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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Beer Calendar: What To Do in July 2012

The Brew Lounge may be on hiatus, but that won't stop me from ensuring that you get one of your favorite features here: the monthly calendar.

Stealing the calendar in Delaware from July 14 - July 21 is the second annual installment of Wilmington Beer Week.

Around the rest of the region, it's more of the same that you've become accustomed to in one of the country's best all-around beer drinking regions in the country.

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

Philadelphia
All summer long - Twin Peaks on the Big Screen @Memphis Taproom, Philadelphia, Pa. (9:00 p.m.; $PAYG)
Sun. 7/1 - Euro Cup 2012 Finals Block Party @Brauhaus Schmitz, Philadelphia, Pa. (12:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.; $PAYG)
Wed. 7/4 - Monthly Beer School (American Ales) @Memphis Taproom, Philadelphia, Pa. (12:00 p.m.; $Free)
Wed. 7/4 - Red, White, Blue, and Brew @Tria, Philadelphia, Pa. ($PAYG)
Fri. 7/6 - Xmas In July @Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, Pa. (5:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.; $PAYG)
Sat. 7/7 - Ales for Trails with Stone Brewing @Valley Green Inn, Philadelphia, Pa. (11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.; $PAYG)
Tue. 7/10 - Movie Night (Willow) @Dock Street Brewery, Philadelphia, Pa. (8:00 p.m.; $PAYG)
Wed. 7/11 - 10th Anniversary Party with Allagash @For Pete's Sake Pub, Philadelphia, Pa. (5:00 p.m.; $PAYG)
Thu. 7/12-Sat. 7/14 - Beer Garden at The Porch @30th Street Station, Philadelphia, Pa. ($PAYG)
Fri. 7/13-Sun. 7/15 - 20th Annual Bastille Day Celebration @London Grill, Philadelphia, Pa. ($PAYG; see website for all the fun details)
Thu. 7/12 - Goose Island Tap Takeover @Chestnut 7, Philadelphia, Pa. (4:00 p.m.; $PAYG)
Fri. 7/13 - Christmas in July @City Tap House, Philadelphia, Pa. (4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.; $PAYG)
Fri. 7/13 - Friday The Firkinteenth @Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, Pa. (12:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.; $PAYG)
Sat. 7/14 - Saison Brunch @Johnny Brenda's, Philadelphia, Pa. (11:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m.; $PAYG)
Tue. 7/17 - Movie Night (Watership Down) @Dock Street Brewery, Philadelphia, Pa. (8:00 p.m.; $PAYG)
Thu. 7/19 - Germany Comes From Minnesota @Hop Angel Brauhaus, Philadelphia, Pa. (7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.; $PAYG)
Sat. 7/21 - Brew Works Fried Chicken Picnic @The Institute, Philadelphia, Pa. (2:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.; $PAYG)
Thu. 7/26 - IBU Smackdown @Iron Hill, Philadelphia, Pa. (5:00pm-8:00pm; $PAYG)
Fri. 7/27 - The Dude Hates Cancer @Yards Brewing, Philadelphia, Pa. (7:30pm-10:30pm; $PAYG)


Philadelphia's close suburbs (within 20 mile radius of Philadelphia)
Tue. 7/3 - Thirsty Tuesdays (Firestone Walker) @Teresa's Next Door, Wayne, Pa. (3:00 p.m.; $PAYG)
Wed. 7/4 - Wheat Beer Wednesdays (Hefeweizen) @Iron Hill, North Wales, Pa. (5:00pm-9:00pm; $PAYG)
Thu. 7/5 - Dogfish Head Tap Takeover @Pinocchio's, Media, Pa. (11:00 a.m.; $PAYG)
Thu. 7/5 - Victory Tap Takeover @Hulmeville Inn, Hulmeville, Pa. (6:00 p.m.; $PAYG)
Fri. 7/6 - Friday Night Tasting (Widmer) @Beer Yard, Wayne, Pa. (5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.; $Free)
Fri. 7/6 - Firkin Friday (Sun Set Wit) @Iron Hill, Media, Pa. (5:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.; $PAYG)
Tue. 7/10 - Thirsty Tuesdays (Allagash) @Teresa's Next Door, Wayne, Pa. (3:00 p.m.; $PAYG)
Wed. 7/11 - Wheat Beer Wednesdays (Peach Wheat) @Iron Hill, North Wales, Pa. (5:00pm-9:00pm; $PAYG)
Thu. 7/12-Sat. 7/14 - Saison and IPA draft promo @Capone's, Norristown, Pa. ($PAYG)
Fri. 7/13 - Friday Night Tasting (Belgian samples) @Beer Yard, Wayne, Pa. (5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.; $Free)
Fri. 7/13 - Meet Tim Roberts from Yards @Iron Hill, Maple Shade, NJ (4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.; $PAYG)
Tue. 7/17 - Thirsty Tuesdays (Jolly Pumpkin) @Teresa's Next Door, Wayne, Pa. (3:00 p.m.; $PAYG)
Wed. 7/18 - Wheat Beer Wednesdays (Watermelon Wheat) @Iron Hill, North Wales, Pa. (5:00pm-9:00pm; $PAYG)
Sat. 7/21 - Ice Cream Social @Iron Hill, North Wales, Pa. (2:00pm-6:00pm; $PAYG)
Tue. 7/24 - Thirsty Tuesdays (Russian River) @Teresa's Next Door, Wayne, Pa. (3:00 p.m.; $PAYG)
Wed. 7/25 - Wheat Beer Wednesdays (Creamsicle Wheat) @Iron Hill, North Wales, Pa. (5:00pm-9:00pm; $PAYG)
Wed. 7/25 - Zoo With Friends @Iron Hill, North Wales, Pa. (5:00pm-9:00pm; $PAYG)
Fri. 7/27 - Friday Night Tasting (Uinta) @Beer Yard, Wayne, Pa. (5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.; $Free)
Tue. 7/31 - Thirsty Tuesdays ("Special Event") @Teresa's Next Door, Wayne, Pa. (3:00 p.m.; $PAYG)


Greater Philadelphia Metro / Eastern Pennsylvania / Other (beyond 20 mile radius of Philadelphia)
Sun. 7/1 - KanJam Sunday @Exton Beverage, Exton, Pa. (1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.; $PAYG)
Wed. 7/4 - Hill Farmstead Tasting @TJ's, Paoli, Pa. (12:00 p.m.; $PAYG)
Wed. 7/4 - Charity Cask Night ("Red White & Blueberry" to benefit Old Allentown Preservation Association) @Fegley's Brew Works, Bethlehem, Pa. (5:00pm; $PAYG)
Thu. 7/5 - Ales Of The Revolution Quizzo @The Whip Tavern, Coatesville, Pa. (9:00 p.m.; $PAYG)
Thu. 7/5 - Charity Cask Night (to benefit The Cat Shack rescue group) @Fegley's Brew Works, Bethlehem, Pa. (5:00pm-9:00pm; $PAYG)
Fri. 7/6 - Xmas in July with Mad Elf @Spinnerstown Hotel, Spinnerstown, Pa. (6 p.m.-9 p.m.; $PAYG)
Fri. 7/6 - Incubus Friday @Sly Fox, Phoenixville, Pa. (11:30am; $PAYG)
Sat. 7/7 - Sly Fox Beer Tasting @Wegmans, Collegville, Pa. (2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.; $Free)
Sun. 7/8 - Kegs 'n' Eggs @Side Bar, West Chester, Pa. (11:00 a.m.; $PAYG)
Thu. 7/12 - Hill Farmstead Tasting @Blue Dog, Chalfont, Pa. (5:00 p.m.; $PAYG)
Fri. 7/13-Sat. 7/14 - Blob Fest 2012 @Iron Hill, Phoenixville, Pa. (5:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.; $PAYG)
Sat. 7/14-Sat. 7/21 - Wilmington Beer Week @locations all across Wilmington, Del. (see website for all the listings)
Sun. 7/15 - Fegley's Fruit Fest @Fairway Pavilion at the Allentown Municipal Golf Course, Allentown, Pa. (3:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.; $20)
Fri. 7/20-Sat. 7/21 - West Coast Total Tap Takeover @Spinnerstown Hotel, Spinnerstown, Pa. ($PAYG)
Fri. 7/20 - Third Friday Firkin Fest (Chester County Bitter, Route 113 IPA, Ichor) @Sly Fox, Phoenixville, Pa. (11:30 a.m.; $PAYG)
Fri. 7/20 - Make It Funky! @Iron Hill, Lancaster, Pa. (3:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.; $PAYG)
Sat. 7/21 (rescheduled from 6/30) - 18th Anniversary Party with Tröegs draft release @The Drafting Room, Exton, Pa. (12:00 p.m.; $PAYG)
Sat. 7/21 - Delaware Beach and Beer @Iron Hill, Wilmington, Del. (4:00 p.m.; $PAYG)
Wed. 7/25 - A Takeover Production by Nick from Tröegs & Patrick from Sly Fox @TJ's, Paoli, Pa. ($PAYG)
Thu. 7/26 - Sly Fox Tap Takeover @Rino's, Exton, Pa. ($PAYG)
Sat. 7/28 - Newark Food and Brew Festival @downtown Newark, Del. (2:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.; $35/$40)


