It's finally here. Philly Beer Week 2013 is upon us, and bringing scads of beers and brewers that are almost too much for one person to handle. Tonight is the big festival kickoff known as Opening Tap, which is going down at the Independence Visitor Center. After that, though, you're going need a plan to help you navigate the insanity taking place over the next 10 days. Well, we've got your back. Follow our gameplan, and you should be alright.
1. Download the iPhone and/or Android Philly Beer Week 2013 app - This app has been completely invaluable since it launched a couple years back. It allows you to sort through the hundreds of events by day, brewery, type of event, and more. Then, you can pick and choose which ones you're interested in and it puts together an itinerary.
2. Philly Tap Finder - The Philly Tap Finder team has been refining their website for a few years now, and it's one of the most powerful tools in the beer nerd arsenal. It allows you to search for specific beers and where they'll be throughout the next ten days. It also tells you what beers are on tap at the moment at hundreds of bars throughout the city with uncanny accuracy.
3. The Brew Lounge - Bryan Kolesar is the hardest working man in the beer game that isn't being paid for his efforts. Kolesar has been running the Brew Lounge website for years, and his annual Beer Week spreadsheet is the stuff of legend. It's a concise spreadsheet that's perfect for those of you who live for Excel and know how to wrangle its power. One of the most entertaining facets of the Brew Lounge is his "By The Numbers" breakdown of an almost unmanageable celebration of suds.
4. The Philly.com Brewvitational - Philadelphia Inquirer food critic Craig LaBan leads a group of beer professionals—Will Reed of Standard Tap, Bryan Kolesar of The Brew Lounge, Tara Nurin of Ale Street News, Andrew Rich of Penn Brewing, Steve Wildy of Vetri, Natalie DeChico of Weyerbacher, Dan DeLuca of The Inquirer—in doing a blind tasting to decide which local beers are the best of the bunch. Most, if not all of the competing beers will be available during Beer Week, and are a good starting point for people who have not kept up with the new releases this year from our best local breweries. Of course, Bryan Kolesar found the best way to organize all of the info from The Brew-vitational in a neat and orderly fashion.