Yards Brewery smells like a frat house in the wee hours of morning, only crisp rather than stale, appetizing rather than nauseating. Kind of like waking up to a nice tall bloody mary as opposed to the remnants of that screwdriver you can't bring yourself to throw away for fear that one whiff will push you over the edge. Why not save the money you would have spent on that bloody mary, or, better yet, drink it on the way over to one of Yards' free tours, featuring the essential free sample(s), every Saturday from 12-3 p.m.
A quaint microbrewery located in Philadelphia's Kensington neighborhood, Yards boasts a knowledgeable young staff of only 11 people. The tour begins in the tasting room. Don't be fooled by its generic name as this room -- the obvious favorite of the tour -- is not simply a closet with a table and a few glasses, but rather a bachelor's dream pad. A spectacular and spacious tavern style loft, the room houses a bar, several tables and couches and a pool table.
Everyone and their grandmother has been to an Italian BYO for their birthday, but who can say they spent their afternoon at Philly's only BYOF (that's right, "Bring Your Own Food")? Bring a little something salty or sweet, or a whole meal if you're feeling ambitious, to munch on while you take your pick of Yards' English and Belgian "with a Revolutionary American interpretation" style ales. The Philadelphia Pale Ale has a nice hop-to-malt ratio (hop is a flower used in brewing that gives the beer a grapefruit flavor ... you'll learn all about it), and the Love Stout is a must-try. Deceivingly dark for its smooth, easy finish, this stout is actually made with 150 whole oysters, the aphrodisiac that gives the drink its charming name.
Those who can drag themselves out of the tasting room -- or get kicked out -- can witness the birth of beer firsthand, and oh, is it a beautiful thing. From the silo, to the mill room where visitors are encouraged to sample the barley, to fermentation, and eventually bottling, Yards shows you the true miracle of yeast.
The perfect remedy for Saturday morning's hangover, and an even better precursor to Saturday night's happy hour, a visit to Yards is a weekend necessity.