Booze Banter

50 Reasons Why Philadelphia Is One Of America’s Greatest Beer Cities!

In the July 2011 issue of Travel + Leisure Magazine, Philadelphia was ranked 17th on their list of America’s Best Beer Cities. 17th??? ARE YOU F#$%ING KIDDING ME! I was absolutely floored when I saw this. I don’t give a rat’s ass how they came up with these rankings. This is about Philly pride! Ranking us 17th is like calling us a bunch of douchebags. You can call us dirty. You can call us rude and unfriendly. You can even call us fat and ugly. But don’t F#$% with us when it comes to beer!

Here are 50 reasons why Philadelphia is a Great American Beer City

  1. Philly Beer Week
  2. Monk’s Cafe
  3. Standard Tap
  4. Good Dog Bar
  5. Yards Brewing Company
  6. Joe Six Pack
  7. Citizen’s Bank Park
  8. Philly Tap Finder
  9. The Foodery
  10. Brauhaus Schmitz
  11. Nodding Head Brewery & Restaurant
  12. Flying Fish Brewing Company
  13. Fergie’s Pub
  14. Eulogy Belgian Tavern
  15. Victory Brewing Company
  16. The Pourhouse
  17. Sly Fox Brewing Company
  18. The Farmer’s Cabinet
  19. South Philadelphia Tap Room
  20. City Tap House
  21. Grey Lodge
  22. Bella Vista Beer Distributors
  23. Hawthorne’s
  24. Devil’s Den
  25. Tria
  26. Dock Street Beer
  27. Misconduct Tavern
  28. Kraftwork
  29. The P.O.P.E.
  30. Lew Bryson
  31. Drink Philly
  32. Kite & Key
  33. Dock Street Brewing Company
  34. Vargas Bar
  35. Earth – Bread + Brewery
  36. Pub and Kitchen
  37. Local 44
  38. The Dandelion
  39. Stoudt’s Brewing Company
  40. McGillin’s Olde Ale House
  41. Patrick E. McGovern
  42. Weyerbacher
  43. Resurrection Ale House
  44. Jon’s Bar & Grill
  45. Manayunk Brewery
  46. Memphis Taproom
  47. Grace Tavern
  48. River Horse Brewing Company
  49. Triumph Brewing Company
  50. Time
Think your city is better than Philadelphia when it comes to beer? Tell us why in the comments below. We want to know!

44 replies »

  1. Well….

    I agree and disagree:

    AGREE: Philly is a great beer drinking city – not open to dispute and a direct comparison between Philly’s beer culture and that of many (most) of the cities listed ahead of Philly in the T&L list isn’t a fair fight. The 50 reasons you noted are only part of the story (though the best and biggest part). The history and traditions… the distinct beer-centric bars in varied neighborhoods throughout the city (Old City, Center City, South Philly, Northern Liberties….) and the craft beer I.Q. of the city’s enthusiasts are also big components. And that leads to where I….

    DISAGREE: I do want to know how they compiled that list. What metrics did they use? Did they actually send people to every city and did those people know the difference between a rat hole that prides itself in serving buckets of Rolling Rock Midgets and one that quietly pours Russian River, Stone, Founders and other world class brews through its tap tower? From the looks of the list, I think not.

    I’ve been on craft beer “research” trips to many of those cities (recently Austin). Some great places and great craft beer culture but not nearly as wide and deep as the City of Brotherly Brew!!



