Sunday, June 03, 2012

Philly Beer Week 2012: Day 2 Wrap-Up

-->A link to the Philly Beer Week Index

-->A link to Day 1 highlights

-->Look ahead to a Day 3 preview
-->A link to Day 3 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 second day, June 2, 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 2 of Philly Beer Week 2012.

Then, for some notes, in no particular order of importance.

~ For only hitting up four events beginning at 9 a.m., Saturday turned out to be a much more exhausting day than might have been expected. But, it was also one of the most beautiful days in the history of Philly Beer Weeks as well. Today, June 3, promises no different.

~ My first piece of advice for PBW revelers and the overwhelming task that is the daily planning of what to attend: Don't over think it. I've been fond of telling anyone who asks how I do it the same thing: Make a list of 5-10 events that look interesting to you, but only insist upon knowing what the first event of the day is that you will do before going to bed the night before. Because, as is typical, at the first event you choose, you're bound to run in to someone with a suggestion, a reminder about a different event that all of a sudden you're off in pursuit of. So setting a strict agenda will almost always set you up for disappointment. Be flexible!

~ So with that plan, I knew that I was hitting up the iconic Reading Terminal Market the refreshingly new Molly Malloy's in the back of the market. They've got a lot planned for PBW '12 and this breakfast with the Evil Genius guys was one of them. We got there early and maybe a quarter of the breakfasts were accompanied by beers, a ratio that I'd expect to only grow as the morning went along. It was also my first time meeting Trevor and Mark from the brewery -- only previously by emails -- and they quickly proved that they're the kind of guys you'll want to have a beer with during PBW and beyond. And, while the beer selection is good at Molly Molloy's, certainly do not overlook the food. The burrito and skillet breakfast specials were just the tasty base I needed to get the day started on the right foot.

~ Then it was up to Johnny Brenda's for a quick glass of cask-conditioned beer (my choice: the Citra Pale Ale from Free Will -- remember a worthy goal for PBW is to find new beers, new local breweries, and new bars) during the Firkin Riot! event. I left before the British Invasion hit the DJ's turntables, but from following tweets and whatnot, I gather that this event turned into quite the happening as the day went along.

~ I then took a siesta to return home for dog duty, grass cutting, writing/picture uploading, and other household chores before returning back to the city for round 2.

~ My trip through 30th Street Station allowed me to catch up on a Bridgewater's "event" (though, to be fair, I'm not entirely sure how much of an event it was, as opposed to putting a new-ish beer on tap) that I missed on Friday due to tight schedules. Staropramen Czech Lager was on tap and a well-made Lager from the Czech Republic could be a home run or.....Well, perhaps it was fortunate that I kicked this keg and got the last ounce of two since it was a bit too malty sweet tasting for my liking. Still, the keg was gone in less than 24 hours, so the beer must've at least garnered enough attention to get through it so quickly.

~ Back to my first point about the weather. Upon my second trip into the City, I decided to eat in to some of the beer event/drinking time by walking from 30th Street Station to Varga. Many of you will appreciate the distance. Some may not. Basically, by descending the steps to the banks of the Schuylkill River, walking along it for several blocks, then making the walk over to Spruce Street, and along Spruce to Varga (passing venerable beer spots like Monk's, Good Dog, Jose Pistola's, and Tria along the way -- could even throw a Fox & Hound in there if you wish, I suppose, since it is along Spruce Street and makes an attempt at serving the good stuff), I created an almost 2-mile walk that showcased the best of Philadelphia's attractive offerings: brownstone residentials; parks (people parks, dog parks, basketball/tennis, etc.); history; sweeping/stunning views; retail; landmarks; and on and on.

~ That leads me to a piece of advice that I've been passing along and tweet-ed out yesterday -- apologies to those many of you that don't give a rat's patooty about Twitter (or even Facebook, for that matter); it's game that many of us play if even we don't give the same rat's tush about it either -- in an effort to offset the caloric intake of many of these events (beer, food, stationary position, etc.), make a point to walk between as many destinations as possible. Sure, you may lose a few minutes here or there, but you'll be burning off some of those unnecessary calories plus you'll be giving yourself the benefit of seeing the City from a whole different perspective.

~ My walk gets me eventually to Varga Bar, where one of the very few recognizable faces (perhaps because he looms head and shoulders above most in the crowd) is the ever-busy (and award-winning) Casey Hughes from across the river at Flying Fish. Here I managed to allow my "schedule" to be thrown out the window as Varga's serious tap list and canned beer offerings paired with the block-weather-perfect weather made it a no-brainer to hang out here for a few hours. Until the Brothers Mashington showed up, that is.

~ My last stop for the second day in a row was a Sly Fox event, this one at Bar on Sansom Street, where sales guys Patrick Mullin and Corey Reid were hosting Team Peggy (the goat) and Simon too from their annual Goat Race and Bock Festival. Peggy Maibock (2012's winning maibock) was on tap for the people and straw and feed were available for the goats, turning Sansom Street into an unlikely farm setting. Quite the curiosity draw for passers-by for sure.

~ And, that's about where the exhaustion factor kicked in. Up at 5:30 a.m. Two train trips into the city and a bunch of healthy walking about was enough to turn me in early -- but not before, of course, dinner and a beer from my hometown local, TJ's, who can call any day of the year a beer event at their top notch suburban pub.

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