July 19, 2013
WE PAUSE now to raise a beer in commemoration of Belgium's independence from the Evil Empire of the Netherlands. 'Twas 182 years ago this Sunday that a ragtag band of Belgies dressed like Indians clambered aboard Dutch ships and dumped barrels of Hollandaise sauce in the Harbor of Brussels. This heroic act of rebellion ignited the infamous Battle of the Bulge, where corpulent gourmands from Antwerp faced down round upon round of Edam cheese. The Dutch army, unable to march in wooden shoes, quickly surrendered and returned to Amsterdam to resume smoking pot. Or something like that.
July 9, 2013 |
NEW YORK - To see how a small business can transform a neighborhood, just follow the barrels. About 30 years ago, beer lovers wanting to create their own drinks started taking over abandoned buildings in rundown districts. They refitted them with tanks, kettles, and casks, and started churning out beer. The by-product was a boom in craft-beer drinkers; barrels shipped have more than doubled in the last decade, according to trade publication Beer Marketer's Insights. Craft beer now makes up nearly 7 percent of the slow-growing U.S. beer market.
June 21, 2013
ROB ZARKO'S two-story brick home, on a lazy shaded road in suburban Wallingford, Delaware County, looks much like every other home in the neighborhood. Well-tended lawn, check. Couple of bikes in the grass, check. Portable basketball hoop in the driveway, check. Thirty-gallon mash tun in the garage. Uh, check? Welcome to Ship Bottom Brewing, the area's newest and tiniest new brewery. If you blink, you'll miss it. Fully licensed and operational, Ship Bottom is brewing up minuscule batches of two barrels each, or enough to fill just over 100 sixpacks - if it had a bottling line.
March 18, 2013
Selling out the brewery to Anheuser-Busch InBev is, in the eyes of craft beer drinkers, the equivalent of ditching Gryffindor for Voldemort and the Death Eaters. So it's no wonder Chicago's homegrown Goose Island has taken the beer-geek heat since its sale to the Bud Who Shall Not Be Named in 2011. The good news: since production of Goose Islands' mass-market brews (like 312 Urban Wheat) have been moved to Colorado and New York for a national rollout, there's more room at the original Chicago brewery for its more interesting efforts.
February 9, 2013 |
It's no barroom brawl, but the City of Philadelphia v. D.G. Yuengling & Son Inc. has the makings of an interesting tussle. What's not in dispute is that the city has filed a lawsuit in Common Pleas Court seeking to collect $6.63 million in taxes, interest, and penalties against the Yuengling brewery for not paying the Business Income and Receipts Tax. What's also not in dispute is that the brewery itself is in Pottsville, more than 90...
December 21, 2012
BUDWEISER - FIZZY, yellow Budweiser - now makes a bourbon-and-vanilla-flavored amber lager. If that's not a sign of the impending apocalypse, I don't know what is. Not to worry. The End is precisely why we drink beer to begin with. Drinking is all about enjoying life. It is hedonistic and intemperate. We drink for the moment, not the future. We drink because we know someday we won't. We drink because, as the polka laureate tells us, in heaven there is no beer. The people who make our beer certainly know this.
October 4, 2012
RESEARCH AT Joe Sixpack Central is a never-ending occupation. Here are a few of my recent findings. * Dundee Oktoberfest (Rochester, N.Y.): Dundee Ales & Lagers is one of those margin-dwellers that has been glomming onto the craft beer renaissance for years. Because it is priced cheaply (low $20s per case), it grabs a lot of drinkers who are after something other than BudMillerCoors but don't want to shell out an extra 10. The entire brand is nearly doomed by its flagship, Original Honey Brown , a decidedly dull, thin amber lager with an unfortunate metallic aftertaste.
September 30, 2012
A meal of "bread and water" sounds like a harsh sentence. Change that to "bread and beer" at Ardmore's Tired Hands - their crusty loaves baked in cast-iron pans with ale yeast - and I'll have fun all night. Jean Brouillet IV's formula for a brewery-cafe is simple, where the local fare is in service of his inventive beers. And that sturdy bread, served with a rich yellow Trickling Springs butter, sea salt, and fennel pollen, is all the sustenance I'd need. As one of the brightest entries in our current micro-brewery boom, Tired Hands beers are worth the spotlight, with numerous interesting variations on hoppy American ales and Belgian-style saisons, my favorites, anchored by funky and bubbly FarmHands.
August 23, 2012
YOU HEAR ABOUT these collaboration beers by guys from competing breweries, and you can just imagine the unique creative process - the artistic inspiration, the sharing of ideas, the dynamic environment that feeds their invention. But first things first. "Are we measuring in Fahrenheit or Celsius?" Tim Roberts, a longtime area brewer now at Yards Brewing Co., dropped by Iron Hill Brewery's Maple Shade, N.J., brewpub for a collaborative brew with its head brewer, Chris LaPierre.
June 21, 2012 |
A 3 1/2-barrel handmade batch of pale ale is simmering just over his shoulder, filling the garage-size brewery with the sweetest aroma known to man, when Tim Hanna, one of four partners in the brand-new Tuckahoe Brewing Co., mentions the unfortunate gorilla in the room: "We're never going to totally get past C oors Light and M iller Lite down here. " "Down here" is the Jersey Shore, land of Snooki and Smirnoff Ice. Down here, "good beer" means it's cold, wet and half-price during happy hour.