November 14, 2014
LOOKING BACK on the takeover of a tiny Oregon brewery last week by Anheuser-Busch InBev, some years from now we may remember it as a turning point. Or maybe we won't remember it at all. But right now, it feels like the Day the Music Died - the day when craft brewing took the inevitable step from the adolescent innocence of selfless idealism to the maturity of just another bottom-line business. The moment came, fittingly enough, with the posting of an Internet video showing the owners of 10 Barrel Brewing, in Bend, Ore., gleefully announcing that they had sold their 8-year-old brewery to ABI. This was not the first small brewery to be gobbled up by the international conglomerate.
March 7, 2014
IT TURNS out, corn isn't so bad after all. After decades of pounding the cob, the solons who represent America's small brewers now say it's OK to lighten beer with corn, rice and other so-called adjunct ingredients. In other words, the days when craft beer distinguished itself as all-malt are all gone. The change came as the Boulder, Colo.-based Brewers Association this week announced several revisions in its "core values and beliefs," including its troublesome definition of "craft brewer.
August 15, 2014
FOUR YEARS ago, when she launched the first Sour Fest, at South Philly's Devil's Den, owner Erin Wallace was happy to offer a modest list of about a dozen sour ales, including the highly regarded likes of Petrus Aged Pale Ale , Cantillon Kriek and Russian River Consecration . At the time, the existence of these quirky, tart varieties seemed nothing more than a blip in the growth of artisan brews. Most craft brewers were focused elsewhere - on hops or high alcohol. Sour beer, by contrast, didn't seem to have much of a future - not just because of its off-putting name and unconventional flavor, but because of its somewhat complex and time-consuming brewing methods.
June 12, 2015 |
TWO AUTHORS dominate the beer section of my bookshelf: the late-British newspaperman Michael Jackson, and Randy Mosher, the Chicago-based author whose Radical Brewing and Tasting Beer are bibles for any beer enthusiast. When Mosher stopped in town last week with his latest, Beer for All Seasons (Storey), I couldn't pass up a chance to sit down for a couple of beers. Here's an edited excerpt of our conversation. Q: Your latest book looks at the tradition of seasonal beers.
August 16, 2009 |
You can count on a thunderstorm to pump up business at a brewpub. Especially at the shore. So it was no surprise in the founding manger of Dogfish Head Brewing here, beneath canoes suspended from the rafters, that regulars stayed put, ordering extra rounds, when the skies opened up last week. On this particular day, they included a vacationing industrial engineer from Boeing, a gray-haired fellow who'd biked up from Ocean City, Md., and a guy in a Beeriotic Table T-shirt, each one a Dogfish disciple - each one in a small way responsible for an extraordinary craft-beer success story being played out in the ugly teeth of the recession: Dogfish Head was doing a bulletproof business.
March 17, 2011 |
Amid the Philadelphia coffee wars that have been brewing to ego-scalding temperatures, it was a moment of high latte drama. Steam wands in hand and milk pitchers at the ready, 32 baristas were battling cup-to-cup for foam-art supremacy at Shot Tower cafe in Queen Village, where the Lamborghiniesque machine zoomed into espresso high gear. A well-caffeinated crowd of 80 jostled as competitors met in round-robin pairs to feather cups with foamy white-on-brown hearts and fernlike rosettas.
July 16, 2011 |
Philadelphians are buying more craft beer than ever, but the region's brewmasters are bracing for the biggest name in beer to move into town. Anheuser-Busch InBev, maker of Budweiser products and the world's largest brewer, trademarked the name "215" this spring, along with the area codes for 14 other U.S. cities. The filing is the first public step toward creating a new beer by the same name. "We're being attacked," said Bill Covaleski, brewmaster and president of Victory Brewing Co., a craft brewery in Downingtown.
September 19, 2010 |
I'm all for giving the undereducated, over-Budweisered campus crowd a chance to learn their Tucher from their tuchus . But what happens to the fizz of the city's hippest trend when craft beer goes college-town corporate? The massive new 300-seat City Tap House is a fascinating test case. The typical Philly beer-bar grunge has been thoroughly supplanted here by a soaring Mission wood space outfitted with salvaged planks and hammered copper. Fire pits blaze at night on the expansive "green roof" terrace of the second-floor balcony at University City's mod new Radian building, where well-scrubbed Ivy Leaguers network around tasting racks of wheat beer and thin-crusted pizzas beneath moonlit high-rise dorms.
July 26, 2013
THERE'S a new style of watering hole in town, and I'm really not sure what to call it. It's essentially a sixpack store, with a row of coolers filled to the brim with all types of beer - American craft, imports, locals, you name it, and maybe a shelf or two of BudMillerCoors - which you can take home and suck down in front of your TV while watching the Phillies lose another one. The twist is that it also sells draft beer. You can either fill up a half-gallon growler to go, or order a glass to enjoy in the shop, maybe standing up at a small, afterthought of a bar. For lack of a formal name, I'm going to call it a takeout taproom.
March 5, 2009 |
As many as 30,000 beer lovers are expected to sip their way through the brewing bacchanalia that is Philly Beer Week beginning tomorrow, with more than 670 events across the region. There will be tastings of high-end craft beers, pairing dinners at gastropubs, even a 60-mile bike-and-drinking tour of local breweries during the 10-day celebration. More than 400 revelers made it to the Grey Lodge Pub's "Friday the Firkinteenth" in February. So how many will make the pilgrimage to Northeast Philly to quaff beer from firkins, the small kegs of artisan beer that drain by gravity, when Friday the 13th falls during the second annual Beer Week?