Hoist a brew to show your patriotism

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I F IT’S WAR, even beer drinkers must do their part.

Local brewpubs are pitching in on Thursday with Unity Night, during which a portion of proceeds from beer sales will go to the United Way’s September 11th Fund.

The event is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Brewers Guild and Brewers News.

Here’s a list of local brewpubs who are kicking in part of their take:

* Iron Hill Brewery, in West Chester, Media and Newark, Del.

* Bethlehem Brew Works, 569 Main St., Bethlehem.

* Sly Fox Brewhouse, Route 113 (Pikeland Village Square), Phoenixville.

* Valley Forge Brewing Co., 267 E. Swedesford Road (Valley Forge Shopping Center), Wayne.

* General Lafayette Inn & Brewer, 6461 Germantown Pike, Lafayette Hill.

Yards, Stoudt’s and Troegs breweries are also among the sponsors.

War is hell, but this is obviously a painless way to contribute to the cause. Especially if you consider what America went through during WWII.

Though alcohol was not rationed back then, beermakers cut their grain bills. That meant thin, weak brew that, today, would make Coors seem like Guinness Stout. Under wartime restrictions the industry also went without needed equipment replacement and reduced their distribution areas.

My 1949 copy of “Beer and Brewing in America” says, “Even before we entered the conflict, the brewing industry had undertaken to make certain that retail beer establishments available to servicemen would measure up to high standards and provide a wholesome environment. . . . ”

“Meanwhile, the quality of beer brewed for civilians generally was maintained – though 3.2 beer for the services had ‘first call. ‘ ”

The Andrews Sisters and near beer – egad!

It wasn’t all so gloomy. Lucky sailors could count on rations of two cans of beer a month.

Sign that the apocalypse is upon us, I

The top-selling brew in America is, for the first time, light beer.

Bud Light, to be specific, has pulled ahead of Budweiser, according to St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Thomas Lee.

In a sob story that had Joe Sixpack crying into his bar rag, Lee says that so far this year, sales of Bud Light have jumped 8 percent while those of former No. 1 Budweiser have dropped 2 percent. If the trend holds for the rest of this year, Anheuser-Busch will ship about a half-million more barrels of their watered-down diet dreck than its real stuff.

Sign that the apocalypse is upon us, II

Brandweek reports so-called malternatives – those sickly sweet alcopops like Mike’s Hard Lemonade – are threatening to edge out real beer.

Among the new flavors headed for shelves: peach, tequila, vodka, tangerine, raspberry and rum.

At the bottom of the barrel: sublime lemonade, named after the defunct punk/reggae band from Long Beach, Calif. Its radio spots, which the trade mag says have already been banned in Boston, feature cross-dressing, S&M and bestiality.

(The travesty here is that Sublime was a classic beer-drinkin’band. Its debut album was the cult classic “40 oz to Freedom” on Skunk Records. )

Meanwhile, Lion Brewery in Wilkes-Barre is bottling Chester’s Hard Root Beer. Says the press release: “It is appealing to adults searching for an alternative to beer. ”

An alternative to beer? I thought that was sex!

Sign that the apocalypse is upon us, III

Beer sales have hit a 30-year low in British pubs.

Rip-off alert

Remember that McDonald’s contest scam that shafted burger eaters a couple months ago? Now it’s beer drinkers getting jobbed.

Word from Canada is Labatt’s has fired about a dozen workers from one of its distribution plants after they were caught stealing free cell phones from beer cases. The phones were part of a give-away this summer.

Fest-ering wounds

Area brewers nearly came up empty at this year’s Great American Beer Festival. More than a dozen local micros were among the 350 breweries that trekked out to Denver for the nation’s biggest beer contest, but only three of ’em collected hardware.

The local winners:

  • Stewart’s Smoked Porter, Stewart’s Brewing Co., Bear, Del., bronze, smoke-flavored beer category.
  • Springfield Schwarz Beer, John Harvard’s Brew House, Wayne, silver, German-style schwarzbier category.
  • Wee Heavy, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant, Media, bronze, Strong Scotch ale category.

That’s the fifth consecutive GABF medal for Iron Hill.

Meanwhile, the defunct Pabst brewery in Fogelsville (outside Allentown) went out with its boots on. The brewery, which last year was named the top large brewery in America, closed its doors for good last month.

Among its medal-winners this year: Schaefer Light, Stroh, Old Milwaukee Ice and St. Ides Malt Liquor.


Tomorrow – OK, you’ve got to be a total lunatic to do this, but get into your car and drive 266 miles to Cooperstown, N.Y., for the official release of Cave-Aged Hennepin at Brewery Ommegang. The Belgian-style ale has been sitting 152 feet beneath the surface in Howe Caverns since last February. The long, slow, champagne-style cool-aging brings out the brew’s roasted fruit and malt flavors. Last year, the suds – available only at Ommegang – sold out in three days. Bottles are 7 bucks, or $84 a case. Info: 800-656-1212.

Oct. 13 – 10th annual Microfest, featuring more than 20 East Coast breweries, at Stoudt’s Brewing Co., Adamstown, Pa. Two sessions, 12-4 p.m. and 7-11 p.m. Tix: $23, includes “Best of the Wurst” buffet and live music. Info: 717-484-4386.

Oct. 16 – “The Magic of Belgian Beer,” featuring Beer Philadelphia magazine’s Jim Anderson, at La Campagne Restaurant, Cherry Hill. The tutored tasting, with hors d’oeuvres, is 7-9 p.m. Tix: $45. Info: 856-429-7647.

Oct. 18 – Brewers Reserve Night, featuring Phillies announcer Andy Musser, with the beers of Anchor Brewing Co. Musser, who is a total hop head, is leaving the radio booth this season and will represent Anchor on the East Coast. The tasting starts at 8 p.m. at Iron Hill Brewery Restaurant, 3 W. Gay St., West Chester. No cover. Info: 610-738-9600.

Oct. 23 – Whiskey Fest 2001. OK, it’s not beer, but it is malt. This huge annual event features more than 200 fine single malts and blended whiskeys – Scotch, bourbon, Irish and Tennessee sippin’. The event, hosted by Malt Advocate magazine, usually sells out, so you must order in advance. Tix: $85. Info: 800-610-MALT or www.maltadvocate.com.

Joe Sixpack, by Staff Writer Don Russell, was written this week with a glass of Victory Fest.


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