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.
December 23, 2012 |
As a teenager stacking barrels after school at his family's brewery in Pottsville, Pa., Richard L. Yuengling Jr. was encouraged by plant workers to avoid a career in the family business. America's taste for national brands such as Budweiser, Coors, and Miller, they said, was going to put them all out of a job. Undeterred, Yuengling bought D.G Yuengling & Son Inc. from his father in 1985, and built it into the maker of the country's best-selling craft beer brand. As the company's value soared in the last decade amid a surge in demand for craft brews, Yuengling became a billionaire.
December 17, 2012 |
For David April, the improbable road from Fishtown to GQ Spain started with a run and ended with a beer. A Kenzinger, no doubt. And a toast. "To the professor!" "To the professor!" echoed the endorphined crowd Thursday night at the American Sardine Bar in Point Breeze. To the professor? Is this Gilligan's Island? A brainy fraternity? No, it is the Fishtown Beer Runners' weekly homage to the scholar - Professor Manuel J. Castillo of the School of Medicine, University of Granada, Spain - who supplied them with a rather happy, not to mention hoppy, organizing principle.
November 30, 2012 |
A giant Hershey bar brushed past me, waved, and stepped onto the escalator - and I'll admit I did a double take. It was morning. Hadn't had my coffee. And the prospect of breakfasting with a cast of human-sized Kit Kat bars and York Peppermint Patties at the Hershey Lodge was only just coming into focus. Of course there were walking Reese's Peanut Butter Cups here: Central Pennsylvania's cocoa capital, a playland of amusement rides, endless sweets, and candy-themed attractions that run straight through the holidays, is where every kid's chocolate fantasies can almost come to life.
November 9, 2012
IN HONOR OF the centennial anniversary of its sinking on April 5, 1912, the Franklin Institute offers "Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition," Saturday through April 7, 2013. The show illustrates the ship's conception, aftermath and, of course, its ill-fated maiden voyage. What separates this from many other Titanic centenary activities is its focus on the personal stories associated with certain artifacts. Objects include a set of tiny perfume bottles - some still containing their original perfumes - a salesman was taking to the U.S., and the iconic cherub statue that graced the ship's Grand Staircase, an artifact never before seen in museums.
October 11, 2012 |
Two downtown restaurateurs - Rob Wasserman (Rouge, 500 Degrees) and chef Michael Schulson (Sampan, Izakaya) - have ventured into the Main Line with the Saint James (30 Parking Plaza, Ardmore, 610-649-6200), an American bistro in Suburban Square. Chris Sheffield of SLDesign created an open, lived-in look, with a skylight in the foyer, wooden tables, leather- and wool-covered booths, and white brick walls. It's an amalgam of Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel, with a dash of Anthropologie.