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Philly Beer Week Set to Tap New and Interesting Brews in North Philly

A firkin of Brotherly Suds will be tapped this week to officially open the 10th annual Philly Beer Week.

/Patrick Clark

/Patrick Clark

The 10-day celebration of all things beer features hundreds of brew-themed activities throughout the region starting June 1st. The festival typically draws about 10,000 beer-lovers, and this year features more than 150 participating bars, restaurants, breweries and cideries, some within Penn’s Garden.

Collaboration is key to the event, said Christina Dowd, executive director of Philly Loves Beer, a nonprofit that stages the festival. “In this industry, people are naturally working together, and we certainly want to encourage that,” Dowd said. “There is a tremendous amount of collaborative beers happening this year. In fact, this year marks the most ever.”

Brotherly Suds is a joint effort produced by seven local breweries, one of about a dozen collaborative brew creations debuting at Philly Beer Week (PBW).

Amy Hartranft, the general manager of Prohibition Taproom — which has participated in every PBW since 2009, shortly after it opened — said the creative teamwork that PBW encourages among local business and breweries resonates with the company.

“Pro Tap has always desired to support small breweries passionate about their craft,” she said. “More now than ever, there is a wealth of beer talent right in our own backyard and we love being a part of that as much as possible.”

Prohibition’s festivities kick off with a “Firkin Faceoff” between Hartranft and chef Waldemar Stryjewski. “We took ideas and ingredients and paired off with a brewer from Yards to each create a signature take on the Yards Philly Pale Ale,” Hartranft said. “On June 2‬nd, we’ll tap each firkin at 5PM and see whose firkin kicks first.”‬ The lucky patron who kicks the first firkin wins a free T-shirt and pint glass.

Other events planned for Prohibition Taproom (501 N. 13th St.) include a pig roast and a beer-cocktail party at which guests are encouraged to BYOV (bring your own vinyl). At the June 6th Single Varietal Cider Tap Takeover, there will be at least five different ciders on tap that were all fermented from a single apple varietal origin. Hartranft said the event is in keeping with Prohibition Taproom’s evolving emphasis on ciders.

“The cider program is actually a much newer development as of 2017; we’ve always been interested but our goal now is to help continue to promote the idea that cider is not just a gluten-free substitute for beer or lower-alcohol substitute for wine,” Hartranft explained. “Cider is just as viable and amazing an option and deserves as much attention as every other fermentation.”

Prohibition Taproom now has a “new world” local cider on tap, alongside an “old-world” Basque, English, Normandy/Brittany Cider. “We’re pretty excited about expanding this and being a part of the conversation,” Hartranft said.

Several other local venues will host their own PBW programing.

The Belgian Café (601 N. 21st St.) opens its doors to the famed PBW Hammer of Glory. The totem of the festivities — a branded keg mallet — makes its way around the city in grand fashion, stopping at the Fairmount venue at 1PM on June 1st.

“The HOG is our omnipotent symbol — basically, it’s the mascot of Philly Beer Week — and it travels to 30 different bars in an Olympic-style torch relay on the morning of Opening Tap,” Dowd explained.

The Belgian Café will also host brewmaster Jerry Vietz of Canadian brewery Unibroue at 7PM on June 3rd for tastings and a discussion. At 2:30PM on June 10th, the venue will put a uniquely PBW-spin on “high tea” with the Ladies Beer Tea. Guests can enjoy four courses of beer with tea sandwiches and sweets. In keeping with the theme, participants are encouraged to wear their most elaborate high tea hat.

Alla Spina (1410 Mt. Vernon St) is also getting in on the fun with a block party starting at 2PM on June 11th. The festivities include food by Alla Spina and Mike’s BBQ, with beer by Goose Island, live music, games and more.

For more information about Philly Beer Week, visit www.phillylovesbeer.org.

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