Philly Beer Week: The Straw That Broke The Camel’s Back
This past Philadelphia Beer Week has been extremely and fantastically surreal, and I (therefore) wish to thank some of the people who made it possible.
Philly beer week (for me) started with Dave from Old Dominion talking passionately about what he does, and expressing a genuine interest in what I liked about their beers and what I would like to see them do next, while sipping their delicious Hop Mountain pale ale. The fact that he made me take two aged bottles of their amazing Millennium barleywine when I declined his offer to buy me a beer, as I had to drive somewhere shortly, didn’t hurt either.
I really appreciate that he seems to be looking foreword towards the future and listening to the demands of the community, especially since I feel that (despite all of the creativity and innovation of the beer industry) it is still a very stifled scene (overall), obstructed by tradition (leaving plenty of room for growth and creativity). Dave, I will definitely keep my eyes opened for those 22’s you stated were designed with that ‘next frontier’ mentality.
I don’t know if it was more exciting to discover that James and Martin from Brew Dog have even more of a ‘next frontier’ mentality than their insane lineup of beers would suggest (while having the opportunity to have four delicious beers that I had never previously tasted–Brew Dog’s the Sink the Bismarck and their 5AM Saint, as well as Samuel Smith’s Stingo and the Exporter <—made at Sierra Nevada’s ‘beer camp’ by a dozen (or so) Philadelphia Beerstars); OR if it was even more exciting to hear Lew Bryson talk about many who have the ‘next frontier’ mentality right here in the state of Pennsylvania at one of my favorite Philly beer bars (the Grey Lodge Pub) with his disciple and tapmaster, Scoats (while having the opportunity to sample Shawnee’s VSOP, Breaker’s I(love)PA, Bullfrog’s cask conditioned Liquid Sunshine, Berwick’s Atomic Punk, and other familiar or unfamiliar beers). Hell…while I am at it, I was impressed to discover that Joe and Doug from Cigar City not only share the ‘next frontier’ mentality that I respect a great deal (as demonstrated in the Hunapu, Brandy-Barreled Hunapu, Batch 69, and Campedor that I had the opportunity to taste), but blew me away with ideas that I have never even entertained (like not having to choose between a naked berliner weisse or one with an undesired syrup by juicing some Black Krim Heirloom tomatoes to use in lieu of the syrups).
Mixing some KBS into my Devil Dancer and my Weyerbacher ’06 Quad to make some pretty impressive black-n-tans was good tasty fun, but I could only imagine what treats the creative genius’ at Founders would have brought us, if Pennsylvania did not have such antiquated and stifling beer (labeling, importing, and distribution) laws. It is good to know that people like Brian Ewing from 12% are working hard to enable us to have access to some of the beers you once had to buy a plane ticket to try (like the delicious Potteloereke, Finesse, and Steenbrugec from Singletrack, De Dochter, and T’Gaverhopke respectively, which I had the opportunity to sample with Geoff, Bruno and Ronald who came all of the way from Belgium for Philly Beer Week).
I regret that I missed the folks from the Bruery while at the Eulogy Belgian Tavern (as I have a great deal of respect for many of the beers that they have made and imagine that they have many more ideas in store for us), but am glad that I got to try the Coton and even talk with Eulogy’s owner, Mike, about how we believe that unhealthy competition in the beer industry hurts everyone (and our hopes that it can be replaced by cooperation through the recognition of a shared vision). It also made me proud to see some local beer gods from Iron Hill as patrons in attendance for the great beers in that great bar (notably the dry-hopped Stateside Saison, the Cellar Door, and the Jungle De Rus by Stillwater Artisanal Ales, another company that impressed me with that curious gaze towards the horizon and with Brian bringing the skills/opened-mindedness to make it happen).
Ending my Philly Beer Week extravaganza with a trip out to Weyerbacher, where Chris is pushing the envelope as well (as demonstrated in his newest, never-made-before anniversary smoked imperial stout), was the icing on the cake for this extremely fantastic beer week.
I can’t forget to express how extremely grateful I am for the opportunity to share my EABU (Extremely Unusual Brown Ale, renamed Everybody Underestimates Beer Advocates in an effort to make Lew laugh) with such an array of individuals whom I respect and admire for what they contribute to the advancement of the brewing movement as we know it.
I have used sites like this one quite a bit when trying to decide what to purchase, what events to attend, and to keep up with what is going on in the beer scene. So, I figured (with the help of a passing comment from the owner of a constantly impressive taproom/bottle shop, which was something like “post something…anything…about us, about them…I don’t care just post something” <— thanks Matt!) that it is about time I try to give what I can back to the community through participation in the sites from which I had previously been leeching. The composition of this first post (and the reprinting of it, thanks to Dan) were mostly inspired by the array of wonderful Philly Beer Week experiences made possible by many individuals and enhanced by many more, however, it was the initial “post something” comment that acted as the ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’ (so to speak).
Thanks to all mentioned above, and (above all) Don “Joe Six-pack” Russell for helping to make Philly Beer week such a special week for me (and many, many others like me).
I’d also like to thank those who contribute to this site, as well as others that rate beer, share all of the information they have about upcoming events, and take their time to articulately & creatively describe various beers and all of the nuances that make them special. I feel that those who share information, ideas, and stories on sites like this one certainly helps many beer aficionados know what to expect when buying/opening a bottle, ordering a beer, planning to attend an event, or visiting a brewery. And, likely helps brewers direct their efforts towards what the enthusiasts seem to want.
I feel privileged to have access to a nearly endless list of Philadelphia taprooms and scattered bottle shops (like Capones in East Norriton, PA and the Foodery in Center City Philadelphia) that provide the public access to a diverse and evolving array of choices, while working very hard to ensure that the quality of each one is worth the price they cost.
I apologize for how lengthy this composition has become, but (even with all of my ramblings) I am certain that I still left some people out (sorry) and definitely did not come even close to doing this indescribable week justice.
I will try to contribute information/ideas and review beers whenever possible (as time permits) and hope that it helps others (as others who post information and reviews have certainly helped me).
I look foreword to all of the creative and delicious beers that are on the horizon and (whenever possible) in TheHorizon.
Be well, drink well, and may your Pints be Full!
From the bottom of my…uh…belly?
Scott aka TheHorizon