Features and Press Releases

UPTOWN BEER GARDEN OPENS FOR 2018 SEASON WITH SIX EXCLUSIVE NEW BEERS AND CIDERS, FOUR EXTRA WEEKS AND NEW MENU

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, 2018Uptown 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.”

UPTOWN MENU 2018

Fingers

Hand Cut Fries $5
hop salt, lemon aioli

Bavarian Pretzel $6
pale ale ‘wiz’

Crab & Artichoke Dip $9
spinach, asiago, pita

MexiCorn $5
queso fresco, alleppo, cilantro

Fried Pierogies $7
sour cream, chives

Nachos $9
wiz, black bean, tomato, onion, jalapeno
add pork, chicken, or grilled mushrooms $2

Hands

Tacos $8
lettuce, sour cream, pico de gallo
add pork, chicken, or grilled mushrooms $2

Chicago Dog $6
tomato, onion, pickles, pepper relish

BBQ Pork Sliders $11
served with housemade pickles

Crabcake Sandwich $10
lettuce, tomato, lemon aioli

Village Gyro $9
chicken, tomato, onion, tzatziki, pita

Uptown Burger $10
cranberry creek aged gouda, grilled mushrooms, onion, garlic mayo

DRAFTS $7

All drafts are all custom collaboration, brewed in partnership with our local (and not so local) friends!  These are available at our location, and the associated brewery taprooms – but no where else in Philadelphia. Uptown will carry drafts from other breweries during special events and Philly Beer Week. The new line-up for 2018 includes:

Jack’s ‘Blueberry-Lavender Cider’
semi-sweet cider / estate apples & berries / adams county, pa / 5.0%

Evil Genius ‘Cocktails & Dreams’
tropical hefeweizen / guava, mango, pineapple / philadelphia, pa / 5.0%

2SP ‘Becky Beer’
mexican lager / coconut / delaware county, pa / 5.0%

Weyerbacher ‘Gestalt Pils’
pilsner / 100% mandarina bavaria hops / northampton, pa / 5.0%

Coppertail ‘Jake News’
juicy AF ipa / 0% of proceeds go to jake / tampa, fl / 5.9%

Pizza Boy ‘Uptown IPA’
dank AF ipa / lotta hops / cumberland county, pa / 6.9%

CANS $7

Dogfish Head Seaquench
Firestone Walker Luponic Distortion
Sly Fox Alex’s Lemon Wheat
Lagunitas 12th of Never
21st Amendment Watermelon Wheat
2SP Delco Lager
Truly Grapefruit Spiked Seltzer

WINE COCKTAILS $10

Red Sangria
bluebird aged rum, red grape, blueberry, plum

White Sangria
limoncello, white grape, peach, cantaloupe

Pink Sangria
mezcal, watermelon, strawberry, kiwi

Frozee
frozen rose, strawberry, lemon

BITCHIN COCKTAILS  $10

Blackberry Whiskey Sour
kinsey whiskey, lemon, blackberry

Blood Orange Marg
hornitos, lime, blood orange

Name TBD
pinnacle cucumber, elderflower liquer, lemon

Frozen Marg
tequila, lime, sugar, slushee

LAYOUT AND VENUES REMINDERS –

Uptown Beer Garden is nestled among the trees of the courtyard for the BNY Mellon Wealth Building. The 9,000 square foot urban oasis features slab communal tables, outdoor lighting, outdoor bars, rustic decor, craft cans and drafts, cocktails and sangria, a giant outdoor grill, and a menu of backyard BBQ and elevated pub favorites. Uptown will also offer access to adjacent private event space for larger (or more exclusive) parties in the inner atrium of the BNY Mellon Wealth Building. Based on the popularity of Uptown in 2017, look for additional events to be announced this year, and private events will have the opportunity to work with an expanded private event staff for private party planning in the current space and adjacent spaces.

Uptown will return with the expanded 40, 25 and 20 foot bars from last year, as well as the full, 8-tap 20 feet long bar that was installed in 2017. Bars will feature a selection of spirits, select wines, eight craft drafts and craft cans. Signature cocktails will include Sangria, Dark n’ Stormy/Moscow Mule, frozen Margaritas, and seasonal specialty cocktails. Look for more cocktail selections than any other year at Uptown.

Uptown will add even more lounge furniture and seating to supplement the new furniture added for 2017. Once again, many of the slate benches in the courtyard have been removed and replaced with more picnic style seating than the prior two years. Look for final layout changes and furniture updates later in the week.
SPECIAL EVENTS NEW AND RETURNING FOR THE SEASON –
Uptown Beer Garden is busy working on new and returning events for the fourth season, including its first Cinco de Mayo Party on Saturday, May 5, 2018 from 2:00pm to Midnight, hosting the Culinary Fight Club to Benefit the Better Burger Project on Monday, May 7, 2018 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm, and serving as the official beer garden for Philly Beer Week by Philly Loves Beer from June 1 to June 10, 2018. Look for Uptown Beer Garden to host the Philly Loves Beer press conference – date will be announced by Philly Loves Beer in the coming weeks. Uptown will also announce its full line-up for Philly Beer Week, along with other events by Craft Concepts Group, in the next week or two. Stay tuned.
Plus, Uptown is planning several “Philly Loves Beer-BQ” events in August in partnership with Philly Loves Beer. Uptown will also join the line-up for Center City Sips this year, which starts on Wednesday, June 6th. Uptown will also host Our Night Out again this year to benefit the Delaware Valley Legacy Fund (date to be announced) and finally Uptown Uptoberfest will return this fall after a record year for attendance last year in 2017. Stay tuned for the date to be announced in the summer.

HAPPY HOUR AND SIPS SPECIALS –

Watch for weekday happy hour and Center City Sips specials to be announced in the next week. Details are forthcoming.
NEW CHARITY PARTNER –
The charity partner for Uptown Beer Garden’s fourth season will be Wigs and Wishes.  Wigs & Wishes® Powered by Friends Are By Your Side® is a non-profit organization founded by Martino Cartier, that is dedicated to providing wigs & granting wishes to these courageous individuals. Supporting such a large initiative is made possible by a network of participating salons, stylists and global corporate sponsorships. Salons and stylists throughout the world empower women by providing them with complimentary services that allow them for a brief moment to forget about their fight.  Friends Are By Your Side is a consortium of Beauty Industry Leaders, Salon Owners and Stylists committed to donating much needed hair replacement and styling services to women undergoing treatment for cancer.

CONNECT –

For more information, follow @uptwnbeergarden on Twitter, like Uptown Beer Garden on Facebook or call BRU at 215-800-1079.

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