On the first day of Christmas, my Wawa gave to me, its own coffee beer from a local brewery.
A firkin was tapped, doors were politely held, and holiday cheer, fueled by free beer samples, was all around at the Wawa in Chadds Ford on Friday, during the Brew Tour kickoff and release party for Wawa’s second boozy collaboration with 2SP Brewing.
Hundreds of people lined up around the building to be the first to buy fourpacks of 2SP’s Winter Reserve Stout, an oatmeal stout steeped with Wawa’s Winter Reserve coffee, and bottles of the new Reserve Reserve, a bourbon barrel-finished version of the original beer.
Happy holidays indeed.
James Kim, 29, drove from Elkton, Md., with his cousin to be the first in line at 12:30 p.m. for the 4 p.m. release. They brought chairs with built-in tables and cup holders, taking advantage of the frequent samples handed out to those waiting in line. Kim said he was looking forward to the 750-milliliter bottle of Reserve Reserve, with 10% ABV.
“I’ll try to drink it all at once,” he said. “But I may not remember it.”
If there’s anything people from Delaware County like more than Wawa and beer, it’s being from Delco, so when the two Delaware County-based businesses got together to make a beer last year, the collaboration was a hopping success. The 1,000 cases, which were only available in the five-county Philly region last December, sold out within a day of arriving at each store.
Lee Hannah, 60, of Boothwyn, was one of the first to sample this year’s stock of Winter Reserve.
“It was wonderful. It was worth the wait,” Hannah said.
He said he arrived at 1 p.m. because of tradition. When asked whether his tradition was Wawa or beer, he said both.
John Thompkins, 73, of Chester, was also near the front of the line. He came for the release because he’s been a Wawa fan for years.
“I’ve watched Wawa from milk to beer,” he said.
This year, 2SP upped its game by producing 2,500 cases of the original and 200 cases of Reserve Reserve, which will be available at various beer distributors around the five-county area, as well as Lehigh and Lancaster Counties, and in Delaware and New Jersey. (Specific locations will be posted on 2SP’s website at noon Saturday.)
Beer buyers at Wawa and various distributors will be limited to two fourpacks of Winter Reserve and two 750ml bottles of Reserve Reserve. The supply is so limited that even 2SP will only have it available at its Aston brewery for one day (Saturday).
“Coffee doesn’t age well,” said Michael Contreras, director of sales and marketing for 2SP. “We want to keep this special. We want it to sell out quickly.”
The Delco-proud brewery also partnered with breweries in two of Wawa’s other markets — Florida and Virginia — to create Wawa coffee beers unique to those states. In Florida, 2SP collaborated with Coppertail Brewing in Tampa to make Snowbird Reserve Vanilla Porter, and in Virginia, it partnered with Hardywood Park Craft Brewery of Richmond to create Coffee Cake Reserve. Philadelphia-area fans who want to get their hands on Snowbird and Coffee Cake Reserve will have to take a road trip; each beer is exclusive to its market.
While customers in those states can easily buy their Wawa beer at Wawa, currently the only Wawa store in Pennsylvania licensed to sell beer is the one in Chadds Ford.
But that’s soon to change. A new Wawa slated to open Thursday at 1073 Baltimore Pike, Middletown Township, will be the second in Pennsylvania to sell wine and beer, including 2SP’s Winter Reserve. Wawa has also obtained liquor licenses for a store in Philadelphia and one in Clifton Heights, though the location of those stores and when they’ll start selling alcohol remain unknown.
Friday’s festivities at the Chadds Ford store marked the start of 2SP and Wawa’s two-month long Brew Tour through Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Florida.
Additional Brew Tour dates include:
11 a.m. Saturday — 2SP Brewing, 120 Concord Road, Aston.
10 a.m. Thursday — Wawa grand opening at 1073 Baltimore Pike, Middletown Township.
4 p.m. Friday — Wawa, 3100 N. Boulevard, Richmond, Va.
4 p.m. Feb. 20 — Wawa, 3660 W. Gandy Boulevard, Tampa, Fla.