I’m not sure when it struck me – probably late Wednesday night when I was performing my patriotic duty by guzzling domestic brews during that Star-Studded reading of the Declaration of Independence – but it suddenly occurred to me, just a few hours till deadline, I had failed to write even a single word of today’s column.
Frankly, I was too consumed by wondering how they convinced actor Graham Greene, an Oneida Indian, to read that politically incorrect line about blood-thirsty savages. The contrived irony of that moment just about turned my Crazy Horse Malt Liquor flat.
Anyway, that’s my excuse, and I’m sticking with it.
Instead of my usual, completely cogent work of faultless journalistic excellence, this week you’re getting a bunch of random, unconnected thoughts, some of which actually have something to do with beer.
Yo, it’s American Beer Month. Joe Sixpack is on vacation.
(By the way, though Stroh’s no longer brews Crazy Horse and this spring actually apologized for insulting Native Americans for the crass marketing of an Indian icon, the malt liquor is still being brewed by Hornell Brewing Co., a Brooklyn-based marketing firm that also sells Arizona bottled teas., reportedly has found another brewery to make the junk.
(Also, for the record, Graham Greene was born in Canada, which has not yet declared independence from England.)
Center City office worker Matt George e-mailed me this week with a timely dilemma: In a city with so many great bars, where can you sit outside and enjoy your drink?
There aren’t many, pal. Philadelphia likes to keep its boozers inside, away from stray children and uptight civilians. Nonetheless, here’s a six-pack of places where you can enjoy a craft brew in the sun:
- London,24th and Fairmount, excellent drafts at streetside.
- City Tavern, 2nd and Walnut, backyard seating and historic ales made by Yards.
- O’Neal’s, 611 S. 3rd St., out-of-the-way backyard patio with the best beer list on South.
- White Dog Cafe, 3420 Sansom St., University City, front patio and a decent selection of locals.
- Cuvee Notre Dame, 17th and Green, Belgians on the deck.
- Rouge 99, 205 S. 18th, Chimay and Yards on the Square.
Budweiser, which waves the flag in St. Louis, is now the exclusive official beer sponsor of the Olympic team of . . . China.
Never mind that Bud also sponsors the U.S. Olympic team – when you’re as big as Anheuser-Busch, you get to play both sides. “Not only do I hope that Beijing wins the bid [to host the 2008 Olympics],” said the A-B executive in charge of Bud’s Wuhan International Brewing Co. “But also that China walks away with the most medals. ”
Looks like we’ll all be drinking Bud Light in the global village.
Best beer I’ve had so far this summer: Ich Bin Ein Berliner-Weisse, from Nodding Head (1516 Sansom St., Center City).
This hard-to-find style is a tart wheat beer (you may have tasted it bottled, by Germany’s Kindl brewery) that wipes the sweat off a hot afternoon. It’s deliberately soured with a bacterium called Lactobacillus delbrueckii.
“It’s a fairly esoteric beer, but it’s low alcohol and made to refresh,” said brewer Brandon Greenwood.
Drink it straight, or down it with a touch of green woodruff or raspberry syrup.
Monk’s Cafe (16th and Spruce streets, Center City) is celebrating American Beer Month with an all-American beer dinner on Tuesday. It features eight East Coast brews, including the super-hopped Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA and the alleged last keg of Nodding Head Wee Heavy.
Tix are $45. Info: 215-545-7005.
Heavyweight Brewing has cooked up a Sticke (German for “secret”) Alt for next week’s fifth annual Garden State Craft Brewers Guild Festival.
It’s called Sticke Njab, a nod to the scribes from the New Jersey Association of Beer Writers who helped brew the ale, said Heavyweight’s Tom Baker.
At 7 percent alcohol, this is probably as close as Heavyweight gets to a summer brew.
The beer festival, normally way up in North Jersey, is a bit closer to Philly this year. It’s at Trenton’s Sovereign Bank Arena, 1-5 p.m., July 15. Tix are $16 in advance, $18 at the door. Info: 609-924-7855.
Sixteen Jersey breweries will be tapping kegs.
Beer drinkers with a Midwestern taste will recognize a couple new products on the shelves at Stone’s Beverage (17th and Fairmount). The distributor is now the city’s importing distributor for a pair of old names once brewed by Cincinnati’s Hudepohl-Schoenling brewery.
They’re Hudy Delight and Burger. The latter goes for $8.25 a case, which makes it a perfect softball beer if you’re buying.
The two best beer-and-food combos I’ve tasted this summer:
* Gorgonzola gnocchi and Schlenkerla Rauchbier on tap at McMenamin’s Tavern (7170 Germantown Ave., Mount Airy). A pint of this classic smoked ale can wash down a bucket of the pub’s creamy pasta.
* Point Reyes bleu cheese and Adriatic Fig Spread, from Fresh Fields. Serve it with Chimay.
Every bar has T-shirts, but no one has T-shirts like the Six Pack Store (7015 Roosevelt Blvd., Northeast). “These are my cans,” boasts a busty ’50s era pinup on the back. “Grab you own at the Six Pack Store. ”
These tasteful T’s are 10 bucks a pop.
Joe Sixpack, by Staff Writer Don Russell, was written this week with a bottle of Anderson Valley Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout.