Here's what's on tap at tomorrow's PA Breweries signing tomorrow at Devil's Den in Philly (yes, we'll have books for sale, too!):
· Beer Engine - Victory Uncle Teddy's Bitter - Bitter
· Philly Brewing Shackamaximum - Imperial Stout
· Lancaster Strawberry Wheat - Fruit Wheat
· Brew Works Hop'solutely - Triple IPA
· Bavarian Barbarian Square Feet Wheat - Dunkel Weisse
· Nitro - Voodoo Cowbell - Imperial Oatmeal Milk Stout
· Roy Pitz Lay Down Stay Down - Belgian Strong Ale
· Erie Brewing Railbender - Scottish Ale
· Yard's Philly Pale Ale - Pale Ale
· Troegs' Troegenator - Doppelbock
· Weyerbacher Verboten - Belgian Pale Ale
· Sly Fox Helles Golden Lager - Helles Lager
· Penn Pilsner - Vienna Lager
· Copper Crow Raspberry Meade - Fruit Meade
· Stoudt's Scarlet Lady - ESB
· Prism Bitto Honey - IPA
· Boxcar Brown - Brown Ale
These really are some of my faves. See you there, 12:30 to 3:00!
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Here's what's on tap at tomorrow's PA Breweries signing tomorrow at Devil's Den in Philly (yes, we'll have books for sale, too!):
Yes, you've seen this post before...I post-dated it so you could see that I'm posting links to the awards as the days roll on. Don't want you to miss anything!
Malt Advocate's Whisky Awards program is the longest-running in the industry; this is our 17th year. Like last year, we're going to roll out the awards one at a time on John Hansell's "What Does John Know" blog, and it starts tomorrow. Here's the schedule.
I helped write the awards this year, and I'm excited to see what people think. We've got some potentially controversial choices; should be fun to see the discussion!
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Sorry to be deluging you with videos this week, but this one's short, and well-worth watching. It's Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty -- who has his own YouTube channel --responding to a constituent's question about conditions at The Beer Stores. McGuinty points out that they are not a government function (the confusion is understandable; TBS is damned near a sanctioned monopoly, and Ontario's wine and spirits monopoly, the LCBO, is government-owned), but then he adds that one of the things he would "encourage you to do -- encourage everybody -- is to seek out some of those really interesting and tasty craft beers that are being brewed right here in Ontario."
Really. He does, and seems genuinely enthused about it. Nice. It's less than a minute; check it out. Because, you know, I'd encourage you to do the same thing!
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Got your attention? Well, it's just for fun...mostly. It's all part of New Belgium's celebration of their 20th year of brewing, and an anticipation of their celebratory Super Cru, a 're-imagining' of Fat Tire. I got the press release today, and that headline was just too good to pass up. Here's the story.
New Belgium brewmaster Peter Bouckaert did say “I’ve always hated Fat Tire…” about the brewery's near-iconic Belgian-type pale ale, but he's talking about brewing it, not drinking it. “It’s the hardest beer for us to make,” he said. “The hop/malt balance required makes me pull out what little hair I have left… [but] the Belgian inspiration, the elegance – it’s worth every ounce of frustration.” (For the record? I enjoy drinking a fresh Fat Tire, but like Anchor Steam, it's really at it's best when snapping fresh. My favorite New Belgium beers are probably Blue Paddle Pilsner and 1554 Black.)
So, about that Super Cru...they're talking about a June release. What is the Super Cru? They don't know yet; it's "a riff on the classic Fat Tire that is still in development." Bouckaert spoke to that: “Do we go big and hoppy? Maybe sour? Add fruit? I do not know yet. It will be something memorable and probably it will make us crazy getting there.” So...completely bald by June.
Interesting to compare this to Victory's Headwaters Pale Ale anniversary beer. Super Cru sounds like a one-shot (although, to be fair, so did La Folie when it first came out, so you never know), and something ...a bit *extreme*, while Victory deliberately skirted that with Headwaters, choosing instead to make a beer perhaps more like Fat Tire, a popular, accessible, "shareable" beer that would become a regular year-round offering. Which is better? Does one have to be better? More beers, more choice: that's better.
