Philadelphia, PA - Teddy Sourias and Craft Concepts Group (BRU Craft & Wurst, U-Bahn, Cinder, Tradesman's, Tinsel) announce the return of Uptown Beer Garden to 1735 JFK Blvd. Starting this Thursday, May 3, 2018, at 5:00pm, kegs will start to pour for Uptown's fourth summer season with a weekend-long grand opening party in the heart of Center City. Changes for the 9,000 square foot outdoor pop-up garden will include five exclusive beers and an exclusive cider brewed specially for Uptown guests, a new and expanded food menu, expanded bar service, and a new charity partner in Wigs and Wishes.
Uptown also will also open earlier than ever before and stay open almost four more weeks this year. Uptown also shares an early events line-up and Sourias is proud to share that Uptown has been selected as the official Beer Garden of Philly Beer Week by Philly Loves Beer.
HOURS AND DAYS AND EXTENDED SEASON - Starting on Thursday, May 3, 2018, Uptown Beer Garden will return to the Philadelphia's financial district and Logan Circle neighborhood six days a week. Hours will be Mondays and Tuesdays, from 5:00pm to 10:00pm, and Wednesdays through Saturdays, from 2:00pm to Midnight.
This season starts one week early and the season is extended to almost four additional weeks this year - making this the longest season for Uptown Beer Garden ever.
SIX EXCLUSIVE BEERS AND CIDERS NEW FOR 2018 - Uptown will expand - last year Alex and team wanted to take the level of quality for beer gardens up a notch by designed three well-regarded exclusive beers - this year he wanted to challenge himself, local brewers and his team by expanding that to six beers (including a cider this time) that you can only get in Philadelphia at Uptown Beer Garden.
Director of Operations and Beer Director Alex Bokulich collaborated and brewed each of the customer beers with some of his favorite brewrs. Quotes and descriptions from Bokulich are below. He worked on this during the entire winter and early spring to be ready for this ambitious line-up for the early May opening this year.
"In previous years, I worked with some of my favorite local breweries to get "special" beers that we collaborated on, and I went out to assist in brewing. Originally the idea was to create something available nowhere else, to set us apart from everybody else... but last year the three custom drafts worked out so well, that I decided we want to challenge our team even more and work on creating a fully custom list for the summer. The exclusivity is nice, but at this point, the greater intent is to custom make six products that perfectly suit the drinking trends and proclivities of the Uptown customer, and for the gestalt to be a unified list that fits together seamlessly, highlighting some of our favorite local breweries, and covering all flavor and body profiles to fit all tastes."
Here is the list, presented in the same order it will on our menu. These beers are all designed to work well both on cooler spring/fall evenings and nights, as well as the oppressive summer heat - but still there is some variance in strength and body. They are listed here from lightest to heaviest.
BLUEBERRY-LAVENDER CIDER - Semi-Sweet Cider, 5.0%. Jack's Ciders, Biglerville
Since BRU opened in 2013, I have been working closely with Pennsylvania cider makers, particularly the "growers" in Adams County, where nearly 80% of all PA apples are grown. Jacks did a custom cider for us at Cinder, and it's worked out so well, that it was an easy decision to do this one for the summer. We decided to use their lightly sweet, off-dry Original cider as a basis, and then add fresh blueberries, lavender, and just a touch of citrus zest. The sweetness of the apples balances nicely with the acidity of the berries, and the lavender brings these flavors together, and imparts a brilliant pinkish-purple color, not dissimilar from the best part of a sunset :)
COCKTAILS & DREAMS - Tropical Wheat Ale, 5.0%. Evil Genius Brewing, Fishtown/Philly
Evil Genius has established themselves as a popular young brewery, particularly with fruit-flavored beers given clever pop culture names. This beer was designed to sit next to the cider as our lightest/fruitiest option, and is brewed as a German-style Hefeweizen base, dosed generously with Mango, Guava, and Pineapple puree. The name is in honor of the Jamaican "paradise" bar from the movie Cocktail (1988). While we may miss some of our millennial customer with this reference, I'm confident that they'll taste the inspiration.
