Well, here we are, 8 months later, with my next South Jersey beer post. Fun times we live in. The good news is, we’re back with one of the best breweries in the Philadelphia metro area: Double Nickel Brewing Company.
Based on discussions I’ve had with other people, and on minimal actual research, Double Nickel was established in 2015 a few minutes from the Philly border with one of Flying Fish’s former brewers and some serious investor money (including a medical doctor). What this means is that DN opened in a larger facility than most New Jersey breweries see (two stories!) and a quick expansion into the restaurant and distribution markets.
Fortunately, DN has solid beer to back up such audaciousness. The brews are almost universally good if not great, and DN has been willing to experiment with great success. One of the highlights of DN’s reign has been its collaborations with Harvest Coffee in Medford, which has produced fantastic products for both companies (barrel aged coffee, coffee flavored beer, I’m not crying, you’re crying).
The facility, as I mentioned, is two stories, with seating on both floors, as well as a small outdoor patio. The large building has a decorative beer tank (or water tank?) outside, and inside is decorated with murals and banners (although the banners may have been ditched following the recent branding makeover, as I’ll get into in a bit). It’s a bit cold inside, as at the end of the day the interior is just concrete floors and walls, but there are plenty of games available (board games, cornhole, etc.). The bar is massive, forming a large L shape with the production facility visible behind glass in the background.
I have two gripes about DN. The first is minor, but due to its size, I have never felt the warmth or neighborhood quality that many, many other New Jersey breweries have. I’m not even sure I’ve met any of the people who make the beer. My other, much larger (but probably insignificant) complaint, was that Double Nickel underwent a logo change and re-branding less than 2 years after opening. Consistent branding and good logos are something I care deeply about, possibly to my own personal detriment. I’m not sure how a brewery could open with a plan for long term growth and strength and stumble that poorly on its visual identity.
I was quite fond of the old logo, although I recognize the new one is better for marketing purposes. I also assume brand logos should be like flags, memorable and easy to recreate. A detailed bridge with extra flourishes is maybe not the perfect logo. R.I.P. bridge logo, you were beautiful in your own way and actually relevant to the name (the nearby Tacony-Palmyra bridge used to cost a nickel to cross, and when the rate doubled, truck drivers would refer to the bridge as Double Nickel). The term double nickel also refers to the 55 mph speed limit in the U.S.A., but that is not relevant to the brewery’s name. There are so many fun facts today, I may need to pour myself a beer just to calm my nerves.
The new logo, in my mind, has a 50s feel to it, kind of a throwback, classic vibe reminiscent of when the double nickel toll would have been in effect anyway. Even with the new logo, though, the brewery still has different can labels depending on whether the beer is part of their core series or some kind of special series, so it seems like the brewery is destined for mixed messages. Or maybe I’m just a curmudgeon.
Anyway, I’m the only one who gives a shit about this, so let me wrap up by saying the beer is top notch and highly recommended. Enjoy on premises or from any number of nearby distributors, restaurants, and even event venues. It is, without a doubt in my mind, a top five brewery in the state (and as well know, we are well over 100 breweries in this tiny geographic state).