I drink no cider,
but feast on
Philadelphia beer.

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23 August 2007
Finland 1 Finland 2


[Posted am edt]

22 August 2007
Well, that didn't take long. Tom Kehoe checks in. Here's the scoop...and then some.
Actually, the headline is a bit misleading, at least according to Tom. I did hope that doing a bit of rumor-mongering would catch his attention, but he said he hadn't yet read what I posted below when he called me just now and that he was just returning my call from last week.

Either way, here's the scoop, straight from the source.

Yards has purchased the 50bbl brewhouse and equipment of a brewery in Florida and is shipping it here.

Yards has a letter of intent to lease a building a "bit further north, on the river." They do not have a lease in hand yet and he's clearly nervous because, "we had our eye on another building I really liked, but somebody bought it out from under us."

Tim Roberts did do some work at Yards last week, but it was filtering beer rather than brewing. He was just helping out and is not an employee there at this point. According to Kehoe, Tim is still waiting to hear to final fate of Independence (which means, I guess, that maybe that dead deal might not be as dead as we all think, although I know that a consultant hired by a prospective new owner for the site is meeting with said owner either tomorrow or Friday and that said owner does not see it as a brewpub).

Tom says he hopes to get a lease for a site no later than October 1, giving him two months to install and fit out the brewhouse and be ready to brew come January.

He says he knows of only one place in the city that has taken off Yards because of the split with the Bartons but that sales are going crazy, with people apparently stocking up on cases because they fear the brand will disappear. "Maybe we ought to do a split every August," he laughed.

And this was perhaps a significant bit of news. Tom says his lease on the current brewery gives him complete access to and use of all the equipment until December 31, meaning that Philadelphia Brewing cannot begin making beer there this year. The PBC news release had suggested they could begin brewing in October and everyone assumed that meant at the current brewery. I'll look into that.

As for whether there would be one, two or zero breweries in Philadelphia in 2008, Tom, who is clearly in good spirits despite all the hassle, laughed again and said..."Three!"

Maybe I need to give The Dude a call...


[Posted 4:57pm edt]

Semi-news, feasible rumors and wild-eyed conjecture.
I've reported at least twice over at the Beer Yard site about a possible deal between Victory Brewing and an Easton developer for the former to brew the beers at a new brewpub owned and operated by the latter. Given that, I'd say the paragraphs below, from yesterday's Morning-Call, while indeed news, are more an amplification of the existing story than anything truly "new," which is why I didn't bother to post yet another story at this time.

Reporter Tracy Jordan, in a report on approvals by the city's Zoning Hearing Board on Monday, wrote that

Arthur Schmidt, an owner in the Farmhouse restaurant in Emmaus, is opening a micro-brewery and restaurant in the first floor of the former Pomeroy's department store building, 322 Northampton St.

The board also granted a special exception to allow beer-making downtown at the Victory Square Brewing Co., an offshoot of the Victory Brewing Co. in Downingtown, Chester County.

Since there is the potential for confusion there--are these essentially the same thing or two different things?--I did check in with the fine people in Downingtown to make sure I still had it right and got this reassurance from PR guy Jake Burns:
Both of the statements are correct, but they are not mutually exclusive. We are, in fact, still working with Schmidt on this project. However, I caution that because this exception has gone through does not mean that the project will ever come to fruition. We still have no formal contract finalizing details of this venture.
Okay, things are basically status quo then, in the big picture. If that venture ever does get to the "happenin'" stage, however, that will indeed be a Big Story. Beer geeks around here have been waiting and hoping for a second Victory location for a long time.

Meanwhile, on the rumor side of things, I hear that brewer Tim Roberts, last seen being shut down in mid-brew as the law came and closed Independence Brew Pub last week, has surfaced at Yards and in fact is already brewing there. Makes sense and a good move for owner Tom Kehoe if it's true (Tom hasn't answered my calls or emails of late, which is understandable if frustrating).

I've also been told that Kehoe has "bought a brewery" but it's not clear if this is A) true, B) a brand new brewery as was at implied in Kehoe's recent posting at BeerAdvocate or C) an existing brewhouse, tanks and bottling line (which is what he'll need to function as before). What I haven't heard anybody say as yet (and I've talked to at least two people to whom Tom talks) is that he has a location. And there, as they say, is the rub.

Meanwhile, and this appears to be pretty much a fact, I've gotten reports that Yards tap handles are apparently disappearing from some locales in the city which are presumed to own their allegiance to the (promised to be forthcoming) Philadelphia Brewing Co. Of course, if customers keep coming in and asking for, say, Philadelphia Pale Ale, I'd think that issue would rectify itself somewhat, especially since PBC is still just a concept and not a reality. The battle for taps, though, will be serious and, I fear, bitter.

Conjecture? Well, the question I've been asked a lot lately is this: do I think that the end result of the split between Kehoe and the Bartons will result in, as of 2008, there being two, one or no full-service breweries in Philadelphia? My answer, cautiously, is...two.

But I hedge my bet on that still being the case in 2009.


[Posted 2:43pm edt]

21 August 2007
Dock Street Opening: a gathering of angels some of the usual suspects.

That's Rosemarie Certo and just-arrived head brewer Julius Hummer welcoming you to the new Dock Street Brewery & Restaurant, which officially opened in West Philadelphia at 11am yesterday.

