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Jose Pistola's weekly Cheap Kittens R&B Soul Open Jam was cancelled this Sunday, but people still flocked to the bar in light of the upcoming Philly Beer Week. Credit: Zoe Gan , Zoe Gan

The Founding Fathers were not the only contributors to Philadelphia’s title as the City of Firsts.

Named by Esquire as the “Best Beer-Drinking City in America,” Philadelphia started the nation’s first craft beer celebration five years ago. This year, over 90 cafes, bars, breweries and restaurants across the city will hold events in its annual 10-day celebration starting June 1. Depending on the venue, events include free beer tasting, debuts of rare craft beers, drink and meal specials, live music and games.

“Philly Craft Beer Week has started a revolution,” said City Tap House Manager Andy Farrell. With over 40 major cities in America now following precedent to the festivities, Farrell considers the week a time when “a great community” is forged.

The purpose of the celebration is to acknowledge privately-owned breweries. “It’s beer that’s been made with a little bit of heart and a little bit of soul, not just some robot in a big factory somewhere,” said Farrell, referring to macro-breweries such as Budweiser, Miller Light and Coors Light.

The week was initiated because Philadelphia has “one of the most vibrant craft brewing scenes in the country,” said Farrell, with several award-winning micro-breweries such as Yards, Victory and Sly Fox. “We get to drink things that other people in the world would never get to have,” he said.

With over 800 events city-wide, it is no surprise that many University City venues will also partake in the festivities. White Dog Café, New Deck Tavern and Baby Blues BBQ will throw a daylong block party on Sansom between 34th and 36th streets on June 7. On June 10, Dock Street Brewery will host “Philly Beer Run & Music Fest,” a tag-teamed race through University City followed by a free music performance by Hoots & Hellmouth.

For City Tap House’s third year participating in Beer Week, they plan to have many fun events including “Bald Men Love Beer,” in which people wear bald caps and drink world-class beer.

“I’m bald, you’re bald. We both love beer. So let’s have an event for bald men who appreciate great beer!” he said, recalling the origin of this event from his conversation with renowned brewer Tomme Arthur.

Other events at City Tap House include “Day of Games” with tricycle races on the patio, blind beer-tasting and “Southern Tier Reggae Night” jamming with Predator Dub Assassin.

Rising Nursing senior Madelyn Keyser, who became 21 nearly three weeks ago, will be a first-time Beer Week participant because of her father. “My birthday card was picture of a pint of beer, and inside it was a $20 bill with a Post-it saying that it can only be redeemed during Beer Week,” she said.

“I wanted to save my experience in the heart of the city and the nightlife until I became 21,” she said. “Now that I’m at that age, I’m looking forward to kicking off with Beer Week, even though I’m not necessarily a beer enthusiast.”

Local bar attendees were also excited for the upcoming festivities. “I’ll definitely go to the events, no doubt,” said Chris Brush, a patron at City Tap House.

“Beer week is a great way for people to venture out of their comfort zones with beer,” City Tap House bartender Joe Heddings said. “Much like Restaurant Week.”

“The idea that people can get together over something as ‘trivial’ as beer and celebrate it – it’s like a fraternity,” Farrell said. “It’s something that everyone wants to be a part of and included in, especially to celebrate something fun.”

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