Philadelphia foodies and beer buffs can join like-minded others and head to the Brewer’s Plate, a Fair Food fundraiser that showcases pairings from local brewers and chefs. The event, which will be held March 9, began 10 years ago as a small festival at the Reading Terminal Market, and has outgrown one venue after another with its rising popularity. In celebration of its 10th anniversary, this year’s gala will be held for the first time at the Kimmel Center, where more than 1,000 guests can gather to drink, dine and dish about the local food scene.
The Brewer’s Plate will showcase an ever-growing list of vendors. The Garces Group, owned and operated by Chef Jose Garces, is heavily represented, alongside smaller shops such as the Franklin Fountain and newbie cider-makers Frecon Farms. Local breweries small (Prism, Roy Pitz) and large (Victory, Yards) will offer their prizewinning brews. And this year, a new sponsor will round out the craft beer offerings: the Boston Beer Company, brewer of Samuel Adams.
Victory Brewing Company is planning a collaborative ale with the Boston group, which has actually been brewing most of its beer in the Lehigh Valley since the mid-2000s. Victory founder Bill Covaleski says the partnership will give the Samuel Adams brewers a chance to educate Pennsylvanians about their local operations.
VIP tickets will include access to a sausage-and-beer pairing competition between the Garces restaurants. The chefs plan to offer several alternatives to pork, including a vegan sausage. This omnivorous theme will be repeated throughout the venue. VIP admission will also include access to a Fair Food forum to be held on the Kimmel Center’s terrace an hour before general admission access. Fair Food Executive Director Ann Karlen says, “We’ve been doing this for 10 years, and it dawned on us a few years in—as the event grew and got popular—that the event started to take on a life of its own. For the last few years, we’ve worked to do everything we can to connect it back to us and to local food.”
Karlen says that bars will be integrated throughout the two event tiers, and a Locavore Lounge will offer spirits for those less inclined toward beer. And Samuel Adams will feature the top three bartenders from its upcoming Angry Orchard Cider cocktail competition to mix drinks at the event.
“What we have at Brewer’s Plate is a platform for each brewery and restaurant to speak in terms of what’s important to them,” Covaleski says. “It’s bringing a room of people who care about quality food to all these stations where engaged people offer information about the integrity of their products.”
Story by Molly O'Neill. Photos by Donna Connor.