And more 20th anniversaries for craft brewers: that's great! Congratulations to all at New Belgium, particularly to co-founders Kim Jordan and Jeff Lebesch, brewmaster Bouckaert, and to the current owners of the brewery: everyone who's worked there for at least a year, which is one of the completely awesome things about New Belgium...but only one of them. It's a pretty amazing company. Cheers!
Friday, February 18, 2011
Thursday, February 17, 2011
- Country Ham Tasting, featuring Phillip’s from North Carolina, Father’s from Kentucky and Edward's Wigwam from Virginia, paired with a “Kentucky Tea,” 1792 Ridgemont Reserve whiskey over ice with plenty of water;
- Sweet Potato Soup with smoked pork rillettes, paired with Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey;
- Smoked Trout with apple, onions and fingerlings, paired with Four Roses Yellow Label
- Stuffed Quail, smoked and stuffed with cornbread and sausage, served with Brussels sprouts, paired with a Rittenhouse Rye Manhattan;
- “Cracker Jack” corn grits with caramel and nuts, paired with Rowan's Creek Bourbon.
Not-so-subtle reminders: I'll be signing copies of Pennsylvania Breweries (no need to purchase ahead of time; copies will be available for sale at all events for $20, cash-only) at three events in the next 10 days.
- TOMORROW, February 18, I'm at Yards Brewing, from 5-7 in their slick tasting space. If you haven't been, or if you have, great excuse to kick off your Friday night at a brewery. Hey, I'm doing it!
- NEXT SATURDAY, February 26, I'll be at JoBoy's Brew Pub in Manheim, from 2-5 (or longer; I'll be dipped if I'm leaving without getting some of their fine, fine eats for dinner). Come on out, Lancaster, Reading, Harrisburg, Palmyra, Lebanon, Hershey...get some beer, BBQ, and books!
- AND NEXT SUNDAY, February 27, I'll be joining you for brunch at Devil's Den, from about 12:45 (I'm heading down right after singing 10:30 mass) to 3...or maybe later, just because.
If you'd like to learn some great facts and talking points for craft beer -- the industry, the 'culture', the stuff itself -- there are two videos available today (yesterday, actually; I had a really long story to finish and didn't get this done) you should look at.
First, put aside any prejudices you may have about FoxNews, and watch this. It's Dan Kopman of Schlafly Beer, Nick Matt of Matt Brewing, and Leslie Henderson of Lazy Magnolia Brewing, talking about the Beer Stimulus Plan...which is a proposal to reduce the federal excise tax on small breweries. Some interesting stuff, most interesting of which is that craft brewers are 5% of the production, but are 50% of the jobs in the American brewing industry. Local jobs, and it's estimated that each job this bill should create would "cost" taxpayers $4,000 in tax revenue no longer collected. Pretty cheap, compared to other job creation programs.
The other video is at SellingCraftBeer.com, and it features Stone Brewing co-founder Greg Koch at his winning, enthusiastic, quirky best (good music, too). It's aimed right at bar/restaurant/club owners, to convince them that selling craft beer isn't just a good thing for beer geeks, it will make them more money. Yeah. That's the stuff.
Monday, February 14, 2011
Some of you probably know I had some input on Victory's Baltic Thunder...in an extended way, a lot of the reason that beer exists is because of an e-mail I wrote to Tom Baker quite a few years ago, a mash note on Baltic Porters that led to Perkuno's Hammer, and then Ron Barchet and I talked Baltics when Victory picked up the beer from him. Strictly an inspiration.
But I also helped -- a very little! -- to inspire Victory's Dark Lager, just a little conversation Ron and I had in the lagering room way back. And yesterday I heard from Bill Covaleski that the Dark Lager (which is on tap at the pub and a few other places right now) is really one of their few sales failures. It doesn't really sell enough to keep making it...but they do anyway. Because they, and a few others of us, just love that beer. It's just so craft beer...
