Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Road Trip: Part I

While it's not always intentional, Mike and I tend to plan our trips around beer.  Even if the area we're visiting doesn't have a brewery close by, we always try to find a local bar that carries a decent selection of beer.  It gives us a chance to sample stuff that we can't get in the DC area and to take a break from a "touristy" agenda.

To celebrate Mike's final year as a 20-something, we decided to take a quick trip to Philadelphia.  Armed with Mike's new GPS-equipped Droid, an overnight bag and a Tupperware container of homemade granola that my mom left on our front stoop, we left Virginia.  After the inevitable Best Buy pit stop (huh?) and standstill traffic at the Delaware state line, we arrived at our destination 3 1/2 hours later.

The brewery has earned its reputation as the "Greenest Brewery in Pennsylvania."  The floors are made of recycled concrete, all of the fixtures and furniture are reclaimed (the bar tops are made of reclaimed bowling alley lanes...pretty sweet) and they're the first 100% wind-powered brewery in Pennsylvania.  Their earth-friendly title is especially cool given their urban location.

So yeah...Yards.  They brew beer.  And they brew it really, really well.

A flight (or a sampler), a saison and a spruce ale.

 Love Stout.

Sadly, it's available on draft only.  And they say it won't break your heart...shyah.

 The staff was extremely cool and laid back, which is to be expected when you're working around fermented beverages all day long and getting paid for it.  It was a slow Sunday afternoon so our bartender gave us an impromptu tour of the brewery, where hops and grains meet water and magical things happen.

Nothing in this world makes a beer nerd happier than to be given a "behind the scenes" tour.  Nothing.

Aww.  He was so stoked.

  It was like releasing your child into the ball pen for the first time at Chuck E. Cheese.

What I would give to build a fort in this room.

After the tour, we finished what was left in our glasses, bought Mike a t-shirt (made of organic cotton, of course) then headed over to the hotel to freshen up for...well, more beer.

So long, Yards.  We'll be back.

Part II tomorrow:  Rocky Balboa, amphibian appendages and the things you'll do for a picture.


  1. Very cool you got that tour.

    And also, WTF. I have driven up and back that 95 corridor through Delaware no less than 4 times in the past two weeks now and EVERY time it's standstill traffic.

  2. Ali, I can't wait to read more about your trip to Philly. And yes, I do understand planning a trip around beer. That' how we approached our trip to Nashville a few years ago...well actually it was beer and biscuits. The Flying Saucer Bar and Loveless Cafe.

  3. Your photos are amazing. I love it. I would totally take a trip solely for eating some food. Anthony Bourdain in the evening is killing me.

  4. Liam - dude, it's the worst. Hi. I'm in Delaware.

    Wendi - I just went to the Flying Saucer site to check out their beer list...WHOA. The biscuits must be killer if they played a part in the trip planning, too.

    Margie - Anthony Bourdain has that effect on people. I hope I can be half as smooth as him when I'm 54.

  5. We have a Flying Saucer here in San Antonio that the hubs and I frequent. Although I'm not much of a beer gal I know soft pretzels and the Saucer has some pretty good ones. Can't wait to hear more about amphibian appedages!

  6. You should plan a trip to Santa Barbara! :) I don't think there are any breweries, but there are definitely a lot of vineyards!

  7. Scratch that. I found out that there are 6 local breweries! Time to start planning!

  8. Christa - Mmm. I could go for a quality soft pretzel, too. I used to eat those frozen SuperPretzels when I was growing up - I don't think I could go back to that.

    Hanny - let's do it (both the breweries and the wineries.) I'll try to plan for next year, maybe March? I know someone really cool who has a birthday around that time...

  9. After several bevvies I could see Yard's easily transforming into a wicked pirate spot...yaaarrrrr.

  10. Reading all of your beer posts just tells me I really should learn to love beer. Seems like I could be missing something...

  11. Melinda - Aye matey, 'tis a good place to get loaded to the gunwales.

    Katie - when I'm not drinking beer, I'm sipping on chai. I think you're off to a great start ;)

  12. Sounds like you had a great trip! And just want to say how beautiful all your pictures turn out! I mean, sure, beer is beautiful, but your photos are always extra charming and fun to look at.

  13. Hey there fellow Beer Nerds ;) Just found your blog & thought I'd say hi.., looking forward to reading more, this sounds like a great way to spend a Sunday. Looking forward to connecting.

  14. Kristen - thanks lady :) It helps when you have a huge interest in the subject. A keg is a thing of beauty.

    Anna - hey and welcome! Always good to find other beer fiends to geek it up with :D Checking out your blog over breakfast...