Jay-Z and Budweiser's Made in America Festival: Where to Find Good Beer
Just because 'Budweiser' is in the title doesn't mean you have to settle for a bland microbrew
On the Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day weekend 2012 (September 1 and 2), music fans from around the world will descend on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia for the Budweiser Made in America music festival. Jay-Z is headlining, and on day one will be joined by Skrillex, Miike Snow, Calvin Harris, Rick Ross, Meek Mill, and many others. On day two, Pearl Jam is fronting, along with Drake, Chris Cornell, Jill Scott, Run DMC, Odd Future, and plenty more. Tickets are currently on sale for an earlybird price of $135 for both days, but may go up to $150 and $175.
The music will be played outside at Eakins Oval, with a backdrop of the impressive Greek revival facade of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the flag- and tree-lined boulevard of the Parkway. The event offers something for everyone, except for one critical thing: great beer. As headliner, you can be sure Bud is what the festival organizers will be serving, but it would be nearly criminal to come to Philadelphia — America’s Best Beer Drinking City — without sipping on some real beer.
You won’t be able to bring outside drinks into the concert area, but we suggest that you take a few minutes before or after to sample some of the amazing selection of local, American, and even foreign craft brew available in almost every single Philadelphia bar. Seriously, the city gets more varieties of beer distributed than anywhere else on the East Coast, and perhaps anywhere in the world. Here are places to find good beer in the Art Museum, Fairmount, Franklintown, and Logan Circle neighborhoods, right next to the concert. Drink up, and enjoy the show.
The Belgian Cafe: A dozen choices on draft are backed up by more than 200 bottles at this Green Street Tavern, best enjoyed with a bowl of mussels or side of frites with the addictive house dipping sauce (601 N. 21st St.; 215-235-3500).
Bishop’s Collar: Twelve taps pour local and other crafts, along with another 14 or so in bottles and cans at this unassuming Fairmount pub (349 Fairmount Ave.; 215-765-1616).
Bridgid’s: One of the first bars in the city to specialize in Belgian beers (there are more than 25 on the 100-long bottle list), this tavern recently underwent a total renovation (726 N. 24th St.; 215-232-3232).
Con Murphy’s: Though the drafts don’t pour anything more exciting than the expected Guinness, this Irish pub fills out the bottle list with a sprinkling of local craft faves, and you can’t beat its proximity to the concert site (1700 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy.; 267-687-1128).
Fare: Known for its organic, healthy food, this Fairmount dining room does a good job on the bottle front even though there are no taps, offering more than two dozen crafts from around the world (2028 Fairmount Ave.; 267-639-3063).
Jack’s Firehouse: Sit inside the converted 19th-century firehouse or out in the spacious patio and sip on half a dozen all-local drafts or another dozen in bottles (2130 Fairmount Ave.; 215-232-9000).
Kite & Key: Another super-close option, this gastropub fills all 17 taps with U.S. craft brew, and abets the selection with several dozen more in bottles and cans (1836 Callowhill St.; 215-568-1818).
La Calaca Feliz: Incredible contemporary Mexican food awaits, and if you don’t get swayed off the brew-track by one of the many margaritas on offer, pick from six well-chosen bottles (2321 Fairmount Ave.; 215-787-9930).
Lemon Hill: Elevated comfort food will fill your belly at this newish tavern after you drink down one of six craft drafts or 20 in bottles (747 N. 25th St.; 215-232-2299).
London Grill: For more than 25 years, this neighborhood fave has served up food and brews, including bottles and cans of a dozen crafts from overseas and another 20 from in the States. Don’t miss the selection of beer cocktails — yes, they exist, and yes, they’re delicious (2301 Fairmount Ave.; 215-978-4545).
Mexican Post: You won’t find too many great crafts at this chain Mexican, but there are a sprinkling of options, and the locale near the southern edge of the Parkway makes this a viable pre- or post-concert option (1601 Cherry St.; 215-568-2667).
Rembrandt’s: This neighborhooder keeps its 12 taps well-stocked with an interested assortment of ales, and also offers eight craft cans and around 20 more in bottles (741 N. 23rd St.; 215-763-2228).
St. Stephen’s Green: Ample outdoor seating expands this corner pub in close proximity to the music fest, where you can find a dozen choices on draft and two dozen more in bottles (1701 Green St.; 215-769-5000).
— Danya Henninger, The Drink Nation
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