Since the craft beer boom of the early 2010s, new breweries have popped up every year across the Philadelphia region, and 2023 is no slouch.
More than a dozen breweries are opening for the first time this year, and others are expanding their reach to new markets, diversifying the Southeastern Pa. brewery landscape.
New chapters for some follow on the heels of the final chapters for others though, like in the case of Philly-area brewers Liquid Art Barrel House, Separatist Beer Project, and Stickman Brews, all of which were in business for nearly a decade, The Inquirer reported earlier this month.
“We’re definitely seeing a larger number of craft breweries starting to close,” said Chadd Balbi, cofounder of the media outlet Breweries in Pennsylvania, and whose annual industry report will publish soon. “I don’t think it’s a doom and gloom situation because brewery openings and expansions are also up as well. I think roughly 47 breweries opened or announced expansion in 2023, and we’ve had probably about 23 that announced closures.”
Of the new breweries opening across the Philly region this year, beer-lovers are spoiled for choice. Expect some of the state’s best lagers from Human Robot, classic and bone-dry IPAs from Bonesaw Brewing, and seasonal delights like an apple cobbler sour ale from Second Sin, to name a few. The vibes aren’t lacking, either, with some new names offering idyllic views of Montco farmland or the Schuykill Banks atop a taproom’s deck.
New breweries and taprooms in Philadelphia
Human Robot Schuykill Banks
Kensington’s Human Robot is one of the premier Pennsylvania breweries for lagers, Balbi said. This year, thanks to a collaboration with Spread Bagelry, Human Robot opened up shop within 45 days of hearing of the Center City West location, close to the Walnut Street Bridge. Now, after-work happy hour goers and the weekend brunch crowd have a rooftop riverside view to enjoy Human Robot’s best beers like Czech 10° lager and Dreams of Orgonon hazy IPA.
🌐 humanrobotsb.com 📍 2401 Walnut St. 📷 @humanrobotschuylkillbanks
Our Town Brewery
Lancaster’s Our Town Brewery brings a community approach to its taproom by partnering with local businesses to supply ingredients for their beer and food. Now, they will bring that magic to Philly’s Fairmount neighborhood sometime in late 2023, according to co-owners Rob Tarves and Rob Patz. The two Robs behind Our Story grew up together, went to Penn State together, and have shared a dream to build a brewery since 2009 together. They’ll bring that community spirit to the Fairmount taproom by partnering with local purveyors of wines and spirits, including Lancaster products to share with Philadelphians.
“We grew up in Lewisburg, a town with a population of 7,000, where everyone was connected and proud of the local small businesses,” said Tarves. “That really struck us and was something we’ve always wanted to try.”
🌐 ourtownbrewery.com 📍 1519 Ridge Ave. 📷 @ourtownbrewery
Two Locals Brewing Co.
Philadelphia’s first Black-owned brewery, co-owned by brothers Mengistu and Richard Koilor, is debuting a brick-and-mortar location in December, a project that’s long been in the works and heavily anticipated by the city’s beer scene. The duo will open the taproom in the new uCity Square building near Drexel University’s campus, with 12 beers on tap and a food menu with a weekly dish inspired by the brothers’ Liberian and Jamaican heritage.
“We’re just trying to bring our culture to the beer industry, represent for the African Americans and Black people in Philly, and show the city that we can make great beer,” said Richard Koilor. “With our kitchen partners, we’re figuring out how to bring our African and Jamaican heritage through the food. Through our beers, you’ll be able to learn about pop culture to the history of Philly — our beers always have some type of meaning or story.”
The duo’s newest brew which debuted last month is Lofa lager, named after the county in Liberia where both brothers’ father (and co-owner) Mengistu Koiler, were born.
🌐 twolocalsbrewing.com 📷 @twolocals
New breweries and taprooms in the Philadelphia suburbs
Bonesaw Brewing Co.
Glassboro’s Bonesaw Brewing Co. has made a name for itself in the Philly burbs of New Jersey over the last decade, so much so that it’s expanding to a new location within the Deptford Mall. The Bonesaw Pilot House opened its doors at the end of September with a variety of brews on tap created by brewmaster AJ Stoll, from dark and pale beers to their own in-house seltzer. Known for their IPAs and lagers, be sure to check out the juicy and hazy Plumpscious IPA or Bonetoberfest German-style lager. It’s a BYO situation too, with a relaxed vibe that encourages anyone to pull up after work with grub and buds to enjoy some Bonesaw brews.
🌐 bonesawbrewing.com 📍 1750 Deptford Center Rd., Suite 1500, Deptford 📞 856-245-7809
Brass Collar Brewing Co.
