With nitrogen foam, it’s heads, you win

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John the bartender was this lunatic who used to work at an old Center City tavern down on 15th Street. The bar was a grand oval, and at happy hour he worked it alone, like a one-man show on Broadway.

You couldn’t take your eyes off the guy, the way he performed. He’d stack his glasses in symmetrical rows, compulsively … Read the rest

Will microbrew biz flatten out in 1997?

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But what if we run out here?

That’s the kind of nightmare that will wake you in a sweat-soaked fright, your throat parched with dread and your eyes spinning you dizzy with panic. No beer?

Sorry to begin the new year on such a downer, but that’s where all this pessimistic talk about the craft-brewing industry is leading. Some insiders … Read the rest

’96 a vintage year? Not in a beer column

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To hell with doctor’s orders. I’ve been jabbed, probed and dosed, and they still can’t knock this flu. After three weeks of phlegmy coughs and other horrible bodily secretions – a period in which I faithfully avoided all malt refreshment – I’m plunging head-first into the Joe Sixpack Winter Blahs Treatment, certain to cure whatever ales you:

Take one bottle … Read the rest

State price controls skunk the consumers

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Get ready to pay more for your beer, Pennsylvania.

The Legislature just revived an old law that almost certainly will jack up prices to fatten the wallets of beer wholesalers.

Wholesalers are the select middlemen who, under state law, “import” beer from brewers and re-sell it to retail distributors. Each has exclusive rights to brand names within geographic regions, so … Read the rest

The Khyber passes on

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A good pub is like a good dog. Friendly and honest, it never fails to cheer you up or bring you back down to earth. And when it dies, don’t mourn its passing. Just remember the good times and go find another.

One of my favorites died a couple of weeks ago. Before  Joe Sixpack moves on to his next … Read the rest

Brewery buff has a thing for the past

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You walk the streets of the old neighborhoods and sooner or later you start to hear the sounds of a city’s forgotten past. Buried like 300-year-old cobblestones ‘neath layers of asphalt, the ghosts are still alive . . . if you know how to listen.

In Fairmount, you hear the creaking of a wooden wagon wheel coming down Poplar Street. … Read the rest

Micro contractors spark big brewhaha

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So it’s Sunday night and I’m trying to find an Eagles score on the tube when I hear possibly the worst news a guy could hear under any circumstances, but especially those circumstances under which, having just consumed, oh, about two dozen different brews at a local beer festival, that fella has assumed a face-down position on the couch of … Read the rest

Let’s tap into the spirit with Sixpackerfest!

Sunday marks the end of Oktoberfest, the 16-day Munich beer-drinking celebration that honors the 19th-century marriage of some Bavarian crown prince. The fest is a sanctioned citywide event in which the government encourages its citizens (and tourists) to consume mass quantities of excellent lagers served by large-busted women. They shut down schools, close offices and run naked through the streets.… Read the rest

Chug-a-luggers lost, too: Suds cops intercepted lot of beer outside Vet

It’s 90 minutes before game time in the parking lots outside Veterans Stadium, and the beer patrol has nabbed another beer-guzzling Eagles fan.

He’s a 21-year-old kid with a Ricky Watters jersey on his back and a can of cold Bud in his hand.

Busted, dude.

The kid looks like his world has collapsed. He won’t be arrested, but his … Read the rest

You can’t keep it at home for long

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Saturday morning around my place frequently is accompanied by the sweet smell of malt and cigar smoke. But this isn’t the morning after a Friday-night poker game. It’s Joe Sixpack’s rowhouse brewery, hard off Girard Avenue in historic olde Fishtown.

Just a few blocks from the spookily vacant Christian Schmidt & Sons brewery, I cook up some of the meanest … Read the rest