Before we dive in for more, here's my quick recap of the week so far.
Favorite moment: The Mendelssohn Club flash mob that showed up at Opening Tap.
Former Daily News classical music writer Tom Di Nardo helped arrange the 137-year-old club's appearance at Independence Visitor Center. They launched into a rousing chorus of "Drink!" from the operetta "The Student Prince," leaving beer drinkers puzzled and cheering.
Even my nondrinking parents, attending their first beer festival, loved it. And why not? One of my earliest childhood memories is listening to them both sing along with Mario Lanza's version of the song:
Drink! Drink! Drink!
To eyes that are bright as stars when they're shining on me!
Drink! Drink! Drink!
To lips that are red and sweet as the fruit on the tree!
I'm not ashamed to say the song brought tears to my eyes.
Second favorite moment: After four years, Mayor Nutter finally managed to tap the first keg of Beer Week with the Hammer of Glory without:
A. Soaking himself in foam.
B. Bashing the hand of the poor guy holding the cask tap.
The mayor, Stoudt's brewer Brett Kinzer and I toasted the calamity-free moment with the first glass of Brotherly Suds 2, the official collaborative brew of Beer Week made with the original lager yeast from the long-defunct Schmidt's brewery.
Homebrew mania: Do-it-yourselfers showed off at numerous events with envelope-pushing flavors.
Aaron Fournier was once again named "most creative" brewer at Sierra Nevada's Philly Beer Week Homebrew Cup. Last year, he entered a communion wafer-flavored Belgian ale; this year, it was (I kid you not) a spicy sausage ale.
The overall winner was was Tyler Flynn, for his Bourbon Oak Pumpkin Ale.
Elsewhere, I sampled super-sour and ultrastrong ales at Jose Pistola's Extreme Beer Homebrew Challenge, and I suspect I'll be judging a few others tomorrow afternoon at the Triumph Brewing (Old City) Homebrew Competition with WMMR-FM's Preston and Steve.
Meanwhile, my favorite beer of the week was yet another home brew: George Hummel's Braggot. The owner of Center City's Home Sweet Homebrew (and author of the new The Complete Homebrew Beer Book from Robert Rose Inc.) turned out a wonderfully balanced beer-and-mead combo.
Pure geekdom: Russian River brewer Vinnie Cilurzo finally settled the issue over the correct pronunciation of his cult-favorite Pliny the Younger. During the Forum of the Gods at Philadelphia Bar & Restaurant, Cilurzo declared it rhymes with mini, not piney . . . and then proceeded to mispronounce it for the rest of the afternoon.
When the going gets weird
Maybe it's just a product of one-upmanship, but Beer Week bars and restaurants can be counted on to produce some truly strange spectacles. In no particular order:
- Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia transported the Hammer of Glory during the daylong "HOG Relay" via a bell cart outfitted with a bed; the "snoozing" hammer wore an eye mask.
- Sly Fox beer rep Suzy Woods decked her Dogfish Head counterpart Wendy Domurat with a case of cans at Kite & Key's mock Throwdown in Franklintown.
- Jose Pistola's co-owner Joe Gunn conducted a nightly live talk show atop his bar.
- Trophy Bikes owner Michael McGettigan led a tour to the middle of the Ben Franklin Bridge, where he served cold beer from his bar on wheels.
OK, maybe you had to be there (with a few pints in your belly) to get it. Don't worry: You've still got time to catch up.
"Joe Sixpack" is by Don Russell, director of Philly Beer Week. For more on the beer scene, sign up for his weekly email update at www.joesixpack.net. Email email@example.com.