Monday, June 13, 2011

Philly Beer Week 2011: Day 10 Wrap-up

Link to Day 10 Pictures (Google/Picasa)

Video from Dock Street Music Festival (YouTube)

Did, Saw, Heard: There was really only one thing that I had my sights set on for Sunday and that was my annual Philly Beer Run. This year it was called Dock Street to Dock Street, and it followed the format from '09 where runners met at the Dock Street in Society Hill and ran to the Dock Street Brewery & Restaurant in West Philly.

This is the fourth year that Dock Street has hosted my run and until Mother Nature's forecast put a damper on things, it was shaping up to be the best attended. Nearly 75 RSVPed, but threats of thunderstorms and heat/humidity kept the number down near 45 instead. A respectable turnout nonetheless.

Still, conducting these runs, regardless of turnout, always brings great amounts of beer karma to my world...and from what I hear, to the worlds of many others as well.

I'll continue to say that the best beer events are the ones that get the customers involved -- involved way past the simple buy-drink-stand-around concept. The occasional geek-out over process and ingredients is fine, I suppose, but the bike events, the quizzos, the Philly Beer Geek competition, the runs, the dunk tanks, fundraisers, etc. are all ways to get customers more involved in beer events and where I see them leaving feeling more satisfied about their expenditures.

The run went off well, the weather cooperated better than expected, and the pizzas and beers at Dock Street were way above par as usual.

Big thanks, by the way, to all of the prize contributors. The runners are always ecstatic to walk away with prizes. The contributors this year included: Dock Street, Nodding Head, Philadelphia Brewing, Sly Fox, Victory, Yards and the Local 44/Memphis Taproom/Resurrection Ale House family of bars. Their generosity was well noted yesterday and the day would not have been the same without them.

After I completed the awards ceremony, it was time for the annual Dock Street Music Festival. This event, as well, has taken off and become a fixture in West Philly during Philly Beer Week. This year, they picked up Subaru as a major sponsor which contributed free shuttle rides to various points back across the Schuylkill River.

We stayed for two bands and our ears and souls could not have been any more pleased. City Wide Specials and TJ Kong & The Atomic Bomb filled the air with great local music and provided a fun and relaxing way for runners to come down from their running high earlier in the day.

One important beer note to make: if you like a refreshing and tasty, low alcohol saison, be on the lookout for Ben Potts' Saison Erbé. At 4.5% ABV, it made for a few glasses worth of enjoyment while sitting out in the sun listening to music.

Because our dogs had "had it" with the sun and were completely exhausted, we decided to head home. Patty stayed in the car with the dogs while I had my last city-based T.U.D. at Local 44. Instead of picking up a Russian River leftover from the morning festivities, I opted for yet another Exportation, the "soured" (at Russian River coincidentally) Sierra Nevada Beer Camp porter that a bunch of locals brewed last year in Chico, Calif. There is still some on tap around town at places like London Grill, Teresa's Next Door, and Local 44, but it won't last long and when it's gone, as they say, it'll be gone for good. You'll have another chance on 6/22 at Station Taproom when Greg Ramirez's keg goes on tap.

So, in a sense, I suppose I did take in Russian River beer at Local 44 :) Like I said, in a sense.

Missed (according to others): Without my running event on the schedule, I might have checked out a brunch. Like Nodding Head at Southwark, Russian River at The Drafting Room, Tröegs at Kennett, Kegs & Eggs at Varga, or the Extreme Beer Brunch at South Philly Tap Room. I heard good things from others that stopped in at these events. Plus, if you have kids, there was even a "kid's beer brunch" at the P.O.P.E. with a Shel Silverstein tie-in. Sounded like fun for both parents and kids.

I always hear great things about Nancy Rigberg's annual Ladies Beer Tea at The Belgian Café. Not that I'd be able to witness it first-hand, har har, but a sellout room of ladies usually do. It occurred yesterday as well.

Then, at night, I succumbed to the luring call of my (newly-installed) central air conditioning at home, growler of Iron Hill beer from the day before (Chardonnay-aged Honey Saison, so very good!), and a bottle of Russian River Consecration. We caught up with Breaking Bad on DVD and made the most of our own T.U.D.s at home. Dogs were grateful to be home as well after a long week of running around town.

Nonetheless, it sounds like the T.U.D. event at Fergie's had every element of crazy that it's had in past years. I made it there the first two years, but am now on a two year cold streak. Should really try to break that next year. Maybe a hotel room on the last night of PBW would make that an easier proposition.

The Day After: And on the 11th day, we Philly Beer Folks rested. Or did we? It does seem like great weather to once again get caught up, like last Tuesday, on household and lawn/garden responsibilities.

But, then again, there's still that 1/2 growler of Iron Hill's Chardonnay-aged Honey Saison. Perhaps that's the reward for finishing yardwork tonight.

Now it's time to get back to business as usual around these Philly parts. That's 50 weeks and 4 days of making, selling, and drinking great beer.

Cheers to all who participated in the mayhem that is Philly Beer Week. There truly is nothing else like it in the country.

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