On a beautiful Tuesday morning, and earlier than most people would assume brewers are awake, 40 of the region’s best known beer folks converged upon Yards Brewing Company to brew Philly Loves Beer’s Brotherly Suds for the upcoming Philly Beer Week.
Words by Sheila Ballen | Photos by: Ben Lackey
For those who are unfamiliar, each year during Philly Beer Week, beer aficionados are fortunate to get to enjoy two specific beers made just for Philly. One is the beer collaboration between a local and Belgian brewer and in January, La Cabra Brewing traveled to Duvel Brewery in Puurs Belgium to brew that beer. The second beer is known as “Brotherly Suds.” Now in its 10th year, the group of founding breweries – Yards, Sly Fox, Iron Hill, Flying Fish, Victory and Stoudt’s – started brewing for one simple reason; collaboration only makes the beer community stronger.
The Philadelphia beer scene has always valued collaboration over competition and Brotherly Suds is the perfect metaphor to drive that point home.
Joining the original six founders were people representing 17 different breweries. From brewers who have been around forever to brewers who have not yet opened, the group immensely enjoyed the tour of Yards and the endless brewing chatter. The camaraderie during the day, the sharing of the recipe, the get together is exactly what the original brewers wanted to happen.
“Beer is a liquid, but it is really all about the people,” said one of the originals Bill Covaleski, Founder & Brewmaster at Victory Brewing Company. “We serve the beer drinking audience, but we are also an audience and we work together for the betterment of the craft beer community as a whole.”
This year’s beer will be a hoppy wheat beer with lemon zest. The brewers used local wheat malt from Deer Creek Malthouse, Lemon Drop and Sorachi Ace hops. And one of the hallmarks of Brotherly Suds is sharing the recipe at the end of the brew day. The recipe is formulated by the founders and shared with all those who attend the brew day. The idea is that different brewers will create different rifts on the original recipe at their own breweries.
Carol Stoudt, another original founder, groundbreaking woman brewer and owner of Stoudts Brewing also spoke about why it is important for the community to continue evolving. “We started out as six brewers, but we are committed to being inclusive. Sharing time together and supporting everyone has always been a keystone of the craft beer community,” she said.