Philly Beer Week
I really became interested in beer just after last year's Philly Beer Week, so this year I'm looking to get into some of the events. Only thing is, the website doesn't offer the best descriptions, so I'm curious as to what events are best to check out. I have heard the crowds can be a mob at some events, so I was wondering if anyone has any experience as to what the best events are to avoid the crowds but get some brews that are generally not found in Philly(definitely not any local brews). Anyone have any suggestions/experiences?
Also feel free to discuss the beer pairing events, as they are certainly chow-relevant.
Unless there's something that really catches your eye, I'd just search for a brewery you're interested in and head to the bar that's hosting them early. Even if the events "start" at 5pm, they'll often tap the kegs earlier in the day. As many head to the bars directly after work, many of the venues do become like mob scenes. I attended the Bell's event at City Tap Room in UC a few years ago and simply waited for 20 minutes for someone to get me a beer. Eventually I just walked out and headed back to Local 44.
Philly Beer Week is great, but take some of the events with a grain of salt. A lot of places that have "tap takeovers" on a given night claim to also offer some sort of interaction with the brewery, but often the brewery rep doesn't show up (or it's just somebody from the distributor). But these type of events aren't extra cost anyway so it's not that big a deal. Sometimes the events don't start on time either.
The best food pairing event I ever went to was a few years ago where South Philly Tap Room had a pairing menu with Stoudt's, and Carol Stoudt was there to talk about the beers and answer any questions. I also enjoyed the event at Grey Lodge with Lew Bryson about PA beers.
I always enjoy Memphis Taproom's "No Repeat Beer Week" which is a simpler approach, but they offer different kegs (till they are kicked) in 8-10 categories of beer styles. There is bound to be something interesting on tap that you've never had before.
I was eyeing the No Repeat Beer Week. I've heard Monk's is a straight mob, and from what I understand they usually offer some very acquired taste beers(e.g., sours) and I'm not a huge fan of belgians to start with. I've heard to stay away from Monk's in general because it's a mob the whole week, but I'll look into it.
I was interested in some of the things Teresa's was doing, so I'll look even more into that.
Are the sampling events generally bottomless? I was thinking about opening tap, but I wasn't sure if the sampling was stingy or not.
General comment. Best events are ticketed. So the crowds will be limited. Look for when events go on sale. Places like Monks, Standard Tap host events.
There are a couple of quirky events that are fun. Greylodge does a wheat beer breakfast event. They also do a great event with Lew Bryson focused on upstate PA beers. I have been to that three times, and enjoy the beers and the stories that are told about GETTING the beer.
Also, try going to events in the suburbs. Teresa's, Isaac Newton's and Capones are great places and sometimes are less crowded.