Look out! It’s Philly Beer Week!

philly-beer-week-logo-2016Beer Week 2016 is just hours away.  As usual I won’t be able to make nearly as many events as I would like.  This is particularly true since this year we’ll be away at our 25th college reunion for the latter half of PBW.

But of course one must have their priorities. You can find me at the following:

 

A Rabbi, a Priest and a Minister Walk into a Bar                                                            Sunday, June 5th at Fergie’s (1214 Sansom St) starting at 8 pm.

Join Rabbi Eli, Pastor Sarah and yours truly as we talk about the surprising intersection of beer and faith. Bring your questions, sense of humor and a thirst to learn more about the ways in which God and beer interact to make our lives both more meaningful and enjoyable.  Event is PAYG

 

Extreme Homebrew Challenge                                                                              Monday, June 6th starting at 7 pm Jose Pistolas (263 S. 15th Street).

A staple of PBW this is the brainchild of George Hummel and Nancy Rigberg of Home Sweet Homebrew.  Some of the area’s best homebrewers put on their thinking caps and get a little crazy.  A few years ago someone thought it would be a good idea if I helped judge and I’m honored to continue to do so.  Tickets online or at the door.

 

Holy Beers with Father Kirk                                                                                         June 7th at the Old Eagle Tavern (177 Markle Street in Manayunk)

From 6 till 10 pm I’ll be guest bartending alongside my friend, fellow philanthropist and man of faith, Lew Bryson.

Erin from the Eagle has put together a very special list of beers guaranteed to give you a religious experience.  It includes the debut of “Old Fashion Gingerbread Jesus” which is a whiskey barrel aged version of the Christmastime favorite.

Other drafts include:
Mispilion Holy Crap
Mispilion Not Today Satan
Lost Abbey Devotion
Original Sin Cider
Avery Salvation

But best of all, all of our tips will stay in Manayunk and go to support  the important work of Northlight Community Center.  So come on out, let me pour you a beer and be a generous tipper!  Event is PAYG

So there you go.  Not a full week but a fun one.  Hope to see you out there and have a safe and happy PBW!

Help Wanted

So a priest, a minister and a rabbi walk into a bar….

It’s the start of many jokes and for the last three years has also been the title of our informal symposium on beer and faith.  We had every intention of bringing it back to Philly Beer Week this year but then we found  out that our compatriot and the minister in the equation, Bryan Berghoef, will be away on a pilgrimage to Iona.

Once Rabbi Eli Freedman and I got done calling him names behind his back, we set our minds to trying to find another person to take his place.  For a while it looked like we had someone lined up but unfortunately they will be away for Beer Week.

And so we turn to you, our friends and kindred spirits.  We’d love for one of you to join us this year at Fergie’s Pub as we wax poetic about beer, God and faith and the ways in which they all tie together.

Of course we have some standards.

To make sure we don’t wind up like the Mystery Men, here is what we are looking for.

The ideal candidate will:

#1 Be a person of faith

#2 Have extensive knowledge about their faith and its history

#3 Be comfortable talking to a crowd and taking questions

#4 Have a sense of humor

#5 Live in the Philly Metro area

#6 Be free on the afternoon of Sunday, June 5th

#7 Love beer (duh)

In order to broaden our perspectives special consideration will be shown to those outside the Judeo-Christian tradition and to women.

If you’re interested in exploring this further please contact me through the blog or Facebook.  We hope to hear from you!

 

The Biblical Brew Off is Back!

Team Moses and Team Jesus are back and facing off once again to see which congregation’s beer reigns supreme.  But this year they also have to reckon with the women of the newly formed Team Eve. As before, each entry will be blindly evaluated by qualified judges according to BJCP standards. The team with the highest average score will be declared the winner.  There will also be a people’s choice- each person in attendance will get to vote for their one favorite beer.

BibBrew-Off 2016 (2)

But this is not just about bragging rights.  Each team will be competing for a charity.  Representing my parish of St. Tim’s, Team Jesus will be competing for North Light Community Center.  Team Moses from Rodeph Shalom will be competing for HAIS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society). And Team Eve, made up of women from both congregations, will be competing for the Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network.  The purse will be split with 50% going to the winner’s charity and 30% to second place and the remaining 20% to third.  That way none of these worthy causes will walk away empty handed.

It all takes place this coming Saturday, May 7th at Rodeph Shalom (615 North Broad Street).  Doors open at 7 pm.  Advance tickets are only $25 and can be purchased here. That gets you unlimited samples of the different beers, BBQ from Deke’s and a commemorative pint glass. We’ll also have custom growlers, t-shirts for each team and amazing baskets filled with beer and other goodies to bid on in a silent auction.

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The only way to win this basket filled with rare beers from Vermont is to come to the Brew Off!

We hope you will join us for what is sure to be memorable evening of friendly competition, food, fellowship and of course beer.  Best of all, every penny we net goes to benefit those who are homeless, hungry and who have had to flee from war and persecution.

