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 28, 2013
THIS IS a great week to be a beer geek in Philadelphia. Yeah, I know, we're still licking our wounds after Philly Beer Week earlier this month. But starting today, the city hosts the geekiest of beer lovers: People who not only know that the IPA you're sipping was dry-hopped with Simcoe hops, they likely know the farm where those hops were grown, their cohumulone content and whether they were tossed into the conditioning tank by a left- or right-handed brewer. OK, I'm kidding about that last part.
June 7, 2013 |
This is an excerpt from Craig LaBan's online chat of June 4, 2013: Craig LaBan: Welcome to our annual Beer Week/Brew-vitational Edition of the Philly Food Chat. Check out Brewvi coverage at www.inquirer.com/food to find out which of the 49 beers won Best New Beer, and also Best Pilsner, a focused category added this year. Two guests today: Steve Wildy (a.k.a. @Sommillionaire), beverage director for the Vetri family restaurants, instrumental in bringing Italian brews to the city at Alla Spina, and a Brew-vitational judge.
May 31, 2013 |
When the Inquirer decided to focus one of the two categories at this year's Brew-vitational on a single style of beer, the choice was easy: pilsner. Pennsylvania's brewers have become known as specialists in the classically crisp and hoppy lager with roots in the Czech and German traditions - perhaps more than any other region in the country. "So many of the greatest pilsners in the world are made here, I rarely drink any from Europe anymore," says Mike "Scoats" Scotese, owner of Hop Angel Brauhaus and the Grey Lodge Pub, both of which are hosting pilsner events for Philly Beer Week.
May 31, 2013 |
By 11 a.m. on a typical Saturday, Jared Littman, 37, a Queen Village resident, has already been awake for six hours. He's mostly been working on PhillyTapFinder.com , the craft-beer-centric website he cofounded with his wife, Kristy, in 2010. Day and night, e-mails pour in to Jared's inbox from camera-phone-wielding beer geeks and bar managers across the city and suburbs with news of the latest beer-list updates and most recently tapped kegs. He spends hours each day entering that fresh data into his site.
May 23, 2013
THE NEW documentary "Crafting a Nation" spends about an hour and a half fussing over exactly what makes America's craft beer so special. It's hard work by small businessmen. It's all-natural ingredients. It's fresh, locally made and produced with care for the environment. It's about overcoming the odds and the local building inspector. Apparently, though, it's not about actually drinking the stuff. Well-researched, beautifully photographed and set to the meaningful strum of an acoustic guitar, "Crafting a Nation" nevertheless manages to almost completely miss the key attraction of craft beer: It tastes good.
April 19, 2013
WHAT'S with all the beer and food pairings? It's getting that you can't down a mug without someone shoving a plate of ale-braised Brussels sprouts under your chin. Wednesday night, Nick Macri, the chef at Southwark, at 4th and Bainbridge, laid out a four-course menu pairing imaginative dishes (seafood stew and hot-pepper relish) with suds from Ardmore's Tired Hands Brewery. Friday, the new Victoria Freehouse, on Front Street in Old City, will throw down a variety of British-style bitters and complementary English-themed plates.
March 24, 2013
Remember when wine became popular enough to be "the new beer"? And then it flipped when craft beer became "the new wine"? It was inevitable the two would collide someday into one crazy fermented creature, and now we have it, an all-out "Bine" Revolution with everyone from Sonoma (Russian River) to Portland, Maine, (Allagash) aging beer in wine barrels. Victory is the latest to go grape guns on their brews, with the recent limited release of White Monkey, their popular Golden Monkey tripel aged three months in used chardonnay casks from Wente Vineyards.
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.
January 25, 2013
IT WAS inevitable that Pennsylvania's new breed of cheese-makers would bond with the state's thriving brewers. Artisan creameries and breweries are small, locally-owned businesses with handmade products that typically are unique, full-flavored alternatives to their run-of-the-mill mainstream competitors. Also, as Howard Field of Farm Fromage in Lancaster observed, "We're both nuts. " He added: "We're kind of O.C.D. We both like to adjust this and that. We're always trying different techniques.