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June 10, 2011

With Love Beer Garden Featured Brewer Q&A: Tom Kehoe Of Yards Brewing Company

Yards head brewer Tom Kehoe will be at the With Love Beer Garden tonight. (Photo by R. Kennedy for GPTMC)

[This is the fifth installment in our With Love Beer Garden Q&A series, which we've published each day this week in honor of the Philly Beer Week With Love Beer Garden at the Four Seasons Philadelphia Hotel's courtyard. One of tonight's featured brewers is Tom Kehoe of Yards Brewing Company. Read on to hear him weigh in on sourcing local ingredients for Yards beer, the most refreshing Yards beers to stave off the summer heat and more.]

Yards was founded in the mid-1990s by two college friends, Tom Kehoe and Jon Bovit, with a thirst for beer. A garage-sized operation in Manayunk gave way to a larger facility in Roxborough, which, today, is operating from Pennsylvania’s first wind-powered brewery, located on Delaware Avenue.

We recently talked with founder and brewmaster Tom about sourcing local ingredients for Yards beer, the most refreshing Yards beers to stave off the summer heat and more.

Uwishunu: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. We can’t wait for the Yards night at the With Love Beer Garden tonight! In addition to the Beer Garden, what other Beer Week events are you most excited about?

Tom: Throwdown in Franklintown 2, and Quizzo at the Good Dog.

Uwishunu: Yards was the first packaging brewery licensed in Philadelphia since the shuttering of Schmidt Brewery in 1979. Why do you think the Philadelphia beer scene has thrived so impressively in the past decade and a half?

Tom: You can’t force anything on Philadelphia. Philadelphians have to seek you out and embrace you and if you’re worthy you can boo your favorite sports team. The beer scene has thrived because good beer has slowly won the respect of Philadelphians and good beer stands up to this town’s character.

Uwishunu: Cheers to that. Speaking of Philadelphia pride, do you source ingredients locally for any Yards beers?

Tom: Yes, the spruce for our Poor Richards comes from a local organic tree orchard in Media, we get honey from Harvey’s Honey in South Jersey and molasses from Zook in Honeybrook, PA. [We also get] water from the Delaware River.

Uwishunu: Yards churns out a yearly 12,500 (14,000 last year) barrels of signature ales, a few seasonal ales and the very unique Ales of the Revolution line, brewed based on recipes conceived by Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin and George Washington. What are some of your favorite Yards beers to enjoy outdoors in the summertime?

Tom: With the heat that we have been getting the only beer for me is Yards Philadelphia Pale Ale. Crisp, refreshing and room for another.

Uwishunu: Sounds delicious. On that note, Philadelphia has plenty of awesome bars and restaurants. What are some of your favorite places in the city to go to grab a beer and a bite? Do you have any favorite beer and food pairings?

Tom: I always say I have a favorite spot in every neighborhood. So my favorite spot tends to be the one that I am closest to. There is a lot more to food pairing than just food and beer. My favorite beer pairing will be a hot day in late summer early fall rain coming down so that you are cooled by the rain but not uncomfortable. Settle in for a cream of crab soup (slight spice) with a General Washington Porter.

Uwishunu: Any final words of wisdom for our readers attempting to navigate Philly Beer Week?

Tom: Wear Sunscreen!!, [and] avoid any event with Two Mashingtons, unless counterbalanced by Two Rutherfords.

With Love Beer Garden
Where: The Courtyard at the Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia, 1 Logan Square
Note: You can enter straight from the corner of 18th and Cherry Streets; you don’t need to go through the hotel
When: Today, June 10, 4-8 p.m. — Closing Night!
Cost: Pay as you go
More info: www.visitphilly.com

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