WRITTEN BY MATT BRASCH
For Digital First Media
Since 2008, Philadelphia has hosted “Philly Beer Week” — a celebration of all things beer in the City of Brotherly Love. This pageant of craft brew is not limited to beer brewed or served within city limits however. Despite its name, Philly Beer Week has expanded its reach to the suburbs; and more likely than not, there will be a great craft beer event near you during “PBW.”
This year PBW will take place from May 28 until June 7. As described on its website — www.phillybeerweek.org — PBW is “the largest beer celebration of its kind in America, featuring hundreds of festivals, dinners, tours, pub crawls, tastings and meet-the-brewer nights to area bars, restaurants and other locations throughout Greater Philadelphia. Since our founding, nearly 100 other cities worldwide have copied Philadelphia’s success to launch their own beer weeks. Philly Beer Week highlights the region’s diverse beer scene — its world-class breweries, neighborhood taverns, trend-setting restaurants and rich beer culture and history.” A detailed schedule of all PBW events can be found at http://www.phillybeerweek.org/events.cfm.
Philly Beer Week 2015 will start with an “Olympic Torch-style relay” of the adopted symbol of PBW — the “Hammer of Glory” — that begins at 9 a.m. on Friday, May 29, at Hop Angel Brauhaus, located in Northeast Philadelphia. The “HOG” will make its way through Philadelphia craft beer bars and breweries all day, until it reaches the “Opening Tap” — the official kick-off party/beer tasting festival of PBW in the 23rd Street Armory at 6 p.m. Tickets for “Opening Tap” can be purchased on the website UpcomingEvents.com.
After the Opening Tap, the next 10 days are filled with events highlighting craft beer — from Philadelphia and elsewhere — and the taverns that serve them. While I would strongly recommend that everyone attempt to attend at least one PBW event within Philadelphia County, if you can’t, not to worry. A quick look at the PBW “Events” page reveals that there are plenty of opportunities to celebrate PBW in the suburbs.
Barren Hill Tavern & Brewery is an active participant in PBW even though it is located in Lafayette Hill in eastern Montgomery County. According to Barren Hill’s owner, Erin Wallace, “[When] they started a week of events to celebrate how the Beer Scene in Philly is so special compared to every other city in the U.S., I was all in. We have a ton of amazing award winning local breweries, a growing brewpub scene, along with out of town breweries that do not send their beers to any other market. Brewers from all over the world send their beer to Philly.”
Barren Hill will be hosting events throughout the 10 days of PBW15, including a “Dessert and Beer Pairing featuring Thomas Creek Brewing” on Wednesday, June 3. Wallace explained, “We will be featuring four craft beers by Thomas Creek Brewing from South Carolina with mini desserts from our sous/Pastry Chef Melissa Stout-Greiner. She is amazing when it comes to desserts and baking.” In addition, on Sunday, May 31 beginning at 11 a.m., Barren Hill will showcase another Montgomery County brewery — Round Guys Brewing Company from Lansdale — during the “Round Guys Beer Brunch.” Barren Hill will pair its brunch specials with a selection of Round Guys’ brews, and will offer a “Two Step” Beermosa, a cocktail made with Round Guys’ “Two Step” Wit beer.
Scott Rudich, owner and brewer at Round Guys, agrees that “Philly Beer Week is a great celebration of craft beer. It’s important to be involved in such a great event. We look at as a way to market our brewpub in Lansdale…It’s a chance to get out and meet a lot of great beer drinkers in the Philly area.” Round Guys brews a new beer every month, so at the events during PBW, Rudich said, “One [new] beer you will see is the ‘Girl From OK.’ It’s an Imperial Red Ale made with malt from Deer Creek Malt, Simcoe and Nugget hops. We also have a Sour Hefeweizen named ‘Pressure Drop’…It’s a Hefeweizen that also was dosed with lactobacteria.”
For PBW, Barren Hill will be releasing “Garden Variety Wit.” Wallace explained that it is “a Belgian-style wheat beer brewed exclusively for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Pop Up Beer Garden at 15th and South Street. We are a proud sponsor of that garden and wanted to make a beer that would be light, refreshing and perfect for sipping in a garden during the summer.”
If you can’t find the time to get into Philadelphia County during Philly Beer Week 2015, there are plenty of options for you in the suburbs. So at least take a moment to visit your local pub or brewery and raise a pint to celebrate the spirit of PBW2015. Cheers!
Columnist Matt Brasch is a Souderton Area High School graduate and a beer enthusiast. For more, check his blog at http://thebrewholder.com.