Thursday, May 31, 2012

Philly Beer Week 2012: Day 2 Preview

-->A link to the Philly Beer Week Index

At least a day prior to each day of Philly Beer Week 2012, I'll be posting up a small look into what to expect both in terms of the day's calendar of events as well as key/significant/interesting events as well as where you might likely spot me during the day and/or night.

Here's a look into the second day, June 2.

For the ravenous beer geeks
~ The daylight hours of Saturday have so much going on to pull out the hardcore beer geeks, that you'll be challenged to make it late into the evening. You can choose from Varga's Block Party, the Firkin Riot at Johnny Brenda's, more Mikkeller at Farmers' Cabinet, saisons at Tapestry, togas and lunacy at Kite & Key, and Kingpin at Standard Tap.

~ If you get past the afternoon's debachery, plenty more awaits at night like David Walker and his Firestone Walker beers at American Sardine, Vanberg & Dewulf at Tria Fermentation School, and west coast beers at Hulmeville Inn.

For the hungry
~ Prism makes some beers that call out for attention. Brunch may be the perfect venue for some of them, like the Chocolate Bacon Stout and Blood Orange Blond. Continental is hosting Prism for Saturday morning brunch. There are several other brunches, like a North Coast-themed one at Capone's, also taking place on this first Saturday of PBW '12.

~ has hosted a few beer events/dinners in the past. They're typically a la carte with suggested pairings, which works quite nicely. Here they're getting together with Brian Strumke and his Stillwater beers which should make for a fine dinner.

For the wild and wacky and downright different
~ Each year, Kite and Key files its share of wacky events on the calendar. This year is no different. Check out the Gladiator events beginning at 2 p.m.

~ A goat. Yup. A goat will be the center of attention at Bar. It's Peggy, the winner of this year's Sly Fox Goat Races. How much more wacky does it get than that?

Possibly under the radar
~ Just because the event is listed as a Main Line Jazz Fest, don't be fooled. The portion of the closed-street event that Teresa's Next Door is responsible for has traditionally been an over-the-top solid event put on in conjunction with Tröegs. Both Lew's Scratch and Jack's Scratch will be there. As will a firkin of Perpetual IPA. Oh yeah.

~ You've likely heard of Boxcar Brewing Company out of West Chester, Pa. They make a fair amount of beer, though I don't see it around the city or 'burbs as much as I'd expect. Here's a good chance to drink of their beer while riding the rails.

Learn something
~ Early in the day, local beer historian Rich Wagner will be talking about the old days of brewing in Philadelphia at Philadelphia Brewing Company.

~ Don Feinberg and Wendy Littlefield, owners of Vanberg & Dewulf, are teaching at Tria's Fermentation School. You'll like the subject matter.

~ And, Thomas Schon from Mikkeller is "teaching" his own class earlier in the day at Farmers' Cabinet.

And for The Brew Lounge
~ I believe that I'll follow last year's equation and hit up the city first and finish up in the 'burbs. Therefore, I'll begin with a bite to eat (they're advertising fish & chips and meat pies) and a few glasses of cask-conditioned beer at Johnny Brenda's.

~ Stopping by Philadelphia Bar & Restaurant for a couple of "locals" and some fun 'n' games sounds like, well, fun. Before heading off to....

~ Big time fun 'n' games at Kite & Key. You've heard the history and the reputation of this event, I trust. If not, just show up. Trust me. You won't regret it. If not for the craziness, then for the always-solid lineup of beers.

~ Then, I finish up at Teresa's Next Door in Wayne, for reasons stated above.

That takes care of day number two. Philly Beer Week & it's on!

Beer Calendar: What To Do in June 2012

Around Philadelphia, June only means one thing in the world of beer: Philly Beer Week. Beginning June 1, the fifth annual installment of the world's best 10 days of beer kicks off. Roughly 800 events (give or take, who's counting?) are scheduled.

Instead of listing them all out here, simply head over to PBW's official website. Also, keep tabs on the week at my own Philly Beer Week 2012 Index, where I'll be centralizing everything worth sharing with you during what always proves to be an epic ten-day show of the best the beer world has to offer.

Let's look now here instead at the rest of the month. If there's any beer left after PBW '12, here's what you can expect from establishments in and around Philadelphia.

If I'm missing any that you feel should be on here, let me know.

$20 and under, down to and including FREE...Pay As You Go (PAYG) also included here

All summer long - Twin Peaks on the Big Screen @Memphis Taproom, Philadelphia, Pa. (9:00pm; $PAYG)
Tue. 6/12 - Social Pass Beer Tasting @Triumph Brewing Company, Philadelphia, Pa. (7:00pm; $20)
Wed. 6/13 - Beer School at the Bottle Shop (June theme: "Best of Philly Beer Week") @Local 44, Philadelphia, Pa. (5:00pm; $Free)
Fri. 6/22 - Grateful For Beer @Jose Pistola's, Philadelphia, Pa. (10:00pm; $PAYG)
Thu. 6/28 - Night Market @9th/Washington in South Philly, Philadelphia, Pa. (6:00pm-10:00pm; $PAYG)

Philadelphia's close suburbs (within 20 mile radius of Philadelphia)
Fri. 6/1 - Stoudt's Tasting @Blue Dog, Lansdale, Pa. (6:30pm; $Free & $PAYG)
Wed. 6/6 - Hop Fest @Jamison Pour House, Jamison, Pa. (12:00pm; $PAYG)
Mon. 6/11 - Sat. 6/16 - Philly Beer Week surprise leftovers @Pinocchio's, Media, Pa. ($PAYG)
Fri. 6/15 - Friday Night Tasting (Summit) @Beer Yard, Wayne, Pa. (6:00pm-7:00pm; $Free)
Fri. 6/22 - Friday Night Tasting (Lancaster) @Beer Yard, Wayne, Pa. (5:00pm-7:00pm; $Free)
Sat. 6/23 - Beer 101 @Iron Hill, North Wales, Pa. (1:00pm-3:00pm; $20)
Wed. 6/27 - Stoudt's Tap Takeover @Pinocchio's, Media, Pa. ($PAYG)

Greater Philadelphia Metro / Eastern Pennsylvania / Other (beyond 20 mile radius of Philadelphia)
Fri. 6/1 - Sat. 6/9 - Spinny Beer Days @Spinnerstown Hotel, Spinnerstown, Pa. ($PAYG)
Fri. 6/1 - Friday Night Tasting (Sierra Nevada) @Goshen Beverage, West Chester, Pa. (5:00pm-7:00pm; $Free)
Fri. 6/1 - Incubus Friday @Sly Fox, Phoenixville, Pa. (11:30am; $PAYG)
Thu. 6/7 - Charity Cask Night (to benefit American Red Cross of the Greater Lehigh Valley) @Fegley's Brew Works, Bethlehem, Pa. (5:00pm-9:00pm; $PAYG)
Wed. 6/13 - Weyerbacher Tap Takeover @The Trapp Door Gastropub, Emmaus, Pa. ($PAYG)
Fri. 6/15 - Third Friday Firkin Fest (Chester County Bitter, Route 113 IPA, Ichor) @Sly Fox, Phoenixville, Pa. (11:30am; $PAYG)
Fri. 6/15 - Friday Night Tasting (Flying Dog) @Goshen Beverage, West Chester, Pa. (5:00pm-7:00pm; $Free)
Sat. 6/16 - American Beer & Regional BBQ @Iron Hill, Phoenixville, Pa. (2:00pm-7:00pm; $PAYG)
Sat. 6/16 - Beer, Baseball & Backyard BBQ @Iron Hill, Newark, Del. (1:00pm-5:00pm; $PAYG)
Sat. 6/16 - Railroad Street Beer Meister Giveaway @Railroad Street Bar & Grill (1:30pm-6:30pm; $PAYG)
Thu. 6/21 - Allagash Tap Takeover @Two Stones Pub, Newark, Del. (4:00pm; $PAYG)
Thu. 6/28 - Victory Tap Takeover @Goodnight Irene's, Wildwood, NJ. (7:00pm; $PAYG)
Sat. 6/30 - 18th Anniversary Party with Tröegs draft release @The Drafting Room, Exton, Pa. (12:00pm; $PAYG)

Events Over $20

Sun. 6/3 - Willow Grove Craft Beer Festival @The Plaza at Willow Grove Park, Willow Grove, Pa. (12:00pm-5:00pm; $35/$45)
Tue. 6/19 - Brasserie Cantillon with Jean Van Roy @Monk's Café, Philadelphia, Pa. ($TBD)
Wed. 6/27 - BBQ with Sixpoint Brewery @JG Domestic, Philadelphia, Pa. (6:30pm; $55)

