Zero was two weeks into his road trip, so it was time to make it a ladies day. I called up my girls at once, “I want to go to the Yards Brewery Tour tomorrow, you in for some serious day drinking?!” Undoubtedly, the answer was a resounding yes. I flipped open my computer and consulted Kingpin’s “Guide to day drinking.” I wanted to make sure I was following proper td2bd etiquette. Food, hydration and friends, it seemed simple enough. Proper rest surely couldn’t hurt, so it was off to bed to prepare for Saturday’s festivities.
A solid eight hours later and I was ready and raring to go. Tours at Yard’s started at noon, so I popped out of bed at 9:30 a.m. to get ready and pick everyone up. My good friend Betty Berkowitz and I were no strangers to the Yard’s Brewing company tours. We engraved this into our regular Saturday routine, so much so, that we solidified our spots as Mike Han’s first ever Yard’s tour groupies. You might remember this name from such popular events as Dirty Wasted Thursday and Sales Gaspillee. Like they say, “There’s no rest for the wicked,” and Mr. Hans was about as wicked as they came. He had a way of sneaking sexual innuendos into everything he put his name on, including the Yard’s tours.
After gathering everyone, I sped over to the brewery. We strutted into Yard’s, IDs in one hand and the other ready for the best part…free samples. “We’re here for Mike Hans!” we chimed in unison, excited to get the day drinking going. The hostesses had their jobs down to a science. Friendly and efficient, one checked ID’s and handed us a token for the tour, while the other poured samples. “It’ll be about 15 minutes until his next tour, ladies. In the meantime, feel free to check out our bar!” said the hostess. She pointed to a large wooden bar in the far corner of the brewery. Huge chalkboards displayed the day’s current selections. We grabbed some more beer and waited patiently until we were called.
“ANYONE FOR THE 12:30 P.M TOUR, LINEEEEE IT UP!,” boomed Mike Hans in a rather commanding tone. We scurried over with our drinks, hit Hans with some quick hugs and shuffled into where the magic happens. We knew the drill all too well. A table waited inside the brewery lined with an abundance of samples. “RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU HAVE AN EMPTY HAND! NOW FILL IT WITH BEER!” yelled Hans, quickly setting the pace for anyone who didn’t know what to expect. His tour was a little less conventional, but that’s what made it so great.
Everyone laughed and whispered as Hans continued to explain exactly what made Yards such an awesome brewery. For starters, one of the amazing things about them is their “Going the extra yard” initiative. This means Yards goes above and beyond to be ecologically friendly and environmentally conscious. You name it, Yards has probably done it. Just about everything in the brewery is made from repurposed or recycled goods. Tables, bar top, bottles, packaging, you name it. Everything has been recycled or can be. They even take the extra step and donate their used grain to a bison farm, which then donates meat and breads back to the Yard’s tasting room.
As we moved from the brewery into the bottling section, the chatter seemed to get quieter. Everyone was anxious to hear more of Mike’s fun facts. I sipped my beer and joked with Betty about being able to probably give the tour ourselves at this point. “Can you imagine the guns on the guy working the keg machine?! He’s GOTTA be huge!” I said.
Thinking that ONE man worked Yard’s ONLY keg machine and was able to package 32-39 kegs an hour seemed to give him superpower status. This was even more impressive considering Yards was recently promoted to the status of “Microbrewery.” That meant they had the capacity to produce 30,000 barrels of beer a year. To break it down, one barrel equals 31 gallons. Half of those 31 gallons is equal to one keg. I’m not the best at math, but that’s a hell of a lot of beer for one guy to package!
With the tour about to conclude, we made our way toward the cooler. “I think I’m going to skip out on going in there this time,” said Betty, shivering already as we approached the massive ice box. As everyone went in, it was nice to look around and think just how much Yards has done to give back. Even the packaging room was recycled. Yep, an entire room, recycled from an old skate park. There was even still graffiti left on the walls.
One by one, frigid tour goers crept out of the cooler, every one of them whispering about how much they enjoyed the tour. When we were finally all together, Mike led us back to tasting room. “It’s been a pleasure, as usual!” I chuckled, bowing toward Mike. “See you next Saturday!” we yelled as we bumbled out the door ready to continue our Saturday adventure.
The bottom line:
If you’re looking for something fun to do on the weekend, this is one hell of a field trip! Tours are given every Saturday and Sunday, from noon to 4 p.m. Make sure to get there by 3:30 p.m. if you don’t want to miss it. Although Mike Hans is great, the other guides are just as good and very capable of making sure you leave happy and slightly intoxicated! Yards does so much for the community, let’s give back by spreading the word and going to show them some love.
Yards Brewing Company
901 N. Delaware Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19123