Thursday, June 14, 2018

A growing CANarchy is afoot. Deep Ellum joins the team.

I'll admit that when I saw the multi-day, outdoor CANarchy event in Nashville during the Craft Brewers Conference last month, I thought it was just a marketing play on words to promote an event. Then, after a little extra effort and scrutinizing the participating breweries (Oskar Blues, Cigar City, Perrin, Wasatch, and Squatters), I came to learn that it was the umbrella name for their new company collective.

Now they have one more on Team CANarchy — Deep Ellum. I've drank the beers while elsewhere in Texas, but haven't been to the rollicking Deep Ellum neighborhood in Dallas for nearly 15 years in the time that it was just growing up.

Take it away, press release.

Deep Ellum Brewing Company Joins CANarchy Craft Brewery Collective

DALLAS, TX - JUNE 12, 2018 - Deep Ellum Brewing Company is the latest craft brewery to join the CANarchy Craft Brewery Collective. For Deep Ellum, a craft brewery with rough edges and deep roots in the Deep Ellum neighborhood of Dallas, Texas, the move to join the disruptive collective of independent brewers will immediately provide resources for increased production and distribution.

Founded in 2011 by John Reardon, Deep Ellum Brewing Company quickly grew to become the third largest independent craft brewery in Texas, led by its flagship brews, Dallas Blonde and Deep Ellum IPA. In 2017, Deep Ellum grew 37% to produce more than 45,000 bbls in Texas only, with the vast majority being consumed within 20 miles of the brewery.

“It’s been a hell of a ride for all of us at Deep Ellum and I believe this is just the beginning,” said John Reardon. ”We’ve been looking for the right partner to grow the Deep Ellum brand and I believe we’ve found that with CANarchy. They’re a group of like-minded people that have not conformed to the status-quo and have hit critical mass on the path of coming together and remaining independent. We’re all in.”

CANarchy provides a platform from which rapidly growing craft breweries seeking high level resources can expand and compete in the increasingly competitive craft beer segment, while maintaining independence. The platform is driven by individual brewery culture, giving brewers control of their businesses and brands, while providing resources and support to scale their respective operations.

“Deep Ellum Brewing has created a strong community and now they’re facing next-level challenges that we’ve seen before. Within CANarchy, we can solve those problems in our own way,” said Joey Redner, founder of Cigar City Brewing, who joined CANarchy in June of 2016. After immediately addressing capacity issues, CANarchy was able to assist Cigar City Brewing to expand distribution and increase shipments 43% from 65,000 bbls to 92,000 bbls in 2017.

“CANarchy’s culture thrives on collaboration among craft breweries blazing their own path and doing things their own way. John and the Deep Ellum crew light the fire of craft beer in DFW and will bring that same fire to our collective,” Dale Katechis, Soul Founder of Oskar Blues, said about the new partnership.

“During my time at the University of Colorado I specifically remember my first can of Dale’s Pale Ale, and that experience is part of the reason I’m in this business. Joining a collective of such irreverent and disruptive founders and leaders is exactly what Deep Ellum has been looking for,” said John Reardon.

Deep Ellum is currently undergoing a large expansion, including a 60-barrel brewhouse at the company’s primary facility that is expected to come online within the next few months. The brewery is operating at maximum capacity and is projecting 55,000 bbls of production in 2018. Deep Ellum is also constructing a taproom in Fort Worth, Texas, that will incorporate a 5 bbl Brewhouse and retail space that is scheduled to open in late fall of 2018.

CANarchy was recently ranked #9 on the Brewers Association’s list of the 2017 Top 50 U.S. Craft Brewers as ranked by sales volume. The portfolio includes Oskar Blues Brewery, Perrin Brewing Company, Cigar City Brewing, Squatters Craft Beer and Wasatch Brewery. The collective is the #1 provider of American craft beer in a can and has driven Cigar City Brewing’s Jai Alai IPA and Oskar Blues’ Dale’s Pale Ale to the #1 and #2 sold craft can six packs in U.S. Grocery.

Terms of the transaction are not disclosed.

