Make a Craft-Beer Run to Philadelphia

1. Where to Stay

The lobby at the Radisson.Photo: Courtesy of Radisson Plaza

Start your stay with a pint of Victory Hop Devil Ale at the Swann Lounge downstairs in the Four Seasons (from $295). Take advantage of the hotel’s proximity to the Art Museum/Fairmont neighborhood to hit a bunch of microbrew hot spots like the Belgian Café and the Bishop’s Collar.

Drop your bags in the stunning original lobby at the Radisson Plaza-Warwick (from $149), built in 1926, on your way to the hotel’s Tavern 17. The “artisanal flights and bites” menu includes a dozen craft beers on tap.

Sleep in a refurbished nineteenth-century hardware store at the Penn’s View Hotel (from $149). The hotel’s Ristorante Panorama has a strong wine-by-the-glass program, but don’t miss Philly brews such as Tröegs Rugged Trail Nut Brown Ale on tap.

2. Where to Eat

The dining room of BYOB fave Lolita.Photo: Courtesy of Lolita

Shed your monkish inhibitions at Beneluxx Tasting Old City. The beer-sampling menu is heavy on Belgian Trappist ales and comes paired with an array of international cheeses and French chocolates.

Philly has plenty of BYO restaurants, so stop first at the Foodery to create a bespoke six-pack from among 900 bottles.Bring your picks to Lolita for some of the city’s best upscale Mexican. For dessert, stop by the newly opened Verde next door for Philadelphia Brewing Co.’s Fleur de Lehigh craft-beer truffles ($11.95).

Rest your liver and sip a butterscotch milkshake at SquareBurger. Restaurant impresario Stephen Starr (Philly’s Danny Meyer equivalent) just opened the burger stand in July 2009.

3. What to Do

Part of the beer selection at Monks (left), and a classroom at Tria (right).Photo: Courtesy of Monks and Tria

Find the city’s beer sweet spot at 2nd and Chestnut Streets in Old City. Raise your glass to a live band at the Khyber; pore over Eulogy’s 300-strong bottle list; or pair your craft beer with a late-night dinner plate from Triumph Brewing Company.

Visit local fashion doyenne Joan Shepp’s eponymous bi-level boutique in swanky Rittenhouse Square, then forget how much you spent with a Belgian beer at Monk’s Café. Owner Tom Peters is one of a few select members of the 400-year-old Belgian Brewers Guild, and his taps reflect a rotating love of microbrews from across the country.

Learn about what you’re drinking at Tria’s Fermentation School, a 90-minute class led by both local and far-flung renowned brewmasters (tickets for $45). You’ll sample at least eight featured beers.

4. Insider’s Tip

Russian River is part of the tap selection at Tria.Photo: Courtesy of Tria

You’re in the only city on the East Coast that pours Russian River, a Sonoma County, California, craft beer with a cult following. Signature drafts like Pliny the Elder, Damnation, and Blind Pig are available at Monk’s and Tria.

5. Oddball Day

The canopy walk at Morris Arboretum's new exhibit.Photo: Paul Meyer

Hop on the Septa R8 regional rail at Suburban, 30th Street, or Market East stations for a less-than-an-hour ride to cobblestoned Chestnut Hill, a tony enclave flush with Victorian homes and dozens of one-off boutiques. Stop first in the consignment shops lining Germantown Avenue. The women of Bird in Hand (8419 Germantown Ave.; 215-248-2473) have a special knack for acquiring upmarket household goods and tableware. Fashion Forward stocks choice designer labels—Laundry, Gucci, Prada—while Worth Repeating (7900 Germantown Ave.; 215-247-1422) is where to score the odd pair of Manolo Blahniks. Grab a to-go slice of vegetarian whole-wheat pizza at the Night Kitchen Bakery and enjoy it in the nearby World War I Meditation Garden (Mermaid Ln., at Germantown Ave.). Afterward, stop at the Apothecary Garden to pick up a bottle of organic or wild-crafted herbal tinctures before grabbing a short cab ride to the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania ($14 admission), a 92-acre historic public garden with over 2,500 types of exotic plants. View the Wissahickon Valley forest from 50 feet above on the “Tree Adventure” exhibit that opened in July.

6. Links

Grub Street Philadelphia has the latest happenings, interviews, and more on the city’s foodie scene. chronicles the adventures of one woman’s extended barhopping around Philly and beyond, part of a trifecta of women (including I Remember Snorks and Hostile City Jane) that scour the city from an irreverent, Gen-Y perspective.

Philly Mag’s weekender newsletter forecasts the festivals, happy hours, and special events happening the upcoming Friday through Sunday.

Visit Phawker for politics, culture, and news from am Onion-esque perspective that has tongue firmly planted in cheek.

Make a Craft-Beer Run to Philadelphia