Events Over $20

Philadelphia
Tue. 7/10 - Ommegang Hop Chef @World Café Live, Philadelphia, Pa. (7:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.; $55)
Tue. 7/10 - Local Beer/Local Food Dinner @Monk's Café, Philadelphia, Pa. (7:00 p.m.; $TBD)
Sat. 7/7 - 5th Annual BBQ at the Ballpark @Jetro Lot at Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pa. (3:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.; $55/$90)
Sat. 7/14 - Royal Stumble @Nodding Head, Philadelphia, Pa. (1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.; $45)
Sat. 7/14 - SmörgåsBeer'd @American Swedish Historical Museum, Philadelphia, Pa. (4:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.; $25/$30/$50)
Sat. 7/21 - Summer Ale Festival @Philadelphia Zoo, Philadelphia, Pa. (6:30 p.m.-10:00 p.m.; $35/$65/$95)
Sat. 7/21 - Good Food, Good Beer and the Rest is History @The Shambles at Headhouse Square, Philadelphia, Pa. (6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.; $30/$35)
Sat. 7/28 - Sour Saturday @City Tap House, Philadelphia, Pa. (1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.; $30)


Philadelphia's close suburbs (within 20 mile radius of Philadelphia)
Sat. 7/14 - Pour-a-palooza @The Pour House, Westmont, NJ (12:00 p.m.-4:00pm; $35/$40)
Tue. 7/17 - Brewmaster’s Summer Beer Dinner @Iron Hill, North Wales, Pa. (6:00pm; $65)


Greater Philadelphia Metro / Eastern Pennsylvania / Other (beyond 20 mile radius of Philadelphia)
Wed. 7/11 - Meet the Brewery Dinner with Oskar Blues @Spinnerstown Hotel, Spinnerstown, Pa. (7 p.m.; $45)
Tue. 7/17 - Brewmaster’s Summer Beer Dinner @Iron Hill, Newark, Del. (7:00 p.m.; $65)
Thu. 7/19 - Wilmington Beer Week Collaboration Beer Dinner @Iron Hill, Wilmington, Del. (7:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.; $75)
Sat. 7/21 - Pints For Pups @FirstEnergy Stadium, Reading, Pa. (5:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.; $20/$25/$40/$55/$75)
Sat. 7/21 - Hops, Vines, and Wines Festival @Downtwon Selinsgrove, Pa. (2:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.; $20/$45)
Wed. 7/25 - Luau Beer Dinner @Two Stones Pub, Newark, Del. (6:30 p.m.; $TBD)
Wed. 7/25 - Ultimate Beer Dinner @Spinnerstown Hotel, Spinnerstown, Pa. ($TBD)
Sat. 7/28 - Brews For Books @Indian Valley Public Library, Telford, Pa. (6:30 p.m.-10:00 p.m.; $35/$40)
Sat. 7/28 - First Tour of PA's three newest breweries @Free Will, Round Guys, and Forest & Main — meeting in Limerick, Pa. (12:00pm; $65)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Philly Beer Week 2012: The Way It Was

After 14 days in Belgium and just a few days later embarking upon 10 days of Philly Beer Week (not to mention "pre-gaming" with a decadent 9-course beer dinner with Russian River and Sierra Nevada at Monk's Café just a couple of nights before PBW officially kicked off), I'm not in much of a mood to get all that introspective to talk about PBW '12 from the inside out.

(If you'd like to check back in on the day-by-day from my perspective, jump back via this link.)

From the outside looking in, though, it was another year of 10 days of events ranging from simple tastings to brewer visits from far and wide to geeky special beer releases to more homebrew events than ever to lunches, brunches, and dinners to extravagant shows of hilarity and, yes, (shameless self-promotion) a 5-K race that exceeded everyone's expectations and jumped up to get a lot of deserved attention.

Comparing (at least on paper) Philly Beer Week to almost any other Beer Week (there are now reportedly over 100 of them in various shapes and sizes) around the country is pointless. Philadelphia set the standard back in 2008 and, more importantly, continues to impress each year by maintaining a format that works for most involved from the brewers to the distributors to the bar owners and to the consumers.

Is it more than is necessary? Most agree yes. Many say privately and some agree publicly that PBW subtracts more than just 10 days of their lives from them and that keeping up in Philadelphia's competitive beer market is a struggle enough during the other 355 days of the year let alone the additional stress that accompanies the 10 days of PBW. It's a format that's been debated and criticized, but it's difficult to argue the success (financial, career, or otherwise) that has resulted for many. Or to argue that it is just, at the end of the day — or 10 days — down-right fun.

But what is not debatable is the well-deserved international recognition and praise PBW brings to the countless hundreds that are involved in making the Philadelphia region one of the best all-around beer cultures in the country.

That seems like a pretty good note to leave things on until Philly Beer Week 2013 rolls around.

P.S. I've caught wind of and am sharing with you here a link to a Philly Beer Week survey where you will be entered into a drawing for Opening Tap tickets in 2013. Remember: it can't get any better if they don't hear from the most important factor of Philly Beer Week — You.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

June Beer Events in Philly? There are still 19 days and nights remaining.

Now that you're beginning to put Philly Beer Week behind you, when you're ready to step back into the malty waters again, brewers and bartenders will be awaiting you.

Here's a link back to my June 2012 calendar that will help you plan out the remainder of your June beer events.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Philly Beer Week 2012: The Index

Philly Beer Week 2012: This will be home base for collecting up the assorted words and pictures, links to them and what not, that I'll be putting out there for you over the coming week and a half. I'll include links that I deem interesting enough to share with you as well.

I'll keep this as the top of the homepage here, so check back often as this will be a "living post".

Buckle up, here we go with Philly Beer Week 2012.

Day-by-Day:
Day 1 (Friday, 6/1) — Link to PreviewLink to Wrap-UpLink to Pictures
Day 2 (Saturday, 6/2) — Link to PreviewLink to Wrap-UpLink to Pictures
Day 3 (Sunday, 6/3) — Link to PreviewLink to Wrap-UpLink to Pictures
Day 4 (Monday, 6/4) — Link to PreviewLink to Wrap-Up — Link to Pictures [n/a]
Day 5 (Tuesday, 6/5) — Link to PreviewLink to Wrap-UpLink to Pictures
Day 6 (Wednesday, 6/6) — Link to PreviewLink to Wrap-Up — Link to Pictures [n/a]
Day 7 (Thursday, 6/7) — Link to PreviewLink to Wrap-UpLink to Pictures
Day 8 (Friday, 6/8) — Link to PreviewLink to Wrap-Up — Link to Pictures [n/a]
Day 9 (Saturday, 6/9) — Link to PreviewLink to Wrap-UpLink to Pictures
Day 10 (Sunday, 6/10) — Link to PreviewLink to Wrap-UpLink to Pictures

--> Link to master calendar list of events at Philly Beer Week's website.