Philadelphia's close suburbs (within 20 mile radius of Philadelphia)
Fri. 6/15 - Goose Island Beer Dinner @High Street Grill, Mount Holly, NJ (7:00pm; $45)
Sun. 6/17 - Father's Day Brunch @Iron Hill, Maple Shade, NJ (12:00pm-2:00pm; $55)
Tue. 6/19 - Brewmaster’s Summer Beer Dinner @Iron Hill, Media, Pa. (7:00pm; $75)
Sat. 6/23 - Garden State Craft Brewers Guild Beer Festival @Battleship New Jersey, Camden, NJ (12:30pm-4:30pm; $45/$55)

Greater Philadelphia Metro / Eastern Pennsylvania / Other (beyond 20 mile radius of Philadelphia)
Thu. 6/14 - All-American Beer Dinner @Victory Brewing Company, Downingtown, Pa. (6:00pm; $55)
Sat. 6/16 - Yardley Beer Fest @South Delaware Avenue (under a big tent), Yardley, Pa. (1:00pm-5:00pm; $10/$35/$40)
Thu. 6/21 - Brewmaster's Summer Beer Dinner @Iron Hill, West Chester, Pa. (7:00pm; $70)
Sat. 6/23 - PBS39 Microbrew Festival @Coca-Cola Park, Allentown, Pa. (1:00pm-5:00pm; $5/$25/$35/$40/$50)
Sat. 6/23 - Lansdale Beer Tasting Festival @downtown Lansdale, Pa. (12:00pm-4:00pm; $10/$20/$35/$65)
Sun. 6/24 - Beer Dinner @General Sutter Inn, Lititz, Pa. (5:00pm; $49.95)
Tue. 6/26 - Spanish Beer Dinner @Union Barrel Works, Reamstown, Pa. (6:30pm; $40)
Sat. 6/30 - Brews By The Bay @Cape May-Lewes Ferry Terminal, Lewes, Del. (4:00pm-8:00pm; $5/$30)
Sat. 6/30 - Brew HA HA! Craft Beer Festival @Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson, NJ (3:00pm-6:30pm; $19.99/$44.99/$49.99/$74.99)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pre-gaming Philly Beer Week with Russian River, Sierra Nevada, Brian Morin, and Monk's Café

Pre-gaming Philly Beer Week with Russian River, Sierra Nevada, Brian Morin, and Monk's Café

With so much eating, drinking, and writing on the horizon for the next two weeks, it's hard to imagine wanting to bite off (sorry) another assignment just days after returning from Belgium and days before embarking on the wild journey that will be Philly Beer Week #5.

But when a Cilurzo (Russian River), a Grossman (Sierra Nevada), and a Morin (beerbistro) conspire with a one Mr. Tom Peters at Monk's Café for a memorable beer dinner, well, it's just tough to say no.

There are not enough superlatives to describe last night's dinner at Monk's Café in Philadelphia. Russian River and Sierra Nevada Brewing Companies from northern California sent their top honchos in advance of Philly Beer Week to put on a dinner show of epic proportions. They each brought their wives as well.

To match the beer in the kitchen, Monk's brought in Brian Morin, a veteran of many Monk's Café dinners, from Toronto's famed beerbistro.

Let's get the menu out of the way up front this time.

Sierra Nevada Pilsner
~ served with an Amuse Bouche of toast point with local goat cheese and breakfast radish

Sierra Nevada/Russian River Brux
~ served with Smoked Black Cod with Brux crème fraîche and green papaya slaw

Russian River Row 2/Hill 56-The Story of Simcoe
~ served with Deckle Steak with local mushroom ragout and garlic scapes

Russian River/Sierra Nevada CBC Symposium Sour Brown
~ served with Foraged Salad with symposium vinaigrette

Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest
~ served with Pork Belly with grilled radicchio and asparagus

Russian River Defenestration
~ served with Lobster & Leek Ravioli

Russian River Supplication
~ served with Duck Breast with local, wild sour cherries

Sierra Nevada/Russian River ExPortation
~ served with a cheese plate of Monte Enebro (a Spanish goat's milk cheese) and Wilde Weide (an organic Dutch raw cow's milk cheese) and served with ExPortation honey

Sierra Nevada Knock on Wood
~ served with Bittersweet Chocolate Tart with espresso crème brûlée

Grossman and Cilurzo both led off the evening with comments regarding their deep love and appreciation for Philadelphia and its beer scene. They aren't sticking around for Philly Beer Week this time around, but when their friend, Peters, wants to include their beer in a dinner a few days prior to PBW, they made sure to clear their calendars.

The evening turned out to be quite the who's-who of beer in Philadelphia. It seemed as if half the crowd (both the front and back rooms, including barstools, were seated for this dinner) was a recognizable face from brewers to distributors to reps. It was a great chance to catch up with everyone, particularly just prior to the impending PBW madness.

Philly's own Beer Lass, and Allagash representative, Suzanne Woods tweeted something to the effect of "am I the only person not at tonight's dinner at Monk's?"

Some combination of Cilurzo, Grossman, and Peters introduced almost every pairing of the extravagant 9-course meal. The most interesting stories on the beer side of the table involved the Russian River Row 2/Hill 56 Simcoe as Cilurzo described the brewery's deepening ties to the hop farmers (in this case those that source his Simcoe hops from one of the three Yakima Valley farms that source all of the world's Simcoe), the Symposium Brown, and of course the collaborative Brux.

Cilurzo talked a bit about how the Symposium Brown came together for the 2011 Craft Brewers Conference with Ken Grossman (yeast), Brian (recipe), Fritz Maytag (barrels), and himself ("shepherd") each playing their respective role in crafting this fine sour beer with no fruit involved.

The new Brux is one of the more talked-about beers of 2012 if, as Grossman explained, for no other reason than getting the "old man (his father, Ken) to relent after 32 years of trying to keep Brettanomyces out of the brewery".

This was the first commercial pouring of the beer outside the northern California brewery walls.

Originally code-named Global Warming, this beer was born in Brian (and Gina) Grossman's kitchen, for father's fear at the time of introducing a wild yeast into the brewery operations. For my palate, the beer is a refreshing sour, not overly bracing, and displays lemon citrus flavors. The funk registers fairly low and it should be a beer that is interesting to follow as it ages in the bottle. It will be distributed through the Sierra Nevada network, though availability is promised to be extremely thin even in the Philadelphia market.

As for the food, the success of the kitchen on this particular night seemed to grow upon itself course after course. Morin began with a pleasing amuse bouche of radishes and goat cheese and moved into a delectable hunk of smoked, black cod. As well done as these first two bites were, the execution of some of the following courses — namely the steak, ravioli, duck, and chocolate tart — were delivered as perfectly as the words on the menu suggested they would be. There's nothing more disappointing than having high hopes after initially reading a menu be crushed when the fork hits the mouth. Not on this night.

How about those pairings, right? Morin had the chance to sit down with the beers ahead of time in Toronto to give himself the best chance for success in building the menu. In this guy's book, he scored the most points with the Brux and papaya slaw under the black cod, the Simcoe beer with the mushroom ragout on the steak plate, the Supplication and duck breasts with sour cherries, and (you could've guessed) the Knock on Wood and chocolate tart.

Special thanks to dining companion, Keith, for reminding me of Supplication and duck playing nicely together over five years ago at Monk's. Strong memory, this one has!

The Knock on Wood, since I haven't described it until this point (and hadn't even heard of such a beer until the dinner), is basically SN's Hellraiser beer, a chipotle/chocolate stout aged for 16 months in Heaven Hill barrels. Any hint of pepper had basically yielded to the barrel-aging effects and scored one last winning note on a menu full of tasty treats.

Yet, after all the superlatives, no amount of insults is greater than the ones that I'm boomeranging at myself this morning for one of the worst displays of inferior, offensive, and amateur pictures from the dinner. I suppose it proves that you can give a big boy a big camera, but that it guarantees nothing. To be fair, I was up for Beer Writer of the Year, not photographer. Still, I've included a few of the pictures that I snapped from the dinner, even (regrettfully) the well-composed one of Grossman, Peters, Cilurzo, and Morin. The only way I could make it halfway presentable for you was to turn it to black-and-white.

