Last Friday started as every other Friday. Wake. Shower. Stop at the cigar store. Then work. But this day differs from any other Friday, this is the day we attend the Opening Tap at Philly Beer Week.
We’ve been lucky enough to attend the kickoff event of the 10 celebration of all things beer and Philly since the fine folks at It’s Just The Booze Dancing (check out their snazzy new website) were kind enough to offer us tickets to an event at PBW several years ago only to see that event cancelled which resulted in Jeanne Hatton asking us if we’d like media passes to Opening Tap.
And every year the day seems to follow the same path – go to work, take a quarter day, cringe every time someone asks me “what time are you leaving?”, check directions and make map so we don’t make any wrong turns this year, sneak out 15 minutes before I’m supposed to leave to fake out the people who will be looking for me 10 minutes before I leave, get home, wait for Tracey, get into car, hold my breath every time I see brake lights on I-95, still make a wrong turn, finally arrive – and from there, it’s all worth while.
Sounds like a lot of fuss for just another beer festival? Then you haven’t been to Opening Tap. As I’ve written in the past, this opening ceremony of the country’s initial beer week shines not just because of the amazing collection of breweries that show up, but brewers as well. It’s fun to meet (and remeet) all the great people in the industry who make this (and every week) tick in the world of craft beer. As always click on the photos to see them in slideshow mode.
Of course the main event of The Opening Tap is…well, the opening tap. This year a keg of Philly Pharmhouse Brotherly Suds was teed up and tapped for those in attendance. The beer is the 6th incarnation of the Brotherly Suds beer and was collaborative brewed at Flying Fish with input from Victory, Yards, Iron Hill, Stoudts, Weyerbacher, Treogs, Nodding Head, Earth Bread+Brewery and Sly Fox. I’m not sure who tapped the keg this year (I was up high on a balcony and never heard his name) but he certainly had a good trip to the Armory – He skydived with the HOG before the event which would seem extremely out of the ordinary but apparently the HOG has been a skilled skydiver for several years.
Music was performed by the Hoppin’ John Orchestra.
As those of you who have been reading me for years know, I don’t try to keep very good track of the beers I taste at these big festivals but there were quite a few I remember:
Wit or Witout (Saint Benjamin), The Shack IPA (Ship Bottom), Barnacle Bottom Stout (Ship Bottom), Steingrabber Maibock (Barren Hill), G-Spot (Rock Bottom), Samurai Chai IPA (Broken Goblet), Barn Razer (Lancaster), Dreamcatcher (2nd Story Brewing), Imperial Porter with Cocoa Nibs (Shawnee Craft Brewing), Multiple Personality Disorder (Stoudts) or Puddler’s Row ESB (Conshohocken Brewing), and I totally agree with The Philadelphia Inquirer – River Horse Brewing’s Chocolate Porter was balls out crazy. Nice work guys!
At one point someone wanted to take a break for a beer, so Tracey ended up “in charge” of the awards for a few minutes. In two or three more years, she’ll be tapping the keg. Love that I Love Lamp was one of the award winners.
Of course you’re always going to miss something at opening tap. I missed that Ashley Routson (AKA The Beer Wench) was there for the official launching of her new book. I’m pretty disappointed that I didn’t get a chance to meet her and hope she enjoyed her time in Philly.
And some things you don’t miss … Yeah, I still don’t know what’s going on.
We’d like to thank Michael Greger for once again making this night happen for us! See you all next year!!