Friday, May 22, 2015

Philly Beer Week 2015 - A review at the 7-day Countdown

Just one week to go and we're all still Leuven On A Prayer! Last Friday, I promised you another update a week later and lo and behold here we are.

Before I get into the event schedule of May 29 to June 7, in case you haven't heard, the official Belgian collaboration beer of Philly Beer Week 2015 is called Leuven On A Prayer. I was honored to be a part of the traveling PBW contingent that paired up Free Will Brewing Company's John Stemler with Jef Janssens at Hof ten Dormaal (HtD) just outside Leuven, Belgium. The brew day went down on February 5 at the honest-to-goodness Belgian Farmhouse Brewery roughly twenty miles east of Brussels.

If you'd like to get caught up on more of the backstory, please check my excellent (humbly submitted) wrap-up from a few months ago. Plenty of pictures to go with the words as well.

Now on to the business the ten-day Philly Beer Week. Or, as I like to call it, an Imperial Philly Beer Week — because in Philly there could be no other kind. Last Friday, the official calendar of events at PhillyBeerWeek.org counted 501 events, which was up 170 events from the week prior. Today, it lists 755. And changing by the hour.

Let's again take a look this week at the delta. This past week saw 67 establishments listing new events. Here's a quick summary and then a rundown of what jumps out at me as the best new events listed on the official website, PhillyBeerWeek.org, since last Friday.

Cheer-ee-o, yo.

Number of listed events as of May 22
67 (+22) - Friday, 5/29
85 (+25) - Saturday, 5/30
91 (+32) - Sunday, 5/31
73 (+24) - Monday, 6/1
82 (+29) - Tuesday, 6/2
83 (+26) - Wednesday, 6/3
86 (+30) - Thursday, 6/4
75 (+28) - Friday, 6/5
69 (+24) - Saturday, 6/6
40 (+14) - Sunday, 6/7

Number of city-based events - 581
Number of non city-based events - 170

Number of unique establishments/locations - 116
Number of events at a brewery - 20
Number of events at a bar - 679
Number of events with "takeover" in the event name - 44

Number of events featuring Free Will and Hof ten Dormaal - 4
Number of Leuven On A Prayer kegs arriving from Belgium - Roughly 35 (to be confirmed)

Number of listed events at the Uno Family - 46
Number of listed events at Whole Foods - 38

Number of events listed as "free" - 6
Number of events listed as pay-as-you-go - 639
Most expensive event - $125 for "The Too Many Cooks In The Kitchen With Beer Dinner" at Sancho Pistola's

My personal Best Of List from new event listings between May 15 and May 22
Best way to meet some goats - Meet The Goats and check out the Sly Fox Penny Maibock at Bar on May 30, 5 p.m.

Best haul of new events - 24 new events at Varga and a mere 14 new events at Bru (and accompanying 11 downstairs at U-Bahn). Seems that if you're stuck at any point during the week, head to one of these places where it seems that there might always be something happening.

Best new crazed geek events on the list - Churchville Inn in Southampton doing events with Prairie, Jester King, Green Bench, Jolly Pumpkin, St. Somewhere, Hill Farmstead, Neshaminy Creek, Founders, Funky Buddha, Cascade, Cantillon, and more. Wipe that drool.

Best Brupper - Will Pumphrey is going to Bell's from DuClaw. City Tap House in University City is throwing a dinner, or a brunch, or a brupper in honor of him.

Best incorporation of catnip into an event - At Doobie's but of course. The Feline 500 with Philly Brewing on 6/2 at 6 p.m. will figure it all out.

Best mixer of drinking and religion - They're doing it again at Fergie's. A Rabbi, a Priest, and a Minister walk in to a bar again and again. Go in peace on 5/31 at 4 p.m.

Best mixer of uppers and downers - Also at Fergie's with Danya Henninger playing hostess to Coffee in the Beer Garden of Good and Evil on 6/3 at 4 p.m.

Best Locals - Big hit last year at Field House, this year on 5/30 at 8 p.m.

Best unveiling of the scene's longest best kept secret - Fiume. Just go read the list, then prepare for 45th/Locust to never be the same.

Best way to drink free beers from me - At Home Sweet Home Brew's extended hours tasting on 6/3 at 5 p.m. when I'll bring books to sell/sign as well as some interesting complimentary beers from my travels.

Best reunion tour - The group from the Free Will/Hof ten Dormaal collaboration brew gather at Jose Pistola's on 5/30 at 6 p.m. trying to recreate the madness of Brussels.

Best new brunch - Another Firestone Walker event with Jenny Hobbs, this one a good-looking barrel-aged brunch at Khyber Pass on 5/30 at 12 p.m.

Best throwdown - The original, the one and only in the 1900 block of Callowhill in front of Kite & Key on 5/31 at 2 p.m.

Best bitches - Their language, not mine. McCrossen's lining up a bunch of stuff including "Oysters Bitches and Fishes" with oysters and beers from Flying Dog and Flying Fish.

Best reason not to go Down The Shore - Cape May comes to Perch Pub on 6/5 at 8 p.m.

Best reason not to go to Lancaster County - Not that there's anything wrong with a lovely trip to LancCo, but Stoudts famed bread and cheese at The Greeks in Narberth on 6/5 at 5 p.m.

Best reason to go to my college dive bar where I watched Eagles games - Pitchers Pub in Manayunk never served these beers back in those days. PBW '15 has an event every day there featuring the likes of Alvinne, DFH, Maine, Hardywood, Terrapin, Cape May, and more.

Best ice cream (tie) - St. Benjamin's and Little Baby's on 6/5 at 5 p.m. at Little Baby's in Fishtown.

Best ice cream (tie) - Foodery is bringing in Victory's new flavors on 5/31 at 1 p.m. for free at all three locations.