--> Link to past coverage of Philly Beer Week at The Brew Lounge.

Assorted links to PBW '12 in the news:
~ Philadelphia Weekly's coverage, to me, of PBW gets better each year. Here's one link to give you a clue.
~ Philly.com triple-teams the beer coverage between Joe Sixpack (natch), Craig Laban, and Michael Klein. Here's a take on PBW '12 provided by Klein.
~ Some words from Peter Van Allen at Philadelphia Business Journal and a small slideshow from the With Love Beer Garden media preview party at Four Seasons Hotel.
~ A nice preview article in Metro Philly

Other local writers/bloggers covering PBW '12:
~ Suzy Woods, the Beer Lass, the Allagash ambassador, the plate-is-always-full (and so is the glass!) shares some of her plans for a very busy Philly Beer Week

~ Joe Sixpack with a bunch of great recommendations (5/31)

~ Jack Curtin shares some fun video that pulls back the curtain (like how I did that?) on the Great Lew versus Jack showdown.

~ I'm sure that no one will ever forget the PLCB/BLCE debacle. Lew Bryson uses the Resurrection Ale at Resurrection Ale House event to remind us of those dark days.

~ Carolyn Smagalski provides the background behind Philly Beer Geek 2011 champion, Natalie DeChico (Weyerbacher regional rep), and her Basil IPA designed and brewed with Manayunk Brewing Company.

~ The Town Dish has branched out in to various communities over the past few years. They've begun their coverage of PBW this year thus far with: Downingtown Dish; Chestnut Hill Dish; West Chester Dish. They'd also partnered with Southwest Airlines and Philly Beer Week on a cool little contest with a big payoff.

~ Ryan Hudak, at In Search of Beer, is reminding me that I'm not the only that attempts to exhaustively cover Philly Beer Week. He's got a slew of great recommendations for experiencing PBW '12 (and organized quite nicely) and I'm assuming we'll see lots of highlights in the post mortems. If I don't run in to him too often, you can probably bet that he and I will cover at least half of PBW '12 :)

~ This should be a handy link from Collin Flatt at Eater.com and everything he writes about PBW '12.

~ And a similar handy link for Grub Street Philadelphia and their content that they post over the next couple of weeks.

~ Uwishunu does a nice job of covering the city and region from the Tourism Bureau's perspective. Here's a bit of a preview from them as well as a link to all related content, where they also point out Valanni hosting a Philly Gay Beer Week?!

~ Arthur Etchells, the Foobooz crew, and I love numbers. So it's no wonder I love what he did with Philly Beer Week By The Numbers. There's a catchall link here too to keep track of everything Foobooz puts out there during PBW '12.

~ Being a former tap list junkie (remember those days?), I also love what Jared and Kristy Littman are doing over at Philly Tap Finder to help out the geeks in need of their daily, and up-to-date, fix.

Philly Beer Week 2012: Day 10 Wrap-Up

-->A link to the Philly Beer Week Index

-->A link to Day 9 highlights

The beauty of doing a Philly Beer Week wrap-up is that there's almost no way in which I, or anyone else, can be wrong in my assessment. After all, with an average of 80 or so "events" a day (and let's be honest, after five years, there are still quite a few questionable "events" on the calendar, but let's move along), no one will or can see it all to render an opinion on how the whole of the day went down.

So, instead, here is my account of the tenth and last day, June 10, of Philly Beer Week 2012 based upon my whereabouts. To the extent that I have credible second- or third-hand accounts of the day, I'll be including them in each day's wrap-up as well.

First, a link to Picasa and my day 10 of PBW wrapped up in pictures.

And, now, some brief notes in no particular order other than perhaps chronologically.

~ Things I've learned in the past week about people and their places: Jon Defibaugh moving from Earth Bread + Brewery in Mt. Airy to Tired Hands in Ardmore; Mike Fava moving from Nodding Head in Center City Philly to Oxbow Brewing Company in Maine somewhere an hour or so north of Portland; and Justin Quinlan moving from Dock Street in West Philly to somewhere in Seattle much farther than Fava. Got all that?

From Philly Beer Week 2012, Day 10


~ I run the risk of boring some of you to tears — or at least indifference — by talking about the Philly Beer Run that I put on yesterday in conjunction with Dock Street. But, why should I demure? How many other Philly Beer Week events attracted nearly 400 attendees yesterday? Or at any point during the last 10 days? How many customers paid, in effect, a cover charge to personally participate in the event and then stick around for up to four hours paying for more food and beer while taking in great local, live music? Yes, it was pretty special, if I do say so.

~ This isn't all about me and I know I run the risk of making it sound that way. Truth is, I've been conducting this run in various forms over the first four Philly Beer Weeks going back to '08. Dock Street has always been an integral part of these runs, but they've been "fun runs" that never attracted any more than roughly 80 attendees. There was no cost to the runners and the rules were simple: show up, run, get prizes, eat and drink.

~ This year, to take it to the next level, Dock Street and I agreed to make this a truly bona fide 5-K race, complete with official timing and everything it takes to make a "real" race. It took months of very detailed planning (you don't realize how much goes in to organizing a race until you're on the other side of the starting line. Amazing.) to get to this point yesterday.

~ Dock Street went "all-in" with their commitment this year. Without the very careful attention to detail that Marilyn Candeloro (Brand Ambassador for Dock Street) was able to provide, this never would have happened.

~ Let's see, did I get all the groundwork laid for you there? If so, let's get to the weather. It seemed that as each day that went by in the week leading up to June 10, another degree or two got tacked on to the forecast. Very little chance of rain though. (Which actually does beg an interesting question. If PBW is in June accompanied by the typically volatile weather, would you rather have rolling violent thunderstorms in the forecast or blistering hot sun and oppressive humidity?)

~ To the runners credit, there was barely 10% in no-shows. Roughly 370 runners of all shapes, sizes, colors, and backgrounds came out to put in their 5-Ks and then kick back with some beer, pizza, and live music.

~ On the concrete and macadam of West Philly, in 94 degree heat with barely any cloud cover, the runners took to the course. Nearly half of it had some tree and building shade and that worked out nicely. But 90+ degree heat is still hot. As with everything in life, there are many areas of the race that our preparation rewarded us nicely with and other areas in which we can learn a little from our shortcomings.

~ At the end of the day, however, the kudos from numerous runners told us that we did better than well in our first official running of the Philly Beer Run 5-K.

~ The pictures I've linked to are nearly 100% running-related. Whomever was toting my camera filled the memory card with nearly 600 pictures before I got around to presenting awards, so the pictures basically run out of timeline at the race.

~ As a nice complement, I've got a link here to the pictures Carolyn Smagalski took and posted on Facebook. And, there'll be one coming as well to the pictures from the photographer that Dock Street employed.

~ Not much else I think would add to this picture of how pleased I am while doing some Monday Morning Quarterbacking. The day came together nicely and we're already looking forward to the second installment of Philly Beer Run 5-K in 2013.

~ The only other events that I lined up as remote possibilities were at Local 44 (and any leftover "scraps" from their Russian River event earlier in the day) and Fergie's (for the annual post-celebration amongst mostly industry folk called the T.U.D., Totally Unnecessary Drink). I had a strong hunch, however, that after being in the sun and 90+ degree heat for over 7 hours, that I'd be sapped of any energy or care to do much else.

~ So it was off to home where, if you look at the last picture in my set, you'll see we created our own T.U.D. which included three beautiful Russian River beers.

~ I may be back in the next few days with some closing thoughts on Philly Beer Week 2012.

~ Cheers to all who worked so hard to make PBW '12 another great display of what the Philadelphia region offers in the wonderful world of craft beer and why it is hands-down one of the country's all-around best beer regions.

From Philly Beer Week 2012, Day 10

Weekly Brew Bits Update: 6/11/12

It's gonna take a bit of time to dry out around here in the aftermath of Philly Beer Week, which officially closed last night. Like last week, I haven't spent a ton of time collecting up bits of goodness that you may have missed along the way.

