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New postings or changes elsewhere on this site are indicated by the date shown beneath the appropriate link in the left-hand column.

21 January 2008
LIQUID DIET - THE BLOG.

GO HERE.

Still much work to be done, including launching two, count 'em two more WordPress blogs, but the die is cast.

I hope you'll bookmark the blog link and come along for the ride. Don't get rid of your link here, though, as I'll be posting longer material (including stories and columns which appeared in print first) here. Plus I'll keep updating the links lists for your (and my) convenience.

Somewhere, Stan Hieronymus is weeping tears of joy....

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[Posted 10:30am est]

19 January 2008
In the press.
That's the mainstream press, I'm talkin'. I offer here for your consideration two most interesting pieces I found while wandering the web this morning, all a-flush with the rush of being back online in full operational mode.

From the Newark Star-Ledger by way of the Seattle Times, the story of Mr. Forder and Mr. Babin and their excellent brewspaper. I bet a whole lot of you didn't know that Ale Street News was the largest circulation brewspaper in the country, right, even though it says so right there on every front cover?

From tomorrow's Philadelphia Inquirer, restaurant critic Craig LeBan, who has emerged as a real friend of craft beer, something new as part of his reviews, a "Beer List" critique in the overview section attached to each one. It's truncated into an "Alcohol"-headlined note on the left side of the page in the online format. I'd like to see (in addition to, not in place of the usual wine list report) a beer list comment become a permanent fixture for all the places he writes about, even if "Nothing to speak of" will probably appear there all too often.

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[Posted 11:40am est]

18 January 2008
Quickies: Spanky and the gang, Troegs bombers, Reed brews again and much, much more.
Still hassled here at LDO Central and still behind on deadlines, commitments and, worst of all, pitching story ideas and new concepts to new markets, which was my primary New Year's resolution.

Still, there's so much news...

SPANKY AND THE GANG. Brendan "Spanky" Hartranft, the popular bar manager at Nodding Head told me last time I was in (December) that he was planning his own place and this will be it. One of the partners in the new Memphis Taproom will be Paula Decker, wife of Nodding Head co-owner Curt Decker.

SCOATS SAYS...that he will have the first beer from Philadelphia Brewing Company at the Grey Lodge's always fantastic Hawaiian Shirt Beer Breakfast and Lucky Cat Night Beer Prognostication on Saturday, February 2. See you all around 7am?

TROEGS GOES BIG. I'm sure it's because I've been saying here, there and everywhere how much I like the 22oz dinner bottle that so many breweries appear to be jumping on that bandwagon, so I can only, with great modesty, accept your acclaim for the news that Troegs will be adding that size to its packaging options before Spring, um, springs. I'm hearing Mad Elf and maybe one or two developing Belgian-style brews are due for bomberland.

WILLIAM REED BACK TO THE KETTLE. Before he and partner Paul Kimport created Standard Tap (which, when you think about it for a minute or so, really ought to be one of the centerpiece destinations for Philly Beer Week), William Reed was the brewer at the former Samuel Adams Brew House on Sansom St. (where Nodding Head now reigns). Well, he's going back to the brewing kettle along with Sly Fox head guy Brian O'Reilly to brew a special one-off beer which will be pouring at the Tap during PBW. I assume there will be some sort of big debut thing and that some of the batch will find its way to the Fox's Phoenixville and Royersford locations, but no details on that as yet.

A FESTIVAL AND MAYBE EVEN A BREWHOUSE. Things have gone slower than expected at the new Yards Brewery because they ran into floor problems. Essentially, there wasn't any to speak of and they're in the process if rectifying that so the brewhouse can be moved in. It's not clear whether the new building will actually be a brewery by the time PBW rolls around, but the Real Ale Festival that Tom Kehoe assured us he would host will definitely take place there. Joe Sixpack says it's definitely on for March 16 and ain't nobody more clued in on this stuff than Mr. Sixpack.

ALL THE NEWS THAT FITS, THEY PRINT. I just finished going over my stories in the upcoming issue of Mid-Atlantic Brewing News, which nicely posts a PDF of forthcoming issues for us to look over and make corrections or suggestions, and it is crammed packed with news, especially coverage of Philly Beer Week. In fact, I should, and so I will, acknowledge that I stole the Memphis story above from George Hummel's column in that issue. Fans of the The Great Spammer/Victory Shill will also want to turn immediately to my story on the revamping of the Victory brewpub to see a magic moment captured on film.

In other publishing news, I learned yesterday from The Big Guy, who said nice things about it, that my interview with Owen Barstow, Michael Jackson's former assistant, is now out in the new issue of American Brewer (I have high hopes of getting a copy of my own Real Soon Now). Because I think what Owen had to say would be of interest to a broader audience and AmBrew's distribution is limited to those within the industry professionally, I'll ask if they will either post the story on their site or give me permission to put it up here.

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[Posted 10:10am est]

14 January 2008
Today is yesterday, Last week, in fact.
Everything went to hell and beyond for kindly old Mr. Curtin and his trusty computer on Friday morning last. We be back but the time lost and much still to be done to make sure it don't happen again never no more means that posting will be light for a bit. Hang in there.

Did you know there are actually 24 hours in a day, lots of hours to do stuff rather than fritter them away wandering around in etherspace and such? You can even read books, take a walk, engage in human contact.

'Tis a revelation.

Wish I had more time to think about it but I have 300 plus emails to catch up on and things to do that were overdue Friday afternoon...

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[Posted 5:00pm est]

This message has been cross-posted at Mermaids Singing.


