At the new brewery next to the old Reading Railroad tracks in Philadelphia’s Spring Arts District, also known as Callowhill North, your drink coaster is an opportunity to give back.
Triple Bottom Brewing was founded with a triumvirate mission to promote “beer, people and the planet,” and co-owner Tess Hart likes to say the middle word is most important. A portion of proceeds from every pint you buy will benefit a local nonprofit — and by dropping your coaster into a jug next to the bar, you get to vote for your favorite.
Considering how gorgeous the space turned out and the solid lineup on the tap list, doing good is a side benefit of visiting the 915 Spring Garden St. brewpub, which officially opened Thursday, Sept. 12.
Here’s everything you need to know about the newest entry into Philly’s growing collection of city beermakers.
Built in 1909, the former Reading Railroad building is attached to the part of the raised train tracks that could eventually become Phase 2 of the Rail Park. At one time it housed an “immigrant room” that helped newcomers reach their destinations safely. After the railroad left, industrial uses took over, until Arts & Crafts Holdings bought the structure in 2016 and began a major renovation.
Triple Bottom has nearly the entire front half of the ground floor, placing it right on the edge of a fast-developing retail corridor — and right across the street from a building where the same developers have welcomed another brewery, Roy-Pitz Barrel House.
Multiple layers of paint were sanded off the original oak wood floors, and combined with the 16-foot ceilings and long line of 10-foot picture windows, they give the lofty interior the feeling of a giant sunroom.
It’s laid out like an apartment, Hart explained. There’s a patio out front with about 25 seats. The anteroom area is filled with plants and several high-top tables surrounded with woven stools sourced from Hugo & Hoby, a company that uses local fabricators and sustainable materials.
Behind a set of picnic tables is the “living room,” complete with couches and board games. Behind that is a dining room, which can be closed off via sliding barn door to host private events or neighborhood gatherings. Including a set of stools along the small bar, the space can comfortably seat more than 100 people.
Brewer Kyle Carney, 31, notched experience at Weyerbacher and Stone Brewing Co. before joining Triple Bottom in its infancy back in 2016. He’s working off a 10-barrel system with four fermenters, and Hart estimated annual production at about 1,500 bbl. (For reference, Yards Brewing down the street can put out 200,000 bbl each year.)
The drink list will fill out with 12 house-brewed offerings on draft, along with one spout for cider from Hale & True and three taps of local wine from Karamoor Estate.
Beer is available in three sizes, from tasters and flights to full pints, starting at about $2.50 and going up to $8. You’ll be able to take beer home with you in “crowlers,” and eventually they’ll distribute a few kegs around to local bars, Hart said.
There’s no kitchen on site, so the menu consists of snacks and boards by Di Bruno Bros. Charcuterie will come from local producers like 1732 Meats, with baked goods by Lost Bread Co. and Mighty Bread Co.
There’s also a giant cookie source from Monkey & Elephant, the Brewerytown cafe that employs young adults who’ve aged out of the foster system. Prices start around $4 for olives or spiced nuts; there’s a burrata plate for $10; and large platters to share top out around $32.
The Monkey & Elephant connection was made because the two operations have a similar staffing philosophy, Hart said. Triple Bottom refers to itself as a “fair chance” business, and people on the 13-person workforce come from a diverse variety of backgrounds.
Hart and her husband and business partner Bill Popwell, both 32, spent several years developing relationships with Project Home, the Youth Sentencing and Reentry Project and the Restorative Justice Project.
“Because they knew us and what we were looking for, hiring through them was easier than doing it the standard way,” Hart said, noting that staff also includes folks who were hired through more traditional methods like Indeed.
Right now, the three organizations that’ll receive a portion of brewery proceeds — and which you can choose between with your drink coaster — are Friends of East Poplar Playground (run by the neighborhood RCO), the Bethesda Project (a nearby shelter helping people experiencing homelessness) and the Asian American Film Festival, which will host its opening night party at the brewery later this fall.
Triple Bottom Brewing is open 4 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, noon through 10 p.m. Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday. It’s closed on Mondays.