About Deep Ellum Brewing Company
In 2011, Deep Ellum Brewing Company set up shop in the Deep Ellum neighborhood of Dallas, Texas - the first craft brewery to open in Dallas in over a decade. Since then, Deep Ellum has become as well known for its innovative brewing and exceptional quality as it has for its healthy disdain for the status quo. Like the notorious neighborhood it calls home, the brewery is bold, fearless, and unapologetic. The idea of “blending in” was never part of the plan - at the bar or on the shelf. With a commitment to staying true to their reckless streak, their rough edges and their roots, Deep Ellum has quickly grown to become the 3rd largest independent craft brewery in Texas and the 65th largest brewery overall. Led by its flagships, Deep Ellum IPA and Dallas Blonde, the brewery has amassed an extremely devoted fan base across Texas and beyond.  @deepellumbrewing #LoveRunsDeep

About CANarchy Craft Brewery Collective
Founded in 2015, CANarchy is a disruptive collective of like-minded brewers dedicated to bringing quality and innovative flavors to beer drinkers in the name of independent craft beer. The portfolio of craft breweries, partially funded by Fireman Capital Partners, including Oskar Blues Brewery, Deep Ellum Brewing, Perrin Brewing Company, Cigar City Brewing, Squatters Craft Beer and Wasatch Brewery and newly added Deep Ellum Brewing Company, is challenging corporate convention to preserve independent craft beer culture. CANarchy is the #1 provider of American craft beer in a can by bringing value to distributors, retailers and beer drinkers. CANarchy was recently ranked #9 on list of the 2017 Top 50 U.S. Craft Brewers as ranked by sales volume. Cigar City Brewing Jai Alai IPA and Oskar Blues’ Dale’s Pale Ale are currently the #1 and #2 sold craft can six packs in U.S. Grocery. The CANarchy platform brewed over 350,000 bbls in 2017, reaching all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., parts of Canada, Puerto Rico, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, the U.K., Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Brazil, and South Korea.

© Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge, 2018. All content is owned and uniquely created by Bryan J. Kolesar. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Kolesar is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, images, and links may be used with advance permission granted and only provided that full and clear credit is given to Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Contact Kolesar at

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

A nod to brewing history is back on display in Reading, PA

(photo credit: Brewers of Pennsylvania)

There are casualties during every Philly Beer Week. Often times they are related to missed e-mails and missed events. This one was out in the home turf of my youth, Berks County. Sorry to have missed the unveiling, but still nice to hear of this happening. Cue the press release. (and also, a nice news video from WFMZ)

Frederick Lauer Monument Restoration Complete
Rededication Ceremony Set for Friday, June 8th

HARRISBURG, PA (6.4.18) – After more than two years of committed work, the Brewers of Pennsylvania, the state’s official brewers guild, announces today that the Frederick Lauer Monument in Reading’s City Park has been restored. Lauer, the first national president of the U.S. Brewers Association (BA) is considered to be one of the early driving forces in establishing what would eventually become modern day brewing.

To commemorate the brewing pioneer’s trailblazing leadership and dedication to the local community, the BA constructed a monument in his honor in 1885 and gifted it to the City of Reading. It was the city’s very first statue. In early 2015, the monument was vandalized, and four bronze plaques were removed from its base. In 2016, the BA, the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, donated $25,000 to Reading to restore the statue and the Brewers of Pennsylvania (BOP) collected donations from local breweries for repair work. In 2018, the BOP also donated $3,000 to the restoration project. The final round of fundraising came in the spring of 2018 when members of the Berks Brewers Guild produced a collaboration brew, Lauer’s Fellowship Ale. For each pint sold, participating breweries donated $3.50 to complete the restoration. The group raised over $5,000.

To celebrate the completion of the project, members of the Berks Brewers Guild, including BOP members Broken Chair Brewing Company (West Reading), Chatty Monks (West Reading), Oakbrook Brewing Company (Reading), Saucony Creek Brewing Company (Kutztown) as well as Schaylor Brewing Company (Shillington) will be hosting a free rededication ceremony of the monument on Friday, June 8th from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the monument in Reading’s City Park (Washington Street & N 11th Street).

The event will include a Lauer's Fellowship Ale toast for those 21 and over, and a rereading of the speeches from the original monument dedication in 1885. The historic Ringgold Band, formed in 1852 and proud to be one of America’s first community bands, will provide entertainment. The Ringgold Band played at the original dedication in 1885.

“As the state’s official brewers guild, the BOP felt it was our duty to do our part in helping restore the
monument honoring Frederick Lauer, a local and national icon whose dedication to the craft of brewing beer helped pave the way for so many of our members as well as those beyond our Association from coast to coast,” said Chris Lampe, President of the Brewers of Pennsylvania and Co-owner and Production Manager at Weyerbacher. “Those who understand the craft beer industry know we all stick together, and we consider it a privilege to have teamed up with the Brewers Association and the Berks Brewers Guild in restoring this important piece of history.”

