I don't want to make any blanket accusations, but there's evidence that participating brewers and tavern owners consumed ample quantities of their product before planning their various events.
In the days preceding the opening festival, for example, the region will see the ceremonial relay of the Hammer of Glory.
Like the Olympic torch relay (but hopefully without the protests), the hammer will meander from tavern to tavern via foot, bicycle, beer truck, SEPTA bus, canoe, whatever.
William Reed of Standard Tap, who dreamed up the hammer relay with fellow tavern owner Mike (Scoats) Scotese of the Grey Lodge Pub, has described the event variously as "mayhem" and an act of "absurdity." I personally expect the thing to get dropped into the Schuylkill.
Assuming it makes it to the Comcast Center, the hammer will be forcefully employed to strike the bung of Philly Beer Week's official first keg.
More than two dozen local brewers will be on hand to pour their beer. And local beer scribes and bloggers will roast them with a Philly-style awards ceremony.
Tix for the Opening Tap event are $40, with proceeds going to fund Philly Beer Week, the nonprofit organization established to promote the city's beer scene. (Disclosure: I'm one of Philly Beer Week's organizers. And, yes, I was drinking - Victory Storm King, I believe - when I named it the Hammer of Glory.)
After Opening Tap, the week gushes in a hundred directions.
The Bishop's Collar (2349 Fairmount Ave., Art Museum), for example, will sponsor a "Run and Drink with the Brewers" on March 9. Brewers Sam Calagione (Dogfish Head), Brian O'Reilly (Sly Fox) and Adam Avery (Avery Brewing) will lead 100 beer drinkers on a 5K jaunt through Fairmount Park before heading back to the bar for a sampling of Avery's brews.
The run is not the only act of possibly imprudent physical activity on display during the week. There are two bike rides and a five-mile scavenger run that have already attracted dozens of participants.
Other events simply celebrate the world's best beer.
Monk's Cafe (264 S 16th St., Center City) sold out a "Brett Pack" dinner in minutes when word spread that it would feature some of the most experimental wild Brettanomyces yeast beers made in America.
The new Duvel Green, a draft version of the famed Belgian golden ale, will be unveiled at several area taverns. Boston Beer will roll out its new "imperial" series of Sam Adams Double Bock, Stout and Double White.
Amada (217 Chestnut St., Old City) will be the first to pour Inedit, a new, Belgian-style witbier brewed in collaboration with famed Spanish chef Ferran Adria.
Even those who can do it like pros get a piece of the action, with an "extreme" homebrewing demonstration at Jose Pistola's (263 S. 15th St., Center City).
And, of course, there are the major festivals. Besides Opening Tap:
March 7: Philly Craft Beer Festival at the Philadelphia Cruise Terminal.
March 8: Brewer's Plate at the Penn Museum.
March 15: Real Ale Invitational at Yards Brewery.
March 15: Zythos Belgian Ale Festival at the Penn Museum.
As Avery said, "This is one of those weeks, you just say to yourself, 'If I can survive it, I'll come back.' "
A few more highlights
All week: Great Craft Beer Bars of the Main Line via the R5. A self-guided tour, using SEPTA's discount Philly Beer Week pass, to four great Main Line beer bars (Gullifty's, Teresa's Next Door, Flying Pig, TJ's Everyday).
March 12: Philly Beer Geek contest. A test of Philly beer knowledge, with the final round held at Manayunk Brewery. There's still room for more competitors. Info: www.phillybeergeek.com.
March 14: Celebrity Mural Tour with Joe Sixpack. A two-hour bus tour of the city's murals, led by yours truly, with lunch at Devil's Den (1148 S. 11th St., South Philly). Tix: $40. *
"Joe Sixpack" by Don Russell appears weekly in Big Fat Friday. For more on the beer scene in Philly and beyond, visit www.joesixpack.net. Send e-mail to email@example.com.