Julius is, well, a big 'un. As you can see below where I photographed the same pair in the brewhouse, Casey Hughes is no longer the tallest brewery in local captivity.

I was there to interview him for my next Celebrator Beer News "Atlantic Ale Trail" column and to welcome the old familiar Dock Street name back onto the local pub scene. And, yeah, have me a beer or two. It's what I do, y'know?

When I shot down to visit (and I mean "shot," about 45 minutes door-to-door at mid-day, with the first 30 of those covering the initial 35 miles, and the last an additional eight or so, mostly on traffic-laden Baltimore Avenue once I departed the Schuylkill Expressway just beyond 30th Street), I didn't know what to expect but was pleased to see about a dozen, maybe more, people at tables and the bar, finishing lunch or just enjoying a pint (it was 1:30pm). No familiar faces anywhere except for that of Rosemarie, who was engaged in a discussion with some of the staff, a situation which was rapidly rectified.

As I waited for her to finish, out of the far corner of the room materialized the one and only Brendan Hartranft, known to the world as "Spanky" and the guy running the front of the house at Nodding Head. He and brewer Gordon Grubb (who was in the brewery chatting with Julius) had come over for lunch and to welcome the new/old kids to town, and co-owner Curt Decker was on the way. Spanky, it turns out, lives in the neighborhood, a few blocks away.

I was beginning to feel more at home, especially after Rosemarie joined us and brought me a pint of the beer then listed as Rye IPA. I say "then listed" because beer historian and Ale Street News columnist Rich Wagner, who walked in a while later, just ahead of Decker, later suggested that it ought to be called "Rye-PA" and we all, Rosemarie included, then decided that the spelling should henceforth be RYPA (all caps). We'll see how that works out. In any case, this is a nice twist on the IPA style, with the rye (15%) giving it a unique, slightly dry flavor upfront before it smooths its way into a nice hoppy finish (Simcoe & Amarillo). It comes in at 6.2% but doesn't seem that strong while it's going down.

I suppose this is the place to note that all the beers for now were produced by some guy named Morrison. Consider that done.

I did my interview with Julius and Rosemarie in the brewhouse, then spent a good 14-20 minutes in a rather spirited discussion with the latter about the history of local craft brewing (I'll probably post something about that in a day or so) and got some photos. I came back out to the bar and cajoled myself into a glass of the not-yet-released (it should be on today) 8.6% imperial Oatmeal Stout, whereupon Don "Joe Sixpack" Russell of the Philadelphia Daily News walked in, followed not long after by George Hummel of Home Sweet Homebrew, who covers the Philly scene for Mid-Atlantic Brewing News. We had us a veritable press convention going on. Not quite the best and the brightest, I suppose--call us the beer-soaked and the baffled.

You want to know about the beers, right? Already said the RYPA was fine stuff, maybe my favorite, but the Stout was a mighty close second, roasted and complex and black, just the way it should be. I had a small glass of the Gold Stock Ale, a crisp, nicely balanced golden ale which, at 4.5%, will probably the steady session beer at the pub (they don't plan, at this point, to have any of the current bottled products brewed and on tap there, although Rosemarie is already wavering on Illuminator) and a smaller, sample glass of the 4.8% White Ale, a summer wheat. Both of those were drunk while sharing a pizza with Rich and George. (the pizza is as good as the beers, crisp and well made). Looking ahead, Julius says a couple of the current beers will be kept on the menu and the first ones he's looking at adding are Left Coast Ale and Cherry Porter. The plan is to have six beers on regularly when they get rolling.

Yesterday, as I mentioned, was the first day of business, although there was a private party for local residents held on Saturday night (more on that topic at the end of this posting). As for my report, you'll have to wait for more in the Celebrator column (either in print or here on the site (click on the photo for the current column, just uploaded), but I'll add some additional photos here to whet your appetites:

This is shot from the far right corner and shows a good portion of the bar.

The brewery is visible through windows behind the right side of the bar.

The Nodding Head crew at the far left corner of the bar, where you can see two of them standing in the first photo directly above.

Overall, the new Dock Street has a comfortable, casual feel to it which should appeal to the university crowd, both students and faculty, and it is hoped by local residents that it will be a spur to improving the neighborhood and encouraging other new enterprises, much as Standard Tap and South Philadelphia Tap Room did for locales (the role model for that sort of thing is, of course, this place).

Here's a front page story from yesterday's Metro Philadelphia which offers some more information about the area and the almost unprecedented support for the arrival of Dock Street by locals.

Finally, Dock Street may be a bit difficult to find for those not familiar with the area, certainly in the early going. The best and easiest way to get there from center city, I am told (I haven't tried it myself yet), is the #34 Trolley, which can be picked up by The Clothespin at 15th & Market, a block off of City Hall and right upstairs from Suburban Station. The trolley stops at the big intersection right by the Dock Street front door. Can't beat that.


[Posted 12:50pm edt]

19 August 2007
What I did, and didn't, do of a fine Saturday in August.
It was an absolutely splendid day yesterday here in the Best. Beer. Region. In. The. World. and there were two parties/events going on. One was a picnic being held by Dan and Suzanne Weirback and the other the latest Dan Bengel-inspired event at Ortino's Northside, both starting in mid to late afternoon.

