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Direct from the Best Beer Drinking City in America
Reporting and drinking beer in Philly and beyond
Jan. 05, 2007 | A sixpack of resolutions for you
I DIDN'T MAKE any resolutions this year. I'm just going to break them and end up feeling like a louse.
Instead, I made a few for you - a sixpack of promises I want you to make. They're all simple ideas to enhance your beer-drinking experience and ultimately improve the Philly beer scene.
And when you inevitably break them, you're the one who's going to feel like a louse.
• Complain. Don't you just hate restaurants with great food and good wine lists that humor beer-lovers with overrated factory-made imports like Bass and Heineken? Or how about local taprooms that don't serve local beer?
Next time the waiter spews a list of third-rate bottles, ask why it is that a place that serves expensive French wine and Russian vodka doesn't offer artisanal Belgian ale. And ask your bartender why a tavern that won't pour beer made by locals should expect locals to pour money into his joint.
• Find a job for Scott Morrison and Tom Baker. Here are two of the area's most accomplished brewers, and both of them are looking for a place to perform their craft.
Morrison, known for world-class biere de garde as the head brewer at the McKenzie Brewhouse in Frazier and Glen Mills, lost his position just before Christmas.
Baker, who made a wide range of one-of-a-kind ales at Heavyweight Brewing in Jersey, closed his company down last summer, possibly to open a smaller brewpub.
I'm not sure what their futures hold, but we'd all be better off if they were making beer for us instead of pounding the pavement.
• Attend the new Philadelphia Craft Brew Festival. The city has been aching for a top-rate beer fest. Not one where it shares the spotlight with wine (Sippin' by the River) or where only a few people can squeeze in (Michael Jackson's tastings at The Book and the Cook).
Harrisburg has a big-time festival, Kennett Square has one, even Newtown got one last year. Now it's Philly's turn. This new fest, to be held at the Cruise Terminal at the old Philadelphia Naval Shipyard on March 3, is an excellent opportunity to see how far the region's breweries have come in the past few years.
Visit www.phillycraftbeer fest.com for more info.
• Visit a brewpub. If you want to discover the newest, most adventuresome varieties of beer - mouth-puckering lambic, intensely hopped IPAs, high-alcohol Belgians - almost certainly you'll find them in a brewpub.
Because they brew on site in small batches, these places are more able to experiment with unusual styles. Places like Nodding Head, Sly Fox, Iron Hill, Bethlehem Beer Works and the Gen. Lafayette Inn are pushing the envelope, and pushing it more often. The only way to savor their flavor is to stop in for a cold one.
Note: Keep your eyes open for the opening of the new Triumph Brewing joint on Chestnut Street in Old City. Should be any day now.
• End all this PBR nonsense. Admit it: the only reason you drink Pabst Blue Ribbon is because you think it's a counter-culture statement. You're too cool to spend your money on that mass-produced stuff that gets advertised out the wazoo. Also, you have a tattoo.
Get smart. PBR is made at a factory just like all that other fizzy, yellow liquid, and you're a tool for drinking it.
Oh, you say you buy PBR because it's dirt-cheap? That's a pretty lame excuse when we're talking about something you put into your mouth.
• Brag. Philly boasts the best beer-drinking scene in America, so tell someone about it.
Split a case of Victory or Yards or Flying Fish with a neighbor. Introduce your poker buddies to the newest head-banger from Weyerbacher. Bring a big bottle of Stoudt's to your next dinner party. Take your out-of-town guests on a bar-hopping to tour.
Share your love for the city's beer with someone else.