The first phase of the restoration project was completed in 2016, and involved replacement of the stolen bronze plaques and preservation work to the statue. This second phase focused on releveling the stone post and pier base, which had settled unevenly over the years, as well as replacement of the soil at the base, improvement in the drainage inside the base, and replanting the area with Sweet Woodruff, which will eventually spread and provide an attractive and low-maintenance groundcover. In addition, decorative stone was set in place to beautify what had previously been unattractive exposed stone aggregate beneath the statue.

Born in Germany in 1810, Lauer immigrated to the United States at age 12. He learned the brewing
process at an early age from his father. By age 16, he was foreman for his family’s brewery, and at 25, he became the brewery’s proprietor. For decades to follow, through innovation, hard work and business savvy, Lauer established himself as a brewing pioneer not only locally, but throughout the country.

Lauer’s commitment to pioneering the brewing industry was matched by his devotion to Reading. As
noted by the Berks History Center, Lauer was a key figure in changing Reading from the status of a
borough to a city in 1847. He helped to organize the Berks County Agricultural Society and the Board of Trade. Lauer also helped finance the Reading and Columbia Railroad, and he was a member of several charity groups, including the Reading Dispensary, Reading Relief Society and Reading Benevolent Society. His dedication to civic involvement led him to donate part of his seven-acre lot so that it could made into a park for community recreation.

About the Brewers of Pennsylvania - The Brewers of Pennsylvania is a 501c6 trade association that brings together leaders of Pa.-based breweries in order to promote and protect the brewing industry in the state. The Brewers of Pennsylvania, a strong and influential organization, serves the consuming public of Pa. by encouraging brand diversity in the market. BOP members employ an estimated 10,000 employees earning $296 million in wages and generating $1.1 billion in direct economic benefits to communities throughout the state. Its signature annual event is the popular Meeting of the Malts. #supportPAbeer

© Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge, 2018. All content is owned and uniquely created by Bryan J. Kolesar. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Kolesar is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, images, and links may be used with advance permission granted and only provided that full and clear credit is given to Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Contact Kolesar at

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Dogfish Head - still going and still growing

While Dogfish Head is on my mind, particularly after dabbling in its Philly Beer Week annual collaboration with a Belgian brewer — in this year's case, it was Browerij De Brabandere — it reminded me to pass along one of the more recent press releases I've received. This one announcing the current status of DFH's growth in its home state of Delaware over the last three years. If you visit Rehoboth Beach, you likely are already aware. If not, read on.

Dogfish Head Celebrates Completion of Three-Year Journey Bringing Together all the Goodness in Rehoboth
Opening of new courtyard, merchandise store and brewing and distilling systems
Rehoboth Beach, Del., May 29, 2018 – After 23 years of serving original beers and spirits, wood-fired food and world-class music, Dogfish Head is embarking on a new era of creating more goodness as they celebrate the completion of a three-year journey at the location where it originally began on Rehoboth Ave.  The beautifully landscaped courtyard, new brewhouse and distillery operations, and Off-Centered EmPOURium store is the final stage in bringing together the downtown restaurants,  Brewings & Eats – an off-centered brewpub, and Chesapeake & Maine – a geographically inspired seafood restaurant, and establishing it as the heart for all things Dogfish.
The project commenced in 2015 when they first began construction on Chesapeake & Maine, then went on to build a new, world-class Brewings & Eats in the former parking area. Dogfish then tore down the original pub to make way for the new courtyard and operational enhancements. “From the world-class stage to the killer brewing and distilling program, guests can truly experience 360° of Dogfish in the same place we first began our story in 1995 as the smallest craft brewery in America,” says Sam Calagione, CEO and founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. “I’m most proud that over the years we’ve been successful in building our Rehoboth restaurant brands as top beer destinations in the Mid-Atlantic region, and by coming together, and connecting our beer, food, spirits, music and merchandise – we can provide a world-class, panoramic, multi-sensory experience for folks to enjoy at our downtown properties.”
The charmingly landscaped, dog-friendly outdoor patio area seats 36 guests and serves as a passageway connecting Brewings & Eats and Chesapeake & Maine. The menu offers a full selection of food and drink offerings from the pub.  With a rustic wooden exterior and large glass windows framing the courtyard, the gathering space offers behind-the-scenes views into the brewing and distilling production areas along with allowing guests to see bartenders and mixologists serving drinks and chatting up customers through the windows of both restaurants.  Nestled in the corner of the patio is a beautiful, 14-barrel mash tun dating from the late 90s.  Handcrafted in the UK, this wooden relic was Calagione’s dream mash tun back in the day when he first opened the doors for business in Rehoboth.  When the opportunity to purchase the brewing equipment became available, Calagione jumped at the chance to bring it home to Dogfish and plans to incorporate it into the off-centered outdoor garden as a beer-inspired rain barrel of sorts.
The new, fully-manual five-barrel brewhouse system includes five fermentation tanks and five serving tanks.  These enhancements allow for increased brewing production capacity enabling Bryan Selders, Dogfish Head Brewing Ambassador, the ability to create a significantly higher volume of ingredient-driven, inventive brewpub exclusives. The new 50-gallon still allows Graham Hamblett, Lead Distiller at Dogfish Head Distilling Co., to experiment with creating culinary-inspired spirits which will be served at the Rehoboth restaurants.
To celebrate the opening, Dogfish Head Distilling Co. is debuting Lemon & Peppercorn Vodka, a spirit that captures the essence of both restaurants as it contains the quintessential seafood seasoning found at Chesapeake & Maine, with a wood fire smoked twist done at Brewings & Eats. Using Analog Vodka as the base, they distill dried lemon peel and a medley of peppercorns. This citrus-peppery spirit is used to macerate hand-sliced, wood-fire grilled lemons from Brewings & Eats. Lemon & Peppercorn Vodka will be exclusively available in the restaurants.
For those looking to take a little bit of the Dogfish Head universe home, guests can swing into the Off-Centered EmPOURium to purchase Dogfish merchandise, including exclusive Rehoboth t-shirts, hoodies and hats. Folks can also find keychains, stickers, coasters and glassware.  Keeping the spirit alive from the original Brewings & Eats, the counter top in the Off-Centered EmPOURium is the old bar top from the 1995 pub.  Bike racks and stroller parking are also available.
For more information about Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats, Chesapeake & Maine and the Off-Centered EmPOURium, visit

