Philly gets a preview of food festival season this Friday with Brewer’s Plate, the beer pairing fest with a “buy fresh, buy local” mission. Breweries, distilleries, winemakers, farmers, and chefs will be spread out over multiple levels of the Kimmel Center during the annual event, which is run by — and raises money for — nonprofit organization Fair Food. Tickets are $77 for the 7:30 p.m. entry or $99 for VIP admission starting at 6:30 p.m.
Unlike most food and drink festivals, at Brewer’s Plate the chefs are teamed up with brewers and other alcohol-providers and tasked with creating food/beer pairings. This year, a few of the offerings include buttermilk biscuits with mushroom gravy and country ham from Bud & Marilyn’s matched with Yards Brewing Co.’s Golden Hop IPA, Tria’s pistachio-herb ricotta bruschetta and blue cheese with fig jam washed down with Dogfish Head’s Dragons & YumYums, and Cinder’s stuffed dates with speck, gorgonzola dolce, and balsamic reduction paired with a choice of Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.’s seasonal Orbital Tilt IPA or Kurant Cider’s Bees.
All told, about 30 restaurants will be represented at Brewer’s Plate, with Hungry Pigeon, Brauhaus Schmitz, Dim Sum House, High Street on Market, Varga Bar, the Pistola’s trio (Jose Pistola’s, Sancho Pistola’s, Pistola’s Del Sur), and more joining the eateries listed above.
Regular entry is sufficient, though showing up on time is key here because the crowds will just keep growing. VIP ticket holders do get to avoid some of the jostling for a spot in front of the best tables, plus they can try a few beers that won’t be poured later in the evening, like Brewery ARS’ Simpleton, a saison brewed with local honey.
Fair Food has been active since 2000, when it was set up by Judy Wicks, who founded the sustainably minded Philly institution White Dog Café. The organization connects restaurants, colleges, hospitals, and other businesses with farmers in the region. The goal is to support a humane, sustainable agriculture system locally, and bring locally grown food into Philly.