A Visit to Tired Hands: Fermentaria

IMG_5251smSince the Tired Hands Brewing Co. Fermentaria at 35 Cricket Terrace, Ardmore, PA opened up April 24, 2015 (also the first day of Harrisburg Beer Week), I have been anxiously awaiting our day trip to check it out. I’ve been a big fan of Tired Hands beer for a while now and have had good times at their Brew Cafe just 2 blocks away from the new place.

Our strategy?
Start at the Fermentaria, sample their food and try every beer we haven’t had yet on tap. Then, head over to the Brew Cafe to do the same. I love that both locations are within walking distance from each other, feature different ever changing draft options and a completely different menu.

Don’t know the best route to walk from one location to the other?
Here’s a handy dandy map for you:

IMG_5289sm PRO TIP:
Parking: Park near the Fermentaria. There are several lots with parking meters around this location. (Bring your quarters! A quarter gets you 30 min. which is pretty generous.) Then, walk to the Brew Cafe since it’s only a 4-6 min walk. Parking is tricky near the Brew Cafe and this will avoid you driving around the block several times waiting for a space to open up during peak hours.

Train: There’s also a train station within walking distance that can take you East to Philadelphia and West to Harrisburg… and many cities in between that have interesting craft beer destinations:

The Food
You can count on Tired Hands to have a creative selection of eats which use as many local ingredients as possible. Everything is fresh and you can taste the difference! We started with sharing the Carnitas Tacos. You get 2 tacos that have a generous portion of tender braised pork on a bed of guacamole then topped with pickled red onions, cilantro and crumbled queso fresco. Because it comes with four soft tortillas, we made four tacos out of the $10 dish.

We were equally pleased with the Fish Tacos. I loved that the beer batter was light and crispy. Not at all oily or greasy. Very nicely done with the citrus slaw and chipotle mayo. Again, we made four tacos from just one order.

As soon as I read that the homemade donuts were served with a warm coffee-chocolate sauce, I couldn’t NOT order it. Even the donuts were warm which I loved. So good.

I’ve also been told that the burger and fried chicken are amazing. I guess I’ll have to schedule another trip soon to experience those – It’s a tough job but somebody has to do it!

> View Menu to see the entire list of options.

The Beer
IMG_5263smIf you live in Pennsylvania and haven’t already discovered Tired Hands beer, I ask you, “Where have you been the last three years?!” It really is worth the trip to both breweries (Fermentaria & Brew Cafe) to drink some the finest saisons and IPAs. Of course, they brew other styles that are also quite tasty. There’s always something unique to try as the brewers push the envelope with ingredients and processes creating a beer that is completely magnificent and drinkable. I like to refer to their beer as “weird and delicious.”

I like that there are three pour sizes: 4 oz | 8 oz | 16 oz. That way I can discover more while drinking less. Because I’m quite the beer explorer I like to try as many as possible. That’s why the 4 oz. pours are so great. You can “sample” the variety then dig in and order a full pint when you’ve found “the one.” All while being responsible and not getting out-of-control inebriated. AND, drink lots of water in between.

For me, American Youth was my crush for the day. A juicy pale ale with loads of mango and tangerine flavors. Tired Hands beer is known for their cloudy appearance. They use lots of wheat and oats in the brewing process to give the beer a creamy and smooth mouthfeel. For the longest time, I thought they poured their beer with nitro instead of CO2. But after asking both a bartender and Jean Broillet IV himself (owner and master brewer), I learned the secret.

> Learn More About Their Beer Philosophy & Credentials
> View the Ever-changing Tap List

IMG_5247smP/S – I thought now that Tired Hands had two breweries, we would never see Jean. After all, he’s a busy guy now running two locations. But alas, he was at the Fermentaria when we stopped in and was sporting a 3 Floyds tee while chatting with another brewer at the bar. So good to see an owner staying involved and being visible. Love that!

The Digs
The vibe is industrial, energetic, creative and inspiring. What was once an old trolley repair shop is now a renewed space with an open concept layout where one can see into the kitchen, the brewery, the bar, the dining room and gift shop. It’s an atmosphere that is alive and moving. The large windows let natural light stream in from all angles highlighting the steel ceiling beams, the salvaged wood panels behind the bar and across all the tables in the building.

This place is huge! There is seating for 180 people and with additional standing room at the bar, 260 people can easily occupy the space. And, the brewery is also expanding Tired Hands’ brewing capacity. The new system can produce up to 10,000 barrels a year. This now has allowed their beer to not only be served at their own locations but also be distributed to Philly and other surrounding areas.

I was happy to see the highly imaginative and quirky artwork throughout the space. Complete walls are painted with the colorful illustrations by local artist: Philip Dahl.


IMG_5235smThe Hours
The Fermentaria is open Wed – Mon from Noon to 1am.

You can call 484-413-2983 for reservations. Which is recommended for large parties, on weekends and if you plan to visit during the evening hours.

We arrived early afternoon so we were able to be seated right away with no reservations. But I should also note that the local colleges are no longer in session for the summer, so it tends to be a lot easier to get seats in the summer time.

IMG_1901smThe Staff
And, wouldn’t you know. Our favorite bartender and waiter from the Black Gryphon, Steve, now works here. You’ll be in good hands as he’s extremely knowledgeable about beer. He, too, is a craft beer enthusiast and accomplished homebrewer. So if you have any questions about what beer might suit your palette, he’ll steer you in the right direction.

But also don’t forget to be a little daring and explore. You really can’t go wrong.

Want to Learn More About Tired Hand’s Original Location: The Brew Cafe?
> Check out my visit in 2014

(Follow Me On: Twitter & Untappd: @dzyngrl | Instagram: @dzyngrl14)

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