Beer Is The Ingredient That Makes Philadelphia-Style Bagels Unique

When the term, "Philly-style" comes up, it's normal to think of a cheesesteak or a Philadelphia hot dog. And breakfast items aren't generally associated with Philadelphia in particular, until you start talking about cream cheese. Not many know there is also a Philadelphia-style bagel that stands apart from the sea of others by using one special ingredient: beer. The beverage has a rich history in Philadelphia, and it's what makes them so unique.


Before being baked on wooden planks in a pizza oven, Philly-style bagels are fermented in small batches and then boiled in a beer and water mixture. This gives these hometown bagels a unique malty flavor. It also helps create a crispier outer crust; the inside of the bagel is dense and has a nutty sweetness that is noticeable but not overpowering. 

Philadelphia is known as a sandwich-loving town, so it makes sense that they would go the extra mile while making the bread that holds a sandwich together. But not every bagel shop in the city makes Philadelphia-style bagels — apparently, they can only be found at Philly Style Bagels, a bagel shop with only two locations in town.

The Philly Style Bagels shop

Philly Style Bagels started making these iconic starchy rounds in 2015. The shop began as a pop-up, and today has expanded its operation to two locations there. They continue to run the only two spots in the U.S. where one can acquire a true Philly-style bagel.


The fact that Philadelphia became the home of the beer bagel isn't surprising considering its storied relationship with the beverage. Famous Philadelphian, Benjamin Franklin has been associated with the quote, "Beer is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy." Though the quote actually references wine, not beer (remember Franklin was a huge francophile), it hasn't stopped Philadelphia residents from holding the quote near and dear to their hearts. The phrase is attached to t-shirts, bar windows, and bumper stickers all over the City of Brotherly Love. So, it makes sense that this beloved beverage was utilized to create a special hometown bagel.

Beer for breakfast?

Mimosas are a beloved beverage people enjoy with a bagel at brunch, but beer? With a Philadelphia-style bagel, you can have a sinfully delicious breakfast that includes beer without feeling guilty. Whether making a quick bagel sandwich with an over-easy egg or just smothering it in cream cheese, the extra flavor that beer lends to these bagels is perfect for breaking your fast. While beer for breakfast may not sound like a natural pairing, give it a thought if you are in Philadelphia, as it's coming in the form of a unique hometown history of beer culture. 


The company has naturally not dished which beer it uses for its bagels, but chances aren't bad (if it's not a more Philly-specific brew) it could be Yeungling, which, stateside began in Pennsylvania coal country in the early 19th century. Philly Style Bagels serve theirs with several accompaniments like smoked salmon cream cheese, whitefish salad, and scallion Tofutti (a dairy-free spread). Alternatively, you can always grab a dozen to-go without any additional fixings. Because the malty flavor the beer imparts to the bagel is subtle, it won't compete for your taste buds' attention with the other ingredients you want to add on.