Category: History

Debating Germany’s 500-year-old beer purity law

SATURDAY MARKS the 500th anniversary of Reinheitsgebot, the German law that simply decreed beer can be made with only water, barley, and hops. Yet there is nothing simple about Reinheitsgebot, starting with its name, which Americans can correctly pronounce only after a liter of lager or two.

For, even after half a millennium, the edict remains a lightning rod for … Read the rest

Needle beer: A poke at Prohibition-era brew

IMAGINE ORDERING a nice, cold pint of beer in a bar, but before the foam has a chance to settle, the bartender pulls out a syringe and gives the glass a squirt of alcohol.

Forget about careful brewing methods or even enjoyable flavor. Just choke down your dose of ethyl alcohol like it’s medicine.

This was needle beer, and it’s … Read the rest

Born in a barroom

A lot of bad decisions are made in bars. Dancing with your pants on your head . . . Bingeing on a second cheesesteak . . . Drunk dialing . . . Sex with your ex . . .

But, c’mon, let’s give barrooms their due, for without them there’d be no libraries, no credit cards and no NASCAR.

Here … Read the rest

Giving thanks to the Pilgrims

DO YOU know the first words spoken by Native-Americans to the Pilgrims after they landed at Plymouth Rock? “Welcome Englishmen . . . I’ll have a beer. ”

Or something to that effect, according to an account (see sidebar) of the first visit to the Pilgrims’ village by an Algonquin named Samoset.

The greeting comes to mind this season because … Read the rest

Philly greets Pope Francis with a kegs of cold beer

WASHINGTON greets the pope with a full session of Congress.

New York welcomes him with the United Nations.

Philadelphia? We tap a keg.

No fewer than 10 specially brewed ales will greet Pope Francis on his visit to Philly this weekend – and what else would you expect from America’s holiest beer-drinking city?

Yes, the mildly irreverent names may have … Read the rest

20 years ago, Philly beer world became Extra Special

YOU HEAR IT at every beer festival – an excited buzz that flashes through the crowd like lightning:Did you try _____ beer, yet? You’ve gotta taste it!

It might be a super-funky sour beer, or an extraordinarily hoppy IPA. It’s always the Next Great Beer.

Twenty years ago this month, the buzz that lit up the crowd at the inaugural … Read the rest

Holiday cheer over 1,000 years

WITH NO FANFARE or explanation, Goose Island Brewing this year changed the name of its winter seasonal beer from Christmas Ale to Festivity Ale.

I suppose if I were Bill O’Reilly, I’d go into a spittle-spraying rage over yet another breach in the so-called “War on Christmas. ” The pagan in me, however, will instead point out that removing Christ’s … Read the rest

Throw back a throwback ale at brewer’s old mansion

WHEN LAST WE heard from Hohenadel Brewery, the 19th-century East Falls landmark was wincing under the weight of a wrecking ball.

It was 1997. Just one look at the stubborn but crumbling brick structure at Conrad Street and Indian Queen Lane told you it was time to pull the plug. The brewery that once proclaimed its “Well Earned Supremacy” could … Read the rest