Monday, January 28, 2008

Brewer's Plate Expands, Moves

The Brewer's Plate, an annual fund-raiser for the Fair Food Project, will change its venue and alter its structure slightly this year.

For the fourth edition of the foodbrew fest, the schedule was moved up month, from April to March, to coordinate with Philly Beer Week, said Kathryn Hauge, event coordinator. That means it will take place on Sunday, March 9 which, coincidentally or not, is also the last day of the Philadelphia Flower Show.

Hauge said that with more brewers and restaurants on tap than last year, growing attendance, and the overlap with the humongous horticultural event at the convention center, White Dog sought a larger, more workable venue, hence this year's event moves over to the Independence Visitor Center from the Reading Terminal Market, site of the previous three Brewer's Plates.

The basic idea is unchanged: brewers will be paired with restaurants, whose chefs will match food to the brews offered. In past years, two different beers were offered for each restaurant. This year, with the number of participating brewers and restaurants growing to 21 apiece (not counting DiBruno Bros. – more about that later) each brewer will present one beer paired to one restaurant's dish.

Tickets are $50. That gets you general admission, all the food and beer you can consume (without becoming inebriated) and a souvenir tasting cup. Designated drivers pay $40.

But for the price of a VIP ticket ($100, or $80 for designated drivers) you get admission a half hour earlier, so you can attack the food and beer stalls in a slightly more leisurely environment, live music on the heated, tented terrace, special seating in the ballroom (vs. crowded high top tables on the grand hall), live jazz, gift bag to take home (along with specially selected beers to take home, too). Also, a curated beer list, different from those available in the main hall, and additional food catered by DiBruno's will be served.

If your thirst extends to knowledge, VIP ticket holders can have it quenched it can be quenched through beer tutorials led by Marnie Olds and Garrett Oliver. Olds is a regarded as one of Philadelphia's top wine educators who has extended her expertise to beer. Oliver is brewmaster of Brooklyn Brewery and the author of "The Brewmaster's Table".

Details – including list of the 21 participating brewers and 21 participating restaurants – can be found at The Brewer's Plate website. If you want to find out what else is happening beer-wise that week, visit the Philadelphia Beer Week website.

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