Two things.

The Easter Buddy and I went out for a walk this AM, which was nice. The winter snows precluded doing that very often in recent months and he is not always up for the effort of late. He is suffering from something called Cushing Disease (about which I will say more in a subsequent post) and either too tired or contrary to engage. But it was his idea this morning and welcome.

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a judge at the World Cup or GABF, this will probably interest you.

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Me vs. the Universe (I am all in on Me).

Today, despite the winds that blow cold and seem determined to do so forever up here on Orchard Hill and the sweater I needs must wear because it is still freakin’ cold here in Liquid Diet World Central, I went out and purchased me a bottle o’ gin, some tonic and lemons and two, count ‘em, two, growlers of Bock Bier, not to mention the fortuitous presence of that newly discovered vintage bottle of Thomas Hardy’s Ale.

Easter Sunday will come and I shall rise and we will all be saved.*

*If Salvation is not available when your time comes, you will receive a reward of equal value, likely in the form of coupons to one or more chain restaurants.

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Push Pin Wisdom — 19 April 2014

“Thank God we can’t tell the future. We’d never get out of bed.”

–the Julie Roberts character in August: Osage County

[This is an occasional series of snippets of wisdom, humor or dismay about the state of the world in which we live, the sorts of things we used to stick on our desk-side bulletin boards with push pins in ancient times.]

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What in the world is Spröcketbier?

stoneSpröcketbierPerhaps more to the point, what in the world is one to make of a Black Rye Kölsch?

Spröcketbier, you may not be entirely surprised to learn, is from Stone Brewing. Actually., check that. Once you discover that it has a 5.4% abv and relatively modest hops presence, you may not only be surprised but downright shocked that it is a Stone beer.

Spröcketbier is the initial release in the new Stone Spotlight Series, which are beers devised by two employees from the brewery’s production team who win over over two-man teams (19 of them in this instance) and see their creation brewed, packaged and distributed nationally. It was conceived by Quality Assurance Supervisor Rick Blankenmeier and Production Warehouse Lead Robbie Chandler, who regularly homebrew together.

So, what in the world is one to make of this? Well, it’s certainly unique. And you’d better liked rye because this is the rye-est rye beer I have yet tasted. If you go in expecting some Kölsch-like characteristics because of the yeast strain and can find them, you have a finer tuned palate than do I (admittedly, not hard to do). I kinda liked it and hate to burden it with the ambiguous “interesting” label but am going to do so anyway.

I would likely be tempted to order Spröcketbier if it were on draft and there was something on the food menu that seemed a good accompaniment. My man Dr. Bill Sysak, Stone’s pairings expert, suggests hummus, black bean soup, pork roast and pecan pie among a raft of choices. That sounds like a fine dinner menu right there and at least one more draft would be appropriate if not outright required.

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Look what I found.

hardyales96Kerry Bryne, who writes about food and drink for the Boston Herald (the perfect home for a crazed right winger) and is also the self-described “potentate” of the very good Cold, Hard Football Facts website, asked a lot of knowledgeable beer folks and me about the current status of Thomas Hardy’s Ale on The Book of Face last night (turns out it’s coming back, as I discovered here and here in a quick online search and posted as part of the discussion).

The post was inspired by Kerry’s finding a 1994 vintage bottle in a storage area. One respondent joked that “Only Kerry Byrne – or a few other beer writers past and present on this post – would find vintage beer in the garage that they had forgotten about.” And the proverbial bell went off in my brain. I might well be one of those few! A quick search, as you can see, proved I was indeed. This is going to make Easter a lot more fun.

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Push Pin Wisdom — 18 April 2014

“I don’t try to describe the future. I try to prevent it.”

–Ray Bradbury

[This is an occasional series of snippets of wisdom, humor or dismay about the state of the world in which we live, the sorts of things we used to stick on our desk-side bulletin boards with push pins in ancient times.]

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The official Philly Beer Week beer for 2014 (one of many, collect them all).

This email just arrived here at Liquid Diet headquarters. It is, as they say, self-explanatory.

