As the birthplace of U.S. freedom, Philadelphia is widely known for its rich history and culture. Aside from important landmarks and the Declaration of Independence, Philly was also brewing up another kind of history in the 1680’s — beer making.
During the American Revolution, taverns began emerging all over the city; by the middle of the 20th century, there were about 100 breweries in Philadelphia Proper. That whole pesky Prohibition era pumped the brakes on the brewery wave for a while, but it made a comeback in the ’80s — and today, Philly’s incredible local beer scene has earned it its nickname of “America’s Beer Drinking City.”
For a real taste of history (plus, it's a fun and inexpensive date idea!), here’s your go-to list of 11 awesome Philadelphia breweries that are worth a visit (and definitely some sample flights).
Urban Village Brewing Company
One of the newer brew pubs on Philly’s beer scene, Urban Village opened its doors in 2017 right in Northern Liberties and has been serving up tank-to-table craft beers ever since. Just like their brews (white run the gamut from strong scotch ales to hibiscus sour saisons), their artisan flatbread pizzas are made from scratch and draw a crowd of their own — especially during happy hour, when pizza is half price and beer is $3 (from 5-7 p.m., Monday-Friday). When the weather warms up, head to the venue’s outdoor lounge and enjoy a pint by the firepits.
Yards Brewing Company
Originally located in a garage in Manayunk, Yards recently relocated to Northern Liberties in favor of 70,000 square feet of space. Now, their massive warehouse-meets-biergarten has that much more room for greatness: 20 beers on tap (mostly English-style ales), beer-friendly foods cooked up by award-winning chef Jim Burke, indoor gaming, outdoor space with cornhole, and longer hours to enjoy these things. If you want get up close to the beer-making sorcery, brewery tours run every 30 minutes and cost $5 a person
Evil Genius Beer Company
While Evil Genius is known for their quirky branding and off-the-wall beer names, their beer is seriously good — from Purple Monkey Dishwasher (a choco-peanut butter porter) to #SorryNotSorry (a peach IPA) and You’re Killing Me Smalls (a summer raspberry shandy). The Fishtown brewpub is a favorite local hangout, offering a cool, lively vibe with its exposed brick, indoor and outdoor seating (sofas included), and card games to play while you imbibe. Its tasting room (a.k.a., The Lab) constantly rotates which seasonal brews are on tap; their expansive artisanal food menu is equally impressive.
Manayunk Brewery and Restaurant
This brew pub boasts one of the largest outdoor decks in Philadelphia. Situated right on the Schuylkill River, Manayunk Brewery is perfect for enjoying a few alfresco pints. On chillier days, enjoy the inside’s relaxed vibe, where they’re also crafting a rotating selection of small-batch lagers, porters, IPAs, and more (they claim to have brewed over 600 beers over the years). Guests also flock to this here for the fresh food menu, which includes a sushi bar and kid-friendly bites. There’s almost always a daily event or music performance — from Saturday night DJs to live jazz brunch on Sundays.
Dock Street Brewery and Restaurant
Named for the city’s old seaport district that once served as the nation’s largest beer producer in the 1700s, this West Philadelphia brew pub is doing its epithet proud. Today, Dock Street Brewery serves up a wide range of beers poured directly from the tanks, such as their staple Rye IPA and seasonal favorites like their Winter Haze pale ale. Schedule a tour on a Saturday (2-4 p.m., and tickets come with a pint glass and sticker), then venture next door to their newly opened cannery and tasting lounge, where guests can enjoy light bites and craft cocktails.
Second District Brewing
In South Philly’s Newbold neighborhood, you’ll find Second District Brewing — a converted garage-turned-brew-pub with doors that open up to the streets during warmer months, a concrete-poured bar, dark wood accents, and a laid-back atmosphere. Head brewer Ben Potts (formally of Tired Hands Brewery and Dogfish Head Brewery) knows what he’s doing, brewing up a wide range of beers like their Bancroft Beer pilsner, Stumpfbier lager, and Resilience IPA. Come for happy hour (Monday-Friday, 5-7 p.m.) for $2 off all pints and select food items (many of which are vegetarian- and vegan-friendly).
2nd Story Brewing Co.
After a day of exploring Philadelphia’s many historic sites, take a load off at 2nd Story Brewing Co., Old City’s one and only brewery. This place prides itself on brewing a variety of quality beers on-site that are “handcrafted and handed down” like a good story — and why yes, the brew-magic actually does happen on the second floor of their Chestnut Street jaunt. 2nd Story offers a very expansive menu at the downstairs tasting room and restaurant (the Fondue Fries, Scallops On Scallops, and Big & Boozy Adult Sundae are not to be missed).
Love City Brewing Company
A former railway-parts factory, this spacious Callowhill brewery opened its doors in 2018 and has quickly become popular by sharing its love for craft beverages with Philadelphia. Love City brews an impressive roster of beers, like their signature Love City Lager and fun seasonal sips like Totally Wired Coffee Brown Ale and the banana-flavored Suspect Device Tripel (there are so many delicious beers to try, consider sampling with one of their three flight options.) For non-beer-loving folks looking to get in on the action, Love City is just as well-known for their hand-crafted cocktails. Entertainment wise, you can get your game on with puzzles, board games, and darts; once you’ve worked up an appetite, order bottomless bar snacks or something from the visiting food truck. Another perk: if you brought along your own designated driver, there’s a parking lot right next door.
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
With 16 locations total, Iron Hill opened its newest location in the heart of Center City in late 2018. They pride themselves on scratch-made beer brewed on-site, like the White Iron Wit, Pig Iron Porter, and Ore House IPA, as well as their approachable food menu that’s designed to pair perfectly with their libations. The brewery’s long bar and numerous booths makes for a great place to come for after-work drinks (it’s conveniently located next to PATCO and SEPTA train lines); it also has a family-friendly restaurant element, so bring the kids and order a few grilled cheeses and a beer flight (the last part is only for you).
Goose Island Brewhouse
This Chicago-based brewery opened a transplant location in Philly’s Fishtown neighborhood in 2018. The sizable locale was drawn up by the same firm that designed the flagship, which includes a rustic-chic vibe, ample seating, TVs for watching sports, and a huge green space with lawn games. On the draft line are 28 Goose Island beers, some of which are Philly specials, like the Magic Gardens Pils and Scoop’s Session; their menu of traditional pub fare is also uniquely Philly and locally sourced. Happy hour offers $3 house brews and $5 small plates — so pop by for a pregame beverage before your concert at the Fillmore (it’s right next door), or stay the whole day.
Crime and Punishment Brewing Co.
A microbrewery inspired by 19th Century Russian literature? Philly truly has it all. Crime and Punishment Brewing Co. serves up distinctive craft beers in Philadelphia’s historic Brewerytown neighborhood (don’t leave without sampling their Space Race IPA). The spot has a clean, industrial feel with Russian/Slavic decór, and while it’s cozier than many of the city’s big brew pubs (in a good, relaxing way), there’s plenty going on to draw big crowds. Their food menu is also right on theme with kielbasa, pierogies, and mushroom stroganoff, so come hungry. Traveling by car? There is ample metered parking on the streets, which is a Philadelphia rarity.