Friday, June 11, 2010

Happy Beer Week!

beerfest1 Philly Beer Week is the most-hyped holiday of the year in our household.  I’m not even exaggerating.  It’s bigger than Christmas, New Years, definitely Easter, and Thanksgiving.  The only holiday that may even compare to it is my birthday.

It is used to be a big deal. We are self proclaimed beer snobs and Andrew loves to pick the brains of homebrewers and craft brewers alike. 

That’s what beer week began as: a series of cheap and informal events designed to introduce beer drinkers to craft brews, brewers and other beer drinkers.  It was designed to highlight smaller craft breweries that weren’t as mainstream as, say, Anheuser-Busch, and introduce their smaller batches of brews to new fans, demonstrating how tasty and affordable craft beers can be.  All while highlighting the use of sustainable practices, local products and unconventional methods.  I mean, what is not to love about that?

Except that this year beer week activities are INSANELY expensive!! $60 a head for a flight of beers and some appetizers at events where the brewer might not even be in attendance? Something is amiss.  It seems to me that beer week has been snatched up by the marketing team of Philadelphia, and turned into yet another way to make money for the city, while ignoring the original intention of the event. It is inevitable I suppose.  And I am proud the Philly is now a respectable beer city.  I mean, we have bragging rights to some amazing local craft breweries:  Victory, Dogfish Head, River Horse, Sly Fox, Yards, Philadelphia Brewing Company, Flying Fish, Stoudt’s, Dock Street, Nodding Head, Triumph, Troegs, Wyerbacher, to name a few. That’s a damn impressive list if you ask me.

So beer week has become commercial. And that’s disappointing.  But I am all about supporting our local businesses.  And if commercializing beer week means these local guys will do better and make more money, than I’m all for it.  They make great products.  Plus, Philly has beer events all year round, although less publicized and far less crowded.  For those who seek them out and attend, they are an amazing opportunity to meet brewers, try not-yet-or just released beers and score some good drink specials.  For those of us who love beer (and the craft of it, which I will admit is not my mostfavoritethingever, though I do appreciate the work) these events are a handsome reward for our love and devotion.

It was Beer Week and we are not so snobby that we didn’t participate at all.  We did score half price tickets to the International Beer Festival last weekend, which was significantly less crowded than last year (and far more enjoyable, although I was sad there was no beer bingo.) 


We had a really great time, ran into a bunch of friends and got to meet two new breweries: Prism Brewing Co. and Harlem Brewing Co. 


On Wednesday, Andrew and I stopped by the Yuengling event at Elephant & Castle.  Their marketing guy found Andrew’s blog and invited him to have a chat with Wendy Yuengling. You can read about his chat here.  I used to drink Yuengling like it was my job back in college but after a few sips, I handed mine off to Andrew to finish. If I’m going to down a bunch of empty calories, I’d rather they be delicious (preferably hoppy) calories.


Last night, we headed over to Kite and Key to sample the Saison du Buff. (Remember my post about Sly Fox and how much I love Saison? )  I consider myself a bit of a saison connoisseur, so I needed to try out this new brew, which was  colaboration between Victory, Stone and Dogfish Head. (This is another thing I love about craft brewers. You won’t ever find Anheuser Busch and Coors working together on a new brew.)  I thought the Saison du Buff was decent. It was a little hoppier and less spicy than most saisons.  It was light in color and in flavor which, in the case of saisons, I think makes it sub-par.  It didn’t have as much body as I would have liked, and I thought it tasted to “crisp'” for a saison, but I give them a thumbs up for effort.

And now we get ready to go to Greece! You can expect a full report (highlighting the food and drink, obviously) as soon as I return!


1 comment:

Leslie said...

Mmmmm, beer. I was just discussing with a coworker recently that the town we live in has a huge beer drinking culture, and it is turning me into a beer snob as well. Have fun in Greece! Also, can Shawna and I interview you for our blog, for no reason other than you are our most loyal reader and we think it would be fun?