Culture Following Francis

On tap at Philly’s joints, papal brews

Philadelphia Tap Room serves two pope inspired beers this weekend, "Holy Wooder" and "YOPO," during Pope Francis' visit to the city on Sept. 26, 2015. Religion News Service photo by Anne Marie Hankins
Philadelphia Tap Room serves two pope inspired beers this weekend, "Holy Wooder" and "YOPO," during Pope Francis' visit to the city on Sept. 26, 2015. Religion News Service photo by Anne Marie Hankins

Philadelphia Tap Room serves two pope-inspired beers this weekend, “Holy Wooder” and “YOPO,” during Pope Francis’ visit to the city on Sept. 26, 2015. Religion News Service photo by Anne Marie Hankins

PHILADELPHIA (RNS) You know what they say: “YOPO,” as in, “you only pope once.”

Actually, the only people saying that are those enjoying pope-inspired beers in honor of Pope Francis’ weekend visit here.

“YOPO” beer is made by the Cape May Brewing Co., a microbrewery in southern New Jersey. The beer made its debut on the eve of the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, a four-day Catholic conference on the family.

And if that isn’t hoppy or yeasty or pope-y enough for you, there is “Holy Wooder” beer from the Philadelphia Brewing Co. The company promises Holy Wooder will “cleanse your soul and set you on the path to righteousness.”

Word has it that Philadelphia Brewing Co. sent a half-keg o’ Holy Wooder to St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, where Francis was treated to a choral welcome Saturday (Sept. 26) afternoon.


READ: For sex abuse victims in Philly, pope’s visit means a difficult week


Marlene Schmitt, who tends the long wooden bar at South Philadelphia Tap Room, a joint in the city’s Newbold neighborhood, said the bar began offering the two beers Friday morning.

“During happy hour it’s half-off local beers, so we have a lot of those,” she said.

Schmitt characterized Holy Wooder as a “Belgian-style Tripel” and YOPO as a “hoppy pale ale.” Like the pope, both beers are here for a short time only.

All told, there are eight beers to celebrate the pope’s Philly visit. One South Philadelphia watering hole, The POPE: Pub on Passyunk East, held a tasting of all eight before Francis’ arrival.

Chris Sheehan enjoys the "Holy Wooder" beer brewed by Philadelphia Brewing Company at South Philadelphia Tap Room. "I've been hearing about it," Sheehan said. "I didn't have any intention of trying it, but I saw it on tap so I did." Religion News Service photo by Anne Marie Hankins

Chris Sheehan enjoys the “Holy Wooder” beer brewed by Philadelphia Brewing Co. at South Philadelphia Tap Room. “I’ve been hearing about it,” Sheehan said. “I didn’t have any intention of trying it, but I saw it on tap so I did.” Religion News Service photo by Anne Marie Hankins

At the Tap Room, Chris Sheehan, 30, tried the Holy Wooder for the first time Friday. He is not a Catholic, but that didn’t deter him.

“I’ve been hearing about (the papal beers),” he said. “I didn’t have the intention of trying one, but I saw it was on tap so I did.”

Sheehan pronounced Holy Wooder “delicious.”

“It’s always nice to have a new brew and this one is just associated with the weekend,” he said.

It’s just possible Francis will sample some of the beer. He is spending the night at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary and earlier in life worked as a bar bouncer.

Religion News Service graphic by T.J. Thomson

Religion News Service graphic by T.J. Thomson

YS/MG END HANKINS-WINSTON

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