August 1, 2014
DO NOT SHAKE your head in disgust or pity when I tell you that today's column is about beer floats. Instead, grab some real ice cream and try one for yourself. Just pour half a bottle of any decent brew into a glass, plop in a scoop and dip in with a spoon. Believe me - it's that simple. True, the beer float seems a desecration. Deflowering a perfectly innocent bowl of vanilla ice cream with an adult beverage is likely illegal in several states. But beer and ice cream were destined for each other, as underscored by a fortuitous development this year that saw new dessert brands from two local breweries, Yuengling and Victory.
July 25, 2014
DID YOU hear about that special, new collaborative beer from the brewmasters at Anheuser-Busch, Miller and Coors? Yeah, never gonna happen. Which says less about mega-breweries than it does about one of the remarkable traits of America's small breweries: the enthusiasm for working together. Or, more accurately, having fun together. Collaborative beers have become one of the hallmarks of craft brewing - a factor you might be tempted to shrug off as the shared esprit de underdog.
July 18, 2014
WANT TO open a bar in Pennsylvania and avoid the standard six-figure price tag for a liquor license? The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, through its extraordinarily lenient interpretation of the state liquor code, lets you do it for as little as $500. All it takes is a one-page application with none of the lengthy red tape and criminal background checks applicants normally face. The discount license is an unforeseen product of a 2012 liquor code amendment crafted by the Legislature to make it easier for licensees to cater one-day private events.
July 17, 2014 |
Just across from the Liberty Bell, another homage to America's roots opened Tuesday afternoon: a beer garden highlighting the country's own brews. Independence Beer Garden, located on the west side of Independence Mall at the foot of the Dow Chemical building, served its first glass just before 4 p.m. Michael Schulson, a 41-year-old chef who also owns Philadelphia's Sampan restaurant, always wanted to open a beer garden. Now, after a few hiccups that delayed the opening, he finally has. With 20 American beers on tap, the "garden" is big - approximately 22,000 square feet.
July 11, 2014 |
Next week, perhaps Tuesday, should see the opening of Independence Beer Garden , an ingenious use of the vast outdoor space ringing Dow Chemical's headquarters at Sixth and Market Streets, across from the Liberty Bell (215-922-7100). It's the old longtime home of Rohm & Haas. Michael Schulson, who owns Center City's Sampan and Atlantic City's Izakaya, commissioned Groundswell Design Group's David Fierabend to landscape the 20,000 square feet with trees, ivy-covered pergolas, two large bars (40 taps)
July 11, 2014
OK, NEVER MIND. Last week's column urging brewers to consider new ideas, from vending machines to malt-centric recipes, led me to a weekend of experimentation with some of the newfangled beer-improvement contraptions that are already on the market. After several hours in the Sixpack Test Kitchen, I concluded that maybe we'd all be better off just leaving well enough alone. Because as appealing as the Ultimate Aromatic Experience sounds, as one product promises, it's really hard to improve on the simple enjoyment of cracking open a bottle and pouring a fresh beer into a clean glass.
July 1, 2014 |
IF IT'S TUESDAY, this must be Belgium. No, we're not not referring to the old film starring the late Suzanne Pleshette. We're talking World Cup soccer. The U.S. team takes on Belgium in the round of 16 tomorrow afternoon (4 o'clock, ESPN). The Red Devils, who are favored, haven't lost a match to the United States in 84 years. That fact may have something to do with the cocky attitude of Belgium Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo, who recently tried to engaged President Obama in a friendly wager.
June 27, 2014
A FEW years ago, I pitched what I thought was a great idea for the city: A beer garden at LOVE Park. I could just imagine the lunchtime crowds, the evening diners with their families, the skateboarders and foodies, people just hanging out - all of them coming together and enjoying the city's finest, freshest beer at one of its most scenic locations. The reception from city reps who oversee the popular but underutilized park was colder than an ice-filled keg bucket. Beer? Forget it, they sniffed.
June 24, 2014 |
The cardboard box outside the Flying Fish Brewing Co. seemed to suggest there's nothing at all to making beer. "Barley. Yeast. Water. Hops," it read. But step through the doors of South Jersey's first gathering of the American Homebrewers Association - as about 100 people did Sunday afternoon - and you are reminded how differently those four ingredients can be combined. "I took first place for a Flanders Red last Saturday," 57-year-old Jim Fish of Brooklawn was telling Mike Nurthen of Westmont.
June 13, 2014
WHEN word spread earlier this spring about the upcoming Bare Beach Beer Bash at a Poconos nudist resort - where attendees must get nekkid for a microbrew sampling-the reaction was predictable. There were the eww-yuck s: Victor Fiorillo at Philadelphia magazine said he'd never met anyone at a beer festival he'd want to see naked. There were dumb jokes: How do you toast a naked beer drinker? Bottoms up! There were puns: Would you go? Depends on the tap list. And there was a lot of nervous laughter, as if mixing exposed flesh and booze was completely unknown.