Bergdorff Brewery, N. 29th and Parrish St.

Sold-out event tonight at the Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center: The Breweries of Brewerytown and Vicinity, a presentation by historian Rich Wagner. More details here. Philadelphia's brewing history is yet another example of the crucial role that our rivers and streams play in the economy, growth and well-being of the city.

"Brewers were attracted to the area ponded by the dam at the Fairmount Water Works for the ice they could harvest from the river. Then, in vaults carved along its banks, brewers would pack wooden hogsheads of lager beer with ice for six to eight months for the beer to 'ripen.' Brewerytown evolved into a neighborhood that accounted for about half the city’s beer production and included some of the largest brewers in the nation, who shipped their beer throughout the world.

Poised above the banks of the Schuylkill at the edge of Fairmount Park, the area between 30th and 33rd Streets from Girard Ave. to Oxford St. was home to 11 breweries, many with malt houses, a keg manufacturer and a bottling equipment manufacturer. It was a neighborhood whose atmosphere was once described as being like 'vaporized bread.'"

Phillyhistory.org has an excellent blog post on the topic; Wagner's brief history blames Prohibition for the eventual exodus of breweries from Brewerytown. The Historical Society of Pennsylvania has an 1862 watercolor of Lipp's Brewery on the banks of the Schuylkill near Lemon Hill Mansion.