by Emily Kovach
Wissahickon Brewing Company to Debut in East Falls
Eight years ago, Tim Gill’s children gave him a homebrewing kit for Father’s Day. What started as a family activity blossomed into a full-blown hobby as he invested in more professional-grade equipment and entered his beers in homebrew competitions. He also began attending conferences, trading information and gathering resources from others with the homebrew bug.
Gill, who manages programming at LOVE Park in Center City, has decided to plunge into professional brewing as he prepares to retire from his first career. He recruited his family to help start Wissahickon Brewing Company (WBCo): His wife, Lisa, and children Tim Jr., Meg, Luke and Pete are all on board in various high-level roles. The 15-barrel brewery is slated to open in early February on Schoolhouse Lane in East Falls, doubling as a production brewery and a cozy taproom. A rotating roster of food trucks will be parked out front.
As a native of the Wissahickon Valley and a 30-year employee of Fairmount Park, Gill says he could not imagine any better way to pay homage to a park that has figured so prominently in his family and life. “Our vision is that WBCo will reflect the culture and history the park brings to the city... a natural gem in an urban setting.”
Point Breeze Brewing Expands Microbrewery
Tucked into a converted garage space off of Grays Ferry Avenue, Point Breeze Brewing has begun making beers for wholesale to local bars and restaurants, including Rarest in Center City and Madira in Point Breeze. The founding team, friends Kristen and Kyler Nicholson, Scott Motisko and Patrick Rhine, decided to start small. The company was founded in 2014, but their production space has only been operational since December 2016, and they’ve been running a nanobrew schedule of two to three barrels per month while fine tuning their recipes. They are currently producing Point Breeze Pale Ale, Reed Street Rye IPA and Madira Spiced Ale, and the brewers are also working on a new recipe for the debut of a summer beer.
There are no immediate plans for a taproom that’s open to the public, as the Kickstarter-funded startup is focused on first introducing a range of quality beers to the market. As the company and product names suggest, the Point Breeze team is deeply invested in their neighborhood. “There are already a lot of great craft brew bars and bottle shops throughout South Philly, and now we can add to the new microbrewery scene in the area,” says assistant brewer and marketing manager Scott Motisko. “The growth is incredible, and we’re excited to be a part of it.”
Flying Fish Crafthouse Crosses the River
Flying Fish Brewery, an established craft brewery on the scene since 1995, has crossed the river from its hometown of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, to set up a taproom in the up-and-coming Brewerytown neighborhood. The huge (8,000 square feet with 191 seats) space is located on the ground floor of the Fairmount @ Brewerytown rental property on the corner of 31st and Master streets.
The Flying Fish Crafthouse opened its doors early December 2016, offering an extensive number of Flying Fish beers from two bars, along with a menu designed by Chef Brian Duffy, a Philadelphia native with many years of experience in the culinary industry, including at the prestigious LaCroix at the Four Seasons in Center City. The menu is leveled-up bar food with creative twists, like the Freebird Hot Pocket appetizer with spicy pulled chicken, chive pesto, grana padano and roasted tomato sauce, or the Swine and Diner pizza loaded with cheddar, cured and smoked hams, whole grain mustard, bacon dust and, yes, a fried egg.
The beer is front and center on the drinks list, with a number of brews exclusive to the location, such as LoveFish, a cherry-infused abbey dubbel. Specialty cocktails, by the glass and the bottle—as well as a short list of wines—round out the menu.