Both were relatively close...and appealing. My original, ambitious plan, therefore, was to attend both, hitting Northside early on and then proceeding to the First Annual Weyerbacher Human Foosball Tournament and Pig Roast.

"Life," as John Lennon once famously said, "is what happens while you're busy making other plans."

To be honest, I was leaning toward doing just Big Dan's event even as morning dawned, for two reasons. The first was, hard to believe, practical and wise. The Weirback afternoon did seem to promise a lot of physical activity and, given my still-think-I'm-25 inclination to want to participate in such endeavors without regard to my real, not-25 physical condition and the fact that I am trying to physically strengthen and rehabilitate a bum leg, not attending that one was a Good Choice. My physical therapist Danielle is, so far, relatively gentle and kind, but there is a dark spark in the back of her eyes that I don't want to bring to full flame by walking in there limping and moaning come Monday morning. Besides, her husband is apparently a beer guy and they live in Schwenksville, so I'd already recommended that they go visit Northside Saturday themselves, so I had good karma on my side.

And to be honest again (if this becomes a trend, it will destroy this website), big, hoppy beers are not, I say not, a thing I am seeking out these days.

Not that it mattered. Life is what happens etc. etc.....

As I wrote both on this page and over here, I had dinner with my daughter and her husband last Sunday. Among the things we discussed was my offer to give them my gas-fired grill because it's too large for the tiny alcove/deck area I have here. They offered to pay for the smaller, simpler charcoal grill I said I would replace it with (thanks to the impressive arguments offered by this guy in favor of getting back to basics) and that's where we left it.

At around 11:30am this morning, my son-in-law arrived at my front door with a new grill in a large box and some other stuff, the other stuff being a new set of towels and a back support for me to use on the couch and here at the computer, two things I had mentioned in passing that I planned to go out and buy this week.

Daughters are truly wonderful creatures.

Using our impressive mutual set of mechanical skills, son-in-law Tom and I managed to put together the new grill in slightly less than twice the time than anybody else could have.

After he left, I walked outside onto that space off my rear door. It is roughly 12 feet wide by 8 feet deep, stretching the length of the bedroom double-window from my back door to the storage closet opposite. It's the sort of tiny corner which is almost embarrassing for most of the units here, but given my location--in the rear of a building on the east side of the property, on a hillside, with a small woods below that--it's not a bad place at all.

With the larger grill gone and the new one nestled into the corner, it looked to be, if not spacious, well, spacious enough.

To sit and contemplate how I've come to the this place and time.

Or to read.

Or to read and contemplate.

And maybe have a beer or two.

Especially if contemplation became the order of the day.

I had scored a bottle of the exquisite Southampton Cuvee Des Fluers from my pal Tim Ohst on Friday afternoon.

It was, as I mentioned in the headline, as fine an August day as you could imagine.

I was home, life was good and I had a well-written and agreeable novel I wanted to finish.

I was required to neither shower or dress up more appropriately to fulfill the attractions of that beer and that book and that newly-freed space. Indeed, either activity would be counter-productive.

What would you do?

That's what I did.

Today there is another gathering at Camp Terry, an elite beer location known to very few (although the standards may be dropping; I'm told that the sound of non-silence has threatened to be there). I'm seriously thinking of going.

Before I do, though, especially if the rain holds off, I'll walk out tha back door one more once and think about it. There is, I must admit, another novel ready for starting and a bottle of Heavyweight Biere d'Art in the Stash which has been calling out my name all week...


Before I forget...
...I want to say something about the just-released Sly Fox Oktoberfest, a bottle of which I took home after my Friday evening visit to Phoenixville and which I forgot to mention in yesterday's post.

I love this beer in all its malty goodness and can't wait for it to arrive on the taps. Indeed, I love all well-made lagers, love their subtlety and complexity, relish their rich maltiness, embrace the way they complement so many foods that I enjoy.

I do, I really do, feel sorry for those with uninformed and uneducated palates who can only appreciate the aggressive nature of ales. I can do that too--wallow in the spiciness, sourness, bitterness and sometimes just plain weirdness that makes that style the most adventuresome of the beer breed (and also perfect with a wide variety of foods)--but I would not care to limit myself to only those experiences.

My house has many mansions, as Someone once said.

I live here in the Lager Capitol of America, maybe the world (don't argue and make me come over there). I have the great Pilsners, Bocks and Rauchbiers of Sly Fox, Victory, Stoudt's and Troegs (to name our most notable producers, though there are several others) available to me on a regular basis.

I'd be a damned fool, or at least someone who should not be writing about beer professionally, if I didn't recognize and happily partake of the bounty which I am privileged to enjoy.

Anyway, Sly Fox Oktoberfest. Good. Shoulda said that yesterday.


[Posted 7:42am edt]

18 August 2007
Karl Shoemaker, beer geek.
This past week has seen a flurry of stories about the continued craft beer "surge" in the first half of 2007, all involving a myriad of formal reports and statistics and other "real world" data to back them up. Heck, anybody can do that. In the spirit of our anti-reality White House and non-news news media, I hereby offer another strong indicator, purely anecdotal and perfectly true, which might be as accurate a barometer about the way good beer is taking over as are any of those boring numbers other guys use.

