5/17/2012 11:52:00 AM

Philly Beer Week First Look: Dupont Spéciale Belge & With Love Beer Garden

Philly Beer Week executive director Don Russell wields the Hammer of Glory
The 10-day extravaganza that is Philly Beer Week is just two weeks away, and the Philadelphia brew community is bursting with anticipation. Over 175 restaurants and bars and more than 60 breweries are participating in the fifth annual festival, which will host hundreds upon hundreds of events throughout the city. (Look for our handy guide to some of the best, coming soon.)

New this year is an international signature beer, Dupont Spéciale Belge, the first-ever collaboration brew from 166-year-old Brasserie Dupont. Brewed in conjunction with Iron Hill Maple Shade’s Chris LaPierre and the PBW crew, this amber ale will be tapped for the first time at the opening ceremonies on Friday, June 1, and will then be distributed throughout the nation. Thanks to a sneak preview tasting, we can tell you this is a very unique creation, in large part due to the unusual addition of smoked malt to the mix. The 5.5% ABV quaff has a full, slightly sour, slightly fruity character and a dry, refreshing finish.

The tasting we attended went down in the courtyard of the Four Seasons Philadelphia, which will transform into the With Love Beer Garden during PBW. From Monday-Friday, June 4-8, the bloom-filled terrace and gushing stepped fountain will host a daily outdoor pay-as-you-go party. Each day from 5-9 PM, visitors can sample beer from a different regional brewery, including Victory’s Summer Love Ale and another special collab project from Prism, Evil Genius and Round Guys called Brewvolution. Available snacks from the kitchen of Fountain chef Rafael Gonzalez will include shrimp tacos, Port Richmond keilbasa and Lancaster chicken wings, all designed to complement the local sudsy sips. After yesterday’s tease, we can hardly wait.

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