Best event farthest from Philly - Sly Fox Taps Tunes & Trucks with food, music, and beer at the brewery on 5/30 at 11 a.m.

Best competition - Kingpin is a riotous piece of action at Standard Tap each year with 12 breweries via to be Kingpin....kicking their pin of beer first. Don't arrive late. 6/2 at 6 p.m.

Best play-doh event - Because every Beer Week needs one of these just like at The Institute with Brew Works beer on 6/4 at 7 p.m.

Best hide and seek - Irish Pol has moved locations but is taking all its events, every day, to the Market Street location.

Best Street Pub - the Deschutes Street Pub all day on 5/30

Best event revitalization - Don't see as many events as Tria used to put on throughout the year. Their new Taproom at 20th/Walnut is turning that around with a slew of tempting events all week.

Check back mid-next week as this best-of list will attempt to keep up with the master calendar of events as the Hammer of Glory's day in the sun draws ever nearer.



Thursday, May 21, 2015

Beer Lover's Mid-Atlantic - Tonight, it all begins


Am I excited? Sure. But it's been a long time in coming, so the last eight months of repeat editing and a whole lot of patience and waiting - which was preceded by five months of furious researching, photography, and writing...plus a month of contract hammering out, etc. - has subdued the initial excitement.

But, nonetheless, the time has come and all of the hard work has paid off. And, yes, I am rather pleased with the end result.

379 establishments visited. 9,444 miles logged. Over 12,000 pictures taken. 416 pages bound up to tell the story of great beer in the four states of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Some of you have already received a copy. Others will see it from Amazon in the coming days.

Tonight, I'll be selling them at TJ's in Paoli. My local, if you will. I'm spoiled in my neck of the woods, to be sure. Flying Pig, Teresa's Next Door, Station Taproom, Pour House, The Drafting Room, McKenzie Brew House, Iron Hill, and Sly Fox. All can be reached within 15 minutes of my home and work. But TJ's is where I've found myself the most through the years and therefore it makes sense to begin my book signing there. Tonight.

When I walked into TJ's the other day and showed the book to head bartender Scott Blain, he automatically flipped to the index and found TJ's on a few pages, jumped to the main entry, and exclaimed "I'M IN THE BOOK!!!"

That's the way the book goes. It tells the story of the beer. But where it makes sense - and when doesn't it - the story talks about the place, the history, and the people behind the beer.

This, I believe, is a pretty decent book. Not only does it feature those that are making the good stuff. It also features bars and restaurants that are serving it well. There's a chapter on incorporating beer in the kitchen (where TJ's Jeff Miller contributes a Pork Cheeks recipe that I think you'll find otherworldly), a chapter on travel and beer (think: airports, train stations), a chapter on major annual beer events, a chapter on homebrew and clone recipes, and a chapter on the up-and-coming newer breweries & some you may not have heard of yet that are due to open sometime this year.

That's enough for now. See me at TJ's tonight if you're in the western 'burbs of Philly. During Philly Beer Week, I'll also be at Opening Tap, Grey Lodge, Pub On Passyunk East (the P.O.P.E), and Home Sweet Homebrew. I'm also still working with Monk's Cafe, Devil's Den, Free Will, Keystone Homebrew, Flying Fish, and Village Idiot to see if we can get something going during the fast and furious 10 days of Philly Beer Week.

After PBW, Local 44, Iron Hill, and Yards are getting in on the act with book events for me. I'm also eyeing up Craft Ale House, Teresa's Next Door, Kite & Key, and Eulogy for future events. Frederick Beer Week has an excellent final event on June 6 that I'll be appearing at. Next up as the summer wears on and bleeds into the fall will be excursion to Baltimore, the Eastern Shore, Jersey City, central PA, Pittsburgh and western PA all the way up to Erie.

For a full list of events, always kept up-to-date, please visit the Facebook page for the book events.

In the meantime, please support me and these efforts however you can. Buy the book, recommend it to others. Buy it as a Father's Day gift. Visit the Facebook Page. If you're of the twittering set, Follow on Twitter.

I do thank you all for following my writing throughout the ten years that this Brew Lounge thing has been going on. It's because of you all and the growing beer scene of the Mid-Atlantic that this book became a necessity and a reality.

Cheers!



Weekly Beer Calendar Update: May 21 - May 31

This is it Philly. Your last chance to get your Philly Beer on before the Imperial 10-day Philly Beer Week begins. For sake of brevity, I'll just point you over to PhillyBeerWeek.org for the full and up-to-date listing of all the celebratory frivolity taking place between May 29 and June 7.

As you review beer events, don't forget PhillyTapFinder.com. As always, they host an impressive listing of beer event draft lists to help better inform your beer event planning.

Click through here for a look at the full monthly calendar of beer events around the Philadelphia region.

Allentown, Pa.
Sat. 5/30; 1 p.m.-5 p.m. - PBS39 Brewfest at Coca-Cola Park ($5-$60 for beer tastings, vendors, and live music.)

Ardmore, Pa.
Thu. 5/28; 5 p.m. - La Flama Blanca vs. Golden Child Beer Release at Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant ($PAYG for our first sour beer release.)

Conshohocken, Pa.
Wed. 5/27; 6 p.m. - The Tappening 2 at Fingers Wings and Other Things ($PAYG for six of the best from Victory, specialty beer-laced food offerings, and giveaways.)

Exton, Pa.
Fri. 5/22; 4 p.m.-6 p.m. - Susquehanna Brewing Sampling at Exton Beverage ($Free tasting samples of beers from Susquehanna Brewing.)

Honey Brook, Pa.
Sat. 5/30; 10 a.m. - Farm to Feet Trail Run at Wyebrook Farm ($20-$35 for an adventurous trail run that will send you maneuvering through the rolling fields that spread across the farm.)

