Triple Bottom Brewing is celebrating its four-year anniversary with a week of events that embody the spirit that’s kept the mission-driven business going: collaboration.
Brewery CEO and cofounder Tess Hart is hosting a series of pop-ups at her Callowhill taproom, collaborating with chefs who know what it’s like, and helped one another survive one of the hardest periods in recent memory.
“So much of our experience as humans in this city is shaped by the small community businesses that are around us, on our corners and commutes,” Hart told Billy Penn. “They really are the fabric of our joy and engagement and connection with each other.”
The five-day event will feature daily kitchen pop-up menus curated in part by chef Ange Branca, whose James Beard Award-nominated Passyunk Avenue restaurant Sate Kampar closed during the pandemic, and whom Hart first met during a previous collaboration early in the pandemic.
Branca will bookend the program — look for Malaysian dishes and coconut-charcoal-grilled sates on Wednesday, and a tapas-style brunch on Sunday prepared with six chefs from Kampar Kitchen, her platform for underrepresented foods.
The days in between will see vegan Peruvian cuisine from Alex Giel of La Llamita Vegana, and Indonesian flavors from Rice & Sambal’s Diana Widjojo, both introduced to Hart by Branca.
Also featured on the lineup is frequent Triple Bottom partner Mike Carter of Down North Pizza which, like the brewery, is a fair chance business, offering employment to those who may have experienced incarceration or homelessness.
Launched in fall of 2019 by Hart and two partners, Triple Bottom’s name stems from its three points of focus: people, the planet, and the brewing of highly drinkable craft beers with as little negative impact as possible. The operation is powered by renewable energy and is Pennsylvania’s first certified B Corp brewery, meeting the highest verified standards for transparency and social accountability.
Six months after opening with these lofty goals, the city shut down all nonessential businesses.
The following day, Hart hosted five local food entrepreneurs, and together, they created a delivery service of made-to-order care packages.
“It was successful; it helped us survive for a year,” Hart told Billy Penn of the Joy Box program, which featured customizable selections from Triple Bottom and partners Caphe Roasters, Mycopolitan Mushrooms, Third Wheel Cheese Co., Lil’ Pop Shop, and Weckerly’s Ice Cream, in addition to different guest vendors brought in weekly. “It was a way to stay connected to our community.”
As restaurants and other establishments slowly reopened, that spirit of collaboration remained. A seasonal Triple Bottom beer garden launched at the Eastern State Penitentiary in 2021 and is still ongoing.
By year’s end, Hart plans to start month-long chef residencies out of the brewery’s kitchen, with Branca likely one of the first.
Hart took time off from the business for maternity leave early this year, returning 12 weeks later “much more optimistic about this business,” and with fresh energy to take on its challenges.
“My personal mindset has only recently switched,” she explained, “from that ‘How do we survive?’ mode to ‘How do we thrive?’”
Each Triple Bottom anniversary pop-up is paired with a cocktail inspired by the cuisine of the guest chef, and an event, from a drag performance hosted by a current Triple Bottom team member and a jazz band fronted by a former employee, to a showcase from thrift store Blk Ivy honoring the aesthetics and work of the civil rights movement.
The lineup also includes an installation by Edith Zapata, an artist Hart had met through a previous Triple Bottom collaboration with Mural Arts for a Juneteenth themed exhibition, and a bluegrass band closing out the final day of celebrations.
The beer list will include seasonal specials like Hitchbot, a summery, strawberry vanilla sour (8.5% ABV) and Beginish (4.0% ABV), the brewery’s dry Irish stout and Hart’s favorite, recently added to the nitro tap.
The situation may seem more stable today, but with the government no longer offering pandemic relief, costs continuously rising, and the outpouring of public support a fraction of what it was shortly after the shutdowns, Hart said there’s still “no clear light at the end of the tunnel,” for small businesses — nor should there be an expectation for one.
“We can’t wait for the world to change back to what it was, because it’s not going to anytime soon,” she said. “Let’s just expect that it’s going to keep changing, and that we need to lean on each other to figure it out.”
915 Spring Garden St | 3 to 10 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, 12 to 10 p.m. Saturday, 12 to 7 p.m. Sunday (anniversary event hours vary depending on date)