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March 22, 2023

Manayunk Brewing Co. brings back beer over a year after Hurricane Ida flooded brewery

One of the brewpub's original beers, Schuykill Punch, is being made at Delaware's Big Oyster Brewery. The beer now available on draft and in crowlers at the Main Street bar

Food & Drink Breweries
Manayunk brewing ipa Staff Photo/PhillyVoice

Manayunk Brewing Company has teamed up with Delaware brewhouse Big Oyster to craft its original Schuylkill Punch ale. The beer is available on draft and in a crowler.

As the adage goes, all good things must come to an end. At least that was the plan for Manayunk Brewing Co., when flood damages from Hurricane Ida forced the Philadelphia brewhouse to stop producing beer and focus on running a restaurant last year.

A year later, one of the city's first modern brewpubs is pumping out its raspberry wheat ale yet again — with a little help from a friend.

Through a partnership with Big Oyster Brewery, based in Delaware, Manayunk Brewing has revived its Schuylkill Punch, a 6% ABV beer fermented with over 500 pounds of raspberries, blackberries and cherries. It's now available on draft and in crowlers, along with 15 other beers from local brewers.

"We got such a good variety of beer, selection of beer from microbreweries in and around the Delaware Valley," Manayunk Brewing Co. owner Mike Rose said. "So we said, you know, let's start selling crowlers. So that's what we decided to do. We were selling our beer in crowlers before the flood. So we just launched it again."

The Schuylkill Punch, along with the company's other original beers, had been shelved since Hurricane Ida hit the Main Street brewery in September 2021. After undertaking extensive repair work, the ownership group decided it was too expensive to replace the flood-damaged beer tanks. 

Rose estimated that it would have cost between $750,000 to $800,000. 

Instead, they upgraded the restaurant and added a banquet space where the brewhouse was. 

But over a year later, Rose and his team were eager to bring back crowlers, and began looking for a small brewery to contract brew one of their recipes.

They soon teamed up with Big Oyster Brewery to revive one of the original beers. Although more prominent brewers reached out about contract brewing, Rose said they wanted to work with a smaller company.

"Our relationship is building now because we're going through quite a bit of this beer," he said. 

Big Oyster currently has a 10-barrel brewhouse, which equates to about 20 kegs of beer; when Manayunk Brewery was brewing beer, they had a 15-barrel brewhouse.

"We go through it pretty quick, so we're probably going to get them to do more contract brewing for us," Rose said.

Rose said the plan is to add a second beer to the off-site brewing rotation by May; it will most likely be the Belly Flop, as a seasonal cucumber sour wheat ale. The ultimate goal is to keep two to three of Manayunk Brewery's recipes on tap.

Now, Rose said they sell just as much beer as they did before the flood.

Customers can enjoy the brewpub's original recipes again at its riverside location Tuesday through Sunday. A 32 oz crowler of beer is currently going for $17.