Mayor Nutter swings a mighty hammer.
Philly Beer Week kicked off last night with a swing of the massive "Hammer of Glory," tapping the premiere keg of Beer Week by Mayor Nutter. The hammer arrived just before the event kicked off, ridden into the lobby of the Comcast Center (on a tandem bike no less!) by none other than Philly's own Ben Franklin. Spirits were high on line in unseasonably warm weather, with beer patrons patiently awaiting the doors to open and the beer to start flowing.
From wall-to-wall, the Comcast Center lobby was lined with a vast array of micro-famous microbrewers and their wares, smiling and offering a "Cheers!" to eager Philly beer drinkers as they handed out samples. I ventured downstairs to the Comcast Winter Garden and Marketplace only to find a more massive selection of breweries -- everything from Earth, Bread and Brewery's "Weak Mild IPA" to Manayunk Brewery's "Triple Lindy." The shops in the marketplace all remained open for business during the event and many were nice enough to offer discounts for Beer Week patrons.
After most had settled and everyone had grabbed their first (or more likely third or fourth) drink, Don "Joe Sixpack" Russell and Bruce Nichols (Philly Beer Week's founding fathers) took the stage to welcome everyone and introduce Mayor Nutter. Tom Kehoe, owner of Yard's Brewing, joined the procession on-stage and Ben Franklin did the dubious honors of handing Mr. Nutter the "Hammer of Glory." "We are the greatest beer drinking city in the United States of America!" announced Nutter just before the initial swing. He regaled the crowd with a mini-speech, expounding on the economic benefit Beer Week has on Philadelphia and the importance of not getting too soused and driving home.
"Enough of the talking, let's get tapping!" he followed up, to many cheers from the now booze laden crowd. A practice swing, the real thing, and POP! Nutter, Kehoe and Franklin all raised pint glasses full of fresh suds to the crowd and offered a cheers. Philly Beer Week has officially started. Let's get drinkin'!
Ben Gilbert is covering Philly Beer Week for PW. PW is a sponsor of Philly Beer Week.
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