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Brewer's Plate 2015 in Philadelphia Pennsylvania

The Brewer’s Plate – A Celebration of Local Food and Beer in Philadelphia

In Festivals, North America, USA by Daryl & Mindi Hirsch16 Comments

The Brewer’s Plate is a celebration of local food and beer in Philadelphia. Presented by Fair Foods, Brewer’s Plate 2015 was loaded with food, beer and fun.

Brewer's Plate 2015 in Philadelphia Pennsylvania

Suddenly everybody is a foodie.

We don’t know exactly when this happened. There was a time, not so long ago, when we stood out for our love of food. Now, it seems that every Tom, Dick and Harriet is talking about grass-fed this and organically grown that. As we listen to new foodies and their oh-so-earnest diatribes on food, we often hold our tongues since half of what they’re saying doesn’t make any sense.

But the heightened awareness of food is not all bad. Food quality has increased at almost every level, as has the availability of artisan foods and beverages. There are also more food festivals, or eat and greets as we call them, offering the chance to sample a wide variety of food and mingle with chefs.

Tasting Tip: There are lots of food festivals these days, and some are better than others. It’s important to do your research about the participating restaurants before you plunk down your hard-earned money.

The Brewer’s Plate is a food festival that we really like for its selection, vibe and value. This festival has been presented by Fair Food in Philadelphia for the past eleven years and at the Kimmel Center for the past two years. Founded by Judy Wicks in 2001, Fair Foods is focused on bringing locally grown food to the masses. As food lovers, we heartily support the Fair Foods mission.

Chef at Brewers Plate 2015

Brewer’s Plate features food from local restaurants paired with beverages from regional breweries and distilleries. This year’s event was held at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia for the second year in a row.

What makes Brewer’s Plate unique among the plethora of food festivals is that local beer takes an equal, if not lead, role to the food. In fact, each food sample is paired with a complimenting beer or, in some cases, spirit. It’s a concept that makes perfect sense to us.

The normally quiet Kimmel Center was alive with the buzz of activity during Brewer’s Plate. As we wandered around the bustling festival, we tasted foods from restaurants that we love as well as from restaurants that are new to us. We nibbled on cheeses made by farmers whom we know and respect, and we chatted with friends, old and new, from all parts of the Philly food scene.

Brisket Taco

Distrito Sous Chef Josh Shapiro’s sweet and spicy brisket taco highlighted many of the eclectic culinary options at this year’s Brewer’s Plate. The taco was paired with hand crafted cocktails from Philadelphia Distilling.

Black Mission Fig Wrapped in Serrano Ham

Food festivals have become a ubiquitous part of America’s food culture. At this year’s Brewer’s Plate in Philadelphia, Chef Jose Garces’ Amada presented black mission figs wrapped in Serrano ham paired with beers from Philadelphia’s Yards Brewing Company.

Raw Oysters

JG Domestic took Brewer’s Plate to the next level by including Sly Fox beer both as an ingredient and as pairing partner. Chef Chris Beyer spooned up raw oysters made with herb oil, smoked chives, dehydrated tomato skins and a reduction of the local brewery’s Nihilist Russian Imperial Stout.

Meyer Lemon Cheesecake

Desserts are also available at Philadelphia’s Brewer’s Plate. Varga Bar’s cups of Meyer lemon cheesecake trifle were a colorful addition to the event.

Beer – The Best Part of Brewer’s Plate in Philadelphia

As much as we enjoyed the food, the real highlight for us was the opportunity to taste such a wide selection of local beers. We’re huge fans of craft beer, and we found some new favorites which we will look out for around town.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that there’s so much great beer at this type of event in Philadelphia. The city has a rich beer history that started before the Revolutionary War. Back in the day, Ben Franklin, a founding father and Philadelphia resident, said that “beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” More recently, the Philadelphia region has stepped up as a national leader in the art of beer making, fueled by a veritable explosion in the number of quality breweries and pubs. It’s no wonder that the country’s first Beer Week started in Philadelphia and is a huge annual happening.

