Interview with Philly Beergasm Organizers
Our PA intern Andrew visited Philadelphia last weekend and attended an event at Yards Brewing called Philly Beergasm. While there, Andrew interviewed the organizers of the event. If you are interested in an internship with The Full Pint, please follow this link.
There are five words in the English language that I thought I would never join in one sentence: “I had my first Beergasm.” What I am referring to is Philly Beergasm, an event held at Yards Brewing Company in North Philly. Philly Beergasm’s mission was to draw attention to local home brewers and small up-and-coming breweries and to raise awareness and funds for Philabundance through ticket sales and a raffle of donated items. Now, who would think of something so amazing and awesome? Well, the answer to that very question lies with two very distinct individuals: Sam Watson of Collaborate Philly and Lexi Malmrose of Beer Cakes Philly. During an interview I had with both Sam and Lexi I learned the incredible genius that became Philly’s first Beergasm:
Who are you and what do you do?
Sam: “I founded Collaborate Philly, the pitch is that it’s a social networking sight for the creative media community and are mission is to unite the creative community. Our goal is to provide networking events in Philadelphia for films to podcasts as well as music and albums.”
Lexi: “I make cupcakes with beer. I put beer in the cake and the frosting so the cupcakes actually taste like beer. It’s not an ingredient it’s what cupcake is about, so when you eat a cupcake you should be able to taste the beer it’s made with.
How did Philly Beergasm become a reality for you?
Sam: “Well we had a networking event back in December, we called it Collaborate Philly beer spectacular and we invited some local breweries such as First & Main, who were here tonight and St. Benjamins. So I saw Lexi’s beer cakes online and I thought they were delicious which then became a networking event. We discussed then an event that would draw attention through beer and became a partnership of sorts.”
Lexi: “This is something that I thought about and talked about and I didn’t know how to go about it until I spoke with Sam. I said to him hey I have this idea and Philly Beergasm was born.”
How were you able to get Yards Brewing Co. to allow you the space to hold the event?
Lexi: “I just asked, you’ve got to put yourself out there and I sent out emails telling people of my idea. Yards responded and it’s the reason why we were able to make all of this happen.”
How is Philabundance involved?
Lexi: “It just seemed like a no-brainer, it’s a culinary event which is the entire focus. Hopefully in the future we will have more breweries and chefs involved. I didn’t want it to seem like the completely arbitrary thing, I wanted it to be related. Who better to give the proceeds to as we are all enjoying delicious food and great beer.
Sam: “Everyone knows Philabundance. This is awesome, we didn’t pick them because everyone knows them. We picked Philabundance because we are fans of Philabundance. That doesn’t meant that it will always be Philabundance, we will pick different charities. Smaller charities that deserve a little more recognition.”
How were you able to get a hold of home brewers and some of the local breweries to come out to Philly’s first Beergasm?
Lexi: “The response was great, the whole idea was to give the people the chance to promote themselves and their beer. People don’t seem them a big pond (that I can assume she was indicating the Philly Beer Scene) and it really wasn’t difficult. The great part is that they all know one another. Being in the beer industry I’ve met a lot of these people previously, which was the easiest part of the event.”
Sam: “And as you mentioned earlier they basically just hang out together and they are all friends. We are just bringing together the little guys to get noticed.”
What is your favorite style of beer?
Lexi: “Porters. I love porters because they have a multi-richness and they are not quite as full in body as are stouts. But it still get the same lusciousness as stouts and I mean I love porters.”
Sam: “My favorite style of beer is whatever Lexi recommends. Ironically enough I don’t know that much about beer. When I started Collaborate Philly, me and my partners would have meetings in the city at the bars and they are all beer drinkers. In short my knowledge continues to grow and I’m excited to learn more of the beer scene here in Philly.”
Will there be a second Philly Beergasm and where might it be held and who might be attending?
Lexi: “There will be multiple Beergasms. We are big advocates for multiple Beergasms.
Sam: “We may be having one in the summer and it may be held at another venue but possibly Magic Gardens which is on South St.”
The overall theme of this event was promoting the “little guy,” because if you can remember, not so long ago, Yards was just starting out by going to events similar to Philly Beergasm. Now, let us meet some of the local home brewers who so kindly donated their delicious beer and their time to the first ever Philly Beergasm. Jason Ranck (home brewer) has been home brewing for the past five years, and in the company of his lovely wife, he gave me some insight on “Evening Wood” the brew he brewed specifically for Beergasm.
Me: “What gave you the inspiration for “Evening Wood?”
Jason: “Given that the name of the event is Philly Beergasm, I really tried to be as appropriate with the name as much as possible”
A little background on “Evening Wood” a Bamberger Rauchbier: I personally thought the beer was complex in flavors and it also gave a strong kick of hops that left a dry but satisfying, refreshing taste that quenched my thirst. Another home brewer I had the pleasure of meeting was Blaise Fougere of Saint Blaise Brewing Company. He is a very laid back and passionate man who gives off a positive vibe that makes me believe that he is confident in his ability to brew excellent beers. I also had the pleasure of meeting Jessica Streeter, who was born to brew beer. She is very passionate about craft beer and shows with her brew “En Fuego”. En Fuego is an intense brew that really highlights the flavors of her culturally diverse background.
Moving onto some of the more established brewing companies, Cory McDonald of 5 O’Clock Brew Co., who on his card says “head bottle washer” has been brewing for a short while and has brewed a gluten free beer. However, I had the privilege of trying his Dark Rye I.P.A and what can I say but probably one of the better I.P.A’s that I have had the pleasure of tasting.
White Mule Farms sent representatives to the event, and normally you wouldn’t think of a fine liquor beverage being available at a craft beer event. However, Spodee is responsible for carrying on the long term tradition of prohibition era moonshine to further set themselves apart in the craft beer scene. Spodee is a wine infused beverage that can be enjoyed straight up or with cola and can also be enjoyed as a cocktail. In a description best suited for the event it was said that, “It’s wine with a kick, a depression era hooch that mixed up country wines with garden herbs, spices and moonshine.”
Free Will Brewing Company of Bucks County, PA was there, and from the start many guests made their way over to try some of the brews they had on tap. The response was very positive considering the organized chaos during the event. Certainly last but not least, I met a very distinct man, who I thought from his appearance, was a crazed beer fanatic serving brews to the event guests. But boy was I wrong, Jimmy of Barry’s Homebrew Outlet held no bars when it came to talking with me about his passion for brewing beers and helping others who are looking into getting into home brewing. Home brewing is unfortunately illegal in some states but there is a calling for home brewing in Philadelphia and it is only getting bigger. It is events like this that will foster the appetite for multiple Philly Beergasms.