If you know Philadelphia, then you’ll realize how fitting it is that beer week lasts for 10 days – the Philly folk don’t do anything in a small way!
2014 marks the seventh year of the largest beer fest in the nation, celebrating 300 years of beer-brewing with pub crawls, tours, dinners and hundreds of events. Take a look at some of the more unique events happening during the first week of June.
It all begins Friday with a huge mallet being transported by women on roller skates. The Philly roller girls take the "Hammer Of Glory" – the symbol of beer week – from Hop Angel to Grey Lodge where the celebration begins. From here the HOG travels by any number of means, (dog carts, bikini babes, etc…) around the city. Each brewery cheers the advent of the Hammer with a unique celebration, contest, beer tasting or just a big party.
After a stop at each brewery, the HOG makes its way to 23rd Armory Street for the "Opening Tap Ceremony". Participating breweries have set up kegs to serve the thousands of celebrators that have arrived to watch the event. Keep an eye out for the specialty beers that have been brewed just for this festival.
Saturday, if you manage to get up early enough (11 am), the Varga Bar has an all-day "Pin Up Block Party & BBQ". Put on your best pin-up girl costume and get your picture taken for a chance to be in next year’s calendar.
Not the pin-up type? "Pints for PAWS" also has food on the grill, live music and adoptable dogs. Help out our furry friends by having a drink there and 5 per cent of your money will go to the SPCA.
Health nuts will surely participate in the 4th annual "Fried Chicken Run". This race is for chicken and beer, which is a far better prize than fame and glory. Participants get an awesome t-shirt just for entering.
Sunday morning (okay, noon, but you won’t want to get up any earlier) starts with another sports event: "The Shawnee Craft 5k(egs)" is a pub jog to five different bars for a t-shirt and a chance to win prizes.
If you prefer a Sunday drive, the "Pinewood Derby" races will get your wheels spinning. Loaner cars are available but bringing your own creation is a lot more fun!
Folks travelling with their best friend might decide to head to the "Doggie Brunch" that benefits a local dog park. Dogfish Head and Flying Dog provide the brews, and treats for four-legged friends are provided.
Monday you may be a bit hungry after all the racing the day before, so begin your morning at Resurrection Ale House and the "Fried Chicken Countdown". Grab a beer and start eating your way through 100 orders of chicken and pie.
Perhaps you’ll be feeling a bit sinful by now and will benefit from "A Rabbi, a Priest and a Minister Walk Into a Bar a Second Time". Three men of faith discuss God and alcohol in a packed pub with plenty of pints to go around.
By Tuesday you may have acquired some unusual souvenirs that you aren’t quite sure what to do with. Take ‘em to the "Let’s Make a Deal" white elephant party and see if you can swap your unwanted weird stuff for someone else’s weird stuff. Traders in crazy costumes tend to get better deals – and sometimes cool prizes.
Wednesday, I double-dare you to try the "Dunkel Dare". This is a fun twist on the original game show where members of The Franklin Institute set up the challenges as four breweries battle it out for the championship.
Beer and bacon? Of course! The "Bacon Bluegrass BBQ" is a BBQ buffet featuring two breweries, a night of music and plenty of bacon.
Thursday starts with another food fest: "Get Yer Fill of Pils/Get Yer Fill of Fried Chicken" starts at 10am and runs until noon, or when the chicken runs out. Six breweries will be showing off their best pilsners and the Phillys game will be on the tube.
While in this historic city you’ll certainly want to hear about some of the events that contributed to creating this great country. Learn the history of beer at the Christ Church Burial Ground and what Benjamin Franklin had to do with brewing.
Of course Friday is poker night, and it’s so much better during beer week! Play Texas Hold ‘Em for fun and real prizes. This isn’t gambling though, the buy-in is a canned food or cash donation for the local food bank.
Perhaps you aren’t really skilled at cards but would still like to win something – or at least have fun trying. The 'Foosball World Cup" doesn’t really require any talent to enter.
Finally - Saturday! Better relax with a beer at the "Khyber Keg Cooler Clean Out". Those $1 drafts start at 11am and continue until all that extra beer is gone. Do help these breweries out and get rid of some of that beer for them.
Weekends are for eating and beer, and you can accomplish both at the "Maryland Crab & Beer Fest" at the Old Eagle Tavern. Beverages from Maryland Breweries go perfectly with Maryland crabs that are steamed, fried or served in soup. If it can be made with crabs, it’ll be here.
Sunday morning (…late morning) starts with beer and eggs. Many of the bars offer a ‘leftover’ brunch with a variety of tasty treats and all of the beer on sale. Look for free breakfast buffets, beer-mosas and $1 pints.
Share the misery of the end of the brew-fest with hundreds of your new best friends at "The Irish Pol", the traditional last official event of Philly Beer Week. Party until Monday with $3 taps as you plan how you’re going to spend next year’s event. Don’t leave these poor guys stuck with beer – do your part to help them finish off the kegs.