In a perfect world, Mayor Nutter would declare Philly Beer Week
a citywide (and government sanctioned) holiday, allowing all Philadelphians to take a 10-day break from work. Fiscally speaking, this would do wonders for the city, with beer-loving residents hazily strolling from one event to the next, pumping an untold fortune into the economy and having a blast in the process.
But until someone starts the campaign to make that happen (or you put in for vacation days early), planning for Beer Week is serious business. After all, there are hundreds of events happening from Friday, May 29 to Sunday, June 7. Here’s a day-by-day guide to the PBW’s can’t miss events.
Friday, May 29:
Hammer of Glory Relay
6:45 AM–6:53 PM
Is it wise to kick off ten days of heavy drinking in the wee hours and carrying a heavy and possibly dangerous prop? Of course not, but it sure is fun. This year’s festivities kick off at CBS 3 headquarters and follows the Hammer of Glory to the best beer bars in town via all modes of transport including SEPTA, horse-drawn beer wagon and the Fishtown Beer Runners. Twelve hours later, the Hammer finds its home at Opening Tap.
The opening gala for Philly Beer Week includes 42 breweries pouring their best plus a whole bunch of local beer-centric celebs, three hours of tasting and plenty of photo ops.
Saturday, May 30:
Deschutes Block Party
Oregon favorite Deschutes Brewery is touching down in Philly in a big way for Beer Week. Teaming up with the Vetri Foundation and City Tap House, the brewery is erecting a 400 foot, 40 tap pop-up pub with all proceeds going to charity.
International Great Beer Expo
Sure, this monster expo is a great place to sample, there are 75 breweries scheduled to be on site, but it’s also an educational event. Canned beer guru Woody Chandler will be on hand walking guests through aluminum options, and there’s a beer and chocolate seminar because nothing goes better with beer than chocolate bark, right?
Sunday, May 31:
Street Food Sidewalk Barbecue Party
The folks at Bing Bing know that Beer Week means a sustained schedule of outdoor drinking. As a service to the PBW folks on Passyunk Avenue they’re going to be setting up a street-side barbecue station with all sorts of beer friendly snacks like lamb meatballs, ginger scallion skewers, pork bao buns and beer flavored soft serve. Oh and there’s beer too, cheap beer.
Historically, the Chosen People have been more prone to Manischewitz than Miller, but that hasn’t deterred Schmaltz Brewing Company from crafting a roster of beers that appeal to the bar and bat mitzvah set. In honor of Beer Week, Schmaltz founder Jeremy Cowan is heading to Philly with a selection of rarely seen collaborations and vintages plus some knishes from Lower East Side legend, Yonah Schimmel, ready to be topped with beer-braised brisket and spicy deli mustard.
Monday, June 1:
Stone Barrel-Aged and Sours
Tria Taproom is hosting a little taste of SoCal happy hour with a sampling of rare barrel-aged beers and sours, many of which are sure to be once in a lifetime only sips, like say, something special from the Stochasticity Program?
Boilermaker Happy Hour
The Rittenhouse British pub is celebrating an elevated take on the citywide with special guests Yards Brewery and Dad’s Hat Distillery. Look out for a barrel-aged grand cru paired with locally distilled whiskey and rye.
Tuesday, June 2:
The shady Shambles at 2nd and Pine is home to a week-long pop-up beer garden featuring a daily rotation of visiting brewing. Tuesday’s kick-off sees Lancaster’s Springhouse Brewing Company and Cherry Hill’s Forgotten Boardwalk.
An adventurous spirit and a love of smoked meat is all you need to head over to South Street favorite, Percy Street for an evening of mystery beers. Here’s the deal: For $3, you get a can of beer in a paper bag (we promise it’s not Milwaukee’s Best). Of course, if an element of surprise doesn’t do it for you, Percy Street is also offering a $3 menu of cans that includes locals like Round Guys and Troegs.
Wednesday, June 3:
Shitty Beer Tasting
Although no one wants to admit it, after a few days of Beer Week, there’s something about an innocuous, er, palate cleansing can of something that really hits the spot. If you’re looking to indulge in the lighter stuff, Prohibition Taproom is hosting a blind tasting of five macros. Don’t worry about your street cred though, the winner takes home a bottle of Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout.
German Beer Seminar
Do you know your doppelbock from your dortmunder export? Of course not, German beer styles are serious business best left the to experts. Luckily, Bauhaus resident beer profs Doug Hager and Ray Vlug are hosting a seminar walking a limited number of guests through the finer points of eisbocks and rauchbiers, with plenty of educational samples.
Thursday, June 4:
Pigs in Space
There are only three things you really need to know about this unmissable event: There will be beer, there will be pork and there will definitely be a rideable mechanical pig.
The competition loving folks at Alla Spina are hosting a brewery showdown/prix fixe dinner featuring two Midwest big shots: Goose Island vs. Boulevard Brewing. Beers go head to head along with custom plates from the kitchen designed to highlight what you’re drinking.
Friday, June 5:
Robert Frost-y Poetry Happy Hour
One of the more high thinking events this week is happening at Paris Wine Bar, the tiny wines on tap den next to London Grill. On Friday, they’re going to be forgoing the vino in favor of rare beers from Two Roads and hosting readings from local poets, fingers crossed for beer-inspired or at least beer-fueled poetry.
Tired Hands at Aldine
Aldine (1901 Chestnut St., second floor)
No need to head out to Ardmore to enjoy Tired Hands’ singular brews. Head brewer Jean Broillet has teamed up with the Aldine folks for two custom brews (Luminous Calcidity, a Berlinner Weiss brewed with local oyster shells and Ald Bruid, a brown ale with figs). To celebrate the winning combination, Aldine is hosting a $75 prix fixe dinner (available in vegetarian and omnivore versions) with paired beers.
Saturday, June 6:
Frankford Hall FestivALE Block Party
Frankford Ave. (Between Girard and Master Sts.)
Frankford’s best and brightest (Frankford Hall, Johnny Brenda’s, Fette Sau, Bottle Bar East, La Colombe and Fishtown Tavern) are taking over the avenue for an all-day block party with plenty of good eats, DJs, Hammer of Glory photo ops, sexy ladies in German drinking apparel and oh so much beer.
Drinking and the Damage Done
11 AM–4 PM
Well-loved Allagash gal, Suzy Woods is going to be bringing crates of vinyl to the Industry and DJ’ing her Beer Week blues away. A selection of Allagash drafts will be pouring, and Neil Young will inevitably be playing.
Sunday, June 7:
Extreme Beer Brunch
11 AM–5 PM
Goodbyes are never easy, but SPTR knows how to bid a sweet farewell to Philly Beer Week. They’ve lined up a brunch menu that will set you right and an out of control draft list that’ll give you the energy to make at least one more post-brunch PBW stop. Or just go back to sleep.
Dock Street Brewing (701 S 50th St.)
Head west to Dock Street’s block party and scavenger run for signature brews and pizza, sausages grilling al fresco plus live music by the likes of Rosemary Tiki, Flightschool, Honey Radar, Pushin It 2 The Limit plus a surprise guest and some drunk running.
Photo: Drink Philly
Tags: Bar Crawl
, Beer Week
, Block Party
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