Pizza Boy Brewing is located out in Enola, Pa., but folks there definitely get Fishtown. This June, the Central Pennsylvania brewery is rolling out a new beer that pretty much encapsulates the evolving character of the neighborhood in one little can.
Introducing Arctic Trash. Yep, they went there.
The limited-edition brew, an on-trend sour ale with lactose and lemon, was inspired by the River Wards section’s signature drink — and what happens to the empties after they’re slurped dry.
If you’re not familiar, Arctic Splash Iced Tea has become nearly synonymous with Fishtown over the past couple of decades. Longtime residents consider it an essential part of daily breakfast (along with a pizza pretzel), and when the recipe was changed to make it less sweet, people freaked out a bit. The dangerously boozy Fishtown Iced Tea at Interstate Drafthouse, which is mixed directly in the paper carton, is famous throughout Philly.
Those cartons, with their recognizable snow-capped blue logo and brown puddle beneath, have also become a signature of the neighborhood in a different way — as litter. Scan the hashtag #arctictrash on social and you’ll find plenty of crushed ones acting as gutter jewelry. There’s even an entire @arctictrashtalk account with 1,300 followers.
The new beer perfectly channels this zeitgeist in its tagline: “Litter your mind, not the streets.”
Turns out Instagram is what led to the brilliantly conceptualized brew in the first place. Garage Fishtown, the can-centric beer and arcade haven at the corner of Frankford and Girard, has a snappy Insta game that caught the attention of Pizza Boy head brewer Terry Hawbaker.
“He follows our Instagram and reached out, out of the blue,” said Garage co-owner Jason Evenchik, explaining that Katie Henry, the bar’s GM, came up with the initial concept.
“Pizza Boy asked if we wanted them to brew us a beer [and] I said HELL YES,” Henry said. Asked what kind of beer would make customers happy, she “just tried to think of ridiculous Fishtown stuff.” Arctic Splash Gose was one of the suggestions she tossed out, and the brewers ran with it.
“Terry Hawbaker came up with the name and the tagline,” Henry clarified. “I just planted the seed.”
That seed developed into a full-blown 15-bbl batch of beer, enough to fill around 150 or 160 cases. Which isn’t very many. Odds are good that once it’s out, Arctic Trash will disappear faster than a midnight food truck being hounded by L&I.
Your first chance at a can of the trashy pucker brew comes during Philly Beer Week on Wednesday, June 6, when Garage Fishtown hosts a special celebratory release party.
After that, Arctic Trash will be distributed citywide by Origlio Beverage. Because there’s not a lot of it, you probably won’t see the cans everywhere — least of all, hopefully, crushed up on the street next to their namesake tea. These things are collector’s items. Fishtown’s new signature drink deserves some respect.