Dogfish Head:
Dogfish Head has proudly been focused on brewing beers with culinary ingredients outside the Reinheitsgebot since the day it opened as the smallest American craft brewery 23 years ago. Dogfish Head has grown into a top-20 craft brewery and has won numerous awards throughout the years including Wine Enthusiast’s 2015 Brewery of the Year and the James Beard Foundation Award for 2017 Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional. It is a 300+ coworker company based in Delaware with Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats, an off-centered brewpub and distillery, Chesapeake & Maine, a geographically enamored seafood restaurant, Dogfish Inn, a beer-themed inn on the harbor and Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, a production brewery and distillery featuring a tasting room and food truck.  Dogfish Head supports the Independent Craft Brewing Seal, the definitive icon for American craft breweries to identify themselves to be independently-owned and carries the torch of transparency, brewing innovation and the freedom of choice originally forged by brewing community pioneers. Dogfish Head currently sells beer in 42 states and Washington D.C. and will expand into additional states in 2018. For more information, visit, Facebook: @dogfishheadbeer, Twitter: @dogfishbeer, and Instagram: dogfishhead.

© Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge, 2018. All content is owned and uniquely created by Bryan J. Kolesar. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Kolesar is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, images, and links may be used with advance permission granted and only provided that full and clear credit is given to Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Contact Kolesar at

Friday, June 01, 2018

Philly Beer Week 2018. But, first, a look back on the Top 10 Greatest Hits of the last 10 years

(If you know me well enough, you know how uncomfortable I am putting this picture of me up top, front and center. But, I very rarely do this and, well, I kind of like the picture)

From year to year, Philly Beer Week (really, it should be called an imperial beer week because, you know, it's ten days, not seven) looks much the same, tied together with a dizzying lineup of beer events from simple tastings to educational experiences to creatively raucous events to extravagant food pairings. This year, though on smaller scale with less participating establishments and less overall events, will likely be no different.

At this point, you're probably counting the minutes until the end of your work day so you can get out 'n' about chasing the Hammer, or meeting up at events scattered through the city, including Opening Tap later tonight. Or maybe you're already out there in the soup. Don't forget to hydrate; it's gonna be a tough one out there today.

Follow along here long enough and you should know you can count on me to check in both here and on the socials as I make my way through my own custom-built PBW schedule. Since it's never possible to take in everything, or even everything you begin the day expecting to see in person, each person's view of PBW is a rather personal one.

With ten years of PBW under our belts now, and with me there every step of the way both writing about it and attending (and, of course, if you know your Philly beer scene, you know I don't confine myself just to PBW, but the year-round "event" that is Philly beer), here is my own version of a Top 10 list that I've witnessed from 2008-2017. Will there be anything to add to the list after June 10. Time, and beer, will tell.

#10 - You know what? I came up dry on a #10. So you tell me from your experience, what has been one of the most memorable, the most important, the most identifiable aspects of Philly Beer Week?

