Beer and food amongst the sphinxes and ancient artifacts

The 7th annual Brewer's Plate event again proved why it is one of the most prominent food and beer events in the country. Photo: B.Kolesar/TheBrewLounge.com

PHILADELPHIA, March 18, 2011 — Since the event’s first opening in 2005, The Brewer’s Plate has remained steadfast in its mission: to showcase local breweries and restaurants within 150 miles of Philadelphia.

Victory Brewing Company from suburban Downingtown is one of the headlining organizations as it was owner Bill Covaleski who initially conceived the event. Together with the White Dog Foundation and Fair Food, they constructed an event that continues to bring together farmers, producers, purveyors, and consumers as they celebrate the best of regional food cuisine.

The annual event demonstrates the amount of thoughtful preparation that goes in to each table’s presentation. Each table combination of one restaurant and one brewery serves up to two beers paired with food intended to showcase complimentary flavors in both the food and the beer.

Dock Street’s brewer Ben Potts is interviewed at his table where he served up beers next to Tria Café’s food.

The University of Pennsylvania’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology has been used as the host for the past three years and feels quite appropriate given beer’s role throughout history. Local brewers and chefs served up their modern takes on food and beverage while surrounded by the museum’s sphinxes and ancient artifacts from some of the earliest civilizations.

As attendees sipped and munched on delectable treats, their admission granted them a partial museum pass to mix and mingle throughout the soaring Chinese Rotunda and intimate galleries amongst exhibits from China, the Middle East, and India.

Beer and food lovers mingled in the shadows of the Ramses II statue in the Egyptian Gallery

 

This year’s event featured more than 75 producers of beer and food, along with a few specialty wines and spirits. Live music was being performed in each room as well as by roaming accordionists.

The magnificent scope that this event has taken on over the years makes the first two years — when the event was held at the City’s landmark Reading Terminal Market — seem like an intimate gathering of foodies and craft beer lovers ahead of their time.

The VIP tickets treated attendees to an extra hour and a larger-than-ever private and comfortable space. The price did not come cheap, though, at roughly twice the cost of a general admission ticket. However, a share of proceeds benefit the Fair Food organization and was yet another draw for the crowds that came out to enjoy and support the best of local foods and beers.

The outdoor VIP pavilion tents provided music from Hoppin’ John Orchestra, presentations from renowned drinks experts Marnie Old and Lew Bryson, and acclaimed chef Marcie Turney, and still more food and beer than inside the museum.

Drinks experts Marnie Old, left, and Lew Bryson present to a crowd of VIP attendees at the 7th Annual Brewer’s Plate in Philadelphia.

In the early years of The Brewer’s Plate, it was nearly possible to eat and drink from all of the participanting restaurants and breweries. Seven years later, to do so has become nearly impossible.

Savory meat plates, particularly pork, were as prevelant as ever and sweet dessert items were more numerous. Where once tiramisu or brownies might have been the only dessert items at The Brewer’s Plate, this year sweet morsels of food could be found on nearly every other table.

Ice cream was certainly a hit of the show as The Bent Spoon from Princeton, N.J. showed off three flavors whose recipes prominently feature regional beers. From Humprhey Slocumbe in San Francisco to Princeton, artisanal ice cream makers have certainly stepped up and incorporated beer more than ever on to their ice cream menus.

Many beers were magnificent, most food offerings creatively tasty. From this one writer’s perspective, though, two pairings stood out head-and-shoulders above the numerous outstanding choices from all of the vendors.

Meat, as mentioned earlier, was certainly a star of the show. This was no more evident than when Royal Tavern’s “sliders” — more like small sandwiches — of broccoli rabe and roast pork were paired with Dogfish Head’s Indian Brown Ale. The oft-maligned brown ale style of beer is done right at Dogfish Head and with its extra hop bitterness was the perfect choice to showcase at The Brewer’s Plate, particularly with the roast pork sandwiches.

For dessert, the espresso-roasty — and award-winning — Java Head Stout from Harrisburg’s Tröegs Brewery scored a win when paired with fudgy brownies from Varga Bar.

The Brewer’s Plate has grown to one of the region’s premier events for showcasing beer and food. Just one question remained as attendees looked for the after party — How can anyone still be hungry?

More pictures can be found at The Brew Lounge via this link.

Read more of Bryan’s work at After Hours in the Communities at the Washington Times.


This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Bryan Kolesar

Bryan Kolesar has been tracking down great beer for over twenty years. From the most hard-to-find delicately balanced low alcohol beer to the big monsters weighing in at over 10% ABV, he has yet to find a style that does not have a story to tell and a taste to share. Though, when pushed, Kolesar has historically staked a claim to the Saison style as one of the most versatile and his favorite.

In 2005, Bryan co-founded The Brew Lounge blog/website as a canvas to illustrate the best of the craft brewing industry and to document his own travels within it. Though he has lived in Philadelphia and is currently headquartered in the city's western suburbs, Kolesar shares a wealth of information and images that he collects from his travels around the world and some of the best beers that he has tasted along the way.

In 2010, Kolesar came aboard the Communities section of The Washington Times to contribute stories from across the craft brewing industry as it continues more than ever its explosive growth amongst increasingly more of the mainstream alcohol-consuming public. 

While the beer - its tastes, aromas, and incredible pairing opportunities with food - is often the beginning of a story, he often finds it more interesting to dive into the stories behind the people, places, and events associated with the final product. 

Locally around Philadelphia, he has been named a Beer Writer of the Year finalist multiple times, hosted beer/running events during each annual Philly Beer Week, served as a Philly Beer Geek judge, paneled local beers for submission into the Great American Beer Festival competition, judged beer and food competitions, been featured in local publications chronicling the beer scene, and been named the "Best Beer Guy" of 2008. 

In addition to his beer-y pursuits, Kolesar works a professional career in the business world by day and dabbles in distance running, cooking, homebrewing, gardening, photography, and is a staunch advocate for animal rescue/adoption. He lives with his wife, Patty, of fifteen years and has been a long time, mostly suffering, supporter of local Philadelphia sports.

Contact Bryan Kolesar

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