It's a crowded world of beer events around Philadelphia. Always has been and has only continued get more so over the years. Still, if you've not treated yourself to a special beer dinner at Monk's Café, then you've not yet experienced some of the best that the Philadelphia beer scene has to offer.

Philly Beer Week. It's on.

(from left: Brian Grossman-Sierra Nevada; Tom Peter's-Monk's Café; Vinnie Cilurzo-Russian River; Brian Morin-beerbistro)

(Chef Brian Morin, post-dinner, looking like he barely broke a sweat)

(the Monk's-ville Nine - what a lineup)

(Sierra Nevada Pilsner and Amuse Bouche)

(Sierra Nevada/Russian River Brux and Smoked Black Cod)

(Russian River Row 2/Hill 56 Simcoe and Deckle Steak)

(Russian River Defenestration and Lobster & Leek Ravioli)

(Russian River Supplication and Duck Breast)

(Sierra Nevada/Russian River ExPortation and the cheese plate)

(Sierra Nevada Knock on Wood and Chocolate Tart)

Philly Beer Week 2012: Day 1 Preview

-->A link to the Philly Beer Week Index

At least a day prior to each day of Philly Beer Week 2012, I'll be posting up a small look into what to expect both in terms of the day's calendar of events as well as key/significant/interesting events as well as where you might likely spot me during the day and/or night.

Here's a look into the first day, June 1.

For the ravenous beer geeks
~ The hardcore beer geeks, I predict will show up at least one of the following events: Barrel-aged Terrapin beer at Varga; the Bella Vista Bash at Devil's Den; Gypsy brewers at Tria Fermentation School; and Mikkeller at Farmers' Cabinet.

For the hungry
~ If you've not eaten at Brauhaus Schmitz, you likely don't know what you're missing. You're in luck here where head chef, Jeremy Nolen, will be hosting a dinner at Cook.

~ Food, beer, and Bill Covaleski (Victory Brewing Company) sounds like a great way to get to know the new Alla Spina on North Broad Street.

For the wild and wacky and downright different
~ There likely is not a sight to behold more wild and wacky than the Hammer of Glory tour route that it will embark on beginning at 7 a.m. at Devil's Den and wrapping up an exhausting 12 hours later at the Opening Tap event in historic Old City Philadelphia at the Independence Visitors Center. It's not very practical to think that many would follow the Hammer for the full 12 hours, but if you haven't seen it en route in the past, be sure to check this out during at least one of its stops along the way. So far, the weather looks to be cooperating for this unique "parade", so use this opportunity to start your Philly Beer Week on a fun note — like there's any other way.

~ Do you want to see folks dressed in tank tops, trucker hats, and daisy dukes? I probably don't; hold on while I re-consider the daisy dukes. Varga Bar is having Southern food event that sounds like a blast if you do.

Possibly under the radar
~ Since I'll almost likely be taking the train in from the 'burbs, it goes without saying that I'll be at Bridgewater's Pub inside 30th Street train station multiple times during the week. On this first day, they'll be showcasing Czech Pilsners from Staropramen. Count me there too to help lift this on to the radar.

~ Doobies always seems off the radar. But, on June 1, they've got Matt Allyn and a bunch of his beers in tow that should make for a swell evening.

~ Resurrection Ale from Brewer's Art (Baltimore) is back courtesy of Sly Fox Brewing Company. It'll be around town, but why not take it in at Resurrection Ale House?

Learn something
~ There's a connection to Philadelphia'a brewing past buried at Christ Church in Old City. Learn more any night of the week at 5:30 p.m. for a short tour.

And for The Brew Lounge
~ As much as I talk up the Hammer of Glory, I just took off over two weeks from work to hang out in Belgium. Taking another day off work at this point simply is not in the cards.

~ Opening Tap is fun, but there is so much else going on during it. Used to be that very little happened until Opening Tap officially kicked things off, but times have changed. Seeing the Mayor do his ceremonial tapping is always cool and a lot of who's-who is typically inside, but I may pass on it this year to search out what else is going on during it. Like...

~ I still have not been to American Sardine, so swinging by for some cheese and Ommegang beer sounds like a fine way to get the night underway.

~ Then over to P.O.P.E. to find out how they handle this "World's Smallest Toast" from La Chouffe that I've been hearing more about in the last couple of weeks.

~ Up to Devil's Den for the Bella Vista Bash could get me in trouble, time-wise, but looking at some of the rare draft lines that they'll have flowing might make it quite worth the risk.

~ Monk's will be one of the first places to showcase the PBW collaboration beer between Iron Hill and Brasserie Dupont in Belgium. Stopping in for a quick one would be appropriate.

~ While in Belgium, Sly Fox's head of sales, Patrick Mullin, convinced me that Fergie's should be the proper place to descend upon after Opening Tap — or wherever the night has taken you up until that point. Live bluegrass music and Sly Fox beer sounds like the right ticket.

That's a bit much to digest for the first day. I'll see what I can do to condense the recommendations in coming days, but I make no promises; you might have heard, Philly Beer Week is huge!

Philly Beer Scene awards

The 2012 Philly Beer Scene awards took place while was on the big Belgian trip.

Lew Bryson was there and covered it with his perspectives.

Jack Curtin posted the full list of winners.

And, Philly Beer Photo Guy about town, Steve Lyford, documented it in a pile of pictures that you can find via this link.

Also sticking with theme of posting all the pictures you take (sorry, guys, it's too easy to jab at), Philly Beer Scene posted pictures at its Facebook account.

As I mentioned in the comments at Curtin's site, in brief: "...look at the winners and give them the credit they deserve, almost all of which are difficult to argue. And, celebrate all of the nominees (whom, if I’m not mistaken, are chosen by their peers, not the public) that go a long way in making up our rich fabric..."

Just in time for Philly Beer Week to begin.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Philly Beer Week 2012: Here's some of what I've found

Okay, then. After asking last week for your recommendations, I've received some pointers from many of you in the form of comments, e-mails, and Facebook recommendations.

I've taken these and cruised the PBW '12 calendar to put together a half-baked plan of attack for June 1-10. Along the way, I've made some observations and a list of things you might find interesting as well.

Allow me to selfishly get my endeavor out of the way here first.

There are currently 280 runners (and counting) signed up to do the first official Philly Beer Run 5-k at Dock Street on June 10, the last day of Philly Beer Week. The run coincides with the annual music fest which always draws many hundreds more.

We're capping it at 400 runners, and I fully expect to hit the cap as the week of PBW goes along. Don't be left out; sign up now. Great prizes, schwag, and post-party included! Plus, you can volunteer if you don't feel like running. (We'll love you just as much for doing that, too.)

All the details here:

I've covered all the years of Philly Beer Week. I feel pretty confident to say that no one has covered it more comprehensively. If you'd like some background and context (and pictures for added illustration), perhaps you can begin with this link to last year's wrap-up.

In my last few days of intense research to catch up post-Belgium, here's just a smattering of other goodies that I've uncovered that seem worth sharing with you. Random, incomplete, and in no particular order.

~ Hammer of Glory route stopping along the way at some of the best of the best

~ Opening Tap for a mayoral kickoff

~ All week long at the Four Seasons Hotel with the With Love Beer Garden, including Sly Fox's Kan Jam again on this year on Thursday. I'll be participating again with William Reed as my teammate. Wonder if there's a way the high-end hotel might include some mention on its own website?!

~ VIP pass for the hardcore

~ More kink this year than ever. Between Woodies, Delilah's, The Institute, and The Trestle Inn (others likely, too), you'll find event names and descriptions that could make you, or at least maybe your grandmother (unless she's the really cool type of grandmother) blush. Will be interesting to hear how those nights will go.

~ Ben Franklin/Casey Parker
video #1
video #2

~ I'd have to compare to last year's calendar, but a cursory review (and some talking around as well) gives me the sense that the suburbs are scaling back this year. I won't get in to it, but if you read closely enough, you know my feeling on this topic.

~ There are close to twenty events in the "Home Brewing" category. Pretty cool that this segment of brewing gets the proper nod as well. Historically, these events are usually home runs.

~ There are over 50 events categorized as "Free Beer for Sparks". What exactly is that?

~ Have many venues not yet posted events or did they pay only to advertise themselves on the PBW website? Curious, since I'm trying to envision which events might pop up at the Xfinity Live bars that are listed on the calendar. They're not the only ones.

~ Smartphone app is as good as ever. Still beats the website, imo, which in fairness, though, as come a long way in five years. Nice to see events can still be tagged as "favorites" in the phone app, however the ability to save private lists of events via the website seems to have disappeared this year.

