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Philly’s Newest Mag Is All About Beer


In Philly, even inanimate objects are pissed off.

Appropriately enough, Neil Harner and Scott Willey were enjoying a few pints of ale at Earth Bread + Brewery, an environmentally-minded brewpub that opened in Philly’s Mt. Airy neighborhood last year, when they came up with the idea to start their own magazine about the city’s craft beer community. To some, that may sound like a perfect plan for entrepreneurial suicide, especially considering the unfortunate fact that the publishing industry seems to be in a never-ending free fall these days. But as far as Harner and Willey are concerned, the timing of Philly Beer Scene, as their bi-monthly magazine is known, couldn’t have been better. After all, microbrews and the bars that serve them have certainly exploded in popularity throughout the Philadelphia region over the past few years, and the whole country seems to have taken notice. Our sudden appreciation for high-caliber beer, in fact, has been documented everywhere from the Sunday New York Times to USA Today to Imbibe, a small Portland-based magazine of “liquid culture.”

And yet according to Harner, who co-owns a design and marketing firm in Lower Bucks County called Inverse Paradox, none of the beer publications that can be picked up for free in bars across the country are successfully speaking to the newer and younger generation of craft beer enthusiasts. “Don’t misquote me on this one,” he insisted, during a recent telephone interview. “When it comes to the other beer publications — Ale Street News, Mid-Atlantic Brewing News, Beer Advocate — we personally love those [publications]. But if you look at our magazine in comparison to the others out there, it’s a little more fun.”

Ultimately, of course, it will be the readers and advertisers of Philly Beer Scene who decide how fun it actually is. You can decide for yourself by picking up a free copy of the premiere issue at most of the better bars and brewpubs throughout the city and surrounding suburbs. Check out the magazine online at beerscenemag.com, where you’ll find information about the June 28 launch party at World Café Live.

This article was originally published on PhillyNow, Philadelphia Weekly’s news and opinion blog.

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