Best Bets For Philadelphia Beer Week

The largest celebration of beer in the United States kicks off this weekend in none other than the City of Brotherly Love. Philadelphia Beer Week begins Friday, May 31 with a big opening party and plenty of celebration.

We're excited to join Philadelphia's beer lovers to celebrate local breweries like Philadelphia Brewing Co. and Yards as well as those traveling to join in on Beer Week festivities, including Dogfish Head and Samuel Adams.

If you're looking for a way to take part, there are several big events happening all week long. We've chosen our top picks for the entire week to help you narrow down your options. Which one will you attend?

Friday, May 31

The Hammer of Glory Relay

Various Locations, 9:30 a.m.

Pay as you go

An all-day pub crawl, this "relay" follows the week's official keg mallet, affectionately named the "Hammer of Glory" (H.O.G. for short) through a series of bars and taverns around the city. Starting at 9:30 a.m., a group of die-hard beer lovers will meet at Hop Angel Brauhaus and the whole event will culminate at Opening Tap.

Opening Tap

Independence Visitor Center, 7 p.m.

$45 for beer tasting

To officially kick off the week, Philadelphia's Mayor Michael Nutter will crack open the ceremonial first tap of the week with the H.O.G. outside on Independence Hall. The first beer will be a collaborative effort from several of the city's local breweries. A beer tasting will follow inside at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, June 1

Pin Up Block Party

Varga Bar, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Pay as you go

Barbecue and a wide variety of beers are the reasons to head over to this outdoor event. It's easy to just drop in for a few hours and get your fill of the block party before heading out for the night or you can easily spend all day playing games, drinking brews ,and maybe even sneaking into the VIP bottle service tent.

Sunday, June 2

Throwdown in Franklintown

Kite and Key, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Pay as you go

Witness the ultimate battle between breweries. Representatives from Yards, Allagash, and Dogfish Head — among others — will be "fighting it out" all afternoon while we enjoy several delicious beers. Sure, it's been happening every year for the last four years, but it gets better every time!

Monday, June 3

Brewed in Philadelphia

Free Library of Philadelphia, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.


It's Monday — might be a good time to take it easy and maybe even learn a little about the history of brewing in one of our favorite cities. Since this is a free event, it's a great opportunity to sit in the air conditioning and get educated.

Tuesday, June 4

Meet Tomme Arthur

The Bishop's Collar, 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Pay as you go

Take advantage of the opportunity to meet one of the country's most talented brewers. Tomme Arthur of Port Brewing and Lost Abbey will be shaking hands for two hours and probably sharing beer knowledge. We will be there to have a glass of some of his amazing beer, enjoy the atmosphere, and ogle one of our favorite brewers.


June 5

Great Lakes Brewing Co. Beer Release

Bullies Pub, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Pay as you go

Maybe take a long lunch and run over to Bullies Pub to try two exclusive brews from Ohio brewer, Great Lakes Brewing. Also, it'll be nice to get some fresh air and sip a few beers before having to return to your desk. We think we should probably fit some sort of lunch in there as well.

Thursday, June 6

24 Dark Horse Tap Take Over

The Cambridge, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Pay as you go

Use your Thursday night happy hour to get a little more Beer Week into your schedule. Head to The Cambridge to try an amazing line up of 24 distinct beers from Dark Horse. We're going to have a blast and not think about what's going to happen when we have to wake up and go to work in the morning.

Friday, June 7

Explore the South Seas with New Zealand's MOA Brewery

The Belgian Cafe, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Pay as you go

Kick off the weekend with something a little more exotic. Taste a little craft brew from the other side of the world. How often do you get a chance to try this many New Zealand beers all at once? Also — we think there'll be some hot accents here so we're going to check it out!

Saturday, June 8

Gonzo Art with Flying Dog

Fox and Hound, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Pay as you go

Stop by Fox and Hound and try your hand at some Ralph Steadman-style art — similar to what you find on those Flying Dog labels. The proprietors will pick their favorites and frame them for all to see. Also — you can pick your favorite brew to sip while sketching. It might lend a little extra inspiration.

Drinking in the Streets with Troegs and Tunes

Teresa's Café & Next Door Bar, 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Pay as you go

As a beautiful complement to the Main Line Jazz & Food Festival, Troegs will be pouring their beers in the street (we assume into cups but you never know). Who can really beat drinking in the streets and enjoying some amazing jazz on a Saturday evening? We say — no one.

Sunday, June 9

Bell's Brunch with Laura Bell

Pub on Passyunk East, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Pay as you go

It's been a long week. Take a load off and have some brunch. An added bonus to this particular Sunday brunch is the presence of Laura Bell, vice president of Bell's Brewing. Find a seat close to Laura, order a good beer, and try to get her to tell you the secret to Bell's success.