March 20, 2015 |
Editor's note: Beer or wine? We posed that question to Don Russell, whose "Joe Sixpack" beer column appears weekly here, and Marnie Old, a local sommelier and wine author who writes the "Cheap Buzz" column in the Daily News with Assistant Managing Editor Gar "Buzz" Joseph. With Buzz as referee, let the games begin. B UZZ: Hey, Marnie, I read that you're going to debate Pennsylvania beer vs. Pennsylvania wine on Tuesday at World Cafe Live. Marnie: Yes, it's a "people's choice" dinner during Philly Wine Week to determine which drink is the best food partner, loosely based on my first book, He Said Beer, She Said Wine . Buzz: How's it work?
March 13, 2015
YIPPEE! Pennsylvania beer drinkers can finally buy 12-packs at distributors, thanks to a ruling last week from our pals at the Liquor Control Board. Well, yes . . . but before you start celebrating, there are good reasons to be worried. * Unelected bureaucrats are rewriting the rules. The LCB calls its 12-pack opinion an "interpretation" of the existing law. But that's just lawyerspeak for "we finally found a way to make this happen. " For the past 80 years, Pennsylvania has been living under a fairly iron set of bizarre rules.
March 9, 2015
YOU KNOW all those lawyer jokes? Forget 'em. Starting today, Pennsylvania beer drinkers can buy a 12-pack at a beer distributor, thanks to a loophole in state liquor code discovered by a sharp-eyed lawyer. Elsewhere in America - in New Jersey, for example - purchasing a 12-pack is no big deal. But since the end of Prohibition, Pennsylvania, distributors have been forbidden to sell anything less than a case of 24 12-ounce bottles or a "single container" (namely, a keg) holding 128 ounces.
March 6, 2015
IF YOU WORKED at Sacchetti's Bakery, in Ardmore, you learned two things. You learned to duck when Rearo, the hotheaded Italian who owned the business with his brother Tony, headed your way. That S.O.B. had a handshake like a bench vise and a fist like a ball-peen hammer. If he was happy, he'd squeeze your knuckles into mangled pulp; if he was pissed, he'd plant a hard one to your bicep. And you learned it was hard work to bake bread. There were 100-pound sacks of flour to be hoisted into a massive mixer, and heavy metal racks to be rolled into a proofing box where the temperature was a constant 100 degrees and the humidity registered 100 percent.
February 27, 2015
THE CRAFT-BEER world's fixation with India Pale Ale shows no sign of fading. Just last month, for example, Philadelphia welcomed a new portfolio from California's Knee Deep Brewing that includes no fewer than five different IPAs, including a double, a triple and a heretofore unknown "Quad IPA. " Which is all perfectly fine if you're a hop addict, craving your next big fix of Simcoe, Citra or some other variety of the famously bitter, aromatic plant....
February 13, 2015
LEHIGH VALLEY Beer Week starts Sunday, and among the assortment of festivals, tastings and tap takeovers that will draw beer lovers to Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton is a seven-course dinner with Garrett Oliver, the author, engaging lecturer and debonair brewer at Brooklyn Brewery. The lavish menu pairs the likes of truffled prosciutto, foie gras and aged strip steak with Brooklyn's most exotic beers, including K is for Kriek and Wild Streak . Oliver's one-night appearance on Tuesday, though, won't be taking place at a swank restaurant or prominent craft beer bar. This $70-a-plate affair is at a supermarket.
January 22, 2015
MARK BRAULT turns one shovel of heavy, water-soaked barley on the slick, painted floor of a 150-year-old timber-framed barn, and then another, and another, as country music plays on the speakers. He'll turn 3,500 pounds of grain three times this day and for 3 1/2 days total, the essential labor in a process known as floor-malting that aerates and untangles the sprouting grain. Then he'll shovel it all into a wheelbarrow and roll it into a wood-lined metal shipping container that has been converted into kiln.
January 16, 2015
GOOD OL' Charlie Brown. Always out there on the mound, even in the rain, ready to give his best for the rest of the "Peanuts" gang. That's what I think of brown ale, the Charlie Brown of beer. It's a dependable, go-to glass; crack open a bottle of Newcastle Brown or Smuttynose Old Brown Dog , and you pretty much know you're going to get a malty, mildly hopped easy-drinker. Nothing over the edge. A satisfying, honest, even-tempered pal. Unfortunately, like the newspaper comic strip, brown ale is increasingly a thing of the past.
January 9, 2015
YOU KNOW that resolution you made to cut back on beer in 2015? Yeah, me neither. But for those who did, here are 16 brand-new resolution-breakers from area breweries. * 2nd Story Wet Hop Pilsner. Owner Debbie Grady has two acres of hops planted on her farm in Pottstown, and they'll be used for a fresh hop flavor when they're harvested next autumn. * Baconator . The garage-based, Media-based Ship Bottom nanobrewery is hoping to expand to a larger space in 2015. Meanwhile, it's begun bottling this whiskey-barrel-aged oatmeal stout flavored with coffee, chocolate, maple syrup and, yes, bacon.
December 30, 2014
D.G. YUENGLING & Son made it through the Civil War, Prohibition and untold skirmishes with the giants from St. Louis and Milwaukee. But those were nothing like the challenge it faces in the age of endless choice. These days, the shelves are filled with everything from Lime-A-Rita to triple IPA. Samuel Adams has a TV commercial boasting that it makes more than 60 styles. Yuengling, meanwhile, is still plugging away with a portfolio of just seven full-time brands and three seasonals.