~ Even in my absence this year, an enterprising soul has taken my spreadsheets of the past and done something similar, posting up a version and sharing it at Google Docs. Flattered, I am :)

Check it out, but don't forget for the most accurate Philly Beer Week schedule, consult the official PBW website...even better yet, contact establishments directly.

Twitter: @PhillyBeerWeek

Hashtag: I've seen #PBW2012, but #PBW is more common and less than forty of those all-important characters in the Twitterverse

Facebook page: Philly-Beer-Week

Monday, May 28, 2012

Weekly Brew Bits Update: 5/28/12

I'm finally getting my feet back under me after two wonderful weeks in Belgium. Here is a handful of things to discuss from the past few weeks. Got any news that I'm might have missed while out of the "office"? Drop a line and let me know.

~ Morgan's Pier, described as a "new concept beer garden", opened on Friday, May 25.

~ Grub Street Philadelphia helps us with what to expect at the evolving Bierstube Underbar.

~ Joe Sixpack shared with us some insights behind this year's Brotherly Suds collaborative creation for Philly Beer Week 2012.

~ Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant announced plans for its tenth location & in Voorhees, NJ. When I first read it, I saw "V" and first thought, "wow, interesting that they're going into Vineland, NJ!" But, then I re-read and thought, "hey, that's one location I'd guessed a while back".

~ Path being cleared for bigger things ahead at Dogfish Head

~ Another score from the recent expansion of Tröegs in to their new Hershey, Pa. location. H/T to

~ A lot of new beer brewing in upstate Pennsylvania at the new Susquehanna Brewing Company. Catch up with all the details on their company blog.

~ Some interesting news from Victory to show that with Headwaters Pale Ale, sometimes it's about the beer and other times, it's not as much about the beer.

~ Remember Chris Leonard from days of General Lafayette Inn & Brewery? He's resurfaced in Texas (Missouri City, just to make it a bit confusing) outside of Houston. His plan is to open Fort Bend Brewing Company later this year. From a recent Facebook posting, he says "...Fort Bend beer should be everywhere in the Houston area by mid-fall. We're expecting our 30-bbl brew house to be delivered in late July, installed by September, and cranking out beer before October."

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Great new beer at The Brew Lounge

Strange thing happened two days ago when we arrived home from Belgium. It wasn't necessarily the 22 bottles and 4 pieces of glassware that we unpacked from our luggage (some might call this a "beer haul", I believe) that made their home with us & though, many might say that in and of itself is strange enough.

No, it was the box that was mailed to me while we were gone. So I thought you'd enjoy seeing a picture of the fine beer that flew 4,000 miles to take up residence at The Brew Lounge alongside the promotional pack of Miller Lite and Genuine Draft new punch top cans that showed up on my doorstep. Nice juxtaposition. Review of the new punch top, perhaps, forthcoming.

Philly Beer Week: Casey Parker (Ben Franklin) is at it again

If there's been a noticeable change in this year's Philly Beer Week & even before it's begun & is not just the amount, but the quality of the p.r./marketing to draw attention to the massive undertaking that Philly Beer Week is.

A little while back, I shared the first video starring Jose Pistola's Casey Parker as Ben Franklin.

Here's number two. Personally, I like this one even better and gets me a bit more excited to get to planning on how I'll cover this behemoth 10 days of great beers and bars in and around Philadelphia.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Can anyone help me with Philly Beer Week?

I suppose that I should lead off with "no, I won't be doing the ever-popular PBW-calendar-of-events-turned-spreadsheet this year." Many of asked, but I just can't justify getting into it this year.

I've been in Belgium, mostly Brugge, for the past two weeks and it's been wonderful. And, to be honest, even though I took my laptop with me, other than talking about Philly Beer Week with other traveling beer companions as well as keeping tabs on my own special event with Dock Street, I didn't give the PBW calendar one thought.

In fact, I don't know what's going on. So this weekend will be dedicated to catching up around the house and preparing a plan for how to cover this year's Philly Beer Week for both The Brew Lounge and my After Hours column over at the Communities section of The Washington Times.

Though, I did receive a tip about an anonymous organizer of a very similar spreadsheet to mine in past years, but hosted at Google Docs. Go check it out and see if it works for you.

How can you help me? Tell me about some of the, let's say, less-showy events. It's not too difficult for me to figure out which are the big and geeky ones. But, I'd really like to focus on some of the unsung heroes and lesser-publicized, but no less quality, events across the Philly beer landscape.

Let me hear about it below in the comments or via e-mail to me.

Oh, and by the way, for the doubters, the Dock Street 5-k Beer Run will likely hit 300 registered attendees next week. Paired with the Music Festival, it should be a top 10 & maybe even top 5 & attended event during PBW '12. Just a bit of pride showing through :)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Weekly Beer Calendar Update: May 24 - May 31

Just as we close the door on a very busy May calendar of beer events, Philly Beer Week is lurking just around the corner. Are you ready? But, first...

Check out the entire May 2012 calendar over here. If I'm missing any that you feel should be on here, don't hesitate to let me know.

Brewery Promos and Samplings
@Beer Yard, Wayne, Pa.--- Fri. 5/25 - Friday Night Sampling (5:00pm-7:00pm; $Free tasting samples from Yards)

@Iron Hill, West Chester, Pa.--- Fri. 5/25 - Mahalo, Apollo! Release Party (1:00pm-10:00pm; $PAYG as we usher in summer with the release of Mahalo, Apollo! Raffles. Wear your loudest Hawaiian attire The best of the worst will be chosen at 6:30 p.m. 2 Hawaiian Pizzas and 1 Growler of Mahalo, Apollo! to-go for $25. Also on Tap will be Rising Sun, Belgian Witbier, Hefeweizen, Sparrow Saison, Berliner Weisse, and The Cannibal)
@Iron Hill, Lancaster, Pa.--- Fri. 5/25 - Hop Attack! (11:00am-10:00pm; $PAYG for Nor'Easter IPA, Plunge IPA, The Contender, Burton IPA, Sorachisaurus, Rudolph's Revenge, Rising Sun, Stormin' Red IPA, and Kryptonite Imperial IPA)
@Iron Hill, Chestnut Hill, Pa.--- Thu. 5/31 - Lex Lurhor IPA Release Party (5:00pm-8:00pm; $PAYG for the strongest IPA ever brewed by Iron Hill at 11.5% ABV. It has over 100 lbs of American hops used for loads of hop bitterness, hop flavor, and tons of citrusy and piney hop aromas. Hop candy will be available free of charge, and Head Brewer Paul Rutherford will be dressed as Lex Luthor.)

@Sly Fox, Phoenixville, Pa.--- Fri. 5/25 - Third Friday Firkin Fest (11:30am; $PAYG for Chester County Bitter, which is standard on our handpumps, Chester County Brown, and Brewer's Select Zythos Pale Ale)

@Triumph Brewing, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Thu. 5/24 - Philly Beer Week Pre-game Party (All day; $PAYG and try beer from last year's winner of the Homebrew Competition. Doug Buddle's Hoppapalooza will be $2 all day. Brendan, our brewer, will be pouring the beer at 6 p.m.)

"Takeovers", Debuts, Festivals, and other noteworthy events
@2nd/Poplar in Northern Liberties, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Thu. 5/24 - Night Market (6:00pm-10:00pm; $PAYG for food trucks, local brews, and local bands)

@Earth Bread + Brewery, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Thu. 5/31 - Victory Baltic Thunder Vertical (5:00pm; $PAYG for a three-year vertical tasting of the mighty Baltic Thunder, '10,'11,'12)

@Goodnight Irene's, Wildwood, NJ--- Thu. 5/24 - Flying Fish Tap Takeover (7:00pm; $PAYG for HopFish, RedFish, Farmhouse Summer Ale, Exit 4, Exit 8, and maybe a surprise exit!)

Food and Beer events
@Brauhaus Schmitz, Philadelphia, Pa.--- throughout May 2012 - Spargelfest ($PAYG as every Thursday through Sunday in May, Chef Jeremy Nolen will be preparing some special dishes highlighting asparagus. An amazing draft/bottle list packed with tons of delicious beers to pair with the courses.)

