Second District Brewing Company: Second District, First Rate Beer

After a long awaited arrival of Philadelphia’s newest brewpub, Second District Brewing Co., located at 1939 South Bancroft Street opened their doors at 5pm on February 16th.  Some Philadelphia beer fans may notice some familiar faces are present, as John Longacre of American Sardine Bar the Brew bottle shop and South Philadelphia Taproom and Curt Decker of the former Nodding Head have joined forces to create a neighborhood brewpub that embodies the spirit of the Newbold neighborhood it serves.

Enter Second District Brewing.  This project has been in the works for quite some time and the effort put in shines through in every facet when you walk in the front door. While this is not the second coming of Nodding Head, the same welcoming, warm and inviting environment remain present in the new South Philadelphia brewpub.  This sentiment sings true with the staff as well.  The decor features a blend of rustic and gilded with an array of antique mirrors lining the back of the bar.  Step beyond the bar into the back and you’ll be in the midst of the bi-level brewhouse featuring some of the old Nodding Head equipment with an array of barrels throughout, which will soon produce great beers to come.  Along with the rustic decor are sliding garage doors that are sure to liven up this space during the summer time.

Now that we’ve painted the picture for the atmosphere of this brewpub, let’s talk about what’s the most important: the beer.  Head brewer Ben Potts’ seasoned background features three local mainstays in Dock Street, Dogfish Head and Tired Hands, so rest assured the beer will be great. The taplist features a diverse blend of mostly sessionable, straightforward and good, honest beers that everyone is sure to enjoy.  Opening night featured six beers, with capacity for two more.  The starting six were diverse and delicious with two IPAs, a dark English Mild, a light, citrusy pale ale, Vietnamese Coffee Stout and English Barleywine, finding a favorite beer will be easy for everyone.

After enjoying a bit of each beer and taking in the whole experience, I spoke to Curt about the beer, congratulated him on the new space and gave credit for the delicious beers I enjoyed this evening.  He was visibly glowing while conversing with his patrons, a sign that his hard work has paid off, and it has.

If my words have not convinced you to check out this new neighborhood gem, do yourself a favor and let the beer do all the talking.  You’ll surely be back for more. See you there.

February 19, 2017 | Breweries In PA

Inside Second District Brewing in South Philadelphia

The city’s brewing scene picks up a new entrant with Feb. 16’s opening of Second District Brewing Co., a South Philadelphia brew pub run by Curt Decker, former owner of Center City’s late Nodding Head, with backing from developer John Longacre, whose holdings include South Philadelphia Tap Room and American Sardine Bar.

The 7-bbl brew house is upstairs and is visible from the old-fashioned brew pub, made from reclaimed materials, on street level behind roll-up doors.

Brewer Ben Potts, whose resume includes Dock Street, Dogfish Head, and Tired Hands, will have about eight beers on tap from the start. See a partial list here. The house beers will be offered with Pennsylvania wines and cocktails made with Pennsylvania spirits.

Potts’ creative varieties include an IPA brewed with tea sourced from Premium Steap, and a Vietnamese coffee stout.

Chef Doreen DeMarco, doing double duty at American Sardine Bar, has devised a menu of simple, scratch-made food, including snacks, house-made charcuterie (a beer brat), pickles, and sandwiches. “Things you want to eat with beer,” DeMarco said. She also makes a vegan Italian sausage as well as vegan pork rinds.

February 15, 2017 |

‘Definitely not Nodding Head’ opens in South Philly this week

After more than two years of planning and renovation, Second District Brewing opens its doors in the Newbold/Point Breeze section of South Philadelphia this week.

The brewpub, located across two floors of adjoining buildings at the corner of Bancroft and McKean (between 16th and 17th), is a joint project from John Longacre of South Philadelphia Tap Room/American Sardine Bar and Curt Decker of Nodding Head.

A tasting of early beers — including a 9.5% ABV vanilla barleywine that’s way too easy to drink — and a look at the menu by Sardine Bar’s Doreen DeMarco (foot-long Lancaster corn dog, anyone?) bodes well for the pub’s success.

Ben Potts is head brewer, building on an impressive resume that includes time at Tired Hands in Ardmore and several years at Dogfish Head in Delaware.

“Ben was my first choice,” said Decker, who had been impressed with Potts’ talents for years. “He’s on his way to becoming a beer world rockstar. I was thrilled to get him.”

House beers on tap — which will be the only beer served at the long, poured-concrete bar, along with PA wines on tap and drinks with locally-made spirits — are brewed on the very same seven-barrel brewhouse that for nearly 15 years was used at Nodding Head’s Sansom Street location in Center City.

February 13, 2017 | Billy Penn