During Colonial times, it was considered safer to drink beer than water. Today, it’s probably safe to drink the water but you might want to drink beer, too—especially at these Philadelphia breweries, which have found creative ways to pivot during the pandemic. They’ve managed to stay in business, provide jobs and give back to their communities and nonprofit organizations across the nation.
Many Philadelphia breweries are raising funds for local flood and tornado victims, people experiencing homelessness, families impacted by mental illness and much more. So go ahead and raise a glass to these breweries in Philadelphia that are raising the bar on doing good.
The best Philadelphia breweries with a do-good mission
Tim Shaw loves to cook so it makes sense that once he discovered home brewing, it quickly became a passion too. Soon he was sharing his brews with friends and family and winning awards. That convinced him to turn his hobby into a business. It took three years, but he finally opened the doors in November 2019. Odd Logic brews a variety of styles but is known for its heavily hopped IPAs. At the taproom in historic Bristol, there are typically 12 brews on tap.
Doing Good: The brewery, in partnership with Imperial Yeast, brews a hazy IPA called Stigma Crusher. The goal is to help reduce the stigma that surrounds mental illness and raise awareness, support and funds. Last year during Pride Month Odd Logic added a rainbow to the label to raise awareness of mental health issues in the LGBTQ+ community. Proceeds from the beer are donated to NAMI Bucks County, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of people affected by mental illness. The beer recently won a “Best Beer Collaboration in PA” award from Breweries in PA.
A portion of the proceeds of another Odd Logic beer, called Pantry Filler, is donated to Caring for Friends, a local food bank that uses the brewery as a distribution point for fresh vegetables and dry goods for local families in need. 500 Bristol Pike, Bristol
This Germantown brewery was started by husband-wife home-brewers out of their attic apartment. Visits to craft breweries across the country—paired with a love of Germantown and a needed job change—brought the brewery on tap in 2020. The brewery has a 2,000-barrel annual capacity and a taproom with 14 taps pouring its beer and cider. The young brewery earned a silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival in 2020 for its Bloodhound Brown Ale and in 2021 for its Unresolved Maibock. For food, it’s bring-your-own. Order from Deke’s BBQ next door or from rotating food trucks.
Doing Good: You’ll never see plastic cups at Attic Brewing Company, and spent grain is donated to local farms, bakeries and gardens. That’s because the brewery is passionate about the environment and seeks ways to reduce waste. In addition, the brewery has created a series of give-back beers for organizations in its neighborhood, like its Roscoe’s Triple Hazy IPA (pictured), which was made in collaboration with former NBA player and Germantown native Rasheed Wallace. Ten percent of sales are donated to the athletic department at Simon Gratz High School in Hunting Park. To date the brewery has donated more than $25,000 to local nonprofits, including Urban Youth Kings & Queens, Par Recycle Works and Northwest Victim Services. 137 Berkley Street, Philadelphia
In the early 20th century, the region—mainly the aptly name Brewerytown—boasted nearly 200 breweries. Most didn’t survive Prohibition. Fortunately, the 1990s brought a new brewery boom. Sly Fox, which opened in 1995, is one of the oldest breweries in the Delaware Valley, and over the decades has crafted hundreds of beers including its signature, Helles Golden Lager. The brewery features rotating draft lists at outposts in Phoenixville, Pottstown, Malvern, Wyomissing and Pittsburgh.
Doing Good: Sly Fox has crafted special beers for the Schuylkill River Trail and Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, raising more than $30,000 for each organization. And last November, Sly Fox joined other Phoenixville businesses in raising nearly $45,000 for local flood victims. To request help for a local or national charity go here. Multiple locations
This women-owned and -led craft brewery in Philadelphia is known for its interesting and accessible collection of lagers. The flagship, Training Montage, is a hazy IPA that pays homage to the training scene in Rocky. The label was designed by a local artist who reimagined a training montage more representative of modern-day Philadelphia, celebrating the diverse ways people appear in the city and train for their craft—from a drum line to painting murals. Triple Brewing usually has eight to 12 beers on tap plus four-packs to go.
