Women make passes at real beer-filled glasses.
This week kicks off an astoundingly over-the-top lovefest for that most modest of drinks: beer.
Brew lovers have recently watched the number of Philly Beer Week shindigs grow, and wondered: "How can I be at three places at once?" At last count there were more than 100 events, suggesting that for 10 days in March, Philadelphians will be woozy with delight from indulging in beer pastries, beer brunch, beer and game, beer and movies, beer and meatballs, beer and bingo, and just plain beer.
The Philly Craft Beer Festival is the first preview event. It showcases 50 brewers and 120 brews from such local favorites as Dogfish Head, Yards, Stoudts, Victory--and the rest.
Don Russell (aka Joe Sixpack, see Eat Beat, right) will be interviewing a couple of craft beer gurus at the festival. I'm all set to talk to Russell about the local economic impact of brewing (16,000 workers, $422 million in wages and $122 million in taxes) and what makes Philly, in his words, "America's best beer drinking city" (a 300-year tradition, ale diversity, neighborhood pubs, well-educated consumers and jaw-dropping selection), but then the conversation takes an unexpected turn.
"The interesting thing is to see how women are attracted to craft beer," he says. "There are women who didn't like beer at all. Their boyfriends drank crappy beer at fraternity parties, so they started drinking cocktails and wine."
It wasn't until their mid-20s, when these women got a "little bit of extra cash, a good job and self-confidence" that they started experimenting with higher-end beers like Blue Moon, Hoegaarden and Framboise, then started experimenting further, says Russell. These women ventured forth and "found beers they like on their own."
"I mean, they're certainly not beholden to advertising," says Russell. "But they've discovered that the flavor profile of craft beer is far broader--and that is the essence of craft beer enjoyment."
The way some women have been won over by microbrews is "the true heart of craft beer," says Russell. And with that he's summed up, with Hannibal Lecter-like precision, basically every 25-to-30-year-old female beer drinker I know.
For women (and men) who are wary of commercial crap and keg stands, the Craft Beer Festival offers an ideal introduction to higher-end, tastier varieties, and kicks off what are sure to be many days of well-informed debauchery.
Sat., March 1, noon-4pm and 6-10pm. $10-$60. Philadelphia Cruise Terminal, 5100 S. Broad St. www.phillycraftbeerfest.com