Kulpsville, Pa.
Thu. 5/28 - Two Brothers at CJ's Doghouse ($PAYG for several of their beers plus take home a great “wobble” glass.)

Lancaster, Pa.
Sat. 5/30; 3 p.m.-5 p.m. - Saturday Brew Review at Isaac's Pickle Bar ($25 for a four-course meal paired with four brewmaster picks from Flying Fish.)

Media, Pa.
Thu. 5/21; 6 p.m.-8 p.m. - Penn Brewing Night at Pinocchio's ($PAYG for a night filled with beers from Penn Brewery.)
Wed. 5/27; 5 p.m.-7 p.m. - Dominion and Beer at Pinocchio's ($PAYG for beers from Dominion in Dover and pizza from Pinocchio's.)

Paoli, Pa.
Thu. 5/21; 4:30 p.m.-11 p.m. - My Big Fat First Book Signing Event at TJ's ($PAYG for a night that begins with me selling the book for $20 per copy and ending with Quizzo which, at TJ's, is always a great time. One copy of my book will be available as a Quizzo prize at the end of the evening.)

Philadelphia, Pa.
Thu. 5/21; 7 p.m. - Yards 20th Anniversary Party at Dawson Street Pub ($PAYG to help celebrate a Philadelphia original where it all began.)
Fri. 5/22; 5 p.m. - Free Will Tap Takeover at Bottle Bar East ($Free tasting samples from Free Will plus others available $PAYG on draft.)
Wed. 5/27; 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. - Beer and Cheese Pairing at Philly Beer School ($56.98 for the ultimate class on beer and cheese pairings.)
Fri. 5/29 through Sun. Jun. 7 - Philly Beer Week at various establishments all around Philadelphia, Pa. (See website for up-to-date listings of nearly 1,000 events at over 200 establishments.)
Sat. 5/30; 12:30 p.m.-5 p.m. - International Great Beer Expo at Philadelphia Navy Yard ($10-$85 for a beer tasting event that will feature an incredible variety of beers from the local Philly market, from across the U.S., and from around the globe to help raise funds and awareness for the Committee To Benefit The Children.)

Phoenixville, Pa.
Thu. 5/21; 5 p.m. - River Horse Tap Takeover at Fenix ($PAYG for River Horse's Lager, Summer Blonde, IPA, Hop Hazard, Tripel Horse, and Barrel Aged Baltic Porter.)
Sat. 5/30; 1 p.m.-5 p.m. - Made In America Multi-Tap at Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant ($PAYG for a rye, wheat and blue take on a multi-tap, featuring 8 craft beers manufactured right here in America.)

Pottstown, Pa.
Sat. 5/30; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. - Taps, Tunes, & Trucks at Sly Fox Brewing Company ($PAYG for eight food trucks, live music, and Sly Fox beers on tap all day.)

Reading, Pa.
Sat. 5/23; 12 p.m.-4 p.m. - Dogs & Brews at Reading Public Museum ($20-$75 as the Museum has partnered with the Animal Rescue League of Berks County year to bring breweries, food, local vendors, live music, and more to benefit two worthy causes.)



Monday, May 18, 2015

Philly Beer Week 2015 - The changing faces

You know what's been really fun sitting in my position of covering the regional Philly beer scene for the past ten years? It's been the people. Well, most of 'em anyway! Watching them come and go, watching them grow up, and watching them change.

Can't recall exactly what it was the other day that got me to thinking about how the past five or so years has seen a significant amount of turnover at breweries. Not really all that surprising given the coinciding tremendous growth in the industry which opens up all sorts of opportunities across the country.

And, many have heeded the call to take on bigger challenges. While I do tend to keep some pretty detailed lists about all facets of the industry, I won't claim that this is all-inclusive. Rather the ones I do have plus a few courtesy of Jack Curtin and Lew Bryson that have covered the scene for an even longer period of time. As you'll see, I was quite generous in my "regional" interpretation.

So as you head out to events at Philly Beer Week this year and wonder where so-and-so went that you remember seeing back in 2010, here's my attempt at helping you with that.

Have I missed any obvious ones that you're aware of? Have I any wrong or even more recent updates than the ones I've listed?

(p.s. alphabetical order by last name)
Scott Baver from The Lion to St. Killian to Devils Backbone in Lexington, VA

Chris Brugger from Tröegs to Otto's in State College

Curt Decker and Gordon Grubb from Nodding Head on Sansom Street in Philly to Nodding Head in ??????

Mike Fava from Nodding Head to Dock Street to Oxbow in Maine (edit: thanks Nancy; the proper order is Dock Street first, then Nodding Head)

John Fiorilli from Stewart's, then to Flying Fish, now at Mountain Sun in Boulder, CO

Casey Hughes from Flying Fish to Coppertail in Tampa, FL

Guy Hagner from Berwick to Susquehanna

Jennie Hatton-Baver from Profile PR and Philly Beer Week personified to Crabbie's Ginger Beer

Terry Hawbaker from Bullfrog to Farmer's Cabinet now at Pizza Boy/Intangible outside of Harrisburg

Patrick Jones last spotted at Triumph-Old City

Chris Leonard from General Lafayette to Fort Bend Brewing (Texas) and now Heavy Seas in Baltimore

Brian McConnell from Rock Bottom-KOP to Sterling Pig Brewery in Media

Jeff McCracken from Manayunk to Tired Hands to Origlio

Ryan Michaels from McKenzie Brew House to Rinn Duin in Toms River, NJ

Scott Morrison from Dock Street to Barren Hill and various consulting gigs

Gerard Olson from McKenzie Brew House to Forest & Main

Max Pfeffer from Victory to Sly Fox to Manatawny Still Works

Ben Potts from Dock Street, then to Dogfish Head, and now Tired Hands

Justin Quinlan from Dock Street to Urban Family Brewing in Seattle and now consulting/brewing occasionally but otherwise out of the industry

