Joe Sixpack’s Beer of the Year 2016

You wouldn’t know there’s a brewery down Forked Neck Road in Shamong, N.J.

Nestled against the pines of Wharton State Forest and hidden behind a private home, the small, unheralded facility is dwarfed by its big brother, the Valenzano Winery, nearby on busy Rt. 206. There is no tasting room or tours or visiting hours. There is no place to fill up a growler.

If you want to taste its beer, you’ll have drop in at one of the dozen or ...

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I’m back

This site has been largely inactive in recent months due to my new position as editor in chief at Newspaper Media Group. But, if you’ve been keeping up with Philadelphia Weekly, you know that Joe Sixpack lives… every Wednesday!

Tomorrow I’ll be announcing my 2016 Beer of the Year. I thought this would be a good time to return to JoeSixpack.net.

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-30-

Twenty years ago this summer, I pulled the greatest scam in Daily News history by convincing my editors they should pay me to write about beer. If they thought I’d run out of ideas soon enough, well, they underestimated my thirst.

But it’s time to move to a new barstool.

In the coming weeks, you’ll find me in community newspapers produced by Broad Street Media, including Philadelphia Weekly, South Philly Review, Northeast Times and the Star, among others. Meanwhile, you can always ...

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When breweries get political

IMAGINE THAT, 40 years ago, Coors brewed a beer called Down With Queers. Or that 60 years ago Falstaff had a beer named Whites Are Supreme.

It never happened because, though both breweries held some strong political views, neither advertised them on beer cans.

Which is why the widely publicized campaign against North Carolina’s anti-transgender law by a group of Tar Heel breweries is a remarkable step down an uncertain path. For, while brewery operators – like any business owner – hold ...

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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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