … need we say more?
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Tenured and respected since launching in Philly in 1994, Yards Brewing Company has set up shop at five different locations from Manayunk to Kensington. But their four year old facility in Northern Liberties is the grandest of the bunch. Green energy completely powers the 70,000-square-foot brewery, taproom, restaurant and beer garden that keeps 20 rotating beers on tap, including classics like Philadelphia Pale Ale, Philthy Hazy IPA, Love Stout nitro and Brawler English Mild alongside “first draft” new beers. Headed out of town without a chance to stop at the taproom? Grab some beers on your way home at the Yards Takeoff Lounge in Philadelphia International Airport’s Terminal A.
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