Editor’s Note: I mentioned a while back that guests posts would be appearing from time-to-time regarding beer travel. Here is the first post from Raven and Sierra.
Raven and Sierra holding the Philadelphia Beer Week “Hammer of Glory”
So, what does Friday the Thirteenth and cask conditioned beer have in common? Well, if you are the vast majority of the world, nothing at all. But, if you happen to be in the great beer city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, plenty. Northeast Philly is home to the Grey Lodge Pub and for the past 15 years and 25 Friday the 13ths later the Grey Lodge has celebrated this “unlucky” day with a beer event of epic proportions–Friday the Firkinteenth!
Here is a little history regarding the event……Scoats, owner of The Grey Lodge, wanted start serving cask-conditioned ales at The Grey Lodge, but thought it needed some sort of push to get it going. He saw somewhere, and with enough time to plan ahead, that 1998 was going to have three Friday the 13ths (this happens about every 11 years). The phrase “Friday the Firkinteenth” came to him in a vision while riding the Market Frankford SEPTA line and the rest is history!
Scoats – the owner of The Grey Lodge
From beer writer Jack Curtin, “”This whole thing makes no sense whatsoever. It’s totally random because the timing is entirely at the mercy of the calendar. It’s held in this tiny neighborhood bar in Northeast Philadelphia, an area which is not exactly your mecca for great beer. Yet virtually every brewer within shouting distance would kill to be a part of it and people come from all over to stand shoulder-to-shoulder and hope they can get a beer from bartenders who are incredibly overworked. Scoats is either a genius or an idiot savant, I can’t decide which. But God bless him.”
For those who are wondering, “what the hell is a firkin”, here is a bit of information. Firkins and pins are two sizes of casks. A firkin is 40.8 liters (10.8 US gallons). A pin is 20.4 liters (5.4 gallons). A typical U.S. 1/2 barrel is 15.5 gallons.
This past week Sierra and I met up with some beer friends who traveled up from North Carolina to celebrate the 25th Friday the Firkinteenth. The weather was near perfect and with that we ventured to the pub in time to be nicely postioned for the 12 noon tap time of the first seven firkins. In case you are wondering 22 firkins were acquired for the event with seven firkins pouring at any time (except when they got down to less than 7), tapping a new one as one kicks. The order of the casks were totally random.
The line up was as follows–
Cricket Hill Hopnotic IPA
Dark Horse Crooked Tree
Dock Street Rye IPA, dry-hopped
Dogfish Head 75 Minute IPA
Flying Fish Farmhouse
Free Will Citra Pale Ale
Ithaca Nut Brown
Manayunk Dreamin Double IPA
Manayunk Oatmeal Stout
Nodding Head 60 Shilling
Philadelphia Engine 1892 Market Stout
Prism White Lightning
Ruddles Country Ale
Sly Fox Chester County Brown
Sly Fox Oatmeal Stout
Stoudts Scarlet Lady ESB
Troegs Hopback Amber
Victory Headwaters Pale Ale
With plenty of good friends, good beer abounding and an appearance of Philly Beer Week’s very own Hammer of Glory we hung in all day and at least sampled from each one of the 22 firkins tapped. The last firkin, tapped around 7 P.M., was the Philadelphia Brewing Company’s 1892 Stout. This beer was brewed to celebrate Reading Terminal Market’s 120th anniversary. The market, a city icon, is an enclosed public market found at 12th and Arch Streets in downtown Philadelphia. Over one hundred merchants offer fresh produce, meats, fish, groceries, ice cream, flowers, baked goods, crafts, books, clothing, and specialty and ethnic foods.
Standouts from the day include–Dock Street dry hopped Rye PA, Ithaca Nut Brown, Free Will Brewing Citra Pale, Manayunk Dreamin Double IPA, the aforementioned PBC 1892 Stout and Weyerbacher Blanche.
All in all a fantastic time was had by all. Kudos to Scoats for pulling off another flawless event!
If you are looking for a summer beercation idea the city of Philadelphia would be happy to welcome you for a visit. The next Friday the Firkinteenth will take place at The Grey Lodge Pub, 6235 Frankford Avenue, on July 13, 2012.
Editor’s note: To see additional pics of the event, check out the Friday the Firkinteeth Photo Album on the Atlantic Canada Beer Blog Facebook Page.