The 6th Annual International Great Beer Expo: Philadelphia and The Whirly Pig
When you spot Gary Monterosso walking the Marine Parade Grounds at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, you know you are in for a serious beer event. Gary is the unofficial “King of all things Beer in and around Philadelphia” in my book. He is a writer for several publications including the Prince of Prime Rib Ed Hitzel’s magazines, a radio and television personality, and hosts and provides tasting seminars. You also know you are in for some serious good eats from some of the area’s best food trucks when The Whirly Pig and Prime Stache show up at your event, two out of the three finalist for best Philadelphia Food truck from Philadelphia Magazine and nominees for Vendy Awards the food truck version of the Academy Awards.
The day started out with some of the brewers from Deschutes Brewery, Vicaris, Evil Genius, and Boaks giving presentations of what is new in the industry and what their plans are currently and in the future. Deschutes Brewery had the largest setup, serving station, and presentation with them boasting to have the beer “Black Butte Porter” that started the craft revolution and a delightful story for their “Twilight Summer Ale” and what twilight means to them. Vicaris Beer from Brewery Dilewyns Dendermonde in Belgium and representative Anne Catherine Dilewyns was next with a captivating personal story of how her family brewery came about, is one of only a few brewers who do not filter, centrifuge, or pasteurize their brews, and was lucky enough to have the claim to fame with their Philly Tripel Belgian Ale to be selected as the Official Beer for Philadelphia Beer Week. She was charismatic and you could tell that being a brewer is not only a passion for her; it truly is in the blood. Following her was Evil Genius Brewery hailing from Kennett Square, Pennsylvania and is a rising star in the craft beer world with major retail chains picking up their products and with all their beers being limited releases and batches, if you find something from them that you like you better buy it while you can and squirrel it away for a rainy day cause you will not see it again. They always want the demand higher than the supply. Last but not least was Boaks Brewery. Their brewmaster Brian Boaks started things out with a Mr. Beer Kit and was instantly hooked on making his own beer. He is proud to consider his organization “Reasonably Rebellious” and only makes beer that he likes. He realizes that this will cause some people not to like his beer, but he feels only making beer that he likes makes it so he can truly promote his product with a truthful passion that others do not have always. After the very informative session and many beers down the hatch, it was the perfect way to get things started and seeing pretzel necklaces adorned event patrons, I knew this was going to be a good time.
Walking around the grounds of the Expo it was obvious that Starfish Junction Productions really put on one of the best beer events I have been to in quite some time and the beautiful weather certainly did not hurt. The lines moved smoothly, security was present but not overbearing, and the event staff was accommodating for anything that was needed. I tried as many beers as I reasonable could as I had plans following the event, and then my stomach called out to me. I figured to get a bite to eat before I departed at the Whirly Pig Food Truck and ordered the duck roast sandwich and the whirly cheesesteak.
The duck roast sandwich consisted of duck confit in pork fat, gala apple slaw, bacon, onion brioche, and a house pickle. Every part of the sandwich was delicious, but the bacon really stood out and I could have used at least one more slice. The meat was tender and moist while the onion brioche held up well. I enjoyed it, but I liked the whirly cheesesteak better which was roast pork, sautéed onions, and provolone cheese on a pretzel long roll. The onions were absolute perfection and they provided plenty of them, the cheese was just the right amount, the pretzel roll complimented everything harmoniously and the pork was just downright tasty. My only complaint was that they were a little light on the serving size of the pork. It filled less than half of the long roll. If they are doing portion control, they really should switch it to a round roll instead, otherwise they need to be a little more generous. I can see why they are up for as many awards as they are as they are one of the better food trucks around, and they are out and about spreading the gospel of tasty pork as talking with them they will be at the 1st Durand Academy Gourmet Truck Fete this upcoming Friday at the Flying W Airport in Medford, New Jersey.
I had a great time from start to finish at the 6th Annual International Great Beer Expo with amazing beers from many different brewers and a nice meal from The Whirly Pig to end the day. This was my first time to this event and I am already itching for next year to do it all again.
Overall for the Whirly Pig
Four out of Five Stars
Overall for 6th Annual International Great Beer Expo
Five out of Five Stars