The Silicon Valley of Brewing is Barley Legal

IF THERE IS a local amateur breeding ground for the professional brewers of tomorrow, it could be the six-year-old South Jersey home-brew club with a catchy name.

Barley Legal Homebrewers can lay claim to producing no fewer than a dozen full-time brewers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including several who have opened their own breweries.

Think of it as the Silicon Valley of brewing, with malt instead of microchips.

Surely other home-brew clubs have their success stories, but I can’t name another that ...

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Sixpack of the Week: Half Acre Pony Pilsner

Half Acre (Chicago)
Pilsner
ALCOHOL: 5.8%

SIXPACK SEZ: No it wasn’t the monkey riding a horse on the label that prompted me to grab this can at my local bottle shop. Instead, it was the name –  pony – that brought back memories of those tiny 7-ounce bottles I used to gulp on hot summer days. Miller, Rolling Rock and the perfectly named Little Kings… aaaah! This short trip down memory lane was brought to you by a 12-ounce can ...

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Sixpack of the Week: Firestone Walker Luponic Distortion (#001)

Firestone Walker (Paso Robles, Calif.)
American wheat
ALCOHOL: 5.9%

SIXPACK SEZ: I’m tempted to shrug this off as just another rotating hop series from a California brewery (do those west coast guys have anything else in their playbook?). But this one got off to a good start with a wheat-based brew that shies away from overly bitter flavor and plays up the fruitiness of new hop varieties. It’s quite smooth and mellow. Let’s see where brewer Matt Brynildson takes the ...

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Pennsylvania still has a long way to go to free the sixpack

“BREAKING: SIX-PACKS APPROVED FOR SALE AT PENNSYLVANIA GAS STATIONS!”

– Headline on Gov. Wolf’s blog

WITH THAT, Pennsylvania, your beer laws have finally entered the 20th century.

And, yes, I do mean last century, for despite the screaming caps, last month’s approval is both meaningless and illustrative of the small thinking that accompanies liquor regulation in this state.

For starters, the approval applies only to nine gas stations statewide, and most are in the boondocks, so . . . next time you’re in Mahanoy ...

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Not your father’s beer

YOU REMEMBER your father’s beer, don’t you? Piels . . . Schmidt’s . . . Ortlieb’s . . . When I asked friends on Facebook recently to name their pop’s favorite, they had no problem recalling those days gone by.

Löwenbräu dark for fancy occasions and Budweiser for every day,” said Rebekah Nault.

“Every Friday afternoon, when I was a kid, a truck would deliver a case of Schmidt’s for my parents, and a case of Frank’s Soda for me and my ...

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Sixpack of the Week: Green Bench/Saint Somewhere Monsieur Ed

Green Bench (Saint Petersburg, Fla.) and Saint Somewhere (Tarpon Springs, Fla.)
Wood-aged farmhouse ale
ALCOHOL: 5.8%

SIXPACK SEZ: I’m going to try to erase the image of Saint Somewhere brewer Bob Sylvester riding shirtless with Khris Johnson of Green Bench, and hope that Monsieur Ed is not a talking horse. Instead, I’m going to concentrate on the contents of this bottle, a collaboration by the two Florida Gulf Coast brewers. The farmhouse ale opens with a traditional herbal/citrus aroma, ...

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Racing down the stretch of Philly Beer Week

WHAT ARE YOU,  a Philly Beer Weakling?

Now is not the time to slow your celebration of America’s best beer-drinking city, for the final four days of Philly Beer Week feature some killer drafts and some typically incomprehensible entertainment.

For example, turtle races.

You have not experienced the thrill of sport until you’ve witnessed two-inch hard-shells in a mad dash across a piece of felt. The glory, the sheer athleticism, the …

Oh, what the hell am I talking about? The third annual Turtle ...

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Sixpack of the Week: Southern Tier Gemini

Southern Tier (Lakewood, N.Y.)
Double IPA
ALCOHOL: 9%

SIXPACK SEZ: What were the ancient Greeks drinking when they imagined the stars above the western horizon each spring depicted the mythical twins, Castor and Pollux? Possibly some early, unrecorded version of this wonderfully hopped ale, named because its original recipe was a blend of two other outstanding Southern Tier IPAs, Hoppe and Unearthly. Because, otherwise, all I see up there is a bunch of shining dots. Still, the question is ...

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3 sour beer recipes

Try these fun recipes from Stephen Beaumont, John Holl and Joe Sixpack

Carbonnades de Boeuf a La Flamande from “The Beer and Food Companion” by Stephen Beaumont.

Makes 8 servings

5½ pounds beef cheeks

3 12-ounce bottles Flemish red ale

1 bouquet garni (sprigs of herbs such as thyme, bay leaf, basil, and rosemary tied together in a bundle)

1 pound onions, peeled and chopped

Oil or butter for sauteing

1 quart veal stock

½ ...

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Eat your sour beer

Pucker-faced sour beer lovers can’t get enough gose, Berliner Weisse, fruit lambic, and other distinctive varieties. But if all you’re doing is drinking the stuff, well, you’re missing one of the great joys of these special ales.

Because cooking with sour beer adds a whole other flavor dimension to your favorite recipes.

That’s something I came to learn after cracking open the first beer book I ever ...

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