Booze Review

Event Review: Fair Food’s “The Brewer’s Plate 2012”

Great Food, a Great Cause, Great Brews, and Drinking with Ben Franklin. What’s not to love?

Last night, LimpD and I had the good fortune to attend the 8th annual  Brewer’s Plate Event at the National Constitution Center. The event brings together local brewers, farmers, artisans, and chefs to raise money for and promote awareness of Fair Food Philly

About Fair Food (in their own words)

Founded in 2001 by Philadelphia entrepreneur Judy Wicks, Fair Food brings locally grown food to the marketplace. Through uniting local farmers with businesses and consumers, supporting the importance of family farms and creating a year-round marketplace for fresh, local and humane food products, Fair Food is promoting a humane, sustainable agriculture system for the Greater Philadelphia region.

After 2+ hours of exploring the best food, spirits, and brew that the Philly area has to offer, I was left asking myself, “Do I really need any food that doesn’t come from our local area?”. In my humble opinion, we are living in Philly’s golden age of craft beer and artisanal food. When I was a kid, the Philly food scene was limited to Cheesesteaks, Tastykakes, and scrapple. We still have those but can now include some of the world’s best brewers, top chefs, local artisans, and farmers that are crafting wonderful things to eat and drink.

The Brewer’s Plate does a tremendous job in bringing many of these local vendors together and showcasing their products. Many of the farmers and/or chefs were paired with a brewery to present products that complement each other. All the vendors were engaging and knowledgeable. Too often these festival style events are packed, tough to navigate, and have tables staffed by PR people that know little about what they’re serving. This was not the case last night. While the event was very well attended, it was easy to talk to each vendor, get a sample, and learn a lot about them and their products.

When we usually do a wrap up of events like this, we do a best and worst list, but I honestly didn’t have anything I didn’t like. It also wouldn’t be fair to single out “best” items, so here are just some of the memorable favorites that LimpD and I enjoyed:

  • Favorite Brews: They were all great, but we were really impressed by Victory’s Otto in Oak. A barrel aged gem flowing from a firkin that, as I understand it, is a work in progress. It was one of the most complex and rich brews poured at the event. We also enjoyed Flying Fish’s soon to be released Exit 8 Brown Ale (pictured below), and the Farmer’s Cabinet’s Marry Me in Goslar.
  • Food Favorites: The funniest was South Wark’s M.L.T. (Mutton, Lettuce, and Tomato) sandwich. I also loved the whole pig being carved for roast pork sandwiches by Country Time Farm (pictured below), and the mini beer and cheese sausage with smoked sauerkraut sandwiches that Brauhaus Schmitz rolled out.
  • Favorite Treats: I am not a sweets person, but I fell in love with Eclat Chocolate’s truffles made with Victory’s Hop Wallop. Also good were the Schwarz Bier Floats scooped out by Triumph Brewing (pic below).
  • Favorite Vendor Presentation: As I mentioned earlier, every vendor was knowledgeable and approachable, but I have to give special recognition to the Boak’s Beer crew. Not only did they really want to engage people about their beer, they had brought along a progression of three brews starting with their Two Blind Monks, and finishing with their Wooden Beanie. The middle beer was the “halfway” point in the aging and crafting process between the first beer and the last. Tasting them in progression was like a mini Boak’s Beer School.

I could go on listing plenty more favorites, but would probably need a couple more posts to do justice to all the great vendors. I’ll simply wrap up the post by suggesting that you put this event on the calendar for next year. If you can’t wait until next year, please check out Fair Food’s site to find great Philly area vendors, or follow the links below to support the local vendors that participated in this year’s event:

Art in the Age,   Bar FerdinandBetty’s SpeakeasyBirchrun Hills FarmBoaks BeerBobolink Dairy & BakehouseBoxcar BrewingBrauhaus Schmitz BT BakingC 19Cabinet Artisanal BrewhouseCantina Dos Segundos, Capogiro Gelato, Choptank Oyster CompanyCity Tap HouseCookie Confidential, Country Time FarmCricket Hill, Doe Run Dairy, Dock Street BreweryDogfish Head Craft BrewsEclat ChocolateEl Camino RealFarm FromageFegley’s Brew WorksFlying Fish Brewing CompanyForest and Main Brewing CoFORKFrankford HallFranklin FountainGarces Restaurant GroupGilda’s BiscottiHoppin John OrchestraHot Club PhillyJohn & Kira’sKennettKhyber Pass PubLancaster Brewing CompanyLondon GrillMcKenzie Brew HouseMugshots Coffeehouse & CafeNight Kitchen BakeryNodding Head BreweryNorth Mountain PasturesPhiladelphia DistillingPrism Brewing  CompanyPhiladelphia Bar & RestaurantPhiladelphia Brewing Company
Naked Brewing CompanyRembrandt’sRiver Horse Brewing CompanyRoy Pitz BrewingShellbark Hollow FarmSly Fox BeerSouth Philly TaproomSouthwarkStatesideStoudt’s Brewing CompanySubarashii KudamonoSweet Stem FarmThe AbbayeThe Belgium CafeThe Bent SpoonThe Farmers’ CabinetTRIA, Triumph Brewing Company, Troegs Brewing CompanyUrban ApiariesVarga BarVictory Brewing CompanyWeyerbacherWhite Dog CafeYards Brewing CompanyZone 7

14 replies »

  1. Sounds like a great event and the Twittersphere was all a’buzz about your chance encounter with @lyfords on the PATCO Glory Rail back to the burbs.

    I would have liked to have been there (assuming I could have found some artisinal matzo balls & pigs in a blanket. How did the Victory Otto in Oak compare to the regular Otto?



    • Otto in Oak blows the doors of the regular Otto. The time in the barrel appears to have taken a lot of the smokey edge off the beer and left behind a complexity that we did not find in any of the other beers we tasted last night. Very rich, very creamy, a little sweetness. The best part was that we apparently had the “beta version” last night that was offered up as preview. I think Victory is still tinkering with it and I can’t wait to try the finished brew.


  2. Great article, almost makes me wish we lived in the area. I know the wife, who grew up just north of there would kill for some scrapple about now. We are really into the buy local out here in Denver. During the Summer a good portion of our groceries come from the farmer’s markets, and of course we visit our local breweries all of the time!

    That Oak Aged Otto sounds great. It’s amazing how okay/good beers can be enhanced by barrel aging. I’m hoping to get a bottle of Breckeridge/Stranahans barrel aged ESB soon.


    • The local food and brew movement out here has gone nuts in the last few years. It has become really easy to shop local, the product quality is off the charts, and the local restaurant scene has embraced the products of local farmers. The wife and I do the same as you and live off the local farmer’s market from April to Nov.. The best part is the sense of community that flows through it all. Last night at the Brewer’s Plate is wasn’t a hall full of vendors competing for business but a collaboration of artists that pour their hearts into what they do.


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