Established in 2008, Philly Beer Week is the largest beer-centric festival in America, featuring 10 full days of tastings, dinners, festivals, meet-the-brewer nights and much more. It’s also the Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant team’s favorite time of the year, when the Philly beer industry is bursting at its seams with fellowship and our lead brewers are hitting the pavement for must-attend collaboration events—all for the love of beer.
Better yet, our Director of Brewery Operations Mark Edelson is a founding board member of Philly Beer Week and has been involved with it since the beginning. "Remember it is America’s first Beer Week and still the largest!," shared Mark. "What I love about PBW is that it is such a wonderful celebration of both beer and Philly, with 1,000 events!," he continued.
Where will you be able to catch up with the Iron Hill team, Mark included, during May 30–June 8’s jam-packed beer celebration? We tapped our lead brewers Chris LaPierre of Maple Shade and Andrew Johnston of West Chester to reveal the full details.
Why they love Philly Beer Week:
“As a brewer in the Greater Philadelphia area, what really excites me about the annual Philly Beer Week celebration is the overall camaraderie between not just the brewers (local and out-of-town), but between the bars and restaurants,” shared Andrew Johnston. “There are so many great collaboration events going on between bars, restaurants, brewers and breweries this week. I want to go to them all, but sadly teleportation has yet to be invented, so I will have to pick and choose.”
“Honestly, my favorite thing about Philly Beer Week isn’t about the beer, but about the people that surround it,” continued Chris LaPierre. “I have a lot of friends in this industry. Throughout beer week there are several occasions during which a bunch of them wind up in the same room at the same time. That sort of energy is what I really look forward to every beer week.”
What they are most excited about attending:
“The Good Dog/Iron Hill Big Ass Beer Dinner for sure!,” shared Chris, in regard to the PBW pairing dinner which hits June 1 with five of our brewers contributing and releasing their beers. “We brewers of Iron Hill are big fans of the Good Dog and chef Jess O'Donnell’s cooking year-round. So, any time we get to actually be a part of that cuisine we get really excited.”
“This is my first time attending the Big Ass Beer Dinner at Good Dog, so there is one reason not to miss the event!,” shared Andrew. “But in all seriousness, the food at Good Dog is amazing! And, from what I hear about past years’ beer dinners, the food is out of this world.”
Tickets are $60; purchase ‘em here.
What beers are they carting to the city:
“I can give you an insider look at the beer I’m contributing to the Big Ass Beer Dinner,” revealed Andrew. “They asked for something fruity, so I brewed up a one off keg of Cherry Witbier. It is our unfiltered Belgian-style wheat beer, which already has complex notes of orange peel and spices, aged on tart Michigan cherries. The beer has a beautiful light red hue and bursts with flavors and aromas of cherries and orange. I’m getting thirsty just thinking about it!”
For Chris, he’s hitting the Rittenhouse Square restaurant carting his World Beer Cup Bronze winner, the Honey Tripper, a mead-tripel hybrid concocted with 120 pounds of Pine Barrens wildflower honey. Chestnut Hill’s Paul Rutherford and Media’s Bob Barrar will also be on-site with World Beer Cup winners: the American-style, Brett-infused Golden Child and the repeat-winning Russian Imperial Stout. Voorhees’ Kevin Walter will complete the beer offerings for the night with his mighty Lupulin Shift IPA.
Where else can you catch Iron Hill?
Philly Beer Week kicks off officially on May 30, with the Opening Tap celebration at the 23rd Street Armory. Mayor Michael Nutter will tap the official beer of PBW, Brotherly Suds, to jump-start the festivities, and Iron Hill isn’t skipping a beat in joining the biggest beer party of the year. As part of the participating brewery roster, be sure to seek us out and sample our special releases that we’ll be carting to the city. A teaser of what’s in store includes LaPierre’s Saison Wood, which just took home a second-place slot in the fifth annual Brewvitational of the Philadelphia Inquirer, in the Saison Division. Opening Tap tickets are $45 for general admission and $90 for VIP; purchase yours here.
On June 2, our Chestnut Hill location is inviting five friends—and fellow breweries—to collaborate on an enticing five-course beer dinner. From courses paired with pours from Anderson Valley, Troegs, Oxbow and Left Hand, the exclusive affair will feature exciting summer dishes like sauteed razor clams with chimichurri, Hawaiian blue prawns with spicy mango-lychee relish, and bratwurst-stuffed pork loin. Lucky for early bird ticket-holders, this event is already sold out.
On June 5, Chestnut Hill will also participate in an all-day pig roast party at Varga Bar aside Shawnee Craft Brewing Company, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Troegs Brewing Company and Yards Brewing Company. Catch us on tap and join in us for endless (and uber-decadent) pork.
Still need Philly Beer Week suggestions?
Chris tips you off to where he’ll also be. “Late Night with Joe Gunn at Jose Pistola’s,” he revealed. “Joe is the funniest person I know personally, so an opportunity to see his live ‘late night talk show’ is not to be missed. Plus Jose’s always has a great beer list—beer week or no beer week.”
Truth be told: it’s Philly Beer Week every week at Iron Hill. We pride ourselves on a solid house beer list, ever-changing monthly additions and a creative bottled selection. Our house beers are on tap at all 10 locations, but monthly releases vary by location as our on-site brewers explore their unique talents. Learn what’s on tap before you go.
Content provided by Dish Works author Amy Strauss.