Spend some time in the sun before you stop by Second Sin Brewing along the Bucks County Ale Trail for a cold pint in historic Bristol Borough to take in the beautiful waterfront. (And while you’re there, don’t miss one of the only Harriet Tubman statues in America!)
Did you know that the history of Bristol Borough dates back several centuries? Bristol’s first European settlers arrived more than three centuries ago, occupying 262 acres along the Delaware River. The Borough has preserved many historic structures, including the oldest known building, the Friends’ Meeting House, built circa 1711. Just after the American Revolution, many travelers flocked to Bristol for recreation via a major route linking Philadelphia and New York City. From hotels to restaurants, to a Bath Mineral Springs (near present-day Silver Lake Park) recommended by Dr. Benjamin Rush and Benjamin Franklin, Bristol served as a retreat for many seeking an escape from the city life. Bristol’s motto, “Welcome Friends,” was inscribed on a wooden sign, which greeted the Marquis de Lafayette on his Farewell Tour of America in 1824. The original sign is now located in the Borough Hall and a beautiful mosaic one can be seen up high above the Mill Street Cantina.
Walk or bike down a part of the 60-mile long Delaware Canal towpath. Built between Bristol and Easton, PA, the canal was constructed to transport coal, stimulating economic growth between 1827 and 1931. The Grundy Woolen Mill and clock tower, a textile mill opened in 1876, is located near the former canal. Also known as the Bristol Worsted Mills, the historic mill was critical to the Borough’s success during the Industrial Revolution. Following the American Civil War, various mills, including those that produced everything from wallpaper and cast-iron products to woolen rugs and cloth, were built in Bristol, encouraging other manufacturers to locate to the town.
Bristol’s location along the Delaware River was key to its economic success in the 20th century. During the first World War, a shipyard opened, offering twelve shipways and providing ample space for the construction of merchant ships. At the end of the war, the shipyard was converted into an aircraft factory, which built amphibious planes, and in World War II, military planes.
Before I start talking about all things beer and breweries, when you visit Bristol Borough, be sure to stop and pay respects to Harriet Tubman, the fierce, unstoppable abolitionist who helped countless slaves escape via the Underground Railroad. A spy, a nurse, and an activist, Tubman created the Underground Railroad, a network of secret routes and safe houses during the early to mid-19th century, helping enslaved African Americans escape into the free states and Canada. There were several “stops” here in Bucks County, including taverns, churches, and privately-owned farms, stretching from Bristol to Quakertown! The Harriet Tubman statue, reportedly one of only three in the United States, is located in Basin Park along the waterfront.
And now for the beer! Recently I visited Second Sin Brewing Company in Bristol, a relatively new brewery that just so happens to be one of the top in the state (according to BreweriesinPA.com), and boy, were they right! From sour summer ales like the Guavissimo to the classic Pound Town lager and The Perfect Cast IPA, there is sure to be something for every taste.
Second Sin Brewing Company was founded when three friends, Mike Beresky, Phil Harris, and Jake Howell, all buddies since middle school, started brewing together. In 2011, the trio, having just brewed less than 10 batches of beer, decided to start the process of opening a small brewery in the former location of Broken Goblet Brewing.
Second Sin was originally supposed to be called Gluttony Brewing Company. As explained on their website, “Gluttony Brewing Company” was derived from, well, the term “gluttony,” which is defined as “habitual greed in eating or drinking.” More times than not, we find a beer that we really can’t get enough of - one that we crave a second (or third, or fourth) time. They wanted to evoke this sense in their name and the spirit behind their brewery, but unfortunately, due to a trademark dispute, they needed to find another name that had the same voracious feeling. Thus, after the founders did some research into the Seven Deadly Sins, they found that, as originally defined by Pope Gregory the Great, the second of the seven was “gluttony,” thus prompting them to name the brewery “Second Sin!” (Smart thinking, I’d say!)
Officially opened in November 2019, Second Sin Brewing has been happily serving Bucks County and the surrounding area with thirst-quenching beers, a vibrant atmosphere, and of course, friendly faces.
So, get out there, explore historic Bristol Borough, walk the waterfront and pay respects to the legendary Harriet Tubman, and top your day off with a great beer at Second Sin and have a toast to history!