Crowded Castle Brewing Company | visitPA  Crowded Castle Brewing Company (Level 50) Committed to consistently  delivering a unique beer experience to consumers by… | Unique beers, Craft  beer, Brewing company


Perched between Root Down and Stable 12 on Phoenixville’s fabulous beer-centric downtown strip, CROWDED CASTLE was formed by a few homebrewing friends doing small social events to show off their brewing prowess before beginning contract brewing. Adventurous beer designer, Mark Sofio, one of Crowded Castle’s main craftsmen, continually concentrates on delighting local patrons and traveling beer seekers with a fine array of style-bending concoctions – refining recipes if need be to come up with better elixirs.

“I don’t need to make the only beer you drink, I just wanna be in your repertoire,” former stay-at-home dad Sofio claims.

Open during Memorial Day 2017 at a former Elks Club lounge, Crowded Castle’s front-windowed Prohibition Era-styled pub features art deco-styled bronze ceiling tiles, three hanging pendant lights, exposed black pipes, earthtone brick walls and a glazed cement floor.

An L-shaped, wood-beamed, slate-top bar services the right side lounge area and surrounding high-chaired tables. The backroom’s seven-and-a-half barrel brew tanks and six fermenters provide the liquid fun and an executive chef was recently hired to run the small kitchen.

While hanging out with Sofio on an early Wednesday afternoon in August ’20, I quaffed all eleven available brews.

Restaurant — Crowded Castle Brewing Company, Inc

Soft-toned lemony grapefruit perfuming and sweet floral-spiced herbage picked up earthen Saaz hop mustiness for mildly crystal malt-creamed Koning Gambrinus Pilsner, a solid light-bodied opener.

An orange-rotted lemon twist and tannic green grape wining rode above corn-husked pale malt spicing for cider-licked Castle Lager, a durable musty-grained moderation.

Dewy peat moss and grassy hop rusticity grazed citric-dried grape esters for Gilded Kolsch, a resolute straw-yellowed pilsner-malted easygoer with delicate floral juniper snips.

Mellow rice-wined French yeast provided a champagne spritz for Meyer lemon-salted farmhouse ale, Ble Saison, leaving lemongrass herbage on the back end.

Candi-sugared Belgian yeast advanced pastry-like tripel, Peace Ale, letting spiced apricot sail alongside rum raisin sweetness.

An interesting combination of British golden ale malts fermented with Belgian yeast, Ovolo placed candied mandarin orange spicing alongside floral-perfumed amber graining.

Date-sugared plum spicing crystallized Mod Quad, a creamily molasses-dipped medium-full body with auxiliary rum raisin, banana bubblegum and bruised orange sweetness.

Murkily yellow-hazed Fog U IPA utilized tart Huell Melon hops, bringing salted gooseberry-guava souring and grapefruit rind bittering to mild lemon meringue vanilla creaming.

Lemon-juiced grapefruit zest, salted mango bittering and spiced orange tartness lingered for Juice My Imagination NEIPA, a lightly lactic yellow-glazed medium body perfect for expansive hop-heads.

Spritzy sour-candied raspberry tartness provided mouth-puckered goodness for Sour Notes (Raspberry), punctuated by musky yellow grape, cranberry, huckleberry, strawberry and cherry rhubarb piquancy.

Mild coffee-roasted dark chocolate malting anchored maple oats-sugared Midnight Stout, a nut-charred mocha-bound nightcap.


ROOT DOWN BREWING  Root Down Brewing Company - BV Brew Scene

Capturing all the casual “urban ambiance” of former mill town, Phoenixville, ROOT DOWN BREWING COMPANY occupies the old 13,000 square-foot red-bricked Superior Beverage warehouse on North Main and Bridge. A block from the Schuylkill River water walk, its friendly neighborhood feel suits the younger crowd moving into the revitalized borough.

An elongated slate-topped 25-seat bar services plastic chaired wood tables and the graffiti-walled, community-tabled, game-roomed backspace. Caged brew tanks behind the 26-plus barroom draught lines provide the vast vats of sundry suds.

The restored wood floor, exposed pipes and cavernous ceiling suit the hoary pub.

Down the road half a mile away at Uncle B’s Bar BQ, Root Down Biergarten is right behind the barbecue diner serving both Root Down creations and local guest brews to wood picnic tables from a portable kiosk.

