Surrounding the city of Philadelphia is a number of great bars and breweries. Actually, there are many more breweries outside the city than within. There may be a lot more bars in the city that tend to be highly convenient and walkable, but those in the suburbs are exciting destinations and some of them happen to be quite accessible by train. With a low cost day-pass on the SEPTA Regional Rail, you can visit a number of these locations with relative ease. By now, many of you know the infamous, once-named R5 line that takes you to Tired Hands, Teresa’s Next Door, TJ’s Drinkery, and Station Taproom, among others, but another line—the Glenside Line—is worthy of note as well.
Available for pickup at any of the major stops in Philly including Market East, Suburban Station, and University City, the Glenside Line can brag about stops within walking distance to four different breweries and a number of bars. Heading out of the city, your first stop of value would be in Glenside. Here, you have two options in opposite directions. You have a bit of a farther walk out to Union Jack’s, or you can visit a mostly unknown brewery in the area, GG Brewers, which is only half the distance. Union Jack’s, despite the extra effort, is worth the walk and one of the classic bars in the area. GG Brewers, on the other hand, is one of the smallest breweries in the country and is seemingly overlooked in the local beer scene. With their convenient location to the train, there is little reason not to see what they’re all about.
Next up is Ambler, one of the great additions to the local brewing scene last year. In their old Victorian-style house, just a couple blocks from the train, Forest & Main has quickly become a favorite of any beer lover who’s visited. Serving up finely crafted Belgian and English-style beers in one of the most appealing atmospheres of any area brewery (or even bar), there is a lot to love about Forest & Main. On the way back to the train, you can make a stop at Bar 31, which is only a few doors down. It’s one of those old-time, divey bars, but they have a really solid draft list and it’s worth the trip if you don’t mind that you can still smoke inside.
Granted you don’t get caught up at Forest & Main and still have time, next on the list is North Wales, home to local cult favorite, Prism Brewing Company. Located on the rear-side of an industrial complex, Prism is truly the hidden gem of the area, though it’s becoming less and less hidden; noticeable by the constant crowd. Prism isn’t a full-fledged brewpub, but they do have a full-service tasting room for having pints of their innovative brews and growlers to-go. There’s a small food menu as well, but you’re going here for the beers and what the regulars consider one of the most entertaining, Cheers-like bars you’ll ever visit.
Also, new to the scene in 2012 was Round Guys Brewing Co., which is just another stop away in downtown Lansdale. Bringing new life to the Berliner Weisse style, Round Guys has made a name for themselves, offering their Weisse year-round, something almost unheard of this side of the Atlantic. A trip to their tasting room gives you access to the Weisse, along with at least six other beers from their portfolio. They also offer up a limited menu of paninis and other snacks. While in Lansdale, if you’re up for a walk, there is the option of visiting the local Blue Dog outpost, that always promises an impressive beer menu.
The last stop as you leave from Philly is a trip to downtown Doylestown. Doylestown is home to ahandful of quality beer and dining options: Maxwell’s On Main, Stephanie’s, and the Penn Taproom to go along with their finer dinner options; there are plenty of beer choices to keep you occupied for quite some time.
Next time you’re looking to get out of the city and get some of that fresh, suburban air, the Glenside SEPTA Line provides a great opportunity to explore the newer side of the local brewing scene.