This narrative is written by a close friend of our Beerjobber staff, Marikay McKeon-Murphy.
On the evening of June 1st, 2012, at Philly Beer Week’s Opening Tap celebration and tasting, the heavens opened upon Philadelphia in more ways than one. As Mayor Michael A. Nutter and Don Russell, Executive Director of PBW, raised a pint of the just-Hammer of Glory-tapped Brotherly Suds and officially opened PBW 2012, the skies opened up right as the doors to Opening Tap did, as if the rain had arrived to remind everyone that we’d better get inside, there was some serious beer drinking to do. As rain nourishes the Earth, so the souls of the excited crowd would be nourished by the fine brewers’ offerings waiting inside the Independence Visitors Center. Opening Tap is the official opening of Philly Beer Week, perhaps the premiere beer week in the entire United States and the 5th Annual celebration of brewers and their craft lived up to its reputation.
I was here to enjoy the festivities with Beerjobber, in my opinion another incarnation of beer-seeking genius, and its founders, Sean Nevins and Alicia Payne. I’m a long-time beer lover and the offer of a ticket to Opening Tap in return for a guest blog entry seemed like the bargain of a lifetime. From the returnable Latrobe, PA Rolling Rock longnecks of my 20’s (ok maybe late teens but don’t tell my mom) to the amazing and continually growing beer scene in Philadelphia and southeastern Pennsylvania, I pretty much never refuse an invitation for a beer.
We started the evening with Sly Fox Brewing Company and a quite stand-up pour of Hefeweizen Doppelbock, an attractive amber colored offering brewed in the Weizenbock style with a slight banana nose and hint of cloves. We enjoyed a chat with Brewmaster Brian O’Reilly before moving on to Troeg Brewing Company’s table and the sought after keg of Brotherly Suds. Brotherly Suds is a collaborative effort, brewed in the convivial and communal spirit of PBW by a team of brewers from different breweries. The collaboration was a success, and it’s always nice to have a beer that was tapped by the Mayor of Beer, I mean, of Philadelphia. My taxes at work in a way that I can really get behind.
Don’t let the name fool you, the guys at Evil Genius Beer Company are just super nice. They also brew incredible beer. They are also extremely clever in naming the first real standout of the night – Blind Eye PA. Is it a Belgian? Or is it an IPA? What I do know is that it is delicious and unique and if you can guess the hops the super nice guys from Evil Genius will be very impressed. These guys current contract brew, but don’t let that sway you, it’s clear they put their heart and soul into this stuff. Beerjobber is in conversations with Luke and the crew and I know I anxiously await the outcome of those discussions…
And now, the Saizanne Wood from Iron Hill Brewery, runner up for the most interesting taste of the night. Alicia and I grew up in and around Media, PA when it still had a Woolworth’s, Trader Joe didn’t exist, and the current site of Iron Hill’s first restaurant was a dinky supermarket. Well done to this establishment for being a cornerstone of Media’s renaissance and well done to their very talented brewers, their Russian Imperial Stout is a sought after treat for me. But I digress, the Saizanne… this is a fantastic unfiltered Belgian-style farmhouse ale with a gorgeous nose and finish brought on by the use of pink and green peppercorns – spicy! Nicely finished in oak. Also on tap from Iron Hill were Sweet Leaf IPA and Pig Iron Porter, another long-time favorite.
My personal favorite local brewery, Philadelphia Brewing Company, brings me to why I am enamored with the concept of Beerjobber. When I try a beer that I love, I want to share it with all of my friends, many of whom happen to live well-outside of PBC’s craft brew availability range. You must try the awesome session beer, Kenzinger, you must try my seasonal love, Fleur de Lehigh, with its wonderful label featuring Shibe Park, you must try the Joe Coffee Porter, and so I go on… Thanks to PBC for being one of Beerjobber’s brewers and spreading the Philadelphia brewery love! PBC had their standard-setting Walt Wit Belgian-style white ale and Newbold IPA on offer, which we enjoyed thoroughly.
The night’s winner in our group, the “50 Million Timer”, was Fegley’s BrewWorks Framboise. What a pleasure. A very limited amount was available, and therefore the folks from Fegley’s wouldn’t give you a full pour in your sampler glass, but they would invite you to come back for a refill 50 Million times. So we did. This Belgian sour made our taste buds sing as it revealed its playful bouquet in our mouths and made me think that pickling raspberries should be a thing if it isn’t already. The great people from Fegley’s even smiled when we came back for our 51 Millionth taste.
At this point we were getting slightly pickled and bobbly ourselves and so decided to end the night on what we knew would be a high note from Nodding Head Brewery. We had a photo with their bobblehead mascot and a talk with brewery and restaurant owner Curt Decker over a sample of Bill Payer Ale. This amber colored American Pale Ale has a great citrusy front end and a slightly spiced back end and was a great finish to a great evening. Magically, the heavy rain abated for a few minutes and we made our tipsy way into a cab and out into the beer filled city of brotherly love.
Enjoy the rest of Philly Beer Week 2012, and when it’s all over and you’re a little bit sad, try Beerjobber when you have a hankering for a different new brew and get happy again.