“We Couldn’t Do This in San Diego or Portland…”

I’m still working on the notebook (hope to be back on the desktop by later today), so this will be short.

The final day of Philly Beer Week was great. I started out with sampler of five Stone beers at Teresa’s Next Door in Wayne while waiting for the train downtown. I mean, if you’re going to go drink beer all day long, why not start out with 2006 Russian Imperial Stout, 2006 Double Bastard, 11th Anniversary Ale, Ruination and Old Guardian? In for a penny, in for a pound, that sort of thing.

Tim Ohst showed up at TND shortly after I did and we took the train together to get to the Real Ale Fest at Triumph, which was, can you believe it, really crowded. Talked to lots of people and enjoy, among other offerings, One Guy Molly Best Brown Ale, Triumph Bitter, Nodding Head IPA, Sly Fox Seamus Red Ale, General Lafayette Red Velvet, Dock Street Gold Stock Ale, Gritty McDuff Best Brown Ale (mmm, Ringwood) and, of course and necessarily, Yards ESA. All of this, and a later visit to Nodding Head for a pint of Berliner Weisse which Bryan Kolesar and I had agreed would be absolutely necessary, came with a price, in the person of Woody Chandler, who, along with his faithful BA pal, Karen, accompanied us, loudly, as we went uptown.

Then it was off to Monk’s for the Michael Jackson Tribute Dinner, which Tom Peters told me might remain a regular last night of Philly Beer Week event as a fund-raiser for Parkinson’s Disease, featuring as it did last night favorite pairings from the meals Michael hosted there for nine years prior to his death. Great meal, of course. The beers: Duvel, 3 Fonteinen Oude Gueuze, Cave Aged Grottenbier, Saison Dupont, Rodenbach Grand Cru and Westvleteren 12. Several of us got up during the evening to say a few words about Michael and his place in our lives, including Tom, of course, Armand from Drie Fonteinen, Dan Shelton, Ray Deter (co-owner of DBI in New York and New Orleans), George Hummel, Don Russell, Rich Wagner, Your Humble Correspondent and, another of course, Carolyn Smagalski.

That nice Tom Dalldorf, editor of Celebrator Beer News, has told me that I gets to be the guy who writes about PBW next issue and gets to tell the benighted few who still haven’t gotten the word that Philadelphia IS the nation’s best beer city. The quote I’ve used as a heading for this piece comes from a West Coast visitor who appears to see, or be on the verge of seeing, the light. He said (roughly, it was 1am in a still crowded bar): “We couldn’t do this is San Diego or Portland. You have so many places here pouring good beer, every corner bar seems to have great beers on tap, we just don’t have that…”

More great beer in every style imaginable (can you say Lager, boys and girls?) brewed right here in the Delaware Valley than anywhere else in the country….more great and often rare American craft beers and imports available here than anywhere else in the country….more beer venues of every size and orientation pouring great beer than anywhere else in the country…a growing and increasingly knowledgeable customer base…

Folks, there really isn’t much room for an argument about this any longer, in my opinion. And if there is, just wait until the doubters see what we do next March for Philly Beer Week 2.

And, hey, this wasn’t so short after all, was it?

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