2015 BEER DISCOVERY TOUR: 2nd Story Brewing Company, Philadelphia, PA (July 1st, Brewery Stop #18) The 18th brewery we visited during our cross-country beer discovery tour (click to read about the whole trip) was 2nd Story Brewing Company in Philadelphia, PA. We left the beautiful countryside of rural PA after lunch and samples at Tröegs and headed east to Philly. We got into town and checked into our hotel on the north end of downtown after a few hours of driving without much delay and met up with our great friend Michael whom joined us for some site seeing around downtown. We lucked out with nice weather (not too hot or humid) but after a few hours of walking around on cobble-stone streets and sidewalks, we were ready for a beer. The nearest brewery to us was 2nd Story Brewing which is located just a few blocks in from the river near the popular “Penns Landing” area of downtown.
The brewery is fairly inconspicuous along the block with just a hanging sign out front, so you need to keep an eye out for them as you are looking for them. I do need to note that a few years ago, the last time we were in Philly, we tried this brewery and were not impressed with their beer lineup at that time. We are always willing to give a place a second try and leave judgement to the second overall vibe and we were glad we did. Overall, this is a great downtown brewery and restaurant with a slightly higher-end menu (aka. not cheap), and slightly limited happy hour menu, but great set of beer that rotates with the seasons, and certainly did improve since the last time we tried them.
The brewing production is located on the second story of the building, thus the namesake of 2nd Story Brewing. You can see most of the kettles above bar seating area from both the front entrance and restaurant area. The bar is quite long, extending most of the length to the back of the main room. There are lots of seating and various sized tables to chill at, we didn’t have issue finding a spot either visit. The servers are pretty attentive and willing to explain their menu and beers.
We ordered a few small plates to nibble on and a full line up of samplers. As you can see from the beer menu shown, they have just two year round beers, and a larger set of rotating and seasonal beers to try. This time around they offered a diverse range of styles and all having mid-range to better quality than previously encountered. I would recommend checking them out if you’re in downtown Philly and have a little bit of time to spare. I can’t guarantee that what we sampled will be there, but it seems their brewers are learning and improving as time goes by.
The sampler wasn’t terribly expensive, just under $2/ea and with a rotating selection of seasonal’s quarterly, you may never get to try the beers reviewed below. In the pictures below, the reviews go from front to back, left to right. For me the best beers sampled were the Prescription Pils, Five Mile Ale, and the Sticky Icky IIPA. If I’m ever back in Philly, I will definitely stop by and see what new brews they have going.
2nd Story Brewing Co. • Vienna Lager • IBU: ?? • ABV: 4.9% • 14 SRM
Malts: Vienna, Pilsner and Cara-aroma
Yeast: German Lager
Amber to brown hue draft with a slight white foamy head that dropped quickly and had little retention on the rim. The nose is sweet sugary malts, slight grassy, sharper lemon zest. The front mouth is full bodied, sweet malt build, crusty bread, and hints of citrus hops (lemon zest). The mid to back is sweet and smooth with hints of lemon grass and hoppy herbal notes.
2nd Story Brewing Co. • German Pilsener • IBU: ?? • ABV: 5.2% • 3 SRM
Clear straw-yellow hue draft with a solid one finger foam and nice retention and large bubbly lacing. The nose is typical Pils, slight lemon zest and fresh cut grass to pine resin (hops), slight sweet citrus and dry cracker malts. The front mouth is more rounded with slight dry-yeast and biscuit malt characteristics with sweet sugary hints. The mid to back have a mid-bodied mouth-feel, decent carbonation, subtle lingering citrus and semi-dry finishing.
2nd Story Brewing Co. • American Pale Wheat Ale • IBU: ?? • ABV: 5.1% • 8 SRM
Dull hazy yellow/orange hue, solid fluffy white head that had decent retention and left good lacing on the rim. The nose has slight hints of the mango fruit it was made with, some hefe-yeast and wet-breads also present with the citrus hops. The front mouth is a good blend of citrus pith, fresh grass, cracker-bread grains, slight semi-dry notes. Mid to back have a good chewy mouth-feel and full bodied approach.
|Tilted Barn Farmhouse Ale
2nd Story Brewing Co. • Saison / Farmhouse Ale • IBU: ?? • ABV: 5.2% • 6 SRM
This cloudy mid-yellow/straw hue draft has a nice frothy white head that left a bit of spotty lacing on the rim. The nose is has a bit of saison yeasty funk forward notes backed with some light dried fruits, sage and thyme spices. The front mouth is a standard yeast present farmhouse funk with a nice dry and acidic tropical sweetness and spice hit. Mid to back has a subtle tartness, dry tannins, long finish on the tongue.
|Five Mile Ale
2nd Story Brewing Co. • English Mild Ale • IBU: ?? • ABV: 3.7% • 33+ SRM
Dark chestnut brown clear draft with a off-white/tan small foamy head, some small bubbly lacing. The nose is toasted grains, slight burned sugars. The front mouth is solid sweet and roasted malts, really secondary hop presence with some bittering from the roasted profile. The mid to back is full-bodied, mild carbonation, rounded on the tongue with a slight dry/sweet finish. Great example of a English Mild.
|Hall and Oatmeal Stout
2nd Story Brewing Co. • Oatmeal Stout • IBU: ?? • ABV: 5.3% • 40+ SRM
Solid black opaic draft with a small frothy tan head that had great retention. Nose is roasted and burned grains, slight cocoa and coffee grounds. The front mouth has strong cocoa and coffee notes, burned sugars, lots of dried grains and oats, slight dry mouth-feel. The mid to back is smooth, chewy, solid bread and grain presence. Bitters show up with the burned grains and coffee notes.
|Dreamcatcher Pale Ale
2nd Story Brewing Co. • American Pale Ale • IBU: ?? • ABV: 5.9% • 16 SRM
Slight cloudy, orange hue draft with a shallow white head that fell quickly to a sheen. The nose is pretty aromatic with sweet fruits, pils cracker malts, hints of pine and hop florals. The front mouth is solid bodied with moderate bitters ranging from pine and hop resins lingering into tropical florals. The malts are pretty subtle, slight semi-dry finish, pine and citrus on the back.
|Sticky Icky IIPA
2nd Story Brewing Co. • American Double / Imperial IPA • IBU: ?? • ABV: 8.4% • 14 SRM
Darker golden/amber pour and a solid white foamy head that left clingy clumps of lacing. The nose is slightly dank, pine resin, sharp citrus pith. Front mouth is a mix of hops from herbal/floral, tropical, pine resin, and forest floor dank. The mid to back is slightly dry, some earthy acidity and a wash of pine and citrus way to the back. Hides the higher ABV well.