#9 - Philly Beer Run
I'm often told I don't toot my own horn enough. Prior to the first PBW, I conducted fun runs in conjunction with area breweries in both the city and suburbs. In 2008, I conducted a PBW running event that began at the Art Museum and ended at Dock Street. No one else did such a thing at that time and some in the beer world derided me for mixing the two. Around 25 people showed up. It was free and Dock Street donated their space, pizza, and beer. The following year I did another event and attracted 52 runners. So did Bishop's Collar, which attracted Adam Avery, Steve Beaumont, Sam Calagione, Brian O'Reilly, and Tom Kehoe (on moped!). Fishtown Beer Runners was founded around the same time. I got a little sappy after my 2010 event. I continued to conduct these running & beer events during PBW in the form of races, scavenger hunts, simple fun runs, and peaked in 2012 with a real, bona fide 5-k race starting and ending at Dock Street. 400 people showed up and paid $40 each on a brutal 90+ degree day. It was pretty damn epic if I do say so. I took the show to San Francisco Beer Week too, conducting beer runs with local breweries. These days, beer is found in countless fitness forms from running to yoga to can jam, etc. I don't claim to have started the phenomenon, but I am beyond proud of being a part of the "movement" that took place during PBW over the years.

#8 - T.T.U.D.
Fergie's plays a big part in the year-round celebration of great beer and great times in Philly with its wonderful atmosphere, events, and consummate host, Fergie Carey. The T.U.D. (totally unnecessary drink) event became a real thing in 2008 (or was it 2009) where countless fans of great beer joined up with brewery personnel and descended after their last day's events concluded to unwind with unnecessary beers and unnecessary, but incredible, karaoke.

#7 - Philly Beer Geek
Every industry has its know-it-alls, but let's admit that beer geeks are right up there with the fiercely-knowingest of them all. The PBG competition lasted for quite a few years and attracted some of the brightest individuals who may know more than some certified cicerones. And the judging panels were usually an enlightened bunch of beer personalities (except in 2010, the year that I was on the panel), which made the event all the more fun.

#6 - Fritz Maytag at Four Seasons
The Four Seasons was part of the city's beer scene for a little while, hosting events with Dock Street during the year and, in 2009, hosting one of the most celebrated and important figures in American Craft Brewing history — Fritz Maytag of Anchor Brewing in San Francisco. My unscientific feeling is that this was a time when beer began finding its way to places and on to menus previously inconceivable.

#5 - Throwdown in Franklintown
For many years, Kite & Key was a integral part of PBW, typically requiring more than one stop during the ten days because of the events and the beers and the guests. One of the signature events was the Throwdown In Franklintown. Street closure and the occasional police participation added to the over-the-top spectacle of brewery personnel battling each other in raucous events. K&K still does its thing very well throughout the year and is probably worth a stop when you're in the neighborhood for PBW.

#4 - The Brewer's Plate
When PBW was held in March in 2008 & 2009 (pause, sigh, sip, roll eyes, sip, repeat), it also included The Brewer's Plate, which still goes strong in March and is now at The Kimmel Center. What a fantastic cornerstone event this was to be part of PBW.

#3 - Visitors from near and far
PBW, particularly in its early years, attracted not only consumers from around the country and world, but also brewers too many to count. "Rock star" brewers were everywhere in the city (and the suburbs occasionally) and the crowds followed, no doubt elevating Philly's already strong and credible beer scene as a legitimate beer destination. As you can see below, Curt Decker (then of Nodding Head, now Second District) was often at the center of it all.

#2 - Hammer of Glory
The Hammer of Glory became synonymous with PBW in 2009 and has been carted around the world, been hijacked, been recovered, been polished, used for mayoral tappings, and been in the hands of thousands more. It has its own tour around the city on the first day of PBW each year and has worked well year-in and year-out to generate enthusiasm and recognition for the country's first 10-day Beer Week.

#1 - Monk's dinners
I mentioned "rock star" brewers before. It's not a term used so much anymore but there was a time 10-15 years ago when you couldn't not hear it. Monk's beer dinners through the years have always been, or at least bordered on, epic. No need to spell out the well-documented role that Monk's (and its famed back room, particularly late at night) and its proprietor, Tom Peters, has continued to play in this city's, and country's, beer scene. But, maybe no better way to illustrate it and see the intersection with PBW than captured in this picture below of he and business partner Fergie Carey with three of Belgium's most celebrated brewing figures and where I had captioned it at the time — "three Belgian brewers who had never previously dined together". Thereby solidifying the draw of Monk's and power of Philly Beer Week.

