Tired Hands Brewing Company
Ratings: 166 | Reviews: 62 | Display Reviews Only:
District of Columbia
4.63/5 rDev +1.3%
Updating review as of Aug 2014...
"The trouble with the straight and the narrow
Is its so thin, I keep sliding off to the side
And the devil makes good use of these hands of mine”
~Spiritualized, “The Straight and The Narrow”
It’s a drizzly late summer Saturday afternoon. I drive east on Lancaster Ave, stop at red light near Haverford’s campus and watch a few families take turns at selfies in front of a campus sign.
The first floor bar area is relatively empty for a Saturday. I order a sampler of a “Summer Saison” and claim a table to wait for a friend. I lean against the wall and the wall leans back, cold, rough and rustic.
A family of four enters. Dad has empty growlers under each arm, while Mom shepherds 5 year old brother and sister to a bar stool. They enthusiastically push toy cars across the bar stool while Dad tries a raspberry sasion and contemplates if he knows what Sumac is, or if it even matters.
Spiritualized’s hopeful, dirge-like lament about addiction, “The Straight and The Narrow” starts to play. [You know, that song from that album with the bizarre molded plastic cover of a small girl with pigtails, that introduced the world to what J. Spaceman sounds like sober while he lights bonfires with piles of money in a recording studio with a 100 piece orchestra.] The mother of my new favorite family begins to slow dance with her children, taking turns twirling and dipping each as the strings swell and Jason Pierce battles his devils.
“Take you to my mansion, can see my gallery
Lots of pretty pictures, all of them of me
We'll sit by the river drinking lemon tea
Eat tiny cucumber sandwiches made by Emily”
~Television Personalities, “A Picture of Dorian Gray”
My friend arrives. We decide to order Cucumber IPAs. As a walk to the bar to order, I pass a closet door. I consider opening it and confronting the emptiness within, but I decide I want to believe there still might be some future left inside there (or, at least, just a portrait of Jean growing ever more debauched).
Outside, two “beer tourists” pause in the drizzle to raise their arms in supplication for a photo under the playfully iconoclastic tavern signage, before coming inside to order delicate Teku glassware adorned with a slightly phallic, whimsical mascot.
We depart to drink coffee in a car. The rain falls harder.
Original review: Thoughts after a few visits during the opening month.
Tired Hands is located on the corner of Ardmore and Lancaster Ave in a two-story building, formerly a doctor's office, that has been gutted and transformed (mostly by the TH team and friends) into a comfortable, relaxed cafe that features house made breads and pickles, and local meats and cheeses. There are bars on the first and second floor, +/- 12 seats each, as well a few small tables on the first floor and a larger seating area under the windows facing Ardmore Ave on the 2nd. Decor is exposed beams and brick, repurposed wood for tables and the upstairs bar, artwork of existing and soon to come beers, etc.
Oh right, there's also the beer. The Tired Hands name should already be familiar to most of the Philly community from appearances the past few years at random farmer's markets, festivals, and kegs of test batches at local bars, as well to cynical "beer geeks" from collaborations with breweries near (McKenzie, Earth Bread, Hill Farmstead) and abroad (Grassroots, Fano, Gaverhopke). TH's MO are hoppy and farmhouse beers and on first two visits the draft list was split between 4 hop forward ales (3.5% IPA, APA, DIPA, Hoppy Brown) and 4 saisons (Table strength spiced, House, Amber and India Coffee). Beers are conveniently priced and served in 4 oz, 8 oz and 16 oz sizes, as well as growlers to go. In the future, expect a guest tap or two in addition to the house beers. Growlers will be C02 purged upon request.
Food selection is limited as there isn't a kitchen, but there is a rotating menu of generously sized paninis if you're looking for something more substantial. Haven't run into any issues with freshness of breads, etc on my visits. Service can be stretched a little thin at peak times but otherwise no complaints this soon after opening and everyone is generally very knowledgable about the beers.
Much like the recently opened Forest and Main in Ambler, forget your typical "brewpub" expectations at the door and you won't be disappointed. It's exciting to see places with a unique vision like this continue to open and hopefully thrive. Now if I only lived less than 3 hours away...
07-04-2012 15:02:38 | More by yourefragile
Tired Hands Brewing Company in Ardmore, PA
100 out of 100 based on 166 ratings.