Beer without the buzz just wouldn’t taste the same

WOULD YOU enjoy drinking beer as much if it didn’t give you a buzz? Those bitter hops, that toasty malt – do we really need the alcohol to enjoy the flavor of a glass of ale?

It turns out, yes, we do.

In his new, utterly fascinating book, Tasty: The Art and Science of What We Eat (Scribner), Pulitzer Prize-winning author John McQuaid writes that ethanol – itself essentially flavorless – changes and improves the very chemistry of flavor.

First, the process ...

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The day the buzz hit Philly

You hear it at every beer festival – an excited buzz that flashes through the crowd like lightning: Did you try _____ beer, yet? You’ve gotta taste it!

It might be a super funky sour beer, or an extraordinarily hoppy IPA. It’s always the Next Great Beer.

Twenty years ago this month, the buzz that lit up the crowd at the inaugural Philadelphia Craft Brew Festival was bigger than just the Next Great Beer. It surrounded Booth #406 at the old Philadelphia ...

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Schnapps & hops: Beer gets into the spirit

UNDER a leaky roof in a tired corner of Camden, there’s a single barrel of whiskey quietly aging and mellowing toward what might be the next frontier for American craft beer. It’s marked “IPA-skey.”

James Yoakum, the owner at Cooper River Distilling, pulled a sample for me the other day and handed it over. It was smooth and a bit smoky, with the delicate yet unmistakable bitterness of hops.

The spirits began life as a batch of India pale ale from ...

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Yards Brewing one of Philly’s top workplaces 2015

The following is part of Philly.com special report on the region’s top-rated employers.

Working at a brewery is not all about free beer and pretzels.

Just ask Steve Welsh, the packaging manager at Yards Brewing, about the summer of 2008, about the heat and pain of digging ditches, building walls, and tying rebar for the floor of the brewery’s new location on Delaware Avenue in Fishtown.

This was not exactly what he’d signed up for when he started work at Yards a ...

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Pizza and wine? That’s actually against the law in 29 states

Wino Marnie Old laid out menu and made the case for the grape stuff. Joe Sixpack counters with the suds.

CAESAR SALAD

WINE: A crisp, tangy salad needs a crisp, tangy white wine. Schuylkill County’s Galen Glen Gruner Veltliner is a brilliant example, made with a rare Austrian grape that naturally echoes the garden-fresh taste of leafy greens.

BEER: I know you tried to throw me with a challenging mix of greens, Dijon mustard, lemon juice and anchovies, Marnie, but a Sly Fox ...

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Pennsylvania beer vs. Pennsylvania wine: It’s not a fair fight

This week, Joe Sixpack defends his turf against his wine-sipping Daily News colleague Marnie Old. It was not a fair fight – so Cheap Buzz, who will drink practically anything, stepped in to referee.

BUZZ: Hey, Marnie, I read that you’re going to debate Pennsylvania beer vs. Pennsylvania wine on Tuesday at World Cafe Live.

Marnie: Yes, it’s a “people’s choice” dinner during Philly Wine Week to determine which drink is the best food partner, loosely based on my first book, He ...

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Why I’m worried about Pennsylvania’s legal 12-packs

YIPPEE! Pennsylvania beer drinkers can finally buy 12-packs at distributors, thanks to a ruling last week from our pals at the Liquor Control Board.

Well, yes . . . but before you start celebrating, there are good reasons to be worried.

Unelected bureaucrats are rewriting the rules.

The LCB calls its 12-pack opinion an “interpretation” of the existing law. But that’s just lawyerspeak for “we finally found a way to make this happen.”

For the past 80 years, Pennsylvania has been living under ...

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A 12-pack victory for Pennsylvania beer drinkers

YOU KNOW all those lawyer jokes? Forget ’em.

Starting today, Pennsylvania beer drinkers can buy a 12-pack at a beer distributor, thanks to a loophole in state liquor code discovered by a sharp-eyed lawyer.

Elsewhere in America – in New Jersey, for example – purchasing a 12-pack is no big deal.

But since the end of Prohibition, Pennsylvania, distributors have been forbidden to sell anything less than a case of 24 12-ounce bottles or a “single container” (namely, a keg) holding 128 ...

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When making bread, just add beer

IF YOU WORKED at Sacchetti’s Bakery, in Ardmore, you learned two things.

You learned to duck when Rearo, the hotheaded Italian who owned the business with his brother, Tony, headed your way. That S.O.B. had a handshake like a bench vise and a fist like a ball-peen hammer. If he was happy, he’d squeeze your knuckles into mangled pulp; if he was pissed, he’d plant a hard one to your bicep.

And you learned it was hard work to bake bread.

There were ...

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Not a hop head? Try this sixpack

THE CRAFT-BEER world’s fixation with India Pale Ale shows no sign of fading. Just last month, for example, Philadelphia welcomed a new portfolio from California’s Knee Deep Brewing that includes no fewer than five different IPAs, including a double, a triple and a heretofore unknown “Quad IPA.”

Which is all perfectly fine if you’re a hop addict, craving your next big fix of Simcoe, Citra or some other variety of the famously bitter, aromatic plant.

But what if you’re after ...

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