Want to see more of what I've documented through the years of Philly Beer Week? Warning, there's quite a bit behind each of these links below (but they do link to a "master index" for each year to make it easier to navigate) but it sure is a fun trip down memory lane. Fyi, I more/less took off 2014 and 2015 from my obsessive documentation of PBW to write and sell my book Beer Lover's Mid-Atlantic.....hence the missing years. And, last year, for reasons both known and unknown, I never did fully wrap up the days and week as I had in previous years. Maybe I'll atone for that shortcoming this year. Stay tuned, and stay thirsty.

*2008* --- *2009* --- *2010* --- *2011* --- *2012* --- *2013* --- *2016* --- *2017*

© Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge, 2018. All content is owned and uniquely created by Bryan J. Kolesar. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Kolesar is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, images, and links may be used with advance permission granted and only provided that full and clear credit is given to Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Contact Kolesar at

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Upcoming anniversary weekend at Urban Village

Been one year already since Urban Village Brewing Company opened in Philly's Northern Liberties neighborhood, the day before Philly Beer Week 2017 kicked off. Then, they had a car crash through the front door, unintentionally getting their name all over the news. But, the beers were already making a name for themselves. A few personal favorites included the very distinctive Beets by J Berliner Weisse (3% and full of bright red beets), Rye Bread Rye IPA (7.5% and spicy to match the name), and Oatis Oatmeal Stout (7% nice and solid stout). The Beets by J made a reappearance at Brewer's Plate in March and I couldn't have been more pleased, one of the standouts of the evening.

And here we are a year later. When I first saw notice of the anniversary party, and especially that it runs for the entirety of the weekend, I figured it'd be easy to slide it in between hopscotching between other events. When, will be the question. There's a can and bottle release on Friday, though, with my schedule and little interest in carrying bags with me, I think I'll leave these to the rest of you, maybe stopping in for a quick Birthday Beer draft prior to Opening Tap just a few blocks away. But, the Pig Roast on Saturday (with or without rain, no matter!) sounds like a good bet.

Urban Village Brewing To Celebrate One Year With Weekend-long Party And Three New Beers

3 Full Days and 3 Special Beers … Plus a Pig Roast!

Philadelphia, PA (May 24, 2018)Urban Village Brewing Company in Northern Liberties is celebrating their first year of business and brewing with a bang. The brewery and restaurant known for their playful beers and naturally leavened pizza opened its doors on June 1, 2017. Since then, co-owner and head brewer Dave Goldman has brewed over 1,000 barrels of beer while his partner, Tom Revelli, has overseen the service of thousands of meals, family-friendly brunches, monthly beer runs, a freak U-Haul accident that inspired the popular Wrong Way IPA and even a once-in-a-lifetime Super Bowl viewing party.

To celebrate a year of highs, Urban Village is throwing a three-day party from June 1st to June 3rd, which will include all day celebrations complete with a pig roast and special offerings of limited edition beers.

In addition to the festivities, three brand new and ultra-rare beers will be available for the big birthday. Birthday Beer will be available on tap from Friday, June 1 to Sunday, June 3. The Belgian Golden Ale was brewed with orange and juniper and fermented with Belgian Abbey yeast and aged in Spanish sherry barrels that were last used by neighboring New Liberty Distillery to finish their rye whiskey. Birthday Beer packs a punch at 10% ABV and there will be 48 bottles available for purchase at Urban for $20 each. A remainder of beer will be bottled and aged for future landmark celebrations. Similarly, Dime Piece, a 10% ABV barrel-aged Belgian Quad will be available in limited quantities of bottles over the weekend for $20 each. This Belgian Quad was brewed exclusively with PA malts from Deer Creek in Glen Mills and aged in New Liberty’s Dutch Malt bourbon barrels.

Super Villain is a hazy IPA made with lots of oats and milk sugar. It’s double dry-hopped with Motueka, Vic Secret and Mosaic hops and the result is a sweet, juicy beer with citrusy, fruit and floral aromas. Super Villain will be canned and available on June 1 at the brewery for $15/four-pack and distributed to beer stores in the region the following week. Only 250 cases will be canned and distributed.

General manager and co-owner Tom Revelli says, “We were lucky enough to be immediately accepted by the community and our neighbors and want to show our thanks the only way we know how: with killer food, great beers and big block party. We’re thrilled to celebrate year one and toast to many, many more.”

Follow Urban Village on social media to stay informed: @urbanvillagebrewing on Instagram and

About Urban Village Brewing Company
Urban Village Brewing Company is a Philadelphia-based brewpub located in the neighborhood of Northern Liberties and founded by Landmark Americana’s Dave Goldman and Tom Revelli. This one-off concept offers tank-to-table craft beers brewed on site and brick-oven fired pizzas and artisan bread specialties prepared with natural, yeast leavened dough.

© Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge, 2018. All content is owned and uniquely created by Bryan J. Kolesar. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Kolesar is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, images, and links may be used with advance permission granted and only provided that full and clear credit is given to Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Contact Kolesar at

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Philly Beer Week 2018. Three days 'til kickoff and one last look at the calendar

Here we go one more time. After today, not doing any more detailed sleuthing through the PBW '18 calendar. If an event's not listed by this point of T-minus three days until the kickoff, I can certainly go with what's been taken seriously enough to get planned and on the calendar before now. Although, spelling of an establishment's own name, and an occasional brewery, and a growing number of duplicate events (48 as of last night) still seems to be an issue. And, the website and calendar navigation? Well, I've heard again from enough of you that I won't dwell on it here, but suffice to say, I wouldn't be undertaking these efforts to share with you if I didn't know it was appreciated.

Here's what's new since my update last week with data drawn late last night. As always, my standard disclaimer that while I fully trust my own data cleansing and analytical processes, the PBW website should always be seen as the official calendar of record.

However, again, if you'd like a copy of my spreadsheet containing the "cleaned calendar", feel free to ask and I'll shoot it right over to you. Those that have requested in the past will get a proactive forward of the calendar sent this afternoon.

    - 338 unique events (up from 222) listed by 56 establishments in the city and 12 outside, including beer gardens, non-traditional venues, and grocery stores (eight locations are Whole Foods stores)

    - up from just three, there are now at least ten dog-related events; that sounds more typical

    - all the Uptown Beer Garden events now appear to be listed; always a nice respite, weather permitting

    - By day, here are the current number of events, with the previous count in parentheses
         Fri. Jun. 1 - 35   (20)
         Sat. Jun. 2 - 40   (26)
         Sun. Jun. 3 - 34   (20)
         Mon. Jun. 4 - 29   (19)
         Tue. Jun. 5 - 38   (22)
         Wed. Jun. 6 - 36   (24)
         Thu. Jun. 7 - 45   (31)
         Fri. Jun. 8 - 36   (22)
         Sat. Jun. 9 - 30   (24)
         Sun. Jun. 10 - 16   (14)

    - a few new events catching my eye and have me considering adjusting my personal schedule include: the Urban Village anniversary weekend from 6/1-6/3; Sterling Pig cookout at Prohibition Taproom on 6/3; Shelton Night at Pistola's Del Sur on 6/7; Late Night with Joe Gunn at Jose Pistola's on either 6/5 or 6/7; and the Samuel Smith feature at Grey Lodge moved from Saturday to Friday, 6/8, which is definitely more convenient for me and something I'd really like to pop in for, if for nothing else than a walk down early 90's memory lane.

    - The Hammer of Glory Tour is shaping up, but really would like to see more details at the official itinerary before committing to any part of my Friday.

    - Opening Tap looks to be ready to go with a full lineup of attending breweries. Lots of locals, a few noticeable absentees, and more than a handful of out-of-towners. Expect this to be more crowded this year, being held on a Friday instead of a Thursday night, as was last year's.

    - 197 events (nearly 60%) are listed at the following
         Bru, U-bahn, Cinder - 38
         Grey Lodge, Hop Angel, Bonk's - 24
         both Lucky's Last Chance - 22
         all Whole Foods - 19
         both Garages - 15
         Interstate Draft House - 11
         Standard Tap - 10
         Memphis Taproom - 10
         Uptown Beer Garden - 10
         Johnny Brenda's - 9
         Devil's Den - 9
         Strangelove's - 9
         City Tap Houses and Field House - 9

© Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge, 2018. All content is owned and uniquely created by Bryan J. Kolesar. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Kolesar is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, images, and links may be used with advance permission granted and only provided that full and clear credit is given to Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Contact Kolesar at

Friday, May 25, 2018

Major change at Sly Fox: Brewmaster Brian O'Reilly to depart

(Brian O'Reilly, far left, on a panel with Philadelphia area peers at Johnny Brenda's during the Craft Brewers Conference in 2016.)

Without consulting my records, my hunch is that the last significant, publicly recognizable departure at the Head Brewer/Brewmaster position at a Philadelphia-area brewery was somewhere between Iron Hill (Bob Barrar at the Media location leaving to start up 2SP) and Rock Bottom (Brian McConnell pulling up long stakes in King of Prussia to open Sterling Pig). Those were both, I'm thinking, in the 2015 timeframe. (I know, I know, I could just consult my handy lil spreadsheet; but my memory isn't too shot yet, so let's go with that.)