@Iron Hill, Maple Shade, NJ--- Tue. 5/29 - Spring Beer Dinner (7:00pm-9:00pm; $70 for a five-course meal paired with Maibock, Belgian Rye, Hefeweizen, Chris Isn’t Here, and The Cannibal)
@Iron Hill, Lancaster, Pa.--- Tue. 5/29 & Wed. 5/30 - Spring Beer Dinner (6:00pm-9:00pm; $70 for a five-course meal paired with Grisette, Pilsner, Red Ale, Saison, and Irish Coffee Stout)

@Monk's Café, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Tue. 5/29 - Russian River / Sierra Nevada Collaboration Dinner (7:00pm; $95 for a seven-course meal, overseen by beerbistro's Brian Morin in Toronto, paired with three beers that the breweries collaborated on: 1) CBC Sour Brown, brewed for the Craft Brewers Conference; 2) Exportation Baltic Porter, a sour aged porter; and 3) the introduction of Brux, the brettanomyces aged Belgian-style ale. We will have two additional beers from each brewery. This will be a kick-ass seven course dinner. Vinnie & Natalie from Russian River and Brian Grossman of Sierra Nevada will be on hand for the dinner. They will speak about their individual breweries and how their personal friendship led to these collaborative beers. This will be an interesting evening.)

Homebrewing, Charity, and Education
@Brauhaus Schmitz, Philadelphia, Pa.--- throughout May 2012 - Liters for Litters ($PAYG as every Saturday in May from opening until 5 p.m., 50% of all draft beer sales will go to PAWS. Order a liter and get a raffle ticket for a great prize.)

@Keystone Homebrew, Bethlehem & Montgomeryville, Pa.--- throughout May 2012 - Beer Making, Cheese Making, and Wine Making classes (See website for all the class details)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Best of Philly Beer

Tonight, Philly Beer Scene, the magazine, celebrates the best of Philly Beer, the scene. I won't be able to celebrate with them at the red-carpeted World Café Live, but it did remind me of a couple Brewer's Plates ago where Founding Editor, Mat Falco, traded a Weyerbacher Tiny and one of his logo'ed pint glasses for two Tröegs Java Head Stouts from a case that had been bequeathed to me.

So, today I toast all of the soon-to-be winners at tonight's show and encourage all to steel themselves for the Best of Philly Beer Scene about to be unleashed all over Philly Beer Week.

UPDATE (5/22): Philly Beer Scene tweeted that approximately 15 seats remain for tonight's festivities.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Weekly Brew Bits Update: 5/21/12

More in the life and times of great beer as experienced in the craft beer segment.

~ Philly Beer Week is coming and so is the very special collaboration beer from Iron Hill's Chris LaPierre and Brasserie Dupont in Belgium. Vanberg & DeWulf has the details over at their site.

~ Had you heard that Iron Hill came back from San Diego with the Small Brewpub of the Year award at the 2012 World Beer Cup?

~ Here's a doozie from Scotland. Wow. Makes you think back to the whole Anheuser-Busch/Brew Masters/Discover Channel flap last year. As well as much of what you've come to despise in the behemoth corporate brewers. UPDATE: The Financial Times has a few reflections on the whole mess and its portrayal of the changing times of public relations.

~ Reflections upon one of our favorite vacation destinations, Puerto Rico, and its apparently growing beer scene.

~ From June 27 to July 21, Rick Lyke and the Pints for Prostates will be campaigning along with the Flying Saucer chain of beer bars across the south to bring awareness to something that Rick knows all too well about. Belgian beer for a good cause sounds like a great idea. If you find yourself near a Flying Saucer location from the Carolinas to Texas, be sure to support this great cause.

Friday, May 18, 2012

More ways for Summer Love in 2012

After scoring critical success in 2011 and being named a top beer (okay, that was a shameful plug to my Top 10 list--but please click it anyway and register a click-visit to me over there), Victory Brewing is back with Summer Love even earlier in 2012.

This year, they've got more ways for you to enjoy this fine brew.

Basically you need a smartphone, a QR scanner, and the tiniest bit of effort to win beer-related prizes from Victory. Should be another summer of great beer.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Weekly Beer Calendar Update: May 17 - May 23

Saturday, May 19 looks like the beer day to end all beer days. Take your pick, you've got plenty of options.

Check out the entire May 2012 calendar over here. If I'm missing any that you feel should be on here, don't hesitate to let me know.

Brewery Promos and Samplings
@Beer Yard, Wayne, Pa.--- Fri. 5/18 - Friday Night Sampling (5:00pm-7:00pm; $Free tasting samples from Southampton)

@The Bottle Shop, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Thu. 5/17 - Brooklyn Brewery Beer Sampling (7:00pm-9:00pm; $Free tasting samples from Brooklyn Brewery)
@The Bottle Shop, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Sat. 5/19 - Kona Tap Takeover (7:00pm-9:00pm; $15 for unlimited refills and you keep the glass)

"Takeovers", Debuts, Festivals, and other noteworthy events
@Appalachian Brewing Company, Harrisburg, Pa.--- Sat. 5/19 - 15th Anniversary Party (3:00pm; $PAYG for fun and games and food and beer all day and in to the night with late night in the Abbey Bar)

@Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, NJ--- Sat. 5/19 - AC Beer vs. Wine (7:00pm-11:00pm; $40/$70/$75/$80 for a festival that will showcase 15 American craft breweries, 15 American wineries, and Atlantic City's finest restaurants. During this event, attendees will have a chance to sample what local restaurateurs have prepared to enhance the taste of participating beers and wines in order for attendees to decide which completes each dish best, beer or wine. Throughout the night, local chefs will perform cooking demos while beer enthusiast and sommeliers host seminars and hot debates on all subjects beer and wine.)

@Cannstatter Volkfest Verein, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Sat. 5/19 - Northeast Philadelphia Beer Festival (1:00pm-5:00pm; $30/$35 for some of the best local bands, great food, and 50+ beers from all over the world.)

@Iron Hill, Media, Pa.--- Sat. 5/19 - Brandywine Valley Craft Brewer's Festival (1:00pm-5:00pm; $5/$45/$50 for 25 Local Breweries with Live Music all day)

@Phoenix Sports Club, Feasterville, Pa.--- Sat. 5/19 - Hampton BrewFest (1:00pm-5:00pm; $10/$35/$40/$45 for a souvenir tasting glass for unlimited beer and wine tasting from local and regional brewers and wineries. All ticket holders can enjoy four hours of great live music for their listening and dancing pleasure, in addition to browsing our retail product vendors. Food will be available for purchase from various local restaurants.)

@South Philadelphia Tap Room, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Sat. 5/19 - Wheat Beer Fest (12:00pm; $TBD for nearly 30 wheat beers)

@The Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Sat. 5/19 - Mayfair May Fair (5:00pm-9:00pm; $PAYG for a day of fun for all ages. From Noon to 6 p.m., Frankford Avenue from Wellington to Friendship Street will host a number of events. The fun continues from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. down at the south end. **Live music from several acts on the 6200 block of Frankford Avenue, Art Fair, 6200 block of Frankford Avenue, Car show, and Yards Brewing Night at The Grey Lodge Pub.)

@World Café Live, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Tue. 5/22 - Philly Beer Scene Best Of Awards Show (7:30pm-10:30pm; $10/$15 & $PAYG bar. Joe Gunn from Jose Pistolas hosts the annual awards show to bring attention to the best that the Philly beer landscape has to offer.)

@York Fairgrounds, York, Pa.--- Sat. 5/19 & Sun. 5/20 - Yorktoberfest Beer Garden (1:00pm-6:00pm; $15 for a tour of the rich history of PA brews)

Food and Beer events
@Brauhaus Schmitz, Philadelphia, Pa.--- throughout May 2012 - Spargelfest ($PAYG as every Thursday through Sunday in May, Chef Jeremy Nolen will be preparing some special dishes highlighting asparagus. An amazing draft/bottle list packed with tons of delicious beers to pair with the courses.)

@Wedge + Fig, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Thu. 5/17 - Beer Garden Blast with Sixpoint Brewery (7:00pm-9:00pm; $6 for three cheeses paired with three of Jersey Dan's favorite Sixpoint ales.)

@World Café Live, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Sat. 5/19 - Grilled Cheese & Craft Beer Tasting (7:30pm; $47 for beers, grilled cheeses, and dessert. Vegetarian options as well.)

Homebrewing, Charity, and Education
@Appalachian Brewing Company, Camp Hill, Pa.--- Sat. 5/19 - Home Brew Festival/Expo (12:00pm-4:00pm; $20 to sample from all of the Home Brewers and a buffet lunch, as well as a chance to vote for the Crowd Favorite, the Most Unique, and the Best at Show.)

