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Yards: 2013 Drinker's Choice Award Winner, Best Local Brewery

Yards: 2013 Drinker's Choice Award Winner, Best Local Brewery

Photo: Founder Tom Kehoe and sales manager Rick Anstotz

School pals Tom Kehoe and Jon Bovit actually did what every college beer drinker has dreamed about, at least once — they learned how to make beer and opened a successful brewery. Since its launch in 1994, Yards Brewing Company has grown from a small garage operation in Manayunk to one of the region’s largest and most esteemed production brewhouses, which Kehoe still oversees. Kehoe and his crew exude friendliness and beer knowledge, making it obvious why you voted Yards Best Local Brewery in the 2013 Drinker’s Choice Awards.

British ales inspired the first beers from yards, and the brewery still produces a lineup with those roots — especially evident in Yards ESA (Extra Special Ale). Then there’s Philadelphia Pale Ale and Love Stout, both locally branded and adored. Yards IPA and Yards Brawler round out the signature line.

The 34,000-barrel-per-year Delaware Avenue facility is impressive, but one of the best things about it isn’t the brewhouse itself, but the Yards Tasting Room. Since launching it has expanded several times and now boasts more than a dozen taps pouring all the best and latest limited releases and regular brews.

There’s an in-house grill to provide eats, and a spacious dining area filled with tables, all set next to a huge glass wall so you can get a clear view of the beer being made as you relax. Shuffleboard and pool add to the fun of the spot, which is open noon–7 PM, Monday–Saturday and noon—4 PM on Sundays. Saturdays also bring a rotating group of food trucks to the area, for even more pairing diversity.

Tours are also available, a free walk through the 26,000-foot facility. You don’t need reservations, just show up on Saturday or Sunday around opening time and you can end up in a group checking out the 11 fermentors and 120-bottle-per-minute bottling line. If you have a big party or want a private tour, you can call or email to arrange all that.

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