If you’re a prolific BeerGraphs reader, and why wouldn’t you be, you’ll know there has been much love for a small brewery near Philadelphia called Tired Hands. J.R. Shirt frequently talks about the place, and how good the beer is. I was intrigued of course; who doesn’t love a good brewery?
It so happens that two friends of mine recently moved to a nearby town. Said friends, like myself, have a new child. So when the plan was to visit them and I realized Tired Hands was close and that we’d probably get lunch before seeing them anyway, and that Tired Hands served food, it was inevitable that I’d soon be taking my hands, wearied from holding the steering wheel at 10 and 2 for two hours, to Tired Hands for a beer or two.
Luckily for me they’d just opened their secondary location, the Fermentaria. This was probably a more baby-friendly location, because it’s more spacious and open, and the stroller fit right up against the table. We were hardly the only baby-toting couple there either; there were more babies than beer choices. They don’t have high chairs, which makes the place baby friendly but perhaps not toddler friendly.
Tired Hands’ focuses are hoppy beers and saisons so I started out with their Foliage, an 8.1% double IPA. It lived up to the good things I’ve heard about the brewery, and was a nice hoppy double and not the more malt-forward doubles some breweries make that I prefer to differentiate by calling triple IPAs. I didn’t realize this at the time because it was my first beer, but you get the sense that it could be called Double HopHands rather than a distinctly different recipe. The juicy and fruity hop flavors were intense, with lots of orange and peach blossom flavors, some dryness on the finish, and plenty of citrus taste throughout.
Food arrived. The food is pretty expensive and it appears it’s meant to be tapas style, so we just got tacos which were more than the taco place at Citi Field. This is the potato and the carnitas. They were delicious. I ordered the I’m Sad, an imperial honey coffee porter that probably doesn’t quite pair with tacos. This one didn’t blow me away like the Foliage did, but it was still good. You could really taste the flavor of the coffee, to the point that if you’d told me this was a cold-brewed coffee radler I’d probably have believed you.
What did I learn from my trip to Tired Hands besides that It’s 122 miles and about 105 minutes from my house? Firstly, when J.R. Shirt, and a variety of commenters, tells you a brewery makes good stuff, you listen.
Secondly, all their beers seem to have an almost juice-like appearance to them, an appearance mimicked in the amount of fruit flavor you get on the aroma and flavor of many of their beers.
Thirdly, They take a lot of pride in their beers and are one of the breweries that will only fill their own growlers.
Fourthly, and perhaps relatedly, I now own another growler, this one a 32oz Tired Hands that previously held some HopHands (5.05 BAR). The HopHands was as crushable as Tired Hands made it out to be, a lighter but still full-flavored Pale Ale that’s delicious even sitting on the floor playing with a Learning Zoo.
Fifthly, the beer was so good even the table was opening wide to get a sip.
Sixtly, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention at least one of their Saisons. My wife got the SaisonHands (2.37 BAR) and enjoyed it. I had a few sips and can confirm that it was on par with their hoppy beers.
Michael can be found on Twitter and Untappd where he's researching changes to the Citi Field Ballpark Beer Review. You can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.