@Brauhaus Schmitz, Philadelphia, Pa.--- throughout May 2012 - Liters for Litters ($PAYG as every Saturday in May from opening until 5 p.m., 50% of all draft beer sales will go to PAWS. Order a liter and get a raffle ticket for a great prize.)

@Drink Philly, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Thu. 5/17 - Beer 601: Advanced Beer Studies with Dock Street (7:00pm-9:00pm; $20)

@Keystone Homebrew, Bethlehem & Montgomeryville, Pa.--- throughout May 2012 - Beer Making, Cheese Making, and Wine Making classes (See website for all the class details)

@West Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Sat. 5/19 - Beer Barons to Homebrewers: Tour The Past. Taste The Present. (1:00pm-5:00pm; $25 for a tour of burial sites of brewers interred at Laurel Hill Cemetery and will continue with a tour, tasting, craft beer samplings, gourmet food, and reception at West Laurel Hill Cemetery. Both tours will be led by Pennsylvania brewery historian Rich Wagner.)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tired Hands, Construction Update #5

(FarmHands and HopHands, two Tired Hands beers that you should be seeing plenty of and enjoying plenty)

Tired Hands is so close to opening that you can smell it. Literally.

Owner Jean Broillet is readying eight beers for tap lines that will flow his tasty brew house creations on opening day. The opening will be rather "soft" with a grander opening coming in June.

My last stop prior to heading off to Belgium came two weeks ago when he and his crew were sanding wood floors, brewing beer, and awaiting the last inspection which should be coming any day now and for which all signs point to an opening day before the end of the month.

Here are a few pictures from my last visit at the beginning of May. I'll look forward to seeing you there in June.

(Signs of progress and creativity are all around Tired Hands Brewing Company)

(In the cold box with HopHands on makeshift tap)

(The first floor bar and tap tower)

(The first floor bar)

(Second floor being turned into a very comfortable space)

(From the second floor staircase looking down on the first floor bar)

(At work on Foliage)

(Broillet channeling his creativity circa 2006 in the foothills of the Adirondacks)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sun King- a fast story to success

But, you'd be forgiven if you haven't heard of Sun King. They're barely a few years old. And, from Indianapolis.

First, I'd learned of them from an email introducing them to me somewhere about last summer or so.

Then, in the fall, they cleaned up at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver and put themselves on the map by claiming Small Brewer and Brewing Company of the Year.

Now, while getting caught up on podcasted back versions of The Brewing Network's Sunday Sessions, I come across a fine interview with Sun King's owner/brewer Clay Robinson, who was full of interesting information and great quotes about the how-to's and ins-and-outs of getting started and growing (not to mention, surviving) in the brewing industry.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Weekly Brew Bits Update: 5/14/12

Spanning the world of beer news, from Philadelphia to India

~ Really, it took us a whole month to become surprised by this turn of events?

~ On a brighter note, it may be Delaware Avenue, but I have higher hopes for this newly announced venue. Partially because Fergie Carey is involved in it. Here's one link to the venue's website and one to Collin Flatt, over at

~ The "session debate" rages on, encouraged by our own local Lew Bryson. A recent posting of his is as good of a place as any to begin.

~ Some more Goat Race goodness courtesy of Jack Curtin -- here and here and here and here -- who seemed to apologize for an over-coverage of the event. Probably just compensating for those of us who were not there to do so. But, really, tell me there's anything out there quite like it.

~ Am I the only one that missed this news from Belgium?

~ Is drinking on the job getting a Mad Men boost?

~ India meets craft beer, southern California-style. Courtesy of The Beer Wench, I'll be looking forward to hearing more from the hinted future interview.

~ And, this just in....Independence Brewing from India (see last bullet) has a kickstarter campaign, if you are so inclined to pitch in.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

American Craft Beer Week

For the 100+ "beer weeks" across the country, beginning tomorrow is the annual American Craft Beer Week brought to you/us by the Brewers Association. This would be the national effort to bring an ever-increasing attention to the fine beverage we all know and love.

Check out the website and find what's happening near you.

Friday, May 11, 2012

My so-called life of beer, running, and working

This has been posted around a bit by friends and family. I've been encouraged to share it myself with a wider audience, so I finally acquiesce here today.

I'm not usually one to draw a ton of attention to myself. But, here today, you'll discover a bit more about me, for anyone who might care to know that little bit more about me. And, no, I did not receive a Subaru as compensation.

I was generally pleased by the article and the theme of creating balance in life. However, for those of you that know me best, you'll quickly point out that there's a quote that could never be attributed to me: "I keep on top of what's going on in the beer world, but I don't partake during training." Say what? Exactly. Not from this guy's mouth. Plus, you also know that I don't encourage ".....quit drinking long before any race."

Still, like I said, it's a decent piece aimed to talk about a well-balanced life. Thanks to anyone who has already commented on or shared the piece and the well wishes.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Weekly Beer Calendar Update: May 10 - May 16

Guess what? You can register for one of Philly Beer Week's most diverse events tonight at Philadelphia Runner and get free Dock Street Beer! As you know, this is the event I'm co-organizing with Dock Street and I'd be might pleased, and honored, if you'd join us that afternoon & whether or not you run.

Plenty more great-looking beer events from free to not-so-free to keep you hydrated as the weather heats up this spring. Get out there and enjoy!

Check out the entire May 2012 calendar over here. If I'm missing any that you feel should be on here, don't hesitate to let me know.

Brewery Promos and Samplings
@Beer Yard, Wayne, Pa.--- Fri. 5/11 - Friday Night Sampling (5:00pm-7:00pm; $Free tasting samples from Ommegang)

@Old Eagle Tavern, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Tue. 5/15 - Fegley's Brew Works Night (7:00pm; $PAYG as they tap four Brew Works specialty drafts along with food specials from the kitchen. Enjoy $1 off Brew Works drafts & flights.)
@Old Eagle Tavern, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Thu. 5/10 - Dinner, Beer, & A Movie (9:00pm; $PAYG for a night of food, beer, and Monty Python's Holy Grail on the big screen.)

@Pearly Baker's, Easton, Pa.--- Fri. 5/11 - Meet The Brewer (5:00pm-7:00pm; $PAYG as Beau Baden from Fegley's Brew Works shows up to enjoy some beers and talk shop)

@Victory Brewing Company, Downingtown, Pa.--- Mon. 5/14 - Storm King Monday (11:30am; $PAYG to celebrate the first day of American Craft Beer Week with a 2003 vintage keg of Storm King Stout. Explore the flavor transformation that Storm King has when paired with three distinct tapas.)

"Takeovers", Debuts, Festivals, and other noteworthy events
@12 Steps Down, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Thu. 5/10 - Founder's Tap Takeover (9:00pm; $PAYG for a lineup and charity raffle of Founder's beers)

@Chestnut 7, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Thu. 5/10 - Allagash Tap Takeover (4:00pm-8:00pm; $PAYG for White, Black, Victor, Victoria, Curieux, and Fluxus)

@Fingers Wings and Other Things, Conshohocken, Pa.--- Wed. 5/16 - Founders Tap Takeover (6:00pm; $PAYG for featured beers from Founders including: Breakfast Stout; Double Trouble; Porter; Dirty Bastard; Red’s Rye; Centennial IPA; and Pale Ale)

@Hulmeville Inn, Hulmeville, Pa.--- Thu. 5/10 - Weyerbacher Tap Takeover & Firkin (6:00pm; $PAYG for a night of fun and beer from Weyerbacher)

@Johnny Brenda's, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Sat. 5/12 - Don't Block the Bocks (All day; $PAYG for a handful of Bocks from local breweries like Sly Fox, Stoudt's, Victory, Lancaster, Ramstein, and Tröegs. The kitchen will be serving up brats, bockwurst, and the delectable raw milk cheeses of Birchrun Hills Farm. The winner of last year's Sly Fox Goat Race, the 3-legged upstart, Peggy, will be visiting from Noon until 3 p.m.)

@Kelly Drive/Schuylkill River, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Fri. 5/11 & Sat. 5/12 - Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta – “Love Local” Beer & Wine Garden (11 a.m.-5 p.m.; $PAYG to kick it riverside and watch all the rowing action from our “Love Local” Beer Garden featuring delicious draft brews from Yards, Victory, Philadelphia Brewing, and Manayunk. Beer not your thing? That’s no problem. We’ll be pouring Chaddsford Winery wines and featuring their new Sangria popsicles)

@Mount Hope Estate, Manheim, Pa.--- Sat. 5/12 - Brewfest at Mount Hope (11:00am-3:00pm, 4:30pm-8:30pm; $15/$20/$40/$45 for unlimited sampling, free food, live musical entertainment and access to an array of vendors selling beer-related merchandise.)