Now, Brian O'Reilly is off on a brand-new venture in Philly from Sly Fox, with which he's become rather synonymous since joining them 15+ years ago from New Road Brew House in CT (Collegeville, thanks for the correction to Jack Curtin), and before that John Harvard's in Cleveland and Brewer's Bier Haus. The press release below tells all. And, congratulations to Tim Ohst, also a long fixture of the brewery for now formally being recognized as Director of Brewing Operations. As many know, he's been the top dog in the day-to-day brewing for many years and, as O'Reilly mentioned somewhat humorously in a quote to Forbes, "To be honest I haven’t really made wort in many years."

(photo courtesy Sly Fox Brewing Company)

O'Reilly to Start New Philly Venture
Sly Fox Positioned to Maintain Quality and Innovation

May 24, 2018 — Pottstown, PA—The brewmaster responsible for transitioning Sly Fox Brewing Company into a regional independent craft brewing competitor will leave the brewery in early July, the company announced today.

Brian O'Reilly came to a fledgling Sly Fox in February 2002 when the small operation, one of the first in the Philadelphia region, consisted of a single small brewpub in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. O'Reilly immediately began transforming the Sly Fox beer portfolio into what has since become one of the most respected portfolios of new- and old-world styles available anywhere.

Sly Fox's enduring success has been due, in large part, to O'Reilly's award-winning beers and careful go-to-market style. The brewery won a Great American Beer Festival (GABF) medal for its Helles Golden Lager in O'Reilly's inaugural year and has accumulated more than a dozen since, including four medals in five years for its Grisette Summer Ale. O'Reilly was also instrumental in championing craft beer in cans and, in 2006, oversaw Sly Fox's transition as the first craft brewery in the mid-Atlantic region to install a canning line.

Sly Fox Brewing Company, with the main brewery and tasting room in Pottstown, the newly renovated Phoenixville pub and the anticipated Wyomissing and Malvern locations in development, is well-known for pairing its beer releases with compelling events.

When O'Reilly first came to Sly Fox, he proposed a spring celebration that would feature racing goats, and now in its 18th year, the Sly Fox Bock Festival and Goat Races hosts more than 5,000 guests and is named best beer event in Philadelphia year after year. The brewery hosts a packed schedule of other uncommon events that all started as O'Reilly ideas, including a huge outdoor music festival and Robert Burns birthday celebration, but it's beer making that motivates the brewer.

"I'm most proud of the actual growth of the brewing operation," reflects O'Reilly.

"When we look back at where we came from, scrambling to make beer in the little brewpub to the 30,000-square-foot, 50-hectoliter production brewery, it's pretty amazing. I'm thankful the Giannopoulos family always strives to provide the resources needed to continually evolve and brew quality beer."

As the brewery grew, O'Reilly trained a small army of capable brewers, many of whom have gone on to noteworthy brewing positions elsewhere, while some of the very best remain a part of the innovative team at Sly Fox. Although the brewery does not plan to immediately replace O'Reilly, as many as five brewers came of age under his tutelage and are poised to contribute to the brewery's ongoing innovation, sustainability and growth.

Former Operations Manager, Tim Ohst will be named director of brewery operations and will oversee production at the regional brewery that currently enjoys distribution in six states.

"Brian and I grew up together in the beer business over the last 17 years," Giannopoulos continued. "We're like brothers, and we're excited for Brian, but we're also confident that he's leaving us in good hands."

"There are team members in the brewhouse who have an opportunity to step up," he added.

"It won't be a radical change in the brewery, where there are collaborative efforts every day," adds O'Reilly. "The [Sly Fox] team of lead brewers has been managing brewing day to day for years now, efficiently and professionally."

Next up for O'Reilly is a new brewing venture in partnership with Philadelphia change agent and restaurateur Avram Hornik in the space formerly occupied by Yards Brewing.

About Sly Fox Brewing Company
Since its inaugural brew in 1995, Sly Fox has crafted more than 100 different top-notch craft beers. Its critically acclaimed year-round lineup and highly anticipated seasonals are available in its brewpubs in Phoenixville and Pottstown, as well as top bars and restaurants in PA, NJ, NY, MD, VA and Washington, DC. Sly Fox was the first craft brewery in the mid-Atlantic to put in a canning line, adding it to the facility in 2006, and with it, earned the first-ever Great American Beer Festival (GABF) medal awarded to a canned craft beer, in 2007. Sly Fox has earned GABF medals virtually every year since and is widely recognized as among the region's best and most enduring craft breweries.

© Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge, 2018. All content is owned and uniquely created by Bryan J. Kolesar. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Kolesar is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, images, and links may be used with advance permission granted and only provided that full and clear credit is given to Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Contact Kolesar at