But, here are a few that stuck out to me.

PHILADELPHIA
~ In the Comings and Goings department: Things I've learned in the past week about people and their places: Jon Defibaugh moving from Earth Bread + Brewery in Mt. Airy to Tired Hands in Ardmore; Mike Fava moving from Nodding Head in Center City Philly to Oxbow Brewing Company in Maine somewhere an hour or so north of Portland; and Justin Quinlan moving from Dock Street in West Philly to somewhere in Seattle much farther than Fava.

~ In a fun twist of fate, Steve Mashington has been named Philly Beer Geek 2012. How much fun do you think he's gonna have representin'?! Carolyn Smagalski has some of the details and pictures.

~ If you want to get my whole day-by-day look at Philly Beer Week, you should by now know where to start.

~ Speaking of PBW and the 5-K race I did yesterday with Dock Street, nothing might have been more perplexing than the conveniently-anonymous PW Staff hiding behind their smug sarcasm which I couldn't tell whether it was simply for the sake of being funny (attempting to be so) or if it is truly a disdain for runners, H&H music, and general good will.

~ From Dave and Heather Gleason that brought us Good Dog Bar up in Center City, a new bar is open in Pennsport with a nod to the service industry. The Industry is in the early days of opening on Moyamensing Avenue (that name rolls off the tongue beautifully, don't you think?) and Foobooz gives a little run down on what to expect. There's a link buried in there that you miss to some of the photographs from inside of the restaurant that play a role in paying homage to the hard working men and women of the city's service industry.


EASTERN PA, NJ, DE, AND OTHER NEARBY PARTS OF MID-ATLANTIC
~ File under: Wow, that was fast. No sooner did we get news a few months ago that Appalachian Brewing Company would be opening its fifth location that word comes via BeerPulse.com that it is, in fact, doing so this week.


THE REST OF PLANET BEER
~ From out west in northern California, home to the country's second best beer week, comes a little reciprocating love from Jay Brooks. Of course, I had to suck up a bit to get noticed, but I knew it'd work ;-)


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Philly Beer Week 2012: Day 9 Wrap-Up

-->A link to the Philly Beer Week Index

-->A link to Day 8 highlights

-->Look ahead to a Day 10 preview
-->A link to Day 10 highlights

The beauty of doing a Philly Beer Week wrap-up is that there's almost no way in which I, or anyone else, can be wrong in my assessment. After all, with an average of 80 or so "events" a day (and let's be honest, after five years, there are still quite a few questionable "events" on the calendar, but let's move along), no one will or can see it all to render an opinion on how the whole of the day went down.

So, instead, here is my account of the ninth day, June 9, of Philly Beer Week 2012 based upon my whereabouts. To the extent that I have credible second- or third-hand accounts of the day, I'll be including them in each day's wrap-up as well.

First, a link to Picasa and my day 9 of PBW wrapped up in pictures.

And, now, some brief notes in no particular order other than perhaps chronologically.

~ Sorry to continuing to harp on all my prep for the big race at Dock Street on day 10 of PHW '12, but it takes a lot more prep, much behind the scenes, to pull off something of this size. Plus, as you might imagine, I'm rather proud of it. For the runners, for Dock Street, for Philly Beer Week and the 400 attendees that we're bringing to it....just for the run. So, my day began in University City helping with Dock Street to distribute race day materials to nearly a third of the runners. The rest we'll meet prior to the race.

~ Then, it was on to Nodding Head for a few funky beers (and a few that poke fun at our crosstown rival Pittsburgh Penguins and their superstar Sidney Crosby that the Flyers bounced early from this year's NHL playoffs). See pictures for the fun beers and their descriptions. To make the mid-day visit perfect, the daily special consisted of a perfect fried chicken sandwich and a cube of fried lobster mac & cheese.

~ Plus, I learned something that seems to made it's way in to the public forum, but haven't seen it in print anywhere yet. Brewer Mike Fava is following his life plan up to Maine and Oxbow Brewing Company. It happens to be where the brewing equipment that was once destined for a Morrison/Fava setup might have wound up.

~ The train would have been my next stop if Mr. Fergie hadn't walked in to Nodding Head and reminded me of an event back at his Fergie's Pub. A cask of Yards beer. Hammarhead motorcycles. A motorcycle on the bar top. And live Irish music. So of course I needed to check this out for myself. You can see it for yourself in the pictures. And then of course there was the requisite beer I needed to dip into from the prior's day event with the boys from Seattle - Brouwer's Cafe and Bottleworks. A Brouwer's 6 was indeed quite tasty. Then it was time for the train.

~ The train, that is, to Ardmore where I finally got to check out the finished version of Tired Hands Brewing Company. Jean Broillet and his staff were working quite a crowd of what seemed to be mostly locals. We sampled our way through several beers and a couple of small plates of food. I'll focus more on these guys in the coming weeks. For now, take this as a valuable tip: Get there soon and experience one of the most unique brewpub experiences in the region.

~ And now, for one more day. Day 10 of Philly Beer Week 2012.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Philly Beer Week 2012: Day 8 Wrap-Up

-->A link to the Philly Beer Week Index

-->A link to Day 7 highlights

-->Look ahead to a Day 9 preview
-->A link to Day 9 highlights

The beauty of doing a Philly Beer Week wrap-up is that there's almost no way in which I, or anyone else, can be wrong in my assessment. After all, with an average of 80 or so "events" a day (and let's be honest, after five years, there are still quite a few questionable "events" on the calendar, but let's move along), no one will or can see it all to render an opinion on how the whole of the day went down.

So, instead, here is my account of the eighth day, June 8, of Philly Beer Week 2012 based upon my whereabouts. To the extent that I have credible second- or third-hand accounts of the day, I'll be including them in each day's wrap-up as well.

And, now, some brief notes in no particular order other than perhaps chronologically.

~ This is gonna be real easy. This has nothing to do with Philly Beer Week. I probably shouldn't have any business sharing this here. So, let's make this easy.

~ Negra Modelo.

~ Margarita.

~ Malbec.

~ Homebrew.

~ There you go. Full disclosure. That was my Friday night. Sounds like De Dolle at Local 44 was quite a hit. But laying low was a good way to take Friday night and prepare for the weekend. See you tomorrow.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Philly Beer Week 2012: Day 10 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 tenth and last day, June 10.

For the ravenous beer geeks
~ Russian River beers never get old do they? Just judge from the lines that are sure to form early for this PAYG event at Local 44.

~ The Cabinet Artisanal party continues from Saturday at Boilermaker to Sunday at Farmers' Cabinet with Terry Hawbaker up from northern Virginia to talk about his beers for the Farmers' Cabinet family.

For the hungry
~ Hawthornes claims to have "arguably the city's best brunch". Paired with beers from Coronado, they might be right.

~ Completely across to another side of town, Sunday morning is coming down to Hop Angel Brauhaus as they host Herr Bryson for a breakfast and discussion all around German beers and foods.

~ It may be sold out, but this is your reminder to mark the calendar for next year's version of the legendary Vintage Beer Brunch at Memphis Taproom.

~ Devil's Den for a Saison brunch. Smashing! (glad to see they have a slick new website too. big improvement!)

For the wild and wacky and downright different
~ T.U.D. is no doubt wild, wacky, and unpredictable as the karoake machine fires into high gear and countless stories are retold (and new ones made) at this annual rite of completion to Philly Beer Week at Fergie's.

Possibly under the radar
~ If all goes well, no beer run of mine will ever be under-the-radar again. And, an accompanying music festival. Can't wait!

~ It may be 90 degrees on Sunday, but all the better to dip into some Christmas beers at Doobies.

And for The Brew Lounge
~ My calendar is pretty easy for Day 10. Dock Street. 5-K run is, so far, everything I'd ever hoped it could be. 400 runners will transition into a crowd of many hundreds more as the afternoon heats up with 5 great local bands. The race is sold out, but all are welcome for the live music, which is free of charge!

~ If I'm still standing, Local 44 for Russian River "scraps" will be in order around 6 o'clock or so.

