A brave, new beer world

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Ten years ago this month, my first book, Joe Sixpack’s Philly Beer Guide, was published. It was a compilation of everything I knew about the city’s beer scene at the time, from its earliest breweries to its burgeoning craft beer scene.

It took years of work, and I was plenty proud to present the most complete look at the city’s beer bars, breweries and festivals.

I immediately vowed I’d never write another one.

Not because of the effort (or the sales).

Rather, it was the irksome fact the book was out of date the day it hit the bookstores: A longtime craft beer bar I had featured (Ludwig’s Garten, the fantastic German tavern) shut down the week before it went into print.

A printed guidebook could never hope to keep up with all that was happening.

Consider that, 10 years ago, there were all of four brewpubs and two full-scale packaging breweries in town. If you wanted a sixpack of decent bottles, there was the Foodery in Center City and… well, my best advice was “avoid joints with bulletproof glass.”

Today? You can buy barrel-aged sour ale at the Acme.

I count more than 130 breweries in what is commonly known as the Philadelphia region, and over the next year another will open every two to three weeks.

Meanwhile, “craft beer bar” is almost a redundancy. Nearly every corner bar serves decent beer; you can’t open even a crappy chain restaurant in this town without pouring a half-dozen local craft beers.

The beer scene is vast and changing and… (I can’t believe I’m writing this) it deserves a newly updated, fully current guide.

Welcome to Joe Sixpack’s Philly Beer World.

It’s the region’s first online directory devoted solely to breweries and craft beer bars, with listings that include hundreds of locations serving great beer. I’ve spent months compiling its listings and building a dynamic website that can be easily read and searched from both your desktop and mobile phone.

Unlike my first book, the content on this website won’t go out of date.

I’ll constantly be adding event listings and new destinations, and I encourage brewery and bar owners to “claim” their listings, to fully update their own info. (I also offer very affordable advertising rates for anyone who wants to support the directory, hint-hint.)

Additionally, this will be the new home of Joe Sixpack. I’ll publish all my columns here, with an emphasis on destinations and events. You can follow my Facebook page for updates, and keep up to date with events on my Twitter feed.

Much has changed since I wrote my first Joe Sixpack column in 1996. Among other things, Joe is finally old enough to drink! But as I look around, one thing hasn’t changed: Good beer and good people are the heart of what makes Philadelphia the best beer-drinking city in America.

So, to every brewer who calls this town home, to every bartender who’s poured me a cold one, to every friend who ever touched glasses with me, this one’s for you. You’re all part of Joe Sixpack’s Philly Beer World.


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