Philly Beer Week is back and better than ever, with 10 full days of beer appreciation unfolding May 29–June 7 throughout the city of Brotherly Love and its surrounding suburbs. Without question, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant is ready to dive into the beer-centric action, especially with its fifth annual Big Ass Beer Dinner collaboration with friends Good Dog Bar.
What’s the scoop on this five-course beer dinner—slated to unfold May 31 at 6 p.m.—and why do you need to attend? Our Chestnut Hill head brewer Chris LaPierre passes along the full scoop.
Iron Hill Blog: Philly Beer Week is just one day away, with the annual Good Dog/Iron Hill event returning for 2015. What’s so special about this repeat beer dinner?
Chris LaPierre: I think what’s special about this dinner is that there’s a strong personal relationship between Good Dog and Iron Hill. Good Dog is where a lot of Iron Hill brewers choose to eat and drink when they’re in town and not working. The owners of Good Dog and Iron Hill have lots of respect for each other’s operations. A lot of Iron Hill’s brewers are good friends with a lot of the staff at Good Dog. Heck, I’m even on the Good Dog dart team! This dinner is really something we do for ourselves because we enjoy doing it. It’s a great opportunity for us to all get together and enjoy each other’s talents.
This year, Iron Hill took the collaboration one step further by brewing two beers with the Good Dog owners. Can you give us a preview of your collab release and why folks should want to try them at the upcoming dinner?
Schipperke is the beer brewed at Chestnut Hill by me and Good Dog owner Dave Garry. I like Belgians but Dave is not generally a fan. He’s an IPA lover, but so is his wife and she wanted to do IPA as her collaboration with Paul [Rutherford, in Ardmore], so that slot was taken. We settled on a Session Belgian IPA. It was a nice compromise between his taste and mine, and being a session beer it will be easy to pair with a variety of dishes. The name, Schipperke, is from a small but lively Belgian dog breed known to be intelligent and mischievous.
Five Iron Hill brewers take part in this event, each working with Good Dog’s Executive Chef Jessica O’Donnell. Can you give us a tease of one or two of the pairings established for the night?
The course I’m always most excited about is dessert! I’ve got a sweet tooth in the first place, but I also love desserts at beer dinners because it’s an area where beer really shines. It’s not always easy to pair spirits or wine with sweets. But with beer’s bitterness and caramelized or roasted malt characters it can either be a great contrast or complement to just about any dessert.
This year, chef Jess is pairing macaroons with Andrew Johnston’s [of our Media location] Hudson Stout. I’m also excited about the fourth course: homemade pasta, dunkel-braised goat, fiddlehead ferns and ramp pesto paired with Kevin Walter’s [of our Voorhees location] Munich Dunkel.
Where else can we catch Iron Hill during Philly Beer Week?
The collaboration I did with Allagash will be on tap at Memphis Taproom, Bru, Good Dog, Varga Bar, The Industry, City Taphouse, Bar-Ly, Fergie’s Pub and Kite & Key.
What’s your favorite part about being a brewer in the Philly beer scene and participating in the annual Philly Beer Week celebration?
My favorite thing about being a brewer in Philly is the camaraderie that exists in our community. We’re very noncompetitive. We’ve all worked so hard to improve craft beer culture over the years and have lots of respect for each other. We prefer to work together to improve the awareness of craft beer. We’d rather make craft’s portion of the beer pie much bigger than fight each other for a bite of the piece we already have.
Philly Beer Week for me is not so much about enjoying great beer. It’s more about getting to spend time with a lot of friends in the industry that I don’t get to see nearly often enough.
Tickets to the Big Ass Beer Dinner with Iron Hill at Good Dog Bar are $50 and may be purchased online. Be sure also to catch Iron Hill at Opening Tap—which unfolds Friday, May 29, at 7 p.m. Or, take advantage of even other Philly Beer Week events. Grab more details about other upcoming Iron Hill events and beer releases.
With 11 locations in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey, there’s an Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant near you. We specialize in handcrafted beers and fresh, from-scratch New American cuisine. Monthly releases vary by location, so scout out our beers on tap and visit us soon.