We hate to pick favorites, but it was fun to try the special Bon Vivant collaboration beer made by local Victory Brewing and Michigan’s Brewery Vivant. As for the other beers, we plan to visit many of the breweries and meet the brewers in the coming months. There are so many local breweries that we want to untap and explore. It’s a tough challenge, but we’re ready and thirsty.

A nice touch at Brewer’s Plate is that each attendee gets a souvenir glass to use at the event and to take home. At last year’s Brewer’s Plate, our glasses mysteriously disappeared after we briefly left them on a table while we were talking, forcing us to scrounge for replacements. This year, we were more careful and no such disappearance occurred. These new glasses will surely come in handy with all the beer tasting that’s ahead of us.


Hungry for more? Check out our Philadelphia food guide with the best restaurants in town. 


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Disclosures: We were guests of Brewer’s Plate to facilitate this article. Also, Daryl is an employee of Garces Group, a sponsor and participant at this year’s Brewer’s Plate.

The Brewer's Plate is a celebration of local food and beer in Philadelphia.

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Comments

  1. This would be so amazing to attend. We don’t have any type of food festivals around here but I’m still hoping our little town in Georgia will catch up with the rest of the world one day. That food looks amazing and I think it’s pretty cool that everyone gets a souvenir glass. Bummer that yours disappeared last year.

    1. Author

      Atlanta has lots of food festivals. Maybe you can get to one of those this summer.

  2. This restaurant has a very interesting name. However, based on your photos this is a place I would try if I were in the area. The cheesecake looks like it tastes really good.

    1. Author

      The food is actually from different restaurants. That’s the beauty of a food festival!

  3. I’d love to got to Brewers Plate! It sounds like a wonderful festival. I’m a HUGE fan of food festivals, but I have to limit them to one a year. If I went to all the ones around me, I’d never fit through the door. I like to indulge…

  4. I agree with you that nowadays everyone claims that they are a foodie. But is that really a bad thing? So many people are starting to eat organic, locally grown foods….that can only move our planet and society in a much better direction than where it had been going in the past. I absolutely love following your Instagram feed…I drool over just about every photo.

  5. Food festival is the way to go if you want to try different kinds of food. You just have to find out which are healthy for you. We are going to a Festival of Nation this weekend and can’t wait o try different foods,

  6. I never had the chance to go to Philly. Yet. I lived in Ontario for a number of years, and a few of the guys I worked with used to drive down on a weekend to catch an NHL game, then drive back up. I can imagine I’d love visiting this place, and one day I will venture out there – especially now that I live in the USA and domestic flights are soo much cheaper than Canadian domestic one’s. 🙂

  7. All of this food looks amazing! I love hitting up festivals to try out new food and drinks! Its always great to see what new creations restaurants come out with and to find new local restaurants as well!

  8. I grew up in a family that valued the importance of trying new foods and appreciating food from different cultures. Food festivals are something I always want to try but feel apprehensive because I am allergic to wheat and would need gluten-free food. Always such a bummer to love food and to not be able to enjoy all aspects of it! 😉

  9. Although I am not a huge fan of craft beer, we will be traveling to Philadelphia to at the end of the month. I am looking forward to the opportunity to taste test such a wide selection of beers. Hoping to find a new favorite as you have!

    1. Author

      Awesome – let us know if you want any suggestions on where to taste test beer in Philly.

  10. Everyone loves to put Philadelphia together with Cheesesteaks but there are so many places all around Philly that have amazing foods. Now I don’t drink beer or anything like that but food festivals are amazing and such a great way to try new foods and see what else is out there. =D The photos you shared are beautiful and it looks like it was a lot of fun!!

    1. Author

      Thanks Amanda for you kind words about the photos. And you’re so right – there’s so much great food in Philly beyond cheesesteaks!

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