2014 Philly Beer Week: Highlights by neighborhood
Whether it's where you live, where your hotel is located, where your car is parked or just a part of town you've always wanted to visit, here's the best stuff going down in 7 neighborhood clusters around Philadelphia.
2014 Philly Beer Week: Highlights by neighborhood
From May 31 to June 8, Philly Beer Week returns for a seventh year. The 10-day celebration of “America’s best beer-drinking city” is the largest of its kind in the entire U.S., with more than 1,000 events listed.
That’s a good thing, but it does mean even seasoned locals can find it tough to navigate the festivals, tap takeovers, meet-the-brewer gatherings, pairing dinners, pub crawls and tastings. We’re here to help.
In this guide, you’ll find selections of standout happenings that all fall within a certain area. Whether it’s where you live, where your hotel is located, where your car is parked or just a part of town you’ve always wanted to visit, here’s the best stuff going down in 7 neighborhood clusters around Philadelphia.
There’s also a bonus list of additional bars worth visiting for a beer when you’re nearby. Most events are pay as you go (PAYG).
Fairmount / Franklintown / Spring Garden / Logan Square
Starting at the Ben Franklin Parkway as it runs from LOVE Park toward the Art Museum and heading north to Fairmount Avenue, you run across a surprising number of beer bars dotting the mostly residential streets.
Sunday, June 1 - Throwdown in Franklintown at Kite & Key: This block party features epic battles between costumed beer reps from Yards, Allagash, Troegs, Victory and Dogfish Head. Expect mayhem and plenty of good brew on the taps. (PAYG; 2 to 6 p.m.)
Tuesday, June 3 - Dunk Tank at London Grill: Test your tossing skills by trying to soak well-known Philly beer personalities as you listen to live music and sip on brew from Yards, Brooklyn, Ommegang, Sierra Nevada and Stoudt's. It’s all a benefit for no-kill animal shelter PAWS. (PAYG; 3 to 7 p.m.)
Wednesday, June 4 - Carts & Cans Beer Garden at the Four Seasons: Sip on craft cans in the courtyard behind the Logan Square hotel, and match them with eats from a lineup of food trucks. A $25 advance ticket (here) includes all you can drink; $15 includes entry plus one drink ticket. (5:30 to 8 p.m.)
Wednesday, June 4 - Eastern State Penitentiary Tour: Take a private tour through the fascinating modern ruin of a prison while sipping on Stoudt’s Willie Sutton lager, named after the notorious bank robber ($35 tickets here; 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.)
Thursday, June 5 - Beer vs. Wine Locavore Smackdown at London Grill: Test how each of four courses pairs with beer from ShawneeCraft versus with wine from Karamoor estate while chatting with reps from both producers. ($50 tickets here; 5 p.m. reception, 6 p.m. dinner)
Thursday, June 5 - Tir Na Nog's Beer Week Dinner: This Irish pub on the Parkway is offering a five-course, five-beer pairing dinner for just $35 per person. Call 267-514-1700 for reservations. (7 p.m.)
Friday, June 6 - School Of Hops With Jim Koch at Kite & Key: The Sam Adams founder will lead a quiz-style competition where you get a flight of eight hoppy beers and have 30 minutes to ID them out of a list of 16. Prizes will be awarded. (PAYG; 3 to 6 p.m.)
Saturday, June 7 - Beermuda Triangle Relay: A four-person relay starts and ends at Kite & Key with stops at Bishop’s Collar and St. Stephen’s Green in between. Tests both your running and beer-drinking skills. Email email@example.com to register. (12 to 5 p.m.)
Saturday, June 7 - Ladies Beer Tea at The Belgian Cafe: Wear your best hats and enjoy beer partied with several courses of tea sandwiches, sweets and savories for $27. (2:30 to 4:30 p.m.)
Also Worth Visiting for a Beer: Fare, Hickory Lane Bistro, La Calaca Feliz, Pizzeria Vetri, Jack’s Firehouse
Northern Liberties / Fishtown / Kensington
These ‘hoods to the north and east of Center City have turned into what is arguably the hippest area in Philly. That cred is on display in the depth and variety in this lineup of don’t-miss beer events.
Saturday, May 31 - Firkin Riot at Johnny Brenda’s: Dozens of casks will be tapped throughout the day from their special rack above the bar at this Girard and Frankford mainstay. Expect one-offs, rarities and hard-to-find gems. (PAYG; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.)
Sunday, June 1 - Brewmasters Brunch at Standard Tap: Belgian brewer Anne-Catherine Dilewyns and Dock Street’s Justin Low teamed up to create Philly Tripel, the official collaboration beer of PBW, and both will be here for brunch. (PAYG; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
Monday, June 2 - Sam Calagione at Barcade: The rockstar Dogfish Head founder will show up around 3 p.m. at this Frankford Avenue arcade, which will tap a lineup of his best brews for the occasion. (PAYG; 1 p.m. to 2 a.m.)
