I’m officially on summer break (again)! I just spent the last five weeks working summer school and I am definitely looking forward to a little rest before going back to set up my classroom. Do NOT tell me that teachers do nothing all summer long. Being back on summer break means I want to squeeze all the fun out of these days that I can and I convinced Nick that meant beer. It’s long been established that one hobby Nick and I cultivated together is a love of craft beers. I feel like there’s no better place than Philadelphia for bars and breweries but after several years of hanging out on bar stools all over the city, it can sometimes feel like we’ve seen it all.
That’s why it felt like Christmas morning when I discovered there was not one but TWO new breweries in the Philly area that Nick and I had yet to try. On Sunday we got into Nick’s new Honda Fit and headed out first to Tired Hands Brewing Company in Ardmore, PA and then to Conshohocken Brewing in Conshohocken, PA. Both towns are close suburbs of Philadelphia and can be accessed by trains from center city.
I’d heard word of Tired Hands Brewing Company when it first started about two years ago because it was right down the road from where my brother was in college at Villanova University. I’m not sure why Nick and I never ventured out there but I wish we had sooner. I also can’t say that deciding to go to Tired Hands was completely random: it is right on the same block as the store where I purchased my wedding dress! See, it was all meant to be.
I loved Tired Hands. It’s part brewery with great experimental brews, part pub with delicious locally sourced foods, and part community meeting space with a “hang out, we’re all friends here” vibe. In short it’s what is so great about loving craft beer. People who brew beer love what they’re doing and it shows. After reading more about the brewery on its website, I found that Tired Hands was truly a labor of love and the founder even renovated the building himself. The bar serves up their brews in 16, 8 and sample size 4 oz. glasses. Nick and I decided to stick to drinking from the 4 oz glasses and were able to try them all . The beers were fresh, balanced and super drinkable. I know even the non-beer drinker would be happy at Tired Hands because after buying my wedding dress Mom (a wine enthusiast) and I grabbed a celebratory drink there and she loved their Just Like Honey IPA. In short if you ever find yourself in Philly and need a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, hop a train, grab a car, and head out to Ardmore.
Our second stop of the day was Conshohocken Brewing in Conshohocken which is about 20 minutes from Tired Hands. I love the drive between the two because it took us right through the stately neighborhoods of the Main Line. If you’re not familiar with it, the Main Line is basically a very old, ritzy area right outside of Philadelphia with big gorgeous mansions. I asked Nick if we could live there some day and he said maybe. I love how he lets me pretend.
Conshohocken Brewing was started quite recently and the whole operation is housed in an industrial building. The best selling point for this brewery is that its back door opens right out onto a bike path and they seem to have made it their mission to be the most bike-friendly brewery by putting out bike racks and keeping their back door wide open.
The brewery had a different feel from Tired Hands. Where Tired Hands was more experimental with their flavors and cozier with their dark wood bar and homemade bread and butter, Conshohocken had a sleek industrial feel with solid, straightforward beers. Each beer style was distinctive and I felt like those judges at a dog show who look for the best in breed. Here I was saying, this, this is exactly how an IPA should taste. Also I need to give them props for having some solid bar eats like a big soft pretzel and both vegetarian and beef chili. The best part of Conshohocken Brewing had to be their back patio where we could take our beer outside for a little bit of sunshine. It’s totally a bike-friendly brewery and a steady stream of bikers were grabbing seats at the bar to get a beer before heading on their way.
I’m so glad that more craft breweries are being opened up in and around Philadelphia. We had so much fun seeing the magic these brewers are making with simple ingredients at both Tired Hands and Conshohocken. It felt so local, so Philly, to enjoy beers in these microbreweries. If you’re ever in or around Philadelphia and want a great craft beer experience, check out either Tired Hands or Conshohocken Brewing!