Friday, May 08, 2015

Philly Beer Week 2015 - A first peek at the numbers and an early Best Of List

Whoa, we're more than half way there. Whoa-oh, Leuven On A Prayer!

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 (lucky?) 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.

The backstory of the brewery, the beer, and our trip was more multi-faceted than any previous PBW collaboration, largely thanks to the catastrophic fire at HtD in January. If you're not familiar with HtD or the fire, there'll be plenty of opportunities at Opening Tap, events during the week, and fundraisers during Philly Beer Week 2015.

Plus, check out Free Will TONIGHT in Perkasie for a great way to support Hof ten Dormaal and drink and win some great beer along the way.

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 counted 185 events. Today, it lists 331. If you know my tendencies around here, then you won't be surprised to know that I took some time an effort to break it a spreadsheet, but of course.

There's really no point in sharing the spreadsheet yet as we still have three weeks for the event schedule to build and shake itself out. Let's just do a bit of slicing and dicing to help get you through your Friday. Grab a beer, it always makes things better.

Number of listed events as of May 8
35 - Friday, 5/29
41 - Saturday, 5/30
38 - Sunday, 5/31
35 - Monday, 6/1
33 - Tuesday, 6/2
40 - Wednesday, 6/3
34 - Thursday, 6/4
30 - Friday, 6/5
29 - Saturday, 6/6
16 - 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 - 224
Number of non city-based events - 107

Number of unique establishments/locations - 55
Number of events at a brewery - 15
Number of events at a bar - 283
Number of events with "takeover" in the event name - 30

Most expensive event - $125 for "The Too Many Cooks In The Kitchen With Beer Dinner" at Sancho Pistola's
Number of events listed as pay-as-you-go - 276
Number of events listed as "free" - 2

Number of events listing 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 event listings as of May 8

Best Nod to Philly Beer History - Take a beer and history tour of Christ Church Burial Ground for $10 any day of the week at 5:30 p.m. - $10

Best Buzz for your Buck - Opening Tap at 23rd Street Armory on 5/29 - $46

Best Train Ride - After $2 Dogfish Heads (on 5/30) or Russian Rivers (on 6/4) at Teresa's Next Door - $PAYG

Best Bus Ride - From Bethlehem Brew Works to Philly on 5/30 - $55

Best Way to Firk Off - Johnny Brenda's stacks 'em high on 5/30 - $PAYG

Best Rugby Tailgating - Pretty sure there'll only be one this year, so if you want to tailgate a rugby match at PPL Park with Saucony Creek Brewing, this is it on 5/30 - $30

Best Pub Crawl - Numerous Passyunk Avenue establishments bursting at the seams with beer, food, music, and probably much more all day long on 5/31 - $PAYG

Best Dinner - Iron Hill descends on Good Dog every year for a killer dinner, this year on 5/31 - $50

Best Belgian - Focal brewery for 2015 collaboration beer, Hof ten Dormaal, is sending brewer Jef Janssens who will show up at least at Opening Tap, Standard Tap, Jose Pistola's, Memphis Taproom, and Monk's Cafe. He's also due to brew at Free Will in Perkasie. A real fun dude you want to meet. Lunch at Monk's is on 6/2 - $TBD

Best Geeky Commercial Brew - Meet Terry Hawbaker of Pizza Boy and Intangible Ales at Bottle Bar East on 6/2 - $PAYG

Best Local Benefit - Doobies does cat-related fundraisers each year, usally with Flying Fish. This year there are two on 6/2 - $PAYG

Best Returning Brewers - Buds, Casey Hughes (Coppertail, Florida) and Mike Fava (Oxbow, Maine), return to both host events at Jose Pistola's on 6/2 - $PAYG

Best Beer & Cider - I'm big on Other Farm and if you haven't had their beers and cider, check 'em out with live jazz at Time on 6/3 - $PAYG

Best Ice Cream & Beer - I'm also big on Bent Spoon Ice Cream from Princeton ever since they attended the Brewer's Plate several years ago. They team up with Weyerbacher on 6/3 at Uno's in Hamilton, NJ - $PAYG

Best Geeky Homebrew - Meet Randy Mosher at 2nd Story Brewing Company on 6/3 - $10

Best Nod to Philly Prison History - London Grill, Stoudts Brewing Company, and Eastern State Penitentiary have a long intertwined history. It all is on display on 6/3 - $40

Best SoCal-based event - Lucky's Last Chance in Manayunk is hosting both Ballast Point and Green Flash on 6/3 - $PAYG

Best NYC-based event - Brooklyn is nuts for Other Half. They're at Jerry's Bar on 6/4 and Local 44 on 6/5 - $PAYG

Best Reason to Head Downstairs - Conshohocken Brewing Company and Wyndridge Farm Brewery at U-bahn on 6/5 - $PAYG

Best Street Fest - Back to Fishtown for the blocks-long outdoor festival tying together Johnny Brenda's, Fette Sau, and Frankford Hall on 6/6 - $PAYG

Best Barrels - Check out Firestone Walker's Barrelmeister at Strangelove's on 6/6 - $20

Best Sours - You know they'll be at almost every turn of the tap handle. Check out Standard Tap's Sour Brunch on 6/6 - $PAYG

Best Way to find out what a Raingutter Regatta is - With Casey Hughes (Coppertail, Florida) and Dan Conway (Capt. Lawrence, NY), you can bet it will be a spectacle to behold on 6/6 - $PAYG

Best Music - Wrap up PBW '15 at Dock Street with a fun scavenger run and free local music fest on 6/7 - $PAYG

Best NorCal-based event - Each year ends with a Russian River event at Local 44, this year on 6/7 - $PAYG

Best Way to Get Your Wood On - Memphis Taproom again hosts All-Weekend Wood from 6/5-6/7 - $PAYG

Best Way to Multi-Task - Head to Whole Foods beer section at either Devon, Glen Mills, or Plymouth Meeting as, between the three of them, they have unique events scheduled each day of PBW - $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.

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