Philly Beer Scene & Philly Tap Finder Team Up for Bottle Share
One of the best parts about the beer scene in Philadelphia, aside from the amazing selection our distributors are able to pull in and the volume of great craft beer bars that serve it all, is the generosity of the beer-drinking community. Everyone is more than happy to come together with other like-minded individuals, bringing their best, rarest, or most highly sought-after bottles, and share them without batting an eye. With a growing black market that is able to mark up some hard-to-find beers over 1,000%, these locals are more than happy to put their bottle on a communal table, take a sip, and move on to sip someone else’s offering.
This is exactly what happened for two hours at 943 BYOB in the middle of the Italian Market on Sunday. Around 50 participants gathered for a bottle sharing event—coordinated by Philly Beer Scene and Philly Tap Finder—in which beer lovers from the area could bring a bottle of beer (or more) to share with the crowd, and in turn be shared with. For a low cost of $15, the restaurant was willing to close down for two hours and provide finger foods for the event.
While it was nowhere near the scale and scope of the area’s best known bottle sharing event, Stone Soup, there were plenty of gems brought about, most with a heavy focus on sour beers, Philadelphia’s current obsession. Whether it was Weyerbacher’s Sour Black, Sauvageonne by Brasserie Trois Dames, or a three-year vertical of Rodenbach’s Vintage Oak Aged Ale (2007-2009), there were plenty of tart offerings to pucker mouths, perfect for this humid summer season we have been experiencing so far.
Despite the heat, the beers being shared also went to the winter extreme with bottles of AleSmith’s Speedway Stout, Midnight Sun’s Arctic Devil Barleywine, and Three Floyds’ Behemoth Barleywine and 2011 Dark Lord—all of which range from 10-15% ABV, which is nothing to scoff at with 88 degrees and steamy stickiness outside. But, to offset, along with the sours were some refreshing summertime beers. North Coast’s Le Merle and The Alchemist’s Celia, both saisons, made the light and crisp presence felt, right along with Hill Farmstead’s E.
In the end, though, the event was less about the rarity or scarcity of the beer you were tasting and more about the people who made it happen. The community that came together and grabbed the best bottles off their shelves—some bottles that had clearly traveled a ways to get there—and selflessly shared with the group, despite the very real chance of not getting to taste their own beer. But things worked out well for everyone gathered around the small sharing table, taking turns sipping and discussing, at once both in awe of what people were offering and proud of what they themselves had brought.
If you’re afraid you missed a great event, you did—but worry not! Philly Beer Scene and Philly Tap Finder are in talks to do the sharing more frequently—perhaps once every quarter—so there will be plenty of opportunity to bring your finest and taste someone else’s in the very near future.
Bottom picture of me with Brooklyn’s Blue Apron is courtesy of Rich on Beer.