Monday, June 4, 2012

Philly Beer Week (part 1)

This past Friday marked the beginning of Philly Beer Week.  I really wanted to maximize the first beer week weekend, as next weekend I will be out of town.  Here's a rundown of the events I was able to hit up.

World's Smallest Toast
La Chouffe (The Gnome) is one of the first Belgian beers I ever had, one fateful night at Eulogy Belgian Tavern, where we ordered Hoegaarden and the waitress called it beer for "pussies."  I digress.  On Friday if you went to Pub on Passyunk East (POPE) and ordered a Chouffe you could keep the glass.  It's pretty fun it says "Magic Chouffe" in reverse letters.

Cirque Du Saison Block Party
Tapestry is a bar on 5th and South which I drive by all the time but I've never been too.  I love Saisons so we decided to check it out.  They had live music and about 20 saisons on tap, featuring Stillwater, a bunch of Belgians, a bunch of which I'd never heard of.  I had the Stillwater Hoften collaboration called Bronze Age, it was pretty good, a bit dark in color for a saison and had quite a bit of tartness.  From there we went to dinner at Tashan, an upscale Indian restaurant.  It wasn't a beer week event but I did have a really interesting beer from Uncommon Brewers that was a Belgian dubbel brewed with coriander and kaffir lime.  Great match for the curry.  Also a solid pale ale from Maine called Peeper.

Craft Beer Day on East Passyunk Ave
EPunk is our 'hood, we had to stroll the avenue and support the local scene.  We started at Le Virtu, a real nice Abruzze Italian restaurant around the corner from us.  They were serving local beers from local startups Prism, Round Guys, and Evil Genius brewing, as well as some from Ommegang from Cooperstown, NY.  I had a Belgian IPA from Evil Genius which a friend of ours described as "juicy."  I also tasted the collaboration beer from all of the local brewers that were present which was a black belgian ipa.  I thought it was a bit underwhelming.  The Le Virtu staff were grilling up small plates for $5 each of vegetables, panchetta, and lamb.  They have a really nice garden area which was great until it started raining. 

It was still fun after we were jammed under the tent to stay dry.  We met some crazy Canadians and a couple from Utah who had just moved into Philly and were raving about how great Beer Week is.  They were fairly drunk at 2:30 PM; the one guy shattered his iphone face, I wonder how their day wound up...After Le Virtu we walked up to Stateside at the fountain for the Victory BeerBQ.  My wife and I shared a bone marrow sausage sandwich that tasted surprisingly light.  None of the Victory selections jumped out at me so I tried the Hibiscus Gose from Goose Island.  Gose is an underdone style which I think could catch on a bit, beer and salt are a nice combination.  From Stateside we wandered back down to Birra, a pizza place featuring American and Italian craft beers.  Their event was called IPA Day Tap Takeover.  I tried two IPAs, one oak aged double IPA from Southern Tier and Hopslam from Bells, which was probably the best beer I had during the whole weekend.  I could taste the honey, and had forgotten that it is indeed brewed with honey in addition to six hop varietals.  It has enough malt and alcohol content to balance the bitterness, and send me home for a nap.

Tonight I detox and then rally for hopefully a few more events this week.

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