10 days of events and festivals during the citywide celebration of beer, May 29 – June 7
Philadelphia shows its adoration for great beer over 10 days of dinners, festivals, tastings and pub crawls during Philly Beer Week (May 29 – June 7).
Established in 2008, Philly Beer Week is the largest beer celebration of its kind in the United States, featuring hundreds of events and serving up countless pints of beer throughout Greater Philadelphia.
With so many events taking place throughout the city over 10 days, it’s tough for a Beer Week attendee to know quite where to begin.
So we’ve “poured” through the Philly Beer Week event listings and below are our picks of sudsy highlights.
Philly Beer Week Major Events
Hammer of Glory Relay
Friday, May 29 The iron-clad symbol of Beer Week — a big branded mallet called the Hammer of Glory — makes its way around the city, from bar to bar, transported by everything from dog-pulled carts to a parade of pin-up girls. Trail the hammer around town to such bars as Johnny Brenda’s, Standard Tap, Saint Benjamin, London Grill and more before it makes its way to Opening Tap at the 23rd Street Armory.
Ben Franklin with the Hammer of Glory. (Photo by G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia)
The HOG Relay starts in Northeast Philadelphia before making its way to Center City.
Opening Tap Celebration at 23rd Street Armory
Friday, May 29 This year, the huge Opening Tap kick-off party returns to the 23rd Street Armory on Friday, May 29. At 7 p.m., the doors open on the tasting celebration with more than 40 area brewers pouring for a crowd of thousands. Look out for limited edition brews, including the Philly Beer Week collaboration beer Leuven on a Prayer, brewed this year by Belgian brewers Brouwerij Hof ten Dormaal and local brewery Free Will.
Mayor Michael Nutter traditionally swings the Hammer of Glory to open the ceremonial first keg of Philly Beer Week during the Opening Tap celebration. (Photo by G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia)
More than 40 area brewers will be on hand to pour for a crowd of thousands, so look out for craft staples as well as limited-edition brews.
Visit Philly Beer Garden Series
Friday, May 29 and Friday, June 6 The Visit Philly Beer Garden Series will take up residence at the awesome Spruce Street Harbor Park for both Fridays of Philly Beer Week. Come for the drink specials, stick around to see the revamped Spruce Street Harbor Park and the nearby roller-skating rink RiverRink Summerfest.
The Visit Philly Beer Garden Series kicks off the summer Memorial Day weekend on opening day of Spruce Street Harbor Park. (Photo by M. Stanley for DRWC)
International Great Beer Expo
Saturday, May 30 The International Great Beer Expo brings 75 international brewers to pour more than 200 beers from 25 countries from underneath tents on the Marine Parade Grounds at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Proceeds benefit the Committee to Benefit the Children.
This year marks the seventh annual International Great Beer Expo at the Navy Yard.
It all goes down in a huge tent set up just for the event.
Future Sensations at The Oval
May 30-June 6 Philadelphia is the only U.S. city to host Saint-Gobain’s never-before-seen traveling exhibit Future Sensations, a high-concept, immersive experience featuring five distinct “ephemeral pavilions.” Through science, storytelling and art, each pavilion will offer a 3-D walk-through encounter that will be completely free and open to the public. Future Sensations will take over The Oval with five 20- to 30-ton pavilions that offer visitors a live digital experience merging 21st-century technology with imaginative arts. When done, visitors can grab a beer from the on-site beer garden as well as food from one of the nearby food trucks.
Future Sensations will offer visitors an interactive, sensory experience at The Oval. (Photo courtesy Saint-Gobain)
The Oval’s beer garden will be open during Future Sensations.
East Passyunk Craft Beer Day on East Passyunk Ave.
Sunday, May 31 One of Philly’s hottest neighborhoods welcomes craft beer enthusiasts on May 31 for East Passyunk Craft Beer Day. Attendees can look forward to a 12-hour day of tastings, pairings, meet-the-brewer events and more at eight East Passyunk bars and restaurants: Birra, Le Virtu, Lucky 13, Stogie Joe’s, Brigantessa, Bottle Shop, Noir, and POPE.