Monday, June 2 - Fishtown Taco Exchange at Sancho Pistola’s: Top Chef winner Nicholas Elmi will join chef Adan Trinidad to create special tacos to pair with beer from California’s Lagunitas Brewing. (PAYG; 9 p.m. to 12 a.m.)
Wednesday, June 4 - Ancient Beers with Dr. Patrick McGovern: The Philadelphia Homebrew Club is hosting the Penn professor who consulted on two Dogfish Head Ancient Ales for a discussion and tasting at the Christ Church Neighborhood House. ($18 tickets here;
Thursday, June 5 - Cowboy Cookout at Interstate Draft House: Sip beers from Texas brewery Shiner along with burgers, baked beans and other cowboy favorites while you play giant Jenga and other games. (PAYG; 7 to 11 p.m.)
Thursday, June 5 - Hops Appreciation at Greensgrow Farms: Learn about growing your own hops and using them in beer while you snack on food from Monk’s Cafe and drink Philadelphia Brewing beer. You’ll even get a few hop shoots to take home. ($16 tickets here; 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.)
Thursday, June 5 - Barrel-Aged Burlesque at Bottle Bar East: Take in the sights of burlesque dancers while sipping on barrel-aged drafts from multiple breweries. ($10 cover; 7:30 p.m. to 12 a.m.)
Saturday, June 7 - Fishtown FestivALE: Frankford Hall, Johnny Brenda’s and Fette Sau team up on this huge block party with food, beer, games and contests. (PAYG; 12 to 8 p.m.)
Saturday, June 7 - Hotdog and Homebrew Extravaganza at Memphis Taproom: Eat your fill of hot dogs from the on-site food cart and drink all you want of homebrew in the beer garden next to this Kensington bar. ($35 tickets here; 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.)
Also Worth Visiting for a Beer: Kraftwork, Lloyd, East Girard Gastropub, Cedar Point Bar & Kitchen, Loco Pez, Bar Ferdinand, El Camino Real, Dos Segundos, Jerry’s Bar, North Bowl
Old City / Historic District / Chinatown
The swath of Center City that runs along Market Street from City Hall to the Delaware is made up of several distinct neighborhoods, but all flow easily into one another, and all are studded with great beer bars.
Saturday, May 31 - Talking English Beer at the Victoria Freehouse: Kevin Brooks of Shelton Bros. importers will impart wisdom about British ales while you taste five of them, along with bar snacks. ($30; 5 to 7 p.m.)
Saturday, May 31 though Saturday, June 7 - Brew N History Tour: Each day at 5:30 p.m., you can join a tour that focuses on Philadelphia beer history and its connection to Ben Franklin and his contemporaries. ($10)
Sunday, June 1 - Shawnee 5K(egs): Run, walk or crawl your way from Coco’s Food & Spirits to Bar-Ly, Philadelphia Runner, Bru Craft & Wurst and back again. Tickets are available at all participating locations, and $30 includes a t-shirt, ShawneeCraft beers and a post-run buffet. (12 to 3 p.m.)
Thursday, June 5 - Chinese Pig Roast at Bar-Ly: Score some free pork during this BBQ featuring special beer-infused sauces that go great with the brews from Shiner and Great Lakes Brewing. (PAYG; 3 to 7 p.m.)
Friday, June 6 - Great Bells Carnival at Field House: More than 25 Bell’s beers will be available to go with games like a strong man competition, ring toss, pie eating contest and more. (PAYG; 5 to 10 p.m.)
Friday, June 6 - Jim Koch Beer Dinner at Red Owl Tavern: The Samuel Adams founder is bringing several new beers to pair with five courses of chef Jorge Chicas food. Call 215-923-2267 to reserve. ($65; 6 p.m.)
Friday, June 6 - "That's Not My Beer" at Race Street Cafe: Can you tell the parentage of the brew you’re sipping? Guess which Great Lakes or ShawneeCraft brew you’ve got and win prizes. (PAYG; 8 p.m. to 12 a.m.)
Also Worth Visiting for a Beer: Khyber Pass Pub, Bierstube, Eulogy Belgian Tavern, National Mechanics, High Street on Market, The Gaslight, Han Dynasty
Midtown Village / Washington Square West
Two of the busiest retail neighborhoods in the city, this area is jam-packed with so many bars and restaurants that it’s easy to spend a whole week exploring a single block.
