Brewing beer is hard work. Just ask Christina Burris of Philly’s Saint Benjamin Brewing Co.
“It’s a very physically demanding job,” Burris says. “I need to be able to throw around kegs. A half-barrel keg is about 160 pounds, and I’m not particularly adept at that. It just means I have to work harder at it and force myself to go to the gym, which I hate.”
Saint Benjamin, which Burris owns with partner Tim Patton, will have a high profile at the upcoming Philly Beer Week, which takes place all over the city starting tomorrow night, with Opening Tap at the 23rd Street Armory, and running through June 7.
Being one of the few female brewers in the country is no problem — half barrels aside — for Burris.
“It’s a very supportive industry,” Burris says. “I find that the other people in the field, who are mostly men, are well evolved human beings who don’t bat much of an eye when I show up.”
Being a gal in the biz has certain advantages, too.
“When you go to a craft brewers conference, it’s one of the places I’ve been to where the men’s bathroom line goes out the door and there is no line for the women’s room,” Burris quips.
Burris will be appearing at the Philly Beer Week’s female-centric events, including Girl Power Hour on Sunday at Bar-Ly in Chinatown and the Ladies Beer Tea, on the afternoon of June 6 at Belgian Cafe.
“We’re not drinking tea,” Burris says with a laugh.
The Saint Benjamin folks, who just marked their one-year anniversary, will be involved in lots more Beer Week fun. There’s an Evening with Saint Benjamin and Manayunk Brewing Company, June 2 at 7 p.m. at Johnny Brenda’s in Fishtown, where the two breweries will present their collaboration, Building Bridges Belgian Table Ale. On June 4, the Saint Benjamin Philly-themed coloring book will be unveiled at the South Philadelphia Tap Room on Mifflin Street.
What’s on tap
There will be hundreds of beer-themed events across the city over the 10 days of Beer Week. It was started in town in 2008 and has inspired more than 100 similar events around the world.
Among the big debuts this year is the Deschutes Street Pub and their 402-foot custom bar that will be setting up shop Saturday at Headhouse Square at Second and South streets.
They’re coming all the way from Oregon for the day.
“Beer is a serious business to make,” says Kristine Kennedy, executive director of Philly Beer Week, “but it’s really fun to drink.”