Long time readers here (and maybe even some to whom it just seems a long time) will recall Karl Shoemaker, who used to be a regular hereabouts back in the day (about all that, see following post). Karl first appeared as a guy who hung at Sly Fox Phoenixville, a guy who'd lost his job when the plant where he worked closed and now was getting by on various pick-up jobs and lots of eBay sales. When The Fox expanded with the Royersford brewery, he came on board there as a the "Mr. Fix-It," the guy who got stuff up and running (most famously, the former Dogfish Head bottling line which previously was most effective at lopping off appendages in Rehobeth). Since then, through a beer connection nicely enough, he's gotten another full-time gig and still does what he does at Royersford as needed.

Back then, Karl liked beer, a lot, but made a point of insisting that he was not, and never would be, a "beer geek," even in the days when he was a regular at the Monday Night Tastings.

Ah, how things do change.

Friday morning, what do I receive, sent at 7:28am, as part of a mass mailing from the same Mr. Shoemaker to everybody he knows, this message:

To all that care..Tim just put on a half of 2004 Renard D'Or at Pville. It is around 8% and is REALLY nice.
Non-beer geeks, I might dare to suggest, are not up at 7:00am and belting down pints of 8% Belgian-style Golden Ales. Am I right, or am I right?

But there was Karl (coming home from his night job, admittedly), discovering bartender-to-the-stars Corey Reid already on the premises dealing with a crashed computer system, and doing just that.

He was correct, by the way (further cementing his born-again geekiness). The Renard is right fine, which I discovered when I stopped in at Phoenixville yesterday evening to have some. I also had a pint of the Grisette, that wonderful and rare Belgian style which is in its second year as a summer delight at Sly Fox and a pint of the just-released Chester County Brown Ale from the handpump.

Not a bad evening's work, that.


The lawyers have spoken and I must comply.
No, this has nothing to do with those rumors I mentioned recently (although I should note that I received a call from out-of-town this morning which indicates that I should perhaps not as been so quick in accepting any denials about a local brewery being for sale), but has to do with papers just served on me by the National Cartoonists Union, a "cease & desist" order with regard to this posting.

They say I am demeaning their trade by suggesting that the likes of The Big One, The Other One, Richard Ruch, Wanderin' Joe et al are figments of my imagination. "No self-respecting writer or artist could possible create that menagerie" were the exact words which appeared just in front of the details of the lawsuit they will file if I don't 'fess up.

So let me state clearly and on the record that each and every one of those guys, and the full cohort which hangs out with them, are living, breathing human beings.

God help us all.


[Posted 2:50pm edt]

17 August 2007
The "Tipping Point" tipping point.
Stah Hieronymus, in this posting, starts off by linking to...um...me as a lead-in to a discussion of this story in yesterday's Los Angeles Times which uses the same "Tipping Point" analogy that I used to explain that, at long last, Los Angeles is embracing craft beer.

Stan finishes up his piece with a link to another story, this one from Florida, that indicates a second beer wasteland is beginning to see the light.

My original story ran in the Mid-Atlantic Brewing News last April and is available here on the site, but I'm not going to link to it in this post. If you want to read it, use the link above and go to Stan's blog so he can reap the site-hit benefits of being wise enough to recognize...um...me.


Jay is mad.
At MADD. And with good reason...and devastating sarcasm.

Go read.


Sixpack on the case.
Don Russell sorts out the tangled ownership and financial mess in the independence Brew Pub story in the Philadelphia Daily News this morning, a task I don't envy him. I admit it made my head hurt whenever I tried. The column's not up online yet, but if you go to the Joe Sixpack homepage, there will eventually be a link to it there.


[Posted 7:23am edt]

16 August 2007
Ho hum. 22 barleywines & Malheur Brut Reserve. Just another Monday Tasting.
The incredible Wardell Massey, now pretty much the official recording secretary of the Monday Night Tasting Group, filed his report this morning on the special Barleywine tasting this week. I can only say, in complete awe, that if I had been there, I'd probably still be there, figuring I shouldn't try to drive until at least Friday.

If we can somehow patch together a relatively complete record of what was poured at these gatherings prior to Dell's taking on the task himself, I suspect it could be argued that there's nothing even close to this sort of thing taking place on a weekly basis anywhere in the world.

There were 20 people present. The list of what they brought and tasted, with comments by Dell:

Heavyweight Brewing Old Salty Barleywine (vintage 2000>

Heavyweight Brewing Old Salty Barleywine (vintage 2001)

Heavyweight Brewing Old Salty Barleywine (vintage 2002)

Heavyweight Brewing Old Salty Barleywine (vintage 2003)

Heavyweight Brewing Old Salty Barleywine (vintage 2005, Barrel-aged)

Brouwerij De Landtsheer Malheur Brut Reserve (not a barleywine but who cares, tiny bubbles)

Stone Brewing Old Guardian (vintage 2006)

Rogue Ales Old Crustacean (vintage 2004, still a hop bomb)

Stoudt Brewing Old Abominable (vintage 2006, my favorite of the night, drinkable, balanced)

Speakeasy Ales & Lagers Old Godfather (vintage 2006)

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot (vintage 2001)

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot (vintage 2002)

Old Dominion Millennium (vintage 2003)

General Lafayette The Phantom (vintage 2005)

Parkerford Brewing Kitchen Sink (Tom Foley homebrew, one thing I've learned, when Tom names his beer instead of using numbers...look out!)

