Beer Weekend Recap

As I mentioned on Friday, a few friends and I headed down to Philadelphia and then Delaware for a beer weekend rather than the Atlantic City Beer Fest this year. The goal was to visit Philadelphia Brewing Company, Yards Brewing Company and Dogfish Head and various other bars while walking about and live tweeting the event.

Friday morning we arrived in Philadelphia and it we headed to Reading Terminal Market for local food and then head to our first brewery, Philadelphia Brewing Company. At PBC, our gracious host, Nancy, gave us some samples to start. We enjoyed Kenzinger, Newbold IPA, Walt Wit and Rowhouse Red. The Walt Wit is a wheat beer made with locally and organically grown grapefruit. The Kenzinger is a pretty good session beer, the Rowhouse Red is a farmhouse ale but the Newbold IPA is my favorite. It’s a straight forward IPA, very drinkable with a citrusy bite to it.

PBC did a marvelous job renovating the old Weisbrod & Hess Oriental Brewing Company (1885) building in 2007 and it serves as symbol of change in the Kensington area of Philadelphia. One of the favorite part of PBC was their commitment to their community by locally sourcing food that they cook for all the employees daily and for using in the beers. They are part of a co-op and even have friends nearby that grow hops for the brewery. We didn’t ask about the pig, but we didn’t need to because you can just click here.
Post PBC, we headed to Yards Brewing Company on the water near Penns Landing and met up with Andrew and Rick.

We started off by talking and sampling what Yards had to offer. Their approach is different and Philly-centric. Their beers are known for their traditional styles and careful recipes. Yards even has a line of ales that stem from recipes made by presidents with names like George and Thomas.  That line is called Ales of the Revolution and my favorite was this one inspired by TJ. Yards is pretty green.  The water is all filtered, they recycle everything including the cleaning chemicals, the source locally when possible and they are off the grid.  Yards feels strongly about the environment and their local community so they pay for wind power.  This is a great step towards bettering our world.  They also give the leftover mash to local farms for feed and bedding for animals.  This is a common practice as you will read more about lower.

We kicked back a few more drinks the Andrew and Rick and headed to Johnny Brendas to tap the firkin of Oak Aged Brawler.  It was delicious.  Very smooth, mellow, subtle oak hints and very clean.  I was excited they had a few firkins left from Philly Beer Week.  After a few more at Johnny Brendas, we headed to grab some food.  Philly is a very walkable city if you have never been there.  It’s not a grid like NYC, but it’s manageable with the help of google maps. We met another friend and continued on our journey to discover what The City of Brotherly Love has to offer.  I tweeted all the places we went to so if you want, check that out.  The night ended after a few more bars and we crashed and rested for the trek to Dogfish Head in the morning.

We had a pitstop in Newark to get my youngest brother and then crammed into the car on our journey to Milton for the DFH tour then to Rehoboth Beach for a private tour of their distillery followed by more imbibing and dinner.  Dogfish Head is known for their wild beer creations as well as their passion for their products.  I’m going to tell you, I was disappointed that the Johnny Cask was already kicked by the time we got there, but it was expected being as they popped it open 3 days previous.  That did not stop me from enjoying my day.  The tour of Milton was great.  The tanks were huge and you could just feel the energy and passion from everyone working there.  Dogfish Head is even more green than Yards and PBC.  The recycling thing goes without saying, but they make their own yeast, their mash is given to local farms and they they buy the meat and produce from the farms they gave the mash to for their brewpubs, merchandise is made from organic cotton, bamboo, recycled neoprene, etc and just everything about them is done with passion.  Dogfish Head does not spend a ton of money on advertising.  They actually spend it on products and it truly shows.  I’ve had many many of their off-centered ales before but being able to be in the place where it all goes down made it every bit better.

The Milton tour ended (too soon) and we tried 60 Minute IPA and 90 Minute IPA, Palo Santo, Black & Blue and Midas Touch.  I decided as soon as I took the first sip of the 60 Minute that it was my new favorite session beer.  I could just relax and enjoy it.  There is so much unique history and a great story behind DFH that it makes me happy to drink their beer and I’m glad Sam followed his passion.  Anyway, the tour is wonderful and I was elated that we were able to go.  You need to check it out someday because it was truly an experience.  Just make sure you pick up the Palo Santo wood, it’s super heavy and does not look like it.

We headed off to Rehoboth for our tour of the distillery (unusual for a busy Saturday, so thanks guys!!) and it was pretty cool.  Being able to see the tiny area where Sam and friends brew their test batches of stuff like The Daily Wry was neat but the liquor distillery was even cooler.  When the door cracks open the aroma of liquor just emanates and you instantly get that awakening punch in the face.  The liquor being made up there varies, but they have Vodka, gin and rum too.  Dogfish Head also makes some infusions, but you have to check out the brewpub for more info.

While at the brewpub we through back a few more and got to try two special brewpub only exclusives…

dogfish head me so hoppy

The Daily Wry and Arms Akimbo.  The Daily Wry was a hoppy rye ale but the Arms Akimbo reminded me of the pine tree car scents mixed with black licorice.  It was indeed a bizarre yet appealing flavor.  It was like liquid winter.  The food at the brewpub overall was great and they incorporate their brews into various recipes.

I was glad that we were able to check out both places that DFH has in Delaware and I was sad to have to trek back up and hour and a half to Newark.  Luckily our designated driver dealt with our intoxication and drove us back up.  The night did not end there, but that’s pretty much sums up the beer weekend.

Thanks for reading this really long review and CHEERS!

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