January 26, 2015
In beer, as in whiskey, rye is on the rise. But the best versions, as with most trends centered on big personalities, capture that boisterous character in a delicate balance. In the case of rye's signature kick, too many I've tasted let the grain's edgy spice overwhelm. The new Rye IPA seasonal offering from Yards Brewing, however, is a nice exception. The amber brew has a vivid freshness from whole-flower clusters of herbal Chinook hops, followed by Centennial, Citra, Simco and Columbus hops that bring a citrusy, piney brightness to the IPA's bitterness.
August 1, 2014 |
When Robert Cassell first popped onto the spirit scene in 2006 as the master behind Bluecoat gin and Philadelphia Distilling, his company was a pioneer in a Pennsylvania craft distilling movement, that, at the time, numbered just one. Eight years later, after a split with his founding partners, Cassell, 35, is starting anew in a big way, launching an innovative line of stills, chairing the newly formed Pennsylvania Distillers Guild, and firing up...
January 24, 2014 |
Whenever I get the chance to travel to Northern California, there is always great wine. But San Francisco and the nearby wine country, of course, also serve up some of America's best dining - typically the kind setting trends that Philadelphians might see in a year (or two). That gap may be closing, though, based on some of the highlights from my brief eating stops in San Francisco on the way to Sonoma. The fermentation craze (kimchi-pickled everything), local ingredients, craft cocktails, artisanal coffee, and small plates we have.
November 1, 2013
What to eat: Get your deli on at the "best meat on the street" truck. Hot corned beef, pastrami and brisket, grilled chicken, roast beef, turkey, tuna, Reubens, salads, matzo ball soup, knishes, kosher dogs, latkes. We could go on, but we're getting hungry. Suffice it to say, the menu is huge, as long as you're not on a low-carb diet. Details: In a city full of food trucks serving tacos and desserts - and, trust us, we have nothing against tacos and desserts, particularly in that order - Reuben on Rye is a nice change of pace.
February 18, 2013
We're living in the age of barrel-aged improvement, as everything from beer to Manischewitz is getting a moment inside charred oak to pick up extra tannins and woody caramels. Even City Hall is doing barrel time these days - the cocktail, that is. "City Hall" is what Pub & Kitchen bar master George Costa calls the combination of Rittenhouse rye, Laird's apple brandy, Bual Madeira, Cynar, and Ramazzotti Amaro he concocted for a Philly-themed drink competition a few years ago. For some reason, it didn't win. What it obviously needed was a date with a barrel.
December 16, 2012
'We're the distillery of unseen things," says Meredith Grelli. And she isn't kidding. First came the "Monongahela rye" that Wigle, her family's new craft distillery in Pittsburgh, debuted earlier this year to reclaim Pennsylvania's colonial heritage as a rye center (with Dad's Hat in Bristol also joining the push). Now comes Wigle's Ginever, a take on the proto-gin popularized by the 18th-century Dutch that, in contrast to the crisper English style made with neutral spirits, uses fuller-bodied grain whiskey as its base.
July 16, 2012 |
There is serious Pennsylvania pride in play as new craft distillers suddenly bid to reclaim the state's historical place as America's rye whiskey mecca. But there is also family history in Dad's Hat Rye, a whiskey meant to evoke the taste of Herman Mihalich's grandfather favorite drink — and a staple in the family's tavern in Monessen, Pa., where Mihalich lived as a child upstairs. The year-old Mountain Laurel Spirits distillery he's created with old college chum and partner, John Cooper, is state of the art, despite the historic setting in a rehabbed woolen mill in downtown Bristol, which opens to the public this weekend for Saturday tours, tastings, and sales.
May 14, 2012 |
Philip Wigle (a.k.a. Vigol) was one of the first heroes of Pennsylvania's storied "Monongahela rye," a convicted instigator in the Whiskey Rebellion sentenced to hang, then pardoned by a reluctant George Washington. It's only fitting that one of the new distilleries now reviving Pennsylvania's rightful place as a rye capital should be named in his honor. Wigle Whiskey, opened just two months ago with a visitor-friendly distillery in Pittsburgh's Strip District, is a family affair — retired lawyer Mark Meyer running the still with son Eric, daughter Meredith Grelli doing marketing, and mother Mary Ellen Meyer spiking the marshmallow treats with booze for her signature "Wigle Krispies.
November 10, 2011
WELCOME TO Cheap Buzz, where we eavesdrop as sommelier Marnie Old attempts to teach the joys of wine and fine spirits to Buzz, a guy with no sophistication and not much money. Here's their latest conversation: BUZZ: When I was a kid and the weather turned chilly, my grandma drank rye Manhattans. She'd let me have the cherry. MARNIE: Brown spirits like whiskey are great for shaking a winter chill. Not only does the alcohol feel warm going down, the oak aging adds toasty flavors reminiscent of caramel, vanilla and brown baking spices.
June 12, 2011
While the eating may be suspect at the Farmers' Cabinet, the libations are solid gold. The beer geeks will be in heaven with 26 stellar taps of unusual Euro suds, including cask renditions of rare salty, wheaty Swiss La Douze from BFM, among many others. But with a ragtime band pumping away, I was really channeling the pre-Prohibition cocktail inspirations from mix-mistress Phoebe Esmon. There are renditions of the classics (a tart whiskey sour amped up with egg whites and Yamazaki whisky)