Philly Beer Week 2013 Reflections by Steph

Philly Beer Week 2013 Reflections by Steph

2013-philly-beer-weekEvery year the city of Philadelphia hosts Philly Beer Week, during which craft beer events are held at various venues throughout the city. Representatives of myriad and sundry breweries from across the land descend upon the City of Brotherly Love to showcase their brews and celebrate great beer. Of course, the Beer Busters attended several events and Steph has provided this rundown of our beerventures. 

For more info on PBW, visit http://www.phillybeerweek.org/

What a week. Another Philly Beer Week has come and gone. For me, it was all about the awesome people we met and the amazing beers we sampled.

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Steph and Wayne with a pin-up girl at Varga Bar

Our first official Philly Beer Week event was the 4th Annual Pin Up Block Party and BBQ with Varga Bar on June 1. After enjoying a beer and texting Dan pictures of the calendar girls, Wayne and I walked down the block to The Foodery to cool off. There we met Jason from ShawneeCraft from Shawnee on the Delaware, PA. While sipping on their Raspberry Blanche, we learned about their recently opened taproom at the brewery. (Look for my blog post about ShawneeCraft coming very soon.)

To continue the fruity deliciousness of the day, we then went to the fruit beer event at The Institute where we had Hala Kahiki Pineapple Ale by Rivertowne Brewing from Export, PA. Now, I’m not one to usually order a fruit beer, but this day was starting to convert me.

After that, I wanted to take Wayne to Frankford Hall since he had never been there. As we walked up Frankford Avenue, we abruptly stopped when we encountered Bottle Bar East. I had never seen this place before! Needless to say, we had to go inside.

Part bottle shop, part bar, this place was awesome (and I could easily have spent hundreds of dollars). A few beers later, I finally introduced Wayne to Frankford Hall,Johnny Brenda’s and Barcade.

Cool birthday gifts

The next day started off with brunch at my favorite spot in Philly, Memphis Taproom. Our visit was during the 5th Annual No Repeat Beer Week, and the Evil Twin Brewing (København, Denmark) Femme Fatale Brett I enjoyed is definitely worth mentioning.

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ShawneeCraft at The Foodery

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Nodding Head’s Phunky Tears

We then checked out the beer exhibit at the Free Library of Philadelphia, and headed to Brü in center city. This is where I met the owner of Naked Brewing of Trevose, PA, Brian (again) and the new head brewer, Matt (for the first time). I haven’t been to the brewery since New Years Day, but after hearing about the new bottling system and trying Matt’s new altbier, I am eager to revisit. Brian also invited us to record an episode of the podcast there, and I’m not going to let him forget that!

The highlight of this day, however, was the happy hour with Tomme Arthur from Port/Lost Abbey of San Marcos, CA at Nodding Head in center city. Even though the place was crazy busy and the service was slow (it took 30 minutes or more to get a beer), it was still an awesome event. Nodding Head’s Phunky Tears (Crosby’s Tears aged and soured) debuted at the event, and it was wonderfully sour and funky.

Lost Abbey’s Cuvee de Tomme was pretty incredible, too. I learned, however, that Dan is not a huge fan of sour beers. To cap off the night, I met the infamous Fergus “Fergie” Carey, owner and partner of some of the best beer drinking spots in Philly (Monk’s Café,The Belgian CaféFergie’s Pub, etc.)  and once again got to hold the Hammer of Glory.

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Steph with a bottle of Sam Adams Utopias

After giving my liver a break for a few days, I met up with Dan on Thursday, June 6. We started at Fergie’s Pub where we unknowingly walked right past the founder of Allagash (Portland, ME), Rob Tod. By the time we realized it, he had left to catch a plane, but we did get to chat with Suzy, their Philly rep for a while. We had the FV13 (sour beer aged for 4 years in a foudre) and James Bean (bourbon barrel aged Tripel with cold pressed coffee), both of which were exceptional. We also met Trevor Hayward, brewer and co-founder of Evil Genius in West Grove, PA, and enjoyed samples from their Supervillians pack.

We then enjoyed some Firestone Walker (Buellton, CA) brews at Strangelove’s, and then headed to theField House for the 6th Annual Philly Beer Geek finals. There aren’t words to describe my excitement when I got to meet Lew Bryson (Philly-based beer and spirits writer)  and Jim Koch (founder of Samuel Adams), who both judged the competition. Jim talked more about the Bruins than beer, but that was still pretty awesome considering I’m a diehard B’s fan. The contestants had to answer beer trivia questions, identify the hop in a single hop beer, identify beers through tasting, present a live movie trailer based on Philly beer, and express their passion for all things Philly beer. The winner walked away with thousands of dollars in gift certificates, beer, and swag. We proudly cheered on Bockman and his 3-legged sidekick, Simon. Bottom line: I held a bottle of Sam Adams Utopias.  Didn’t get to taste it, but I held it. Awesome.

Our final Philly Beer Week visit was on Sunday, June 9, where Dan, Wayne, and I all attended a few events together. Yes, all three of us, together!

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The Beer Busters with Laura Bell, VP of Bell’s Brewery, at Pub on Passyunk East

We started at POPE (Pub on Passyunk East)where we met Laura Bell, VP of Bell’s Brewery from Kalamazoo, MI. We sipped on Raspberry Wild Ones as we chatted with Laura about the brewery, her 19-day road trip, hockey, and her awesome embroidered dress. Then we met photographer Stephen Lyford, beer drinker Keith from Bensalem, and Dan’s first “five”. Yes, Dan finally gave a beer 5 bottle caps on Untappd – Bells’ Bourbon Barrel Aged Batch 9000. Haven’t had it? Go get some.

After that we hit up theRussian River (Santa Rosa, CA) event at Local 44, where Wayne had his first Pliny, and the free music festival at Dock Street Brewery in West Philly, where I had a chocolate saison, and we jammed out to some bomba music. We ended our day back at Memphis Taproom where we met the friendly (and quite attractive) David Walker, co-founder of Firestone Walker. We talked about everything from Pennsylvania breweries to driving the coast of California. Our day ended with a Double DBA and an invitation to visit David at the brewery in Buellton, CA

Overall, Philly Beer Week was freakin’ awesome, as expected. I have pictures, business cards, and Untappd check-ins to remind me of the fun we had. The best part was sharing this experience with my cousins/co-hosts and reporting on our beerventures as a Beer Buster.

Cheers to the city of Philadelphia!

Check out more photos from our Philly Beer Week 2013

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