So I wanted to take this opportunity to say "Thank you," to Ron and Bill and the crew at Victory Brewing. Thanks for making Dark Lager despite low sales, thanks for continuing to make great session beers like Milltown and Uncle Teddy's (and Dark Lager, at 4.2%!), thanks for everything. And the rest of you guys...time to drink up!
Sunday, February 13, 2011
|Right on the table, as first delivered: fresh from the Brandywine!|
Yeah, well: that didn't happen. The suck, that is. Co-founder Bill Covaleski (who told us he was there speaking to us because his partner Ron Barchet didn't want to) told us that Headwaters is a 5.1% ABV, Citra/Centennial-hopped (a "melange" of hops, Bill said), all-German malt (like HopDevil) pale ale, a type of beer Victory has not done until recently; Headwaters grew out of their excellent Pursuit Pale Ale series. Why no pale ale before? Plenty of them around; reminds me of something Dave Geary once said about why he doesn't brew a stout: "Guinness." Why fight it? Well, Victory is now in the position where their name is well-known enough to support a drinking style like pale ale. A type of beer which, I might add, has plenty to say. What'd I think of it? I thought it had a balance that reminded me of HopDevil: good body -- not overly thin -- great hop character (great aroma, especially for a bottled beer in 12 oz.), and a briskly dry finish that calls for more; I had two in short order.
|Bill points out the approximate location of his Amish girlfriend. (JK!)|
All that considered, the thing I liked best about this beer, and what I liked most about what Bill said about it...Headwaters Pale Ale is a sharable beer. It's not an anniversary beer that's rare, or huge, or "I got it, and you didn't!", it's an anniversary beer that everyone will be able to enjoy, any time they want. I love that idea. Am I freaked that it's over 4.5%, as Jack cannily suggests? Not at all: it's a choice, and I'm all about choice. That is, as I keep saying, what the craft beer segment is all about. Cheers, Victory! I'll be at the 15th anniversary event Tuesday night; looking forward to it!
And because the delightfully hyper-local Amy Strauss sent us all pix of the likes of her and me and Jack goofing around afterwards...here's one of those. That's Ryan Hudak (In Search of Beer blog, where he has a nice roundup of all our comments on the Headwaters), Mary Bigham (West Chester Dish founder), meself, Uncle Jack's self, and herself, Amy (the Dish culinary editor, and man, was she excited about the new menu!). Fun time.
|...and Mary said, "Okay, now put me under your armpit." I'm not kidding!|
Friday, February 11, 2011
While I'm cleaning up my Firefox tabs -- I just posted some good session beer links over on the SBP blog -- I noted some reviews of Pennsylvania Breweries late last year, and haven't gotten around to posting them yet. So...
Doug Rieder at the Erie Times-News liked the boost it gives to beer travel, about how important -- and fun! -- it is to go to visit the home of beers you've enjoyed. "Lew Bryson gets it. In fact, he got it before most of us."
And Neil Harner at local beer mag Philly Beer Scene marvels at how I manage to keep up -- it ain't easy! -- and says "Bryson’s book is the perfect balance of information so that novices and experts alike can read and enjoy the book, using it as an everyday reference when drinking at local watering holes throughout the Pennsylvania beer scene."
Thanks! And I'll be signing it at Yards (2/18, 5-7), JoBoy's (2/26, 2-5), and Devil's Den (2/27, 1-4). Gotta get up to Erie, I guess; sounds like they like me up there!
