Where to get your drink on this fall
By Emily Kovach
Philadelphia Distilling’s new tasting room
We previewed Philadelphia Distilling’s Fishtown facility and tasting room last fall, when it was still under construction. Walking through the raw industrial space, it was hard to imagine the exposed, graffiti-frosted walls making way for a large-scale production facility fronted by a posh, lively tasting room. Doors to the space officially opened in February, and the transformation is phenomenal. Sleek, gorgeous light fixtures and barstools frame a long, dramatic bar, which overlooks the distilling equipment through huge windows. Expert service and thoughtful cocktails that take Philadelphia Distilling’s award-winning libations from “still to shaker” all add up to a sophisticated bar/tasting-room experience. (Ed. Note— Grid‘s 100th Issue Party is at Philadelphia Distilling on Sept 14).
25 E. Allen St. • (215) 671-0346
Roy Pitz Barrel House at 9th & Spring Garden
This artful, creative brewing company, based out of Chambersburg, opened a barrel house in the burgeoning “Spring Arts” neighborhood (we still like to call it the Eraserhood) in June. With a strong focus on barrel-aged, funky and sour beers, this neo-industrial space makes up for its lack of coziness with colorful paintings, stylized lighting and plenty of seating for large groups. Replacing the chalkboard menu concept is a digital beer list with an up-to-the-minute list of drafts from Roy Pitz’s “liquid art” offerings. Choices range from the straightforward (Best Blonde golden lager) to the sublime (Cherry Hound sour ale), but all the pours pair well with the seasonal bar snacks coming out of the kitchen.
990 Spring Garden St. • (215) 995-6792
Bluebird Distilling in the Shops at Liberty Place
An import from Phoenixville, Bluebird brings handcrafted spirits, such as its four grain bourbon, Juniperus gin and sugarcane rum to Center City in its newly opened tasting room at the Shops at Liberty Place. This is not a bar, mind you—open daily from noon until 7 p.m., this spot really is just a tasting room and retail shop, with full-sized bottles on offer. That doesn’t mean you can’t drink there; guests can sample Bluebird’s wares via tasting flights ($5 for three, $8 for six, and if you buy a bottle, the price of the flights is subtracted from your purchase total).
27 S. 17th St.
Does Fishtown have room for another small-scale craft brewery/gastropub hybrid? This spot, opened in mid-summer, is betting yes, with this seven-barrel brewery and adjoining bar housed in a historic building on Frankford Avenue that was once home to a hosiery mill and an elevator factory. On the brewing side, head brewer Steve Dieva is fluent in a range of beer styles ranging from New American ales to old world barrel-fermented beers. Chef Justin Koenig heads up the kitchen, putting up unpretentious—but clever—snacks and small plates (think: South Philly-style beef tartare), and the bar program goes beyond house brews to offer local favs such as Tröegs and Sly Fox, as well as a curated list of classic cocktails.
1101 Frankford Ave. • (215) 990-1396
Breaking the mold of a traditional brewery, Fermentery Form creates a new form, and a new model, for what it means to “make” beer. Instead of brewing their own wort, the team here buys the grain-infused liquid from other local breweries and tackles the fermentation process in-house, using their own “mother cultures” (yeasts and bacterias that many breweries purchase from labs). By controlling fermentation, aging and conditioning variables, Fermentery Form beckons its signature rustic farmhouse style from the unassuming imported wort. The West Kensington spot holds regular hours on Saturdays from 2 to 6 p.m. for bottle sales (which may be drunk in-house or taken away). Keep an eye out for tasting room hours, hopefully coming this fall.
700 N. Palethorp St. • (267) 518-3676