    • Thanks for the response! Here is how Travel + Leisure gathers their data (taken directly from their website)…

      “An online survey, developed by the editors of Travel + Leisure, appeared on from July 1, 2010, to September 15, 2010. Respondents were asked to rate their choice of 35 cities (Anchorage; Atlanta; Austin; Baltimore; Boston; Charleston; Chicago; Dallas/Fort Worth; Denver; Honolulu; Houston; Kansas City; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Miami; Memphis; Minneapolis/St. Paul; Nashville; New Orleans; New York; Orlando; Philadelphia; Phoenix/Scottsdale; Portland. Maine; Portland, Oregon; Providence; Salt Lake City; San Antonio; San Diego; San Francisco; San Juan; Santa Fe; Savannah; Seattle; and Washington, D.C.) in a selection of subject categories (People, Type of Trip, Hotels, Nightlife, Culture, Shopping, Food/Dining, Quality of Life/Visitor Experience, Local Specialties,and Best Times to Visit). All subject categories and all cities were available for rating at all times. The subject categories were served in random order to respondents. Respondents were asked to identify whether they live in or had visited the cities they rated. The survey results appearing in the print magazine are from respondents who identified themselves as non-residents. Rankings are based on averages of responses from visitors concerning applicable characteristics. Respondents were asked to rate a city for each applicable characteristic, using a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest score. Responses were collected and tabulated by Final scores were rounded to the nearest hundredth. When two or more cities have the same score but different ranks, their rankings were ordered by their unrounded score.”

      If you step through the survey (one city at a time), the 2nd section is titled “Food/Drink/Restaurants”, and it has 9 categories, one of which is labeled “Microbrew beer”. You are then asked to give it a 1 (Poor) to 5 (Excellent) rating. That’s it. Just one line.



      • How can you take a list seriously that rates both Portlands and Providence in the Top 5? Savannah ahead of Boston (#7)? Austin, Nashville, Kansas City and Anchorage ahead of Philadelphia? San Diego at #18? Milwaukee and St. Louis not even mentioned as beer towns? Obviously, this list is compiled by votes from readers of T&L but this is supposed to be a list based on actual experience and not a list of cities you would like to visit! If you want a reader survey of beer towns ask only questions regarding beer towns not a bunch of fluff questions and then a single question on microbrews. Bad survey! Bad List! Bad T&L!


        • I didn’t take it too seriously, but unfortunately, alot of people do. You raise some very valid points about who did and did not make the list. Overall, it’s a crap survey by a crap magazine.

          On the plus side… it was a good excuse to rant a bit AND slip the word douchebag into a post.


          • I don’t know that the magazine is crap. Usually, the photography is very nice. As for the need to rant, I’m not sure you need an excuse my swarthy friend. It sort of comes with the territory. And, once our partner in crime returns from his vacation, I’m sure douche bag will find its way into a post or at the very least a number of comments.


  2. Thanks for the love. Sandwiched between CBP and The Foodery…we’ll take it! If websites could blush, PhillyTapFinder would be blushing right now. Cheers!


  3. Nice List! Philly totally beats out Richmond – hands down! I’ve been to Monks (LOVE), Victory and Flying Fish in Philly- all stellar!

    BUT…. just in case anyone is in Richmond, VA anytime and needs a list of great beer places to visit, here you go:

    – Legend Brewing
    – The Commercial Tap House
    – The Capital Ale House (3 locations)
    – Mekong
    – Penny Lane Pub



  4. Well, shucks. Thanks. I suspect I got on the list through longevity. Very glad to see Patrick on there too.
    Flip ’em off; we’ve got a great beer city, dammit.


    • Yo Lew!

      Thanks so much for the comment! It means alot to us. It’s guys like you and Joe Sixpack, Fergie, Patrick McGovern, and many other that have helped to put Philly on the beer drinking map.

      I lived in Philly for the first 32 years of my life, and I still work in Center City. I’ve seen the highs and I’ve seen the lows. While Philly is far from perfect, (there is still plenty of room for improvement, i.e. the schools, the job market, the poverty and violence stricken areas of West, North, and Southwest Philadelphia, and of course our sometimes horrible attitude) I still get the feeling that we are on the upswing in many respects. We need to keep the momentum going! We’ve slowly become a city that people actually want to visit. The next step is to become a city where people want to live and raise their children. One step at a time!



