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Monday, March 10, 2008

Philly Beer Week: First Report

Philly Beer Week is underway, and by various reports, things are going well. There's some kvetching about too many events, and the inevitable Monday morning quarterbacking (starting already?!), but's the first year. We take our lumps, and we come back next year with a much-improved event, guaranteed. Okay? Relax, look at the baby, and see the adult.

My experiences: I took Friday off, though I dearly wanted to see Mayor Michael Nutter tap that keg. I had to sing at church, and I wanted to hang out with my daughter -- haven't seen very much of the family lately -- and I had to pick up my son after an evening forensics tournament (he placed 3rd out of 17, quite pleased).

So my first event for Philly Beer Week was the Wheat Beer Brunch at the Grey Lodge. This was a smash hit: at one point, we had ten people lined up on the stairs waiting for tables to partake in the great food. I had the trio pancakes (regular, buckwheat, chocolate chip) with Victory Moonglow reduction syrup, and it was a delicious plate. I had the Walt Wit and Kenzinger I mentioned earlier, a small Moonglow, a Franziskaner Dunkel, and a short snort of Sam Adams Winter Lager. I gave a brief talk on wheat beers -- a palate for brewers to add special yeast, fruit, spices, and lots of head -- that was uproariously received (because I waited till people had enjoyed a few wheats...), and headed home to rest up before the next event.

Next event was a lecture/tasting at Tria on Stouts and Porters, origins and differences, based on personal experience and the work of Ron Pattinson and Martyn Cornell. Sold out (as all of Tria's events are this week!), and it went very well. We had great fun, I told stories, we learned some stuff, and tasted eight great beers: Geary's London Porter, Guinness Stout, Sinebrychoff Porter, Hercule Stout, Yuengling Porter, Sierra Nevada Porter and Stout, and Bell's Java Stout. I'm glad I kept my notes on this one: it's a lecture worth re-doing, after a bit more fine-tuning (thanks to Jon Myerow of Tria for some good suggestions on that angle).

Sunday it was more singing, helping my son do a video interview, the forensics fund-raiser dinner at Holy Ghost Prep, and then my next event, the Upstate Pennsylvania Beer Thing at the Grey Lodge. This was not as well-attended: we probably changed direction on it too late. The folks who did come had a treat: bison burgers (that were fantastic, Scoats was urged to make them a regular on the menu), apple fritters (the first official dessert offering at the Grey Lodge), four excellent upstate beers, and special guest Guy Hagner, who showed up about 6:30. Again, a short presentation, fun by all, and good, good beers. Cinnamon Boldy was all I remembered, the Bullfrog Winter Warmer won some solid compliments, Bavarian Barbarian's Headbangerz Brown was, I think, a pleasant surprise for most, and the Elk Creek Double Rainbow IPA surprised with its whopping Fuggles signature (not sure the Amarillo keg-hopping was a great idea, to be honest, but the overall was a good thing.

Tonight: Chick's Cafe for the non-Belgian beer dinner. Hope to see some of you there!


Syllogism said...

Lew- thanks for a good time last night at the Lodge. All the beers were great, the cinnamon boddy was outstanding.

I was a bit puzzled by the Elk Creek. It was all Fuggles, but was much dryer than I have had in an English Style IPA (admittedly I am comparing it to Ship Inn IPAs which have the buttery overtones of their yeast... ). Was this beer oak aged?

Lew Bryson said...

Not oak-aged, syll. I suspect you put your finger right on it: yeast.

Steven said...

Hmm, the mayor of Philly taps the first keg at the beer fest(an old world tradition). The mayor of Chicago browbeats the organizers and supporters of our beer fest until it becomes no more -- a new world tradition, I guess.

Never really wanted to move to Philly, but on second thought...

Anonymous said...

Don't you just love this time of the year, all the singing gets in the way of beer drinking. Ah well Easter will soon be over and it's back to just conducting.
Dick from Weyerbacher

Lew Bryson said...


I don't know, I've been known to combine the two occasionally!