Debbie Grady was reading the paper at her Pottstown farm about two years ago when she learned that Triumph Brewing was pulling out of Old City.
Her son-in-law John Wible, meanwhile, was quite serious about his homebrewing.
Next thing she knew, she says, she was on the line to Wible and old friend Ken Merriman - a restaurant manager - telling them: "Triumph's on the market and I want to buy it."
Thus launched the second stories of a farmer, a homebrewer and a restaurateur, who are behind the rustic 2nd Story Brewing Co. (117 Chestnut Street, 267-314-5770), a brewery and brewpub opening Tuesday, Oct. 21. (You can get in Monday, Oct. 20, but only to the first floor due to a private party upstairs.)
The brewhouse, of course, is on the second story of the building, which they stripped down to the brick walls in many spots. They even found an original fireplace on the second floor.
Chef Rebecca Krebs, whose previous stop was Salt Air in Rehoboth Beach, Del., offers a simple menu: six starters (including her own pretzels and charcuterie), flatbreads, two soups, four sandwiches, a burger, five entrees, and four desserts.
Wible's beers, from his 15-bbl system visible from the upstairs and downstairs bars, include four standards (an IPA, a Vienna lager, an English mild, and an American pale ale) and five rotating taps: an oatmeal stout, another American IPA, a saison, an American porter and a pumpkin ale). Jack's hard cider, Magners pear cider, Guinness, Franziskaner dunkel, Monk's Cafe Flemish sour and Troegs Scratch #157 Fest are on tap, too. Seven $9 cocktails served, as well.
Grady seems as unlikely as anyone to be entering the restaurant/bar business at age 59. She was a stay-at-home mom who raised six children. "I had 30 years to figure out what I wanted to do," she said.
At her working farm, where she primarily grows hay on 90 acres, "I'm used to repetitive tasks. That's what restaurant work is."
She also has brought her farming sensibility to her new career. She planted hops and next plans to grow barley so that 2nd Story's beers are truly local.
Hours will be 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. initially.