Yearly Archives: 2011

When the dog bites, reach for a glass of hair

WHEN YOU load up the cooler this week for your New Year’s Eve soaking, take a moment to think about what you’re going to drink on the morning after.

Ah, yes, the hair of the dog that bit you.

Hard-earned experience has taught us that the best hangover cure is prevention: Go easy on the bubbles and drink plenty of … Read the rest

A Christmas glass of beer in the old English workhouse

“It was Christmas Day in the workhouse, that season of good cheer, the paupers’ hearts were merry, their bellies full of beer.” – An old English bawdy.

NOT TO BE overly optimistic as we head into the homestretch of the holiday season, but if President Newt Gingrich is going to send us paupers back to the workhouses, I’m hoping we … Read the rest

Holy Moses, it’s Hanukkah season

“DON’T PASS OUT, Passover.”

When Shmaltz Brewing launched in 1996 with that slogan, you’d be excused if you assumed it was just another gimmick, like Billy Beer of the 1970s or J.R. Ewing Beer of the ’80s. Its He’Brew Messiah Bold and Genesis Ale (“The Chosen Beers”) seemed little more than a scheme to use borscht belt humor to sell … Read the rest

Dear Santa…

NEED TO TELL your Aunt Sarah you don’t need another knitted sweater this holiday season? Clip out this all-purpose gift list and slip it into her handbag. Maybe she’ll get the hint.

FOR THE DIYER: The Complete Homebrew Beer Book by George Hummel (Robert Rose, $16.47). With 200 easy recipes, anyone can brew lager, mead, fruit beer – you name … Read the rest

25 beer drinking days till Christmas

YOU BETTER watch out, you better not cry: Christmas beer is coming to town. Here’s an advent calendar for the occasion.

1. Try something new. Debuts for 2011 include New Belgium Snow Day, a hoppy black ale, and Mikkeller Happy Lovin’ Christmas, flavored with pine needles.

2. Take a peek at the Sam Adams Winter Classics Variety Pack. They … Read the rest

Line up now for Westvleteren 12

COMING TO America in 2012: The World’s Greatest Beer.

It’s Westvleteren 12, a Belgian rarity brewed at the tiny St. Sixtus Trappist monastery by a brotherhood of notoriously secretive monks.

Packaged in a plain brown bottle with no label, Westvleteren 12 has consistently ranked as either the No. 1 or No. 2 brand over the past decade at … Read the rest

Philly goes to Belgium, again

NO OTHER American city celebrates Belgian beer like Philadelphia.

I didn’t say that, but one of the nation’s biggest importers of Belgian beer did as Philly Beer Week hammered out details on a first-ever collaboration with one of Belgium’s iconic beer makers, Brasserie Dupont.

The makers of Saison Dupont, regarded by some experts as one of the top 10 … Read the rest

Mike Royko and the great newspaper taste test

BEFORE THERE was Yelp and and a million blogs to tell us who’s No. 1, there was the great newspaper taste test.

It was the 1970s, and American breweries were dying left and right. There were barely 100 of them nationwide and most produced the same boring, pale lager. Our favorite was either the cheapest brand or the one … Read the rest

Faro foul?

YOU KNOW those Belgian lambics that are all the rage these days? Beer fans rhapsodize about their complex character, their funky aroma, their tart flavor produced through the vagaries of spontaneous fermentation. The brewers who make them are worshipped as artisans, and bottles valued at $30 or more are collected and traded.

It’s worth noting, though, that lambic wasn’t always … Read the rest

Is beer still a man’s world?

“IT WASN’T so long ago that the only women you saw in the beer world were either wearing bikinis on TV or posing nekkid in pinups on the walk-in box at your local beer distributor.

The pinups are probably still there, but I’ve noticed a big jump in the number of women working for small breweries – mainly as sales … Read the rest