Twenty years ago today, on 17 October 1996, in the lower level of the Manayunk Farmers' Market, on the banks of the Schuylkill River in Philadephia, Pennsylvania, the brewpub Manayunk Brewing Company first opened its doors to the public.
There were beer dinners and real ales; "exploding yeast" (well, not really) and Schuylkill River floods.
There were helping hands from uphill neighbors, Tom Kehoe and Jon Bovit, then producing open-fermenter beer at their just-over-one-year-old Yards Brewing; Bill Moore of Independence Brewing loaning supplies; Brandon Greenwood of all-over fame providing technical advice; and assistant brewers Jim Brennan and Ted Briggs supplying much-needed help.
There was Jim Anderson of Beer Philadelphia and spirited debates; free-lancer Rich Pawluk and beer-with-food pairings; bikes and beer engines at Dawson Street Pub.
There was the temerity to brew with corn; the dry-hopping with dark-fruit-forward New Zealand hops (like grandaddies of today's American IPA hops); and the pleading of why-don't-you-try-the British-Bitter-styled Renner's Red when raspberry-fermented (but not sweetened) Schuylkill Punch became all the rage.
And there was a beer-swilling pig (well, almost).
I should know, because I was there; I was Manayunk Brewing Company's original brewer. I'm not there now, but twenty years later, the brewpub lives on and thrives.
Congratulations, Manayunk, and cheers for twenty (at least) more.