Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Path To Philly Beer Week 2008 - A Profile of Nodding Head Brewery

Nodding Head is Center City's most fun brewpub...we all nod in agreement and wish that there were more. Thing is, there's a lot of nodding going on in the Sansom Street (or is it Sampson???) brewhouse. As you reach the top of the long flight of stairs leading up from street level, you're greeted with a tall glass case full of row after row of bobbleheads. They wobble slightly, hundreds of them, as if to acknowledge your arrival.

Over at the bar, while sipping down some of Gordon's fine brews, you're watched over there as well, including the almighty J.C. himself. One of Curt's favorite bobblehead stories to recount involves the beloved 2001 Philadelphia 76ers improbable almost-championship season. During the finals, the brewpub auctioned off (for charity) the chance for a lucky patron to smash the Kobe Bryant bobblehead with a brewer's paddle. The remains are still on display at the bar.

Always fun to have good stories like that to surround good beer. So, what about the beer? Read below for the bevy of precious metal that they've taken home over the years for the beer ranging from lighter to heavier in both body and flavor. Then there's the highly-sought after berlinerweisse of which they sold approximately 50 barrels last year, purportedly the most of the style outside of Berlin.

As you ready yourself for Philly Beer Week 2008, study up on some background notes on Nodding Head and consider yourself lucky to be part of such a vibrant and rich beer region that PBW 2008 will celebrate.

Name: Nodding Head Brewery and Restaurant
Location: 1516 Sansom St, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Phone: 215-569-9525


Curt Decker and Barbara Thomas; Owners

Gordon Grubb; Head Brewer

Major Brands
60 Schilling; 700 Level; All Night Ale; BPA; Grog; Ich Bin Ein Berlinerweisse; IPA; Monkey Knife Fight


60 Schilling

Silver (Scottish-Style Ale), GABF 2003

Bill Payer

Bronze (American-Style Pale Ale), WBC 2006

BoHo Pilsner

Bronze (Bohemian-Style Pilsener), GABF 2002

George's Fault

Gold (Specialty Honey Lager or Ale), GABF 2005


Gold (English-Style Brown Ale), GABF 2002

Silver (British-Style Dark Ale), Chicago Real Ale Festival 2003

Ich Bin Ein Berlinerweisse

Silver (German-Style Wheat Ale), GABF 2003, GABF 2004

Bronze (German-Style Wheat Ale), GABF 2005, WBC 2006

Philadelphia Magazine

Best Brew Pub 2000-2001; 2003-2004

Best Golden Ale 2001

Draft only at the brewpub

Roughly 700 bbls/year

History & Tidbits

  • Sam Adams Brewpub began the brewing history (extract brewing) in the space that Nodding Head is currently

  • Sam Adams was one of the first new breweries/brewpubs to be opened in Philadelphia since Prohibition

  • One of the city's long time sort of well-kept dining secrets is downstairs from Nodding Head in the form of Sansom Street Oyster House (owner David Mink was Sam Adams proprietor)

  • Nodding Head converted the space to an all-grain brewery and opened in 2000

  • More Berlinerweisse is produced here than anywhere else outside of Berlin, Germany

  • Major Yearly Events

  • Royal Stumble (July)

  • Where to Find Nodding Head During Philly Beer Week

  • George's Fault to be featured as one of Joe Sixpack's Favorite Beers on 3/7

  • Belgian brewer, Hildegard van Ostaden from Urthel, will be collaborating with the Nodding Head crew and Tom Peters on a special brew

  • Paired with Bar Ferdinand at The Brewers Plate, Nodding Head will be showing off their All Night Ale

  • Will be hosting a Meet the Brewer on Tuesday the 11th with highly decorated David Buhler of Elysian (Seattle, WA) and sister, Sebbie Buhler, from Rogue

  • The Bill Payer will be featured during the Brewers Self-Guided Tour on Wednesday the 12th

  • Will play host to brewers from Dogfish Head, Avery, Victory, and Yards on Friday the 14th for a Brewers' Happy Hour

  • Will be contributing "special brew" to the Michael Jackson events on the 14th and 15th

  • 1 comment:

    Anonymous said...

    Weird--all these years I thought I was the only one calling it Sampson Street.