Holy shmoly! A dry town gets wet

THERE ARE NO saloons in Pitman, N.J. No bottle shops or restaurants with liquor licenses, either. This is a dry town, a vestige of its founding as a Methodist retreat.

Yet on Saturday afternoon, with a ceremonial tapping of the first keg, a brewery will open on Broadway, the Gloucester County town’s main drag. A brewery with a tasting room and eight taps and plenty of suds.

And that’s not all, for by the end of summer, a second brewery is ...

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Philly hosts the beer world

Full schedule of events

In 2005, the last time the Brewers Association held its annual conference here, a few local brewers thought it would be a swell idea to expose the conventioneers to a unique slice of Philly’s growing craft-beer scene.

So they trooped the visitors down to a seamy stretch of Delaware Avenue and held what was surely the city’s first-ever cask-ale event at a topless bar.

As dancers jiggled over the tap handles for dollar bills, visitors drained ...

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500 years of Reinheitsgebot purity: Enough already

SATURDAY MARKS the 500th anniversary of Reinheitsgebot, the German law that simply decreed beer can be made with only water, barley, and hops. Yet there is nothing simple about Reinheitsgebot, starting with its name, which Americans can correctly pronounce only after a liter of lager or two.

For, even after half a millennium, the edict remains a lightning rod for an unsettled argument among beer-lovers – one that pits tradition against modernity.

The traditionalist sees it as the benchmark of beer purity, ...

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Cloudy with a chance of hops

Appearance: Should be clear, although unfiltered dry-hopped versions may be a bit hazy.   From the Beer Judge Certification Program style guidelines for American IPA.

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A bit hazy?

That might be the traditional standard. But these days, some of America’s top-rated India pale ales are as overcast as the airspace above South Philly’s oil refinery on an August afternoon.

Murky, cloudy, and even milk-like are some of the descriptors for the likes of Lawson’s Finest Liquids Sip of Sunshine, Trillium Dialed-In, and the Alchemist Heady Topper, ...

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When America drank Needle Beer

IMAGINE ORDERING a nice, cold pint of beer in a bar, but before the foam has a chance to settle, the bartender pulls out a syringe and gives the glass a squirt of alcohol.

Forget about careful brewing methods or even enjoyable flavor. Just choke down your dose of ethyl alcohol like it’s medicine.

This was needle beer, and it’s the way America drank its suds during Prohibition, whose ban on beer came to a close 83 years ago today.

The practice seems ...

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Yards’ Good Fight

EXACTLY WHAT is Yards Brewing selling in its new series of videos, The Good Fight?

It sure doesn’t look like beer.

The 90-second pieces shown online and in social media are part of the Northern Liberties brewery’s ongoing Brew Unto Others advertising campaign that aims to frame the brewery as a solid part of the community.

So far, two Good Fight videos have been posted, highlighting charitable organizations “making our backyard a better place to live and work.” One lauds celebrity chef Jose ...

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A lifetime of beer: The story of Jeffrey Rosenblum and his bottles

ONE NIGHT in 1987, Jeffrey Rosenblum opened a bottle of Whitbread Ale and poured himself a glass. He took a sip and glanced down at the bottle.

Something caught his eye. Something unspoken, something visceral. Something.

He rose from his living room couch and placed the empty on the mantel.

That’s where it all began. With a single bottle of imported English ale, Rosenblum launched a collection that would spread from the mantel, across shelves, into cabinets and every nook in his home ...

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Going to Ireland for a beer and finding more than just Guinness

If there is a motherland for American beer drinkers, it is Ireland.

True, our brewing heritage might reach back to Germany or England, and we seem to have a soft spot for Belgium. But our drinking chops come straight from Dublin, and if you don’t believe me, get off your butt on St. Patrick’s Day Thursday, the national holiday of beer lovers, and go dancing with the leprechauns.

Black stout in a pint glass and the Pogues on the jukebox — the ...

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Coal country brews: A new beer trail in central Penna.

I’m a firm believer that there’s no better way to discover a new town than from a bar stool, and that was never better illustrated than my trek last weekend to north-central Pennsylvania.

This big-city boy has lived in Philadelphia nearly his entire life, never bothering to venture a mere two hours to the small towns that cling to the Susquehanna River and its western branch. Places like Berwick, Shamokin, and Mifflinburg.

But offer me a beer and, well . . .

That’s ...

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Would you have a beer with this man?

POPULAR WISDOM says Americans vote for presidential candidates whom they’d like to have a beer with. That explains how easygoing George W. Bush beat stiff John Kerry in 2004.

Maybe there’s some truth to the adage, but, then again, Bush was a teetotaler who invaded the wrong country, so: Bad way to choose a president.

Which brings me to Donald Trump, also a teetotaler. Last fall, the current leader for the GOP nomination came in first in an NBC News poll that ...

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