More “Best of Philly 2014″ beer-centric awards.

Told you about the Hartranft/Maida honors on Saturday. Now that I have the actual Philadelphia Magazine August issue in hand, here’s a bunch more. All addresses are in the city except the ones that aren’t.

BEST BEER BAR – Tria Taproom, 2005 Walnut St.

BREWPUB – Tired Hands, 16 Ardmore Ave., Ardmore

NEW BAR – Garage, 1231 E, Passyunk Ave.

SERIOUS DAY-DRINKING – McGillin’s Olde Ale House, 1310 Drury St.

WHISKEY BAR – Teresa’s Next Door Bar, 124 N. Wayne Ave., Wayne

CASUAL DAY-DRINKING – Forest and Main Brewing Co., 61 N. Main St., Ambler

PEOPLE’S CHOICE BEST BAR - Jose Pistolas, 253 S. 15th St.

CITY DIVE BAR - Bonnie’s Capistrano, 1503 S. 23th St.

There’s a nice mix of old and new there.

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Posted in Breweries, Brewpubs, Cafes, Restaurants, Taverns, Other Voices, Philly | Leave a comment

Sam sees trouble ahead.

Joshua Bernstein at Bonappetit.com minutes ago :

There may be no prettier place to discuss a battle than Block Island.

Located off Rhode Island’s coast, the Atlantic Ocean isle is filled with bluffs, beaches, and rolling hills, such as the one atop which the Atlantic Inn is perched. Here, on the lush lawn in front of the 1879 hotel, you can sit in white Adirondack chairs and watch the rippled waters. Or, on a recent summer morning, you could plop beside Dogfish Head president Sam Calagione and discuss craft beer’s coming bottleneck.

“We’re heading into an incredibly competitive era of craft brewing,” he says. “There’s a bloodbath coming.”

Agree? Disagree? Discuss, be prepared to defend your position.

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Remember that nice young couple who went off to create a beer bar or something like that a while back? Whatever became of them?

From Philadelphia Magazine’s “Best of Philly 2014″ in the issue that hits the newsstands this coming week:

Best Scene Makers: Brendan Hartranft, 35, and Leigh Maida, 38

Hartranft and his wife Leigh currently own four drinking establishments across the city (Strangelove’s, Resurrection Ale House, Local 44 and Memphis Taproom), and each one reflects the duo’s personalities, complete with great beer lists courtesy of Hartranft’s intensity and a sense of whimsy from Maida, whose vision and guiding hand defined the look of each space. Together, they’ve created very different and very popular bars, each with the same high standards for food, drink and service.

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Sorry, Carolinas, no Stone for you.

Stone Brewing Co. has made a decision–well, I guess it’s more accurately a “no decision”–about where its East Coast brewery will be built

Stone Brewing won’t be coming to South Carolina and instead has shifted its focus to Ohio and Virginia, officials said Friday.

The San Diego brewery — the nation’s 10th-largest — notified the state Department of Commerce that South Carolina is no longer a candidate, department spokeswoman Allison Skipper told The Greenville News.

[ ... ]

Another candidate that had been in the mix — the city of Greensboro, North Carolina — was told that the brewery was turning its eye toward Ohio and Virginia, Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan told The News.

Dunno where in Virginia they might be looking but I’ve heard Columbus mentioned in Ohio.

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Road Trip!

BCAA_bus2Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp Across America tour is in Denver today, Chicago tomorrow, New England a week from today and right here in Philly at Penn Treaty Park next Saturday, the penultimate stop before the grand finale at the new Mills Creek brewery in North Carolina a week from this Sunday. Pictured above is the custom bus which is carrying Ken Grossman and all the participating brewers on the road trip. Two traveling and alternating employee teams are doing the heavy lifting, setting things up at each stop. If all goes as planned, I’ll have a behind-the-scenes peek at this historic adventure in the October-November issue of Celebrator Beer News and maybe some other pieces in other publications. I’ll probably see some of you at the park on August 2. Or not.

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Wherever is Stone planning to build a new brewery?

North Carolina? South Carolina? Some state without “Carolina” in its name? Bethlehem, PA? Well, it will happen in one or none of those places and be announced soon, but there is one location which is now certain.

Berlin, Germany..

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Boston blues for Yuengling?

