These days it can feel like it takes a Ph.D. in beerology to understand what’s on tap at the local brewery. “Pungent flavors of peach and mango unfold into a soft and resinous mouthfeel,” reads a description at Crime and Punishment, a brewery on Girard Avenue. At Old City’s 2nd Story Brewing, you can find a beer with a “subtle white grape and bready aroma, crackery pils malt flavor with a crisp noble hop finish.”
Both beers are delicious, even if all that jargon can leave the uninitiated among us scratching our heads. But fear not — you can still enjoy Philly Beer Week if you’re not a beer expert, and you may even learn a little something to boot. The 10-day festival, devoted to all things beer, returns Friday with hundreds of events spotlighting various brewers, styles, and food pairings, all across the city. There’s lots to love for beer aficionados and novices alike. Here’s where to start if you’re new to the scene.
Philly Beer Week Opening Tap
- Friday, June 1, 6:30 – 10:30 p.m.
- The Fillmore Philadelphia, 29 E. Allen St.
- Tickets: $46 for unlimited beer pours
The week’s crowning event, Opening Tap at the Fillmore, features more than 50 breweries and cideries offering more than 100 types of beer. Local and national brewers will be serving up samples and answering questions, making it a great gateway for the curious drinker.
“As much as it is a sampling event, there’s really an opportunity to engage with the brewery to talk about their different processes and what different types of hops make different flavors,” said Brandon Szeker, membership and press director for the festival organizer, Philly Loves Beer. “Our breweries love to interact with the audience.”
Don’t miss: The Saison de Pale, a Belgian collaboration between Dogfish Head and Brewery De Brabandere and Petrus. Szeker also recommends trying brews from national brands including Oxbow Beer and Larimer Beer Company.
Getting there: Take the Market-Frankford Line to Girard or ride the 33, 43, 47, and trolley lines. The Fillmore has a parking lot.
- Saturday, June 2, noon – 5 p.m.
- Devil’s Den, 1148 S. 11th St.
- Free entry, beer is pay as you go
Those who feel more confident in their drinking-game skills than their beer knowledge can show off at the Tailgate Olympics. Teams will compete against one another — and the brewers themselves — in a variety of games including corn hole and giant beer pong. Beer offerings come courtesy of Weyerbacher, Yards Brewing Co., Love City Brewing, 2SP Brewing, and Evil Genius, who’ll be serving their Philly Beer Week special, “I Believe You Have My Stapler,” a mango beer with a name inspired by cult film “Office Space.” “We try not to take beer too seriously,” said Trevor Hayward, the owner of Evil Genius and treasurer of Philly Loves Beer.
Don’t miss: The “I Believe You Have My Stapler.” Evil Genius will be offering this brew at every event they attend during Beer Week and at their Fishtown brewpub — but once it’s gone, it’s gone.
Getting there: Street parking is limited. Take the Broad Street Line to Ellsworth-Federal or ride the 32, 45, and 47 lines.
Art on Beer
- Wednesday, June 6, 7 – 9:30 p.m.
- U-Bahn, 1320 Chestnut St.
- Tickets: $15, includes $5 beer from each brewery on the panel
They say not to judge a book by its cover, but, let’s face it, who among us has not chosen a beer for its label? Learn how breweries come up with the designs that suck us in at this panel discussion all about the art and craft of labeling. Beer design artists and reps from breweries Cape May Brewery, Love City Brewing, True Hand Society, Modern Times Beer, Hop Hedz Gear, and Kurant Cider will discuss the artistic process — and you’ll get to try $5 beers from all of the represented drinkeries.
Make sure to: Peep the look of Kurant Cider. Not only is the owner their graphic designer, but they’re opening a new space in Philly that will build on their can aesthetic.
Getting there: Street parking is limited. Take the Broad Street Line to Walnut-Locust or Market-Frankford Line to 13th Street, or ride the 23, 33, 44, 45, and 48 lines.
‘Get Yer fill of Pils & Pierogies’
- Thursday, June 7, all day
- Grey Lodge Pub, 6235 Frankford Ave.
- Free entry, beer is pay as you go
Budweiser, Heineken, Stella Artois. Some of the most recognizable beers on the market are pilsners: a crisp, pale lager that makes a perfect stepping stone for newbies looking to expand their palates.
That’s because, while they may be ubiquitous, “pilsners don’t have to be boring,” said Szeker, All 10 taps at Grey Lodge Pub will be pouring unique pilsners from the likes of The Brooklyn Brewery, Founders Brewing Co., Tröegs Independent Brewing, Victory Beer and Wiseacre Brewing Company. Balance out your beer with pierogies, and call it a night.
Don’t miss: The local brews. Pilsners may have originated in the Czech Republic, but Southeastern Pennsylvania is known as a pilsner heaven. Saint Benjamin Brewing Company, Sly Fox Beer, Tröegs Independent Brewing, Victory Beer and Wacker Brewing Co. are all local.
Getting there: Take the Market-Frankford Line to Frankford Transportation Center, and ride the 26 or 66 line or take the Broad Street Line to Olney Transportation Center and ride the 26 or 66 line.
This article is part of a new effort recommending things to do in the Philly region. Tell us what you think.