John Rehm from Philly Brewing to Two Roads in CT

Bryan Selders from Dogfish Head to The Post Brewing in Lafayette, CO

David Wood from Free Will to Barren Hill

from the Iron Hill family
- Paul Rutherford from Lancaster to Chestnut Hill to Ardmore
- Collin Farrell from Lancaster to Tired Hands to Brewers Outlet
- Chris LaPierre from West Chester to Maple Shade to Chestnut Hill
- Jeff Ramirez from Maple Shade to Mountain Sun to Denizens in Silver Spring, MD
- Bob Barrar from Media to 2SP Brewing in Aston, PA
- Kevin Walter from Media to Lancaster to Voorhees to Regional Brewer
- Vince Desrosiers from North Wales to Dock Street
- Larry Horwitz from West Chester to Regional Brewer to Four String Brewing in Columbus
- Jean Broillet from West Chester to Tired Hands
- Doug Marchakitus from North Wales to Manayunk back to North Wales

from the world of Philly Beer Geeks
- Natalie DeChico (2011 Philly Beer Geek) still with Weyerbacher
- Steve Mashington (2012) from Yards to Rogue
- Jess Streeter (2014) is up and running with Naked Brewing in Huntingdon Valley, PA



Friday, May 15, 2015

Philly Beer Week 2015 - We're now just two weeks away

Two weeks to go and we're still Leuven On A Prayer! Last Friday, I promised you another update a week later and lo and behold here we are.

Before I get into the event schedule of May 29 to June 7, in case you haven't heard, the official Belgian collaboration beer of Philly Beer Week 2015 is called Leuven On A Prayer. I was honored to be a part of the traveling PBW contingent that paired up Free Will Brewing Company's John Stemler with Jef Janssens at Hof ten Dormaal (HtD) just outside Leuven, Belgium. The brew day went down on February 5 at the honest-to-goodness Belgian Farmhouse Brewery roughly twenty miles east of Brussels.

If you'd like to get caught up on more of the backstory, please check my excellent (humbly submitted) wrap-up from a few months ago. Plenty of pictures to go with the words as well.

Now on to the business the ten-day Philly Beer Week. Or, as I like to call it, an Imperial Philly Beer Week — because in Philly there could be no other kind. Last Friday, the official calendar of events at PhillyBeerWeek.org counted 331 events, which was up 146 events from the week prior. Today, it lists 501.

What's new? Well, maybe, just maybe we're around halfway to the total event tally that 2015 will offer. Sure, there are a bunch of dollar-offs and rather basic attempts at tastings and/or "takeovers". That's fine. Something for everyone I suppose.

However, let's take a look this week at the delta. Here's a quick summary and then a rundown of what jumps out at me as the best new events listed on the official website, PhillyBeerWeek.org, since last Friday.

Cheer-ee-o, yo.

Number of listed events as of May 15
45 (+10) - Friday, 5/29
60 (+19) - Saturday, 5/30
63 (+25) - Sunday, 5/31
49 (+14) - Monday, 6/1
53 (+20) - Tuesday, 6/2
57 (+17) - Wednesday, 6/3
56 (+22) - Thursday, 6/4
47 (+17) - Friday, 6/5
45 (+16) - Saturday, 6/6
26 (+10) - Sunday, 6/7

Number of listed events at the Uno Family - 37
Number of listed events at Whole Foods - 35

Number of city-based events - 365
Number of non city-based events - 136

Number of unique establishments/locations - 83
Number of events at a brewery - 19
Number of events at a bar - 375
Number of events with "takeover" in the event name - 37

Number of events listed as "free" - 5
Number of events listed as pay-as-you-go - 435
Most expensive event - $125 for "The Too Many Cooks In The Kitchen With Beer Dinner" at Sancho Pistola's

Number of events featuring Free Will and Hof ten Dormaal - 4
Number of Leuven On A Prayer kegs arriving from Belgium - Roughly 35 (to be confirmed)

My personal Best Of List from new event listings between May 8 and May 15
Best Lineup of Events - Alla Spina is now on the board with 12 events ranging from $PAYG to $65, including dogs, "cage matches", spin the bottle, food, and plenty of great beer from the area and around the world.

Most New Events - Devil's Den has something, actually some thing*s*, every day for your gustatory pleasure. 20 events in total, all $PAYG.

Most Unique Events - Grey Lodge impresses with unique events throughout the year. They don't disappoint again during PBW '15, including yours truly with a book signing on Tuesday, June 2. All $PAYG

Best Opening Tap After Party - I've seen this Sly Fox-themed post party at Fergie's and it's definitely worth doing again this year. - $PAYG

Best Beer Garden - The "official" PBW Beer Garden was held at the Four Seasons the first couple of years. Now it's been at The Shambles at Headhouse Square for a few years and still as popular as ever. Monday through Friday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. - $PAYG

Best of The Best Of - Standard Tap is throwing what they're calling a super mega draft list party on Friday, June 5 with "our favorite limited releases, collaboration beers, and one-offs of Philly Beer Week". - $PAYG

Best Pig - "smoky pork treats and Oskar Blues brews" on Thursday, June 4 at Percy Street BBQ. - $PAYG

Best NJ Representation - I can't explain exactly what I like about Perch Pub, but I do. I also like what I learned about Carton Brewing (north NJ) and Cape May Brewing (south NJ, duh) during my book research. They'll be featured on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively, during the week. - $PAYG