Montco is getting a new brewery from Brass Collar Brewing Co. in Souderton. Co-owners Benjamin Israel and Brody Bisson are converting a former SEPTA train station into the town’s next hangout spot — the brewery even gets its name from the railroad lingo term, “brass collar,” meaning train conductor. “Seeing the original building to what it is now is night and day, and we think we’re gonna have a very cool spot for everybody,” said Israel.
A collaboration with Montco’s Menagerie Foods, the operator of the Jamaican Jerk Hut in Warminster, will serve crabcake burgers and chicken chili and cornbread, while Brass Collar’s beer menu runs the gamut from IPAs and lagers to ciders and seltzers. “Our main mission is to have a beverage that everyone will like whether it’s an IPA, light beer, cider, seltzer, a soft drink, or just water — we don’t care, we don’t discriminate,” said Israel, noting they’ll open with a 12-tap wall.
🌐 facebook.com/brasscollarbrewingco 📍 100 S. Front St., Souderton, PA
Broad Street Brewing
This Bristol-based brewer has been distributed throughout local bars since 2020, but now have a taproom to share the brotherly love in person. “There are 1,400 Broad Streets across the country, big town to small towns, so you don’t have to go too far before you feel like you’re still at home,” co-owner Ed Webber said of their brand’s approachability. “Broad Street’s entire goal is to generate beers in a variety of styles that are highly drinkable.”
The brewery’s crowd-pleasing lineup includes the Hey Yo! Hazy IPA, a play on Rocky Balboa’s iconic greeting, and 76 and Sunny blonde ale, a smooth thirst-quenching sip. Broad Street is hoping to become your next local watering hole that immerses you in the thick of a brewery — no glass windows or barriers separating you from the brewery process. You might even be asked to move out of the way for the forklift, said Webber. “If you’re out to challenge yourself as far as craft beer, there are plenty of other beers to do that,” he said. “Broad Street’s entire goal is to generate beers in a variety of styles that are highly drinkable. If you have one of ours, you should be able to have six and think, ‘I can’t stop drinking this!’”
🌐 broadstreetbrewing.com 📍 2621 Durham Rd, Bristol, Pa. 📞 215-399-9755
Omnus Brewing is looking to bring an approachable and welcoming taproom to the Downingtown community — the brewery is named after the Latin word for “everyone.” The beers include a hoppy German pilsner and a fruity West Coast IPA, the latter’s sales benefiting organizations supporting people with Down syndrome. Omnus Brewing is the brainchild of a former Levante Brewing Co. brewer, “so you know he knows his stuff,” Balbi said.
🌐 omnusbrewing.com 📷 @omnusbrewing
Second Sin Brewing Co.
Bristol-based Second Sin Brewing Co., the work of three childhood friends Mike Beresky, Phil Harris, and Jake Howell, are expanding into Newtown. Brewmaster Howell, who formerly worked for years at Climax Brewing and Neshaminy Creek Brewing Co., releases a new beer every single week. Currently on tap in Bristol are German-style classics and seasonal treats like It’s Cobblerin’ Time apple sour ale, with new weekly beers that maintain a core set of flavor profiles like hoppy ales, dark lagers, and sour ales. “We don’t have core beers, we have flavor profiles,” said Beresky. “We make 52 beers a year, maybe 10 of those are repeats, everything else is a new recipe.”
Second Sin is eyeing a debut in December or January for the Newtown opening. The trio’s vast collection of beers has placed them on the top ten lists of craft beer review app, Untappd, each year since they started Second Sin four years ago.
🌐 secondsinbrewing.com 📷 @secondsinbeer
Sunset Hill Brewing Co.
Sunset Hill Brewing Co. is bringing something different to the table with an 18-beer lineup that can be enjoyed among Southeastern Pennsylvania’s gorgeous farmlands — it opened earlier this year on 35 acres of dairy farm atop a hill for beautiful golden hour views, hence its name.
The Firely brothers, Brett and Josh, grow their grains and hops on-site and have plans to expand the property to accommodate pumpkin patches, alpacas and more barnyard fun. “We’re trying to make it more like an agritourism type of brewery where you can check out the farm property, explore walking trails and educational programming,” Josh Firely said of future plans for the farm. “There’s nothing like this in our area and it’s already bringing the community together.”
Their most popular beers are two hazy IPAs, Sunset Chaser and Skull Melter, but they also brew a special seasonal beer like fall’s Pump Rock pumpkin pie beer.
🌐 sunsethillbrewingco.com 📍 2782 Leidy Rd, Gilbertsville, PA 📞 610-492-1888