Root Down Brewing Company | visitPA

I tried all 23 available brews at Root Down’s barreled street table on my mid-August ’20 Phoenixville trip (quaffin’ Real Deal Lager afterwards at the biergarten with wife and dog in tow). It truly seemed each soft-toned beer (many lagers or pilsners) weighed gentle on my mind.

Easygoing orange-dried lemon souring rose above dry pale malts for Real Deal Lager, a reliable ‘Southern-styled’ moderation nearly as light as crisply clean lemon-pitted Pils, a clear-straw German-styled pilsner with herbal spelt-alfalfa graining.

Perfumed corn grits, wet-grained acridity and floral-spiced citrus adorned Keller Pils.

Mild grain musk suited dry Saaz-hopped ‘contemporary lager,’ Crispy Boy, leaving wispy herbal residue.

Maize-dried corn grits and wort-like sourdough malts defined grassroots American lager, Grit, picking up oily hop-bined lemon musk.

Raw wheat pungency lightly underscored wattle-seeded rye breading of specialty grain lager, Summarye, relinquishing latent yellow-orange fruited wisps.

Dry PA Lager safeguarded light dewy cereal graining with mellow lemon spicing and grassy hop astringency.

Dry grain rusticity seeped into candied lemondrop tartness for dry kolsch, De La Soul, a popular choice among friendly locals this sunny afternoon.

Not as sweetly effervescent as most hefeweizens, OG Haze relied less on banana-clove sustenance and more on dry lemon musk above its raw-honeyed wheat base.

Straightforward pale ale, Keeper’s Cut, let dry citrus-spiced pale malts surface abruptly.

Mildly pungent beige yellow-hazed pale ale, Hoppy Digital, merged peppery lemon musk with orange rind bittering and grassy hop astringency over spelt-like oats.

Sedate IPA, Flux, gathered mild yellow grapefruit bittering, dulcet mandarin orange tartness and dark floral herbage.

Groaty IPA, Bine, brought bruised lemon bittering to lemongrass-fennel herbage and musky pale malts in a peculiar stylistic manner.

Lingered citrus hop bittering infused raspy New England IPA, The Mock, as lemon-pitted juniper resin girded salted pineapple-papaya-guava tropicalia atop ultra-dry pale malts.

Mild lactic souring grazed hazy IPA, Green Magic, bringing pithy juniper hop musk to lemony grapefruit zesting.

Another lactose-laden IPA, Electric Soup, contrasted its grassy-hopped lemon rot and musky orange oiling against earthen grain-husked leathering.

Super-hazed beige-marbled IPA, New Money, allowed lactic vanilla yogurt souring to influence light grapefruit-orange rind bitterness and herbal respite.

Soft-tongued triple dry-hopped Imperial IPA, Three The Hard Way, sweetened its tangy orange-tangerine juiciness with floral-spiced crystal malting.

Blush pink oak-barreled sour ale, Living Reflection, picked up minor green grape acidity to complement its peachy rosé wining and citric-salted Chablis remnant.

Peppery coriander salting spiced up zesty lemon sunshine for vibrant gose, Salty By Nature.

Exquisite fruited sour ale, Raspberry Fool, took incisive raspberry tartness to delicately vinous green grape esters, oaken cherry dryness, sparkling rosé effervescence, hard cider sharpness and salted mango splurge.

Upfront roasted chocolate malting gained coffee-stained charred hop bittering and wispy tobacco chaw juicing for generically-named, but well-defined Baltic Porter.

Mild sea-salted brown chocolate sweetness embellished Cosmic Bae, a delightfully smooth Milk Stout with dark toffee spicing countering its underlying bitter nutty hop char.

Soft-toned Imperial Stout, Black Is Beautiful (a collaboration with Texas-based Weathered Souls), contrasted coffee-burnt dark chocolate bittering and cacao nibs nuttiness with sweet molasses oats.


Sneak Peek: Rebel Hill Brewing (Phoenixville, PA) - Breweries in PA


About two miles from Phoenixville’s downtown in the not-so-distant outskirts, REBEL HILL BREWING COMPANY occupies a glass-fronted corner spot at the Westside retail mall. Its earth-toned stone exterior and prominent round-topped gray insignia retain a truly distinguishing mark.