@Nodding Head, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Sat. 5/12 - Monkey Madness (3:00pm-6:00pm; $PAYG as Gordon will be recreating our famous Monkey Knife Fight-lemon grass and ginger beer. He has already created 3 versions and is brainstorming with Fava on a few more.)

@Stoudt's, Adamstown, Pa.--- Fri. 5/11 - Stoudt's Epic Anniversary Party (6:00pm-11:00pm; $35/$145/$290 for new beer releases, cheeses, bread, music, dancing, and optional hotel packages)

@Tapestry, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Thu. 5/10 - Flying Fish Tap Takeover (7:00pm; $PAYG for Exit 8, Exit 13, Exit 4, Abbey Dubbel, HopFish, and Farmhouse Summer Ale.)

@Washington Crossing Historic Park, Washington Crossing, Pa.--- Sat. 5/12 - Washington Crossing Brewfest (12:30pm-4:30pm; $10/$40 for over 50 breweries and live music from Shabby Road and Up2Snuff)

Food and Beer events, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Wed. 5/16 - Allagash Beer Pairing Menu ($65 or a la carte to drink Allagash's Tripel, Quad, Curieux, Victor, and Victoria paired with food from the acclaimed near Rittenhouse Square)

@Brauhaus Schmitz, Philadelphia, Pa.--- throughout May 2012 - Spargelfest ($PAYG as every Thursday through Sunday in May, Chef Jeremy Nolen will be preparing some special dishes highlighting asparagus. An amazing draft/bottle list packed with tons of delicious beers to pair with the courses.)

@Iron Hill, Media, Pa.--- Thu. 5/10 - Artisan Cheese and Beer Pairing (6:00pm & 8:00pm seatings; $35 for four courses of cheese paired with Lodestone Lager, English India Pale Ale, Chocolate-Coconut Belgian Single, and American Brown Ale)

@Sands Casino Resort, Bethlehem, Pa.--- Wed. 5/16 - Lancaster (England) Beer Dinner (6:00pm; $50 for a four-course meal paired wtih Lancaster Amber, Lancaster Blonde, Lancaster Black, and Lancaster Red)

Homebrewing, Charity, and Education
@Brauhaus Schmitz, Philadelphia, Pa.--- throughout May 2012 - Liters for Litters ($PAYG as every Saturday in May from opening until 5 p.m., 50% of all draft beer sales will go to PAWS. Order a liter and get a raffle ticket for a great prize.)

@Keystone Homebrew, Bethlehem & Montgomeryville, Pa.--- throughout May 2012 - Beer Making, Cheese Making, and Wine Making classes (See website for all the class details)

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Philly Beer Week 2012: How's your planning coming along?

Come this Friday, we'll be three weeks away from the kickoff of the fifth annual Philly Beer Week celebration.

Come this Sunday, the annual Philly Beer Run will take place at Dock Street will be four weeks away.

I'm proud to organizing this run once again with Dock Street Brewery and urge you to head over to the race registration website.

If you don't run, you can volunteer. If you'd rather do neither, come on out after 2 p.m. anyway to cheer on the runners and to see a music festival that has gathered quite a bit of praise over the past few years as one of Day 10's most celebrated event.

Now, if you're ready for a fun chuckle, you can check out this little bit of promotion courtesy of Philly Beer Week and Jose Pistola's Casey Parker.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Weekly Brew Bits Update: 5/7/12

Plenty of news to get you caught up on this first Monday of May.

~ Every two years, the Craft Brewers Conference concludes with the presentation of World Beer Cup awards. Philadelphia was represented on the winner's stage by Dock Street (a bronze for Prisoner of Hell in the Belgian-style Strong Pale Ale). Life at Tröegs got still more sweet with a bronze medal for Troegenator, up against 29 other entries in Traditional German-style Bock. But, no one likely came home more deservedly happy than Iron Hill, which continues to prove its awesomeness and provide more ammunition against its critics. On the back of its Media location powerhouse brewer, Bob Barrar, and his Old Ale and Russian Imperial Stout, Iron Hill brought home a gold medal for each of the beers in addition to Small Brewpub of the Year honors.

~ Have fun with this latest bit of promotion from Philly Beer Week and Jose Pistola's Casey Parker.

~ Life dealt me more than I could fit in along side a visit to the annual Sly Fox Goat Races & Bock Fest. Looking for a decent wrap-up online. Not finding much. Jack Curtin's got a bit of a tease after resurfacing, but I guess everyone else was in San Diego.

~ Red Hook tweeted a memorial for one of their own, Ben Harris, killed in a tragic and "freak accident" by a keg that exploded during the cleaning process. Beaver County Times and The Huffington Post have details.

~ Amidst all the New Belgium, Victory, Sierra Nevada, et al expansion news, did you miss the Lagunitas bombshell that they were setting up a new shop in Chicago? Here was a well-measured view from Chicago put together over at Ale Heads.

~ Three beers from Brooklyn Brewery that should do very well as canned offerings this summer.

~ AMEN, sister! Here's a great article from the marketing coordinator at Great Divide in Denver, Colo. that I've yet to share my very similar sentiments on.

~ Also coming from Colorado is the very well-respected voice of New Belgium saying "not so fast" on the craft-in-can-lovefest.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Weekly Beer Calendar Update: May 3 - May 9

Weekly Beer Calendar Update: May 3 - May 9

May's an extremely busy month in the world of great beer events in and around Philadelphia. Without further ado or fanfare, let's get started with the next seven days worth. Buckle up.

Check out the entire May 2012 calendar over here. If I'm missing any that you feel should be on here, don't hesitate to let me know.

Brewery Promos and Samplings
@Beer Yard, Wayne, Pa.--- Fri. 5/4 - Friday Night Sampling (5:00pm-7:00pm; $Free tasting samples from Sierra Nevada)

@Blue Dog, Lansdale, Pa.--- Fri. 5/4 - Widmer Brothers Tasting (6:30pm; $Free Tasting samples)

@Craft Beer Outlet, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Fri. 5/4 - Beer Sampling (5:00pm-7:00pm; $Free tasting samples of Lancaster Brewing's Rumspringa)

@Fegley's Brew Works, Bethlehem, Pa.--- Thu. 5/3 - Charity Cask Night (5:00pm-9:00pm; $PAYG to try Fruit Lover's Wit, a fruited version Steelgaarden Belgian Wit, to benefit WDIY Lehigh Valley Community Public Radio)

@Goshen Beverage, West Chester, Pa.--- Fri. 5/4 - Friday Night Tasting (4:00pm-6:00pm; $Free tasting samples of Victory)
@Goshen Beverage, West Chester, Pa.--- Sat. 5/5 - Saturday Tasting (12:00pm-2:00pm; $Free tasting samples of Dos Equis)

@Iron Hill, Lancaster, Pa.--- Fri. 5/4 - Barnstormers Tailgate Party (5:00pm-9:00pm; $PAYG for a tailgate party featuring Ballpark inspired beer & dogs)
@Iron Hill, Phoenixville, Pa.--- Fri. 5/4 - Tim –vs– Matt Cask Challenge (5:00pm-9:00pm; $PAYG as head brewer, Tim, goes up against assistant brewer Matt in a cask challenge pitting Mattie’s Sugar Shack Brown Ale, an 8.0% ABV imperial brown ale against Tim’s Super Ironbound, a 4.8% ABV American pale ale)

@Sly Fox, Phoenixville, Pa.--- Fri. 5/4 - Incubus Friday (11:30am; $PAYG for the draught version of the Belgian-style Tripel which pours until the keg kicks, usually by 7 p.m.)

@The Bottle Shop, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Thu. 5/3 - 12 Percent Imports Beer Sampling (7:00pm-9:00pm; $Free tasting samples from the 12 Percent Imports portfolio)

@TIME, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Mon. 5/7 - Mutha Firkin Monday (6:00pm; $PAYG for a cask of something tasty from Stone)

@Trolley Car Diner, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Fri. 5/4 - First Friday Free Tasting (5:30pm-7:30pm; $Free tastings from Philadelphia Brewing)

@Whole Foods, Plymouth Meeting, Pa.--- Thu. 5/3 - First Thursday Beer Tasting and Pig Roast (6:00pm-8:00pm; $Free beer samples and our featured new pig roaster on the rooftop café, along with fresh pork tacos at our Blue Route Taco Truck)

"Takeovers", Debuts, Festivals, and other noteworthy events
@Canal Street Pub, Reading, Pa.--- Sat. 5/5 - S.I.P. Firkin Fest (6:00pm-10:00pm; $40 for sampling of real ales from local, regional breweries, roast pig and fixins', live music, and a Canal Street pint glass.)

