Sunday, June 3, 2012

Philly Beer Week with Lew Bryson: what I'm hosting

I know: it's about time I put this up! Here's what I'm hosting and appearing for during Philly Beer Week -- I took a break from the first two days to celebrate my daughter's high school graduation -- and I hope you'll join us for some of them!

TODAY - Sunday, June 3

Beer From New Jersey...You Don't Expect Too Much...

Okay, you may or may not be familiar with the John Gorka song, but New Jersey beer does tend to get overlooked, excepting maybe Flying Fish, and even that still gets dissed. Get over it! Scoats and I decided to ramble through the Garden State this year instead of our annual roll through upstate PA, and we came back with some excellent beer and some great stories. Join us at the Grey Lodge today, 5-7, for New Jersey beers and an up-to-date look at the state of beer in the Beer Garden State. PAYG.

Lew Vs. Jack: the Scratch Beer Showdown

You've been hearing about this -- the video, the trash talk, the successful sneak preview at Kite & Key on Friday -- and tonight it happens. Uncle Jack Curtin and I were each invited to brew a beer on the small Scratch system at Tröegs, to our design, both of which will be on tap at Standard Tap tonight, from 5-9. Jack brewed his favorite type of beer, the biere de garde; I brewed an unfiltered Dortmunder Export. The guys at the brewery dubbed them Biere de Grouch and Zwickel Licker, and I'm good with both names... We'd both like to win this, but I'm at an obvious handicap: due to scheduling problems (and Jack's fine hand...), I won't be able to get to Standard Tap till  about 7:20, and I know Jack will be pressuring people heavily during that first 2.5 hours. I'm counting on you to keep this fair by stopping in to have a couple Zwickel Lickers (just ask for "Lew's beer," that'll work). There's lots of stuff going on in the neighborhood (check the PhillyBeerWeek site or the app for Northern Liberties/Fishtown); come by and help me out!

TUESDAY - June 5

3 Bourbons, 3 Scotch, and 5 Beers

My singing partner: Jack Daniel
It's an open secret that I sing, and after the fun we had at last December's carol sing that I led at the Grey Lodge, Scoats asked me back for something a bit more topical. 'Pick out 3 of your favorite bourbons and Scotches, and 5 of your favorite beers,' he said, 'and we'll do some booze song karaoke.' Hey, I suck at karaoke, but this is passion; I intend to rise above, and I hope you'll come out and sing and drink with me. Here's the drinks list we came up with: bourbons - Baker's, Elijah Craig 12 Year Old, and Four Roses Yellow Label. Scotch - Glenfarclas 105, Johnnie Walker Black, and Highland Park 15. Beers - Flying Fish Farmhouse, Great Lakes Ed Fitz Porter, Saison Dupont, Stoudt's Pilsner, and Hill Farmstead Edward. The songs? Scotch and Soda, I Like Beer, Whiskey in the Jar, Jockey Full of Bourbon, A Pub with no Beer, A Jug of get the idea. We're going to have some fun, and talk whiskey and beer...and sing a couple songs. That's Tuesday, 7-9, at the Grey Lodge.