~ And, if I haven't totally gone face down from exhaustion, one last T.U.D. is the annual ritual at Fergie's. Too much fun, so little time.

Philly Beer Week over and out. Enjoy detox/rehab/sleep.

Philly Beer Week 2012: Day 7 Wrap-Up

-->A link to the Philly Beer Week Index

-->A link to Day 6 highlights

-->Look ahead to a Day 8 preview
-->A link to Day 8 highlights

The beauty of doing a Philly Beer Week wrap-up is that there's almost no way in which I, or anyone else, can be wrong in my assessment. After all, with an average of 80 or so "events" a day (and let's be honest, after five years, there are still quite a few questionable "events" on the calendar, but let's move along), no one will or can see it all to render an opinion on how the whole of the day went down.

So, instead, here is my account of the seventh day, June 7, of Philly Beer Week 2012 based upon my whereabouts. To the extent that I have credible second- or third-hand accounts of the day, I'll be including them in each day's wrap-up as well.

First, a link to Picasa and my day 7 of PBW wrapped up in pictures.

And, now, some brief notes in no particular order other than perhaps chronologically.

~ Somewhere along the way, probably Ommegang BCTC, I was introduced to Kan Jam by someone like Corey Reid from Sly Fox and was instantly hooked. Last year, they used their With Love Beer Garden event at The Four Seasons Hotel to conduct a competition amongst teams that signed up. William Reed (Standard Tap) and I came within a throw of moving on to the finals.

~ This was the year to make amends. And make amends we did. We cruised, undefeated, into the finals for a best of 3 match. We split the first two games by close margins and then got obliterated 21-11 in the final game. No worries, though, as second prize was a case of great Sly Fox canned beers!

~ Otherwise, at The Four Seasons put on another great show of a featured local brewery, paired with their kitchen's food, and hosted outdoors in their lovely courtyard.

~ After fun 'n' games, we made our way up to Kite & Key for a quick plate of fried pickles (yes, again) and Goose Island leftovers.

~ This was just buying time, though, until TJ Kong & The Atomic Bomb set 21st/Green ablaze with their rocking tunes from the back corner of The Belgian Café. A couple of leftover De Molen beers and some fine kibitzing with Fergie and others that I hadn't yet seen during PBW '12 (looking at you Chris from Teresa's Next Door and Jill — great to see you both) and a bunch of toe-tapping 'til midnight made for an awesome close to day 7 of Philly Beer Week.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Philly Beer Week 2012: Day 9 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 ninth day, June 9.

For the ravenous beer geeks
~ Oh boy. Gravity-fed casks of JW Lees aged in Port, Sherry, Whisky, and Calvados barrels. This is at Monk's and I did this two years ago when the Calvados barrel was featured. Line up now for this tasty treat that will go fast!

~ Terry Hawbaker is coming up from northern Virginia to show off the beers he's been making for the Farmers' Cabinet family in Philly. It's called the Cabinet Artisanal Brewhouse and the event is at Boilermaker, but I'm betting you already knew that, my beer geek friends.

~ If you haven't crossed paths with Hill Farmstead this week, today at Teresa's Next Door would be a good time with around 10 of his beers and a bunch from Grassroots as well.

~ There's a whole lot of Weyerbacher beer rolling out at Hulmeville Inn and that should draw off quite a number of beer geeks to this Bucks County gem.

For the hungry
~ The Trolley Car Diner on Germantown Avenue will get you through the afternoon with beer, barbecue, live music, and prizes.

~ Which category to put this in? If you like to run, this event will certainly help quell your hunger. The Fishtown Beer Runners are conducting a Fried Chicken Beer Run from Philly Brewing Company to American Sardine where a whole lot of beer, fried chicken, and buffet will await finishers. Sounds wild and wacky too.

~ Sour beer for brunch at Standard Tap? Sounds awesome enough to say "yes, please". Lot of brunch items should go nicely with a pleasingly sour beer.

For the wild and wacky and downright different
~ One day, we men may get a peek into the Ladies Beer Tea to find out just how wild and wacky they get. I hear it's annually a downright good time (and, a sell-out) at The Belgian Café hosted by Home Sweet Home Brew's Nancy Rigberg, but in reality it wouldn't be a Ladies Beer Tea if they let scruffy dudes like me in.

~ Varga's been hosting some wildly memorable events all week. With New Holland should not be any different. Costumes, hats, general lunacy, etc. are encouraged.

~ Fergie's Pub. Motorcycles. Irish Music. Yards beer. Say no more.

Possibly under the radar
~ I haven't featured The Dandelion pub all week. Today seems like as good of a time as any to do so as they feature Fuller's on the handpumps and cheese from Neal's Yard.

~ Homebrew fests usually have good turn out and give attendees the opportunity to drink some of the best non-commercial beer around. Check out Memphis Taproom for just such an event.

~ Got the kids in tow and don't know what to do with them while you still get your PBW fix? Here's something different. The P.O.P.E. is hosting Ommegang and calling it Puppet Theater Kid's Brunch. Sounds like a blast!

~ Bierstube in Old City is hosting Julius Echter, Wurzburger, Schonramer, Köstritzer, and Round Guys. Interesting. Sounds worth a pop-in for one or two.

~ Nodding Head always does something extreme on the second or third Saturday of the month. Here, they say they are "breaking out the mother lode of our secret stash beers" and I don't think you'll want to miss this one.

And for The Brew Lounge
~ The one drawback to conducting an event so late beer week is that you get to stress about it all week long. With my 5-K race at Dock Street just a day away, I'll be in the city to do some last minute prep, getting runners setup, etc. So perhaps I'll pick up an event or two while I'm there, but otherwise I'll be back home in the 'burbs making sure I'm all set to go for Sunday.

~ Since I'll be in University City at Philadelphia Runner, I'm thinking it will be easy to pop in to Local 44 for some De Dolle leftovers from Friday's event.

~ Nodding Head is an almost sure-lock for me as well.

~ And, then a Breckenridge or two if there are still any leftovers from Friday's eventa at Bridgewater's Pub in 30th Street Station before I hop back on the train.

~ Or anything else I might stumble across along the way. But the theme will definitely be moderation as Sunday and the big 5-K looms.

It seems like Philly Beer Week only just began. That, or it feels like it's been going on for weeks. Depends on your perspective, I suppose. Either way, one more day to go before dry island.

Philly Beer Week 2012: Day 6 Wrap-Up

-->A link to the Philly Beer Week Index

-->A link to Day 5 highlights

-->Look ahead to a Day 7 preview
-->A link to Day 7 highlights

The beauty of doing a Philly Beer Week wrap-up is that there's almost no way in which I, or anyone else, can be wrong in my assessment. After all, with an average of 80 or so "events" a day (and let's be honest, after five years, there are still quite a few questionable "events" on the calendar, but let's move along), no one will or can see it all to render an opinion on how the whole of the day went down.

So, instead, here is my account of the sixth day, June 6, of Philly Beer Week 2012 based upon my whereabouts. To the extent that I have credible second- or third-hand accounts of the day, I'll be including them in each day's wrap-up as well.

Just a few pictures to share, so no need to link you out to Picasa for that. See below for a handful of pictures from The Drafting Room and one of the peripatetic Richard Ruch.

And, now, some brief notes in no particular order other than perhaps chronologically.

~ To say I'm exhausted would be an understatement. After two weeks in Belgium (which, surprisingly, didn't take as much out of me as I thought) and spending the last 7 of 8 nights in Philadelphia doing some form of a Philly Beer Week, I needed to dial back, stay closer to home, and not be on a train or in a traffic jam on day 6. From Station Taproom to The Drafting Room to Ron's Original to Flying Pig to TJ's to Teresa's Next Door, quality beer bars are plentiful within a 10 mile radius of my house. Not to mention the breweries like McKenzie Brew House, Sly Fox, Victory, and Iron Hill. The 'burbs, listen up city folk, at least to the west are not such a bad place to be, food- and beer-wise, at least.

