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The fun all starts on Friday at 9:30 AM out in Fox Chase at the Hop Angel, where the Hammer o' Glory begins its amazing route to Opening Tap, all the way down at Independence Mall, where Mayor Michael Nutter will tap the opening keg (no word on whether he'll be charged a 15% by the drink tax). The map below (from Danya Henninger's blog at Zagat), shows all the spots where the HOG will change hands: it travels by roller skaters, cargo bike, kinetic sculpture, through the Free Library of Philadelphia by book cart, horse carriage, wheelbarrow, and whatever insane and personally hazardous conveyance William Reed comes up with at Standard Tap this year. It's a crazy way to start the week, and you're free to join in at any point.
View Philly Beer Week Hammer of Glory Relay Route in a larger map
Once you've followed the HOG to Opening Tap and hobnobbed with the cream of Philly's beer scene (like Mat Falco, of PhillyBeerScene),where do you go next? Well...damn near anywhere in Philly and the immediate surroundings. Seriously, there is stuff going on almost around the clock; check the website or download the free (and excellent, adaptive, useful, quick, constantly updated) app for iPhone or Android.
Use the app to do things my favorite way: no planning, just head into town, get off the train/bus/trolley/bike/designatedly-driven car/truck/motorcycle, fire up the app, and find out what's going on nearby. I guarantee, you cannot lose. This is not like the other "beer weeks" you'll see elsewhere; this is immense and overflowing, it takes over almost the entire city, and there are not a few events every day...there are an overwhelming number of events every day.
Believe me when I say that Philly Beer Week is too big for any one person to encompass, experience, or comprehend. Kinda like American craft beer, of which it is a great representation: it's diverse, it's fun, it means very different things to different people, and it goes really well with food.