Best Reason to Go To Manayunk on Bike Race Day - Sure you can see the Bike Race in person. You can drink Yards beers. But, there's also a Pinewood Derby which means things could get real interesting at Old Eagle Tavern on Sunday, June 7. - $PAYG

Best Nod to Regional Beer History - It's at McGillin's, but of course. With Flying Fish on Tuesday, Stoudt's and Penn on Thursday, and Yuengling on Friday, they've got some of PA and NJ finest showing off their brews. - $PAYG

Best Pilsner and Wurst - All you need to know is right there in the title and it's right there at Hop Angel. If you still haven't been to Grey Lodge's sister spot, here's a great reason on Saturday and Sunday to close out PBW '15. - $PAYG

Best Way to Get Your Beer Geek On - You may not yet be able to pronounce Draai Laag (basically, "dray lawg"), but it seems that many are catching on to this relatively new brewery from Pittsburgh. I saw them firsthand during my book research and think you'll want to check them out at Devil's Den on Friday, June 5. - $PAYG

Best Pool Party - Oh no no no no no. No, this just isn't right. There's to be a "giant inflatable pool" with Jenny Hobbs (Firestone Walker) and Greg Lehman (Victory) as "lifeguards". Oh my, this will be something to see, I'm sure. Great beers, great fun. - $PAYG

Best Dr. Joel Sighting - Not sure if I've missed other events posted with New Holland, but our long lost friend (well, he's in Michigan now but comes around every now and then so he's not all that long lost) "Dr." Joel Armato will be visiting with his New Holland beers at Capone's on Tuesday, June 2 with some not-so-usual beers from the brewery. - $PAYG

Check back next week as this best-of list will attempt to keep up with the master calendar of events as it grows by the day.



Thursday, May 14, 2015

Weekly Beer Calendar Update: May 14 - May 20

Do you hear that Philly Beer Week whistle blowing? It's coming in just two weeks and a day. But, don't refrain in some bizarre attempt to prepare for the onslaught of beer events from May 29-June 7. Pre-game with the following and ensure that your body isn't shocked with what PBW has to offer this year.

As you review beer events, don't forget PhillyTapFinder.com. As always, they host an impressive listing of beer event draft lists to help better inform your beer event planning.

Click through here for a look at the full monthly calendar of beer events around the Philadelphia region.

First up, this one defies specific city as it spans the region with an assortment of events.
Wed. 5/13 through Sun. May 17 - MidAtlantic Wine + Food Festival at various locations around Delaware, as well as Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland ($Varies for one-of-a-kind epicurean experiences, meet and chat with vintners, brewers, distillers and other experts, and take a culinary journey through what frontier historian Frederick Jackson Turner dubbed "the typically American region.")

Downingtown, Pa.
Sat. 5/16; 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m. - Beer and Yoga at Victory Brewing Company ($30 for a yoga class taught in the brewpub, then treat yourself to food and beer pairings.)
Sun. 5/17; 1 p.m.-4 p.m. - Victory Run for Ryan at Victory Brewing Company ($40 for a 5-k race and a post-race BBQ and Beer Garden.)

Easton, Pa.
Thu. 5/14; 12 p.m.-8 p.m. - Tiny Release at Weyerbacher ($PAYG for the new look Tiny in 12 oz. bottles and our friends from Fud Truk and Sweet Girlz will be featuring menu items made with Tiny.)

Exton, Pa.
Fri. 5/15; 4 p.m.-6 p.m. - Kona Sampling at Exton Beverage ($Free tasting samples of beers from Kona Brewing.)

Frackville, Pa.
Sat. 5/16; 2 p.m.-5:30 p.m. - Schuylkill County Brew Fest at Frackville Elks ($35 to sample over 20 local, regional, and national breweries.)

Kulpsville, Pa.
Sat. 5/16; 3 p.m. - BBQ and Port and Lost Abbey Brewing at CJ's Doghouse ($21 for four 9-oz. pours, brisket sliders, wings, and pork sliders.)

Lancaster, Pa.
Fri. 5/15; 5 p.m. - Flying Fish Tap Takeover at Isaac's Pickle Bar ($PAYG as all taps will be dedicated to Flying Fish from NJ.)

Lititz, Pa.
Mon. 5/18; 5:30 p.m. - Evolution Beer Dinner at Bulls Head Public House ($28.50 for a four-course meal served with Evolution's Summer Session, Lot 3, Fall Migration, and Rise Up Russian Imperial Stout.)

Maple Shade, NJ
Fri. 5/15; 6 p.m.-9 p.m. - Second Rising Beer Release at Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant ($PAYG for the release of Rising Sun s big brother, a double IPA brewed with 100% Japanese-bred Sorachi Ace hops for some wild citrusy hop characters balanced by a full malt backbone.)

Newtown, Pa.
Sat. 5/16 - Tap Takeover with Stone at Isaac Newton’s ($PAYG for many rare and limited edition beers. We will also be featuring Stone-inspired food specials to complement the amazing beers.)

North Wales, Pa.
Fri. 5/15; 5 p.m. - Barrel-Aged Wee Heavy Beer Release at Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant ($PAYG for the celebration of National Whiskey Day with the release of Barrel-Aged Wee Heavy.)