~ Contrary to some beliefs, bars not participating in Philly Beer Week are not suffering. It's been interesting to pick up on this sentiment both from pariticipants and non-participants in this year's PBW.

~ Case in point, I began last evening with a quick stop in to one of the western suburbs finest, Station Taproom (directly across from the Downingtown train station). Sean McGettigan, owner, and Chef Tim Smith have been doing what they do so well for over two years. And at this non-PBW session, $3 happy hour pints were being poured from locals like Victory (Ranch), Tröegs (Perpetual), Sly Fox (O'Reilly's), and Philadelphia Brewing (Walt Wit) along side solid out-of-towners like Half Acre (Daisy Cutter), Fullers (cask of London Porter), Stone (Imperial Russian), Hacker Pschorr (Weisse), Alesmith (Nautical Nut), Stillwater (Premium), and Sierra Nevada (Porter).

~ But this all still plays into my becoming-even-more-entrenched-belief that there's not much reason for bars and restaurants outside of Philly to get too greatly involved in PBW, particularly when it requires essentually paying for advertising and perceived access.

~ Sorry to venture off there for a bit into the political end of matters. Won't happen again, I promise...at least until next week.

~ On to The Drafting Room, where a solid crowd gathered early and lasted past 9 p.m. to drink free homebrew (the only legal way to do it at a bar) from friends of Artisan Homebrew and the local B.U.Z.Z. homebrew club based in West Chester, Pa.

~ I should probably get the apology out of the way upfront here to the brewers not pictured below. I approached things, I guess you could say, sort of bass-ackwards and gathered up the three remaining brewers at 10 p.m. and snapped a picture of them behind their tap handles. Earlier with the whole group might have a made plenty of more sense, you think? Nonetheless, the picture below of the three below show that they were still holding up pretty well getting late on into the evening.

~ Since the beers were free, The Drafting Room pulled in local dog rescue organization All 4 Paws (full disclosure — wait, really, do I need to do "full disclosure" for this? — our puppy came to us courtesy of All 4 Paws) and asked all customers who were drinking for free to donate generously to this worthy cause. A few dogs that are currently being fostered, including the very cute and personable Billy-Bob pictured below, showed up to lap up some of the action in hopes of finding their "forever home".

~ No reports yet on the total donations for the evening. From the homebrewing side, eight cornelius kegs were drained, none sucked, all were tasty in their own way, and, for this palate, none were more pleasing than Mike Hamara's (no sucking up here, I promise) Crepuscule with a touch of fruitiness and Brettanomyces and Alric Von Gerbig's Saison Du Bubba which was pleasingly spicy, herbally, and one of the most all-around flavorful beers of the night for me. The IPAs were pretty decent, but yet it wasn't exactly what I was looking for in a beer style on this particular night. Even the Blind Pig from Russian River was not tripping my taste buds the way it normally would. That's the beauty of this thing we call taste, right? It can vary from day to day, based on some things we understand and many others that we likely do not.

~ I had hopes of completing a suburban run with a stop at another non-PBW-sanctioned beer event — that of good food, beer, and people at TJ's in Paoli. And, then the plans would have called for running into a Chimay event at Teresa's Next Door in Wayne and scouring for some leftovers from the previous night's debauchery with Dr. Joel and his New Holland beers. But, alas, sitting outside with Howard (TDR), Mike and Lisa, dogs, and beers on a beautiful evening (it wasn't raining for once!) was all too comfortable. So, the night ended in Exton and a good night it was.

(Richard Ruch, man about Station Taproom, one of the region's finsest kitchen and bar setups)


(BUZZ homebrew club members Chris Clair and Jeff Washeleski to the right of Mike Hamara, owner of Artisan Homebrew in Downingtown, Pa.)


(The Drafting Room was packed for nearly four hours as eight different homebrews poured free of charge with donations going to the All 4 Paws rescue organzation)


(A beautiful night of weather and homebrewed beer brought the people and the dogs outside.)


(Billy-Bob stole a lot of hearts and deserves to be adopted soon from the All 4 Paws rescue organization)


(The first four homebrewed beers on tap at 6 p.m.)


(Mussels, sliders, and homebrewed beer. Perfect combination at The Drafting Room in Exton, Pa.)


(The second four homebrewed beers on tap at 7:45 p.m.)

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Philly Beer Week 2012: Day 8 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 eighth day, June 8.

For the ravenous beer geeks
~ I'm sure a day of barrel-aged beers at Twisted Tail is already on the radar of many a beer geek.

~ De Dolle at Local 44. Sure, he's been around PBW a few days now, but the bottle shop at Local 44 seems like a great meet 'n' greet stop. Plus, have you checked out the bottle shop yet? Geeky meet 'n' greet amongst a geeky retail selection, sounds perfect, no?

~ This could be under-the-radar, I don't know. Fergie's Pub is hosting a Seattle-based night that you just have to read the description to appreciate the geekiness. If you like that geeky sort of thing.

For the hungry
~ Dock Street helps close out With Love Beer Garden for the week. There'll be beer of course, but it's a great place to get your grub on in the courtyard as well.

For the wild and wacky and downright different
~ "Jukebox roulette" with Varga Bar and 21st Amendment beers (plus, a Fonzie reference) sounds like just enough to be wacky.

~ Can Jam with Sierra Nevada at City Tap House on the terrace? Look out below?!

~ I haven't said a ton about the 'burbs and Iron Abbey is one of the solid ones to the north in Horsham. There'll be all sorts of New Holland beer on this night, plus a costume party. Need I say wild?

~ Friday night seems a little light on the foodie events and heavier on the wild and wacky. At South Philadelphia Tap Room, it's Dan Conway and his Left Hand beer with an event called "Left Hand Arm Wrestling". Need we say more? Could wind up an epic night on Mifflin.

Possibly under the radar
~ Mad Mex has been quietly going about a decent draft list of beers for quite some time now. They've got beer events going on every day of beer week. On day 8, it's Double IPAs which I know will make many of you sit up and pay attention. Check 'em out in University City.

~ If big beers are your thing, but University City is not, you may want to check out Prohibition Taproom and its "HUGE beer event", which I haven't heard much about this week. Have you? Here's a good opportunity to stop by.

~ If you haven't been paying attention, you're likely missing Manayunk's rising star since Doug Marchakitus came and took over the mash paddle a few years back. Grey Lodge plays hosts to a bunch of his beers, including a Flanders Red and its only sighting outside of the brewpub.

Learn something
~ 20% off specialty grains for homebrewing will get you learning something for less out-of-pocket. Home Sweet Home Brew has been running various specials each day of PBW. This would be a good day to get what you need for the weekend brewing project. Have you noticed, too, that they have a nice and new website going on over there too?

~ You know you love Hill Farmstead's beer. You can learn a little something about it as well at Tria's Fermentation School with Shaun Hill.

And for The Brew Lounge
~ I'm pretty darn certain that I'll be taking the night completely off from PBW. Not only will it be good to recharge before the weekend, but I've got a lot of those so-called ducks to make sure are lined up prior to Sunday's big run at Dock Street.

~ Of course, that won't stop me from perhaps taking in some dinner and beer at TJ's. If the right people and beers are there, I may even take to talking about it like it was an event ;-)

The second weekend of Philly Beer Week is just around the corner. Hang in there; we can do this.

Philly Beer Week 2012: Day 5 Wrap-Up

-->A link to the Philly Beer Week Index

-->A link to Day 4 highlights

-->Look ahead to a Day 6 preview
-->A link to Day 6 highlights

The beauty of doing a Philly Beer Week wrap-up is that there's almost no way in which I, or anyone else, can be wrong in my assessment. After all, with an average of 80 or so "events" a day (and let's be honest, after five years, there are still quite a few questionable "events" on the calendar, but let's move along), no one will or can see it all to render an opinion on how the whole of the day went down.

So, instead, here is my account of the fifth day, June 5, of Philly Beer Week 2012 based upon my whereabouts. To the extent that I have credible second- or third-hand accounts of the day, I'll be including them in each day's wrap-up as well.

