PHILADELPHIA, June 6, 2013 — After six days of beer tastings, meet the brewers, games, classes, dinners, festivals, concerts, and other sudsy performances centered around our favorite beverage, there are still four days remaining in Philly Beer Week during which you can partake in a variety of activities that show the health and vibrancy of the beer scene in Philadelphia.
As background for the uninitiated, Philly Beer Week is generally regarded as the first such weeklong (ten days, but when it comes to beer, Philadelphia goes big) celebration of a city’s/region’s beer scene. The first installment was in 2008 with mere hundreds of events contrasted with this year’s where nearly 1,000 events of varying shapes and sizes feature beer from the region as well as around the world.
Philadelphia is just a short trip by train or car from many areas of the mid-Atlantic and the northeast. From Boston to Richmond, Va., a car or train ride of less than 300 miles can get you to Philadelphia to enjoy the last weekend of Philly Beer Week 2013.
Since it is easy to quickly become overwhelmed looking at the schedule of events, following are a handful of events per day that will give you an insight into what makes Philadelphia the rich brewing and bar scene that it is and Philly Beer Week the successful celebration of the region.
Read on for a guide to navigating the last four days of Philly Beer Week, with an effort made to organize events for you by neighborhood. For sake of disclosure, this column nor The Washington Times has any affiliation or interest otherwise in any of the following events nor with the organizing establishments. Also, please check directly with the organizing establishments for the most current event information since schedules may change without notice.
Thursday, June 6
To get the day started, head toward the Art Museum and the Fairmount neighborhood. Get there by 10 minute cab, leisurely 20-25 minute walk from City Hall or 30th Street Station, or any of the buses running from Center City (e.g. routes 7, 32, 33, 38, 48).
The Free Library of Philadelphia has put together a beer-related exhibit that is on display each day from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. The exhibit will be available through the end of June, but this would be a fine time to stop by while in the area. [Link to event listing]
After 2 p.m., just a couple of blocks from the Free Library, Kite & Key rolls out a variety of great beers from Firestone Walker (Paso Robles, Calif.) with a focus on lower alcohol styles. [Link to event listing]
At 4 p.m., the Bishop’s Collar plays host to Jim Koch of Boston Beer/Sam Adams. Plenty of great tailgate-style food will be available and the chance to mingle with a leading voice in the beer industry. [Link to event listing]
Moving on in to the evening, from City Hall take either a 10 minute ride on the Market-Frankford “El” in 10 minutes or a 10-15 minute cab ride to the Fishtown neighborhood.
At 7 p.m., Frankford Hall hosts the return of Double Dare host, Marc Sommers, as he takes the kid show format and applies to beer-drinking adults at “Dunkel Dare”. [Link to event listing]
Just across the street, after 8 p.m., there will be live music pumping from the speakers and rare Victory beers flowing from the taps at Johnny Brenda’s. [Link to event listing]
And only a few Frogger hops down the block, all night long, old-school video arcade and craft beer bar, Barcade, will be featuring highly sought after beers from The Bruery (southern California). [Link to event listing]
If you don’t feel like venturing far from Center City, head over to watch the Philly Beer Geek finals competition at Field House. Boston Beer Company (Sam Adams) owner Jim Koch is one of several celebrity judges. [Link to event listing]
Then, finally for Thursday, if you have anything left in the tank, stop by Jose Pistola’s back in Center City for “Late Night with Joe Gunn” after 11:30 p.m. Each year, this is always referred to an epic party and highlight of Philly Beer Week. [Link to event listing]
Friday, June 7
Any smartly-planned day during Philly Beer Week should include at least one solid meal. Why not make it a lunch like the one that begins at 12 p.m. at Perch Pub just south of City Hall. The three-course lunch is being served with beer from the relative new Round Guys Brewing Company in the nothern suburbs. [Link to event listing]
A ten minute walk to Brauhaus Schmitz on South Street will give you a chance to burn off some of the lunch before choosing from ten German Wheat beers at the city’s quintessential German beer bar and restaurant. [Link to event listing]
Across town at 30th Street Station there will be an outdoor Beer Garden and some special German beer being served. In the case of inclement weather, simply head inside to Bridgewater’s Pub, one of the country’s finest train station beer bars. [Link to event listing]
