Philly Beer Week 2015: Opening Weekend

Perhaps this post should start with a burp. Go ahead, play the sound in your head. Good. Now let’s get going.

PBW (Philly Beer Week) 2015 was a treat, as it is every year. With beautiful weather and countless options for outdoor indulgence, one could have wandered the streets of Philadelphia, beer in hand, in a hop and malt-fueled frenzy. Luckily for me, I had a plan.


The first hit of opening weekend was to be the Deschutes Brewery Street Pub at Headhouse Square. The inaugural stop on their tour, Deschutes will be traveling the country hosting their outdoor, block party pubs from one beer loving city to the next.

Deschutes was offering a pretty solid tap list that included their Foray, Pinedrops, Inversion, Chain Breaker, Zarabanda, and Fresh Squeezed IPAs, in addition to the Mirror Pond Pale, and a few other brews I didn’t get to try. Suffice it to say, I did some damage.

Even better, I had the privilege of wielding the Hammer of Glory, quite literally, the hammer that taps (with blunt force) the first official keg of Beer Week. It was an honor, to say the least.

The atmosphere at this event was fantastic. Between the live music, copious amount of street food catered by the Vetri Foundation, sunshine, and super-knowledgeable and enthusiastic Deschutes staff, Philly Beer Week couldn't have gotten off to a better start. Moreover it was awesome to see Deschutes have such a considerable presence in Philly (even if it was just for the day). In hearing them address the crowd, you could really get the sense that this large west coast craft brewery finally got it -- that as a great American beer city, Philly is here to stay.

Let's hope they bring the Street Pub back in 2016!

Next on the agenda were beers on the Delaware River at the Spruce Street Harbor Park, one of the nicest summer beer gardens in the city. I went to the Harbor Park for the Yards Lazy Hammock, a light-bodied Belgian style IPA that you can only find there. I had a bunch.

A couple got engaged while we were there. The crowd cheered. Since we were in Philly, I booed, quietly. I also ate a corndog. Perhaps a burger, too.


I awoke Sunday morning to the sun telling me to get outside. My body had a different prerogative.

I managed to scrape myself together and meet my buddy Mike at the Schmaltz Brewery tap takeover at Barcade in Fishtown. Whether it was due to the heat or the city’s collective hangover, the Schmaltz event was criminally under attended. Not a problem for us, however, as we got to sip Funky Jewbelation and eat Gifilte Fish Tacos with Schmaltz founder/owner Jeremy Cowan and National Sales Manager Zak Davis. While Schmaltz was pouring eleven of their beers, The He Brew Hop Manna got me through the afternoon.

What other time besides Beer Week can you rub elbows and shoot the shit with the founder of a great craft brewery? What's more is that this exact scene was going on ALL OVER THE CITY, ALL WEEKEND. The Schmaltz crew even shared with us, ripping sips straight from the bottle, their super rare, "immaculate collaboration" with Cathedral Square Brewery, Saint Jewbelation. 

Schmaltz makes some awesome brews and the people behind it are even better. Look out for an interview we’ll be doing with Jeremy from Schmaltz in July!

The last stop of the weekend was a Coppertail Brewing/Oxbow tap takeover at U-Bahn, a new live music bar underneath Bru in Center City. The band was great, the beers were delicious and before I knew it, it was 11PM on a Sunday and I had had too much – bed time.

And there you have it. I spent the remainder of the week recuperating and didn’t make it out too any other notable events.

 As one of the city’s most beloved festivals of the year, Philly Beer Week 2015 came and went with a bang. With an overly ambitious schedule, and a lazy Sunday attitude, I bit off a little more than I could chew with event attendance. Buy hey, Hammer O’ Glory, one of a kind beers, and kicking it with Schmaltz team ain’t too bad.

Jacob TulskyJake