First, a link here to my pictures from day 5 of Philly Beer Week 2012.

Here, then, are some brief notes in no particular order other than perhaps chronologically.

~ Before I get to the blockbuster event at Nodding Head, I thought I'd point out I've heard no accounts of busted events until yesterday. Either everyone I speak with goes to only the "best" events, or most events truly did generate the turnout that most would hope for. Later, you'll read about how I stopped in at Kite & Key and while there, owner Jim Kirk (also on the PBW board) did point out how they were pleased with the additional event screening that apparently took place this year at PBW-central. So, that's good. Except for Fox & Hound, where a few people ventured in to a very sparsely attended cask festival. I can only surmise that this could be an example of an establishment misplaying its target audience. But, moving along...

~ Once I learned that Sean Paxton, The Home Brew Chef, was returning to Philly Beer Week for a second consecutive year, it quickly became clear that I knew where to be for happy hour on day 5 of PBW '12.

~ The format at Nodding Head was much the same as last year. An establishment run by great beer people with interesting beer with creative food being served to a room full of beer loving folks at a reasonable price. Live music was a nice touch this year, though the DJ'ed punk rock last year was fun too. A recipe for success, right? Right-o, you betchya.

~ It was also fun to see a not-so-usual crowd of beer and food geeks in the house. Not that it makes them any lesser so, but when hopping from one event to another, often times the crowd can look a bit of the same (I think you have to experience it to understand where I'm coming from). Here, I knew a handful of people and got to know a few more during this event which turned out to a nice formula.

~ The event flows with so much good karma and, as with last year, it all starts from and is due to the graciousness of the three principals in this event: Curt Decker (owner of Nodding Head and host), Sean Paxton (The Home Brew Chef from Sonoma, Calif.), and Sam Calagione (Dogfish Head). Calagione did his usual meet 'n' greet with nearly everyone in the room and went above and beyond the call even as his back was beginning to fail him as the day wore on. Eventually, he went off to the hotel to rest up a bit (before presumably hitting the town again for late night socializing) but not before shaking a few more hands and posing for a bunch more pictures with fans of his brewery. As you can tell, I really do recommend that you attend a Home Brew Chef event at some point to experience the wonderful intersection of food, beer, and people. Be sure to see the pictures that I've linked to for even more illustrative proof of the story.

~ Everything, and I mean everything went down like a dream, but the two best pairings of the evening that stood out for me were the Foie Gras (poached in Chateau Jiahu) Crostini, which made the Noble Rot taste different and better than I've ever experienced, and the Duck Confit with Crosby Tears. Not far behind, to be fair, was the Coconut Prawns with the Berliner Weisse. ay, ay, ay. Or, as beerbistro's Brian Morin said to me, "He [Sean Paxton] always teaches me something new everytime I see him." High praise.

~ And for those wondering about the beer, here is a quick rundown: Dogfish Head Saison du BUFF; Nodding Head Grog; Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA infused with bitter orange Campari; Nodding Head Ich Bin Ein Berliner Weisse with fruit and molasses infused syrup; Nodding Head Rascal; Nodding Head Goldihops; Dogfish Head Noble Rot; Nodding Head Crosby Tears; Dogfish Head Positive Contact ["World Premier"]; Dogfish Head World Wide Stout, randallized with cocoa nibs, hazlenuts, and vanilla beans with a splash of Dogfish Distillery's Peanut Butter Vodka Cocktail. Yes, all those beers.

~ After the dinner, I meandered up to London Grill to meet Patty and The Pup, figuring some outdoor dunk tank action (scheduled 'til 9 p.m. supposedly) would still be taking place. But apparently not even at 7 p.m. Oh well, it was a tasty-as-usual Perpetual IPA from Tröegs and off we walked to Kite & Key. Tough to pass up Elysian at The Belgian Café along the way, but alas.

~ The pub was on the downside of its earlier event with Founders, which worked perfectly for us to sit outside with The Pup, with all but two (KBS and Blushing Monk, first to kick) still flowing. So, a Cerise and a Better Half along with some small bites (like the awesome Fried Pickles, perhaps best I've ever had) while having enjoyable conversation catching up finally with owner Jim Kirk made for a great way to close out day 5.

~ Allagash (and at least one Coolship beer) with Rob Tod at Barcade and City Tap House's mondo night with Avery, Bell's, Left Hand, and New Holland both presented strong cases for extending the night by another hour or two, but we live to see another day with PBW '12. Trust you're all holding up well out there.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Philly Beer Week 2012: Day 7 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 seventh day, June 7.

For the ravenous beer geeks
~ A De Dolle three hour meet 'n' greet at Memphis Taproom with owner/brewer Kris Hertelee after he spends two hours of the same at Monk's Café across town. Beer geeks are all a-flutter and a-twitter as well I'm sure.

~ Capone's, out past Norristown, is throwing an IPA fest of sorts and I get a feeling that many of you will dig that kind of thing.

~ Do people still geek out over Ballast Point's Sculpin IPA? An a bar full of other tasty treats from this Southern California powerhouse? Well, I figured they do and am pointing out Good Dog's event with them.

~ If you missed Goose Island blowout at City Tap House a couple of days earlier, you can catch a repeat performance at Kite & Key tonight.

For the hungry
~ Jose Pistola's is sure doing it up big this year, food events included. This one is with Jolly Pumpkin and one of the best ways to spend lunchtime on day 7.

~ How about the the new Forest & Main from Ambler making their way into Queen Village to team up with the almost-new Kennett Restaurant for an a la carte beer dinner? Sounds like a winner.

For the wild and wacky and downright different
~ Prince. Not the tennis Prince. Not Harry or William. The music. The wonderful, the erotic music of Prince will be celebrated in a birthday tribute to him at The Institute. Erotic quizzo and prizes to boot. Pure awesome-liscious-ness.

~ Pink Floyd and Prism beer at Gunner's Run in Northern Liberties. Sounds just wacky enough to make sense.

~ If it's Hop Angel Brauhaus, then it means it must be a Scoats production. And, if it's a Scoats production, you can bet it's gonna be wacky. How's the event title sound to you? "The Von Stoudt Family Singers Present the Sound of Lager"

Possibly under the radar
~ Traunstein beer from Germany at, where else, Brauhaus Schmitz. I'd tasted this beer at Zum Schneider last year and was quite pleased with it. Now, am even more pleased to hear of it coming to Philly. Don't miss the opportunity to check it out.

~ Grey Lodge is rolling out their pilsner event again and you can bet that they will be some of the best around. Remember, beer week isn't only about the high alcohol, barrel-aged, sensory overload beers.

Learn something
~ For just $25, you get tutored and fed 3 courses of food at Perch Pub. Sounds about as perfect as you could want.

~ Someone's gonna learn something and it will be one of five contestants vying for the crown of Philly Beer Geek 2012. Always a blast for contestants and attendees alike. Wait, is that a Mashington I see amongst the finalists?! Michael Soo, Jesse Andreozzi, Colin Presby, Andrew J. Pope, Christian Mosebach, and Steve Mashington. Judges this year include: Natalie DeChico (PBG '11); Lew Bryson; Rick Suarez; Scoats; and Marilyn Candeloro

And for The Brew Lounge
~ My greedy side might say "more", but in reality, I'm going to The Four Seasons, trying to win a little respect with teammate William Reed at Sly Fox's Kan Jam event (after our disappointing down-to-the-last-throw loss last year), and probably not much more after that.

~ But, if time allows once the fun 'n' games ends at the With Love Beer Garden, I'd love to sneak in a quick visit to Boilermaker for Tired Hands/McKenzie event.

~ Live music courtesy of local rockers, T.J. Kong and the Atomic Bomb, at The Belgian Café would be an awesome way (and not too far from Logan Circle) to end day 7.

This is the tough part of Philly Beer Week— getting through the end of the week and into the second weekend. Stay strong (and thirsty) my friends.

