From here and there, sips of brew news

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JOE SIXPACK has spring fever this week, and that means a severe lack of, um, concentration. Let’s just say this week’s column is the journalistic equivalent of Rolling Rock pony bottles, easily consumed in 7-ounce gulps.

My report last month on the return of Ballantine beer to the Phillies ballpark sparked the memories of some surprisingly clear-headed beer drinkers.

I’d reported that Dick Allen and possibly Wes Covington were the only players to have cleared the famous Ballantine scoreboard in right-center at Connie Mack Stadium. Two readers who say they were there added the name of a third player: Joe Adcock, the first baseman for the Milwaukee Braves.

“Joe Adcock cleared everything, including the clock,” wrote Ken Jones.

“I was there and saw it,” added Frank Custer. “The noteworthy thing about that hit was Adcock was right-handed, so it was an opposite field shot.”

I don’t doubt ’em. Adcock was known for titanic homers. He was one of only three major-leaguers (Lou Brock and Hank Aaron were the others) to reach the center field bleachers in the Polo Grounds.

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   Brewmaster Rob Tod of Allagash Brewing in Portland, Maine, was in town this week with bottles of his Belgian-style triple, strangely aged in bourbon casks. That’s a style you don’t normally expose to the strong aroma of Kentucky’s finest.

Indeed, Tod told me the leftover sugar in the barrels sparked a vigorous secondary fermentation that nearly had the cask’s bungs firing off like champagne corks.

The taste? I’m not a huge fan of boilermakers, but the bourbon in Allagash Tripel Reserve reminded me of maple on a stack of Belgian waffles. Waffles, that is, fortified with 9 percent alcohol.

Look for more unusual specialties from Allagash as it joins the growing number of small breweries that produce “one-offs” – one-time-only brews produced in very small quantities.

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   Stone Brewing’s annual April Fools’ gag always seems closer to truth than fiction. This year, the California brewery announced its newest flavor: Stone Justification Ale, a low-carb brew.

An ad for the supposedly diet-friendly beer – photographed amid a mouth-watering mass of chips, doughnuts and fries – asks, “Don’t want to go to the gym today? Have a Stone Justification Ale!”

Check out the entire ad at www.stonebrew.com/justification/

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   What kind of beer goes with lobster in puff pastry with saffron and vanilla aioli, or sockeye salmon tartar with dill cream and salmon caviar?

Why Molson Canadian and Alexander Keith’s ale, of course.

That’s what defending Masters champion Mike Weir served this week at the traditional Champions Dinner before the annual tourney in Augusta, Ga.

   Beer radar

Down the shore, they drink light, fizzy, yellow stuff till dawn.

But South Jersey beer freak Mark Haynie reports that cask-conditioned beer is coming to his brew-forsaken neck of the woods.

It’s coming to Firewaters, the Boardwalk specialty beer bar at the Tropicana in Atlantic City. Its first Firkin Friday (named for a small keg of unfiltered, un-gassed beer) is April 30, when a rare cask of Uerige Sticke – the world-classic Dusseldorf alt – will be tapped.

Haynie says Heavyweight, from Ocean Township, N.J., will also roll out its own alt, Stickenjab.

Boston Beer has a new heat quencher to go along with its Summer Ale. It’s Samuel Adams Hefeweizen, an unfiltered Bavarian-style wheat beer. Also new on area shelves: Troegs’ Sunshine Pils, Broughton Old Jock and O’Hanlon’s Rye.

   Calendar

Tomorrow: Split They Skull barleywine fest (Sugar Mom’s, 225 Church St., Old City). Industrial-strength head-bangers, including monsters from Heavyweight, Sly Fox, Avery and Stone’s will pour. Taps open at 1 p.m. No cover, pay by the glass. 215-925-8219.

April 17: “Early Brewing in Philadelphia,” a talk by brewing historian Rich Wagner on the city’s 17th- and 18th-century beer scene. Have a cold one at Yards Brewing (2439 Amber St., Kensington) and learn something about the original microbrewers. Starts at 2 p.m. No cover. 215-634-2600.

April 17: Stiftungsfest, the 79th spring dance at GTV Almrausch (9130 Academy Road, Northeast Philadelphia). Oompah and beer at Oktoberfest in April. Doors open 7 p.m., tix $7-$8, 215-855-3376.

   Joe Sixpack, by Staff Writer Don Russell, was written this week with a glass of Meteor Biere de Mars.

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