Thursday, May 30, 2013

Philly Beer Week: Let the taps flow

Friday has three words for you: Philly Beer Week.

Let's toss in a fourth: collaboration, because collaboration beers will abound in Philadelphia over the coming days. 

The curtain on the 2013 Philly Beer Week observance lifts at 7 p.m. this Friday with opening-tap festivities inside and outside the Independence Visitors Center. 

A spotlight will be on a Belgo-American Dubbel (7.5% ABV) named Manneken-Penn, brewed at Brasserie de la Senne by Yvan De Baets, with an assist from Weyerbacher's head brewer Chris Wilson, Monks Cafe owner Tom Peters and Matt Hohorst, winner of this year's annual PBW raffle of a trip to Belgium. (The beer's name and label are a mash-up of the William Penn statue atop City Hall and Brussels' famed fountain whizzer statue, Manneken Pis.)

The devil's in the details, so here you go: The beer features American Calypso hops, European Slovenia, Aurora and Styrian Goldings woven through a grain bill accented with oats and molasses. 

Last year's brew born of the Philly Beer Week Belgium trip was Sp├ęciale Belge, a smoky amber ale brewed by Brasserie DuPont's Olivier Dedeycker in conjunction with Iron Hill Maple Shade.

As a beer city, Philadelphia has major mojo; it's gravitational pull from finding, creating and serving world-class craft beers tugs inescapably on the Garden State. Even beer enthusiasts across farther-away North Jersey get caught under the spell. 

"Until recently, if you lived in New Jersey and wanted a great beer, chances are you had to shell out a few bucks to the DRPA and visit Philly. But South Jersey bars are finally catching on … and it's gotten a helluva lot easier to find not just local crafts, but exotic imports and West Coast micros throughout the Garden State," says Don Russell, PBW's executive director. "That's why you'll increasingly find solid Beer Week events across the Delaware in New Jersey."

You'll also find some New Jersey hands involved in Brotherly Suds 4, the beer whose tapping outside the visitors center gets things rolling for the 10-day soiree that launched the national trend of city beer weeks six years ago.

The English summer ale is a collaborative effort by Gene Muller of Flying Fish in Somerdale and Mark Edelson of Iron Hill brewpub in Maple Shade; Philly's Tom Kehoe of Yards Brewing; Bill Covaleski from Victory Brewing; and Gordon Grubb of Nodding Head brewpub.

Don credits Flying Fish and Iron Hill for breaking down some barriers that had slowed the Garden State's progress in the craft beer industry.

"I heartily encourage the good folks of New Jersey to charge up their E-ZPass and visit the city during beer week. They can do a bit of bragging while they're at it, because our Brotherly Suds 4 collaboration brew, available on draft throughout the week, was partly the work of Muller and Edelson," Don says. 

There's some more Jersey in PBW: River Horse Brewing, which is on the cusp of exiting Lambertville and taking up their new digs in Ewing, will also be pouring at Opening Tap. (By the way, the brewery's production bids its founding location in southern Hunterdon County adieu with a final brew of its Tripel Horse Belgian ale on Friday. But RH will have some lingering business – think tasting room – in Lambertville until late June.) 

Here's some more on the PBW lineup (get PBW's mobile app):

  • Dock Street Trappiste Pale, a Trappist-style IPA inspired by Orval, brewed by Dock Street, Scott Morrison, Tom Peters and George Hummel (Home Sweet Homebrew), fermented with saccharomyces in the primary fermentation and brettanomyces in the secondary fermentation for a moderate sour character, plus Sonnet and East Kent Golding hops for grassy, citrusy flavor. (Available in 750 milliliter bottles from Dock Street exclusively during PBW.)
  • Johnny Berliner, brewed by Dock Street and Johnny Brenda’s, a Berlinerweiss.
  • Standard Pale, the sixth collaboration between Sly Fox’s Brian O’Reilly and Standard Tap’s William Reed, an American pale ale brewed with new hop varietal Calypso, which will be tapped by the Hammer of Glory when it makes its way past Standard Tap on the HOG Relay, en route to Opening Tap, and poured for free until the firkin is empty.
  • DNA UK, from Dogfish Head and Charles Wells, a transatlantic collaboration that brings together the “DNA” of Dogfish Head’s famed 60 Minute IPA and a strain of yeast from Brit brewer Wells. DNA is making its debut at PBW.
  • Brewvolution II, a collaboration between Prism, Evil Genius and Boxcar that is a hard root beer drawn from Lancaster County’s Amish community and infused with root herbs and spices for all the character of a root beer with none of the saccharine sweetness.

No comments: