PHILLY BEER WEEK: Weeklong Celebration of Beer Kicked Off at The Fillmore
Philly is — and has been for hundreds of years — a beer-drinking city. The city enjoys a storied past of brewing great beer and the emergence of craft brewing has once again turned Philadelphia into a beer lover’s paradise.
Philly Beer Week is the ultimate yearly celebration of craft brewing and the people who take the time to perfect these beverages. This past Friday, The Fillmore in Fishtown held the Philly Beer Week Opening Tap ceremony — the official kickoff party of Beer Week.
Guests were handed a 4oz. souvenir glass before being presented with more than 30 local brewers eager to give folks a taste of their finest wares. Local breweries like Yards and PBC were on hand, as well as some regional favorites like Cape May Brewing Company and Free Will Brewing Company from Upper Bucks County.
Mayor Kenney also issued some remarks and feigned dismay when he found out he wouldn’t be tapping the keg this year, though he did refer to his college years as to where he learned the skill.
After some other remarks, the crowd waited anxiously for the arrival of the iconic symbol of Philly Beer Week to take the stage. The Hammer of Glory (HOG) is the symbol of Beer Week and has a habit of appearing at events around the city throughout the year — as long as craft beer is involved.
The HOG found its way through the excited crowd, escorted on a bicycle-powered yellow submarine. William Reed, President of Beer Week’s Board of Directors and co-owner of Standard Tap and Johnny Brenda’s, took the stage waving the heavy hammer.
This year’s ceremonial tapping opened up a collaborative firkin called Brotherly Suds 7. It features seven local breweries including, Iron Hill, Flying Fish, Sly Fox, Victory, Troegs, Yards and Stoudts. Reed spoke to the crowd about beer culture in Philadelphia and how happy he is watching the craft beer scene grow.
The honor of delivering the tapping blow from the HOG was given to Joe Ortlieb, whose family name has been synonymous with brewing in Philadelphia since the mid 19th century. With assistance from Reed, Ortlieb popped open the keg and it was officially Beer Week in the City of Brotherly Love.
“Good beer, good friends, good times!” Ortlieb said before downing a cup of Brotherly Suds 7.
Spirit News spoke to William Reed after the ceremonial tapping.
“To have opening tap here is like the best place we’ve ever had it,” Reed said. Reed sees beer culture as being more than just about the beer. He sees a correlation between good beer and strong communities.
“Good beer culture is totally linked to community,” Reed said. “The bonds you form over having a great beer are like, really strong ties. To have great beer bars in the neighborhood more and more of them it does build community.”