If they don’t care, why should we?

It has been official Liquid Diet practice heretofore to provide a full list of all the winners in the annual awards determined by online voting conducted by readers of Philly Beer Scene magazine because the magazine and the awards have become significant parts of the local beer scene.  However, three days after what was reportedly another wild and wacky 2015 awards ceremony was held, no winners’ list has been made public on either the magazine website or its Facebook page.

Providing that information should be a very simple thing. They knew the winners going in and could have had the information  ready to post immediately when the night was over. Select. Click. Done.

Seriously, to get both more attention to the awards and an added benefit for the winners, that would be the only thing to do.

So, what the headline says.

The new standard Liquid Diet practice?

Screw it.

Posted in Beer Events, Beer History, Beer Writing, Brewspapers | 2 Comments

A blast from the past.

This is a “Local Boy Makes Good” note for early readers of these ramblings back in the day when I had to hand-code everything myself and would write often and long about the characters I met in our burgeoning beer scene. It’s from the latest edition of the The Belchertown Blast, a promotional email newsletter from the Shelton Bros.:

Mike Murphy, an American expat, helped kick-start the craft beer movementmikemurhpylabel in Italy, later heading north to do the same for Denmark. In fact, he brewed the very first batch of Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast there. More recently he’s been fermenting away at Lervig in Norway for the last 18 months perfecting an amazing bourbon barrel-aged heavyweight of which the Shelton Bros have ’til recently received only an occasional “insider” sample. We’re happy to announce that the velvety Lervig Bourbon BA Barleywine is now readily available in the U.S. This is a fine, big, rich beer; at 13%, the alcohol packs some heat, but the bourbon doesn’t overwhelm. “Murph” has been working on his craft for years, and this beer proves his dedication has a purpose: Barleywine Nirvana.

Ah, we knew him when and the lad was truly rambunctious. I think my most memorable experience was the day at a Nodding Head Royal Stumble when he and then-NH brewer Brandon Greenwood (another expat of sorts) almost came to fisticuffs in the stairwell leading to the ack alley; this, after I had talked Murphy’s way into the event as my guest.

Posted in Brewers, Nostalgia | Leave a comment

A new coffee beer with definite promise.

I received an email earlier this month from Erik Barkley of Tugboat Coffee LLC in Illinois. IMG_2096 “I am a coffee roaster outside of Chicago & I have partnered with RAM Restaurant & Brewery to develop a new coffee beer that is ridiculously good.  Could I send you a sample & get your feedback?” Hey, why not? I do love me some coffee beers and had come home that very day with a 6-pack of Philadelphia Brewing Co.’s Joe, one of the fine local examples of the style.

A bottle of Big Red Jugboat arrived earlier this week  (my apologies for the quality of the photo; the backlighting from the window did me in) and I opened it Wednesday night before dinner. For those of you who, like I do,  want your coffee beer to present a very definite coffee presence, this one is on the right track. The nose, in particular, is immense. Overall, I think a  more balanced  flavor profile and tweaking things a bit for a smoother finish would be in order, but I was definitely impressed with Big Red Jugboat just as it is.

Barkley says he and the brewers are working on “several other completely ground breaking coffee beers right now and once we have perfected the recipes I will send you a sample of those as well.” I can live with that.

Posted in Beer Styles, Brewpubs, Collaborations | Leave a comment

We live in interesting (beer) times. Isn’t that an old Chinese curse or something?

From Craft Business Daily just now:

SABMiller has bought London’s biggest craft brewer, Meantime, for an undisclosed sum, marking their foray into the UK craft market. The acquisition is expected to be completed by early June, when Meantime will be incorporated into SABMiller Europe’s accounts.

The deal includes Meantime’s retail sites, including the Tasting Rooms and the brewery shop in Greenwich, the Greenwich Union pub, pop-up Beerbox pub, and the Brewery Fresh tank beer concept, which is now in 26 pubs across London, “complementing SABMiller’s Pilsner Urquell unpasteurised tank beer in a further four London pubs,” per company statement.

The small brewer grew 58% last year to the rest of the UK market’s less than 1%.

Posted in Beer Industry, Big Blands, Brewers | Leave a comment

Understatement of the year.

