Philadelphia, located near the east coast of the United States, approximately 90 miles southwest of New York City, is the country’s fifth largest city and one steeped in history. Philadelphia played a pivotal role in the American Revolution; the Declaration of Independence was signed there in 1776. Many of the young country’s early leaders called the city home for at least a time, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, two men who regularly brewed their own ales. George Washington evinced a particular regard for porter beer brewed in the city by Robert Hare. In 1790 Washington’s secretary wrote, “Will you be so good as to desire Mr. Hare to have if he continues to make the best Porter in Philadelphia 3 gross of his best put up for Mount Vernon? As the President means to visit that place in the recess of Congress and it is probable there will be a large demand for Porter at that time.” However, Philadelphia’s beer roots can be traced back to 1680 when the city’s founder, William Penn, began construction on a brewery.

Home to nearly 100 commercial breweries by the 1880s, Philadelphia was reputed to be the greatest brewing city in the Western Hemisphere, with a section of the city actually referred to as Brewerytown. But Prohibition effectively shut the industry down entirely, and subsequent economic woes worsened the damage. Philadelphia was not able to regain its footing in the brewing business, and by 1987 the last of the city’s breweries, Schmidt’s, closed its doors.

The microbrewery movement of the 1990s came to Philadelphia with notable vigor and by 2010 there were roughly 20 small breweries operating in the greater city area. The city is also noted for its array of good beer bars, and it remains the number one market in the United States for specialty beers imported from Belgium.

In 2008 Philadelphia launched its annual Philly Beer Week, quickly establishing it as one of the most celebrated, well-attended, and respected beer events in the United States. Spanning 10 days and host to several hundred events, Philly Beer Week is held every June.