Craft Brewers' Conference
Kick Off Party
Yards Brewing
Phila, PA

For the first time, the National Craft Brewers' Conference was held in the City of Brotherly Love. Over a thousand people from the industry made their way to Philadelphia enjoying all that this historical hotbed has to offer. Its national historical significance as well as the rich brewing history contained in the area made it the perfect choice for this annual event.
Several ice-breaking events happened around town giving the visitor a good idea of what he had in store for the rest of the week.

One of these main events was a party at Yards Brewing Co in historic Kensington. Situated in an old brewery building originally owned by the Weissbrod & Hess Brewing Co, this venue exuded brewing history. Here breweries from NJ, DE and PA set up tasting tables for the attendees to enjoy the region's best. Several of the visiting breweries also brought some samples of their own to the delight of the locals.
Buses ran from the Marriott Center City just about every 15 minutes, so the crowds poured in quickly.

I was lucky enough to be asked to volunteer to pour the beers from the Garden State Brewers Guild which got me in the door. I have been to 4 GABFs, but the concentration of the Who's Who in the Beer World was by far much greater here. Brewers, owners, writers, suppliers, they were all there. Such names as Adam Avery(Avery BC), Tomme Arthur(Pizza Port), Dick Cantwell(Elysian), Randy Thiel(Ommegang), Sam Calagione(Dogfish), Garrett Oliver(Brooklyn BC), Tom Baker(Heavyweight), Carol Stoudt(Stoudts), Larry Bell(Kalamazoo), Eric Rose(Santa Barbara), Brandon Greenwood (Lion),Ron Barchet(Victory), Mark Edelson, Bob Barrar, Chris LaPierre, Larry Horwitz, Justin Sproul, & Brian Finn(all of Iron Hill), Gene Muller(Flying Fish), Todd Ashman(formerly of Flossmoor & Titletown), Mike Sella(Pizzeria Uno),Tom Stevenson (Triumph), Ted Briggs(Tun Tavern), August Lightfoot(JJ Bittings), Dan Soboti(Gaslight), Charlie Papazian(ABA), Ralph Olsen, Dave & Becky(Hop Union), Don Younger(Horse Brass Pub), Greg Kitsock(Brewing News), Tom Dalldorf(Celebrator Beer News), Andy Musser(Anchor Brewing), Sebbie Buhler(Rogue), Tom Peters & Fergie(Monk's) local writers, Jack Curtin, George Hummel, the names go on and on and they were the ones that I recognized! I got the chance to walk around for a bit and say hello to several people I haven't seen in a while as well as get a taste of some of the offerings, but for the most part, I attended to my duties.
Local foods abounded also. Cheesesteaks of the beef, chicken and saitan(soy) variety, Italian hoagies as well as soft pretzels and piles of Tastycakes were being served.
Part of the setup was out in the courtyard of the brewery and the night was quite chilly, but most didn't notice. Old friends renewed contact, new friends were made and the beer flowed!
The 2 hour session passed quickly and it was a bit later by the time everyone was cleared out of the brewery. There were other places to go and beers to drink! A good head start was gotten by all.
The main events started the next morning with a welcome by Yards' Tom Kehoe and a trade show with all the latest technology. Friday & Saturday presented seminars for all those interested.  Bus trips would also be running to all parts of the suburbs for attendees to visit the brewpubs not easily accessible from downtown. A full 4 days of events!
I hope all those that attended enjoyed the City's hospitality and that many will return to the City on their own and bring their friends with them.