I almost had enough time to leave the Philadelphia International Airport, hit Reading Market, and return, but I didn’t feel intrepid enough to go through security again.
That said, with nine hours to kill, I needed a cogent strategy in order to squeeze the most fun out of a long sit at what is arguably one of the best airports for beer in the country. Would it live up to the hype?
Previously trips through PHL had piqued my interest but left me cold—mostly because of the trend towards replacing servers with iPads at a handful of otherwise good restaurants scattered around the terminals. I wouldn’t visit those places again, so what could I find at the others that kept the human interface intact?
Turns out, that was the pro move. I rolled off my hop from Baltimore in Terminal F right into Re.vive, enticed by the cart full of craft beers at the entrance, and the long, open tables where I could plug in and write for a while. I started with a Fat Head’s Bumble Berry—kind of like having blueberry pancakes for breakfast, except that I swear it was past noon. I also tried an epazote-laden Hop Devil IPA from Victory to go with my ancho pork tacos, a great pairing. Thumbs up!
After taking the bus over to the Terminal A dock, I walked for about an hour, criss-crossing the long terminal arms to get some exercise. As the evening came on, I sought out the Chickie’s and Pete’s location in A-West for the famous “crab” fries (if you consider Old Bay=crab, fine) and a Victory 77 Lager—another good pairing.
I finished my Tour de PHL with two quick samples at Yard’s Brewing’s new taproom at the end of A-East, conveniently located next to my departure gate. I took in a study in contrasts: the Jefferson’s Golden Ale and the Washington’s Porter, and wish I’d had more time to enjoy a bit more of both—the light and the dark, the floral and honey versus the mocha’s richness. My only critique? The plastic cup in which they were served. That can’t be the brewer’s choice, so I’ll blame it on PHL. Or the TSA. But I can’t blame it on the beer, because Philly does indeed have a great airport for a tour.