Iron Hill finally made it to Philly Wednesday night. I headed out to the 4:00 opening tap about 3, and as I rolled through Langhorne, realized that the new place was not far from my daughter's school, and she just got out...I called her: want to go to a brewpub opening? Sure! I picked her up, she got her stuff in the car, got in, and started giggling as she worked her iPhone. What's so funny? "We had a drug and alcohol assembly in school today, and now I'm going to a brewpub opening, gotta update my Facebook status!" I am such a responsible parent...
Davies, Finn, Green, Edelson & Bass raise a toast
Anyway, the newest Iron Hill opened at 8400 Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill, and it was a full-scale Iron Hill production. There were nine beers on draft (with more coming) from former Iron Hill Lancaster brewer Paul Rutherford, a ready-to-roll staff, and the tasty Iron Hill menu. The show included (of course) Iron Hill founding partners Kevin Finn, Kevin Davies, and Mark Edelson (all looking quite relaxed; as Mark said, "This is a great day; the money starts coming in today, it's just been going out for six months!"); and two Philadelphia City Council members, veteran Bill Green and the newly-elected Cindy Bass, who was very excited to be opening Iron Hill as her first official public duty. She even had a sip of her beer (Green and the partners had more than a sip).
Of course, she was excited. Iron Hill brings 110 jobs to her district, solid jobs that will give the employees solid experience, jobs that won't go away: Iron Hill has not closed any of their operations since the first one opened in Newark, Delaware 15 years ago. That's a great track record for brewpubs, and an even better one for restaurants, and speaks volumes about the savvy Iron Hill's partners brought to this enterprise from day one.
This new operation is a beauty, with many of the signature Iron Hill decorating touches: the retro ad mural from North Wales, the ceiling and lights from Media, the decorative ironwork from Newark. Iron Hill manages to look experienced and broken-in from opening day at their new operations, and have a fantastic employee training program that makes their service levels a high standard for competitors to meet. With room for over 250 guests (and an off-street lot), they're ready for business.
Beer's great, of course. I had a glass of Paul's English brown ale, and it was quite tasty: chocolate, smooth, mellow, and all-too-easy to drink. Looking forward to more of this (and with Nora's graduation coming up in June, I think I know where we're headed after the ceremony!).
All opinions expressed on this blog are strictly my own; they do not reflect those of the publications for which I work.
I've been a full-time drinks writer since 1996. Currently I'm managing editor of Whisky Advocate magazine; a regular writer for Ale Street News and Massachusetts Beverage Business magazine; and author of four regional brewery guidebooks. Next time you see me at a bar or event or distillery, say hi.