Friday, May 22, 2015

Philly Beer Week 2015 - A review at the 7-day Countdown

Just one week to go and we're all still Leuven On A Prayer! Last Friday, I promised you another update a week later and lo and behold here we are.

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 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.

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 501 events, which was up 170 events from the week prior. Today, it lists 755. And changing by the hour.

Let's again take a look this week at the delta. This past week saw 67 establishments listing new events. Here's a quick summary and then a rundown of what jumps out at me as the best new events listed on the official website,, since last Friday.

Cheer-ee-o, yo.

Number of listed events as of May 22
67 (+22) - Friday, 5/29
85 (+25) - Saturday, 5/30
91 (+32) - Sunday, 5/31
73 (+24) - Monday, 6/1
82 (+29) - Tuesday, 6/2
83 (+26) - Wednesday, 6/3
86 (+30) - Thursday, 6/4
75 (+28) - Friday, 6/5
69 (+24) - Saturday, 6/6
40 (+14) - Sunday, 6/7

Number of city-based events - 581
Number of non city-based events - 170

Number of unique establishments/locations - 116
Number of events at a brewery - 20
Number of events at a bar - 679
Number of events with "takeover" in the event name - 44

Number of events featuring Free Will and Hof ten Dormaal - 4
Number of Leuven On A Prayer kegs arriving from Belgium - Roughly 35 (to be confirmed)

Number of listed events at the Uno Family - 46
Number of listed events at Whole Foods - 38

Number of events listed as "free" - 6
Number of events listed as pay-as-you-go - 639
Most expensive event - $125 for "The Too Many Cooks In The Kitchen With Beer Dinner" at Sancho Pistola's

My personal Best Of List from new event listings between May 15 and May 22
Best way to meet some goats - Meet The Goats and check out the Sly Fox Penny Maibock at Bar on May 30, 5 p.m.

Best haul of new events - 24 new events at Varga and a mere 14 new events at Bru (and accompanying 11 downstairs at U-Bahn). Seems that if you're stuck at any point during the week, head to one of these places where it seems that there might always be something happening.

Best new crazed geek events on the list - Churchville Inn in Southampton doing events with Prairie, Jester King, Green Bench, Jolly Pumpkin, St. Somewhere, Hill Farmstead, Neshaminy Creek, Founders, Funky Buddha, Cascade, Cantillon, and more. Wipe that drool.

Best Brupper - Will Pumphrey is going to Bell's from DuClaw. City Tap House in University City is throwing a dinner, or a brunch, or a brupper in honor of him.

Best incorporation of catnip into an event - At Doobie's but of course. The Feline 500 with Philly Brewing on 6/2 at 6 p.m. will figure it all out.

Best mixer of drinking and religion - They're doing it again at Fergie's. A Rabbi, a Priest, and a Minister walk in to a bar again and again. Go in peace on 5/31 at 4 p.m.

Best mixer of uppers and downers - Also at Fergie's with Danya Henninger playing hostess to Coffee in the Beer Garden of Good and Evil on 6/3 at 4 p.m.

Best Locals - Big hit last year at Field House, this year on 5/30 at 8 p.m.

Best unveiling of the scene's longest best kept secret - Fiume. Just go read the list, then prepare for 45th/Locust to never be the same.

Best way to drink free beers from me - At Home Sweet Home Brew's extended hours tasting on 6/3 at 5 p.m. when I'll bring books to sell/sign as well as some interesting complimentary beers from my travels.

Best reunion tour - The group from the Free Will/Hof ten Dormaal collaboration brew gather at Jose Pistola's on 5/30 at 6 p.m. trying to recreate the madness of Brussels.

Best new brunch - Another Firestone Walker event with Jenny Hobbs, this one a good-looking barrel-aged brunch at Khyber Pass on 5/30 at 12 p.m.

Best throwdown - The original, the one and only in the 1900 block of Callowhill in front of Kite & Key on 5/31 at 2 p.m.

Best bitches - Their language, not mine. McCrossen's lining up a bunch of stuff including "Oysters Bitches and Fishes" with oysters and beers from Flying Dog and Flying Fish.

Best reason not to go Down The Shore - Cape May comes to Perch Pub on 6/5 at 8 p.m.

Best reason not to go to Lancaster County - Not that there's anything wrong with a lovely trip to LancCo, but Stoudts famed bread and cheese at The Greeks in Narberth on 6/5 at 5 p.m.

Best reason to go to my college dive bar where I watched Eagles games - Pitchers Pub in Manayunk never served these beers back in those days. PBW '15 has an event every day there featuring the likes of Alvinne, DFH, Maine, Hardywood, Terrapin, Cape May, and more.

Best ice cream (tie) - St. Benjamin's and Little Baby's on 6/5 at 5 p.m. at Little Baby's in Fishtown.

Best ice cream (tie) - Foodery is bringing in Victory's new flavors on 5/31 at 1 p.m. for free at all three locations.

Best event farthest from Philly - Sly Fox Taps Tunes & Trucks with food, music, and beer at the brewery on 5/30 at 11 a.m.

Best competition - Kingpin is a riotous piece of action at Standard Tap each year with 12 breweries via to be Kingpin....kicking their pin of beer first. Don't arrive late. 6/2 at 6 p.m.

Best play-doh event - Because every Beer Week needs one of these just like at The Institute with Brew Works beer on 6/4 at 7 p.m.

Best hide and seek - Irish Pol has moved locations but is taking all its events, every day, to the Market Street location.

Best Street Pub - the Deschutes Street Pub all day on 5/30

Best event revitalization - Don't see as many events as Tria used to put on throughout the year. Their new Taproom at 20th/Walnut is turning that around with a slew of tempting events all week.

Check back mid-next week as this best-of list will attempt to keep up with the master calendar of events as the Hammer of Glory's day in the sun draws ever nearer.

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