Esquire magazine has called Philly a craft beer mecca and one of the top beer cities in the nation; so has GQ. That’s some high praise, but it’s definitely warranted. Craft beer festivals and expos are popping up everywhere, with tons of vendors that are happy to introduce beer lovers to their creations. If you can’t wait until March for the Philly Craft Beer Festival or June for Philly Beer Week, there are plenty of spots to find good sudsy libations, and these are the best.
The Irish Pol
45 S. 3rd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(267) 761-9532

If you’re looking for lots of beer options, and you’re okay with a dive-y atmosphere, The Irish Pol is your spot. The wall of taps (about 40 of them) is impressive, with such offerings as Long Trail Imperial Pumpkin, Palm Ale and Flying Dog’s Snake Dog IPA. What’s even better, though, is the happy hour. It’s held not just during the week, but everyday, and most of the beers on tap are $3 a pint from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. You can’t compare the food with Morimoto, but there is solid bar food at The Irish Pol — try the hot mustard wings! The Irish Pol gets points for all of the fun activities it offers as well: there’s First Wednesday Open Mic Night, Monkey Wrench Mondays (wear Pearl Jam gear for specials!), Grateful Dead Tuesdays and a Wii lounge.

Resurrection Ale House
2425 Grays Ferry Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19146
(215) 735-2202

Resurrection Ale House’s regulars keep coming back for the fried chicken – which is amazing – but the bonus is the well thought-out craft beer selection and the knowledgeable servers and bartenders who take the time to match you with the perfect beer for your meal. Be sure to try a Unibroue Blance du Chambly, or a Dogfish Head Urkontinen. If you’re looking to try something “on the engine,” you might find Victory Headwaters Pale Ale. Every second Wednesday of the month, Resurrection offers “beer school,” where you’ll learn right alongside the servers, or stop in any week day from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. for the old-fashioned happy hour, when all draft beers are $4.

541 Girard Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19125
(215) 739-1700

This Fishtown gastropub, designed and constructed by local sculptor Andrew Jevremovic, manages to do everything right: there’s a broad 25-tap beer list, an imaginative food menu, friendly waitstaff and bartenders, clever decor and prime outdoor seating. Kraftwork loves to unearth hard-to-find ales and share them with the world. Well, with Philly. Some of the management’s favorites are Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale ($5 for 16 oz.), Sly Fox Pikeland Pils ($4.75 for 16 oz.) and Liefman’s Kriek ($7 for 10 oz.).

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Alla Spina
1410 Mt. Vernon St.
Philadelphia, PA 19130
(215) 600-0017

No, that’s not a typo. Alla spina means “from the tap” in Italian, and this Fairmount birreria prides itself on serving hard-to-find craft beers from Italy, as well as Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and even Philly. Here you’ll find Super Baladin, a tripel from the Piemonte region ($12), and Del Borgo’s Reale Extra, a dry-hopped IPA from the Lazio region ($12.) Owner Marc Vetri, who also runs Amis, Vetri and Osteria, offers an eclectic menu full of fan favorites, including the mortadella hotdog and porcini deviled eggs. All of Alla Spina’s servers, bartenders and managers have passed or are studying for their cicerone beer server certification.

Eulogy Belgian Tavern
136 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 413-1918

Housed in an old funeral parlor in Old City, Eulogy Belgian Tavern is on many must-see lists for those visiting Philly. Luckily, the staff at Eulogy knows the beer list, which offers more than 300 brews from every corner of the world. If you have difficulty making decisions, surely someone will come to your rescue here. You might try Eulogy Busty Blonde, a Belgian pale ale made by La Binchoise Brewery in Belgium just for Eulogy ($6.99 for 12 oz.). It goes perfectly with the amazing moules (mussels) and twice-fried Belgian Frietjes (fries). If you prefer to drink more locally produced ales, there’s Yard’s Love Stout ($5.99 for 12 oz.) or Victory’s Prima Pils ($3.99 for 12 oz.), to name a few.

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Trish Deitemyer is a freelance writer living in Philly. She covers Food & Drink and has been writing since 1986. Her work can be found at