Philadelphians love their beer as much as they love their cheesesteaks. Maybe that’s why there’s an entire week dedicated to the beverage that makes us all say “cheers.”
Running for a 10-day span from May 31 through June 9, Philly Beer Week (PBW) features hundreds of pub crawls, tastings and meet-the-brewer nights citywide.
Now in its sixth year, the event will feature a variety of collaborative beers from local and international brewers. Some of this year’s collaborative beers include Brotherly Suds 4, Dock Street Trappiste Pale, Johnny Berliner, DNA UK and Brewvolution II.
“Collaboration beers are a huge part of what makes PBW special,” said Don Russell, executive director of the event, “brewers coming together and pushing each other to do ever more outrageous and delicious things.”
Tapping of the first keg
PBW kicks-off on Friday, May 31 at 6:30 p.m. at the official “Opening Tap” ceremony, held at the Independence Visitor Center, located at the intersection of 6th and Market streets.
Mayor Michael Nutter returns again to wield the event’s “Hammer of Glory,” a keg mallet which will open the first keg of the week, Brotherly Suds 4, an English summer ale with a zesty citrus hop. The first keg is a culmination of the brewing-minds behind Yards, Victory, Nodding Head, Iron Hill and Flying Fish breweries.
While the opening ceremony is free, there are admission fees to the beer festival, which features breweries from across the region, local Philly-centric food and live music. Regular admission is $45 and includes beer samplings and a keepsake cup. VIP admission is $90 and includes beer samplings, exclusive tastings and a food buffet.
For a $15 admission fee, designated drivers will be given complimentary soft drinks and a Philly Beer Week Designated Driver t-shirt at the event.
Exploring PBW in the ‘yunk’
Manayunk will host a multitude of events throughout PBW. Chris Barnes, managing partner of Lucky’s Last Chance, says his favorite thing about Philly beer week is the people.
“There is always something new to learn, see or taste for all of us,” said Barnes. “Brewers, new releases, specialty beers, it’s all here in our city. It’s like Christmas for grownups.”
Lucky’s, located at 4421 Main St., will host an alternative event on “Opening Tap” night called “Oskar Blue’s Hot Sauce Challenge.” The event, which runs from 5 to 7:30 p.m., will feature two new drafts from Oskar Blue’s and three of their homemade beer hot sauces. Later in the evening Jerry Vietz, a master brewer, will lead samplings of some of the “best Belgian inspired beers in the world.”
Lucky’s will also host their much-anticipated cupcake and beer tasting from 8 to 10 p.m. on Tuesday, June 4. The event, which sold out in under 30 minutes last year, will feature flights of Southern Tier beers paired with cupcakes from Sweet Elizabeth’s.
Barnes says the idea was spawned from a joke that the cupcakes paired great with a chocolate stout.
“Five minutes later we were knocking on their door,” said Barnes, “we already knew they were beer nerds, so it wasn’t a hard talk to have. It’s a great way to introduce people to some interesting styles of beer. Plus, who doesn’t love cupcakes?”
On Sunday, June 2 the 2013 Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic (the race formerly known as the Manayunk Bike Race) will be celebrated at the Old Eagle Tavern, located at 1777 Markle St., with Yards Brewing Company. The event will feature $1 off all Yards brews all day.
Cheese fans can enjoy a beer and cheese pairing event at the Eagle throughout the day on Tuesday, June 4 that will feature beer flights from Weyerbacher Brewery and cheese plates from Philadelphia’s DiBruno Brothers. They’ll also host their own beer and cupcake pairing event from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m. on Wednesday, June 5. The event will feature Voodoo Brewing Company.
Enjoying PBW in Chestnut Hill and Mt. Airy
At Chestnut Hill’s Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant, located at 8400 Germantown Ave., beer fans can enjoy a pre-beer week “Lex Luthor IPA Release Party” from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 30. The price is pay-as-you-go.
The brewery will host their “Collaboration Beer Dinner” on Tuesday, June 4 from 7 to 9 p.m., which will feature five local breweries. The $65 ticket includes five beers, a five course meal and gratuity.
If you’re looking for an alternative to the “Opening Tap” ceremony, Mt. Airy’s Trolley Car Diner will host a “Finally Friday Free Beer Tasting with Longtrail” from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Also on Friday, participants can head over to Malt House, Ltd. for a screening of the movie “Strange Brew” from 8 to 10 p.m. with beer samplings and snacks provided.
Trolley Car’s “Beer-B-Q” will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 8 and will host Longtrail, PBC, Yards and Lancaster breweries and offer barbeque favorites.
Malt House will be hosting a variety of events throughout PBW, including Game Night from 6 to 9 p.m. on Monday, June 3. The board game “Brew Master” will be the highlight of the evening and guests are invited to bring their own beer. Tasting Tuesday will be held on June 4 from 5 to 8 p.m. and will offer an array of home brew beer samplings at no cost.
Scott Wikander, owner of Malt House, says his tip for PBW newbie’s is to “be adventurous.”
“It’s tempting to get caught up in the big events and the hip name brewers but there are so many breweries that participate, so try something new – that’s the whole point of Beer Week,” said Wikander, “if you’ve never heard of a brewery before, all the more reason to give it a try.”
He also suggests using mass transit, cabs or staying local.
“Not everything happens downtown,” said Wikander, “Northwesterners can hit Wheat Beer Wednesday at the Old Eagle, the Trolley Car Diner Beer-B-Q or stop by Malt House Ltd for one of our events, like a free movie, homebrew tasting or brewing class.”
If you’d like to learn more about brewing, the Malt House is hosting a two-part class on June 2 and 9 from 4 to 6 p.m. for $45.
Keeping you connected during PWB