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October 30, 2023

Human Robot Brewing opens new taproom in South Philly

The craft beer maker's fourth location, at 12th and Morris streets, promises plenty of 'milk pours' from a special tap

Food & Drink Breweries
Human Robot Passyunk @humanrobotbeer/Facebook

Human Robot's new South Philly taproom is located at 1646 S. 12th St.

Human Robot Brewing opened its first South Philly outpost last weekend at the former Separatist Beer Project space along East Passyunk Avenue.

The Kensington-based craft brewer's new tasting room, at the corner of 12th and Morris streets, is the fourth to open since Human Robot entered Philly's beer scene in early 2020.

The space in South Philly features 12 taps and a "milk tube" that makes foam-filled beers using a special device imported from the Czech Republic. Human Robot has been credited with kicking off the milk pour trend that's become popular at breweries in the region in recent years.

"In the Czech Republic, they do what's called a Mliko pour, which is a full mug of foam," Human Robot co-founder Jake Atkinson told PA East. "A mug is a little much to chug, so one night we put it in a Kolsch glass, called a stange, and called it a MilkTube."

A proper milk pour is done using a piece of equipment called a Lukr faucet, which controls the flow of beer with a series of filters for perfect foam density. Human Robot called the South Philly taproom "a work in progress," but said it will have a Lukr tower with three faucets in the near future.

Like at Human Robot's other locations, people will have to bring their own food to the South Philly taproom if they want to eat there.

"We are BYOF(ood) for now, but we all know there are a multitude of places on (East Passyunk Avenue) that will satiate you," the brewery wrote on Facebook ahead of its soft opening.

Human Robot tends to work with food partners at its other locations. The brewery's headquarters on North Fifth Street in Kensington shares a space with Poe's Sandwich Joint and the Jenkintown location — opened in 2022 — has German-American fare provided by Herman's at the Haus. 

In the spring, Human Robot opened its third location in a Center City space overlooking the Schuylkill River. That location sells Side Project Jerky to fulfill its legal requirement to offer food, but Human Robot also recommends customers patronize local restaurants.

Separatist Beer Project, originally established in Easton, closed its South Philly location at 1646 S. 12th St. in the spring due to licensing issues. The brewery announced its permanent closure late last month. Human Robot now has a five-year lease there. Its brewery license in Philly allows for two satellite locations in the city; the Jenkintown taproom operates under a separate license.

Human Robot's expansion defies recent trends in the craft beer industry, which has taken a hit this year. After more than a decade of growth in the U.S., Forbes reported this month that consumers are drinking less beer in favor of other alcoholic beverages, including spirits and canned cocktails. In an increasingly competitive market, some craft brewers have seen slumping sales and others have shut down after riding the industry's boom period.

Human Robot's new South Philly taproom allows children under close supervision and welcomes dogs outside only, unless they are service animals.