It was sticky icky humid. My good friend Dan and I walked down Delaware Ave from Red Zone in Olde City.
Red Zone is probably the worst bar in Philadelphia. We encountered horrible service, no AC, terrible food and literally nothing worth drinking on tap. I hunkered down with a Philly Pale bottle (fresh, amazingly enough) and chicken tenders that were barely chicken and certainly NOT tender. I still have the cuts on the inside of my mouth to prove it. I seriously have no idea how that place is still open. If you even think about walking in here, stop and run away towards McGillin’s. Everything is better there.
“Shit, one and a half miles seems a lot longer when it’s humid out.”
We finally (and moistly) made our way up to the Sheet Metal Workers Hall for the first annual Phestiv-Ale and were happy to enter the large air-conditioned hall. A long, central table was packed with various local and national breweries and most of them were pouring two or three of their wares. There were also brewery pouring stations along the outskirts of the hall. I took a walk around the outer edge of the hall saying “hi” to some familiar faces and generally taking a look at what was available.
The majority of the beers were staples of the breweries – Yards ESA, Allagash White, Triumph Old City Ale for example. I gravitated to most of the Oktoberfests that some breweries were pouring – Victory Festbier, Sprecher Oktoberfest, and Bells Oktoberfest to name a few.
I was happy to see Goose Island was pouring their Harvest Ale which I had never had before – a soft and creamy ESB with nice lingering hop bitterness. I’d buy a case of it.
I actually ended up tasting Dogfish Head’s Punkin Ale and found it not to be too ghastly surprisingly. I’ll admit I’m not the biggest admirer of pumpkin beer in pretty much any iteration.
For a “first-annual” beer fest, Phestiv-Ale was pretty solid. The lines flowed relatively smoothly (it did get kind of bro-festy towards the early evening) and the volunteers along with brewery reps were very friendly. Also, one cannot look over the fact that this was all put on to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation – an excellent cause if there ever was one.
After a couple of hours of mingling, drinking beer and, well, that’s about it we headed off (now in pretty much a torrential downpour – we did cab it) to Nodding Head Brewery where four excellent Berliner Weisses were being poured. Three of the Berliners were from various Iron Hill locations and the last was Nodding Head’s own amazingly quaff-able Ich Bin Ein Berliner.
Congratulations go out to Adam and the entire Drink Philly team for putting on a very successful beer festival. Hopefully I will be in attendance at the second-annual Phestiv-Ale.