Last month, Craft Brewing Business reported on the craft beer boom in and around Philadelphia. Now, the area is touting the myriad of craft beer events held year round. As home to Philly Beer Week, the city sets a high bar for beer events. In the city and suburbs, beerific happenings take place all year long that draw hundreds, if not thousands, of beer lovers. Here’s a selection of some of the oldest, largest, quirkiest and most popular celebrations of the artisanal suds:
February: As the American capital of the German Diaspora, Pennsylvania brews some of the nation’s best German-style beers, many of which are showcased at The German Society of Pennsylvania’s Philly Bierfest, alongside counterparts imported from the fatherland. Feb. 22. phillybierfest.com.
March: Called “one of the top 10 beer festivals in America” by Forbes Traveler, the Philly Craft Beer Festival returns under tents at the Philadelphia Naval Yard with more than 75 national and international breweries, food trucks and a VIP session that presents some very rare brews. March 1. phillycraftbeerfest.com.
May: Come May, the question, “Are you going to the goat races?” reverberates throughout the region’s craft community. The Sly Fox Bock Festival & Goat Race brings 2,500 to 3,000 humans and several dozen goats to the Sly Fox Brewhouse & Eatery for a day of races. The winner lends his or her name to the seasonal Maibock-style beer released that day. May 4. slyfoxbeer.com.
June: New Jersey brewers showcase their liquid delights at the Garden State Craft Brewers Guild Beer Festival, a tasting festival on the deck of Camden’s Battleship New Jersey, which provides a panoramic view of the Delaware River, the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and the Philly skyline. June 28. njbeer.org.
July: Philadelphia Zoo’s Summer Ale Festival proves year after year that zoos aren’t just for kids. Adults leave the family behind to sip beers from the Philly area and beyond in combination with chef-prepared foods set against a resplendent background of birds, great apes, big cats and other wildlife. July 19. philadelphiazoo.org.
August: Where better to celebrate craft beer than in the neighborhood that helped launch the craze? All afternoon and evening, Northern Liberties vendors close down North 2nd Street for the family-friendly 2nd Street Festival, complete withbeer gardens, food, workshops, art and music and event stages programmed by the Philadelphia Folksong Society. August 3. 2ndstfestival.org.
September: What’s more American than baseball and beer? Thirty craft breweries take beer drinkers out to the ball game at Beer Fest & BBQ at the Ballpark, held at McFadden’s Ballpark, where the live bands and DJs work up the crowd and the Phillies keep it roaring. September 14. upcomingevents.com/philadelphia/beerfest-at-the-ballpark/
October: More pumpkin beers get poured at The Institute bar’s Pumpkin Beer Festival than anywhere else in the country. How? One ticket grants an afternoon’s worth of access to more than 80 gourd beers, along with ciders, lambics, sours and a few styles brewed exclusively for the fest. institutebar.com.
November: Even craft beer drinkers who feel they’ve “been there, done that” about many events get onboard the Craft Beer Express, a day-long bus crawl through some of the city’s most seriously minded craft beer pubs. Nov. 8. craftbeerexpress.com.
December: Producers of the Philly Craft Beer Festival return to the Philadelphia area with the Valley Forge Beer Festival at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks. Fifty brewers pour more than 100 beers over two sessions. Dec. 6. valleyforgebeerfest.com.