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Kong Kolsch (and Mark made a killer kölsch at Swashbuckler; from PA Breweries: "This might be the best kölsch being made in Pennsylvania...") OG - 11.2 FG - 2.0 IBUs - 17 ABV - 5.0%Dog Runner Red - A medium bodied Irish Red Ale... OG - 13.5 FG - 3.0 IBUs - 35 ABV - 5.6%Guard Dog Porter - OG - 14.5 FG - 4.0 IBUs - 30 ABV - 5.6%Tire Chaser IPA - A variation of a West Coast IPA...Summit and Amarillo Hops. OG - 13.5 FG - 2.4 IBUs - 62 - ABV - 6.0%Wagging Tail Wit - OG - 12.5 FG - 2.8 IBUs - 15 ABV - 5.3%Rope Tug Rye - OG - 15.0 FG - 2.6 - IBUs - 40 ABV - 6.7%Droopy Ear Alt -...with a lot of hop bitterness from both Hallertauer and Tettnang hops. OG - 13.5 FG - 3.0 IBUs - 45 ABV - 5.7%
Posted by Lew Bryson at 13:08
I've been telling people for the past three years that the hottest brewing area in PA is the arc from State College to the Wyoming Valley along the Appalachian ridges -- Otto's, Elk Creek, Bullfrog, River House, Bavarian Barbarian, Old Forge, Berwick, Breaker, and more to come, like Marley's in Bloomsburg, which opens Thursday! -- and another brewpub just opened this week: Yorkholo Brewing in Mansfield (19 N. Main St., 570-662-2920). It's pronounced "york hollow," from the name of brewer Jarrod York's grandfather's local dairy farm; according to the website, there were restrictions on the number of letters in naming a farm back in the day...well, whatever: it's not "[insert town here] Brewing Company", at least! York did the American Brewers Guild program and interned at Ithaca Brewing, so he should know what he's doing.
I'll be honest: I just found out about Yorkholo today, and they just opened Monday (and started legally selling beer today!). So I don't have much else to tell you. Just thought you'd be interested in a new brewery. I'll be visiting at my first opportunity. Congratulations to York and partner Ashley Rodgers!
Monday, February 7, 2011
The Lion, PA's third-largest brewery (don't know why the story ignores the Samuel Adams brewery outside Allentown; because it's not PA-based?), gets some good press here. There's been a lot of crap slung about these guys, but they're just keeping their heads down, steadily improving the quality of their beer, and the range of their beer, and now they've got some real sales support. Read the piece; it's just another story about how smaller breweries are real engines of economic growth in this still flailing economy.
Thanks to Bil at MyBeerBuzz for the tip on the story.
I had to check to make sure this wasn't from The Onion, but it's true: the Obamas apparently had the White House kitchen homebrew a batch of honey ale, using a pound of honey gathered right on-premises from the White House hive. (The Obamas bought the homebrew equipment themselves, according to the story.) They served the beer (along with Pale Ale, Amber Ale, and Luna Stout from Green Bay's Hinterland Brewery, and Yuengling Lager...no East End!) at last night's Super Bowl party.
Will wonders never freakin' cease? I cannot believe wine people continue to delude themselves that the Prez and First Lady are wonderful wine lovers -- guys, just because they're Democrat lawyer elites doesn't mean they automatically suck down the vino!
Sunday, February 6, 2011
What the hell: word for word, what I just got from Leigh at Resurrection:
For Immediate Consumption:
Victory Brewing Company 15th Anniversary Celebration at Resurrection Ale House Featuring New Beer Release: Victory Headwaters Pale Ale.
Help Resurrection Ale House celebrate Victory Brewing Company's 15th anniversary on Wednesday, February 16 from 6-10pm!
In addition to gads of Victory favorites on draft starting at 6pm, Resurrection Ale House will be pouring the first taste of Victory's newest full-time brand; the Headwaters Pale Ale.
The celebration draft list includes Helios Ale, V Twelve, Baltic Thunder, St. Victorious, Victory Lager, Hop Wallop on cask, and MORE!! Expect an extra special firkin pouring off the edge of the bar!
Friday, February 4, 2011
I helped judge the Nightclub & Bar awards again this year, and I'm pleased to say that a couple of the places I was excited about won. Here's a partial list:
Bartender of the Year – Jackson Cannon, Eastern Standard, Boston
Beer Bar of the Year – ChurchKey, Washington, D.C.
Hotel Bar of the Year – Eastern Standard, Hotel Commonwealth, Boston
Small Wonder Bar of the Year – Embury, Pittsburgh, Pa.
That last category is, I think, one of the best awards NCB does. I love the tip of the hat to small, intimate, comfortable bars.
The full list is available here. Congratulations to all the winners!
