The makings of a good Irish pub

ON ST. Patrick’s Day, nearly every bar pours Guinness and cloaks itself in shamrocks. But is that enough to be an Irish pub?

This is no matter for idle pondering while the foam drops from your stout. In fact, it was the central theme of the first American conference of Irish Pubs Global, held in Center City last spring.

That’s right, Irish pubs now have their own industry association, and why not? Scribble these figures on the back of your ...

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Good for what ales ya

EVERY FEW months, another article hits the news, proclaiming the health benefits of beer.

I’ve always figured this was just the Republicans’ idea of health-care reform: Who needs a single-payer system when you have a sixpack in the fridge?

It turns out, though, that mankind has been studying the therapeutic value of beer for centuries. In the hieroglyphics of ancient Egypt, the Old English of the Anglo Saxons, the prescriptions of Victorian quacks and the scientific jargon of modern medical ...

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Love that imperial stout? We owe it all to Sophia

WHERE WOULD lovers of the world’s strongest, darkest beers be without a thin, pale German teenager named Sophia Augusta Frederica?

One of the great chapters of brewing history might not exist. There’d be no stouts named Old Rasputin or The Czar or Ivan the Terrible.

On the upside, the tiresome debate over whether to call it “double” or “imperial” IPA Young Catherine the Greatwould never have started.

Indeed, no fewer than a third of ...

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16 Things About Foam

WE DON’T pay much attention to bubbles in our beer, unless they’re foaming over the coffee table.

When it comes to beer pleasure, though, bubbles are right up there with color, aroma, flavor, body and buzz. So, with the help of West Chester University chemistry professor Roger Barth, Ph.D., author of The Chemistry of Beer (Owl’s Nest Publishing); Marty Nachel, whose second edition of Beer for Dummies (Wiley) was just released; and the draft beer gurus at Anheuser-Busch, here ...

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Bud Not-So-Light Platinum

BUD LIGHT Platinum is either completely deceptive advertising or evidence that the beer industry is now presided over by postmodern literalists of the Orwellian order.

I’ll grant that there’s some actual Bud in this bottle, though its sweet, fizzy flavor is closer to soda than beer. I’ll even concede there’s platinum in them thar blue bottles.

But light?

Unless they’re practicing Newspeak out there in St. Louis, there is no commonly accepted definition of the word that could possibly include this ...

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IPAs in black and white.

BLACK IPAs are so 2011.

Last year’s hot new style, which exploded in popularity before beer gurus could even settle on a proper name (Cascadian Dark Ale? American Black Ale?), is already getting shoved to the side by a new crop of India pale ales.

Would you believe white IPA?

OK, you saw that one coming – so, how about Baltic IPA?

Those are two of the new styles that found their way into my fridge before I even Black ...</p><a class= Continue Reading →


Shelling out for the Super Bowl

WHEN DID the Super Bowl become an excuse to sell junk to beer drinkers?

I’m not talking about beer itself, for it goes without saying that plenty of cold suds are a necessary lubricant for the 12 or so hours you’ll be spending in front of the wide-screen on Sunday.

No, it’s all the other stuff they’re palming off on beer-loving football fans.

For example, the Krups BeerTender.

It’s a countertop keg dispenser that chills beer to precisely 37.4 degrees. The $150 unit is ...

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Sexing up Old Milwaukee

TWENTY YEARS AGO this month, America lost what might’ve been the greatest beer commercial of all time.

It was a sly, funny advertising campaign that, despite running for just seven months, generated a ton of publicity and became an instant icon of American popular culture. Two decades later, red-blooded beer drinkers may not remember the brand, but they sure remember its stars:

The Swedish Bikini Team.

They were five buxom platinum blondes who appeared in a series of TV spots through the summer ...

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Crassly adored malt liquor

“MINIMAL TASTE profile, minimal hopping, lacking in hop bouquet and threshold hop levels . . . “

– Fred Eckhardt, The Essentials of Beer Style, 1989,

describing style characteristics of malt liquor

“Get your girl in the mood quicker, get your jimmy thicker, with St. Ides malt liquor.”

– Ice Cube, Mix Tape, 1994,

describing style characteristics of malt liquor


And there you have it: the grand dichotomy of beer. ...

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New year of new flavors on tap

YOUR NEW YEAR’S resolutions better include a promise to clean out the fridge, because you’ll need the room for a lot of new beer. Get ready for some exciting new flavors in 2012, from one-of-a-kind collaborations to the first-time domestic appearance of imported world classics.

Here’s just a sampling:

Barrel-Aged Bigfoot Barleywine. Sierra Nevada Bigfoot may be the benchmark for American-style barley wine. In May, the California brewery will release a limited supply that has been aging in used bourbon barrels – ...

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