Opening Tap festival kicks off Philly Beer Week

With a swing of the “Hammer of Glory,” Mayor Michael Nutter opened the first official keg of Philly Beer Week (PBW) on Friday evening at the Independence Visitor Center.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the 2013 official Philadelphia Beer Week is underway,” said Nutter to the crowd of beer enthusiasts.

The “Opening Tap” ceremony marks the start of PBW, which spans from May 31 to June 9, and features pub crawls, beer tastings and meet-the-brewer nights citywide.

The first keg, Brotherly Suds 4, is a culmination of the brewing-minds behind Yards, Victory, Nodding Head, Iron Hill and Flying Fish breweries. The brew is an English summer ale with a zesty citrus hop.

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Now in its sixth year, the festival featured breweries from across the region, local Philly-centric food and live music.

Beer enthusiasts enjoy Opening Tap

East Falls resident Bill Moyer said he’s a big fan of the beer festival.

“It’s a great event, it’s exceeded my expectations,” said Moyer. “I definitely see the potential for Philadelphia to be a leading beer city in America.”

“There are so many varieties of beers out there and beer week gives people an opportunity to try them,” added Alex Alesio of Manayunk.

Mt. Airy resident Keith Kelleher says he’s been a beer connoisseur before the craft-beer revolution gained momentum.

“I’m a beer geek,” said Kelleher, who works at Weavers Way, “I’ve always appreciated quality beer. There’s been a beer renaissance in America and Philadelphia is emerging as a premier beer city.”

South Jersey siblings Obi, Nnedi and Chichi Onejeme say they ventured to the event to get some of their first tastes of craft beers.

“This is my first experience trying a variety of craft beers,” said Obi. “It’s a learning process for me, I have to figure out what I like.”

Brewers pour out their top picks

Iron Hill Chestnut Hill’s assistant brewer, Derek Testerman, was on-hand at the event to pour out some of the breweries finest beers, including their famed Lex Luthor IPA.

“Lex Luthor is a unique beer because we experimented extensively with hops,” said Testerman of the IPA brewed with over 80 pounds of American hop varieties. “It’s also unique because you can only get it during this time of year.”

Manayunk Brewing Co. featured their top beers at the festival, including Schuylkill Punch, a raspberry ale, and Dreamin,’ a double IPA.

Manayunk Brewing Co.’s head brewer, Doug Marchakitus, said the beer festival is an opportunity to not just try beers, but to meet the brewers behind them.

“For a brewer every week is beer week,” Marchakitus. “We’re happy to meet other brewers and talk beer. This is a beer community and really, a beer city.”

Keystone Homebrew Supply, located in Montgomeryville, Pa., hosted a table at the festival and talked to attendees about the beer process.

“Homebrewing is inspired by different ideas and tastes,” said Aaron Fournier, social media manager at Keystone, who poured out a homebrewed Scottish ale at the event.

Jason Harris, owner of Keystone, says newbies to PBW should keep an eye out for a bevy of fun events to complement their beer throughout the week.

“We try to incorporate fun events like our Twitter Scavenger Hunt for PBW,” said Harris. “It’s not just about drinking beer, it’s about having fun.”

A full events calendar can be found on the Philly Beer Week website. Organizers will be tweeting updates all week at @PhillyBeerWeek.

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