Rejoice, all ye hop heads, lager lovers and stout supporters—Beer Week is here again.
Running from June 1-10, this “one week” (leave it to beer lovers to prolong the length of a week) event offers a dizzying array of beer events meant to please casual beer drinkers, brew geeks and everyone in between. Events stretch from Center City to the suburbs, and this year even Delilah’s and Sugarhouse Casino are taking part.
This column seeks to keep things local, and it turns out there are some incredible beer week events taking place right in our own backyard.
Beer Week begins with the journey of the “Hammer of Glory (HOG)” throughout the city. The HOG is used to tap the first firkin at the kickoff Opening Tap event June 1 at the Independence Visitors Center.
The HOG starts at 9 a.m. at Hop Angel Brauhaus in the Northeast and travels though Kensington, Fishtown and Northern Liberties on its way to Old City. In the past, the HOG has traveled by way of as bicycle, kinetic sculpture, and even pogo stick. Clearly, beer is a big deal.
The Memphis Taproom always impresses for Beer Week, and on Tuesday June 5 from 7 to 1 p.m. their beer garden will host a special Maine Beer dinner with Allagash head brewer Rob Tod.
The beer garden will also host the Homebrew Beer Fest on Saturday June 9 from 12 to 4 p.m. The best local homebrewers and start-up brewery owners will serve their beer. Look for Barry’s Homebrew, Bombshell Brewing, Mellody Brewing and my own brewery, Saint Benjamin Brewing Co.
Tickets for both events are available ahead of time at the bar or at www.memphistaproom.com.
Beer week is also a great time to head up to the Northeast. On June 9, Hop Angel Brauhaus will be hosting Unibroue, a French-Canadian brewery that makes great Belgian-style beer. Their head brewer will also hold a tapping of several of their beers.
At the Grey Lodge, there are plenty of events for large breweries but two that stand out focus on small start-ups. Neshaminy Creek will have three beers on tap on Friday, June 8 and Shawnee Craft Brewing Company will be on tap June 9. Beer from these breweries is hard to come by in Philadelphia, so rack up some hipster credibility points by checking them out before they get cool.
Philadelphia Brewing Company keeps a low profile for Beer Week, but they are partnering with the Fishtown Beer Runners and sponsoring the second-annual Chicken Run. Run from the brewery in Kensington to American Sardine Bar in South Philly, and then enjoy fried chicken and PBC beer at the end (what better way to justify eating fried chicken and beer then by saying you already ran it off?).
If firkins are your thing, then check out the Firkin Riot at Johnny Brenda’s on June 2. Last year, the bar was lined with over a dozen firkins of local beer, some of which are rarely available in this serving style.
Interstate Draft House is also getting in on the small brewery action. On June 3 from 4 to 7 p.m., Saint Benjamin will be pouring free samples of beer. On June 5, Prism will be in-house with six beers and a burlesque cabaret.
As if Saturday wasn’t full enough, Standard Tap is hosting a sour beer brunch. All local beers will be served, and since many local breweries don’t brew sours, there will be some unique beers available.
For the history buffs among us, El Camino Real will be hosting Beer History Quizzo on June 5 from 8 to 10 p.m. Then again, everyone thinks they’re a genius after a few beers…
Frankford Hall and Great Lakes brewing are hosting “Dunkel Dare,” a competition with some new beers. The description is a little vague, but new Great Lakes beer is always a treat, and if the competition is a play on the old Nickelodeon game show “Double Dare,” the antics should be amusing. And possibly covered in green slime.
Keep up with other Philly Beer Week events at phillybeerweek.org. The organizers have also made a smart phone app available for iPhone and Android users.
Tim Patton, Star’s now-monthly beer columnist, is a Fishtown resident and the brewmaster at St. Benjamin Brewing Company, a brewery opening in Kensington this summer. Got beer or brewing news he should be clued in on? Email him at email@example.com.