Ted Johnston English Barleywine (Another homebrew, which won first place in its category at "The War of the Worts " and was my second favorite of the night)

Ted Johnston Bourbon Barrel Barleywine BBB (same recipe as above except aged in the barrel, good, but not as good as above)

Weyerbacher Brewing Blithering Idiot (vintage 2006)

Flying Fish Brewing Big Fish (vintage 2003)

Flying Fish Brewing Big Fish (vintage 2005)

Young's Old Nick (a session barleywine) East End Brewing Gratitude (vintage 2006, pretty packaging)

McKenzie Brew House Saison (vintage 2004)

Adam's Barleywine (vintage 2005, homebrew, well done)

You might think its curious that we didn't have Victory Old Ho. Well, last year we did a ten year vertical of Old Ho--no Hos left.

Words fail me. Truly, they do.


Joe Meloney may not be so placid about this.
I hung the tag "Wanderin' Joe" on Joe Meloney back in the halcyon days when this space used to feature the adventures of a variety of characters who were, for the most part, imaginary--I mean, do you really think there was ever a pair like "The Big One" and "The Other One" wandering around loose or some guy so Ruch-ed up that he spends the better part of every day on a barstool at Victory Brewing and the rest of his time spamming the universe? Seriously.

But Meloney is flesh and blood and he do meander a bit, albeit in a pattern which takes him to the same places over and over again. That pattern includes two trips to New York state each year, one to visit this beer festival and one, in part at least, to visit this brewpub, one that he likes so much that he's taken the name of one of their beers for his "handle" on BeerAdvocate.

Given the fact that he recently admitted in (electronic) print at that same BeerAdvocate that he is a grumpy old man who is dead set in his ways and convinced that all change is bad, this news could be terribly upsetting to him.

I'd say it might drive him to drink, but...well, you know.


I wasn't just teasing, honest.
When I wrote on Tuesday that you should all come back here for breaking news on Wednesday, I really wasn't just trying to pump up traffic here. The new RSS feed has done that very well, thank you, as has the incredible run of beer news in the Delaware Valley of late.

I'd hoped to pin down two rumors that have been floating around and give you the inside scoop yesterday but I didn't have much luck. I got one, but not the other.

With regard to the one I got, rather than possibly add to the false information out there by using the name, I'll just say that if anyone tells you that a major, I mean, major, brewery in this area is for sale, tell them that they're full of it.

On the other rumor, it seems pretty definite that a major beer industry legal struggle in the region has been resolved (not the one that leaps immediately to mind) and that all that stands in the way of making it public is figuring out where the money comes from and goes to. I'll try to get some actual facts today if any of my calls are returned.


[Posted 9:10am edt]

15 August 2007
Dock Street update.
I seem to be in a pattern of getting stuff from other beer writers at the moment. Well, there are worse sources, you know?

Mr. Sixpack says Dock Street will open this coming Monday at 11:00am and he wouldn't lie. At least, I hope not.

First beers on tap (made by Scott "The Dude" Morrison): Rye IPA, Wit, Kolsch and Imperial Stout.


[Posted 1:35pm edt]

Victory locks up its Tettnang.
Greg Kitsock's always excellent excellent bi-weekly beer column in the Washington Post today looks at the volatile hops market here and in Europe and the shortages (and concurrent rising prices) of crucial varieties in the still-lingering after effects of the big Yakima warehouse fire last year.

Thankfully for those of us in the Delaware Valley, Victory Brewing Co. appears to be a step or two ahead of the crowd in confronting the issue:

One long-term solution is for mom-and-pop brewers to make their own deals with mom-and-pop hop growers. Victory dodged a bullet that way, Barchet says. The brewery signed a contract with Georg Bentele, a German farmer, to buy 10,000 kilos of hops a year (one-third of his crop) over the next six years at a locked-in price.

Bentele grows Tettnang hops, one of the so-called noble varieties (so designated because of their subtle, delicate, spicy aromas). Tettnang is less well-known than the Czech variety Saaz (which gives Pilsner Urquell its peppery dryness) or the flowery German Hallertau, a hallmark of Samuel Adams Boston Lager. But it's a favorite of Barchet, who praises it for its dry, spicy aroma and flavor with just a hint of pine.

Tettnang is one of four hop varieties that flavor Victory's Prima Pils, the brewery's second-best-selling brand after HopDevil India pale ale. Occasionally, Victory will brew a batch of its draft-only Braumeister Pils using Tettnang exclusively.

Ron also confirmed that Victory will once again be using hops from the Pederson farm in New York to make its eagerly anticipated Harvest Pils and Harvest Ale in October.

Thanks for the tip to (Who else? It's a Victory story) Richard Ruch, the man on the stool at the end of the bar.


[Posted 12:35pm edt]

14 August 2007
A horse is just a horse, of course, but a River Horse is...sold.
Give Lew credit 'cause that's where I found out and give Joe-Don credit 'cause that's where the story broke (Joe-Don? Is that like Billy-Bob?).

