Another Thing Coming

Less than a year after opening Wirlybird Coffee, Wissahickon Brewing Company announces new location (and kombucha brewery).

For many East Falls residents, the opening of Wissahickon Brewing Company marked a turning point in the neighborhood – it felt like finally, we had something special here that seemed to bring a whole new crowd out. We’ve gotten used to the fanfare, too: WBC regularly wins awards and hosts events that often make the news, and light up social media.

Most recently, founding owner Tim Gill, Sr. WBC announced in an Inquirer article that they’ll be opening a 2nd location this year, in the bar/brewery where Original 13 Ciderworks used to be, in Olde Kensington. This industrial space is on a tree-lined street, with an inviting patio and nearby bike lanes. Inside, there’s  bar and table seating, plus a full kitchen; upstairs, there’s a private area for events.

In addition, WBC has acquired a local small-batch kombucha company, Inspired Brews, whose owner will help establish on-site operations here. The new beverage will be for sale here and also at WBC’s East Falls location; production, however, must be kept entirely separate. Fun Fact: kombucha and beer can never be brewed under the same roof – even a tiny bit of airborne yeast or other byproduct could easily contaminate entire batches. So these’ll remain two designated, complementary operations. (We’ll drink to that!)

Photo credits: Original 13 Ciderworks facebook page

WBC aims to have this new taproom, restaurant, and kombucha rolling by this summer, a date that seems incredibly optimistic but hardly impossible from the folks who seamlessly added an entire coffee operation to their brewery last year.

This March marks the first year anniversary of WBC’s Wirlybird Coffee, which every morning turns the cozy East Falls beer snug into a great meeting space with free wifi and chill, inviting vibes. We wrote about them when they first opened but the real test is whether we go back – especially since WBC is almost literally in our backyard.

Heck yeah, we went back! Again and again. Wirlybird was instantly handy for mid-morning brain reboots. Even better, though, we realized WBC’s tasting room made a fantastic spot to catch up with friends and colleagues: warm, relaxed, lots of space to spread out, different table/chair configurations depending on what you’re looking for. You can even hang outside, on a sunny picnic table or in their tented, heated beer garden.

Looks like it’s growing a local community of remote workers, too. So many people with laptops, and often a dog curled up at their feet. If you’re the kind of person who’d ZOOM from a coffeeshop, this would probably be an ideal (and delicious) location. ☕💻🐶

Open at 7AM every weekday (8AM on weekends), Whirlybird offers a full lineup: espressos, lattes, mochas, cold brew, pour over, all of it. They also have chai, matcha and loose leaf teas, with pastries made by Au Fournil, an artisanal French bakery in Narberth, PA. 🍵🥐🍩

Everything looks yummy but I’m all about the coffee, can’t go wrong with either of their house blends, they’re both smooth and flavorful in their own special ways.

There’s also usually a food truck out front serving a rotating lineup of brunch-y choices: eggs, wraps, sandwiches, and more. Then WBC’s evening truck usually rolls in around 4pm to take over the dinner shift). Two food trucks! Every day! It’s a great system, this daily variety adds a layer of freshness and fun.

Speaking of fun, we particularly enjoy the “golden window” during the day when both coffee and beer are available, from 12pm to 2pm – truly the best of both worlds! (Rumor has it that if you follow your lunch beer with coffee, you can avoid a late afternoon slump 🤫.)

Wissahickon Brewing Company has brought a lot to this little corner of Northwest Philly, and it’s great to see them grow. Cheers to our home-grown brewery of beer, coffee, and kombucha!

POSTSCRIPT: After publishing this article, we heard from many readers who were concerned about rumored plans for PECO to acquire the property WBC is currently leasing in East Falls. Tim was only too happy to clear the air:

We still have our current lease contract in place and our attorneys assure us it must be honored. We have about 8 years left on the extension we recently signed with the old landlord. Based on that extension we invested in a lot of production equipment including technical and engineering expenses for a long haul ramp up. 

That said, while PECO’s purchase of the large property behind us made us wonder, scooping up our building and parking lot really got our attention! We’ve made it clear that our goal was to never leave East Falls and the previous landlord encouraged our tenancy for as long as we wanted. We’ve made PECO aware of our business intentions and offered to pay fair market price for our building and parking lot with the understanding the large lot in the rear satisfied their needs. We have not received an answer.

1526 N. American Street is an extension of our brand and our goal is to continue full production in East Falls to support it. We’re beyond excited to share our products and Wissahickon hospitality with the great folks in that neck of the woods. We have a great team working on these efforts and feel confident about the future.

Thanks, Tim! That’s music to our ears… 🎶💖🍺

Wirlybird + Wissahickon Brewing Company
3705 W. Schoolhouse Lane (at the railroad tracks before Ridge).
A coffeehouse by day, a craft brewpub by night (with two delicious hours of overlap daily). Well-behaved dogs welcome! Click for current food truck calendar

ℹ️ PRO TIP: Wirlybird Coffee is now taking online orders! So for the days when you’re running late or when you can’t socialize before the caffeine, just go to @wirlybirdcoffee to place your order and the baristas will have it ready for you like magic!

Wirlybird: Mon – Fri, 7AM – 2PM; Sat/Sun, 8AM – 3PM
WBC: Mon – Wed 12PM – 10PM; Thurs 12PM – 11PM; Fri 12PM – 12AM; Sat 12PM – 12AM; Sun 12PM – 8PM
⚠️👉 Hours subject to change, check WBC to confirm 👈


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