@Devil's Den, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Wed. 5/9 - Ommegang Goes to the Opera (7:00pm-11:00pm; $PAYG for a selection of limited release drafts from Ommegang along with a special cheese plate from DiBruno Bros. Hennepin, Adoration, Art of Darkness, Seduction, Witte, and Duvel Single. At 10 p.m., the Center City Opera Theater will be performing their After Hours Arias. Artists will be in to performs timeless drinking songs from famous operas and sing along with members of their Young Artist Program.)

@Dock Street Brewing Company, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Sun. 5/6 - Big Bottle Release (12:00pm-4:00pm; $PAYG for lunch, live music, and beers. Bottle available for to-go purchase include: Flemish Red Sour Ale; Dude de Garde; Belgian Black IPA; Super Saison; Abt 6; Abt 8; Abt 10; Abt 12)

@Drink Philly, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Fri. 5/4 - First Friday (5:00pm-9:00pm; $Free to only Drink Philly subscribers for food and drink tastings from the new Boilermaker and check out some great art and music.)

@Hawthornes, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Sat. 5/5 - IPA Block Party (12:00pm-8:00pm; $PAYG for over 24 IPAs, live music, and great Hawthornes food)

@High Street Grill, Mount Holly, NJ--- Sat. 5/5 - Spring Craft Beer Fest (1:00pm-6:30pm; $40/$60 for bourbon barrel-aged beer lunch, Mexican food, the Kentucky Derby on TV, and plenty of great craft beer. Proceeds to Benefit St. Patricks Parade Committee.)

@Iron Abbey, Horsham, Pa.--- Sun. 5/6 - Bus Trip to Sly Fox Bockfest & Goat Race (9:00am-5:00pm; $50 for a seat on the bus, breakfast, tickets for beer, food, and Sly Fox merchandise.)

@Lucky's Last Chance, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Tue. 5/8 - Oskar Blues Tap & Can Takeover (7:00pm-10:00pm; $PAYG for Dale's Pale Ale, Deviant Dale's, Gubna, and G'Knight on tap along with Old Chub and Mama's Little Yella Pils in cans. Flights will be available.)

@McFadden's at the Ballpark, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Sat. 5/5 - Beer Fest at the Ballpark (2:00pm-7:00pm; $20/$40/$50 to sample over 50 different beers from 30+ craft breweries all while listening to live band & DJ music, indulging on great ballpark food with a Mexican flair.)

@Old Eagle Tavern, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Sun. 5/6 - 9th Anniversary Party (12:30pm-3:00pm; $PAYG for a complementary brunch buffet and dollar-off drafts)

@Sly Fox, Phoenixville, Pa.--- Sun. 5/6 - Bock Fest & Goat Race (11:00am-6:00pm; $PAYG for a family-suited afternoon of food, beer, goats, music, dancing, and outdoor fun)

@The Bottle Shop, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Sat. 5/5 - Saucy Saturday & Cinco de Mayo (6:00pm-10:00pm; $PAYG for a spicy menu infused with Oskar Blues and Stone Brewing hot sauces, music, mixed drink specials, and all the food that your taste buds can handle.)

Food and Beer events
@Barbuzzo, Philadelphia, Pa.-- Wed. 5/9 - Belgian Beer Dinner (7:00pm; $55 for a four-course meal paired with Sünner Kölsch, St. Feuillien La Blanche, Urthel Samaranth Quadrium, and Brouwerij Bosteels Tripel Karmeliet)

@Brauhaus Schmitz, Philadelphia, Pa.--- throughout May 2012 - Spargelfest ($PAYG as every Thursday through Sunday in May, Chef Jeremy Nolen will be preparing some special dishes highlighting asparagus. An amazing draft/bottle list packed with tons of delicious beers to pair with the courses.)

@Iron Hill, Phoenixville, Pa.--- Tue. 5/8 - Ocho de Mayo Beer Dinner (7:00pm; $70 for a five-course meal paired with Belgian Wit, Smokin Blonde, Hoppopotamus, Pig Iron Porter, Maibock, and Tripel Sec)

@Jon's Bar & Grille, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Thu. 5/3 - 5-course Beer Dinner (6:00pm-8:00pm; $40 for a five-course meal paired with Schneider Aventinus, Unibroue Don de Dieu, Southern Tier Unearthly, Dogfish Head Noble Rot, and Terrapin Hoohoo)

@Uno's, Exton, Pa.--- Wed. 5/9 - BackYARDS BBQ Beer Dinner (7:00pm-9:00pm; $55 for a five-course meal paired wtih Poor Richard's Tavern Spruce Ale, Brawler, General Washington's Tavern Porter, Philadelphia Pale Ale, Thomas Jefferson Tavern Ale, and Love Stout)

Homebrewing, Charity, and Education
@Appalachian Brewing Company, Harrisburg, Pa.--- Mon. 5/7-Sun. 5/13 - 6th Annual Homebrew Contest (see website for details)

@Brauhaus Schmitz, Philadelphia, Pa.--- throughout May 2012 - Liters for Litters ($PAYG as every Saturday in May from opening until 5 p.m., 50% of all draft beer sales will go to PAWS. Order a liter and get a raffle ticket for a great prize.)

@Hibernia County Park, Coatesville, Pa.--- Sun. 5/6 - SPCA Walk for Paws (11:00am-2:00pm; $PAYG to raise money for the SPCA by walking your 4-legged friend and then music and games for kids of all ages, food from various vendors including Victory Brewing Company, and various animal-related demonstrations and merchants.)

@Keystone Homebrew, Bethlehem & Montgomeryville, Pa.--- throughout May 2012 - Beer Making, Cheese Making, and Wine Making classes (See website for all the class details)

@Resurrection Ale House, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Wed. 5/9 - Monthly Beer School (4:00pm; $Free to learn about Dogfish Head and its beers along side Resurrection Ale House's staff)

@The Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, Pa.--- Tue. 5/8 - Philly Beer Geek Preliminary Round (7:30pm; $PAYG as the pub and the Lucky 13 Homebrew Club host a preliminary round for the annual 2012 Philly Beer Geek competition and we are looking for people to come on out and join us for a fun time with local beer trivia for those who are interested in joining the competition and those who just want to have fun! There will be samples of some of our members best homebrew and of course many fine beers on tap as well as a fantastic menu.)

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Of Infographics and Curtins and Happy May Day

Jack Curtin's got us all hooked up lately with infographics. It might explain why I didn't see him at a Suburban Beer Week dinner at Craft Ale House on his home turf. Though, since these kind of postings can be auto-generated, he might very well have skipped town. Or it could've been one of those "got-eight-simultaneous-deadlines" things that actually isn't such a bad problem to have, at least financially speaking.

(UPDATE: I now see that he'll be brewing at Tröegs in Hershey later this week. Apparently, it's for some type of PBW '12 challenge between him and Lew Bryson to culminate with an event of some kind at Standard Tap. So, he's probably been busy concocting the recipe.)

First he tipped us off to one depicting the fine "cantacular" brews of Sly Fox (though, I can't say I truly understand the comments made in the trailing section. Then, came one touting the beauty of well-made beer (fka, Craft Beer). All about how to drink it, why to drink, when to drink it, and what to eat with it.

Then, back to Sly Fox, he hooked us up with a video reminding us all why the Goat Races and Bock Festival are so beloved.

Finally, since today's posting has been brought to you by the word "infograhic", here's one more infographic dug up for you by my own personal individualistic self of me. Bemoan that we may, the development and broadcasting of news has/is changed and the graphic does a fine job of pointing out the whats and hows of it all.

So, there you have it. It's a lot to absorb, so I might suggest hunting down some Victory Summer Love beer as it gets released on this first day of May. If you're nearby their Downingtown, Pa. base camp, they're running special deals on Summer Love today that you might wish to take advantage of.

Bill Covaleski promised that they'd try to release it sooner this year in light of all the press it got being named a Top Ten Beer of the Year by some guy over at The Washington Times in the Communities section ;-) Looks like they've delivered; enjoy!