Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tribute to Joe Sixpack

There is a very nice piece about Don Russell, the Philadelphia Daily News's Joe Sixpack columnist since 1996, up on the American Journalism Review website. It highlights what was probably Russell's defining moment as the city's beer columnist and champion -- his April 1998 expose of the short-measure beer scandal (no sarcasm: it was a damned scandal) at Veterans Stadium -- but gives him the full props he deserves as a champion of Philly's beer scene (maybe a tiny bit too full in a couple spots, but what the hell, Don's a good guy).

But reporter Mark Lisheron puts his finger right on Don with this observation:
Calling Joe Sixpack a beer column is a little like calling Mike Royko's a tavern column or A.J. Liebling a boxing writer. Like all the best columns, Joe Sixpack is about people and place. "He tends to tell Philadelphia stories that just happen to be about beer," former Daily News Editor Zack Stalberg says.
I'll admit: when Russell got his gig at the Daily News, I was jealous. 'Another damned staffer who thinks he can write a beer column because he's had a couple Belgian beers,' I probably said, or something like that. But I read the column every time it came out, and after a while, I realized the same thing Lisheron did: Russell is a story teller, and a good one. He's got a nose for beer news, and he's got a great way of writing about it.

I was critical at first, but that's been a long time ago now. Don Russell and Joe Sixpack are a credit to Philly, and to beer.

Cheers, Joe!

1 comment:

kevin said...

Joe Sixpack is yet another reason why Philly is the best beer city!