Saturday, May 31 - Varga Bar Pin-Up Block Party: This outdoor grillfest takes over 10th St. with games, hot dog and wing eating contests, a VIP bottle service tent and plenty of brews, all while the search for the next set of Varga calendar ladies takes place. (PAYG; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
Saturday, May 31 - Quince Street Beer Garden by Moriarty’s: The alley behind the popular Irish pub turns into a beer garden for the day, with brews from Widmer and Kona Brewing. (PAYG; 1 to 6 p.m.)
Saturday, May 31 - Broads, Brews & Queens at Smokin’ Betty’s: This drag show celebrates women in the beer industry, and all “lady-driven” drafts are $1 off. A suggested $5 door donation benefits the William Way LGBT Community Center. (PAYG; 9 p.m. to 12 a.m.)
Monday, June 2 - A Rabbi, a Priest and a Minister Walk into a Bar at Fergie’s Pub: Three men of faith who use beer through their ministries discuss God and beer, as much beer is imbibed. More fascinating than you might think. (PAYG; 5 p.m. to 12 a.m.)
Tuesday, June 3 - Founders Meet the Brewers Lunch at Jose Pistola’s: Brewers from the Grand Rapids brewery will be in the house, ready to answer questions and chat as you dig into nachos and cave-aged Kentucky Breakfast Stout. (PAYG; 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
Thursday, June 5 - Beer BBQ with Yuengling at McGillin’s Olde Ale House: The historic PA bar hosts Wendy Yuengling of the historic PA brewery for a happy hour featuring Yuengling BBQ sauce, Yuengling ice cream and Yuengling beer. (PAYG; 5 to 7 p.m.)
Thursday, June 5 - Terrapin and Turtle Races at Opa: Sip on Terrapin brews as you bet on sppedy turtles at this Greek taverna. All winnings will benefit the Philadelphia Zoo. (PAYG; 7 p.m. to 12 a.m.)
Saturday, June 7 - Lagunitas Hop Vape at Time: Sip on beers from the California brewery while inhaling vaporized fresh hops. Yes, these buds are totally legal. (PAYG; 7 to 10 p.m.)
Sunday, June 8 - First Anniversary Party at Bru Craft & Wurst: The Midtown Village indoor beer garden is celebrating one year in business with a live band, a pig roast, housemade sausages and free liter “boots” of beer. (PAYG; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
Also Worth Visiting for a Beer: Pennsylvania 6, Tria, Bar, Vedge, Barbuzzo, Petruce et al., MilkBoy, Garces Trading Company, Amis
East Passyunk / Southwest Philly
South Philly’s transformation from a sleepy haven of old-time establishments into a food scene hot spot has been exciting to watch. Most of the buzz happens along East Passyunk, but for these beer events, crossing Broad is worthwhile.
Friday, May 30 through Sunday, June 8 - Ball ‘N Beer at Stogie Joes: Get an authentic taste of South Philly for cheap with this pairing offered every day of Beer Week - a meatball sandwich and 16-oz. pour of Bell’s Oberon for $10. (12 p.m. to 11 p.m.)
Saturday, May 31 - Fried Chicken Run to American Sardine Bar: Philadelphia Brewing beers will never taste so good as when you chug them down after running five miles to the bar. The $35 ticket (here) includes a t-shirt, three beers and fried chicken. (5 p.m. race start)
Sunday, June 1 - Craft Beer Day & Italian Festival on East Passyunk: The entire strip is celebrating Italian National Day and craft brews with 16 hours of festivities up and down the avenue. Visit this page for details. (10 a.m. to 2 a.m.)
Sunday, June 1 - Brigantessa Pop-Up at Le Virtu: This outdoor Italian BBQ will feature a special preview of the Neapolitan pies at not-yet-open Brigantessa, created in concert with guest pizzaiolo Pitruco Pizza. Expect beer samples and specials from Sixpoint, Sly Fox, Victory and Weyerbacher. (PAYG; 1 to 4 p.m.)
Monday, June 2 - Founders Beer Dinner at South Philadelphia Tap Room: Only a few seats remain for this annual feast of chef Scott Schroeder’s food paired with favorites and rare finds from the Michigan brewery. ($100; 7 p.m.)
Monday, June 2 - Tastings and Tassels at Boot & Saddle: Beer from Oregon’s Deschutes will be pouring at the bar and also featured in the burlesque performances on stage. ($5 tickets here; 7 p.m.)
Wednesday, June 4 - "Say Cheese" at the Pub on Passyunk East: Allagash and Di Bruno Bros. team up to present a beer and cheese pairing at the POPE, and you’ll also want to say “cheese” as you take a keepsake photo with the official Hammer of Glory.
