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Pope Beers Celebrate the Papal Visit in the Most Philly Way Possible

Updated: We're now up to nine Pope-themed beers to get stoked for.

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Eternally beer-crazed Philly has been stricken with a nasty case of Pope Fever, so it only follows that we'd be in for some Pope beers from local breweries. Here are nine to keep an eye out for from now until the time His Holiness alights in late September.


Manayunk Brewing Co.'s Papal Ale

Beginning mid-September, Manayunk Brewing will debut Papal Ale (fka Papal Pleasure), which City Paper reports is a Belgian-style amber brewed with South American sugar and aged in Malbec barrels. A post to the brewery's Facebook page shows some admirable commitment to the bit, with Father John Kelly of Manayunk's St. John the Baptist church blessing the brewing water. (It's official debut on tap should be September 18, and you'll also be able to find it on store shelves.)

Image credit: Manayunk Brewing Co./Facebook


Philadelphia Brewing Co.'s Holy Wooder

PBC's limited-edition Belgian tripel honoring the Pope has arrived, with the Philadelphia Business Journal reporting a 60-barrel batch was made of the 9+% ABV brew. The brewery reportedly consulted with Dennis Hewlett, owner of the POPE, which already snagged a keg (and will generally be your go-to bar for all things Pope-related, unsurprisingly).

Image credit: PBC/Instagram


Crime and Punishment's Jesus Wept

Though it's not overtly named for Francis or his office, City Paper notes that newcomer Crime and Punishment will roll out its own religious-themed brew in September, timed to the papal visit. Fittingly, Jesus Wept is a gose, a sour wheat beer with a distinctive saltiness.

Image credit: C&P/Facebook


Cape May Brewing Co.'s You Only Pope Once

After toying around with plans to procure some Argentinean hops (which proved implausible) or to incorporate yerba mate, the Jersey shore brewery settled on a pale ale employing "an unholy amount of hops," with nine varieties including Simcoe and Citra. They plan to make it available at their own taproom (as well as some other Pennsylvania and New Jersey spots) beginning September 21.

Image credit: Cape May Brewing Company


2nd Story Brewing Co.'s Pater Noster

John Wible, owner and head brewer at Old City's 2nd Story, just today brewed a patersbier, which will go by the name of Pater Noster, in anticipation of the Pope's visit. Traditionally made by Trappist monks for consumption within the monastery (as opposed to the more-familiar dubbels and tripels that they make to sell), a patersbier is a more sessionable (and more rare) Belgian. Wible says this one will be 4.4% ABV, made with Pilsner malt and red wheat and fermented with Trappist yeast. His goal: To pick up on the theme of Catholicism without going gimmicky, and to offer his customers "a style that you don't see often, or at all." Look for it at the brewpub in a few weeks.

Image credit: 2nd Story/Facebook


Iron Hill's Pap-Ale

A press release for Iron Hill's offering deems it a dubbel "loosely based on" patersbier, but however you want to classify it, expect a more sessionable Belgian-style mahogany brew. It clocks in at 4.5% ABV, so it's lower in alcohol than a typical dubbel, and comparable to the 2nd Story patersbier. (The style can range much lower at some monasteries, but both of these locals boast a smidgen less alcohol than, for example, Chimay's house brew, Dorée.) In honor of Pope Francis, they've included yerba mate in the recipe. This limited release (there are just four kegs to go around) will be available only at Iron Hill's Chestnut Hill location, with the first tapping scheduled for Friday, September 18 at 5 p.m. A 16-ounce pour will go for $6.25.

Image credit: Yelp


Vault Brewing Co.'s Papist IPA

Yardley-based Vault describes this one as "an American-ized English IPA" and tells us it's a one-off brewed just for the POPE (so you should probably grab tickets for this event if you're a Pope-beer completist). Clocking in at 6.6% ABV and 87 IBUs, the extremely limited-run brew is made with Maris Otter barley, caramel malt, invert sugar and a combination of UK Fuggle, East Kent Golding, Challenger, and US Mosaic Hops.

Image credit: Vault/Facebook


Saucony Creek Brewing Co.'s Pope Dennis the Phyrst

Saucony Creek's offering is a Gose made exclusively for the POPE, so you'll have to hit their Pope Week events for a chance to try it.

Image credit: Saucony Creek/Facebook]


Flying Fish Brewing Co.'s Nope

A beer can be considered "Pope-inspired" even if it's in the inverse, right? Flying Fish's Gene Muller told Forbes of the brew, "it is for folks who have no interest in walking over the bridge to Philadelphia ... It is a moderate amount of alcohol that won't force you to serve any kind of penance the next morning." Brewed just for the Somerdale, NJ tasting room, PBJ notes that the small-batch IPA is 5% ABV and will be made available during the weekend of the Papal visit.

Image credit: Flying Fish/]

Don't hold your breath for everyone to hop on board, though: The Philadelphia Business Journal notes that Victory, Yards, and St. Benjamin have all officially passed on the pun-heavy trend, with Tom Kehoe of Yards musing, "We don't think it's that classy to do it." But there are plenty of events coming along and other ways bars have found to get into the Papal visit spirit: Dirty Frank's recently made good on its plan to add Pope Francis to its mural of famous Franks and Frank-variants, while a Pope Francis cutout eerily and inevitably graced the POPE.

The POPE will also be one of your best bets to try all of these limited edition beers. They already got their hands on Holy Wooder, they're promising a block party with these and other religious-themed beers throughout Official Pope Weekend, and on Tuesday, September 22, they're holding an event in conjunction with Billy Penn that will allow you to taste all eight of these special local brews. (Tickets available here.) UPDATED 9/23: In case you missed the event, Billy Penn has helpfully published their tasting notes and some updates, including another entrant into the pope beer fray (Forest & Main's White Smoke Saison) and a couple that weren't quite ready on time to make it to Tuesday's event.

Holy Wooder and You Only Pope Once will also make an appearance at Morgan's Pier during their "Popeapalooza," which runs September 25 through 27 and promises to donate a dollar per guest to one of three charities (the Francis Fund, Mil Mujeres, or PennEnvironment; you get to choose which one gets your dollar). And though Yards isn't debuting a Pope beer of their own, the weekend will feature their annual limited-release Cape of Good Hope DIPA.

Monk's, meanwhile, is going a slightly different way to celebrate the Pope's visit. They'll tap 24 rare and coveted beers hewing to the religious theme that weekend, September 26 and 27. That means a slew of goodies from Avery, Lost Abbey, and Russian River (Consecration!), plus Firestone Walker Helldorado and Evil Twin Even More Jesus (see the list here). They only have one keg of each, so don't sleep.

Dirty Frank's

347 S 13th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107 (215) 732-5010

Morgan's Pier

221 North Christopher Columbus Boulevard, , PA 19106 (215) 279-7134 Visit Website

The Pub on Passyunk East

1501 East Passyunk Avenue, , PA 19147 (215) 755-5125 Visit Website

Monks Belgian Cafe

264 S 16th St, Philadelphia, PA 19102 (215) 545-7005 Visit Website