When locals talk about Manayunk, images of fumbling beer bottles and intoxicated college students often come to mind. But a handful of beer connoisseurs at Manayunk Brewery and Restaurant attended this weekend’s Brew Fest to contest the area’s common misconception of being a party town.
The event, which took place outside of the establishment at 4120 Main St., attracted beer enthusiasts from neighboring counties across the Delaware Valley.
Mike Rose, the owner and operator of Manayunk Brewery, clutched a cane but maintained an air of suaveness that impressed both attendees and media figures filling the brightly lit alleyway outside of the establishment. His unique preferences for particular brands of beer emerged quickly from conversation, but he made sure not to favor one over another, so not to exclude the more than 20 different vendors that participated in the event.
“I enjoy beer with a Belgium flair,” Rose said with a laugh. “But I am a true beer lover.”
In its 13th year, Manayunk’s Brew Fest is the premier stop for locals looking to taste some of the area’s lesser-known brands of beer as well as network with other beer enthusiasts. Rose said the $45 entry fee is a fair price and affords attendees a unique opportunity. All of the vendors are established businesses, but many of them began as basement affairs.
Muller Inc., a five-county beer distributor located at 2800 Grant Ave., lured attendees to taste products ranging from SAB Miller and Pabst Brewing Company, along with some other local brews.
Mile Moser, an exuberant sales representative for the distributor, said the company hosts two wind-powered breweries in-house, which produce mostly English-style ales—a type of beer brewed from malted barley and preserved with hops.
“We house some of the fastest growing breweries in the area,” Moser said. “And the response out here [Manayunk’s Brew Fest] has been fantastic. This is our first year out here.”
Muller Inc. was founded by Jack Muller in the 1930s when it was originally called Philadelphia Holmesburg Distributing—the business went through a brief hiatus in 1938 while Jack served in World War II. The company claims to be the nation’s largest distributor of malt beverages and currently employs more than 150 workers.
But Manayunk’s Brew Fest isn’t just about the vendors—it’s about the attendees. Some of the visitors enjoyed the event’s numerous musical offerings, but most of them hung out under umbrellas covered in sponsor propaganda while sipping on beer samples.
Dan Alma, a 28-year-old Manayunk resident who recently purchased a house, commended the efforts of Manayunk Brewery as well as the vendors.
“I like the setting,” Alma said. “It’s not overly crowded and the atmosphere is very relaxing.
Alma, a physical therapist, recently moved to the area after living in Rochester, N.Y. He admitted to being persuaded to move to Manayunk because of a girl he was dating, but that Manayunk presents a unique social atmosphere not found in many cities.
“There’s nothing quite like Manayunk,” Alma said. “And especially nothing like this event. The price is affordable and I am certainly a self-declared beer enthusiast. I want to try everything here.”