A week of discounted, crafted and cold brewskis? Sounds like the “beer gods” have drafted us another Philly Beer Week.
Running for a 10-day span from June 1 through June 10, this favorite-Philly event is in its fifth year and features about 200 venues throughout Philadelphia offering drink specials and activities for beer fans citywide.
Founded in 2008 by Don Russell, author of the “Joe Sixpack” column in the Philadelphia Daily News, the event was created for brewers and beer-drinkers alike to share the joy of craft beers from breweries throughout the region.
Kick-off “Opening Tap” ceremony
This Friday at 7 p.m. the “Opening Tap” ceremony will be held at the Independence Visitor Center, located at the intersection of 6th and Market streets. Mayor Michael Nutter will wield the event’s official “Hammer of Glory” to open the first keg of the week, Brotherly Suds 3.
The first keg is a culmination of the brewing-minds behind Pennsylvania’s Victory, Nodding Head, Stoudt’s, Sly Fox, Tröegs, Yards and Iron Hill breweries, who crafted Brotherly Suds 3 this May.
While the opening ceremony is free, admission to the beer festival begins at 7:30 p.m. with tickets on sale for $40. The festival will feature samples from breweries across the region and live music. Although not included with the ticket price, food stands will be set up at the event featuring favorite Philly-centric foods.
A designated driver service will be available for $25 or if participants bring a friend who is not drinking. The driver will be given complimentary soft drinks and a Philly Beer Week Designated Driver T-shirt at the event.
Bike race specials and beer pairing in Manayunk
Beer Week events run throughout the city and suburbs, and bar owners have put a creative spin on many of the activities.
This weekend’s bike race in Manayunk will lead to a surplus in merriment along Main Street, including drink specials at many local bars.
An official “Yard’s Bike Race Party” will be held at the Old Eagle Tavern, located at 177 Markle St., with brewers from Yards Brewing Company from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. The tavern will also host a “Pennsylvania Beer and Cheese Pairing” event on Wednesday, June 6, from 7 p.m. to midnight.
On Thursday, June 7, the Manayunk Brewery and Restaurant, located at 4120 Main St., will host the “Philly Beer Geek Finals Competition” from 8 to 11 p.m.
Also on Thursday, Lucky’s Last Chance, located at 4421 Main St., will host a beer and cupcake pairing event from 8 to 10 p.m.
One of the bigger activities will be held at the Manayunk Brewery from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday June 9, with a ticket price of $50. Grandly entitled the “Manayunk Summer Classic,” the event will feature beer, food and an opportunity to meet local brewers and sample their beers.
Evan Fritz, assistant brewer at the Manayunk Brewery, is excited for the brewery to host the Philly Beer Geek finals and for the beer dinner at Elephant and Castle, located at 1800 Market Street, which will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday June 7. The $45 ticket includes a four course meal paired with four beers from the brewery.
“Beer Week is an opportunity to celebrate and share our incredible beer culture with family, friends and people from around the globe,” said Fritz.
Meet Chestnut Hill brewers
In Chestnut Hill, the new Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant, located at 8400 Germantown Ave., will host its “Lex Luthor IPA Release Party” from 5 to 8 p.m. tonight to kick-off beer week. All of their events will include a meeting with the brewers at Iron Hill.
Paul Rutherford, head brewer at Iron Hill, says Beer Week is a good opportunity to try a multitude of craft beers.
“At a Craft Brewers Conference in California I learned there’s about 92 different categories of beer styles and varieties,” said Rutherford.
He says Beer Week offers a variety of activities for patrons whether they want to stay local or venture to Center City.
“It depends on the individual,” said Rutherford. “If you want to have a sit down dinner and discussion with the brewers, our dinner is the way to go. Or if you want to head out to Center City – maybe you don’t always get to go there – there’s a lot of actives going on there to. There’s something for everyone to enjoy.”
Their “2nd Annual Big Ass IRON HILL Beer Dinner” will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Sunday at Center City’s Good Dog Bar, located at 224 S. 15th St., with tickets on sale for $60.
A “Philly Brewers Beer Dinner” will be held at the Chestnut Hill location on Monday, June 4, from 7 to 9 p.m. for $75 and will include samples from Dock Street Brewery, Manayunk Brewing Company, Nodding Head Brewery, Triumph Brewing Company and Yards Brewing Company.
Both dinners will feature a beer pairing aspect, and Rutherford says there will be pairing of everything from chicken to oysters.
“It’s a process,” said Rutherford, “we have a baseline of knowledge from past years of pairings.”
At the events, he is also excited to give away hop candy, a sweet form of hopped candy that he says is alcohol-free and similar to a Jolly Rancher. (Visit www.hopcandyinc.com to learn more.)
Tips for a cheer-filled Beer Week
Beer week is chock-full of events and navigating where to go can be daunting. A full events calendar can be found on the website, www.phillybeerweek.org, and Twitter updates can be found tweeted at @phillybeerweek.
Participants can stay in-the-loop throughout the week with the official and free Philly Beer Week iPhone and Android app. As of today, a NewsWorks check of the official Beer Week Facebook page is reporting glitches with the app, but it also notes that maintenance is in the works.
A quick tip for the event is to keep an eye out for drink specials. Craft beers are unique because of the brewing science behind them, and this week is a chance to sample and try new beers on-the-cheap.
Many events include educational components and a chance to meet the brewers behind the beers. If you’re interested to learn more about brewing these events offer a great opportunity to learn from the experts.