Also Worth Visiting for a Beer: Tap Room on 19th, Fountain Porter, Lucky 13, Stateside, Garage, Fond, Townsend, Paradiso, Noir
South Street / Queen Village / Bella Vista
Hidden among the tourist attractions of South Street and Italian Market are some of the city’s better brew destinations, a sprinkling of which are also found in the mostly residential areas just to the east and south.
Monday, June 2 through Friday, June 5 - Philly Beer Week Garden: Every day, this beer garden beneath the historic Shambles at Headhouse Square will feature beers from a different brewery, along with live music, lawn games and food truck food. (PAYG; 5 to 9 p.m.)
Wednesday, June 4 - German Beer Seminar at Brauhaus Schmitz: A guided tasting through Bavarian brews with the knowledgeable gurus is yours for $25 per person (tickets here), including eight sample pours. (7 p.m. and 9 p.m.)
Wednesday, June 4 - Boulder Beer Turns 35 at Bainbridge Street Barrel House: Celebrate three and a half decades of great Colorado brewing with a tap takeover and party with the Atlantic Coast brewery rep, Marvin Simpson.
Thursday, June 5 - Fast Times at Percy Street Barbecue: Cans of Oskar Blues Belgian-style Chaka make their PA debut at this blowout fiesta. Wear your best Hawaiian surfer shirt and channel your inner “Spicoli” in the mechanical surfboard contest. (6 to 10 p.m.)
Thursday, June 5 - Mardi Gras at Twisted Tail: Get into the NOLA groove with special Abita beers, including a brew aged in Pappy Van Winkle barrels. (PAYG; 6 p.m. to 12 a.m.)
Friday, June 6 - Celebrity Bartender Night at Kennett: WIP’s Glen Macnow and the head brewer of Conshohocken Brewing will be behind the stick, ready to serve you drinks and talk sports, beer, celebrities or whatever you please. (PAYG; 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.)
Saturday, June 7 - Dog Days of Summer at Devil’s Den: Dog-themed beers (think Dogfish Head, Thirsty Dog, Flying Dog, etc.) will pour all day with the proceeds donated to no-kill animal shelter PAWS. A special hot dog menu is available to go along. (PAYG; 12 p.m. to 12 a.m.)
Also Worth Visiting for a Beer: Wishing Well, 12 Steps Down, Supper, Good King Tavern, Nomad Pizza, Ela, Headhouse Crab & Oyster Co.
Rittenhouse Square / Avenue of the Arts
It may be the ritziest neighborhood in Philadelphia, but that doesn’t mean this area west of Broad Street is lacking in good beer. In fact, just the opposite.
Saturday, May 31 - Victory Brunch at The Dandelion: Victory co-founder and president Bill Covaleski will be in attendance the morning after Opening Tap, along with several special casks of his ale. (PAYG; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
Sunday, June 1 - Big A$$ Beer Dinner at Good Dog Bar: Five courses from chef Jessica O’Donnell will be paired with five big beers from five different Iron Hill brewers. The entire thing is $60 per person, tickets available here. (6 p.m.)
Monday, June 2 - Wham, Bam, Thank You, Sam at Nodding Head: Dogfish founder and president Sam Calagione will be in the house, along with several rare beers from his private stash. (PAYG; 4:30 to 7 p.m.)
Wednesday, June 4 - Slider Showdown at Di Bruno Bros.: Staff from the 75-year-old gourmet grocery will put out their best sliders in an attempt to gain your vote, all paired with beers from Oregon’s Deschutes Brewery. Tickets are $45 (here) and proceeds benefit the St. James School Neighborhood Kitchen. (5:30 to 7:30 p.m.)
Wednesday, June 4 - Oskar-Bacher Blues at Jose Pistola’s: Bar co-owner Casey Parker will jam with a band formed of Weyerbacher and Oskar Blues reps while everyone enjoys beers from the two breweries. If you’re ready for even more shennanigans, stay for late-night with the other bar co-owner, Joe Gunn. (PAYG; 8 to 11 p.m.)
Thursday, June 5 - Are You a Sly Fox at Doobies: Sly Fox brewmaster Brian O’Reilly and Standard Tap’s William Reed will bring a keg of their special collaboration brew to drink while you try to win free growlers by impressing them with stories of your most devious acts. (PAYG; 10 p.m. to 12 a.m.)
Saturday, June 7 - Who The Hell Let Tom Into The Brewery at Monk’s Cafe: Proprietor Tom Peters travels the world brewing out-of-the-ordinary collaboration beers, and eight of them will be pouring for this unrepeatable event. (PAYG; 12 to 5 p.m.)
Also Worth Visiting for a Beer: Misconduct Tavern, Pub & Kitchen, Sbraga, Twenty Manning Grill, a.kitchen + bar, Crow & the Pitcher, Village Whiskey, The Corner Foodery