A few days after returning from our epic San Diego vacation, Brewslut and I were off to Philadelphia (yes... again!) for yet another romp around the city. However, this time, we were in town for a pair of concerts: Iron Maiden with special guest Alice Cooper on Friday night just across the river in Camden, and Tenacious D on Saturday night at Festival Pier. But you know us... ANY trip is a beer trip, really. During our visit, we were able to hit favorites like Barcade, Memphis Taproom and Kraftwork, plus a few new spots like Yards and the brand new Tired Hands Brewing Co.
Since the last blog went on for, well, forever, I'm going to focus my energy on our visit to Tired Hands.
Situated in the suburban town of Ardmore, PA, Tired Hands takes pride in producing fresh, unique craft beer in very small batches; so small, in fact, that they only produce about 12 kegs per batch. Additionally, their small but well-thought menu includes a variety of locally-produced meats, cheeses, pickled items and seasonal produce. They even bake their own delicious bread on premises, which you can order as a stand-alone item with butter or as the base of a variety of panini sandwiches.
The owner and brewmaster, Jean Broillet first got his start in the business at Weyerbacher, then moved onto brew at Iron Hill's West Chester location. I first became aware of Tired Hands while visiting Hawthorne's for a Hill Farmstead event during Philly Beer Week 2011. I struck up a conversation with Jean and talked about beer for a good fifteen minutes or so. So I was indeed surprised that he remembered not only my face, but also my name when we visited Tired Hands over a year later! I found this to be rather impressive, largely due to the fact that I typically forget someone's name five to eight seconds after meeting him. It usually takes a good three or four meetings with someone for me to remember his or her name. At any rate, I was excited to finally visit Tired Hands because I had heard from various friends in my beer circle that Jean really knew his stuff, and he was also friends with Shaun Hill of Hill Farmstead, a brewery I admire and respect greatly.
The main floor plan at Tired Hands is quite narrow, yet rustic and simple. Think earthy colors paired with lots of distressed wood, stone and exposed brick. No TVs, loud music or tacky decor. This place is quaint and classic. Brewslut and I parked at the bar, and we were immediately struck by the charm of this place. I made the comment that this was the kind of place I would frequent a few times a week if I lived in town.
As for the beer menu, well, everything sounded amazing! I honestly couldn't decide on even two or three pints, so I opted for 4oz. pours of a variety of beers. The first, Blood Root, was a hoppy red Saison that was quite tasty. My two other selections, Hop Hands and Leaflet, were both low-alcohol, sessionable Pale Ales, the former being Tired Hands' flagship beer. Leaflet was described as a "delicate pale ale," which I assumed had something to do with the very low ABV of only 3.5%. This is a beer that you could enjoy all afternoon. Brewslut chose the Delicado, a citrusy collaboration IPA with Hill Farmstead. I shared this with her, of course, and we liked it so much that we ended up getting a growler to take home. She also tried Farm Hands, a 4-grain Saison that was solid. While we were there, one of the other beers we tried kicked, and Jean said he would be putting on a beer called Killgore (named after a character from a Kurt Vonnegut novel). He described it a cross between an India Black Ale (or black IPA) and a Stout. Sounded good to me! We tried it, and it was quite good... hoppy, roasty and bold!
The food was equally impressive. We each got a smoked cheese panini with gazpacho and honey kraut. The panini sandwiches were made with the aforementioned in-house baked bread. We liked the place so much that we didn't really want to leave, but after all it was Sunday evening, and we had to work the next day. Plus, we were pretty tired from the double-header concert (both were outside in the wonderful extreme summer heat of PA). Before we left, however, we also tried Lazy Feet, a barrel-fermented Biere de Garde. Jean definitely has a penchant for brewing French-style farmhouse ales and barrel-aged beers, and this beer was a wonderful combination of two of his passions. However, his beers artfully blend the traditional European styles with the envelope-pushing American hop-forward styles we beer geeks can't seem to get enough of. Overall, this place definitely left a lasting impression on us, and we can't wait to return to see what else Jean is brewing up!