3 breweries, 3 wineries & a distillery in one dinky town?

ANYONE who thinks that Philadelphia’s beer scene ends at the Schuylkill River needs to take Regional Rail to Norristown, hop onto the Rt. 99 bus for an hour or so, get off in Phoenixville, curse SEPTA and start walking.

This once-stinky Chester County town has transformed its dinky downtown alongside an abandoned steel mill into a lively restaurant and nightlife destination. In just three blocks along its main shopping corridor, Bridge Street, there are two brewpubs, a pair of winery outlets ...

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Modern craft brewing began 50 years ago this week

THE WEEK should not pass without a toast to the 50th anniversary of the seminal event of modern American brewing.

No, I’m not talking about the invention of the beer-can ring-pull.

I’m instead raising my glass to Aug. 2, 1965, the day when a 27-year-old named Frederick Louis Maytag 3rd – a/k/a Fritz – paid “practically nothing” for a controlling share of San Francisco’s aging dump known as Anchor Brewery.

It was that day that Maytag slapped American beer in its face ...

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Beers and gears in the Finger Lakes

PEDALING up the hill to Abandon Brewing, above New York’s Keuka Lake, late one afternoon last week, I shift down to my lowest gear and find the agony and joy of bicycling for beer.

The sky has turned blue with billowing clouds after a late-morning electrical storm. My jersey is soaked, my legs ache.

I am thirsty.

About 100 yards into the climb, I know there is no way I’ll make it to the top without walking. The 9 percent grade has ...

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Cheesesteak politics

Republican presidential hopeful Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, stopped by Pat’s and Geno’s steak shops in South Philly today. Judging by the reviews, things did not go well.

Reminds me of what happened in 2003 when Democrat John Kerry failed the infamous cheesesteak test. Here’s my Daily News column on the incident from Aug. 14, 2003.

Cheesesteak bites Kerry


THE presidential election is still 15 months away, the nation’s attention is on Ben and Jen, and ...

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America’s next hipster beer?

Ten years ago this summer, Mark Hellendrung and a group of investors sat down with the owners of Pabst Brewing Co. and convinced them to part with one of its many retro beer brands, Narragansett.

“It was worth everything,” said Hellendrung, a former executive with Nantucket Nectars and Magic Hat Brewing Co. “And it was worth nothing.”

Narragansett had been around since 1890, and became part of the huge portfolio of brands that Pabst began acquiring in the 1970s when it took ...

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Who belongs in the Beer Hall of Foam?

MY BAR TALK podcast partner, Glen Macnow, and I got to yapping about my suggestion of a couple of weeks ago for a Philly beer museum. The WIP sports talker came up with even better idea: A Beer Hall of Fame.

To get things started, here are my nominees for the first class. Vote below, or add your own nominees in the comments.

The Inventors

Louis Pasteur. In 1858, the French chemist discovered that heat kills the bacteria ...

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Note to New York Times: The perfect outdoor wine is beer

LAST WEEK, The New York Times tackled the quandary of outdoor wine drinking. Specifically: How does one enjoy a fine vintage on a picnic without the proper glassware?


For starters, everyone knows it’s impossible to balance a crystal Champagne flute on a cashmere blanket. Never mind those pesky bugs swarming that 2005 magnum of Saint Emilion Grand Cru. But the big question on the south lawn at the summer estate is: Cabernet goblets or claret chalices? Oh, pooh! The ...

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The story behind Not Your Father’s Root Beer

SOMETHING smells about Not Your Father’s Root Beer, and I’m not talking about the heavy dose of vanilla extract that flavors the suddenly popular brew.

Described as “ale with the taste of spices,” it tastes exactly like soda and contains 5.9 percent alcohol. Two other versions sold in large bottles contain 10.7 percent and an astonishing 19.5 percent alcohol.

The brew has social media and beer aficionado websites buzzing with excitement and high ratings, and buyers in Pennsylvania have been scooping ...

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How to build a DIY beer garden

WITH THE LONG Independence Day weekend around the corner, now’s the time to get ready for some backyard (or roof-deck) entertaining.

A few cases of summer ale are a good start, but to make the party even more memorable, get in touch with your inner-Martha Stewart. For inspiration, I tracked down Denise Sabia, an interior decorator from Ambler whose own backyard beer garden was recently featured in a photo spread in Country Living magazine.

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