As you head back into Center City, until 6 p.m. long-time Home Sweet Homebrew is giving 20% discounts on specialty grains for your next batch of homebrew. Plus, the chance to compare brew notes with owners George and Nancy and their 25+ years of experience in the business adds to the value. [Link to event listing]
New breweries continue to pop up nearly everywhere. After 5 p.m., Grace Tavern, a less than ten minute walk from Home Sweet Homebrew, gives you the chance to meet one of the newest, Saucony Creek, as well as some more entrenched locals like Dock Street, Sly Fox, and Yards. [Link to event listing]
If after a full day you are still up for more, Varga Bar will be hosting a couple other regional favorites like Weyerbacher (Lehigh Valley) and Yards (Philly) late night after 10 p.m. [Link to event listing]
Saturday, June 8
After a busy week, you can be excused if you sleep in on Saturday. So start with a late brunch that is served until 3 p.m. in University City at City Tap House and served with beers from the pioneering Stoudt’s Brewery. If the weather is appropriate, al fresco brunching will be the way to go. You can reach this neighborhood by taking either the Market-Frankford El, a trolley line (e.g. 11, 13, 34, or 36), or a bus route (e.g. 21). [Link to event listing]
Just a few blocks from City Tap House, Mad Mex is doing an IPA east/west showdown which will buy some time while you wait to head over to The Blockley. [Link to event listing]
The Blockley has a very interesting event tieing together music and beer. For $25, Starr Hill Brewery will be pouring their beers while attendees take in the sound check for performance by Tea Leaf Green who will be performing a full concert later in the evening. [Link to event listing]
If staying in University City all afternoon is not in the plans, Saturday is the last day to catch some history in Old City at Christ Church. From 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m., take a walk through beer history as seen through some of the notable dead buried at the church. [Link to event listing]
When it comes time for dinner, since Christ Church is just around the corner in Old City, grab some breakfast for dinner at Philadelphia Bar & Restaurant anytime after 6 p.m. Fegley’s from the Lehigh Valley will be the featured brewery with the morning meal at night. [Link to event listing]
Lastly, when in Old City, the relatively new Bierstube is pouring the also relatively new Neshaminy Creek beers at Bierstube after 7 p.m. [Link to event listing]
Sunday, June 9
Congratulations; you made it to the last day of Philly Beer Week. Sunday is really about brunches that dominate the schedule of events. Instead of directing you to a particular neighborhood, here instead is a set of brunches with above average offerings from which to choose.
Ommegang beers are pouring during the brunch at Devil’s Den. [Link to event listing]
Kennett Restaurant is serving up Oxbow beers from Maine with their brunch. [Link to event listing]
South Philadelphia Taproom is pulling out all the stops for its “Extreme Beer Brunch”. [Link to event listing]
Laura Bell is coming in from Michigan to serve up beers with brunch from her family’s Bell’s Brewery at P.O.P.E. (Pub on Passyunk East). [Link to event listing]
Until 3 p.m., perhaps the most unique brunch is taking place at Alla Spina where you can bring your dog to sit outdoors and they get a special menu too. The event doubles as a shelter dog toy drive. [Link to event listing]
If, though, exercise is more fitting for you on this last day of beer week, head out to Dock Street in West Philly at 12:30 p.m. for a Scavenger Run. After the prizes, beers, and pizzas are handed out, the very popular annual Music Fest kicks off at 2 p.m. [Link to event listing]
Finally the “TUD”, Totally Unnecessary (last) Drink, is served up from 5 p.m.-8 p.m. at Fergie’s back in Center City, where recounting of beer week experiences, karaoke fun, and hilarity is sure to ensue. And, Fergie’s can certainly be counted on to provide the great beer. [Link to event listing]
Don’t want to be tied to a schedule? There are two quality events running all weekend long, one in the Grays Ferry section and one farther out in the northeast section of Fox Chase.
Resurrection Ale House is serving up beers all weekend that were aged in wood barrels and the list looks pretty darn beer geek-worthy. [Link to event listing]
Hop Angel features a weekend full of Pilsners from local breweries including Neshaminy Creek, Sly Fox, Stoudt’s, Susquehanna, Tröegs, and Victory. Plenty of wurst, fun, and games will round out the family-appropriate atmosphere. [Link to event listing]
I doubt at this point you are asking Is that all? Yet this is just a mere sampling of some of the many hundreds of events still remaining during Philly Beer Week 2013. Take it easy, don’t stress, tip well, and remember that Philadelphia is a quite an enjoyably-walkable city that provides plenty of opportunity to walk off some of the great beers that are presented to you.
Cheers from Philadelphia!
Read more of Bryan’s work at After Hours in the Communities at the Washington Times.
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