Dear valued customer and Philly Beer Week 2013 participant,


It is with great pleasure that we introduce you to the only official beer of the upcoming Philly Beer Week, Philly Tripel, a Belgian Abbey Tripel brewed with organic acacia honey, with notes of malt and dry hop flavor that clocks in at 8.5% ABV.


Brewed in collaboration between Philadelphia’s own Dock Street Brewing and Belgium’s Brewery Dilewyns, this one-time limited release is on the water now from Wallonia, Belgium and will be available while the limited supply lasts.


Philly Beer week will officially begin with the tapping of Philly Tripel. Please open the attached brochure and place your pre-order directly. We hope you are able to participate and treat your customers to this exceptional product which represents the best Philadelphia and Belgium have to offer! Once Philly Tripel is sold-out though, we’re afraid it’s really gone!


See you in Philly in a few weeks!


Very best wishes,


Tom Rose

VP Sales & Marketing

Total Beverage Solution

Posted in News, Philly Beer Week | 2 Comments

An overdue Sly Fox update.

Went out a while ago to do some necessary errands (get salad fixin’s for dinner, pick up Buddy’s walking leash which I forgot at my daughter’s house Friday night, get some paperwork at the Beer Yard to see if it’s the bank or me who’s crazy–seems to be a tie) and then swung by the Pottstown Tastin’ Room to grab a growler of the just out 2014 Hefeweizen Doppelbock. Haven’t opened it yet but it’s anywhere near as fine as the glass of Helles Bock I had while waiting for the fill, I will be a happy man. Seriously, the Helles Bock is killer this year.

Which reminds me I have been way too remiss in getting a personal update out there. Many of you are aware that I was doing PR and website consulting and content for Sly Fox over the past several years. That relationship ended as of this year. It was the right business decision for both sides, perfectly amicable and all that.  I was treated very well by the Giannopoulos family throughout and at the very end and have no problem with how it all concluded. However, I need to add that there are a few peripheral issues which created a sour note. That’s not a topic to be bandied about here but catch me at a bar sometime and ply me with a beer or two and, who knows?


Posted in Breweries, Personal | 6 Comments

Local medal-winning beers at the 2014 World Cup.

Seven locally brewed entries were selected as among the best in the world in the World Beer Cup judging which was part of the just completed 2014 Craft Brewers Conference in Denver (the World Cup is a biennial competition):

Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant won a total of five medals:

Aged Beer — Gold: Russian 2009, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant – Media

British-Style Imperial Stout — Gold: Russian Imperial Stout, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant – Media

(Essentially two vintages of the same beer from Brewer Bob Barrar, who is very, very good at this medal-winning business)

American-Style Brett Beer — Gold: The Golden Child, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant – Chestnut Hill, brewer: Paul Rutherford

Specialty Honey Beer –Bronze :Honey Tripper, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant – Maple Shade, Brewer: Chris LaPierre

Traditional German-Style Bock –Bronze: Bock, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant – Phoenixville, Brewer: Tim Stumpf

Stoudt’s Brewing Co. of Adamstown won Bronze for its German-Style Pilsener. Brewer: Brett Kintzer

(In the early years of the Great American Beer Festival, this beer and other lagers turned out by brewmaster Bill Moore dominated those categories.)

The new Barren Hill Tavern and Brewery in Lafayette Hill took a Bronze in the Belgian- and French-Style Ale category with Biere De Extra: Brewer: Scott Morrison.

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Iron Hill goes nova at World Cup 2014.

 Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant locations won five medals at the 2014 World Cup in Denver last night, including three Golds and two Bronze, and Iron Hill Media was named Champion Brewery in the Small Brewpub Category.

Other local winners were Bronze Medals awarded to Stoudt’s Brewing Co. and Barren Hill Tavern & Brewery, a return to the winner’s circle for the Pennsylvania’s oldest modern day brewpub and a first step into the limelight for one the region’s newest brewpubs.

There’s a more extensive report on the World Cup at the Beer Yard website.

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