Philadelphia was built on the foundation of diversity, and has developed an eclectic style throughout its history. It reflects the colonial roots of the nation in its earliest development, and blends it with such structures as the multi shaded blue-glass hi-rise design of Helmut Jahn at Liberty Place and the ethereal University City building known as the Circa Center, lighted with patterns of color in nighttime design. The earliest architecture echoes the imagination of Ben Franklin – The University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Hospital, and the first fire insurance company in the colonies. From this beginning, Philadelphia grew as a center for the development of the arts and sciences. By the mid 1700’s, it was home to 17 libraries…and it was known for its beer. Cheers!
Between 1850 and the early 1900’s, there were 90 breweries operating within the boundaries of Philadelphia, with another 100 breweries operating in the outlying areas. The northwest region of the city came to be known as “Brewerytown,” and expanded outward toward the Fishtown and Kensington areas, growing steadily until the onslaught of Prohibition in 1920. Only the largest of these breweries were able to survive, by brewing alternate beverages – root beer, sodas, and malt beverages. After the repeal of Prohibition, however, the brewing industry began to stand back up, as solidly as the skyscrapers that now dwarf William Penn, as he stands atop the illustrious form of City Hall.
The saavy beer lovers of Philadelphia would not settle for second best, and insisted on the development of great beer. Philadelphia was, after all, the nation’s first capital from 1790 to 1800. Inspired by these great traditions, Philadelphia has risen up to become the greatest beer-drinking city in America.
In celebration of this distinctive tradition, Tom Peters, Don Russell and Bruce Nichols became the Founding Fathers of Philly Beer Week and established a non-profit organization to ensure a smooth implementation of the project. This citywide celebration will be held March 7-16, 2008, with participation from bars, breweries, restaurants, and brewpubs throughout the city and surrounding suburban areas. Events and activities are being planned, including a Pub Crawl on March 11th, in which beer enthusiasts will meet brewers, authors, and beer celebrities at surrounding beer establishments; Tribute Dinner to the memory of Michael Jackson on March 14th at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology; 19th Annual Tutored Tasting: Michael Jackson: The Man and His Legacy on March 15th at the Penn Museum, featuring a panel of four beer experts, hosted by Don Russell (Joe Sixpack); and numerous other events.
For information, check in with the Philly Beer Week website – information is evolving daily.