As we are now approaching Memorial Day weekend, beer festivals will be occurring more often than usual. On May 20, 2017, a new beer festival was launched in South Philly named The All-Star Craft Beer & Wine Festival which was held at Citizens Bank Park. This event was advertised as showcasing over 100 vendors, which included: craft breweries, wineries, spirits, and other vendors commonly found at a beer festival. The layout of this event was such that it took place throughout the concourse of the stadium, which was a great idea in the event of inclement weather. There was an option to purchase VIP tickets that allowed a one hour head start for patrons and access to the Hall of Fame club to sample other beverages that were not available to General Admission ticketholders. All patrons were given a voucher upon entry valid for 2 tickets to a Phillies game throughout the 2017 season and given access to the ballfield to experience walking the bases and to visit the Phillies dugout.
One of breweries in attendance that I sampled was Forgotten Boardwalk (Cherry Hill, NJ) who brought their popular beers, Funnel Cake and Pocket Trick. Another was Manayunk Brewing (Philadelphia) in which one of their offerings included The Weekender, a hoppy pilsner that took 2nd place Lager at Craig Laban’s 2017 Brewvitational. Finally, Tuckahoe Brewing (Egg Harbor Twp, NJ) sampled Quatrain, a nicely balanced 6.4% hazy IPA.
Although the event was a very nice experience and a welcomed addition to the calendar of beer festivals in the area, there were a few concerns voiced by several ticketholders. One of which was the exorbitant amount of VIP tickets sold for this event, which left me to wonder the amount of General Admission ticketholders would be entering after the VIP hour. Another concern was the combination of both leading to several vendors running out of products to sample. Since many breweries had representatives on hand to pour beer, the staff of Citizens Bank Park handled any other pours and had little to no knowledge of craft beer.
I am hopeful that this event returns next year and that they can only build on any feedback that is received by the promoter.