We know you have questions. It’s been 10 years of Philly Beer Week and Philly Loves Beer right here in the City of Brotherly Love and we still have questions. The event has become so much more than drinking suds to excess, there is a scientific component to it, a humanitarian component and even a chance for lovers of beer art to convene.
With that said, PW will try to answer some of those frequently asked questions and provide everything you need to know about one of Philly’s more revered events – now a decade in the making.
Philly Beer Week or Philly Loves Beer?
Philly Beer Week was formerly the name of the nonprofit organization behind the event, which has two employees and a 17-member board of directors made up of the region’s libation industry leaders. Earlier this year, it changed its name to Philly Loves Beer in an effort to expand its impact with a year-round mission. PLB has some broad and ambitious goals: to “draw attention to America’s Best Beer-Drinking City,” to “create beer-literate consumers” and to “act as a resource for ‘all things beer’ in the Greater Philadelphia region.” But at the end of the day, the 10-day series of events that make up Philly Beer Week is still the main attraction.
Was Philly the first to do beer week?
Beer-centric events have a storied history, but in terms of official “beer week” branding, Philly organizers say they were trendsetters in 2008, along with Syracuse. “It’s been so successful that more than 100 cities across the world have copied the whole idea,” Tom Peters, owner of Monk’s Café in Center City, said at a press conference last week. “And so there’s an Amsterdam Beer Week. There’s a Brussels Beer Week. They’re all over the world…Montreal…In fact, I was invited to go give a lecture at the Tokyo Beer Week next year, so I’ll have to brush up on my Japanese, which is zero.”
I want to show up and drink beers. Just give me the basics.
Philly Beer Week starts Thursday, June 1. For first timers, check out some of the popular annual events such as the Extreme Homebrew Challenge, Johnny Brenda’s It’s A Firkin Riot, and the Fishtown FestivALE. Want to get in early? Taps will open officially at 7 p.m. Thursday, but the drinking festivities will be kicking off as early as 6 a.m. Hour by hour beer week events are listed online at phillylovesbeer.org, and you can use the hashtag #PhillyBeerWeek on social media to see what’s happening around town.
What’s going on at the official kickoff? I want in.
Then be prepared to call out of work on Friday. As we said, the official party starts on Thursday, June 1, with Philly Beer Week's signature bonanza called Opening Tap at The Fillmore in Fishtown. Tickets start at $45 per person. This gets you inside for unlimited tastings from more than 40 breweries and cideries, as well as live music and food from Wolfgang Puck (not included in cost). VIP tickets ($95) grant you early access to event, primo views from the Fillmore’s balcony, private bathrooms, catered food, and some exclusive beer options. One thing to look out for is the “Hammer of Glory,” the keg opener that symbolizes Philly Beer Week.
I am terrified of the city and want to enjoy Philly Beer Week from the burbs. Where to go?
Fear not, beer geeks. There’s no wrong way to enjoy Philly Beer Week. In Wayne, check out Teresa’s Cafe and Next Door, one of the suburb’s original craft beer heavy-hitters, which will be featuring 27 beers and seven ciders on tap. In Aston, hit up the ultra-popular 2SP Brewing Company. The Beer Shoppe in Ardmore has one of the biggest bottle selections in the area with more than 800 beers. Near Media? Check out Sterling Pig Brewery. There’s the Brick & Brew in Havertown, Broad Table Tavern in Swarthmore, Tired Hands in Ardmore, Gullifty’s in Bryn Mawr, McKenzie’s Brewhouse in Chadds Ford, Miller’s Ale House in Springfield — and that’s just Delco. We haven’t even talked about the other counties yet. Philly Loves Beer has recommendations for other counties on its website as well.
I’m more of a cider drinker. Are their events for me?
Yep. The kickoff Opening Tap event will have a safe space for cider lovers dubbed “the Orchard” with plenty of non-beer pours. Double check before going to any events at breweries throughout the area, but most bar-based events will have more than a few ciders on tap.
– MAX MARIN | @MAXMMARIN