Black Friday: Drink it up

BLACK FRIDAY isn’t just about holiday shopping anymore. It’s now the darkest day on the annual beer calendar, when bars flush the light lagers from their spigots and make room for luscious porters, stouts and other black brews.

Special brews

Founders KBS: Though this heavy-duty “breakfast” stout (11.2 percent alcohol) normally shows up in the spring, savvy bar managers often keep a keg around for Black Friday. The added aging only enhances its vanilla and coffee flavors. Pouring at City Tap House, ...

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Thanksgiving & beer: The back story

Many of the details in this week’s column are drawn from a 17th-century document called Mourt’s Relation: A Journal of the Pilgrims in Plymouth
– and there’s a pretty cool Philadelphia connection to its story.

Mourt's RelationThe document – actually more of a pamphlet published in England in 1622 – is a collection of diaries and journals written mainly by Edward Winslow and William Bradford. It details much of what happened in ...

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How Thanksgiving started: With a glass of beer

DO YOU know the first words spoken by Native-Americans to the Pilgrims after they landed at Plymouth Rock? “Welcome Englishmen . . . I’ll have a beer.”

Or something to that effect, according to an account (see sidebar) of the first visit to the Pilgrims’ village by an Algonquin named Samoset.

The greeting comes to mind this season because it was those words that eventually led to the first Thanksgiving in America. That’s right – though our nation’s annual feast ...

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Beer Radar: Turkey Eve at Levante. PLUS: LaBan rates the newbies

If you haven’t stopped by West Chester’s Levante Brewing (not on LaBan’s list below), the night before Thanksgiving is a good opportunity for a first taste: Live music, good food and special beer releases. Bring your growler…! Bainbridge Barrel House (6th & Bainbridge, South Street area) is hosting a fund-raiser for the Bethesda Project to aid chronically homeless. Stop by after 4:30 p.m. for a cold one on Thursday (11/19) – all proceeds from the sale of Stillwater ...

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Sixpack of the Week: Victory Vital IPA

Victory (Downingtown, Pa.)
India pale ale

SIXPACK SEZ: Victory advises this is “the only IPA you need,” which may be true if you’re into a superbly imagined ale that is both over the top with flowery hops and light enough to gulp straight out of the can. I’m not sure this will ever replace my longtime favorite, HopDevil (or even the recently revived Hop Wallop) but it’s enough, as Victory’s trademarked slogan says, to “feed your hopsession.”

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Yo Vegans: There are still animals swimming in your Guinness

Now that Guinness says it will no longer use isinglass, a common gelatin-like beer filtering agent made from dried fish bladders, vegans can finally enjoy a guilt-free pint of the famous Irish stout, right?

Guess again, carrot top.

Look more closely and you’ll find plenty of animals hiding in your glass of suds. Pigs, horses and even bugs are sacrificed in the beer-making process.

To be clear, there are no actual carcasses in beer.

In fact, there were never any fish bladders, either.

Isinglass, ...

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Beer Radar: Craft Beer Express fail? PLUS: Another South Jersey brewery

*A couple hours after I posted the item about Saturday’s Craft Beer Express, the event’s website was updated to include events and ticket links.

Hmm… somehow it got past me that we are in the midst of Wilmington Beer Week. The full rundown is here… Advance notice of Saturday’s Craft Beer Express got past me, too – but that’s only because whoever is running the show completely dropped the ball.. No press releases, no event listings, no publicity at ...

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Sixpack of the Week: Yuengling IPL

D.G. Yuengling & Son (Pottsville, Pa.)
India pale lager

SIXPACK SEZ: With this newfangled hybrid India pale lager, Yuengling – that most traditional of America’s breweries – appears to have finally succumbed to the lingo and conventions of modern craft beer. Where Pottsville’s finest was once content with plain ol’ Lager or Premium, it now speaks of dry-hopping and wonky IBUs and trendy Citra hops. Well, good for them. By getting with the times, this pre-Prohibition brewery has ...

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Down the drain: A brewpub fails in just 4 months

On the morning after the last night at Guild Hall, a crew of volunteers mopped floors while the owners held back the tears.

Four months. Just four lousy, four splendid, four heartbreaking months – that’s all the beautiful downtown Jenkintown brewpub lasted before Jennifer McGuire and her husband, Owen Hutchins, decided to close its doors.

With breweries opening at a rate of more than one per day, it’s rare to hear of one closing. In 2014, there were all of 23 failures ...

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