Philly food is so much more than cheesesteaks. Let us show you.
On Sunday evening, the area’s best and brightest bars, breweries, and restaurants came together to once again put on one of the most enjoyable food and drink events in the region. The event, which benefits Fair Food, is now in its third year at the Kimmel Center, whose sprawling main space and roomy second and third floors reach the perfect balance for an event that is full, but never quite suffocating.
The evening kicked off the night with the new VIP Plus beer pairing challenge between Victory and Allagash (Victory lost) before continuing into the “regular” VIP hour. With an extra hour to try as much food and drink as you can—as well as some VIP-only bonus dishes (one of which was a favorite)—the extra price for the VIP ticket is well within reason. And if you act quickly, the VIP price ends up only being $10 more than a general admission ticket. It’s hard to justify not buying it.
Once again, Brewer’s Plate felt less like a beer and food festival, and more like an elaborate gathering of friends. With so many people who go year after year, it’s easy to run into familiar faces and see plenty of friends in attendance. The food and drink don’t hurt, especially when it seems that neither the breweries nor the restaurants rest on their laurels when it comes to serving here. No one is just showing up with their two standard beers—it’s always something new or something special. The same goes for the restaurants and bars that continually serve up top notch food every year.
We ate our fill of…
Lancaster Chicken Liver & Kielbasa Spiced Scrapple by Guerrilla Ultima – Topped with a Jester’s Smokey Syrup and Siesta Gastrique and paired with Weyerbacher’s Smoked American Porter, this was a definite standout of the night (and my personal favorite). The dish was served warm and had a pleasantly unctuous feel that was over too soon. With just a hint of the liver taste, the scrapple was delicious without being overpoweringly gamey.
Maple Glazed Pork Belly Biscuit by City Tap House – The soft, supple pork belly was like a little dreamy cloud on top of the buttery biscuit. Biting through it, you almost forgot there was supposed to be meat on top it gave way so easily. This was like the best small breakfast bite you could imagine.
Duck Duck Sole by Fair Food Farmstand & Food Underground – This was available for VIP only, and almost single-handedly justified the extra ticket price. A piece of corned duck with pickles, swiss cheese, and mustard made the small bite almost a Rueben and almost impossible to not get more of.
Posole with Smoked Beer-Braised Pork Shoulder by Revolution Taco – I have still yet to stop by Revolution Taco, so I was looking forward to trying maybe a small taco from them when I got…soup. But this rich, flavorful soup with plenty of shreds of pork filling it up will get me out to Revolution Taco in no time.
Jonagold Cider by Three Springs Farms – I’ve been hearing from Ben at Three Springs about his ciders for a while, so it was great to finally get to try them. They were serving varieties with chokeberries, hops, and one made from Jonagold apples, which was all of our favorite. Even if you don’t think of yourself as a cider drinker, keep an eye out for these. They’re as good as it gets.
There were, of course, plenty more dishes and drinks worth mentioning at the event (Bobolink Dairy’s cheese plate was the best of the night, Naked Brewing’s Black Currant Rising was fruity without being cloying, and McCrossen’s Tavern’s meatball crostini with ricotta—while a bit too big for a multiple-tasting fest like this—was worth trying). I say the same thing every year: if you have been, you know how great it is and you’re probably going again. If you haven’t been, you need to get there. You have no excuse. I’ll see you there next year.