BECKY BEER - Coconut Mexican Lager, 4.5%. 2SP Brewing, Aston
We have collaborated on several beers with 2SP previously, and they have established themselves in less than 5yrs as one of the preeminent breweries in Pennsylvania, capable of hitting it on a wide breadth of different styles. Last year we created an excellent IPA together (Solar Baby - which will be back at another bar, stay tuned!), but the plan this year was to create a type of beer that we were unable to find on draft previously. We brewed a very light blonde lager using similar methods to the "Mexican Lager" style, and then dosed it at the end with coconut extract, which plays of the naturally occurring "coconutty" esters of the lager yeast, and the very gentle hop additions. Served with a slice of lime, we expect this to be the kind of beer you have one of... and then a half dozen more.
GESTALT PILSNER - Pilsner, 5.0%. Weyerbacher Brewing, Easton
While the first three drafts on the list are extremely light, and have fruit or other non-traditional ingredients, this one is designed to create a clean, traditional Pilsner - probably my personal favorite style for the summer months. American Pilsners have exploded in the last five years, but are often much hoppier than their traditional German and Czech counterparts. Our goal here was to use a very fruity German hop variety, called Mandarina Bavaria, and to only use a small amount for "bittering" in the boil, instead generously "aromoa" hopping in the whirlpool at the finish. The result is an incredibly crisp, clean lager, with big citrusy and fruity aromatics from the Mandarina Bavaria hops, but then minimal back end bitterness, and a dry, refreshing finish.
JAKE NEWS - 'Juicy' IPA, 5.9%. Coppertail Brewing, Tampa FL
Coppertail is one of our house favorite breweries at BRU, and we always love to work with their brewmaster, Casey Hughes, a Philly expatriate who helped build the craft beer movement and culture in the Delaware Valley in the previous decade. This year, we worked together to create a fresh, "juicy," and very fruity IPA to counterbalance our returning favorite, Uptown IPA. We used primarily Pilsner malt and flaked oats for a smooth mouthfeel and very light body, and then hopped with Medusa, Mandarina Bavaria, and cryo-Simcoe. The result is a light, blonde IPA with massive orange aroma, and a variety of subtle fruity flavors, with a dry, minimally bitter finish. This IPA could be put in the hands of "hop heads" and "hop-haters" and make them smile alike.
UPTOWN IPA - 'Dank' IPA, 6.5%. Pizza Boy Brewing, Enola
Back once again, this has been our top selling draft each of the past two seasons. This hazy IPA is not quite as big as some of the monstrous hoppy ales popular on the market today, but the aroma and hop presence is certainly there. We used Pilsner and Pale malt to get a medium body, without too much weight for the summer - then hopped generously in the boil as well as whirlpool with Simcoe, Amarillo, Citra, and Falconer's Flight. The result is a slightly turbid ale, with medium body, huge hop aroma, and a piney/resiny finish.
FOOD AND DRINK MENU FOR OPENING - Uptown Beer Garden will see two returning faces behind the grill for 2018, including Executive Chef Craig Meyers from BRU Craft and Wurst and Craft Concepts Group, and BRU Sous Chef Steve Lindabury. Building on the success of last year's food program, chefs will bring you new elevated backyard BBQ and pub favorites cooked on the giant outdoor grill. The new menu for 2018 includes some returning customer favorites, but in general most items are new. The focus this year was to tighten up the menu and focus on what customers want - while we challenge our team and maintain high quality.
Alex said, "The menu is straightforward with accessible items that are familiar to pretty much everybody.. and to focus on making every dish excellent! We are going to source a proprietary beef frank and pierogie from local vendors, and then every single other item will be completely from scratch. As soon as June hits, all of our vegetables will be locally sourced as well. Making everything from scratch and placing even a greater priority on local sourcing are part of the new kitchen focus for Uptown in our fourth year. This is in line with what is happening at Cinder, BRU and Tradesman's when it opens."