Thursday, February 3, 2011
I haven't done many PA Breweries 4 events in Philly yet. So I'm doing one at Yards. Here's what we wrote for the event...which is really just me showing up at 5 PM on Friday the 18th, hanging out at the bar and talking beer and signing books:
There are 75 breweries in Pennsylvania. One of them is in a fish market; one is in a former county morgue; two are in old barns; one is in a train station; and one is in a suburban garage. The two largest American-owned breweries both have their main breweries in Pennsylvania, and they're less than 40 miles apart. Didja know all that?*Yeah, this story is in there too. Come on out and see where it happened. Oh, and...I've got another event coming up in Philly, too: brunch at Devil's Den on February 27th, 1:00. More on that soon.
Lew Bryson does, and if you read his new book, Pennsylvania Breweries 4th edition, you will too, and a lot more. It has reviews of over 220 of the state's best bars, suggestions for stops on your beer travel in the state, and stories of the breweries and brewers* that make Pennsylvania one of the best places in the country -- the world! -- for the beer traveler.
Yards is one of those breweries. It is in Philadelphia, and they will be hosting Lew for a book signing. Stop by, say hi and get a free beer if you purchase a copy of his book. It's a must have!
Got a preliminary tap list for the book signing I'm doing next week at Canal Street Pub in Reading (and it is going to be good to get back to the place; gorgeous, if you've never been). It's looking pretty damned good!
Yuengling Lord Chesterfield
Sly Fox Dunkel Lager
Troeg's Nugget Nectar (had it yet this year?)
Voodoo Cowbell Imperial Oatmeal Milk Stout (yeah, it's all in there)
Stoudt's Pumpkin Fest (really? Damn, I missed that one)
Bavarian Barbarian Headbangerz
Lancaster Baltic Porter
Weyerbacher Quad (gotta have one!)
Victory Prima Pils
Erie Ol' Red Cease and Desist 2009 (very nice)
And maybe Spring House Atomic Raygun, too, if a tap opens up in time.
How 'bout dat?! So...I'll see you next Tuesday. I'll have books.
Just heard from my man Sam Komlenic that he was privileged to drink "the first 12 oz. bottle of Red Mo from the first sixer sold at Otto’s, so production of that package is underway and will only be available in-house until they can expand production capacity. Other flavors will follow, but again, will only be sold at the restaurant."
Sam also told me that sales of Charlie's Keewaydin Cider are no longer allowed at outside outlets (like Wegmans); the LCB has apparently ruled that since he's making it in Pennsylvania with a winery license (which they require for cider), it can only be sold at Otto's and at LCB stores. What about all those ciders you see sold at beer distributors? Well, they're made out of state, so it's different rules. Thanks again, to the PLCB and their big brother, The Almighty Liquor Code.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Lancaster County already has more breweries than any other county in Pennsylvania (Lancaster, Stoudt's, Iron Hill, Union Barrel Works, Spring House, Swashbuckler, Bube's, and JoBoy's)...and they're piling on. Check out this news. Spring House is opening their taproom in the Hager Arcade (25 W. King Street) tomorrow (no brewing on-site, but a much bigger outlet for the beer, and the Conestoga tasting room will be closing...too bad!), and St. Boniface Craft Brewing has their beer on sale for the first time tonight at their nanobrewery (100 N. State St., Ephrata). Yeah, that's right: a brewery in Ephrata. Blows my mind. They'll only have growlers of their imperial stout...heh, only...but more beers are coming.
More breweries coming, too; more here shortly. GO PA!
Scott Smith, owner/brewer/damn near everything at East End Brewing, is a man with a mission. He's found out...well, I'll let him tell it, because he is a funny guy.
It seems that during a recent visit to Wisconsin, The White House placed a beer order from fellow Craft Brewer, Hinterland Brewing Company in Wisconsin, so that they could have some Green Bay beer on hand for the Superbowl. Simple enough, but maybe you can already see that this act by itself, is not exactly a "beer-partisan" move. Since Friday of last week, we're working to help correct that.
