You could do wurst

PHILADELPHIA MIGHT be the best beer-drinking city in America, but we’re the wurst-eating city, too.

Grilled bratwurst, paprika-spiced bockwurst, smoky knackwurst, mustard-covered weisswurst and jerkylike landjäger – along with liters of German lager, these are the staples of Oktoberfest.

Or, as Doug Hager, co-owner of South Street’s Brauhaus Schmitz declares, “Throw away your knife and fork . . . Wurst may not be very refined, but it is manly.”

The other day I sat down with Hager and his executive chef, Jeremy Nolen, ...

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The B.M.O.C.: Beermeister on Campus

LONG A nonacademic pursuit on the college campus, beer is now part of the classroom, too.

As students begin their new semesters this month, they’ll find numerous full-credit courses devoted to suds, from “Understanding Wine and Beer” at Cornell University to “Beer Tastings and Pairings” at the University of Utah.

Some of the courses, including those at the prestigious University of California-Davis masters brewing program, are naturally designed for food and beverage majors. Increasingly, though, science professors are using beer as an ...

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Oktober in September

AFTER A WEEK plagued by an earthquake, hurricane and the loss of the guy who took the cheesesteak recipe to his grave, Philly hardly needs an excuse to drink. So let’s just say that, looking at the beerscape ahead, we’re in for a unique array of foam-filled diversions.

Mark your calendars: There’s a month of blues, barbecue, Bavarians and a battleship ahead. Enjoy a cold one while you . . .

Wear your lederhosen. One of the area’s most authentic Oktoberfests is ...

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Pumpkin Beer… Seriously

GOURD HELP US, it’s pumpkin beer season again.

That means brewers aren’t just raiding the spice cabinet, they’re reaching for their Rogets Thesaurus, too. No other beer style inspires more puns than the Great Pumpkin.

Pumking, River Horse Hipp-O-Lantern, JackAle Lantern, Gourd of the Rings, Mashing Pumpkin, Pumpkin Up the Volume – well, you get the idea.

“Coming up with the names is half of the fun,” says Dick Cantwell, co-owner and brew master of Seattle’s Elysian Brewing.

He should know: No one in ...

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A salute to the inventive spirit of Thomas Ale-va Edison

IF NECESSITY is the mother of invention, beer is its wild-eyed uncle. You know, the one who corners you at family reunions with his latest can’t-miss scheme, one that will revolutionize society and earn a bazillion bucks if only you invest a couple thou.

No doubt fueled by a sixpack or two, inventors and assorted crackpots fill the archives of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office with off-the-wall ideas to enhance consumption of our favorite beverage.

Grand ideas such as:

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Dead soldiers

LIKE DINOSAURS, the dodo and disco, some beer goes extinct, too.

It’s a result of evolution, of course: The fittest survive while the weak disappear. Typically, the lost ones were obscure regional varieties that fell under the weight of widely distributed brands. Others were best-sellers that simply lost favor as tastes and customs changed.

Dortmund Adambier, Pennsylvania Swankey, Grodziski, Broyhan, Kentucky Common – one can’t help feel a bit of nostalgic regret for the forgotten names.

We’ll never get a true taste of ...

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A cold beer primer

A FEW WEEKS ago, as the summer temps first started to rise, I broached the topic of drinking beer on the rocks – a practice that rightly prompted guffaws from most of my loyal readers.

But now that the mercury is soaring into triple digits, things are getting life-or-death serious. Your beer is warm! What’s the fastest way to make it cold?

Over the centuries, beer drinkers have expended countless brain cells in pursuit of a solution. As a public service, I ...

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Blue beer

JIM CARUSO, the CEO of Maryland’s Flying Dog Brewery, must’ve felt like he was trapped in a rerun of “Leave It to Beaver.”

In 2009, he flew out to Lansing, Mich., to appeal the rejection of the label for his brewery’s Raging Bitch Belgian-Style IPA. As with all of his company’s products, the label featured a gonzo, ink-splattered cartoon by British artist Ralph Steadman, the guy who illustrated the works of Hunter S. Thompson. The beer had hit the ...

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Green and bear it

July 22, 2011: Green and bear it

I LIKE MY COFFEE black, my whiskey straight and my hefeweizen without a lemon slice. But I’m a total sucker for that green syrup they pour into Berliner Weisse.

It’s called woodruff, made from a sweet, aromatic herb, and it’s usually served as a dessert topping. How anyone thought to spike a wheat beer with the stuff is beyond me. Yet, if you order a goblet in any ...

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Happy Belgian Independence Day

ON THE OCCASION of Belgian Independence Day, it’s appropriate to contemplate: What makes a Belgian beer Belgian?

What? You didn’t know that Belgian Independence Day is Thursday? Neither did I till I started getting news releases from Belgian beer importers and bars, announcing special brews and festivals to mark the occasion.

Turns out Belgium was once part of the Netherlands (for all of 15 years!). The citizens declared their independence after rioting over ...

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