Even the most hard-bitten tech, photo, and lifestyle reporters need a break, and what is more fun then a day in the sun, at the beautiful Philadelphia Navy Yard on May 31, 2014, the 6th Annual International Great Beer Expo at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, held during Philly Beer Week. It’s a great way to sample beers and accessories from major and craft brewers, from cider to IPAs, from hipster to Utilikilt wearing home brewer. Do we think it should be on your schedule? The answer is "Yes" without a doubt!
The International Great Beer Expo is held three times this year, in New York, New Jersey, and in Philadelphia, our location of choice. The layout was simple: at one end of the football-sized grassy venue was an enormous white “big top” tent, with brewers and vendors set up around the edges, each offering free pours or samples of their products. We tried standard brews and VIP pours (sample pours of special beers given out only during the first hour), as well as a wide variety of other tasty foods and products.
Several additional smaller tents set up around the perimeter of the parade grounds, a live music tent, as well as gourmet food trucks. The cost of VIP admission is $75, $85 on the day of (if available), or $46 for normal online admission, or $60 on the day of (if available), and a touch that we thought was great, just $10 for a designated driver. With 25 Countries, more than 75 domestic and international brewers and over 200 beers, even the most high-maintenance beer aficionados will be sure to find a beer or cider to write home about.
From the giants of the brewing world, to startups presenting their recipe to the public for the first time, the mood was fun, exuberant, and yet discriminating. It might be the one of the only times that you have to urge to sample only a small pour, since pacing yourself, and not getting too fuzzy would be the only way to really sample, discuss, and judge the offerings. We enjoyed beers from Northern California’s Northcoast Brewing, Round Guys Brewing from Lansdale, PA, Neshaminy Creek Brewing, from PA, Magic Hat, from South Burlington, Vermont, Deschutes Brewery, from Bend, Oregon, and ciders from The Other Farm Company, from Boyertown, PA, and Crabbie’s from the U.K.
In addition to some wonderful beers and ciders, we also loved a few non-brewed products. We love bacon, and the Red Chile & Garlic Bacon Jam from The Bacon Jams folks was a delicious spicy bacon spread, perfect on a cracker to accompany a frozen mug of your favorite summer brew. We also met a family who created Hank Sauce, a line of delicious hot sauces of varying spice and flavor. Our favorite was their Cilanktro, which combines two of our favorite things, cilantro and hot sauce, but the slow burn of the Camouflage variety comes in a close second. We tasted some wonderful beers and ciders, but with more than 200 varieties to choose from, it would be impossible to evaluate all that were offered. (There’s always next year!)
As fun as the event is, there is also a note of altruism in the air, as a portion of the proceeds from the Philadelphia bash goes to The Committee To Benefit The Children, a non-profit providing resources for treatment, care and family support to benefit area children with cancer, leukemia and serious blood disorders. Each location supports a designated charity of choice, including the Beer for Brains Foundation, a national, non-profit organization of craft-beer lovers, distributors and brewers, who are committed to raising public awareness about brain cancer.
With live music, great food, lots to drink, and a spirit of fun and festivity, we think the Annual International Great Beer Expo was a great time. Highly Recommended!
Harris Fogel and Nancy Burlan, posted 6/15/2014
For more information on the Annual International Great Beer Expo visit: www.greatbeerexpo.com
For more information on Bacon Jam visit: www.thebaconjams.com
For more information on Hank Sauce visit: www.hanksauce.com
For more information on Philly Beer Week visit: www.phillybeerweek.org
For more information about The Committee To Benefit The Children visit: www.cbckids.org
For more information about the Beer for Brains Foundation visit: www.thebeerforbrainsfoundation.org