Philadelphia, Pa.
Thu. 5/14; 5 p.m.-6 p.m. - Meet "The Mountain That Rides" Happy Hour at Devil's Den ($PAYG for the Game of Thrones-centric Happy Hour with Game of Thrones-inspired beers and a guest appearance by Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson from the show.)
Fri. 5/15; 5 p.m. - Yards Patio Punch Release at City Tap House ($PAYG for the new hoppy blonde ale from Yards Brewing Company.)
Sat. 5/16; 12 p.m.-4 p.m. - Grey Lodge Beer Garden at Mayfair May Fair ($PAYG as Grey Lodge hosts the beer garden near the stage on Frankford Avenue for the family-friendly street party from Bleigh Street to Cottman Avenue.)
Sat. 5/16; 12 p.m.-8 p.m. - Wheat Beer Fest at Point Breeze Pop-Up ($PAYG to play, eat, drink, and socialize with wheat beers, SPTR's trust grill, and food trucks.)
Tue. 5/19; 7 p.m.-10 p.m. - Philly Beer Scene Awards at World Cafe Live ($50 to celebrate the local craft beer community.)

Phoenixville, Pa.
Thu. 5/14; 7 p.m. - Belgiumfest at Bistro on Bridge ($PAYG for some of Belgium’s finest with a Belgian inspired menu.)
Fri. 5/15; 11:30 a.m. - Third Friday Firkin Fest at Sly Fox Brewing Company ($PAYG for the Chester County Bitter pouring through the beer engines alongside Chester County Brown Ale and Chester County IPA.)

Wayne, Pa.
Wed. 5/20 - Alpine Brewing and Green Flash at Teresa's Next Door ($PAYG for a few beers from each of the breweries.)

West Chester, Pa.
Fri. 5/15; 7 p.m.-9 p.m. - Craft Beer Series: Ballast Point & Great Divide at The Inn Keeper's Kitchen ($70 for ten beers from two great breweries and five fun courses of food.)

Wilmington, Del.
Thu. 5/14; 6 p.m. - Grilled Cheese and Craft Beer Tasting at World Cafe Live ($40 for two of the best things on earth paired together — Grilled Cheese and Craft Beer — in unexpected and delicious ways. Bring your vegetarian friends, too — we can accommodate them on all pairings.)

York, Pa.
Sat. 5/16; 6 p.m.-9 p.m. - Brew Kids On The Block at York Fairgrounds ($15-$30 for four taps or more from breweries, all from PA.)



Friday, May 08, 2015

Philly Beer Week 2015 - A first peek at the numbers and an early Best Of List

Whoa, we're more than half way there. Whoa-oh, Leuven On A Prayer!

Before I get into the event schedule of May 29 to June 7, in case you haven't heard, the official Belgian collaboration beer of Philly Beer Week 2015 is called Leuven On A Prayer. I was honored (lucky?) to be a part of the traveling PBW contingent that paired up Free Will Brewing Company's John Stemler with Jef Janssens at Hof ten Dormaal (HtD) just outside Leuven, Belgium. The brew day went down on February 5 at the honest-to-goodness Belgian Farmhouse Brewery roughly twenty miles east of Brussels.

The backstory of the brewery, the beer, and our trip was more multi-faceted than any previous PBW collaboration, largely thanks to the catastrophic fire at HtD in January. If you're not familiar with HtD or the fire, there'll be plenty of opportunities at Opening Tap, events during the week, and fundraisers during Philly Beer Week 2015.

Plus, check out Free Will TONIGHT in Perkasie for a great way to support Hof ten Dormaal and drink and win some great beer along the way.

If you'd like to get caught up on more of the backstory, please check my excellent (humbly submitted) wrap-up from a few months ago. Plenty of pictures to go with the words as well.

Now on to the business the ten-day Philly Beer Week. Or, as I like to call it, an Imperial Philly Beer Week — because in Philly there could be no other kind.

Last Friday, the official calendar of events at PhillyBeerWeek.org counted 185 events. Today, it lists 331. If you know my tendencies around here, then you won't be surprised to know that I took some time an effort to break it down....in a spreadsheet, but of course.

There's really no point in sharing the spreadsheet yet as we still have three weeks for the event schedule to build and shake itself out. Let's just do a bit of slicing and dicing to help get you through your Friday. Grab a beer, it always makes things better.

Number of listed events as of May 8
35 - Friday, 5/29
41 - Saturday, 5/30
38 - Sunday, 5/31
35 - Monday, 6/1
33 - Tuesday, 6/2
40 - Wednesday, 6/3
34 - Thursday, 6/4
30 - Friday, 6/5
29 - Saturday, 6/6
16 - Sunday, 6/7

Number of listed events at the Uno Family - 37
Number of listed events at Whole Foods - 35

Number of city-based events - 224
Number of non city-based events - 107

Number of unique establishments/locations - 55
Number of events at a brewery - 15
Number of events at a bar - 283
Number of events with "takeover" in the event name - 30

Most expensive event - $125 for "The Too Many Cooks In The Kitchen With Beer Dinner" at Sancho Pistola's
Number of events listed as pay-as-you-go - 276
Number of events listed as "free" - 2

Number of events listing Free Will and Hof ten Dormaal - 4
Number of Leuven On A Prayer kegs arriving from Belgium - Roughly 35 (to be confirmed)

My personal Best Of List from event listings as of May 8

Best Nod to Philly Beer History - Take a beer and history tour of Christ Church Burial Ground for $10 any day of the week at 5:30 p.m. - $10

Best Buzz for your Buck - Opening Tap at 23rd Street Armory on 5/29 - $46

Best Train Ride - After $2 Dogfish Heads (on 5/30) or Russian Rivers (on 6/4) at Teresa's Next Door - $PAYG

Best Bus Ride - From Bethlehem Brew Works to Philly on 5/30 - $55

Best Way to Firk Off - Johnny Brenda's stacks 'em high on 5/30 - $PAYG

Best Rugby Tailgating - Pretty sure there'll only be one this year, so if you want to tailgate a rugby match at PPL Park with Saucony Creek Brewing, this is it on 5/30 - $30

Best Pub Crawl - Numerous Passyunk Avenue establishments bursting at the seams with beer, food, music, and probably much more all day long on 5/31 - $PAYG

