October 4, 2010
I never considered myself much of an adventurer — in fourth grade I once “held it” an entire weekend during a Girl Scout camping trip — but I’m now a reformed woman thanks to Philadelphia Urban Adventures, a company committed to serving people who don’t normally seek out tours by offering insider and off-the-beaten path “adventures.”
Drawing on our strengths, my friend and I chose to tag along with the Philly Pub Crawl, one of five Philadelphia Urban Adventures options. We met our eight fellow beer-loving and beer-curious tour-goers and our knowledgeable guide Alex at the City Hall courtyard at 5:00 (happy hour!) and embarked on a two-hour bar tour through Philadelphia’s brewing culture.
Round one: McGillin’s Olde Ale House. While drinking from pitchers of the house lager, Alex told us that we were sitting in a piece of Philadelphia history — the oldest continuously operated bar in the city. Here we discussed the 13-year Prohibition and its effects on the region, McGillin’s place in the community, and anything else that the small group wanted to chat about, which included alcohol-related books we’d read.
Round two: Nodding Head. This upstairs brewery makes its beer onsite. The timid beer drinkers in the group — yes, I include myself in that group — needed only to look at all the awards that crowd the walls to know that any choice was sure to be a good one. After reviewing the list of seven draught beers, I went with the 700 Level, a blonde ale named after Veteran Stadium’s upper deck, while more daring group members sipped the Lead Pipe Lager. Alex showed us the machines used to create the liquid delights and explained some ways brewers create different flavors, such as adding real lavender.
Last call: Tangier. I was thrilled that this neighborhood watering hole was our third bar. A Center City resident, I see the neon sign often, but I’ve never stopped inside. That’s going to change. The all-local draught list impressed even the most discriminating beer-avores. While I enjoyed my Troegenator and noshed on fries and hummus that Alex ordered to soak up some of the alcohol we’d ingested, we all discussed our favorite beers and took note of others’ recommendations.
That night, Philadelphia Urban Adventures delivered the perfect type of adventure for me — one filled with light walking, friendly conversation, great brews, Philly history and not one campfire song.
In addition to the $30 Philly Pub Crawl, other Philadelphia Urban Adventures include Essence of South Philly, Historic District/Society Hill, 9th Street Italian Market and the day-long River to River.
Philadelphia Urban Adventures [Official Site]