September 20, 2013
CRAFT BEER on tap. Filet mignon on the grill. Foie gras in the cooler. Aged Gouda on the cheese board. Yep, they've come a long way since the Vet days. "We did the most horrible tailgates back then, man," said Curt Decker of his Eagles pregame get-together in its nascent years, established well before the 2003 opening of Lincoln Financial Field. In those days, Decker, owner of Nodding Head, and his buddy Peter "Bear" Brett, a sales rep with Stockertown Beverage, would drain plastic Budweiser beer balls and heat up franks on "Lil Smokey" grills so low to the ground that meals often came with a side of spinal conniption.
August 9, 2013
TO THE roll call of venerable U.S. foreign diplomats, we can now add this signature name: Joe Sixpack, beer emissary. I've just returned from my first mission on behalf of the U.S. State Department, a beer-soaked education and cultural exchange tour of Lithuania. I'm happy to report that I did not ignite any international incidents. In fact, judging from my reception throughout the Baltic countryside, I may have a future as a diplomat, spreading world peace one beer at a time: _ In Vilnius, the capital, members of the local chapter of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, the worldwide gastronomic society, agreed that the Philly beers served with a gourmet menu were at least as good as wine.
July 26, 2013
Although Pennsylvania has benefited from the national microbrewing renaissance, outdated state laws favoring beer wholesalers are threatening to kill the buzz. The state's wholesalers enjoy exclusive distribution rights in their territories and ironclad commitments from brewers, limiting the growth potential of the craft breweries that helped make Philadelphia one of America's premier beer cities. Giving brewers more autonomy could foster the emergence and success of more breweries in a city and state with a rich beer heritage.
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.
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.