And just as I was about to ask "I wonder what a guy's got to do to get on the press release lists?" who should call but that nice Mr. Guyer to tell me that the Beer Yard had received a copy. I've now posted the story.

Meanwhile, since we're in a story-breaking mode around these parts of late, be sure to plan and come back tomorrow.


[Posted 6:05pm edt]

Seriously, how much would you pay for a beer?
So this guy has this bottle of beer, see, and he figures maybe somebody else might want it, so he puts it up on eBay for $1.00 and ten days and 157 bids later, this happens.

Damn, I wish I had thought of that.


[Posted 4:25pm edt]

Confirming what we already knew.
In this morning's Philadelphia Daily News, columnist Dan Gross confirms that the closing of Independence Brew Pub is permanent and also confirms my posting yesterday that the pub owners had been delinquent in their rent for month (years, actually, which is what I'd been told but felt cautious about reporting) and that someone else is already interested in the property.

Dan's report seems to suggest that the interest is new and, implicitly, the result of the shuttering; I can tell you that it's been a long term thing, based on conversations with someone peripherally involved.

He also promises that our pal Mr. Sixpack will have more about all this in his column on Friday.


[Posted 8:15am edt]

13 August 2007
How could they miss Lew?
Given that our friend Mr. Bryson, when he is vocal, is vocal indeed, and given further that he has been extremely vocal about this nation's rather silly drinking age laws, I full expected to see him quoted extensively in a surprising story this weekend in, of all places, the Parade Sunday supplement.

I have to admit that I was really taken aback to see what I consider a print relic of the '50s--a publication aimed at the older, conservative Middle America segment of the population--even touch on the issue of lowering the drinking age, much less treat the question in a relatively even-handed "he said, she said" fashion.

If a woman is old enough to sign a contract, buy a house and get married, isn't she also old enough to sip champagne at her wedding? If a man is mature enough to serve on a jury or risk his life in a war halfway around the world, isn't he also mature enough to drink a beer?

And didn't we have this debate almost 40 years ago?

Yes, we did. Back in the 1970s, when young men were conscripted to fight in Vietnam, 29 states lowered their drinking ages to 18, 19 or 20. But in the following decade-when neither war nor the draft were issues but young drunk drivers were-the debate was revived. Faced with a loss of federal highway funds, every state by 1988 had raised its drinking age to 21 (with exceptions in certain situations).

Now, some researchers, educators and lawmakers say it's time to have that debate all over again. Partly, there is a historical echo, as soldiers considered old enough to kill and be killed in Iraq and Afghanistan can't have a farewell toast legally at their hometown watering hole. More broadly, however, many question whether a drinking age of 21 is a good idea at all-whether, in simple terms, it creates more problems than it purports to solve.

"It's bad social policy and bad law," says John McCardell, the former president of Vermont's Middlebury College, who in January launched an organization called Choose Responsibility to urge lower drinking ages in conjunction with education and heavy regulation of 18- to 20-year-olds. "Prohibition does not work. Those [under 21] who are choosing to drink are drinking much more recklessly, and it's gone behind closed doors and underground and off-campus."

[ ... ]

Critics of the 21-year-old drinking age contend that it is almost universally ignored and breeds a cynical disrespect for the law. About 80% of people have tried alcohol by age 20. Fairness aside, though, perhaps there is another pressing concern. "How can we reduce the harm?" asks David J. Hanson, an alcohol researcher and professor emeritus at the State University of New York at Potsdam. "I think we should teach young people how to drink as well as how not to drink."

That's the idea behind Choose Responsibility: The group promotes intensive education and drinking licenses for 18-year-olds, akin to learner's permits for young drivers. Get caught drinking before 18 or break any of the strict rules after that, and the license is gone.

"We're never going to get rid of underage drinking," says John McCardell. "But if a kid knows he has to stay clean in order to get a license at 18, that's a pretty powerful incentive."

It's not a radical notion. The rest of the world would likely find it rather cautious: Only three other countries-Mongolia, Palau and Indonesia-restrict purchasing drinks to those 21 or older. (Of course, some countries restrict alcohol for all citizens.) But the idea is far from mainstream in America. A 2005 ABC News poll, taken on the 21st anniversary of the 1984 federal law that forced states to raise their drinking ages, found that 78% of the public opposed a lower age; at the same time, 75% also said underage drinking was a "serious problem." In the last three years, legislators in Vermont, New Hampshire and Wisconsin have introduced bills to lower the age (though only for military personnel in Wisconsin and New Hampshire), all of which have quietly withered.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving was the main force behind that 1984 law. It now dismisses McCardell as a dangerous gadfly. "Holy cow, this literally involves life and death," says Charles A. Hurley, MADD's chief executive officer. "Life-and-death issues of kids are really too important for off-the-cuff musings."

MADD and other supporters of the 21 law-who far outnumber the critics-point to, among other things, a ream of studies showing a strong correlation between a higher drinking age and a reduction in drunk-driving wrecks involving teenagers. Indeed, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that nearly 25,000 fewer Americans have died on the road because of the higher age. "We already did the experiment of lowering the drinking age [in the 1970s], and traffic crashes went up," says Ralph Hingson of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, a former MADD vice president. "I don't think it's a good idea to go back and repeat a policy that made things worse"...

