Through its first few days, Philly Beer Week has had some pretty remarkable beer events. Many venues throughout the city have been packed, as beer enthusiasts have attended the events in droves.
Take, for example, the Founders Brewing Company event at Kite and Key. On a Monday afternoon at 5 p.m., which is hardly the most common time for city folks to be out at a bar drinking, Kite and Key was completely packed with patrons seeking to sample Founders’ high quality, high alcohol and highly rare beers. The two superstars were Canadian Breakfast Stout, a beer aged in maple and whiskey soaked wood with Sumatra and Kona coffee beans breakast stout, and Kenutkcy Breakfast Stout (KBS), an imperial stout brewed with coffee and chocolates before aged in bourbon barrels for an entire year. Both beers are among the top seven rated beers in the world, contain over nine percent alcohol and are only available for a limited time each year.
As of 4:30 p.m. on Monday, the crowd started to form. To help ensure that those who arrived early were rewarded for their efforts, the bar passed out two decks of cards, with the recipients being guaranteed a Canadian Breakfast Stout or a KBS. The two decks were dealt long before 5 p.m. Finally, at 4:57, with the crowd waiting like the commodities stockbrokers in Trading Places right before the Frozen Concentrated Orange Juice market opened up, Kite and Key started serving up the beer, with those holding cards having first access.
With the demand high, the bartenders were essentially keeping the Canadian Breakfast Stout tap open and just moving glass after glass under the spigot for each 10 ounce pour. It was as efficient an operation as you could have for such a mad house. Somehow, without card access, I managed to make my way to the bar where others without cards were being served after those with cards had received their drinks. After I got the bartender’s attention, I ordered two Canadian Breakfast Stouts for my companion and myself, received the prepoured beers, paid the money and took the beers and ran (actually, walked away) in case a mistake had been made in allowing me beer access.
The beer itself was tremendous. It’s quite complex and has a nice aroma. You can definitely taste the whiskey flavor. Especially factoring in the high alcohol content, it’s not a beer you chug quickly; instead, you savor every last drop of it.
With the demand ridiculously high, the sixtel keg of Candian Breakfast Stout kicked at 5:12 – about 15 minutes after it began pouring. That’s pretty remarkable considering all the other fantastic beers available, including the KBS, Nemesis and All Day IPA. It’s also a further sign of how knowledgeable many Philadelphians are about good craft beer.