Philly Beer Week, with a capital B

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Philly Beer Week is about the city’s beer scene – its breweries, bars and restaurants, pub-friendly neighborhoods and Belgian cafes. It’s a celebration of the city’s long beer-drinking history, its unrivaled diversity of beer styles, its festivals and beer dinners. It’s a chance to meet your favorite brewer, raise a glass with the mayor or carry the vaunted Hammer of Glory.

More than anything, though, Philly Beer Week is about the beer.

I’ll make a rough guess that more than 2,000 different brands of beer will be pour across the city and suburbs starting on Friday.

You can try, but I doubt you’ll be able to drink ‘em all over the following 10 days. So here’s a short list of the can’t-miss beers of Philly Beer Week.

The collabs

Something about Philly Beer Week brings people together, and that includes brewers.

Brewvolution. Three small suburban breweries – Evil Genius, Prism and Round Guys – got together for this one. It’s a Belgian black IPA with 7.6 ABV (alcohol by volume) and 76 IBUs (international bittering units). Catch up with all three head brewers at With Love Beer Garden at Four Seasons Hotel on Wednesday.

Brotherly Suds 3. Philly Beer Week’s official collaboration, brewed by Iron Hill, Yards, Nodding Head and Victory at Troegs’ new brewery in Hershey, Pa. It’s a Vienna-style lager made with rye, with the first keg at Opening Tap on Friday at Independence Visitor Center (6th and Market streets, Old City).

Dock Street and Four Seasons Hotel. Once located next door to the Logan Square hotel, West Philly’s Dock Street brewery has returned to its old turf with a series of bottled collabs. The next, a saison brewed with verbena and tart cherry, debuts at the With Love Beer Garden next Friday (June 8).

Dupont Speciale Belge. Philly Beer Week’s collab between Iron Hill and Belgium’s Brasserie Dupont is hoppy and a bit smoky with a bit of farmhouse funk. The first keg will pour at Opening Tap, with still more pouring throughout the week. Bottles available at better takeout shops.

Fighting Feury. Terence Feury, chef of Fork Restaurant, and his brother Patrick, chef at Berwyn’s Nectar, joined with Yards Brewing on this one. It’s a pale ale infused with Green Meadow Farm kaffir lime leaves, debuting on Wednesday at Fork in a $55-a-seat dinner.

Leer & Rook. That’s Dutch for Leather & Smoke, an imperial barrel-aged porter made with beechwood-smoked malt. It was crafted by Menno Olivier of Holland’s De Molen brewery and Tom Peters of Monk’s Café, who cracks it open on Monday.

Old Forge Pale Ale. A newcomer to the Philly market (now available in cans), this upstate Pennsylvania brewery brewed up an easy-drinking beer with Perch Pub (Broad and Locust streets, Center City). The restaurant taps it at a Session Beerfest on Sunday.

Standard Pils. Back in the day, William Reed, now co-owner of Standard Tap, was a brewer at the old Sam Adams (now Nodding Head) brewhouse. He pulled the boots back on for this pilsner, brewed with Brian O’Reilly of Sly Fox. It’ll pour at Johnny Brenda’s (Frankford and Girard avenues, Fishtown) on Saturday.

The Farmers’ Cabinet Struise Project. That’s not the official name of this beer, and I don’t have any of the details. What I know: Urbain Coutteau of Belgium’s famed De Struise Brouwers (known for Pannepot quadrupel) hunkered down with Terry Hawbaker of the restaurant’s Cabinet Artisanal Brewery to produce something special. We’ll all find out how special on Tuesday at the Farmers Cabinet (1113 Walnut St., Center City).

Tired Hands and McKenzie Barrel Blends. Though it’s not really a collaboration, it’s a chance to taste what happens when you blend brews from two suburban brewpubs. Give them a try at The Boilermaker (216 S. 11 St., Center City) next Thursday (June 7).

Try a new beer

Dozens of breweries will take the opportunity to roll out new brands this week., or introduce new varieties to the Philadelphia market. Among the notables:

Allagash Yakuza. Isaac Newton’s (Newtown, Bucks County) is promising several rarities from the Portland, Maine, brewery on Friday. This dry-hopped tripel is so rare, there’s only one review of it posted at

Boxcar Mango Ginger IPA. The West Chester brewery is known for fairly standard varieties (IPA, brown ale, pale ale), so this tropical treat a chance for it to stretch its legs. Look for it next Thursday (June 7) at the Wrap Shack (120 S. 18th St., Center City).

Funky Buddha Raspberry Berliner. The tiny Florida brewery steps into Philly with several batches of tart, fruit-flavored Berliner Weiss. Monk’s Café (16th and Spruce streets, Center City) will pour them on Sunday.

Neshaminy Creek. Former River Horse brewer Jeremy Myers moved down the Delaware to Croydon, and he’s finally ready to unveil his kegs. The first will pour at Opening Tap, and then at events throughout the week. Look for County Line IPA, Mudbank Milk Stout and Tribute Belgian Tripel.

ShawneeCraft Entire Porter. Located along the Delaware in he Poconos, this small brewery entered the Philly market earlier this year. This dark beer was aged in bourbon barrels; it’ll be served on a nitrogen tap for a smooth body at Devil’s Den (11th & Ellsworth streets, South Philly) on Saturday.