Kerry Byrne, who is a food/drink/sports/whatever he wants writer for the Boston Herald and the mastermind behind the very good pro football website, Cold Hard Football Facts, has a story in the paper today about how things have changed up in Beantown for Yuengling Brewing after its auspicious launch into that market this past March.

Pennsylvania-based Yuengling Lager hit the Bay State with a bang back in March. Today it’s in the fight of its life to win over Boston beer drinkers.

“I’m not going to sugarcoat that it’s been a very competitive market, more competitive than any market we’ve seen before,” said Yuengling chief operating officer David Casinelli, a beer industry legend who turned a stale regional brand into a fast-growing powerhouse.

[ ... ]

“(Yuengling) was hot out of the gates and hit a wall fast,” said Matt Mooney, the beer buyer at Boston Beer Garden in South Boston. “We sold three kegs of it the first Monday alone. Before long we were down to one keg a week.”

Boston Beer Garden recently kicked Yuengling off its draft list in favor of faster-selling brands.

“The novelty has worn off,” said Adam Hawk, manager at the Baseball Tavern in Fenway.

This is new territory for the nation’s oldest family owned brewer, which is used to entering a market, enjoying the big fuss and then settling in comfortably with a solid on-premise presence.Then again, everybody’s fighting for tap handles these days–it’s the biggest issue of the year in craft even if not yet officially acknowledged as such–so maybe this is not as a big deal as it appears? David Casinelli certainly sounded like he felt that was the case when he talked to Craft Business Daily for today’s  issue which just arrived in my email and pushed back a bit:

But perhaps the article author had an agenda. Yuengling COO Dave Casinelli told us he’s gotten a lot of feedback from wholesalers on the piece. One of them spoke to the manager at the Baseball Tavern in Fenway who was quoted as saying “the novelty has worn off” for the brand. What the article didn’t include was the second half of that quote: “but the sales continue, and it’s a solid brand.”

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The history of our times is written in our trash bins.

Late yesterday afternoon, I parked in front of the building where I live and started walking toward my apartment carrying a sixer of Neshaminy Creek Trauger Pils in one hand and sixer of Yards ESA in the other, wearing an Allagash tee as I did so. My new next door neighbor yelled “hey, like your shirt” and then, when I held up the sixpacks,  seemed to be fighting back desperately against the urge to run over and kiss me. It would have better had he been female but it still was fun. I see more and more craft cases up at the refuse bins these days than I did when I first moved out here nearly a decade ago. Reminds me of when Victory’s Bill Covaleski told me a few years back that he and partner Ron Barchet realized they had made it when they started seeing Victory boxes out in the trash at their neighbors.

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Give this man a round of applause.

From an interview reported in today’s edition of Craft Business Daily. The interviewee is John Laffler, late of Goose Island Brewing and the co-founder of Off Color Brewing, both in Chicago:

ON MAKING “IMPORTANT” BEER, NOT IPA. These days, John’s litmus test for making a beer is not whether it tastes good or will make money, but whether it’s “important” and “viable.” That opener led to an anti-IPA rant. “Everybody else makes IPA, so why would we?” said John. “We have Lagunitas opening up, so the price of hoppy beer is plummeting. You see their handles all over Chicago–they make a very nice beer, they make a lot more of it than we possibly can, at a price point we could not possibly match. Nor can we get access to the ingredients like they can.” It’s neither a style he likes nor a business model he desires.

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Posted in Opinion, Other Voices | 2 Comments

Remember when some jackass wrote this a little over two weeks back?

Paragraphs which… will be a recurring feature at Liquid Diet from now on, as is Push Pin Wisdom. A major difference will be that the posts under that rubric will, more often  than not, be supplemented by commentary by Your Humble Host

I can hear some of you moaning “why the hell aren’t you just talking about beer, dammit?,” and I understand. I will address that soon. You may or may not be pleased. Then again, this blog is all about me, innit, as is every blog and its author?

Yeah, that was me.

Ignore.

Peek over there to the right and you will see an RSS feed for These Things Happened. TTH is my new personal website (in the tradition of the late lamented Mermaids Singing and who can count how many other such ventures) and that’s where Push Pin Wisdom and other non-beer-related posts, including political rants, most music videos, Buddy news and all the other fun stuff will happen. The RSS feed will keep you apprised or you can just make TTH a regular browsing stop. Comes to that you can ignore it entirely, although that would be wrong in the extreme.

I am sure I will occasionally do a post or two here which will link to TTH, and visa versa. You know I can’t help myself.

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