  5. Maybe the list was compiled by a hard-core Packers fan who still can’t get over the Eagles handing Vince Lombardi the only championship game defeat of his career back in 1960.


  6. G-lo —

    When did Philly ever Phucking care what others think? I would rather they keep our area off the list completely so we can enjoy our Beer Heaven without having to answer stupid questions like:

    1 – Can you tell me where the Liberty Bell is?
    2 – Is that a statue of Ben Franklin on city hall?
    3 – Where can if find a good cheesesteak and what does “wit wiz” mean?
    4 – What animal is the Philly Phanatic?

    Philly is a city of, by, and for local beer geeks …. I’m ok if that stays a secret.


  7. As a philly native, weaned on lukewarm Yuegling stolen from my parents garage, I was disappointed it wasn’t one of your 50 reasons. I know, it’s slop to many, but being denied the joy of cold lager in Massachusetts makes me miss it.


    • I can understand your nostalgia for Yuengling. I had more than my fair share of the stuff when I was in my 20s (having 4 on a Saturday night at the now defunct and demolished “Who’s on 3rd” was pretty standard back in the day), and I still have one when there is nothing better to drink (thankfully, this is a very rare occurence). I didn’t put it on the list because I don’t consider it one of the reasons why Philly is such a great beer town. While Yuengling is better than standard issue Miller/Bud/Coors, it’s not very memorable.


      • Yuengling has crossed over into the realm of “Big Beer” so its omission from the list is fine with me. It was a great “starter” beer for many Philly area native so maybe it gets an honorable mention.


        • It was far from a comprehensive list. It was a 1AM rant in response to a moronic poll by a travel rag. 50 was easy and I didn’t even scratch the surface of the awesomeness that is the Philly beer community.


  8. First of all, those studies are HORRIBLE! You can’t ever trust them. Where do they come up with this stuff? Right?!? In one ranking, they list my city as one of the most livable, and on another they list it as one of the most depressing. Which is it? So, with that in mind, is Philly # 17? No way! Is my city better than your city? Hell yeah! I live in Portland, OR, and I just can’t turn a corner without stumbling upon 3 microbreweries, an awesome bottle shop/pub, or a weekend brew fest. Say what you will about Portland having too many IPAs (I agree), but it is an amazing beer town.
    I spent my formative drinking years in Philly enjoying (guzzling) PA beers, and I love that city! (I just saw your reference to Who’s on 3rd – man I loved that place)


    • Thanks for the comment! Although I have never been to Portland, I do hear wonderful things about it, i.e. great food and beer, bike friendly, scenic, etc.. Just please please please tell me that Portlandia is exaggerating a bit. Heh

      As far as Who’s On Third, I spent many many nights there in my my early to mid 20s. I’m sure they violated the fire code every night. So so crowded! Also, I can’t help but think of the place every time I hear Dexy’s Midnight Runners or Neil Diamond singing Sweet Caroline (Oh-OhOhOh!). Just so you know, they tore the place down and built town homes there.


      • Sorry I was a year late in responding to the original post, but once I read it I couldn’t just let it go. You should do a beer trip to Portland, it is a great beer destination. We even have “beer buses” around town, including my neighborhood:
        In the summer, I have seen a “bike bar” that is a bicycle with a refrigerated keg and a tap. – mobile beer!
        Every February we have Zwickelmania: (unfortunately that is a bad time of year to be in Portland) but the weather is great in the summer.
        Portlandia is not too much of an exaggeration. I was recently passed on the sidewalk by a mini-pony trotting along with a carriage that had 2 adults inside.
        Sorry to hear about Who’s on 3rd. I was on South Street last fall, and noticed the place was “absent”.


      • No worries about the late response. Guess we weren’t on your radar a year ago. Heh

        Portland definitely looks and sounds like fun. The whole Pacific Northwest region is definitely on my list of places to go. So far, we’ve only been to Vancouver and just outside Seattle. Maybe when the kids get a bit older. Or even better… find a work trip that will get me out there for free!


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