Monday, June 04, 2012

Philly Beer Week 2012: Day 3 Wrap-Up

-->A link to the Philly Beer Week Index

-->A link to Day 2 highlights

-->Look ahead to a Day 4 preview
-->A link to Day 4 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 third day, June 3, 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 3 of Philly Beer Week 2012.

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

~ Sunday's calendar had me on the fence from the beginning. Much as I'd like to do something (or many things) every day of PBW, real life and matters more practical — not to mention common sense — often intervene. How's that for a dash of responsibility and maturity through all this madness?

~ I knew stopping in at Standard Tap to support Lew Bryson and Jack Curtin in their Tröegs Scratch Series Showdown was high on my list and the festivities wouldn't be kicking in to high gear until close to 7 p.m. More on this later.

~ I knew not stopping at Tapestry's two-day outdoor saison fest on Saturday could come back to bite me on Sunday. With the nasty weather rolling in and threatening on Sunday afternoon, I opted not to go out of my way for the 30 or so saisons that they were pouring, for fear of being rained out with no other nearby events to duck into. With the rain not developing until after 8 p.m., I'll have to count this as one of my regrets from the first weekend of PBW '12.

~ So what I did do after a successful half day at home with household and outdoor chores (and a can of "lawnmower beer", Lancaster Kölsch) was to hop the train into the City. A late Amtrak found me instead hopping on to SEPTA where happenstance has Mr. Curtin sitting behind me. Oh the humanity.

~ I made my way to my first visit to Boilermaker, sister establishment to The Farmers' Cabinet. Had a glass from their special Bell's 9000 tapping; quite the 180 from the Kölsch had earlier. A mouthful, for sure, but yet a rather balanced mouthful for my liking. Had my first run-in of PBW '12 with Bro. Woody Chandler. Corey Reid made his way on to my third consecutive daily log.

~ After chatting a bit with Dominic Capese from Free Will Brewing (particularly about his awesome Citra Pale Ale), it was off to Monk's in an attempt to try some more of this Funky Buddha beer that I ran into at Devil's Den on day 1. Well, it was an attempt, that's about all it was. This Philly Beer Week for me is not about crowds, it's not about inconvenience, it's not about jockeying with rabid beer geeks for something apparently rare or highly sought-after, it's not about waiting inordinate amounts of time for a beer that stretches the most patient person's tolerance. So we left after 20 minutes of sweating it out in the back room of Monk's. Interesting comment overheard at the bar: "This is why I began Philly Beer Week by saying I wouldn't be doing any Monk's events again until after Philly Beer Week is over."

~ You might not guess where the great beer karma got our mojo flowing again. Perch Pub, formerly Upstares at Varalli. A session beer event where roughly 20 or so quality beers lined the tap tower where all but one were under 5.0% ABV. Anyone wants to quibble the percentage, take it elsewhere. This was a solid event with great beers that anyone should be able to drink all night long run by Steve Schmidt, formerly of High Street Grill in Mount Holly. The guys from Old Forge Brewing were in the house and meeting them was another first for me. Great guys making some pretty decent beer out Danville, Pa. Hope to continue to see more of them, and should, as they mentioned future bottling plans on the horizon.

~ Regrettably, for time, I had to skip The Trestle Inn and Todd Ashman (formerly Flossmoor Station in Illinois) of Truckee, California's Fifty Fifty Brewing. Buddy from Bella Vista was hanging out at Perch Pub also and had me this close to going, but I knew I needed to get to Standard Tap sooner rather than later.

~ The antics that ensued at Standard Tap at the aforementioned Bryson/Curtin event were just what you'd expect from the hyena (Bryson) and the curmudgeon (Curtin). Be sure to check out the pictures. People came from far and wide to support their favorite writers and their beer. In my book, Curtin's scored better in the naming; Bryson's better in the overall flavor and drinkability (and pairing with an awesome softshell crab sandwich). Still, with Matt Guyer buying rounds of Curtin's beer for just about anyone who looked his way, Jack squeaked out a 111 to 108 victory in terms of number of pints sold over the four hour event from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

~ Not much to say about Woody's on 13th Street. On my way to the train, I stopped in for 10 minutes to learn that apparently the work that Heather and Charlie from The Institute have done there at the bar has paid off. Solid beers on tap, brewery schwag on the walls, and a Cigar City French Pale Ale (from an event earlier in the day with the owners of Cigar City and Saint Somewhere) that tasted mighty fine. They've got a handful more of events that has beer geeks taking notice from what I've heard in my informal sampling.

~ And, with that, a tiring, but rewarding, first three days of PBW '12 was in the books.

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