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Thanks to Brian Biggs (who draws the logos) and Home Sweet Homebrew for all their support!

Introducing Team Eve!

We’re just two weeks out from the Biblical Brew Off. Team Moses and Team Jesus are all tied up going into this third year of competition. Just when things seemed set for the showdown a wildcard appeared.  Both Rodeph Shalom and St Tim’s count many women among the beer geeks at our congregations.  No longer content to leave the brewing to the guys, they joined forces to form Team Eve.

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In early April, under the expert guidance of Nancy Rigberg, they gathered at St. Tim’s to brew a saison, the name of which is so secret that even yours truly doesn’t know it yet.

TEAM EVE

 

Not only will their presence liven up the competition, it is fully in keeping with the ancient tradition that brewing was solely a feminine art.  Even today among some of the indigenous peoples, it is women along who brew the chicha since it is common knowledge even allowing a man to walk into the brew house will spoil the beer.

A big thank you to Nancy for her expertise and to Brian Biggs for creating the logo.

The only way to taste their beer is to join us at the Brew Off on May 7th at Rodeph Shalom.  Advance tickets are just $25 ($35 at the door).  Click here to get yours now!

SUSAN stirring the wort Removing Flavors NANCY LAUREL combining flavors JESSICA stirring in malt JEANNE cooling

 

Band of Brewers

As most of you know I’m a beer lover from Philly.  That makes me pretty darn lucky because there are lots of great things about Philly… neighborhoods, museums and food, the Rocky statue, the Liberty Bell and the only place where you can enjoy a nice frosty serving of “wooder” ice.

There are also many great things about the local beer scene.  We have the nation’s first and best Beer Week, we were the first city in the USA to import and promote Belgians and by and large, even though we have a ton of great breweries and bars, there is a wonderful sense of camaraderie in the industry.

If you needed proof of why this is such an awesome place for a beer lover to live, you need look no further than the annual Band of Brewers.  The concept is simple.  A bunch of local breweries each put together a band and perform three songs. The performance is judged and at the end of the show a winner is crowned.  Better yet the whole thing is put together for charity.

So, even though this is the sixth year, it was my the first time I was able to make it (doesn’t Mat Falco know I work on Sunday?).  I was excited to say the least but by the time I got there two bands had already performed.  Fortunately there was still plenty of music to come.  I caught up with friends and sipped on local brews while listening to some surprisingly talented musicians.

When Stainless Maiden took the stage I had no idea what to expect, apart of course from presumably being an Iron Maiden tribute that is.  Heck, I had never even heard of Broken Goblet Brewing before.

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It didn’t take them long to make an impression.  The moment the singer took the stage with his beer gut and faux six pack abs, I was amused.  The music didn’t disappoint either, pumping out solid covers of Number of the Beast, Run for the Hills and, get this, The Brewer, which as you will have surmised, was The Trooper with beer-centric lyrics.

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By the time the giant Eddie took the stage for the finale, they had the crowd in the palm of their hands.  To no one’s surprise they were crowned the champs.  You can see a whole lot more pics taken by a whole lot better photographers here.

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So move over Liberty Bell, you better make room for yet another reason why this not just a great city, but a great city to be a beer lover.

Beer and Christmas Carols

This Friday, December 4th, marks the official Beer and Carols release party for Gingerbread Jesus.  Join us at Barren Hill Tavern starting at 6:30 to sample this year’s GBJ as well as a a very limited amount of last year’s version.  I will also be blessing a firkin of Gingerbread Jesús- GBJ aged with Mexican chocolate and anchos that I grew and smoked myself.  We will be singing Christmas Carols while sipping away at some GBJ.  Hope to see you there!GBJ

Thanks to Brian Biggs for the artwork. and Erin Wallace and Dave Wood for making it happen.   #gingerbreadjesus.

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Breaking The Christmas Seal

downloadI normally observe and enforce a strict moratorium on all things Christmas until the day after Thanksgiving.  That means no Christmas music or decorations of any kind.  Normally it would also apply to Christmas beers as well.  But today I will make an exception.  That’s because today Gingerbread Jesus 2015 goes on tap.

It was a lot of fun coming up with the concept, but it has been even more fun making it.  This year we kept the same basic Belgian Dubbel base but doubled the amount of fresh ginger and made sure we used whole cinnamon and fresh nutmeg. But never fear- based on a taste a few weeks ago, the spices do not overwhelm the beer.  Last year everyone agreed that the ginger was too subtle so we hope this helps make this already wonderful beer even better. It goes on tap today at Barren Hill Tavern.  The official launch party with Christmas Carols will be next Friday, December 4th and will include a keg of last year’s GBJ and a firkin of Gingerbread Jesús- which will be enhanced with cacao and ancho chilies.  Hope to raise a toast with you there.

gingerbread jesus

In the meantime I wish you a blessed Thanksgiving with family and friends.