Phoenixville’s Microbreweries, Wineries and Distilleries Expansion

These small-batch concepts prove that bigger isn’t always better.

Stable 12//All photos by Steve Legato.

“We’re all good friends,” Rick Wolf says of his business partners, Chris Carbutt and Tyler Fontaine. Together, the late-20-somethings operate Stable 12 Brewing Company, the eight-month-old microbrewery situated along Bridge Street in downtown Phoenixville.

Wolf’s affection extends well beyond the trio’s 42-seat taproom. It heads up the road, toward brothers Matt and Mike Dellose, who own the Barrel Wine Bar. The friendship then continues eastward, with a fist-bump for yet another compatriot, Jared Adkins, the young spirits master behind Bluebird Distilling, a high-octane tasting room that has become a must-try for hardcore fans of mixology.

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Welcome to Phoenixville, Pennsylvania’s newest and most impressive small-batch sensation. Since Sly Fox Brewhouse & Eatery moved to town in 1995, followed by regional chain Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant in 2004, this Chester County municipality has become a mini-mecca for crafters of alcoholic potables. The city also includes two wineries—Black Walnut and Sand Castle’s Taste store—and hard-cider purveyor Blue Marble Cysery.

With the addition of Wolf and friends, Phoenixville is rising like the mythical firebird from the ashes of its hardscrabble past, luring businesses and thirsty drinkers alike. Here’s a rundown.

From left: Mike Suermann works the bar at Bluebird Distilling; Bartender Lindsey Mitchell fires up a Bluebird concoction.

Bluebird Distilling

With Harrisburg’s recent easing of its once-draconian spirits laws, former engineer Jared Adkins has seized the opportunity to create a “speakeasy” for the 21st century. It’s an old-time saloon festooned with Bluebird’s apothecary-style bottles and a bevy of classic and creatively reimagined cocktails. 

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Adkins produces his own vodka, gin and rum, and his slightly hazelnut-y white rye is fast becoming a cult favorite—the perfect main ingredient in the best Old Fashioned this side of the Schuylkill.

A wine cocktail, the Barrel’s specialty.

The Barrel Wine Bar

Homebuilders by day, brothers Matt and Mike Dellose have hit upon “the concept,” as older sibling Matt likes to call it. They’ve brought their parents’ wines from A’Dello Vineyard & Winery in Perkiomenville to a cozy storefront wine bar. “This is not a tasting room,” Matt says. “This is a blue-collar wine bar serving wine flights and craft-made mixed drinks.”

Those beverages pair quality wines with freshly squeezed fruit juices, fresh herbs, and spices to create cocktails that taste like real cocktails. If you don’t believe it, try the margarita. 

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Accompanied by a rock soundtrack and a tasty menu of made-in-house nibbles, the Barrel’s rotating selection of 10 on-tap wines is making a splash, especially among the 21- to 35-year-old set. 

Patrons inside Stable 12 Brewing Company

Stable 12 Brewing Company

What does it take to open your own small-batch-beer bar? First, a crazy passion for brewing. Then, the right location—in this case, a 100-year-old former auto-repair shop. Throw in a dedicated group of family and friends to clean it all up, and you get Stable 12. 

The name comes from Rick Wolf’s parents’ farm in Skippack, where, in stable No. 12, Wolf churned out quality homebrews. The new Stable 12 offers a draft system of 10 rotating pours. Regulars favor the West Coast IPA, the Imperial Stout, and the crisp pale ale. “We’re still settling in, but our formula is working,” Wolf says. “It’s just taken a lot of grain, glasses, growlers and kegs to get us to this point.” 

On Deck: Chatty Monks Brewing Co.

Cofounder Rob Metzger and his partners
are all set to open at 1 Main St., next to Molly Maguire’s Irish Restaurant & Pub, this spring. Offering a 200-seat venue,
a 15-barrel production brewery, and more than 40 beer recipes—from staples to seasonals—Chatty Monks will be the second installment for Metzger and his loquacious brethren, whose flagship brewery is in West Reading.

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