Bottle Shopping in Philly

This past weekend my wife took part in her third ever half marathon.  If you’ve been following me for a little while, you know I ran one with her last spring; however, I have taken a lot of time off since then.  I really need to get back to it because my girlish figure has really been suffering since then.  Anyway, she decided to run in her second Rock and Roll half marathon.  It means you get a medal for running in it, and you can get a second medal for doing two of them.  Anyway, we ran the one in DC back in March and this one was in Philly.  Philly is always near and dear to my heart.  I went to school out in Harrisburg PA, so we would travel into Philly nearly every week to go to hardcore and metal concerts.  We even went in to see Dashboard Confessional one time.  My wife used to live about 30-45 minutes outside in the suburbs, so we used to travel in when I visited her.  We’ve been there for the 4th of July, Live Aid, and a ton of Cinco De Mayo celebrations with our good friend Teresa.  We love Philly.   Thus, I was happy to have some time to walk around Philly while she went to the convention for her half marathon.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I like to search out different brews in the different states I visit.  Pennsylvania is the most frustrating place to do this.  They have laws that prevent you from purchasing a normal six pack very easily.  Almost everything you buy has to be in a case of 24.  It sucks if you’re looking for 750 mls or create your own six pack.  Thus, knowing I would have some time on my hands, I googled bottle stores in Philly where I could piece together a mixture of bottles I couldn’t find back home.  Although it was an hour walk from our hotel, I found a location known as The Bottle Shop.

We arrived in Philly around 2 pm, dropped our bags off at our hotel, and split up for our respective locations.  Google informed me I’d be in for a couple mile walk, so I put on the new Avett Brothers album and commenced with the walking.  It was a nice little walk, although I continued to wonder if I was really heading the right way; however, I eventually managed to find my way to the Bottle Shop.  It took a little under and hour, but I was very pleased to walk in and find that I could purchase beer to drink on the spot.  A very friendly place to sit and relax before my hike back up to Chinatown.

As with most beer geeks, I took a very long time perusing the selection before selecting my first beer for consumption.  There were quite a few I’d had before; however, I could certainly see a few selections I’d never managed to find before.  It came down to a debate of what was worthy of drinking on the spot and what needed to be purchased for the prospect of review at home.  I could see a few I knew I’d want to review, so I ultimately went with a bottle I thought would be refreshing and hoppy after a long walk on a slightly warm day: Fegley’s Brew Works – Hop Explosion.  I wasn’t sure if I was buying a regular IPA or a double because of the lack of IBU information.  I suppose I could have googled it, but I decided to wing it.  Looking it up later, I found out it was 7% ABV and 70 IBUs. It was a really well balanced IPA with some very good hop flavors.  Ultimately, I was glad I had selected something that wasn’t overwhelming but also had some really good hop flavor.

Unsure of where I wanted to go next, I perused the fridges once again trying to decipher what to select .  I didn’t want to select something I would be adding to a six pack later on, so I decided to allow myself to open up to the idea of drinking something from a brewery I’d had before.  Ultimately I landed on Sixpoint Brewing Co – Brownstone.   I had heard some good things about it, and I’ve been trying to give a few more beers from Sixpoint a try.  The Bottle Shop had a great line up from Sixpoint and it’s a big can so I felt like it was good value.  Having just about consumed all of my homebrewed Brown Ale, I was interested to compare flavors.  Brownstone may actually be one of the more enjoy about brown ales I’ve had recently.  I tend to get frustrated with browns that go too dark and heavy, and I think this one stayed nice and crisp.  It was good to prep me for my long walk back up to the hotel.

After spending a little time in the store, putting together my own six pack wasn’t hard at all.  I pretty much hung around the west coast section of their selection, but I did branch out with a few bottles.  I’ll share the picture of what I got so you can get a little preview, but I’m sure one or two of these bottles will show up in a review very shortly.  I walked my way back to my hotel where I popped open one I knew I wouldn’t review.  The Walt Wit from Philadelphia Brewing Co was a nice citrusy Wit beer from a local brewery I’ve actually never had before.  Plus, as an English teacher, how could I pass up a bottle with Walt Whitman on it?  Probably not my favorite Wit of all time, but I’m not actually a big fan of the wit style.  Regardless, it was the right beer at the right time.

I was quite pleased with my experience at The Bottle Shop.  The staff was friendly, the selection was great, and you can pop a beer and drink it right there.  It was quite a walk from my hotel, but I would gladly do it all over again the next time I’m in Philly.  It’s hard to find a good place to bottle shop in PA, but this is a gem for sure in a state that seems to think you need to buy beer in bulk.


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