January 15, 2016
You know Woody Chandler, or at least you do if you've ever gone to a beer festival around these parts. He's the character with the Rasputin beard wearing a monk's robe and a beer-mug hat. Oh, right - we're talking beer freaks, so maybe that doesn't completely narrow it down. I'm talking about the dude who just posted his 7,000th unique check-in on Untappd, the popular social networking app for beer-lovers. That means he's tasted 7,000 different beers since 2011 - 2,000 of them in the last 12 months alone, a pace of more than five new beers every day. No, that's not the top of the leaderboard; there's one guy with more than 24,000, though skeptical observers wonder how he could have actually tasted 'em all so quickly and in so many places around the world, given the constraints of the space-time continuum.
January 8, 2016
You know that feeling you get when you're in a bar and feeling totally one with your time and your place? The right music, the perfect dish, your favorite friends, the best beer - a feeling of comfort or excitement? The Germans call it gemütlichkeit . The Irish refer to it as the craic . In Spanish it's la chispa . And in Denmark it's called hygge , which is the inspiration for Bar Hygge, the new brewpub opening in about two weeks on Fairmount Avenue near 17th.
December 31, 2015 |
On the final day of 2015, I'm still not certain which was the worst beer development of the year: that sickly sweet root beer posing as an ale or a beer made with, I kid you not, semen. Swallow hard: Here's my year in review... and my predictions for 2016. February Anheuser-Busch InBred, I mean InBev, releases Bud Light Mixxtail Firewalker, a high-alcohol premixed cinnamon-and-apple cocktail designed to be poured over ice. Coming next: Bud Light Syringe. Stone Brewing pulls the plug on its poor-selling low-alcohol Levitation Ale . Coming next: The end of the stupid session beer fad. March Desperate to hold off State Store reform, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board suddenly decrees that - after 82 years on the books - the law requiring distributors to sell 24-bottle cases actually means they can carry popular 12-packs.
December 24, 2015
Makes 1 serving 3 to 4 ounces stout beer, preferably Guinness 3 to 4 ounces champagne 1. Fill a champagne flute halfway full with the stout so that it has a foamy head. 2. Gently add the champagne by pouring it over the back of a spoon and through the foam; this will create a visually pleasing effect as the champagne and beer mingle gradually in the flute. Per serving: 87 calories, 0 g protein, 3 g carbohydrates, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 3 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, None g sugar - Adapted from Crosby Gaige's Cocktail Guide and Ladies' Companion (M. Barrows, 1941)
December 18, 2015
BEER FREAKS these days remind me of Dug the Talking Dog in the animated movie, "Up," whose attention was so easily - squirrel! Only it's hops! Or barrel-aged! Or sour! American brewing is thriving precisely because of its brash creativity, so there's a lot to love in the hundreds of new, offbeat varieties that fill the shelves every week. Yet, sometimes, the Next Great Thing means we miss a perfectly good beer that's been staring us right in the face all along. I'm looking at you, Victory Helles Lager , my 2015 Beer of the Year.
December 18, 2015
2SP Delco Lager: Brewer Bob Barrar is known for hop monsters and imperial stout, but this easy-drinking amber lager deserves to be the new Delaware County brewery's flagship. Conshohocken Harbinger of Change: It's a solid choice on draft, but in a 16-ounce can it emerged as my go-to IPA of the year. Forgotten Boardwalk Funnel Cake: The cream ale with a smooth vanilla flavor was a summertime treat from the Cherry Hill, N.J., brewery Jolly Pumpkin Ursae Majoris: A complexly flavored sour brown ale with cherry and wood notes, brewed specially for the mail-order Rare Beer Club.
December 11, 2015 |
Not to nitpick, but if Pabst's new holiday brew were truly an accurate replicate of the original Ballantine Burton Ale , master brewer Greg Deuhs would've spent a couple weeks personally autographing every one of the 144,000 bottles. And then the sixpack they sent me would've been labeled with my name on it. Because that's what P. Ballantine & Sons did a few generations ago when it produced what Deuhs now calls "the greatest beer never sold. " The barrel-aged barleywine was Ballantine's annual Christmas gift to favored customers and other friends.
December 4, 2015 |
If you're looking to stuff a stocking with something a little more special than a sixpack (not that there's anything wrong with a sixpack, hint-hint), Joe Sixpack has just what you're looking for - from bottle openers to worldwide travel. For your dog The gift shop at Victory Brewing (420 Acorn Lane, Downingtown) is fully stocked with glassware, apparel and beer-infused foods. But what about Fido? Get your pooch an "I love Victory" leash. $10. For the cellar A share in Joe Sixpack's holiday case club is a great way to taste a big variety of Christmas beers and winter warmers.
November 27, 2015
Black Friday isn't just about holiday shopping anymore. It's now the darkest day on the annual beer calendar, when bars flush the light lagers from their spigots and make room for luscious porters, stouts and other black brews. Here are some of the local highlights. Special brews Founders KBS: Though this heavy-duty "breakfast" stout (11.2 percent alcohol) normally shows up in the spring, savvy bar managers often keep a keg around for Black Friday. The added aging only enhances its vanilla and coffee flavors.
November 20, 2015 |
Seasonal eats in Point Breeze Point Breeze, a slice of South Philadelphia that is seeing all sorts of new developments, is now the home of a neo-bistro. A neo-what? Neo-bistros, a thing now in Paris, are gastropubs specializing in seasonal foods. Buckminster's (1200 S. 21st St., 267-928-3440), replacing the shot-and-beer Burg's at 21st and Federal Streets is a snug, casual spot from Michael and Jeniphur Pasquarello, who own Cafe Lift, Prohibition Taphouse, Bufad, and Kensington Quarters.