Explore East Passyunk’s stellar food and bar scene during East Passyunk Craft Beer Day. (J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia.)
Throwdown in Franklintown
Sunday, May 31 Now in its sixth year, the Throwdown in Franklintown at the Kite & Key pits Yards Brewing Company founder Tom Kehoe against Kite & Key’s Jim Kirk in a battle royale. The two beer titans have fought as Sumo wrestlers, gladiators and more, bringing jolly entertainment to the Fairmount neighborhood.
Last year’s Throwdown included a keg rolling competition.
It closed down Callowhill Street in Fairmount.
Philly Beer Week Garden at Headhouse Shambles
June 1-5 Head to the historic Shambles at Headhouse Square nightly June 1-5 for the Philly Beer Week Garden to enjoy special one-offs and rare brews alfresco, plus live tunes and food from South Street Headhouse District restaurants. Admission is free, with brews and bites on a pay-as-you-go basis.
The Shambles at Headhouse Square will be transformed into a beer garden nightly for Philly Beer Week.
June 6 Johnny Brenda’s, Frankford Hall, Fette Sau and more team up to bring beer lovers the fourth annual Fishtown FestivALE, an outdoor daylong beer carnival with cold beer, fine food, live music and more.
Frankford Hall is one of a number of bars and restaurants taking part in Fishtown FestivALE. (M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia.)
The Great Philadelphia Craft Beer Crawl
Saturday, June 6 In what might just be a new Beer Week tradition, The Great Philadelphia Craft Beer Crawl hits the Fairmount neighborhood on Saturday, June 6 with a bar hop to 13 bars and restaurants. For a $20 ticket, participants get beer samples, drink specials, snacks and more.
Alla Spina is just one of 13 stops on the Great Philadelphia Craft Beer Crawl on Saturday, June 6. (Photo courtesy Michael Gruber)
Philly Cycling Classic
Sunday, June 7 While not an official Beer Week event, the Philly Cycling Classic is one of Philadelphia’s most popular annual sporting events for spectators. Several of the larger restaurants and bars have specials in place for the race, and it seems like the entirety of Manayunk comes out to cheer on the racers.
The start/finish line of the Philly Cycling Classic sits atop the infamous Manayunk Wall, creating a dramatic end to the race as riders push up the grueling 17% grade hill. (R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia.)
Pinewood Derby & Bike Races with Yards Brewing Company
Sunday, June 7 Coinciding with the annual Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic, Old Eagle Tavern and Yards Brewing Company get in on the racing action. After cheering on the cyclists during the race, the folks from Yards host an amateur-friendly pinewood derby.
Just a sampling of what to expect from the Pinewood Derby at Old Eagle Tavern.
Dock Street End-Of-Beer-Week Free Music Fest
Sunday, June 7 Finish out the 10-day beer bash with a final daylong music festival. The seventh annual Dock Street Free Music Fest draws crowds to West Philadelphia with free live music all afternoon, plenty of Dock Street brews, delicious pizza and a scavenger run. The live music lineup includes Honey Radar, Pushin It 2 the Limit, Rosemary Fiki and more.
Dock Street will serve its great beers and wood-fired pizzas at its End-Of-Beer-Week Music Fest on June 7. (Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia)
Beer Dinners and Chef Collaborations
One of the highlights of Philly Beer Week is the myriad collaborations between the city’s best restaurants and chefs and the wealth of beer that descends on the city. Here are just a handful of the many food specials and chef collaborations set to take place during Philly Beer Week.
