The Story of Transcontinental


One of the beers that we brew is not the most “common” among brewery portfolios, but it is one that is near and dear to my heart. The Transcontinental is a malty, amber ale with just a hint of spices and a very drinkable 5.6%. The style is called “California Common” and is based on the beers that German brewers created in San Francisco after the Gold Rush.

This beer was my first all-original homebrew recipe, I designed it after deciding I wanted to open a brewery. I had been reading a book of beer styles and California Common stuck out since I wasn’t very familiar with the style. I thought since I hadn’t tried many I should just brew one and see what happened (which is similar to how I brewed a Kolsch and ended up putting coffee in it).

I was really pleased with the results an continued to refine the beer for 4 years before Saint Benjamin opened. I named it “Transcontinental” because it was a traditional California style being made on the East Coast. I had the idea that images of the Transcontinental Railroad should be on the eventual label design. I was expecting this beer to be our flagship, but that was perhaps a bit premature on my part. It’s always had a solid niche which I am fine with.

The first summer that the brewery was open, I was able to really make this beer live up to its full potential by serving it in a firkin. Of all our beers, Transcontinental and Foul Weather Jack are our two best firkin beers. I look forward to getting more of this beer out and in people’s glasses, and of the day where I can put an entire batch into firkins.

Saint Benjamin’s Citywide Special

fullsizerAny neighborhood bar in Philadelphia worth it’s salt has a “Citywide.” The shot & beer combo is so infamous it recently landed it’s own spot in the annals of Playboy.

When the taproom opened, we were happy to have good food & better beer in a place where people could just hang out without any pretensions. When the PLCB changed the laws and we found we could serve spirits as well, having our own Citywide was a no brainer. Lucky for us, Tim had been hanging on to an old Cream Ale recipe that he was especially fond of. We didn’t have to look far for the whiskey, either. New Liberty Distillery is right in our backyard. The Kinsey 7 Yr is smooth, spicy, just a little sweet and the perfect sidekick for the Ben’s Cream Ale.

For $5, it’s arguably the best Citywide in Philadelphia, and it’s all made right here in Kensington.

Junto In Cans Next Week!

We are thrilled to be canning Junto, our coffee Kolsch, next week. We’ve been getting requests for years, so come next Tuesday there will be a limited run of 6 packs and cases for sale at the brewery and around Philly.


If you haven’t tried the Junto, it is a traditional German-style Kolsch, golden color and all, aged on coffee beans from Kensington’s own Reanimator Coffee. The appearance can startle some people who are expecting a dark coffee beer.

I developed the recipe back in 2011 as a homebrew.  The owners of Reanimator worked with me to get just the right coffee flavor without overwhelming the delicate Kolsch underneath.





6 packs will be for sale at our taproom for $16 and cases $46