Doing Good: The name Triple Bottom refers to its commitment to people, the planet and beer. It’s a fair-chance brewery committed to creating meaningful, living-wage jobs for people who have experienced homelessness or incarceration and may otherwise be excluded from the mainstream economy. As a certified B Corporation, the brewery meets the highest verified standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability. 915 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia
During the Revolutionary War, a fierce battle was held on Iron Hill, outside of Newark, Delaware. More than 200 years later, when a brewery opened nearby, it adopted the name. Over the years, the brewery has made its own history by earning awards for distinctive, full-flavored beers and has become the most award-winning brewery east of the Mississippi. It now has locations in Pennsylvania, including one close to Philadelphia City Hall, as well as New Jersey, Delaware, South Carolina and Georgia.
Doing Good: The brewery has raised almost $200,000 for CureSearch for Children’s Cancer and donates 75 cents to the organization every time someone orders the Triple Chocolate Hill dessert. In addition, Iron Hill has held Muscular Dystrophy lock-ups (to raise awareness about the limitations on freedom and independence people with MD face), raised money for the Media Youth Center, Habitat for Humanity, and has even brewed a signature beer with the Eagles’ Jon Runyan to raise funds for Cystic Fibrosis. To raise money for your organization go here. 1150 Market Street, Philadelphia and other locations
Maybe it’s not surprising that a couple who met over a keg at a New Year’s Eve party—and then brewed a beer together for their New Year’s Eve wedding—went on to create a brewery. Kevin and Melissa Walter’s brewery and tasting room opened in 2018 in a former rail parts factory in Spring Arts. Love City serves a rotating list of beers on its 12 taps. Its two signature beers are Love City Lager and Eraserhood IPA, a nod to the neighborhood’s unofficial nickname. Bring your own dinner, or enjoy the offerings of a rotating list of food trucks.
Doing Good: While Love City has always had a strong anti-harassment policy, it has doubled down by becoming part of Brave Noise, a global initiative to make sure the beer industry is inclusive and safe for women, BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ folks. As part of the initiative, the Love City team developed a code of conduct for staff, customers, vendors and service providers, which they posted on their website to hold each other accountable. For extra safety, Love City staff has undergone Safe Bars training organized by Women Organized Against Rape, giving them tools to defuse situations and address abuse. 1023 Hamilton Street, Philadelphia
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This new Morrisville brewery is a collaboration between Michael Crosson, a beer lover, and his wife, Brigitte, a cat lover. And the name came from her cat, Shadow, who hated both alcohol and most people, including Michael. The taproom features 12 taps pouring handcrafted ales and lagers with cat-inspired names and a full food menu.
Doing Good: Every quarter, Bitchin’ Kitten raises awareness for a different local, nonprofit cat rescue by featuring it on a label. A percentage of the profit during the quarter is shared with the organization. Cat-related nonprofits that would like to be considered, click here. 58-B E. Bridge Street, Morrisville
Downingtown-based Victory Brewing Company celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2021. Over the years it has grown into the second-largest craft brewery in Pennsylvania. Some of its most popular brews are Golden Monkey, Sour Monkey, Prima Pils, HopDevil, DirtWolf and Summer Love. A new brew, Berry Monkey, will be released on Valentine’s Day. Victory recently opened a multi-story taproom with great views on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Center City. It also has taprooms in Downingtown, Kennett Square (temporarily closed), Parkesburg and in Charlotte, NC.
Doing Good: As part of its Brew Forward efforts and 25th anniversary, Victory introduced Brotherly Love Hazy IPA and established the Brotherly Love Community Fund to support organizations that drive positive change in local communities. In 2021, the brewery partnered with Back on My Feet, a national nonprofit that combats homelessness through the power of running, employment and housing. Make a donation request here. 1776 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia and more locations
In less than a year, this small brewery in Norristown has already made a big impact. von C was recently named “Best New Brewer” in a readers’ poll conducted by Brewers in Pennsylvania. Brothers Rick, Eric and Jay von Czoernig are sixth-generation brewers; their great-great-great-grandfather founded Schmidt Brewing in Philadelphia in 1860 and their father, uncles and grandfather were all Master Brewers.
