Monday, March 17, 2008

Could Philly Beer Week happen here in DC?

Congratulations to Philadelphia and its beer drinkers!

Philly Beer Week—a region-wide celebration of good beer— eventually grew to 2 weeks. It concluded last evening. According to this first post mortem, by Lew Bryson, it was indeed "one for the books."

I wasn't able to attend, but reports from associates and friends were nothing but positive and enthusiastic.

Why was it such a success?

For one thing, Philly-area beer drinkers and retailers support LOCAL beer. And have pride in it. Bar owners there call it the 90-mile rule. That's the imaginary radius they draw; to the breweries within its circle, they offer their loyal support.

Is there beer in Philadelphia bars from elsewhere, from cross-continent, or overseas? Of course! There's much and a great variety. But there exists a fierce local pride and consequent local quality.

Could there be a Washington/Baltimore Beer Week? Yes. Would it be of similar depth and breadth? I don't know.

But I will issue this DC/northern Virginia challenge: go into local bars and beer restaurants (other than brewpubs). Count the number of local taps. A few. (There are some wonderful exceptions.)

And then do this.

Go to Opening Night at Nationals Park. Count the number of local beers.

I'll save you the trouble. The number at the ballpark will be ... ZERO.

For more on Philly Beer Week:

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