Philly Beer Week XII is upon us, and it’s coming in heavy with about 2,000 events at 200 venues across the region from May 31 to June 9. Start prepping your itinerary (and your liver) now.
From drink-heavy events like tap takeovers and bar crawls, to more educational fare like museum tours, to full-blown street festivals and block parties, Philly Loves Beer’s annual sudsy celebration has more than enough to keep us drinking for its 10-day run. That type of event diversity, says Philly Loves Beer executive director Christina Dowd, is at the top of their minds when planning each year in order to attract beer obsessives and casual drinkers alike.
“There are always eccentric beer-nerd events. For the general public, there are a lot of good parties and general drinking,” Dowd says. “They should not be intimidated by beer people. Our goal is to get everyone drinking beer.”
We’ll raise a glass to that, probably more than a few times through June 9. Here, we’ve rounded up 20 Philly Beer Week events — two a day throughout its run — to please just about any palate. After all, beer is for everyone (as long as you’re over 21, of course).
There’s only one way to kick off Philly Beer Week, and that’s with the traditional Hammer of Glory Relay, which trots the HOG around to two dozen Philly bars and restaurants ahead of Opening Tap to signal the start of the city’s sudsiest 10 days every year.
Philly Beer Week’s launch party moves to South Philly’s 2300 Arena, where more than 60 breweries will link up to pour more brews than is reasonable, or at least enough to get you onstage for some live band karaoke in front of the city’s most beer-loving inhabitants.
This is MilkBoy’s first year at Philly Beer Week, and they’re starting it off with a block-party tribute to the O.G. brewers who built the local craft-beer scene, like Yards, Dock Street, Dogfish Head, Victory, Tröegs, and Philadelphia Brewing Company, who will have can and draft releases alike.
Noon June 1, MilkBoy South Street, 401 South St., Pay-as-you-go, milkboyphilly.com
Noon June 1, Evil Genius Beer Company, 1727 N. Front St., Pay-as-you-go, evilgeniusbeer.com
Monk’s Cafe and Jose Pistolas join forces to re-create a late-night bar crawl in their “favorite beer town,” Brussels, with the region’s Brasserie De La Senne and Maine mainstays Liquid Riot Bottling Company and Oxbow Brewing Company that culminates in a night-ending dance party.
16 bars and restaurants on East Passyunk Avenue come together for a day celebrating craft beer with specials and events that run the gamut from tap takeovers to full-blown events — and it all coincides with the hood’s annual La Festa Italian Street Festival in honor of Italian National Day.
9 a.m. June 2, Various locations, East Passyunk Avenue, Pay-as-you-go, visiteastpassyunk.com
Prohibition Taproom’s Chopped-style contest pits four local bartenders against one another in a three-round challenge to create the best suds-based cocktail with secret Free Will Brewing beers and Boardroom Spirits liquor, as well as a surprise local ingredient.
2 p.m. June 3, Prohibition Taproom, 501 N. 13th St., Tickets: $30 at the door, prohibitiontaproom.com
Drinking beers from the pros is great and all, but this popular annual event pits Philly’s best amateur beer makers against one another via unlimited samples for guests who vote to determine the city’s highest quality homebrewer. The prize? A trip to brew at Dogfish Head.
Pour contests are typically low-stakes, but this one — between brewers from Wissahickon Brewing Company, Evil Genius, Love City, and Neshaminy Creek Brewing — requires the loser to get tattooed, while the winner gets a tap handle at both Lucky’s Last Chance locations.
5 p.m. June 4, Lucky’s Last Chance Queen Village, 848 S. Second St., Pay-as-you-go, luckyslastchance.com
Among the many annual tap takeovers at Philly Beer Week, this one stands out as the highly coveted Maine Beer Company’s lone PBW event, and the only place that Philly locals can get the company’s Wolfe’s Neck IPA, which typically is only offered at their New England brewery.
4 p.m. June 4, Monk’s Cafe, 264 S. 16th St., Pay-as-you-go, monkscafe.com
This one ought to leave you tipsy and educated — specifically about ancient beer through the work of Dr. Pat McGovern, the Penn biomolecular archaeologist who worked with Dogfish Head to create Midas Touch, which you can sample at the end of a tour of the Penn Museum.
La Cabra went to Belgium to create a beer for Philly Beer Week known as Duveldelphia (a hoppy blonde ale) with legendary 148-year-old brewery Duvel Moortgat, and now, reps from the two companies are joining back up for a tasting event showing off the fruits of their labor.
9 p.m. June 5, Memphis Taproom, 2331 E. Cumberland St., Pay-as-you-go, memphistaproom.com
There will be beers from six local craft beer companies and Philly-favorite treats like soft pretzels and water ice, but the real draw at Local Love are celebrity guest bartenders Rhys Hoskins, Zach Eflin, and Andrew Knapp of the Phillies. Plus, it all benefits the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
4 p.m. June 6, Tradesman’s Philadelphia, 1322 Chestnut St., Tickets: $20 at the door for access to bar area, $10 for autograph coupon, $5 for picture ticket tradesmansphl.com
Pizzeria Stella heads to the Historic Headhouse Shambles for a four-course family style dinner with Delco’s 2SP Brewing Company, who will bring along collaborative brews they’ve made with the likes of Forest & Main, Crime & Punishment, Hidden River, The Futurist, and Industrial Arts.
6:30 p.m. on June 6, Historic Headhouse Shambles, 2nd and Pine Streets, Tickets: $75 at Pizzeria Stella (or call 215-320-8000), pizzeriastella.net
Beer and pizza is usually the standard combo, but we prefer beer and wrestling. Philly-based pro wrestling outfit Chikara Pro obliges with this event, which features a night at the squared circle paired with some stellar Love City Brewing suds to benefit local charity the Valley Youth House.
There are tons of releases during Philly Beer Week, but Urban Village’s Weird Science is a special one. Brewed with USciences Brewing Science students using local malts from Deer Creek Malthouse, this imperial session IPA celebrates local brewers, maltsters, and future brewers.
5 p.m. June 7, Urban Village Brewing Company, 1001 N. 2nd St., Pay-as-you-go, urbanvillagebrewing.com
What the heck is a beer blendery? Blume, Craft Concepts Group’s latest endeavor, rounds up expert sour beer blenders The Referend Bier Blendery (Jersey), Fermentary Form (Philly), and The Rare Barrel (California, but fronted by a Philadelphian) to show you in a dozen examples.
Noon June 8, Blume, 1500 Locust St., Pay-as-you-go, blumephilly.com
This deep into Philly Beer Week you’ll probably be experiencing some event fatigue, so Grey Lodge is holding an “anti-event beer event” targeted at Philly folks just looking to kick back a few brews on the stoop with the likes of Broken Goblet Brewing, Platform Beer Co. and others.
7 p.m. June 8, Grey Lodge Pub, 6235 Frankford Ave., Pay-as-you-go, greylodge.com
The end of Philly Beer Week coincides with Philly Pride Fest, and MilkBoy is celebrating with a dance party and can release from Washington’s DC Brau Brewing Company known as Pride Pils that will benefit the LGBT journalism-focused Blade Foundation.
Noon June 9, MilkBoy, 1100 Chestnut St., Pay-as-you-go, milkboyphilly.com
Finish out your Philly Beer Week with a trip to the ‘burbs, where Berwyn-based La Cabra Brewing will gather 10 craft-beer cohorts like Levante Brewing, Hidden River Brewing Company, and Rebel Hill Brewing for an outdoor day of brews, food, and live music.