My family has the good fortune of living a 20-minute drive from Tired Hands Brewing Company. We've seen it expand from humble Brew Café to gleaming Fermentaria to its present-day constellation of venues in and around Philadelphia. We've eaten the panini. We've waited in the lines. Tired Hands might as well be our hometown-hero-high-school-band that played in all the local dives before going astronomical.
That's why touring the brewery in the company of founder Jean Broillet IV feels like, well, a big deal. There is still a species of Tired Hands fan who cranes their neck and whispers whenever he strolls by. In person he's baby-faced, ebullient, and fast-talking. He shows my brother and me around the foeders and talks about roasting his own coffee and wanting to expand into kombucha while steaming water flows out of the holding tank and rises around our shoes.
Afterwards, we sit down to try the brewery's MilkStave IPA: part Milkshake IPA, part mixed-ferm oddity. Broillet first mentioned the release during a phone conversation about hop compound biotransformation, and I have been hoping for months to try it. The bottled version (pithy, delicate, wild) and draft version (soft, sweet, lush) are notably distinct. Soon more bottles follow, plus queso, and samosas, and before long I've knocked someone's full beer off the high-top, where it puddles below our feet. I’m only so so at playing it cool when it counts.