Doing Good: In its first few months, von C has already made a mark on its community. It hosted a fundraiser for the Upper Merion Area Community Cupboard to help support local Ida flood victims in Norristown; held a neighborhood clean-up called “Bags for Beer,” and teamed up with a local fitness studio on a food drive, collecting about 670 pounds of food for The Patrician Society of Montgomery County. They also created Pig Dog Hazy Pale Ale to benefit the philanthropic endeavors of the Philly Surf Club, including beach and waterway clean-ups and teaching underprivileged children to surf. 1210 Stanbridge Street, Suite 300, Norristown
This Kensington-based brewery is the oldest and largest brewery in Philadelphia. The secret to its longevity? Since 2007 it has combined Old World beer styles with modern brewing techniques to brew more than a dozen different styles of ales and lagers annually. Two of its most popular beers are the now-ubiquitous Kenzinger and Walt Wit.
Doing Good: The folks at Philadelphia Brewing are real animal lovers. The brewery has dubbed the third Saturday of every month Caturday, during which the Pennsylvania SPCA brings adoptable cats to the brewery. Plus, at the brewery’s annual Feline Festival, they raise money and collect gifts for animal rescue organizations including PSPCA, Morris Animal Refuge and Cattown Rescue. For donation requests go here. 2440 Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia
After brewing at home for 30 years, Doug Buddle fulfilled his dream in 2019 when he opened Ambler Beer Company. The brewery makes a variety of styles including hoppy IPAs, Belgians and German-style lagers from its 4,500-square-foot facility on the Ambler Yards campus. It has a 10-barrel brewing system, and a taproom with 12 beers on tap. Guests can bring their own food, get it delivered or order from rotating food trucks.
Doing Good: Ambler Beer Company joined the efforts of about a dozen local and more than 1,000 national breweries to brew Black is Beautiful Imperial Stout Beer, an initiative to raise awareness for the injustices faced by people of color. For its part, Ambler Beer Company donated 100 percent of the profits to Philadelphia’s African American Chamber of Commerce. Earlier this month, the brewery hosted a kick-off fundraiser for Kanna for All, Ambler gym Kanna Fitness’s new nonprofit, to provide scholarships for youth to attend fitness classes. A series of six fundraisers are planned in its beer garden in 2022. 300 Brookside Avenue, Building 19, Suite E, Ambler
When Dock Street opened in 1985 it was the city’s first microbrewery in the post-Prohibition Era, and one of the first in the country. In the years since, its beers have been big award-winners, especially its Man Full of Trouble Lager. Dock Street West is in a former firehouse in Cedar Park. Dock Street South in Point Breeze is a brewery-turned-tile-factory-returned-to-brewery and is home to a pub, brewery and canning operations.
Doing Good: When the pandemic struck, Dock Street rose to the occasion by helping get food and beer to health care workers and shelters. On Dock Street’s website, people can donate money, which Dock Street matches at least 20 percent and then delivers food to hospital workers and people experiencing homelessness. They also donate to Women Against Abuse, the Philadelphia Film Festival and CeaseFirePA, ACLU, Moore College of Art & Design and more. Oh, and the entire company is powered by 100 percent wind energy. 2118 Washington Avenue & 701 S. 50th Street, Philadelphia
At the end of 2016 brothers Andy and Sean Arsenault opened a brewery and taproom inside an old auto body shop in South Philly. Just a few years later, Sean is going solo and making plans to open a second taproom in Fishtown this spring. Some of its beers are named for important moments in Philadelphia history, such as the South Philly Special, marking the Eagles’ Superbowl win (of course), which is released annually at the start of the NFL season. The brewery has 10 beers on tap at any given time and releases one or two new beers each week.
Doing Good: Brewery Ars’ flagship hazy pale ale is named Wayne’s Pale Ale for their dad, who has Parkinson’s Disease. A portion of the sales of every pint goes to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which devotes 100 percent of its money to research on the disease. 1927-29 W. Passyunk Avenue and 2223 Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia
Irene Levy Baker is the author of 100 Things To Do In Philadelphia and Unique Eats & Eateries of Philadelphia. For more information about the books visit 100ThingsToDoInPhiladelphia.com. Looking for fun things to do and places to eat? Need gifts? Get signed copies of books on the website. Readers of this newspaper can use promo code CITIZEN for a discount.
Header photo courtesy Love City Brewing