Ex-homebrewer Doug Green, “a transitional bartender,” provides an interesting array of well-designed small-batch beers for the left-walled bar’s twelve draught lines. Its elegant wood-lacquered design adds a studio-like pub appeal and the walk-in cooler supplies the draughts. The open backspace includes a seven barrel system with four fermenters and an in-house canning line.

Though Rebel Hill’s out of flagship Bleed Green IPA, a Mosaic-hopped fave, and its hand-pulled ESB, I navigated my way thru eight diverse hand-crafted elixirs at the community-tabled side deck late afternoon mid-August ’20.

Rebel Hill Brewing Company

Easygoing pinkish amber-hued Hot Wit Ends, a juicily fruited hybridized witbier, sprayed lemon zest onto its floral-cologned spicing, Lemondrop-hopped dragon fruit adjunct and auxiliary watermelon-passionfruit-guava illusions, gaining mild astringency from the hay-dried spine.

Dry-hopped pale ale, Scratch The Surface, employed fruity Citra-Mosaic hops to engage its dank wood surface and oats-flaked pilsner malt base.

Summery dry-hopped cucumber IPA, I’m Just Visiting, a celery-crisped beige yellowed moderation, draped cucumber-pureed citrus spicing all over limey watermelon souring and leathery wheated oats.

Tempered vanilla bean creaming gained lactic insistence for tangy mango-pureed tropical fruit, Cosmic Passage, a vibrant milkshake NEIPA with juicy orange-tangerine tanginess caressing its sweet ‘n sour dessert-like spectrum.

Utilizing Norwegian Kviek yeast to brighten its tropical-fruited Galaxy/ Vic Secret hops, Norse Star IPA left lemon-limed pineapple, grapefruit and peach tang on the brisk piney trail to a wispy white wheat bottom.

Clean mineral-watered Kviek yeast also fortified the woody citrus hop foundation of The Four Norseman, a sunny IPA with candied tangerine and sour passionfruit riffs (as well as tertiary pineapple, peach and mandarin orange snips) parading thru its delicate oats-flaked malting.

“Red Hawaiian Punch”-like Windows of Hoppiness unleashed cedar-sweetened candied fruiting upon its zesty lemon sunshine and soft-toned pine bittering.

Milk-sugared vanilla and coffee beans paced luxurious lactic-aided hybrid, Calmer Than Cream Cafe Ole, a delightfully smooth pale-malted moderation with spritzy lemon zesting adding citric sunshine to the cinnamon-toasted pastry midst and coffee-caked brown sugar finish. 



stable12 brewing company | Brewing, Brewery, Brewing company


Located along Bridge Street’s brewers alley in a white stucco barn house one-quarter mile from Crowded Castle, Phoenixville’s STABLE 12 BREWING CO. came into existence during mid-2015 when three long-time beer lovin’ friends pursued their dream of opening a brewpub.

Residing at a former horse stable, this friendly neighborhood cement-floored shack features an aluminum-sided main room with wooden chairs and tables sidling the 12-seat bar. In the rear, Stable 12′s silver brew tanks line the side walls of an unfinished space.

Serving burgers, sandwiches and bar bites to a full crowd this Tuesday evening in August ’20, my wife and I grab a picnic table under one of the maroon umbrellas at the side biergarten to try seven heavenly offerings.

Stable 12 settles in Phoenixville, celebrating its grand opening ...  Stable 12 Brewing Company - Home | Facebook

Mild maize-dried corn grits received a lemony grapefruit spritz for The American Dream, a sturdy German-styled pilsner placing raw-grained straw wheat, alfalfa and hay astringency at the rustic finish.

Tart springtime witbier, Razzle Dazzle, let sour raspberry piquancy gain mildly vinous white wine acidity and mellow rosé wisps atop dry oats-flaked white wheat base.

Kettle-soured gose, Day In The Park – Blueberry / Pomegranate, retained vinous white-wined Zinfandel splendor to complement coriander-salted lacquered blueberry tartness and lightly embittered pomegranate splurge (as well as raspberry-gooseberry snips).

Conditioned on strawberry, cherry and blackberry, Fresh Picked: Lemonberry, a tartly fruited sour, brought salted lemon-peeled lime bittering to oaken cherry-soaked berry goodness.