Philly Beer Week 2012: Day 4 Wrap-Up

-->A link to the Philly Beer Week Index

-->A link to Day 3 highlights

-->Look ahead to a Day 5 preview
-->A link to Day 5 highlights

The beauty of doing a Philly Beer Week wrap-up is that there's almost no way in which I, or anyone else, can be wrong in my assessment. After all, with an average of 80 or so "events" a day (and let's be honest, after five years, there are still quite a few questionable "events" on the calendar, but let's move along), no one will or can see it all to render an opinion on how the whole of the day went down.

Here, then, is my account of the fourth day, June 4, of Philly Beer Week 2012 based upon my whereabouts. To the extent that I have credible second- or third-hand accounts of the day, I'll be including them in each day's wrap-up as well.

Some brief notes in no particular order other than perhaps chronologically.

~ This daily wrap-up will be pretty easy, and brief. I'd considered taking the whole day/night off from PBW considering the first three were filled with plenty of walking, eating, and drinking in addition to work around the house. Tiring for this middle-aged guy ;-)

~ But, with some last-week-details to clean up around Dock Street for my 5-K race, Patty and I loaded Callie ("the pup") into the car and ate dinner at Dock Street. Surprisingly, we were not the only table of people eating outside in the drizzle. Pleased to announce that there are only 15 spots left before we hit our max of 400 registrants for the run. Quite gratifying indeed. And, the course is looking in great shape as of last night.

~ Did I mention that this was the third of four PBW days thus far that it's rained. And, we're not just talking the gentle, pleasant light rain shower.

~ After indulging for the first time ever in a meal at Dock Street that did not include pizza ("fish and chips" is a very good plate of food at the brewery) and a glass each of Johnny Berliner and Summer Session (each quite solid), we moved along down the street for a quick stop at Local 44.

~ I'd figured that the event with the Lavery Brewing Company folks (say it with me: Lav-ree. Not Lave-r-ee) from Erie, Pa. would have been long gone. But, apparently they never showed. So instead I checked out Local 44's adjoining bottle shop on Spruce Street for the first time and took home a bottle of the reportedly-pretty-good Liopard Oir Farmhouse Ale for a seemingly-reasonable $10.50. Looking more around the bottleshop had me homesick for the Lambic prices in Belgium.

~ I understand not long after I left, Tomme Arthur stopped by for a visit in conjunction with the Lost Abbey event that kicked off around 8 p.m. or so.

~ We were so close by that it only made sense to stop in at City Tap House to see what may have remained from the Goose Island event that Andrew from the brewery attended in place of founder John Hall, who had broken something (foot? leg?) in the week prior to PBW and was unable to attend.

~ A surprise was to discover that dogs are permitted on the terrace. GM Andy Farrell added that there will be an upcoming dog-themed event in the next month or so, which will include a "bring-your-own-dog" option.

~ He also shared some details for the new PEnnsylvania 6 (as in: the old Philadelphia phone exchange, PE6) coming later this fall to 12th & Sansom Streets from the same owners that brought us Public House and City Tap House. The location most recently housed the short-lived restaurant Tweed.

~ Hanging out with the pup on the terrace with a Bourbon County Brand Stout and a Juliet was the order of the last stop on our mini tour and we were off to call it quits on our makeshift day 4 of Philly Beer Week 2012.

~ Pictures are too few to bother linking over to Picasa, so here they are for you, as uninteresting as these might be today. Tonight, back in the saddle with a happy hour at Nodding Head at Messers Home Brew Chef, Calagione, and, I'm betting, a bunch of others.


(Fish and Chips, well Trio Fries to be more precise, were excellent at Dock Street. Perhaps the first time I have not ordered a pizza.)

(Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout on the terrace at City Tap House with firepits a-blazin')

(Quite the lineup of Goose Island goodies at City Tap House)

(City Tap House still delivering on its originally-promised theme of being one of the best tap houses in the city)

(From Erie, Pa., the relatively new Lavery is now in Philadelphia, here at the Local 44 Bottle Shop with its Liopard Oir Farmhouse Ale — a spring seasonal — accompanied by some fine Goose Island glassware courtesy of City Tap House)

Philly Beer Week 2012: The Missed Events edition, Days 1-4

Regrets have been minimal thusfar through the first four days of Philly Beer Week 2012.

Two events, though, that have me wondering what if are the Saison Festival at Tapestry and the annual lunacy of Kite & Key's afternoon antics, this year displayed by way of "Gladiator Games". Until I see video, I'll live vicariously through these pictures.

The intrepid John Doherty sent along these few pictures that he snapped with his new smartphone this past Saturday. You should recognize several characters in this scenes including Philly Beer Regulars, Don Russell (Joe Sixpack), Tom Kehoe (Yards), and Suzy Woods (Allagash). Thanks John.







Check in over here for a complete run-down of much of what I've encountered to date through PBW '12.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Philly Beer Week 2012: Day 6 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 sixth day, June 6.

For the ravenous beer geeks
~ I can see the geeks lining up now for Stillwater saisons at Hawthornes, new beers from around the world via Shelton Brothers at The Farmers' Cabinet, and Nebraska Night at Eulogy Bar in Old City.

For the hungry
~ Lunch with Left Hand Dan at Jose Pistola's, Calagione at Monk's, or Laura Bell at Khyber Pass would be three fine ways to get your geek juices flowing early in the day.

~ If it's dinner, instead, that you're looking for, look no farther than a $38 four-course meal with Goose Island at Valanni, Hitachino at Pod, the Yards/Feury collaboration dinner at Fork, and a mondo beer dinner with Founders at South Philadelphia Tap Room.

~ But, for all the fancy food out there, don't forget the basics. Like pizza and Tröegs beer served up by Nick Johnson at Kennett Restaurant in Queen Village.

For the wild and wacky and downright different
~ Trevor, from Lagunitas, is a lot of fun and his event at Good Dog holds promise for satisfying this category.

~ Beerfest movie screening at the new Malt House in Mt. Airy? The new place sounds like a neat place to watch a wacky movie.

~ Alien movies and Harpoon beer at Doobies. That sounds kind of wild.

~ An Allagash-themed pie-eating contest at P.O.P.E. That definitely sounds wild and wacky.

~ A monkey and banana-themed night at The Irish Pol. I wish I knew what to say about that!

Possibly under the radar
~ I know how some of you really enjoy the beer from 16 Mile in lower Delaware. If I read the calendar correctly, they're only making one appearance and it's all the way out in Deptford, NJ...at Uno's

~ 2 firkins and a few other taps of Stone Brewing's beers gives you a great excuse to head to Manayunk and Lucky's Last Chance.

~ While in Manayunk, why not stick around for Old Eagle Tavern's cheese pairing with Pennsylvania breweries, Free Will and Full Pint. An excellent reminder that while you geek out about out-of-region beers/brewers, don't forget to celebrate all that we have going on around here as well.

~ Later, back downtown at Fergie's, it's a great chance to meet the personable Wendy Yuengling, who will likely someday be running her family's iconic brewery.

Learn something
~ Forum of the Gods is a cornerstone event of Philly Beer Week, held this year at Philadelphia Bar & Restaurant, and always features interesting characters/luminaries from the world of craft brewing. This year it's Mark Edelson (Iron Hill), Rosemarie Certo (Dock Street), Greg Koch (Stone), Paul Kavulak (Nebraska), and Colby Chandler (Ballast Point).

And for The Brew Lounge
~ Wednesday is sort of an odd day for me. On one hand, it could be a fine day off. On the other hand, it could go a little something like this:

~ Start off with Breckenridge beers and sliders at For Pete's Sake.

~ Mosey over to Kennett to see Nick Johnson doing his Tröegs and pizza thing.

~ And, then, wrap up with either Yuengling at Fergie's or Bell's at St. Stephen's Green.

~ If I stay at home in the 'burbs, The Drafting Room is doing a homebrewing event, very cool. And, Teresa's Next Door is hosting Bobo and Chimay.

~ Or I could mow the lawn. Time will tell.

I wanted to take it easy on you after talking yesterday about what seemed like half the calendar. But that's how Philly Beer Week rolls; just one solid event after another (well, most of them at least).