Two weeks to go and we're still Leuven On A Prayer! Last Friday, I promised you another update a week later and lo and behold here we are.
Before I get into the event schedule of May 29 to June 7, in case you haven't heard, the official Belgian collaboration beer of Philly Beer Week 2015 is called Leuven On A Prayer. I was honored to be a part of the traveling PBW contingent that paired up Free Will Brewing Company's John Stemler with Jef Janssens at Hof ten Dormaal (HtD) just outside Leuven, Belgium. The brew day went down on February 5 at the honest-to-goodness Belgian Farmhouse Brewery roughly twenty miles east of Brussels.
If you'd like to get caught up on more of the backstory, please check my excellent (humbly submitted) wrap-up from a few months ago. Plenty of pictures to go with the words as well.
Now on to the business the ten-day Philly Beer Week. Or, as I like to call it, an Imperial Philly Beer Week — because in Philly there could be no other kind. Last Friday, the official calendar of events at PhillyBeerWeek.org counted 331 events, which was up 146 events from the week prior. Today, it lists 501.
What's new? Well, maybe, just maybe we're around halfway to the total event tally that 2015 will offer. Sure, there are a bunch of dollar-offs and rather basic attempts at tastings and/or "takeovers". That's fine. Something for everyone I suppose.
However, let's take a look this week at the delta. Here's a quick summary and then a rundown of what jumps out at me as the best new events listed on the official website, PhillyBeerWeek.org, since last Friday.
Number of listed events as of May 15
45 (+10) - Friday, 5/29
60 (+19) - Saturday, 5/30
63 (+25) - Sunday, 5/31
49 (+14) - Monday, 6/1
53 (+20) - Tuesday, 6/2
57 (+17) - Wednesday, 6/3
56 (+22) - Thursday, 6/4
47 (+17) - Friday, 6/5
45 (+16) - Saturday, 6/6
26 (+10) - Sunday, 6/7
Number of listed events at the Uno Family - 37
Number of listed events at Whole Foods - 35
Number of city-based events - 365
Number of non city-based events - 136
Number of unique establishments/locations - 83
Number of events at a brewery - 19
Number of events at a bar - 375
Number of events with "takeover" in the event name - 37
Number of events listed as "free" - 5
Number of events listed as pay-as-you-go - 435
Most expensive event - $125 for "The Too Many Cooks In The Kitchen With Beer Dinner" at Sancho Pistola's
Number of events featuring Free Will and Hof ten Dormaal - 4
Number of Leuven On A Prayer kegs arriving from Belgium - Roughly 35 (to be confirmed)
My personal Best Of List from new event listings between May 8 and May 15
Best Lineup of Events - Alla Spina is now on the board with 12 events ranging from $PAYG to $65, including dogs, "cage matches", spin the bottle, food, and plenty of great beer from the area and around the world.
Most New Events - Devil's Den has something, actually some thing*s*, every day for your gustatory pleasure. 20 events in total, all $PAYG.
Most Unique Events - Grey Lodge impresses with unique events throughout the year. They don't disappoint again during PBW '15, including yours truly with a book signing on Tuesday, June 2. All $PAYG
Best Opening Tap After Party - I've seen this Sly Fox-themed post party at Fergie's and it's definitely worth doing again this year. - $PAYG
Best Beer Garden - The "official" PBW Beer Garden was held at the Four Seasons the first couple of years. Now it's been at The Shambles at Headhouse Square for a few years and still as popular as ever. Monday through Friday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. - $PAYG
Best of The Best Of - Standard Tap is throwing what they're calling a super mega draft list party on Friday, June 5 with "our favorite limited releases, collaboration beers, and one-offs of Philly Beer Week". - $PAYG
Best Pig - "smoky pork treats and Oskar Blues brews" on Thursday, June 4 at Percy Street BBQ. - $PAYG
Best NJ Representation - I can't explain exactly what I like about Perch Pub, but I do. I also like what I learned about Carton Brewing (north NJ) and Cape May Brewing (south NJ, duh) during my book research. They'll be featured on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively, during the week. - $PAYG
Best Reason to Go To Manayunk on Bike Race Day - Sure you can see the Bike Race in person. You can drink Yards beers. But, there's also a Pinewood Derby which means things could get real interesting at Old Eagle Tavern on Sunday, June 7. - $PAYG
Best Nod to Regional Beer History - It's at McGillin's, but of course. With Flying Fish on Tuesday, Stoudt's and Penn on Thursday, and Yuengling on Friday, they've got some of PA and NJ finest showing off their brews. - $PAYG
Best Pilsner and Wurst - All you need to know is right there in the title and it's right there at Hop Angel. If you still haven't been to Grey Lodge's sister spot, here's a great reason on Saturday and Sunday to close out PBW '15. - $PAYG
Best Way to Get Your Beer Geek On - You may not yet be able to pronounce Draai Laag (basically, "dray lawg"), but it seems that many are catching on to this relatively new brewery from Pittsburgh. I saw them firsthand during my book research and think you'll want to check them out at Devil's Den on Friday, June 5. - $PAYG
Best Pool Party - Oh no no no no no. No, this just isn't right. There's to be a "giant inflatable pool" with Jenny Hobbs (Firestone Walker) and Greg Lehman (Victory) as "lifeguards". Oh my, this will be something to see, I'm sure. Great beers, great fun. - $PAYG
Best Dr. Joel Sighting - Not sure if I've missed other events posted with New Holland, but our long lost friend (well, he's in Michigan now but comes around every now and then so he's not all that long lost) "Dr." Joel Armato will be visiting with his New Holland beers at Capone's on Tuesday, June 2 with some not-so-usual beers from the brewery. - $PAYG
Check back next week as this best-of list will attempt to keep up with the master calendar of events as it grows by the day.