Monday, June 14, 2010

Philly Beer Week 2010: Day 10 Wrap-Up

Link to Day 10 Pictures Link back to Day 9 Arguably the worst weather day of Philly Beer Week 2010. But, first things first. Many thanks from me and all of the prize winners to the following: Exton Beverage; Iron Hill; Local 44; Philadelphia Brewing; Sierra Nevada; Sly Fox; TJs; and Yards. With the help of Dock Street and the aforementioned prize sponsors, I was able to put on the 3rd Annual Philly Beer Run (aka this year as The Amazing Philly Beer Race, modeled loosely on the TV game show by a similar name) yesterday on Day 10 of Philly Beer Week. And on a more uncomfortable weather day the race could not have been held. So, you can imagine my delight that just over half of the original RSVPed participants showed up at City Hall enthusiastically awaiting the start of the run. Actually, I think I could detect a little disappointment that I'd decided to cut back on a portion of the route in the interest of getting them to Dock Street sooner for a beer and pizza....and to hopefully avoid heat exhaustion, dehydration, and/or getting a drenching from Mother Nature. All appeared to avoid the first two, however many could not avoid the latter. Though, it did actually seem that those that ran the last mile or two in the pounding rain may have actually been more refreshed because of it. Hey! The heat index, afterall, was over 90°F. Therefore, the route went from 6-7 miles instead down to 4-5 depending upon the route taken/chosen by each runner. It was fun to hear that--since this wasn't a timed race--a few runners decided to make at least one beer stop along the way! So KUDOS to all who came out to participate in the run and the challenges. It's a format that I'm likely to try out again in future events. The pictures tell some of the story, so go and check out the link. Other than the running and the challenges, all that was left at Dock Street was to dry off, to win some prizes, and to kick back with great beer, delicious food, and fun music. Because the point system had been started back in March with a run to/from Dock Street (also, runs in April (TJs) and in May (Resurrection Ale House)), the three guys that have done all four runs including yesterday's wound up in the top three spots. Dock Street provided the top 3 awarded prizes based on points. Congratulations to Kevin Mudrick, Eric Bernstein, and Dave Casmay for taking home the top 3 prizes, respectively. Kevin and Eric are Fishtown Beer Runners as well....as you can tell, these gents love to run for great beer! Dave is a veteran of Sly Fox in Phoenixville and you can often find him there and occasionally tooling around the Philly bar scene as well. All of the other prizes were awarded on a raffle basis, so no one was excluded from being able to win a prize because they hadn't attended previous runs. At the risk of sounding overly sappy, I must say that watching around 25 runners brave the heat, humidity, and thunderstorms to get to Dock Street....to watch them kick back and replenish at Dock Street.....and to watch many of them so pleased to win a donated clothing, glassware, or beer prize (bottle opener too, Patrick, I didn't forget!)....gave me such a warm and gratifying feeling. It's the kind of feeling that anyone conducting a Philly Beer Week event should feel. I don't mean the sort of pompous, self-congratulatory warm feeling. I mean the kind of feeling that is happy to see runners struggle to accomplish something....to be relaxing with each others company afterwards....to be supported by establishments that wanted to support me by donating prizes....to be in the presence of Dock Street which so values its place in the community by supporting up-and-coming artists. To see prominent figures in the local beer scene, Don Russell and Carolyn Smagalski, show up in their gesture of support (er, maybe that was actually for the bands and Dock Street??)..... This, my friends, is what the craft brewing community has always been about--the support, the encouragement, the striving to be as big and best as you can be, with as little animosity as you're bound to see in any industry--that has always drawn me to the people and products of the industry. In the third year of Philly Beer Week, I feel and hear of some of this goodwill and camaraderie being chipped away at. For a few hours on Sunday, I felt that all was right with the world. With the "work" out of the way, it was time to move on. Being so close to Local 44, it felt only right to stop in and see what we missed (or maybe didn't) from their day-long Russian River event. How's this for timing?! We walk through the door just as Joe Sixpack is signing a check for beers that he bought for the bar....reportedly, the whole bar....or was that a joke on me?! Here we ran into the omnipresent co-Chester Countians, the Hollands, John Doherty (speaking of omnipresent), and a few other beer runners that seemed to follow our lead from Dock Street. It was nice to bump into Brendan Hartranft who shared a quick beer with us before he retired for the night. He and wife, Leigh, put in crazy overtime effort these past 10 days to bring interesting beer and guests into their three establishments. After a Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Exporter (not as baltic-y as I might have expected), and a couple of Russian Rivers (NOT the Registration nor the Consecration), and a really nice Port Brewing Hot Rocks Lager to go (well, what I meant was it was my last beer), we headed out...giving third place winner, Dave, a ride back to Paoli. What else is in Paoli? Why, of course, TJs and My Personal T.U.D.! We'd spent the last night in each of the past two years closing up shop at Fergie's on Sansom Street for the big bad mamma jamma T.U.D. throwdown. It's quite a sight (and sound) to behold, but alas this year we just were not up to it. Prudence got the better of us and instead we exercised prudence in the form of dinner and a couple of Stones and BrewDogs at TJs...thus making TJs the place getting the most visits from me in PBW 2010. Kind of fitting, I'd say. There will be more to come from me in the form of a wrap-up of my impressions of this year's Philly Beer Week. Much was discussed and some was observed personally. Many were talking, but very few were willing to go on the record for obvious reasons. Once I distill it all down, it should likely provide for interesting reading and contemplation. It's time to think about Philly Beer Week 2011 and how to make it the best it can possibly be...there will be enough lessons (learned, hopefully) from this year. More to come...

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