Yards Rye Pale Ale. The city’s oldest production brewery hasn’t released any details on this keg-only beer, yet. We’ll all have to wait till Prohibition Taproom (501 N. 13th St., Spring Garden) kicks off its annual Yards Firkin Faceoff on Friday. If you miss that one barrel, Resurrection (2425 Grays Ferry Ave., Grays Ferry) will pour it on Saturday.

Test your palate

Think you know beer? Bring your own blindfold and take a big sip.

3×8. The Farmers’ Cabinet calls it “ridiculously cool,” I call it over the top. The restaurant’s Cabinet Artisanal Brewery teamed with Stillwater and Evil Twin breweries to make 8 variations each of a single beer style. The result: 24 different one-offs, which will pour next Thursday (June 7).

Blind EYE PA. Evil Genius challenges you to guess which hops are in this full-flavored ale, with the winner getting the chance to help create one of the new Philly-area brewery’s next seasonal beers. Get your first taste tonight from a fresh firkin at Doobies (22nd and Lombard streets, Center City)

English Ale. The Chemical Heritage Foundation (315 St., Old City) teaches the science behind on of the world’s great beer styles on Friday.

Stella Artois. Yeah, you’ve tasted it a million times, but do you know how to pour it? Learn from the Belgian brewery’s draftmaster at SugarHouse Casino (1001 N. Delaware Ave., Northern Liberties) on Monday.

Terrapin Golden Ale. It’s one of the familiar flagships from the Athens, Georgia, brewery, but it’ll take on a new flavor when brewers tap it at City Tap House (3925 Walnut St., West Philly) on Saturday night. They’re pouring four firkins of the cream ale with a different variety of hops in each.

The Brett Project. Aaron Fourier, one of the area’s most creative homebrewers, teaches how to brew tasty, thirst-quenching sour beer with a horizontal tasting of his ale spiked with Brettanomyces yeast. Sunday at Keystone Homebrew Supply (Montgomeryville, Montgomery County).

Join the cult

Whether it’s because they’re superbly made or simply rare, certain beers attract the beer freaks. Line up for one of these.

Bell’s Hopslam. The Michigan brewery’s double IPA is released during the winter, but Birra (1700 E. Passyunk Ave., South Philly) will pour it alongside a firkin of Brew Works Hop Explosion during the Avenue’s daylong pub crawl on Sunday.

Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout. An imperial stout brewed with chocolate and coffee and aged in maple syrup-bourbon barrels. When it last hit the city, beer lovers followed delivery trucks hoping to score a bottle. Grab a glass at Founders $100-a-seat beer dinner at South Philadelphia Tap Room (1509 Mifflin St., South Philly) on Wednesday.

Hel & Verdomenis. That’s Dutch for Hell & Damnation, an understated description of this motor oil-like imperial stout from the Netherlands De Molen. Share a bottle with the brewer, Menno Olivier, at the Belgian Café (21st and Green streets, Fairmount) on Monday.

Nugget Nectar. There’s a lot of hub-hub each January when the Hershey brewery releases its imperial amber ale. If you missed it (or want to relive the fun), stop in at the Irish Pol (45 S. 3rd St., Old City) on Monday night.

Pliny the Elder. Philadelphia is Russian River Brewing’s only non-California market, and this IPA (along with Sanctification, Redemption, Supplication and others) will kick quickly during a daylong fest at Via Marconi Pizza Pub (Lansdale, Montgomery County) on Sunday. It’ll pour again on June 10, Local 44 (44th and Spruce streets, West Philly), along with Exportation, Philly Beer Week’s 2011 collaboration with Sierra Nevada and Russian River.

Society & Solitude #3. Still in his early 30s, Hill Farmstead’s Shaun Hill, an alumnus of Haverford College, is already attracting medals and rave reviews from avid fans. He’ll bring a wide selection, including this imperial IPA, to Teresa’s Next Door (Wayne, Delaware County), on Saturday, June 9.

Keep drinking

Not enough beer? Here’s a bunch more that I’m looking forward to:

Arcobrau Schloss Dunkel – Brauhaus Schmitz (718 South St.), Monday

Cigar City Smokabaga (chili-spiced red ale) – Hulmeville Inn (Hulmeville, Bucks County), Monday

FiftyFifty Imperial Eclipse Stout on 12-year-old Elijah Craig bourbon barrels – The Trestle Inn (339 N. 11th St., Spring Garden), Sunday.

Foundation Ale collaboration between Sierra Nevada and Russian River – Fox and Hound (15th and Spruce streets, Center City), Wednesday.

Free Will Sour Farmhouse Ale – Old Eagle Tavern (175 Markle St., Manayunk), Wednesday.

Jolly Pumpkin Noel – Jose Pistola’s (265 S. 15th St., Center City), Saturday.

Lavery Liopard Oir saison – Bridget Foy’s (2nd and South streets, South Street area), Monday.

Nodding Head Will, made with wild yeast from Clark Park – Nodding Head (1516 Sansom St., 2nd floor, Center City), Wednesday.

Oskar Blues Wild Turkey-aged Old Chub – Pinocchio’s Beer Garden (Media, Delaware County), Sunday.

Stillwater As Follows – a.Kitchen (135 S. 18th St., Rittenhouse Square), Saturday.

Stoudt’s Pomegranate Double IPA – Oyster House (1516 Sansom St., Center City), Tuesday.


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