From this morning’s Craft Business Daily (emphasis added):

LAGUNITAS NAMED Maria Stipp as the new CEO as the founder Tony Magee will become executive chairman, effective June 15. She comes from Eco-ATM, which recycles old cell phones. It will be interesting to me at least how she either manages or adopts to the unique culture at Lagunitas. This is not your normal company, and not even your normal craft beer company.

Posted in Breweries, Brewers, Different Strokes | Leave a comment

A Penny for your Maibock.

The winning goat at yesterday’s Sly Fox Bock Festival Goat Race was named Penny and that’s also now the name of the 2015 Maibock. As noted in the post below, I never did get into the event but am pleased to report that most of the feedback I am receiving is very positive and that, while there were glitches, the Sly Fox folks did a yeoman-like job making it all come together at the new location.

Plus also, there was one “never happened before” moment* in the championship race. Another goat named Wally actually crossed the finish line first but because his handler made the error of stepping across the line before the goat did, he was disqualified (them’s the rules) and Penny was named the winner. Pales in comparison to last year’s race in which the wrong ruminant was named the winner, as later determined by video,: those results had to be changed the following day.

*Almost positive this is true but, hey, let’s hedge the bet a tad here

Posted in Beer Events, Breweries, Brewpubs, Sly Fox Goat Race | Leave a comment

This is not a Maibock…but it should be.

IMG_2060Right about now on the first Sunday in May I am obligated by tradition and desire to be quaffing a pint or three of  Sly Fox “Named After Whatever Goat Won the Race” Maibock, along with thousands of other spectators.

Didn’t happen. For the first time ever (I think; I may have been in Europe for one of the earlier ones), I was not in attendance at the annual Sly Fox Bock Festival & Goat Race this afternoon. I was there, understand, slowly edging along in traffic that was back up a mile at least (and that was on only one of three access roads to the brewer). being outpaced by the streams of people walking by me from home or wherever they had parked.

When I got to the entrance to the Pottstown Airport Business Center where the brewery is located around 2pm, the cop directing traffic told me it had been like that since 9am or so. He suggested I not even bother to drive in, but I said I’d take at least one swing around the circle on which all the resident business are situated. I made a mistake at that point. When the two cars in front of me were let into the first of several parking areas set up for the day, I waved off my chance, figuring that I could get lucky (heaven knows, I’m due) and find a spot or come back. Went around four times, never had a smell of an open space, discovered there weren’t even people at various business lots signed “for employees only” you could slip $20 for a slot and, of course, the lot that had tried to welcome me was now full.

I gave up.

There had to be 4,000 – 5,000 people in attendance. There were tents everywhere, families and dogs and all the good stuff that used to be part of the scene for all the years this event was conducted at the original Sly Fox Brewhouse & Eatery in Phoenixville. This was the first year it was held at the main brewery and I had some concerns that it might lose some of its audience.

Yeah, right.

Put simply, this thing has become a phenomenon.

In any case, I’ll be back tomorrow morning,  maybe later tonight, to report on who won and whatever else I can glean from sources, reliable and not so much.

By the way, I had to drive all the hell over the place to find a PLCB store open in this area so I could get a bottle of gin and take that photo. On the more positive side, I am now going out and sitting in the late afternoon sun and enjoying my non-Maibock and maybe one or two more.

And I’ll get my Bock fix in Phoenixville tomorrow.

Posted in Beer Events, Breweries, Brewpubs, Sly Fox Goat Race | Leave a comment

First visit to Fermentaria.

After my usual Saturday morning visit to the Beer Yard yesterday, I drove up Lancaster Pike (not recommended at all, terrible traffic, use the back roads, trust me) to Ardmore to visit  Fermentaria, the recently opened new production brewery and restaurant born out of the success and popularity of the Tired Hands brewpub.  It’s a big, airy, beautiful place, really, albeit somewhat difficult to find, at least for me. A lot of others obviously had no problems and the tables kept filling up with a lunchtime crowd. As you can see in the rear of the photo above, the shiny new brewery dominates the rear right side of the room.

