The Frankford Ave. beer & nostalgia tour

Posted: June 13, 2007

Frankford Avenue has a world-class assortment of beer drinkers' bars.

That's a good thing because there are world-class reasons to cry in your beer as you mourn important civic history that's been lost to modernization.

If you go, bring a box of Kleenex along with your designated driver.

The Grey Lodge Pub

6235 Frankford Ave.

You can drink: Preferably, one of the 10 microbrews that are on tap the day you visit. The selection changes often and include intriguing options like Middle Ages Wailing Wench and Troegs Sunshine Pils. The Daily News's own Joe Sixpack is a Grey Lodge devotee, and Esquire magazine last year named it one of the best bars in America.

You can cry in your beer for: The Frankford Yellow Jackets football team, which played at a stadium nearby in the 1920s, won the NFL title in 1926, and went on to become the Philadelphia Eagles franchise. The Yellow Jackets' stadium was at Frankford Avenue and Devereaux Street, now occupied by DeSimone Suzuki.

Not all is lost, though. Some primo Yellow Jackets memorabilia, including a collection of game programs, resides at the Historical Society of Frankford (1507 Orthodox St.), a musty but rich repository of tchotkes from Northeast Philly's past. Check www.historicalsocietyoffrank for visiting hours, which are very limited, although you can also call to schedule a visit.

The Jolly Post

4612 Frankford Ave.

You can drink: Sadly, nothing. This legendary Colonial watering hole, which was already 100 years old when George Washington used to drink there, was demolished in 1911. On its former site, there's now a pants store. Other noteworthy Jolly Post tipplers included Washington's pal, Lafayette.

You can cry in your beer for: Both the Jolly Post and its lost comrade the Red Lion Inn, another famed stop on the King's Highway (at what's now Red Lion Road), which burned in 1991. The Historical Society of Frankford keeps some salvaged Jolly Post signage on display, and the American Pants Co. building, now on the Jolly Post site, has a commemorative bronze plaque on its facade.

Yards Brewing Co.

2439 Amber St.

You can drink: During brewery tours on Saturdays (noon to 3 p.m.), free samples of four or five different beers brewed there, including Saison, a Belgian-style summer beer (flavored with coriander and orange), and the crowd-pleasing Philly Pale Ale. The brewery, which sits one block off Frankford Avenue in Kensington, sells cases and kegs during retail hours, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

You can cry in your beer for: Dirt-cheap real estate. Artists wishing to buy a Kensington row house for $15,000 and convert it to the loft of their dreams are five years too late. A dilapidated shell now goes for about $120,000.

Johnny Brenda's

1201 Frankford Ave.

You can drink: For summer, bartender Candace Karch likes the Sly Fox Royal Weisse, which she says smells like bananas and bubblegum when you slosh it around in the glass. Johnny Brenda's, another Joe Sixpack haunt, is known for great draft beers and a tasty bar menu, built around seasonal and local ingredients.

You can cry in your beer for: The old No. 15 Girard Avenue trolley line that would whisk happy children from the river wards to the Philadelphia Zoo. Oh wait, that still runs, and SEPTA has recently rehabbed the cars - adding air conditioning. The little-engine-of-nostalgia-that-could stops about every 15 minutes just outside the bar. Catch it while you can. *

- Becky Batcha

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