And I honestly did expect to see the Big Guy making an appearance in the story when I saw it promo-ed on the supplement's cover. First of all, he deserves it for the attention he's brought to the issue; secondly, he's been on such a roll lately, I figured it was inevitable.

Instead, author Sean Flynn settled for a bunch of academics to make the case.

He'll never know what he missed.


[Posted 4:40pm edt]

Thank you.
I would like to thank everyone so very much for all your expressions of support and condolence over this past weekend following my posting about Fergie's death. Kind words from friends and family do indeed help sooth and heal.

Your messages came in both the "comments" sections at LDO and Mermaids and, to an even greater degree, direct emails to me. I've decided not to post them en masse, both because those that came through email might not have been meant for public consumption and because there are so many. Know that I did receive every one and am very appreciative.

That said, I will break my rule to post portions of two of those messages. I liked this one from "Bill" a great deal because it point up the extensive reach of this medium (which I sometimes forget about) and underlines one of the reasons why I write:

From a friend who've you not met; a friend who reads your thoughts and comments often, my condolences on the loss of an other friend and companion.
It was signed "A Friend" and that he surely is and will remain so even if our paths in the physical world never cross.

And I hope my ex-wife won't mind my quoting her (I won't tell her if you don't) as she express the way dogs insert themselves in our lives and never let go:

I'm sitting here and tears are running down my face. Fergie and Di haven't been a part of my life for a long time but they ARE a part of my life.
Things are getting better, as things must. My recovery is, of course, greatly helped by the fact that another dog still lives here. Di has shown little angst or outward manifestation that she recognizes that Fergie is gone, but there are signs. For one thing, and touchingly, she seems to have taken on the "duties" of her departed sibling. Saturday night she chose to lie at my feet by the couch rather than repair to the bedroom or the cool tiles by the front door as is her wont; Sunday morning she came over and nudged the bed to tell me it was time to get up, which was Fergie's morning habit, and yesterday she spent most of the afternoon lying here beside the computer area, not quite in Fergie's preferred spot, but close enough.

Yesterday evening, not wanting her to feel an separation anxiety, I took Di along to my daughter's place for an early dinner. She's stayed there several times so it wasn't a real shock but, for the first time, she seemed very intent on knowing where I was and staying close. When we first went outside to the pool, I'd decided just to block off the stairs down to the lower level so she wouldn't try to use them but then stood there in the stairwell trying not to laugh as she suddenly awakened from her nap, looked around, or more accurately, sniffed around since she is nearly blind, and found...nothing. She struggled to her feet and walked through the kitchen, to the dining area and around the table and them back to the family room, thorough confused. I went over and picked her up and took her outside, laughing all the while.

Good thing.

When we settled at the table on the far side of the pool, she walked around a bit and then settled beside us and went to sleep. As dinner neared, I got up quietly and walked around to go into the house for another beer. As I neared the door I looked back and Di's head shot up, she looked around and stood up. As we watch she walked over to the edge of the pool looking across to where I stood...and walked right in. My son-in-law stripped off his shirt and dived in to retrieve her as her head broke the surface and my daughter rushed over to help him lift her out. Given her bad leg, it's not clear whether or not she could swim (she's never been in deep water before), but I'd bet, given her determination, she'd have made it.

I dried her off and joked with her and it was all good. Di is doing her job.

[NOTE: This message has been cross posted
at Mermaids Singing.]


When Joe Sixpack broke the story that the Independence Brewpub is shut down over the weekend, I knew that some rumors I'd been checking out last week probably had real meat on them. I've been pledged to secrecy so can't say much, but there is at least one party seriously looking at that site I'm told, although--sadly--likely not to run as a brewpub. And I've also heard that thhe Independence ownership had not been paying their rent for a considerable length of time, so the shutdown would seem to be the precursor to some sort of deal.

More than that I cannot say, but I'll keep pressing my sources for permission.


Big Daddy.
David Keene and the Toronado got all sorts of props in this San Francisco Chronicle profile last Friday. Good reading, including the names of some of "Big Daddy's" favorite local bars that I'll be checking out come next February.


[Posted 9:44am edt]

11 August 2007
A bad day.
Just to alert you, there won't be much posted here this weekend, which is a very bad weekend for me indeed. My dog died this morning. She was a helluva companion for nearly 15 years and her sister and I will miss her terribly.


[Posted 1:15pm edt]

9 August 2007
Where I'd like to be.
The big Toronado 20th Anniversary Celebration kicked off in San Francisco with a dinner at Anchor Brewing last night and will keep rolling through the weekend.

Jay's there, lord love him, and has posted some photos to prove it. I'd expect his site will be the best and brightest source for keeping me jealous about not being there for the next few days.

I'm missing this one but, unless all goes awry, I will be in the City by the Bay in six months for another 20th anniversary shindig, that of Celebrator Beer News. And it happens on the same weekend as the famed Toronado Barleywine Festival, so many of the same movers and shakers will be on hand.

I was there for Celebrator's 15th, which you can read about here (or you can check out the entire California sojourn back in 2003).

Whatever happened to that Matt Guyer guy?