I opted for the 4.8% Saison Hands and a very tasty mushroom taco for an early lunch and was pleased with both. Midway through the meal, owner Jean Broillet popped up in front of me to suggest that a Double IPA was always a good idea at lunch and handed me a small glass of 8.1% Foliage to back up his argument. It turned out to be a really nice rendition of the style, with a strong hoppy presence as you’d expect, with a rye backbone and all sorts of other interesting fruity flavors. We then talked at bit on and off but he had to keep running off to attend to matters in the brewery so I wouldn’t call it an interview exactly. What I did learn you will find in the pages of the June/July issue of Mid-Atlantic Brewing News, due out at the end of this this.

Beers from Fermentaria are already pouring at several bars in the city and have been or will soon be on at Downingtown’s Station Taproom and Teresa’s Next Door in Wayne.

Posted in Beer Yard, Brewers, Brewpubs, Brewspapers, First Taste | Leave a comment

It’s true. You’re never a hero in your own back yard.

From today’s Craft Beer Daily email newsletter:


What local darlings? Dogfish Head Brewing is “stunned and disappointed” with the denial of their plans to build a new larger restaurant in Rehoboth Beach. It was the brewer’s intent to tear down their current 8,280-square-foot restaurant and build a new 9,820-square-foot on the same site (nearly doubling the size allowed by the zoning code). Consequently, Rehoboth Beach Board of Adjustment shot down their plans on a 3-1 vote. Dogfish looks to appeal the case to Delaware Superior Court, per Cape Gazette.

Nick Benz, CEO of Dogfish Head, believed they had “met the full criteria for variance, especially given the fact that [they’re] already over 5,000 square feet.”

The brewer was forced to get a variance because the current building “predates the zoning code” and therefore “is a legal nonconforming property.” If a nonconforming property in Rehoboth Beach makes adjustments to its floor plan it is required to get a variance.

Dogfish felt it necessary to update and expand the restaurant in order to be competitive. Nick views the “old building” as an “eyesore.” Adding, “it’s not just the skin, it’s the bones that have become dated. It’s time.” He knows they “can do better.”

At the Board meeting, some members contended Dogfish’s plans to be selfish and a money grab. Board member Chuck Donahue said their “only motive in seeking the variance is to expand its profit.” While another member, Clif Hilderley, asked, “You want to expand downtown where it is already crowded?” and proposed they “look outside of town.”

After the meeting, Nick said, “We certainly decline to take the advice of one member of the board who suggested we simply move out of town rather than build a great brewpub building on Rehoboth Avenue.  We think his real opposition was architectural and design in nature, looking for something more traditional versus Dogfish off-centered.”

Chairman Thomas Evans was the only one who sided with the brewer asserting that Dogfish is “a good business” and their proposed floor plan isn’t much bigger than their current one.

The board claims they do not “establish precedent,” but “a number of restaurants larger than 5,000 square feet have come before the board in the last five years and received variances.” Dogfish and another restaurant are the only ones that have been denied over the past five years. The other restaurant subsequently “filed a lawsuit and won its right to build a new patio.”

I find this stunning, given what I, and I assume most people, perceive as the great benefit Dogfish Head has been, not only to Rehoboth Beach but all of Lower Delaware as a major employer, tourist attraction and news-making entity. Also, somebody said “No” to Sam Calagione. I have to think that’s a word he’s not heard in a long time, if ever.

Posted in Brewers, Brewpubs, News, Seriously?, WTF? | Leave a comment

I am liking this beer. A lot.

Two beer posts in two days. You might almost think this was a blog about beer Now there’s a concept; I wonder why nobody else has ever thought of it? IMG_2024

Conshocken Brewing Co. La Colombe Tandem is made in tandem with (get it?) La Colombe Torrefaction, Philadelphia’s best know and highly respected coffee roaster, which opened its doors 21 years ago and has set the local standard ever since. A Ethiopian blend and Belgian yeast are both evident and well matched and the aroma is outstanding.

I’ve pretty much liked every beer I’ve had from the Conshocken folks but this one really got my attention. I grabbed a case at the Beer Yard when it was first released and this four-pack at Wegmans yesterday (BY is sold out).  For whatever reason, I find the 16-ounce can a very appealing package these days, so that helps too.


Posted in Beer, Beer Cans, Beer Yard, Brewpubs, Coffee, Packaging | 1 Comment