Crisply clean citrus-juiced Imperial IPA, Firefly Skies, allowed lemony grapefruit zest to brighten the spritzy mandarin orange midst above mineral grained pale malts.

Perfectly sessionable NEIPA, Live To Fight Another, permeated its mild grapefruit bittering and lemon custard tartness with lactic vanilla creaming over mild pale malt sugaring.

“Velvety” coffe-induced chocolate malting greeted barley-roasted flaked oats for Rodeo Clown Imperial Stout, leaving maple molasses syruping upon the durable mocha finish.


Phoenixville, PA | Iron Hill Brewery


While starting my downtown Phoenixville journey, established franchise IRON HILL BREWERY, led the brewpub parade going west on Bridge Street towards Root Down, Crowded Castle and Stable 12 Brewing. In its Church Street corner lot, Iron Hill opened 2006, making use of immaculate mahogany wood for its upscale sportsbar appeal.

Lofty bronze brew tanks and windowed round tables surround the 16-plus tap bar (with two TV’s, top shelf liquor and beer listing) at the front interior. A backspace dining area and metal-furnished front deck provide further seating.

On my mid-August ’20 dinnertime sojourn, consumed three previously untried Iron Hill elixirs alongside Moroccan salmon and caramelized, mushroom-roasted, garlic-oiled, mozzarella-pecorino-cheesed Garcia pizza.

Mild yellow-cleared light-bodied farmhouse ale, Brambleberry, let tart brambleberry and ancillary raspberry-strawberry fruiting saturate leathery barnyard dryness.

Dry-spiced fruiting secured Hallerback Saison, gathering lemon meringue tartness, creamy vanilla sugaring, Orange Creamsicle sweetness and buttery Chardonnay esters for its dewy earthen bottom.

Perfumed grapefruit, orange and peach spicing fronted dry-bodied New Normal IPA, leaving rustic earthiness upon its wood veneer and celery-watered crisping.


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In the midst of a brisk December ’05 brewpub tour west of Philadelphia, visited nine locations in three days, going from Bethlehem (most northerly) to Glen Mills (most southerly) and finally, New Hope (most easterly) on initial journey.

While Glen Mills’ highway-bound Mc Kenzie Brewhouse specialized in Belgian, Czech, and English-styled beers and nearby West Chester’s Iron Hill Brewery (one of five-plus franchise pubs in Penn-Delaware vicinity) crafted a diverse beer-ale assortment, SLY FOX BREWHOUSE, situated 20 miles northeast in rural Phoenixville, received highest recommendation.

Opened 1996 amongst farmlands inside a pristine mini-mall, SLY FOX BREWHOUSE  is the crown jewel (with a second location at neighboring Royersford), featuring the attentive crafting of brewer Brian O’Reilly. Entering from a front patio December ‘05, this sterling high-ceilinged alehouse had brew tanks behind centralized bar, left side and upstairs seating, and TV’s on opposing walls. The first Friday every month, strong Belgian-styled ales get dispersed to lucky benefactors. On December 9th, an astounding ten(!) different India Pale Ales were to be offered (so too bad I was a week early).

Nevertheless, while watching Army-Navy game on a chilly Saturday, my wife and youngest children sat at the friendly bar as bartender Suzzie poured me eleven truly distinct brews.

Diligent lightweights will enjoy prickly lemon rind-soured Pikeland Pils, tempered Seltzer-fizzed peach-skinned orange-fruited Gold Rush Lager, sharp hop-embittered coarse-grained grapefruit-spattered Helles Golden Lager, piney hop-spiced red-fruited Phoenix Pale Ale, and mild banana-breaded lemon-spiced Bavarian-styled Royal Weisse.

More experimental thirsts shall relish bubblegum-candied apricot-ripened burnt orange-finishing Dunkelweiss, ultra dry-hopped orange rind-affirmed yellow-fruited Chinook IPA, and meticulous cedar-smoked Band-Aid-tongued malt-sweetened Rauch Bier.

Hearty palates should check out wood-smoked mocha-sugared black cherry-bruised Prometheus Smoked Porter (with its flirtatious brandy-port finish), dry-bodied gently-hopped nut-sharp black coffee-finishing O’Reilly’s Irish Stout, and sweet chocolate-mocha-themed ascendancy Oatmeal Stout. Reviews of bottled Sly Fox Christmas 2005 Ale and Saison Vox listed in Beer Index.