Philadelphia has a thriving beer scene, and is home to numerous local breweries like Victory Brewing Co., Flying Fish Brewery and Yards Brewing Co. For this reason, I usually buy local beers to support the Philadelphia brewing community. One beer in particular directly pays homage to the City of Brotherly Love and has long been a staple in my fridge — Yards’ Philadelphia Pale Ale.
Yards has built a well-established brand since its inception in 1994. It’s hard to find a bar in Philadelphia that doesn’t serve one of its flagship beers: the Brawler, the Yards IPA or the Philadelphia Pale Ale. In addition to crafting some of the finest beers in Philadelphia, Yards is impressively active in civic ventures. It aims to be sustainable and green, work with local farms, and has contracted a company to compost food scraps from its tasting room. Yards also gave charitable donations upwards of $95,000 in 2013 alone to local organizations like the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House and the American Cancer Society. So, in addition to enjoying the beer, you can take comfort in the fact that you’re supporting a charitable and sustainable organization.
The Philadelphia Pale Ale is perhaps Yards’ most famous beer, garnering countless accolades, including a review from the New York Times that called it “one of the best pale ales in the country.” It was also named best local beer by Philadelphia Magazine in 2012. The Yards website not-so-humbly asserts that “we honestly believe that all other ales pale in comparison to ours.” Get it?
The beer pours a pale yellow color, just a touch darker than a light beer. It retains about a half-inch of a bright white frothy head. The most apparent aroma is grassy citrus, but a hint of malt is recognizable as well.
The beer tastes citrusy, floral and refreshing. Again, a soft trace of malt is present, but it’s not too heavy. The Simcoe hops give the beer a distinctive crispness, but they are not as strong as those in a standard IPA. It contains a medium amount of carbonation, sitting perfectly between a watery light beer and biting heavy ale. With a relatively low ABV (4.6 percent), this beer goes down very easily. You can see why the Philadelphia Pale Ale is known as the perfect session beer.
Yards recommends pairing the beer with fresh, lighter foods (think salads, tomatoes), but qualifies that it is “equally as good with a hot dog and peanuts at the ballpark.” From personal experience, I can attest that it will pair well with just about anything except the heaviest of foods, like creamy pasta.
The Philadelphia Pale Ale’s versatility and drinkability make it a great beer to keep on hand. At around $38 a case, it’s also reasonably priced for a craft beer. Hit your nearest bar or distributor and pick up a case to support Philadelphia brewing and enjoy one of the best pale ales in the business.