Philly Beer Week’s Health & Fitness Finds

Learn to buy a better brew

Last week I wrote about the health benefits of Philly Beer Week, and this week I’m proving it to you—beer can be good for you! My mission: to find Philly Beer Week events that had some sort of health-kick attached and report back to you. So after some investigating, I chose three locations and events that fit the criteria. There was Happy Hour Yoga at Yard’s Brewery, an educational/super-cool for beer- and health-nuts class at Whole Foods Plymouth Meeting’s Cold Point Pub about how to choose a healthy brew, and I had beer and berries at the Broad Axe Tavern in Ambler. Check out what I learned so you can pick a better brew next time you’re out!

Happy Hour Yoga at Yards Brewery
Hosted by Theresa Conroy, owner of Yoga on the Ridge and wife to Philly’s own Joe Sixpack, class was held in Yards’ tasting room and accompanied by live music with Dante Bucci. I was intrigued to see how Theresa would thread together the themes of yoga and beer. Then, as I’m lying back in a reclined twist, she begins to talk about the dichotomy of ease and effort that we find throughout poses in yoga practice, and how the yin and yang are comparable to the malt and hops found in beers. “Oh, I get it!” I thought to myself as I relaxed into the rest of class.

Happy Hour Yoga

After class, Operating Manager Steve Mashington led us through a sample of Yards’ best, even letting the group sample their own barley wine (it will definitely put some hair on your chest!). We chatted a bit about brewer’s yeast, the FDA, beer as a natural laxative and so on and so forth. But then he really caught my attention. I mentioned to him my interest in the union of the local beer and local food scene, and this is what he told me: Wild Flour Bakery (8701 Torresdale Avenue) comes to Yard’s and takes their leftover yeast and grain and turns into the breads they use for many of their sandwiches. Awesome! It certainly doesn’t get much more sustainable than that!

Cold Point Pub, Whole Foods Plymouth Meeting
All the beer geeks in the suburbs are talking about how Cold Point’s six rotating craft beers are on draft for only $2.99. With growlers to-go and more than 300 bottled beers, this suburban pub is becoming a magnet for beer aficionados and newbies alike. And, of course, they have a killer food court and a rooftop deck to enjoy it all. So, I stopped in for a half-price organic, locally raised beef burger and my favorite beer, La Fin de Monde (translation: The End of the World). The pub was buzzing with all different types of drinkers and health enthusiasts and made for great people watching. Whole Food’s Beer and Wine Specialist, Andrew McCormick, taught me a bit about the yeasts and proteins found in unfiltered beers, like the one I was drinking. But what about all those low-calorie, low-carb Phillies’ fan favorites? Well, I learned that macro brews (Budweiser, Miller Light, Natural Ice, etc.) often use uncommon filler ingredients such as corn grits and rice syrup solids to give the beer lighter body and lower calories. These substances are generally devoid of any nutritive value and can be combined with preservatives to keep the beer stable longer. In other words, high quality micro brews use natural ingredients. Sold!

Beers and Berries at the Broad Axe Tavern
This fairly new “green” establishment boasts an impressive craft beer selection, which is great for those beer kids floundering over the recent closing of the Drafting Room in Springhouse. This tavern, one of the oldest in the country, dating back to the late 1600’s, uses fresh and local ingredients as often as possible as part of its green M.O. I visited there on Tuesday for $4 Flight Night, four four-ounce samplings of different draughts paired with executive chef Matt Martino’s specials for the night.

Beer and berries. Yum!

The highlight? Beer and berries, for sure! Local blueberries and blackberries from New Jersey paired with a Dirty Hoe (Framboise layered overtop of Hoegaarden). Martino explained that the fruitiness and raspberry undertones of the Framboise mixed with the refreshing hint of orange peel in Hoegaarden make the tartness of the berries pop and come alive on your taste buds. Topped off with homemade whipped cream (a treat for sure!), this girl was in heaven!

Maura Manzo is the Managing Director of RYAH Yoga and Health in Conshohocken. She is also a certified health coach and yoga teacher. To learn more about her classes and workshops, visit or Read her full bio here.