Monday, March 16, 2009

PBW 2009: Day 9 Wrap-Up and Day 10 Preview

Link to Day 9 Pictures

What I did:

This was intentionally a "slow" day for me. With an 18-mile run in front of me on Sunday morning, I needed to dramatically scale back my involvement in PBW's Day # Nine. Here goes...(went)

@Kite & Key, Throwdown in Franklintown ---> In my quest to visit 10 new bars during Philly Beer Week 2009, number 7 came on day 9 at the Kite & Key just down the road from where I used to live. I've run by Kite & Key several times over the past 6 months or so, never stopping in...crazy willpower thing.

This was a must-do event on my PBW calendar. I had the vision of an event that would be the perfect marriage of people, spectacle, beer, and community. Boy, was I right on. When the beer can even take a back seat, it becomes even better.

Seriously, meet and greets can be fine. But, work in a burlesque show, a cheesesteak cook-off, a beer geek trivia contest, or a sumo wrestling match and you've got the makings of something special. Compare how much fun you can say you had at a meet and greet compared to a sumo wrestling match featuring local beer personalities.

Sure, it's nice to meet someone that you admire who makes a food or beverage that you enjoy. You may even get a pointer or two that could help you in your own pursuit of cooking food or beer. But, fun...did you have fun?That's what these events are all about. Beer, People, Fun...and not necessarily in that order...oops, did I already make this point? I only met one person all week who didn't seem to care about having fun, just negativity. And, I think if you read just a little closely, who know what I think of him.

Back on topic, please. This was a top 5 event of the week. I've already come out and said this. You could have served me Yuengling Lager all afternoon (some of you may know my aversion to the Lager...not all of Yuengling's products, just the Lager) and this still would have been one of the week's best events.

I mean, seriously. Did you check out my pictures? (link is at top of page...okay, fine, I'll put it here too) Did you check out the linked video at The Beer Lass's?

So let me try to sum this up for you. ~ Steve Mashington channeling his best Michael Buffer. ~ Tom Kehoe, from parts unknown and weighing in at one metric ton, was brought in on a forklift across the street from the beer distributor. Led by geisha girls compliments of IPA Beer Club. ~ Jim Kirk (partner in Kite & Key), not to be outdone, brought in by Philly Finest from the 9th District, full lights and sirens blaring. Who has video of this? ~ Nipple tweaking, head butting, ring around the rosy, and two overstuffed guys who couldn't get up without help from others. ~ What more do you want?! ~ Okay, beer highlight at Kite & Key: Yards Love Stout on handpump.

Seriously, is there anywhere that Yards wasn't this year? Did they make up for not quite being ready to re-open at last year's PBW? Smoke 'Em, Cask Ale, Throwdown, Firkin Tastings around Town. These were just a few of the highlights from a PBW that has everyone talking Yards.

By the way, has everyone wished brewer Tim Roberts congratulations on the birth of his and wife's baby girl (Grace Claire)? Cheers Roberts Family! (Sorry you had to miss a lot of this)

@The Belgian Cafe with Chouffe & Chris Bauweraerts ---> Our dogs had the great pleasure, though I'm still not quite sure if they saw it this way, of attending two beer events this year. We figured, back in the old neighborhood, with at least one event being outdoors, that it would be a great opportunity to get the dogs some exercise during PBW instead of leaving them at home yet again.

I think they enjoyed the beginning of the Throwdown, but then got tired of standing and dropped to the ground. They had a nice walk to The Belgian Cafe, where we showed up in time to catch up with Chris from Chouffe, Larry Bennett and Megan Maguire from Ommegang.

Chris had given a PowerPoint presentation to a packed room of eager participants. Then, had them all vote for their favorite from the tasting flight. And if I heard correctly, the participants then all received a complimentary glass of the beer they'd chosen as their favorite. Quite a nice afternoon of generous beer from the sounds of it.

So, I chatted a bit with Chris, his friend from New Jersey (apologies for the name or lack thereof), Larry, and Megan. They were pleased with the afternoon attendance and were looking forward to the next day's events at UPenn's Museum event.

I grabbed a couple of beers to take outside where Patrick generously set us up with a couple of chairs so that we didn't have to tie up the dogs and leave them alone. We had a nice visit with an old friend and a couple of new ones out on the sidewalk. In just a few short weeks, I'm sure tables will start popping up outside where we can sit and nosh with the pooches by our side, Cuvee Notredame style, or Tavern on Green style if you prefer...or maybe it's just simply Belgian Cafe style. Ah, spring is coming...

@TJs, Weed & Breckenridge ---> Now it was time to buckle down and get back to Chester County for a proper carbo-loading meal for the next morning's run. I'd kept things pretty well under control during the day. A couple beers at each stop and water in between as well.

After dropping off the dogs at home, it was back to TJs in Paoli to see which of the Weed beers remained from the event earlier in the day. Apparently they only had two to begin with, Amber and IPA. I chose IPA, I chose poorly! I got the last 1/4 glass of it and let the head settle. Nice aroma, seemed to drink decently for an IPA, even one that represented literally the bottom of the barrel. The amber was fine and seemed to go well with my french onion soup, but overall did not knock my socks off.

Somehow, gee wonder how, I'd missed that Saturday was a two-fer at TJs. They had John Jordan (brewer) from Breckenridge in and Bernie from Stockertown to represent. John's wife Judy (please say that I got your name right) accompanied him and paid me a nice compliment.

She said, listen up PBW webbie peeps, that they (at the brewery) relied on my spreadsheet extensively to plan their trip after getting frustrated using the official website. So on multiple days of being around town, they were easily able to figure out what to do and then quickly recalibrate their plans when conflicts arose. You know I'll have more to say about this in my final wrap-up and thoughts later this week.

So, it was 3/4 pound of pasta, bread, soup, salad, and two Breck Beers (IPA and Bock) to give me my pre-run fueling. I learned a little bit about John's present in Colorado and his past in Glassboro and a brewing neighbor of his...Kevin Finn (yes, Iron Hill). Then, with all of my discipline and willpower intact, even in the face of a proffered beer, we went on into the good night to do battle once again on Sunday.

What I might do tomorrow:

Sunday will be the day to end all Philly Beer Weeks. While I'd love to be a superstar and try to hit both Real Ale (at Yards) and Zythos (at Penn) on opposite ends of town, the lineup at Zythos looks just so great that it's gonna win out this time. Plus, with only so many hours in the day and the need to get in my 18-miler, it'd be the prudent thing to do, y'think?

3pm; @UPenn Museum, Zythos America ---> Getting to attend two festivals in a week under the Museum's Rotunda will be an added treat to an already great week. Plus, lots of great beer from across the pond, and some from here too.

7:05pm; @Fergie's, T.U.D. ---> The oh-so-Unnecessary, but totally you've-got-to-do-this Drink. Everyone unwinds, sings, laughs, drinks, and talks about how it's time to get back to "normal." Good luck with that! Can't wait...

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