Category: History

When Brooklyn Brewing ran into Philly’s Billy Pflaumer

IF STEVE HINDY looks a little uncomfortable on Monday when he and a panel of local brewers gather for a talk about the “craft-beer revolution” at Yards Brewery, don’t blame me.

The founder of Brooklyn Brewery is an experienced journalist – a former Mideast correspondent for the Associated Press – and he can handle the grilling I’ll dole out as … Read the rest

And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the gardens

A FEW years ago, I pitched what I thought was a great idea for the city:A beer garden at LOVE Park. I could just imagine the lunchtime crowds, the evening diners with their families, the skateboarders and foodies, people just hanging out – all of them coming together and enjoying the city’s finest, freshest beer at one of its most … Read the rest

Bathing in suds

THE QUESTION arises: Are you really going to make beer in a bathtub at the Bathtub Beer Fest?

Philly Beer Week has been promising an authentic bathtub brew at next Thursday’s festival at the National Constitution Center, as a tribute to its outstanding exhibit, “American Spirits: The Rise & Fall of Prohibition.” The idea is to wheel some old-fashioned cast-iron … Read the rest

Prohibition: How the Hell Did That Happen?

ON THE 300 block of Walnut Street in Old City lies the dichotomy of Prohibition.

At one end of the block is the site where Dr. Benjamin Rush, Declaration of Independence signer and father of the American temperance movement, had his office. At the other is a building where, a century later, bootlegger Joel D. Kerper bottled illegal gin for … Read the rest

A taste of yesteryear in the cradle of suds

YOU THINK WE have a pretty good beer scene now? You should’ve seen this town back in 1879.

Every neighborhood had its own brewery, and every corner had a saloon. In the preceding 30 years, more than 250 breweries had opened — many of them closing quickly, but others becoming national powers. A census by Western Brewer magazine counted an … Read the rest

Tavern’s Troubling Tale of Emptiness

The Ivy Leaguers have been holding the Colonial-era landmark at 125-7 Spruce St. for more than a decade, and they’ve just let it sit empty, its playful outdoor sign fading in the sun.

This disuse of an important piece of American heritage is all the more evident now that the city’s Once Upon a Nation is running its Tippler’s Tour … Read the rest

Party still holds out for Prohibition

GEORGE ORMSBY was barely 16 years old on April 7, 1933, the day that Prohibition died. Seventy-three years later, he still thinks the abolition of beer and liquor was a pretty good idea.

“All you have to do is look into some of the records during Prohibition,” said Ormsby, a plumbing inspector from Aston, Delaware County, who twice ran for … Read the rest

Ben had a yen for taverns

“Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” – Ben Franklin

“Eat not to dullness, drink not to elevation.” – Ben Franklin

THERE IS a fine line, apparently, between happiness and excess. As Philadelphia celebrates Franklin’s 300th birthday next week, it’s clear we still have no idea where to draw that line.

Booze is … Read the rest

Philly’s Franklin finall gets his due

OVER the years, brewers have made beers in honor of presidents and authors and birds and bees. St. Nicholas has dozens of beers in his honor, and there are beers named after St. Bridgid, St. Patrick, St. Arnold and even pious St. Rogue. Sam Adams has an entire brewery with his name. Hunter Thompson and Jack Kerouac, Thomas Jefferson and … Read the rest

The Inquirer’s Great Taste Test put Schmidt’s back on the map

NO ONE EVER accused the Inquirer of being a Joe Sixpack kind of rag. It’s a pinkie-extended, wine-sipping broadsheet that prefers to sniff, not guzzle, before enlightening all with its fruity yet (dare we say?) pretentious character.

But credit goes to the Inky for a landmark, though largely forgotten, work of journalism 30 years ago this week, when the ivory-tower … Read the rest