Best Dinner - Iron Hill descends on Good Dog every year for a killer dinner, this year on 5/31 - $50

Best Belgian - Focal brewery for 2015 collaboration beer, Hof ten Dormaal, is sending brewer Jef Janssens who will show up at least at Opening Tap, Standard Tap, Jose Pistola's, Memphis Taproom, and Monk's Cafe. He's also due to brew at Free Will in Perkasie. A real fun dude you want to meet. Lunch at Monk's is on 6/2 - $TBD

Best Geeky Commercial Brew - Meet Terry Hawbaker of Pizza Boy and Intangible Ales at Bottle Bar East on 6/2 - $PAYG

Best Local Benefit - Doobies does cat-related fundraisers each year, usally with Flying Fish. This year there are two on 6/2 - $PAYG

Best Returning Brewers - Buds, Casey Hughes (Coppertail, Florida) and Mike Fava (Oxbow, Maine), return to both host events at Jose Pistola's on 6/2 - $PAYG

Best Beer & Cider - I'm big on Other Farm and if you haven't had their beers and cider, check 'em out with live jazz at Time on 6/3 - $PAYG

Best Ice Cream & Beer - I'm also big on Bent Spoon Ice Cream from Princeton ever since they attended the Brewer's Plate several years ago. They team up with Weyerbacher on 6/3 at Uno's in Hamilton, NJ - $PAYG

Best Geeky Homebrew - Meet Randy Mosher at 2nd Story Brewing Company on 6/3 - $10

Best Nod to Philly Prison History - London Grill, Stoudts Brewing Company, and Eastern State Penitentiary have a long intertwined history. It all is on display on 6/3 - $40

Best SoCal-based event - Lucky's Last Chance in Manayunk is hosting both Ballast Point and Green Flash on 6/3 - $PAYG

Best NYC-based event - Brooklyn is nuts for Other Half. They're at Jerry's Bar on 6/4 and Local 44 on 6/5 - $PAYG

Best Reason to Head Downstairs - Conshohocken Brewing Company and Wyndridge Farm Brewery at U-bahn on 6/5 - $PAYG

Best Street Fest - Back to Fishtown for the blocks-long outdoor festival tying together Johnny Brenda's, Fette Sau, and Frankford Hall on 6/6 - $PAYG

Best Barrels - Check out Firestone Walker's Barrelmeister at Strangelove's on 6/6 - $20

Best Sours - You know they'll be at almost every turn of the tap handle. Check out Standard Tap's Sour Brunch on 6/6 - $PAYG

Best Way to find out what a Raingutter Regatta is - With Casey Hughes (Coppertail, Florida) and Dan Conway (Capt. Lawrence, NY), you can bet it will be a spectacle to behold on 6/6 - $PAYG

Best Music - Wrap up PBW '15 at Dock Street with a fun scavenger run and free local music fest on 6/7 - $PAYG

Best NorCal-based event - Each year ends with a Russian River event at Local 44, this year on 6/7 - $PAYG

Best Way to Get Your Wood On - Memphis Taproom again hosts All-Weekend Wood from 6/5-6/7 - $PAYG

Best Way to Multi-Task - Head to Whole Foods beer section at either Devon, Glen Mills, or Plymouth Meeting as, between the three of them, they have unique events scheduled each day of PBW - $PAYG


Check back next week as this best-of list will attempt to keep up with the master calendar of events as it grows by the day.



Thursday, May 07, 2015

Weekly Beer Calendar Update: May 7 - May 13

Lots going on around the greater Philly region as the flowers are popping, grass is growing, and great beers are pouring from city to shore to the mountains. Philly itself is in the home stretch getting ready to go head strong in to Philly Beer Week beginning on May 29.

As you review beer events, don't forget PhillyTapFinder.com. As always, they host an impressive listing of beer event draft lists to help better inform your beer event planning.

Click through here for a look at the full monthly calendar of beer events around the Philadelphia region.

Altoona, Pa.
Sat. 5/9; 1 p.m.-4 p.m. and 6 p.m.-9 p.m. - Pints for Pets at Peoples Natural Gas Field ($35-$40 for a sampling of craft beers from over 80 breweries from across the country and around the world. 100% of all ticket proceeds go directly to the Central Pennsylvania Humane Society.)

Bethlehem, Pa.
Thu. 5/7; 5 p.m. - Charity Cask Night at Bethlehem Brew Works ($PAYG as 100% of cask sales will be donated to Northampton Community College Alumni Association.)

Birdsboro, Pa.
Sat. 5/9; 2 p.m.-6 p.m. - Boone's Beerfest at Daniel Boone Homestead ($15-$45 for unlimited 2 oz. pours, Boone House Tour, live music, and parking.)

Dover, Del.
Sat. 5/9; 6 p.m.-8 p.m. - Beer Dinner at the Brewery at Fordham & Dominion Brewing Company ($50 as Big Thunder Roadside Kitchen will serve five courses of food with F&D beers along the bottling line and amidst the brewing tanks.)

Downingtown, Pa.
Sun. 5/10; 10 a.m.-2 p.m. - Mother’s Day Brunch at Victory Brewing Company ($25 for adults and $12 for children for a brunch buffet in honor of Moms.)

Easton, Pa.
Thu. 5/7; 12 p.m. - Firkin Thursday at Weyerbacher ($PAYG for the featured Raspberry Tarte Nouveau from a firkin.)

Exton, Pa.
Fri. 5/8; 4 p.m.-6 p.m. - Brooklyn Brewery Tasting at Exton Beverage ($Free tasting samples of beers from Brooklyn Brewery.)
Sat. 5/9; 1 p.m.-3 p.m. - Wyndridge Farm Brewery Tasting at Exton Beverage ($Free tasting samples of beers from Wyndridge Farm Brewery.)

