It’s been about 18 months since Yards Brewing pulled up roots and relocated from its longstanding facility on Delaware Avenue. That’s enough time for things to finally be humming along nicely at the big new brewhouse in the middle of Philly’s urban grid.
Proof the city’s oldest continually operating brewery is back to fully operational? May 1 brings the release of Yards’ first new packaged brand in three years.
Called Summer Crush, it’s an easy-drinking citrus wheat beer ideal for warm-weather sipping.
“It’s a crowd-pleaser,” said Yards cofounder Tom Kehoe, describing it as “the beer you bring down the shore or to your friend’s backyard barbecue.”
Tangy and refreshing, without cloying clove
Brewed with orange and lime zest, Crush is tangy but not overpoweringly tart. The sessionable, 5 percent ABV beer has almost none of the cloying clove or banana notes often found in beers with a heavy portion of wheat in their grain bill.
It pours a hazy yellow, with a bright white head full of tightly-packed bubbles. There’s basically no nose — i.e. you can’t really smell it when you put your head near the glass — and that’s part of what makes it so refreshing and easy to chug.
The first taste is very lightly sour, but without any puckering, and the dry, tight liquid finishes with a thirst-quenching smoothness.
Initially available in bottles and on draft, Summer Crush will be even easier to bring to parties — whether at the beach or on the block — once the 12-packs of cans are released in mid-May.
Doubling down on Philly after 25 years
The addition of a canning line was one of the incentives for the brewery’s move to its new home at 5th and Spring Garden in Northern Liberties, where it takes up 70,000 square feet of space next to a Target and the new Philadelphia City Archives.
Unlike some other comparable breweries in the region, which have been forced to sell to outside investors or declare bankruptcy as upstarts crowd the market, Yards has managed to solidify its position in recent years, and is even poised to expand distribution.
At center of its 100-barrel brewhouse is a huge taproom that seats 250 people, plus a banquet room for private events. Getting the restaurant and banquet business up and running was the first order of business after relocating, according to CEO Trevor Prichett.
“Now that we’ve settled into our new home,” Prichett said, “we’re spending more time developing beers.”
After Summer Crush, which Kehoe said should be available through the end of July (or later, if there’s enough demand), there’s another release fans can get excited about: a new year-rounder to commemorate Yards’ quarter-century in business.
“We will have a new beer in September,” Kehoe told Billy Penn, “which will honor our 25th anniversary.”
He also teased a big Yards 25th anniversary party, coming this fall.