And here's where YOU come in...
HELP US GET SOME PITTSBURGH BEER TO THE WHITEHOUSE!
What can you do? Well, if you're a FaceBook user you can climb on board the movement by going to http://www.facebook.com/
EastEndtoDC and hitting the LIKE button. (We're approaching the 1,000 Fan mark already!) Then, share this with your circle of friends on Facebook, and help us grow the presence there! And while you're on that Facebook page, be sure to check out the links to some of the local press we've gotten, and give a listen to my KDKA Radio interview from Friday of last week. That's all on the Facebook Page.
If you're a Twitter user, you can help spread the word there by Tweeting with the hashtag #EastEndtoDC. Or follow our progress on our Twitter feed at http://twitter.com/
EastEndBrewing. That's where this whole thing got started late last week, and where most of the updates are posted.
If neither of these websites are your thing and you "don't do social networking", don't worry, no problem. You can still help. Share this with your circle of friends, and send it along to your favorite news reporter for your favorite press outlet. Any help getting the word out is still a huge help!
My hope is that someone knows somebody who thinks this story is worthy of some National press, which should get the RIGHT people's attention...and hopefully later this week, I'll be honored to load up some Black N Gold Beer to head out on the most important delivery run of this brewery's life. Thanks for all of your help and support with making this happen for us, and for Pittsburgh!
Before anyone squeals about playing favorites among the Pittsburgh breweries, I'd point out that Penn is already the "wager beer" that PA governor Tom Corbett has bet on the Steelers against the Packers with the Wisconsin governor (I have no idea what beer he bet; but Corbett's gonna be drinking it after the game!) and, well...Iron City is made in Latrobe. Church? Come on, Sean, get moving!
So...why not give Scott a hand on this, and do whatever you can to help get a Pittsburgh beer to our beer-loving President Obama (after all, the man needs something to soothe the pain of the Bears being at home in the snow...).
Amidst all the fuss yesterday about Terry Hawbaker moving to a new boutique brewpub in Philly, I wouldn't want to overlook the significant local anniversary coming up this month: Victory turns 15. I was struck by this today, because it's looking like the first time I visited Victory, which was actually before it opened.
That was January 19th, 1996, the day the snow from Philly's biggest-ever snowfall -- all 30.7 inches of it -- all melted at once under the hammer of 60+ degree breezes and three inches of warm rain. I had scheduled a series of brewery visits -- including Ugly Dog, God help me -- that had me driving through lashing rainfall and deep run-off. A couple of times I drove through running water that by all rights should have killed my Jetta (the second one, the red one), but managed to keep going. Finding Victory that first time wasn't easy, particularly since the main roads to it were closed (I slipped around the back way, past Bishop Shanahan), and there was a foot of brown water running swiftly through the parking lot. Wonder what it's going to look like later today? Not nearly as much snow, and not nearly as warm; I'm still staying home.
Victory's celebrating with what I think is a more significant beer than the anniversary brews they've done in the past: Headwaters Pale Ale. It's a celebration of the Brandywine Creek, the source of their brewing water -- a lot of water at their birth, to be sure! -- and it's a drinkable pale ale, not a whack over the head. Cheers to that, Victory! I'll have to make plans to be there on February 15th to try some.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
It just keeps leaking out... From PhillyBeerScene:
Its going to be located [at] 1113 Walnut St and he’s calling the place The Grainery. The highlight of the new concept has to be the arrival of former Bullfrog brewmaster Terry Hawbaker. The Grainery won’t be a brewpub but Terry will have 4 of the bar's 24+ taps for his beers that he’ll be brewing on an extremely small, artisan scale.How much would you pay for that?! But wait, there's more!
On top of having a great beer program, they are also bringing in Damon Dyer, an extremely talented mixologist from NYC, to put together a Victorian style cocktail menu....As for food, the details were brief but look for rustic fare with lots of house cured meets and game dishes.... Look for the new bar to open around April.Oh my...Victorian cocktails? Different than the speakeasy stuff, maybe more punches, raw eggs, and Old Tom? Woo woo!