8 January 2008
Boundary Bay.
My bestest li'l pal out on the West Coast recently sent me a pair of beers from
Boundary Bay Brewery & Bistro in Bellingham, Washington, an establishment which appears to have built a fine reputation for itself and its beers since opening in that magical year of 1995.

Both beers were packaged in 650ml bottles and made for nice drinking of a couple of evenings over the holiday week. Boundary Bay Imperial Oatmeal Stout is a very good beer, perhaps more than that, black, rich, nicely carbonated and filled with coffee, chocolate and lightly fruity flavors and surprisingly drinkable for its 8.5% rating. Boundary Bay Cabin Fever, a 7% winter warmer, doesn't reach the same level, mostly because it lacks complexity, but is a more than decent strong ale.

I've only been to Bellingham once. It is, of course, home to the famed Archer Ale House, a basement bar which is, or at least was, quite beautiful inside and which was, back in the day, always on the lists of the best beer bars in America, a cachet that seems to have faded.

Been there, done that. Next trip, Boundary Bay for sure.

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[Posted 2:15pm est]

7 January 2008
So much beer news, so little time.
Okay, we'll be sprinting today rather than loping. Management is on so many deadlines that it might prove fatal. This is, of course, a crisis of his own making. The man do like to live dangerously...

Let's start with the latest news. Tim Ohst of Sly Fox Brewing confirmed to me an hour or so ago that the IPA Project lives. Details at the link, which takes you exactly where you'd expect.

There is now a functioning Philly Beer Week Calendar, although there are still a lot of details to be filled in and events to be added. I've added their logo to the Links List at the left, with a link to said calendar, for your convenience in keeping track of what's coming. I'll also add each event to the Beer Yard calendar as I get updated information.

The Baltic Thunder release party at Drafting Room Exton on Saturday was, as expected, crowded and fun. The new brew seemed universally well received, although I think some of the BA types were a bit taken aback that it wasn't bolder and more aggressive. As for the former Heavyweight brews on draught, Perkuno's Hammer had turned and was going sour, Baltus was badly oxidized and the Lunacy was heavenly. Hey, one out of three ain't bad when kegs have been held so long past their "best by" dates. There were good reports on the bottles though; my only sample of those was a bit of Biere d'Art, one of my all-time favorites, courtesy of Big Dan, and since I ended up alternately sipping it and a pint of Thunder, I really have no idea what I thought about it. Good to see Tom and Peggy again and if I hadn't lost all my notes in some fashion I can't even imagine, I'd tell you more about their plans for Mt. Airy and the beers Tom will be brewing. But I can't.

Finally, there was an odd little review of Dock Street in Sunday's Philadelphia Inquirer. Go read it and see what you think. Rick Nichols focused primarily on the way the Dock Street can help transform its neighborhood, which is a good and important story, so no complaints there. But when he got around to the pub itself, his comments on the beers were strange, I thought. And his mention of Eric Savage (described as Dock Street's "original brewmaster," which he was not, of course) as "now consulting" on the beers with no mention of Scott Morrison, who is actually brewing them, was not very good reporting, to say the least. Richard Ruch brought this up to me on Saturday and, not having read the story, I argued with him a bit (just on general principles), but I think I ended up with the same puzzlement he did in the end. Nichols was closer to reality with his comments on the pizzas. As it turns out, I was at Dock Street myself on Thursday and enjoyed slices of both the margherita and the flammenhuche with a sampler of the five beers on draught (I was quite taken with the Cuckoo's Nest Red Ale mentioned in Nichols' story). The pub was Dude-less during my visit, wherein I had a good long interview with Jeff Ware and Rosemarie Certo for a story I'm doing for American Brewer.

Come to think of it, I'm not actually doing that story at present, am I? Or any of the others I've promised, or the two overdue columns,. I'm not doing any of that. I am instead blathering away here. That is so just not right.

Back to work...

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[Posted 12:25pm est]

2 January 2008
Coming to Pottstown.
The website for the soon-to-open
Pottstown Brick House (on High Street, just above Hanover) looks pretty corporate, but I am assured by Matt Guyer, who moved to town only a month or so back and already knows more about what's going on than I do, that the plans are for, at least in part, a good craft beer selection. Based upon further information I've now received from an inside source at the site, I tend to believe he's right.

Matt also says that a few blocks down the other direction and on the other side of High St., opposite a Rite-Aid, someone he knows wants to build a brewpub. That would help make a roughly five block segment of High St., a street which needs the help, pretty enticing, especially since some new dining spots, such as Havana Joe's, are also within that stretch.

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[Posted 8:25pm est]

Thanks.
I'd like to thank all those who decided to "Tip the Bartender" over the end-of-year holidays. I appreciate your generosity and support.

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[Posted 8:25pm est]

1 January 2008
What might have been.
The plan was, you would awaken early this morning, bleary-eyed and perhaps not quite sober from bringing in the New Year last night, and stumble to the computer to visit this site--I mean, you all do come here first thing every day, right?--and be surprised and shaken, looking around in wonder and awe...

Okay. No.

What you would have found was a link to Liquid Diet: The Blog, a new, WordPress-driven version of these ramblings powered by software which does most of the heavy lifting (coding) that I currently do by hand.

As you can see, though, 'twas but a dream.

As I explained over here in a posting on Sunday, my secret plans to reinvent this site on January 1, 2008 have crashed on the rocks of time contraints and stubborness, both belonging to me.

I don't know about you, but I can't wait to see what happens next.

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[Posted 8:00am est]

Archived.
The complete December 2007 postings have been archived here.

Malt does more than Milton can
To justify God's ways to man.

--A. E. Houseman