Hulmeville, Pa.
Thu. 5/7; 6 p.m. - Two Roads Brewing at Hulmeville Inn ($PAYG for Henry’s Farm Doppelbock, Unorthodox Russian Imperial Stout, Lil’ Heaven Session IPA, Road 2 Ruin IIPA, and Ol’ Factory Pils.)

Lancaster, Pa.
Thu. 5/7; 5 p.m. - Welcome Spring with Sours & Oysters at Hunger N Thirst ($PAYG for some American and Belgian sours paired with these delicious briny creatures.)
Fri. 5/8; 12:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. - Diplomat Dunkel Beer Release at Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant ($PAYG to celebrate Franklin & Marshall’s homecoming with the release of Diplomat Dunkel.)
Wed. 5/13; 5 p.m. - Lost Abbey at Hunger N Thirst ($PAYG for five of Lost Abbey's delicious brews and two dinner specials.)

Media, Pa.
Thu. 5/7; 6 p.m.-8 p.m. - Victory Tap Takeover at Pinocchio's ($PAYG for a night filled with beers from Victory.)
Sat. 5/9; 1 p.m.-5 p.m. - Brandywine Valley Craft Brewers Festival at Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant ($5-$45 for a showcase of live music, great food, and the finest handcrafted beers from the region's best craft breweries — all while raising funds for the local Media Youth Center.)
Tue. 5/12 through Sat. 5/16 - 60th Anniversary Celebration at Pinocchio's ($PAYG for daily specials culminating in Family Fun Day on Saturday, May 16.)

Mount Hope, Pa.
Sat. 5/9; 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. - BrewFest at Mount Hope Estate & Winery ($25-$50 for a variety of different breweries from across the country, live music, various merchants, and complimentary food.)

Newark, Del.
Thu. 5/7; 6 p.m. - Brewers Pizza Night at Argilla Brewing Company ($35 for a three-course pizza and beer collaborative menu with owner Steve Powell and Dogfish Head's Sam Calagione.)
Sat. 5/9; 11 a.m. - Spring Fest at Argilla Brewing Company ($PAYG for live music, great food, and delicious brews.)

Perkasie, Pa.
Fri. 5/8; 3 p.m.-9 p.m. - Hof ten Dormaal Fundraiser at Free Will Brewing Company ($PAYG for a night of food, beer, raffles, and live Beer Busters show to benefit the official Belgian collaboration brewery for Philly Beer Week 2015, Hof ten Dormaal in the wake of their tragic brewery fire earlier in 2015.)

Philadelphia, Pa.
Thu. 5/7; 7 p.m.-10 p.m. - Moustached Beer Dinner at Prime Stache ($50 to learn about homebrewing during a four-course meal served with Great Lakes Edward Fitzgerald Porter, Firestone Pivo Pils, Lagunitas IPA, and Stillwater Classique Saison.)
Fri. 5/8; 6 p.m. - Left Hand Tap Takeover and Sampling at Bottle Bar East ($PAYG for a lineup of beers from Left Hand.)
Fri. 5/8 through Sun. 5/10 - Bocks & Brats at Johnny Brenda's ($PAYG for a weekend of Spring Bock bier and housemade sausages. Plus, two of our favorite goats, Simon and Peggy, past winners of Sly Fox Goat Races will be visiting us Saturday, May 9 from 12 p.m.-3 p.m.)
Sat. 5/9; 12 p.m.-5 p.m. - Greater Northeast Philadelphia Beer Fest at Canstatter's ($10-$45 for more than 75 of the best craft brews from around the country.)
Sat. 5/9; 12 p.m.-8 p.m. - IPA Block Party at Hawthornes ($PAYG for live music, beer, street fare, and free entrance. We will absolutely have a few beers for those not so IPA inclined, including gluten free.)
Sat. 5/9; 4 p.m.-7 p.m. - Two Roads Can Party at Memphis Taproom ($PAYG to enjoy Two Roads' cans for the first time in the Beer Garden.)
Sat. 5/9 through Sat. 6/27 (weekly on Saturdays); 11 a.m.-1 p.m. - Brewing Program at Philly Beer School ($549.99 for a 9-week class on Saturdays that will give you the hands-on experience any brewer needs.)
Mon. 5/11; 6 p.m.-8 p.m. - Bottle Shop Happy Hour at Local 44 Bottle Shop ($Free tasting samples of beers from Port Brewing and Lost Abbey.)

Wayne, Pa.
Thu. 5/7 - The Alpha Test at Teresa's Next Door ($PAYG for three tiers of hoppy beers from Captain Lawrence — Seeking Alpha IPA, Captains Reserve Imperial IPA, and their regular India Pale Ale.)
Wed. 5/13 - Introducing Levante Brewing at Teresa's Next Door ($PAYG for The Chief IPA, Pallid Pale, The Norseman, and The Kolsch on draft. Come on out and welcome them to the beer world.)

West Chester, Pa.
Fri. 5/8; 5 p.m.-9 p.m. - Golden Ram IPA Beer Release at Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant ($PAYG to celebrate WCU’s graduation with the release of our Golden Ram IPA.)

Yardley, Pa.
Sat. 5/9; 12 p.m.-5 p.m. - Yardley Brew Fest along the Delaware River ($10-$75 for music, homebrew corner, food, and fun.)

And a little here, there, and everywhere in between
Wed. 5/13 through Sun. May 17 - MidAtlantic Wine + Food Festival at various locations around Delaware, as well as Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland ($Varies for one-of-a-kind epicurean experiences, meet and chat with vintners, brewers, distillers and other experts, and take a culinary journey through what frontier historian Frederick Jackson Turner dubbed "the typically American region.")