August 7, 2015
THE WEEK should not pass without a toast to the 50th anniversary of the seminal event of modern American brewing. No, I'm not talking about the invention of the beer-can ring-pull. I'm instead raising my glass to Aug. 2, 1965, the day when a 27-year-old named Frederick Louis Maytag 3rd - a/k/a Fritz - paid "practically nothing" for a controlling share of San Francisco's aging dump known as Anchor Brewery. It was that day that Maytag slapped American beer in its face and woke it up from its pitiful, ugly slide into mass mediocrity.
August 22, 2014
UP ON Tioga Street, in the vacant shadows of a postindustrial city, the sign above Kensington Pub declares, "Born Here. Raised Here. Still Here. " Inside, there's a life-size wall drawing of a guy pitching halfsies, the stickball game they used to play down the corner. The bar is mostly empty on this Friday afternoon. "Yo, what happened to the keg that guy brought in?" owner Kevin Konieczny asks his bartender. "What keg? The new stuff?" Nicole Kearney replies. "It's not on, yet. " "Well, what can we take off?"
August 15, 1992
You may not have noticed but the United States is in a trade war with Canada - or at least with the Canadian province of Ontario - over beer. In fact, you may not notice for a few more weeks when existing stocks of beer brewed by LaBatt's and Molson's, the principal beers brewed in Ontario, have been sold off and the new $3-a-case tariff placed on them by the United States starts to take effect. If you don't drink Canadian beer, you may never notice. Nonetheless, the story of the Beer War provides an interesting little object lesson in the perils of protectionism that's particularly timely, coming, as it does, just when a new trade agreement has been announced that would link Mexico, the United States and Canada into one huge free-trade zone.
July 3, 2008
GERMAN hefeweizen, Belgian abbey ale, Mexican lager, English bitter, Canadian malt liquor - beer styles come from around the world. But how about good, ol' American beer? Defining American beer is a bit of a conundrum, of course, since almost all of it was inspired by classic styles from Old World brewmasters. Take light beer (please!), our No. 1 beer style. It traces its roots to Bohemia. We watered it down, removed every hint of hops and figured out how to market it to diet-conscious Big Mac lovers.
August 14, 2009
DOES IT really matter who makes your beer? The issue weirdly erupted during last month's great White House Beer Summit. Out of nowhere, even as the nation grappled over pressing issues like health-care reform, news pundits were blathering about the shocking revelation that Bud Light is foreign-owned. "Fox & Friends" host Gretchen Carlson (who looks like a Corona girl to me) flatly declared, for example, "They should be drinking American beer, in my mind. " Naturally, U.S. brewers chimed in and urged the president to serve their red-white-and-blue suds during his sit-down July 30 with Henry Louis Gates Jr. and the Cambridge, Mass.
August 9, 2013
TO THE roll call of venerable U.S. foreign diplomats, we can now add this signature name: Joe Sixpack, beer emissary. I've just returned from my first mission on behalf of the U.S. State Department, a beer-soaked education and cultural exchange tour of Lithuania. I'm happy to report that I did not ignite any international incidents. In fact, judging from my reception throughout the Baltic countryside, I may have a future as a diplomat, spreading world peace one beer at a time: _ In Vilnius, the capital, members of the local chapter of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, the worldwide gastronomic society, agreed that the Philly beers served with a gourmet menu were at least as good as wine.
November 27, 1988 |
Beer is one of mankind's oldest drinking buddies, whether it is called lager, pilsener, dortmunder, bock, ale, porter or stout. Even Lite, so dubbed by a brewing company in the mid-1970s, is still beer. Now, Anheuser-Busch has rolled out a brew it's calling - are you ready for this? - dry beer. More precisely, the name is Michelob Dry. A beer designed to be less sweet than its contemporaries, with no heavy, lingering aftertaste. It officially debuted this month, making it the first premium American beer of this type to be mass-marketed in the United States.
February 27, 2013 |
On the surface, it's a lawsuit that seeks to prove the punchline to "Why is American beer like having sex in a canoe?" (You'll have to Google the answer.) Thomas and Gerald Greenberg of Montgomery County say the Budweisers they've been drinking haven't had the advertised kick. The brothers Greenberg assert Anheuser-Busch has been watering down their beer to less than the 5 percent alcohol content the mega-brewer prints on their Budweiser labels. They've been doing serious research to buttress their claim.
December 14, 2012
THE "WORLD'S BEST BEER" finally comes to America, you're damn straight Jason Johnson is going to get himself a sixpack. By 4:30 a.m. yesterday, the Acme meat cutter was first in line outside a Delaware liquor store, patient but shivering in anticipation of the long-awaited arrival of Westvleteren 12. "Hell, I want to try this beer so much, I was ready to tailgate this motherf-----," said Johnson, 32, of Wilmington. The prayerful monks who brew the strong, dark ale at a Belgian Trappist monastery would no doubt cringe at Johnson's salty language.
August 7, 1998 |
Joe Sixpack's column last week about Independence Brewing's business plans had a few sober readers, including brewery president Bob Connor, scratching their heads about some fuzzy-headed logic that spilled from my keyboard. Namely, that Independence's plans to merge with Pittsburgh Brewing was a threat to the sanctity of good ol' Philly beer. Among other things, I fretted that the deal would do for our beer industry what Pittsburgh has done for our city's banking and hospitals.