Beer Tour
By
Jim Attacap


It has to be magic.  How else can you explain a circular 45 minute driving route that passes
by seven outstanding brewpubs?  This beer trek, also within easy reach of  metro
Philadelphia and New Jersey,  will take you to some of the finest brewpubs in both Delaware
and Pennsylvania.

Begin the tour at Iron Hill in Newark , DE.  It’s one of the first in this chain of outstanding
brewpubs.  Located in a bustling college town, the pub features cask conditioned ales,
seasonals, and a slate of 5 to 6 regular entries.  Grab a quick bite to eat too as it was
recently voted one of Delaware’s best values in food.  From there it’s a short ride on I-95
North to another Iron Hill on the Waterfront in Wilmington.  While the ground floor level bar is
fine, you should head directly upstairs to the spacious deck where you can enjoy a riverfront
view, an indoor and outdoor bar, and seasonal beers distinct from all the other Iron Hill
branches.  

Return to I-95, head North for two exits, tack on a couple of miles and you’ll come to
Stewarts Brewing Co, an award winning brewpub that’s located in a shopping center in Bear,
DE.  The welcoming oblong bar features several TV’s and a huge screen on the far wall of
an adjacent dining area.  If you’re in luck you’ll find a bourbon barrel aged brew, an imperial
stout worthy of the name, or a strong ale in addition to their regular selection of craft
brews.   The sampler here is the way to go as it’s generous and reasonably priced.  The
food is well above standard pub grub and the bartender is friendly, efficient, and beer
savvy.   

Head on back out to I- 95 North and in a couple of miles leave at exit 8.   Proceed onto Rt.
202 North and you’ll soon be visiting three more outstanding pubs.    In short order you’ll
reach John Harvard’s in Wilmington, one of the best in this well known chain of pubs.  The
warm, wooded décor leads to a beckoning circular bar flanked by a large blackboard that
not only lists the available beverages but will tell you all you ever need to know about them.  
The listing includes everything from the beer’s original gravity to its tap date.  Start your
sampling with the 10 ounce glasses so you can try a good number of the offerings.   Be sure
to ask about growlers here.  Last time I visited a growler was only $6.95, including the bottle!

Leave the John Harvard’s parking lot, turn left and in less than 3 miles you’ll come upon
another award winning brewpub, McKenzie's Brewhouse in the town of Glen Mills, PA.  The
large bar area sits separately from the restaurant section and boasts of a multiple large
screen TV’s.  The bar atmosphere may be a bit cold, but the brews are generally solid with
some special creations that make this an essential stop.   

Exit the McKenzie parking lot directly onto Rt. 202 North and in less than 3 miles you’ll pass
Firewaters, a bar that boasts of nearly 60 taps and dozens of martinis.  While most of the
taps are from the Miller, Bud, and Coors portfolio this establishment is still worth a look since
there are usually a few worthwhile entities in their macro brewer collection.  The beer bar will
greet you upon entry but continue to the back of the room for an added drinking  bonus - a
unique martini bar.  The décor is decidedly frat house binge drinking chic but the martini
selection and the chance for a unique tap earn Firewaters a spot on the tour.

Continue down the highway for nearly 15 miles and you will come upon the King of Prussia
Mall, one of the largest shopping centers in the East coast.   Tucked on one corner of the
massive mall, across from a huge multi-level parking garage, might be the best brewpub of
the trip, Rock Bottom.  Rock Bottom is a chain of brewpubs, but each pub has its own unique
selection of brews – a wide range with something for every taste including a cask ale every
so often.  The Saturday afternoon bartender on my last two visits should have been given
an on the spot promotion for he was an informed, entertaining guide to the bar’s eight
quality offerings.  Hopefully you find the heavenly hopped IPA, crisp West Coast lager, and
chewy stout I recently enjoyed there.  IMPORTANT - Be sure to ask the bartender about the
Rock Bottom Mug Club BEFORE you order.  Sign up and get all your beers in imperial pints
while earning credit towards some worthwhile prizes.  It’s one great deal and it's totally free!

Incredibly there are at least three more brewpubs within an additional 20 minute drive but by
now your designated driver probably wants to get back to home base and enjoy all the
growlers you bought him as a reward for his day of driving.  

Mapquest.com is fine for the specific directions and pubcrawler.com will give you the exact
addresses.  Enjoy the tour and be sure to take care of that designated driver.  He deserves
it!
beernexus.com - SPECIAL REPORT
DE - PA Pub Crawl