Iron Hill 5th Annual Big Ass Beer Dinner at Good Dog: Good Dog Bar’s Executive Chef Jessica O’Donnell has teamed up with local brew dynasty Iron Hill for their fifth annual Big Ass Beer Dinner. Five beers and five courses come out to a cool $50. May 31
Cage Match at Alla Spina: Spring Garden’s Alla Spina hosts four Cage Match events during Beer Week, challenging cooks from local restaurants like Osteria to craft a four-course meal, with each course highlighting a separate “secret” ingredient. Guest breweries (Victory, Yards, Sixpoint, etc.) are then tasked with pairing one of their beers with each course. Each event is $45 a person. May 31, June 2-4
The Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen with Beer Dinner at Sancho Pistola’s: Picture this: An eight-course meal with each course cooked by a different chef, including chefs from La Calaca Feliz, Amis, Bar Ferdinand and more. Each course will be paired with some of the most exclusive beers in the world. That’s what attendees at Sancho Pistola’s Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen with Beer Dinner on June 2 can look forward to. The event is $125 per person. June 2
Farmer’s Lunch with Hof ten Dormaal at Monk’s Cafe: Join Jef Janssens, brewer with Belgian brewery Hof ten Dormaal, for a special Farmer’s Lunch at Monk’s Cafe on June 2. Hof ten Dormaal teamed up with local brewery Free Will to create the 2015 Philly Beer Week Collaboration Beer Leuven on a Prayer, and that beer (plus three more) will be featured during the lunch. June 2
Iron hill teams up with Good Dog Bar for its fifth annual Big Ass Beer Dinner on May 31.
In addition to the many tap takeovers, beer pairings, meals and other highlights of Philly Beer Week, there are some events that defy categorization. Here are some of our picks for the top shows, tours, block parties and more during Philly Beer Week.
Deschutes Street Pub in the Headhouse District: Deschutes Brewery will shut down the Headhouse District around 2nd and South streets to set up an epic Street Pub, complete with a 400-plus foot bar crafted from reclaimed wood and steel from Oregon. Look forward to rare Deschutes brews as well as food from The Twisted Tail, Alla Spina, Lo Spiedo and more. May 30
Lobster Fest and Wheat Beer Weekend Tent Party at Hop Angel Brauhaus: Hop Angel Brauhaus in Northeast Philly will host its Lobster Fest and Wheat Beer Weekend Tent Party from May 30-31. What can be expected? Think an outdoor family-friendly party with lots of wheat beers on tap, keg bowling and kan jam, lobster specials and a lobster brunch both days. May 30-31
Brew n History Tour at Christ Church Burial Ground: It’s no secret the Founding Fathers enjoyed a good ale or two, so learn about the history of beer in Philadelphia and its connection to Benjamin Franklin, Francis Hopkinson, Benjamin Rush and more during the Brew n History Tour, held in the Christ Church Burial Ground. May 30 – June 5
The 5 O’Clock Shave with Kimpton Hotels at Hotel Palomar and Hotel Monac: A tucked-away meeting space in the Hotel Palomar will be transformed into a pop-up pub with exclusive Barren Hill Brewery beer, bites from Square 1682 and more. Plus, men gentlemen attendees can be treated to for-charity straight razor shaves from The Duke Barber Co. Money raised goes to the 2015 Gary Papa Run. May 31; June 2
Eastern State Penitentiary Tour with Stoudts Breweries Willie Sutton Lager: Sip on Stoudts Brewery’s own Willie Sutton Lager while you tour the awesome Eastern State Penitentiary. Afterward, head down the block to London Grill for more Stoudts brews and bites from the restaurant’s cafe menu bar. June 3
Battle RoyAle at TIME: Ten Pennsylvania breweries — including Sly Fox, Victory, Weyerbacher, Yards and more — compete for bragging rights in TIME’s Battle RoyALE. June 4
Murder in London & Paris: An Improv Murder Mystery Beer Dinner at London Grill: It’s showtime at Fairmount’s London Grill, which hosts Murder in London & Paris: An Improv Mystery Beer Dinner, complete with a multi-course dinner with beer pairings, on June 4 and June 7. June 4; June 7
The Deschutes Street Pub will take over the Headhouse District on May 30.