Session Beer Panel 

But once again, my schedule is crazy, because I'll be leaving the Grey Lodge as soon as the last song is sung to fly to Center City for this huge Session Beer Panel at the Farmer's Cabinet. It starts at 8:00 -- I'll get there around 9:25 -- and it's going to be some of the most influential bar owners/managers on the East Coast, and they're worth mentioning by name and bar:
  • Joe Carroll, owner of Spuyten Duyvil, Brooklyn, NY
  • Dave Brodick (or his manager), owner of Blind Tiger, NYC
  • Chris Lively, owner or Ebenezer's, Maine
  • Greg Engert, partner/beer guy Churchkey, Wash DC
  • Casey Hard, beer guy of Max's, Baltimore
  • Daniel Lanigan, owner of Alewife, Boston & Baltimore, Lord Hobo's, Boston
  • Alec Lopez, owner of Armsby Abbey & The Dive Bar, Boston
  • Dave Pollack, owner of The Diamond, Brooklyn, NY
The panel is moderated by Dan Shelton of Shelton Brothers importers (so you know there will be outrageous controversial positions taken), and we'll be going till at least 10 PM...and Dan's a bit windy (not that I'm laconic), so it's probably going to go as late as you want. And this is a ticketed event, and it may seem a bit steep at first look: $50. But take a gander at what you get for that $50 besides the amazing panel. Not only do you get the delish cheese and charcuterie that Farmer's Cabinet is known for, you'll be getting pours -- not samples, pours -- of some of the best damned session beers available:
  • Cantillon Gueuze (draft)
  • De La Senne Taras Boulba (draft)
  • De Molen Engels (firkin)
  • Stillwater Premium (bottle)
  • An english bitter from either: Timothy Taylor, Coniston, Titanic, or Adnams
  • Thiriez Extra (bottle)
  • Guinei Riner (bottle)
  • Tuatara Pils (bottle)
  • Cabinet Gose (draft)
  • Amager Fusion (draft)
  • Two Brothers Long Haul (bottle)
  • Carton Boat Beer (bottle)
  • Yards Brawler (bottle or firkin)
  • Spezial Rauchbier (bottle)
  • Mikkeller Drink In the Sun (draft)
And more, probably; every time I check my email, Dan's suggesting another. Come out and talk and drink session beer (and eat good eats); I guarantee a great time. It's a session beer festival with the best damned session beer seminar you've ever heard.


Ciders at London Grill 

You probably didn't know that I'm a cider enthusiast; I don't write much about cider, though that's going to be changing. Get the first fruits of my growing research at London Grill, where we'll be pouring ciders from Pennsylvania -- Arsenal Cidery from Pittsburgh with head vintner Bill Larkin, Philly local Revolution Cidery and vintner Johnathon Gradman, and Bucks County's Desiato Cidery and Richard Smithson -- along with a few other very special ciders. There'll be a good range of ciders, and do not expect fizzy boozy apple juice. If you like serious cider, innovative stuff done with fermented apples, this is a great event to stop in and check out (and check out London's draft wine setup, too). We're going to take a great bite of the cider apple; join us! London Grill, 6-9 PM, PAYG.


Philly Beer Geek Finals

If you've never been to the Philly Beer Geek's not just for the competitors and their friends, believe me. This event is a hoot, and the judges -- me and a very ready crew of Philly beer celebs -- will be doing our best to keep the contestants unbalanced, and you laughing your butt off. There's beer passion and knowledge and, well, insanity displayed, and not a bit of it is taken too seriously. Come join us for a surprisingly great time! Plenty of great beer available, too... 8-11 PM at Manayunk Brewing, PAYG. 

Saturday - June 9

Herr Bryson's Brewers Breakfast
Gotta wind up the week big. I usually do a wheat beer breakfast with Scoats at the Grey Lodge the first Saturday of PBW -- an event that the Houston Chronicle once cited as evidence that Philly was a city of drunks... -- but my daughter Nora graduated high school that morning. So...instead we moved it to Hop Angel Brauhaus, and made it a German brewer's breakfast, like you'd find at the gasthaus breweries in Germany -- Früh in Köln, Im Füchschen in Düsseldorf, Fässla in Bamberg -- big plates of wurst and cheese, plenty of pickled herring (hey, it's a buffet, you don't have to eat the herring; more for me), solid rye bread, and shtuff like that. And lots of German beers, and the great German-type beers that our local brewers make. I'll be telling you all about those great little places, and the beers, and why German breakfasts are one of my favorite meals. It's all PAYG, and starts at 11, runs till 2. Just the recovery you need from a hard week of Philly Beer Week...before you make that final event and have that final beer!

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