By Bill Covaleski
Philly Beer Weeks is rewarding on so many levels. The week-long celebration of suds has helped Philadelphia claim its rightful spot as a national leader in all things beer. And with so many exciting and creative events being hosted each Philly Beer Week, the character and individuality of our area breweries — and brewers — begins to shine through. If you were unable to attend the spectrum of events, you can still get a feel for the range of personalities that make the Philadelphia beer scene what it is. Read this series of brewer interviews conducted and published by uwishunu.com, the source for all Philly event knowledge. Some of my favorite excerpts from the interviews are highlighted below, but I encourage you to read through all of this great insight and wisdom from the makers of your favorite beers.
Carol Stoudt Of Stoudt’s Brewing Company gives us some brews to look for:
Uwishunu: One of Stoudt’s most known and loved qualities is the attention to detail that goes into every batch of handcrafted beer that is traditionally brewed, packaged and sold with passion by a small, hardworking team. What are some of your favorite Stoudt’s beers to enjoy outdoors in the summertime?
Carol: I love the Karnival Kolsch, Pils and Heifer-in-Wheat — German style Hefeweizen. This year we will do a small batch of Sour Cherry Weizen and perhaps Raspberry and Peach. Yummy.
Tom Kehoe Of Yards Brewing Company muses on Philly’s adoption of great local brews:
Uwishunu: Yards was the first packaging brewery licensed in Philadelphia since the shuttering of Schmidt Brewery in 1979. Why do you think the Philadelphia beer scene has thrived so impressively in the past decade and a half?
Tom: You can’t force anything on Philadelphia. Philadelphians have to seek you out and embrace you and if you’re worthy you can boo your favorite sports team. The beer scene has thrived because good beer has slowly won the respect of Philadelphians and good beer stands up to this town’s character.
Brian O’Reilly Of Sly Fox Brewing Company gives tips on how to do Philly Beer Week properly:
Uwishunu: Any final words of wisdom for our readers attempting to navigate Philly Beer Week?
Brian: Don’t try to focus on just one event. Come in to the city and explore. Pick a neighborhood and go from one place to another. If a particular dinner interests you, scope out a place or event to stop by before and after. And always remember, you can sleep when your dead!
Ben Potts Of Dock Street Brewing Company puts the Philly beer scene into perspective:
Uwishunu: Dock Street opened in 1985 as one of the nation’s very first microbreweries and opened its current location in University City in 2007. Why do you think the Philadelphia beer scene has thrived so impressively, especially recently in the last decade or so?
Ben: Philadelphia has always been known for great beer, ever since the days of our founding fathers. When porter was the drink of the day, the porter brewed in Philadelphia was world renowned. Later on, after the Industrial Revolution and during the immigration boom of the early 20th century, many Germans flooded to the areas in and surrounding Philadelphia. These Germans brought their beer heritage with them and began making the classic pilsner style that has become the most popular style in the world today, and Philadelphia was a part of that.
And of course, Philadelphia is a town of amazing food and restaurants. I think with great food it is inherent that people will gravitate towards great drink as well. Philadelphians really appreciate flavor. I think it all comes from there, and the people who strive to enjoy AND make these kinds of things. Philadelphia is just blessed to have a lot of those people.
Weyerbacher Brewing Company on local love:
Uwishunu: You’re celebrating Weyerbacher’s 16th anniversary this year — congratulations by the way(!) — why do you think the Philadelphia beer scene has thrived so impressively in the past decade and a half?
Weyerbacher: The Philly beer scene has grown because they support a lot of great local breweries, of which we are one. Also, Philly has the most educated consumer of any city. They demand quality everywhere.
Me (Bill Covaleski Of Victory Brewing Company) on local food sourcing:
Uwishunu: Speaking of Philadelphia pride, we know you like to source ingredients locally whenever possible. Can you tell us why sourcing ingredients locally is important to Victory?
Bill: Local products are important to us at Victory for a number of reasons. First and foremost, freshness. Why choose anything less than fresh? The second reason is equally important in that we remain dedicated to keep open space here in Chester County and the surrounding area green and productive through the economic support of local farming. Collapsing our consumption footprint is easy to do in this area, really.