Yearly Archives: 2012

A brief session on session beers

“I will make it felony to drink small beer.” – Henry IV, Part 2.


If he had his way, Shakespeare – or at least his memorable character, Jack Cade, who declared his contempt for weak beer (and lawyers) – would be filing criminal charges on the first-ever Session Beer Day this Saturday.

The day is intended as a nationwide … Read the rest

A wheat beer that’s perfectly clear

Kristall weiss: A filtered version of hefeweizen.

IF THAT DEFINITION doesn’t just make your skin crawl, well, you are a cold, heartless turtle. Why would anyone intentionally take one of the world’s most-treasured beer styles – a variety whose unique beauty is in its murky, unfiltered body – and intentionally “cleanse” it?

It’s as if a brewery imagined that it … Read the rest

In the Southwest, they take the beer and run

IN MOST OF AMERICA, “beer run” means darting out to buy beer for the night. It is a common term understood by pretty much everyone. Except in the Southwest.

In the Southwest, “beer run” means heading to the nearest convenience store, grabbing a 30-pack from the cooler and walking out the door without paying.

This is not just some regional … Read the rest

The makings of a good Irish pub

ON ST. Patrick’s Day, nearly every bar pours Guinness and cloaks itself in shamrocks. But is that enough to be an Irish pub?

This is no matter for idle pondering while the foam drops from your stout. In fact, it was the central theme of the first American conference of Irish Pubs Global, held in Center City last spring.

That’s … Read the rest

Good for what ales ya

EVERY FEW months, another article hits the news, proclaiming the health benefits of beer.

I’ve always figured this was just the Republicans’ idea of health-care reform: Who needs a single-payer system when you have a sixpack in the fridge?

It turns out, though, that mankind has been studying the therapeutic value of beer for centuries. In the hieroglyphics of ancient … Read the rest

Love that imperial stout? We owe it all to Sophia

WHERE WOULD lovers of the world’s strongest, darkest beers be without a thin, pale German teenager named Sophia Augusta Frederica?

One of the great chapters of brewing history might not exist. There’d be no stouts named Old Rasputin or The Czar or Ivan the Terrible.

On the upside, the tiresome debate over whether to call it “double” or “imperial” IPA … Read the rest

16 Things About Foam

WE DON’T pay much attention to bubbles in our beer, unless they’re foaming over the coffee table.

When it comes to beer pleasure, though, bubbles are right up there with color, aroma, flavor, body and buzz. So, with the help of West Chester University chemistry professor Roger Barth, Ph.D., author of The Chemistry of Beer (Owl’s Nest Publishing); Marty Nachel, … Read the rest

Bud Not-So-Light Platinum

BUD LIGHT Platinum is either completely deceptive advertising or evidence that the beer industry is now presided over by postmodern literalists of the Orwellian order.

I’ll grant that there’s some actual Bud in this bottle, though its sweet, fizzy flavor is closer to soda than beer. I’ll even concede there’s platinum in them thar blue bottles.

But light?

Unless they’re … Read the rest

IPAs in black and white

BLACK IPAs are so 2011.

Last year’s hot new style, which exploded in popularity before beer gurus could even settle on a proper name (Cascadian Dark Ale? American Black Ale?), is already getting shoved to the side by a new crop of India pale ales.

Would you believe white IPA?

OK, you saw that one coming – so, how about … Read the rest

Shelling out for the Super Bowl

WHEN DID the Super Bowl become an excuse to sell junk to beer drinkers?

I’m not talking about beer itself, for it goes without saying that plenty of cold suds are a necessary lubricant for the 12 or so hours you’ll be spending in front of the wide-screen on Sunday.

No, it’s all the other stuff they’re palming off on … Read the rest