June 2, 2012

Philly Beer Week, Day 1

Yesterday was the start of Philly Beer Week. Leading up to it I was feeling a sense of excitement, but when I woke up yesterday I couldn't wait for the fun to begin. It was that feeling of anticipation that is reserved for big events like Christmas morning when you were a kid, or the morning of your wedding.

There are so many events taking place each day it's hard to decide what to do. A few years ago I wasn't working and went to multiple events every day (except for Wednesday. I remember I needed some downtime at that point). It's really exhausting for the beer drinker and even more so for those working the events. As I said to someone last night, it's hard for me to complain to someone about how tiring Beer Week is when he was going to be working 20 hour days. I'll just be drinking!

Day 1 was a good one. I'd been thinking about following the Hammer o'Glory on its way to Independence Hall for the official first keg tapping, but I decided it was smarter to wait to start drinking until later in the day. Since I was going to the Opening Tap festival, it seemed a good idea to head over to Old City, where we'd be within walking distance of Independence Visitor Center. I'm glad we did.

First stop was Eulogy Belgian Tavern, where they were having a Firestone Walker event. Obviously one of the points of beer week is to enjoy new, rare beers - of which there promises to be plenty! I had the Wookey Jack, an unfiltered black rye IPA (which happens to have just been released), and DBA, an English pale ale, which was the 2011 Great American Beer Festival Gold winner for English/Special Bitter. Both were delicious, which isn't surprising. Having had the Double Jack and Union Jack before, I knew I could expect something special from these guys. I also got to meet Dave Walker, co-founder and brewer. He was a lot of fun to talk to, and not just because he was easy on the eyes and had an accent (although neither of those hurt).

Next up was The Irish Pol, where they were having a 4 Hands event. 4 Hands is a brewery out of St. Louis that isn't even yet distributed in Philly. I had the Single Speed Session, an American blonde ale brewed with elderflower, red wheat, and three different varieties of hops. It was very light and refreshing. The brewer was there but since we wanted to head over to Opening Tap, we didn't have a chance to talk to him.

Opening Festival was the same fun event it's been for the past 3 years that I've gone. Yes, there are a lot of people but you never wait long for a beer. I got to try a lot of beers from new local brewers, including Round Guys, Neshaminy Creek, Evil Genius, Springhouse, and Free Will. And of course all the usual suspects were there. I'll post a link to pictures once they become available.

Today is beautiful and I'm looking forward to the fun that lies ahead. I'll post tomorrow about the events I make it to today.

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