[Posted 6:32am edt]

8 August 2007
The story that keeps on giving.
There is more major news tonight about (who else?) Yards Brewing. I was exclusively emailed the PA Superior Court's decision on Kunda's appeal of the denial of its injunction to stop Yards from self-distributing earlier this evening and have posted the story right where it belongs.

As you can see, it appears, at least on the surface, to be yet another issue on Tom Kehoe's plate and that the Bartons got out just in time. Still, you never know when dealing with the law. And the fact that the decision was by a 2-1 split vote would seem to indicate that the final judgement might still be very much up in the air.

I may just change the title on my business cards from "Beer Writer" to "Yards Legal Stuff Writer" if this keeps up.


[Posted 10:59pm edt]

Dock Street finds its man.
The new brewmaster for Dock Street Brewery & Restaurant will arrive today. I've posted the story over here, the place to go every day for all the latest news about the Delaware Valley brewing scene.

You might want to plan to stop in here too, of course, where I generally add a bit more background and spice to the basic news reports. Just sayin'.

A big "Shout Out" to Rosemarie Certo, who promised me months ago that I'd be the first person who learned the identity of the new brewer and was true to her word.


[Posted 10:22am edt]

7 August 2007
Yards, one more once.
The Philadelphia Inquirer has finally gotten onto the story and has managed to get recent comments from both sides.

Taps for brewery breakup is the headline for the lead story on the Business page this morning. With two large photos, the story fills about two-thirds of the news space on the page and the top quarter of the jump page.

Reporter Jane M. Von Bergen adds a few new aspects to the story, including the significant fact that all this started when the heretofore silent Jim McBride filed suit against Tom Kehoe and the brewery in June.

She also has Bill Barton's contention that Kehoe had a poor "work ethic" and Kehoe's riposte that the Bartons were more committed to their building than to the beer ("We're maxxed out here") and Barton's saying that the current brew crew still works for Yard's but that some might switch over to his new Philadelphia Brewing Co. when it's ready to brew.

Barton, who said that he's aiming at an October start for Philadelphia Brewing, also posed the question that is the first one everybody asks me when we talk about the story: can Kehoe get a functioning productive brewery up and running by the time his lease runs out at the end of 2007?

While not offering any details, Kehoe said in his posting at BeerAdvocate over the weekend that Yards would actually end its lease early (i.e., before the end of the year) and has seemed supremely confident whenever I've spoken to him. He maintains that attitude in the Inky story. If you're following this fascinating drama, it's worth a read.

Now, I guess we all wait and see.


[Posted 7:15am edt]

6 August 2007
The Barton perspective.
There's breaking news on the Yards split. Within the half hour, I received an email from Nancy Barton to the local beer press with this news release (reprinted here in its entirety) attached:


PHILA., Pa., August 6, 2007- Entrepreneurs Nancy and Bill Barton officially severed their partnership in Yards Brewing Co. The Bartons, along with long-time partner Jim McBride, announce the formation of Philadelphia Brewing Co., which will begin brewing operations in Kensington this fall. The Bartons resigned from Yards in mid-July 2007 and since then have not been involved in the brewing or business operations. Yards Brewing Co. will rent the Kensington brewery from the Bartons and McBride until it relocates. Once Philadelphia Brewing Co. is licensed, full brewing, bottling, and distribution operations will commence under the new name.

"We sold the name, 'Yards,' not the heart and soul of the operation," said Bill Barton. "We'll continue to do what we did with Yards, with new brand names. We remain devoted to serving our food and beverage industry customers and beer lovers everywhere." "We remain committed to quality beer, our employees, and to making Philadelphia a great city through community involvement," continued Nancy Barton.

When the Bartons joined Tom Kehoe as partners in Yards in 1999, the company was struggling financially. The Bartons stabilized the business, quadrupled production, and anchored the community revival in Kensington with their restoration of the Weisbrod and Hess brewery complex.

"When we joined Yards, the company lacked direction and infrastructure," said Bill Barton. "We're extremely proud of the company's nine-year record of progress and growth. We could not have done it without our brewers, bottlers, drivers, and administrators. Over the years this team, along with valued friends of our operation, made engaging beer lovers in new ways and serving our bar and restaurant clientele a great pleasure for us."

"Soon, Philadelphia Brewing Company will continue this tradition," said Nancy Barton. "Stay tuned for more announcements." For information about Philadelphia Brewing Co., call 215/427-BREW. The new company is located at the corner of Hagert and Martha Sts. in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia, right off of Frankford Avenue and York Street. The facility was originally built to house the bottling operations of the Weisbrod and Hess Oriental Brewing Company, which ceased brewing in 1939.

All of this seems in general agreement with a message that Tom Kehoe posted at BeerAdvocate.com over the weekend:
Hello Beer Advocate,

This is my first post on the forum, and I am Tom Kehoe. It seems that with all of the activity of this page I wanted to just let you all know that I am reading the posts and I hope to communicate with the beer community through my actions as the President and founder of Yards Brewing Company.

The official separation happened on August 2nd and all "three" parties got what they wanted. The details are details. The big picture is Yards will be leaving It's lease early and moving to a new location (which I can't disclose now). And a new brewery will be formed at the former location. Philadelphia gets TWO breweries and we need more. Philly needs to take back the reputation it once had as the brewing center of the country.

Yards will be making it's fourth move in the city since it was a small 3 barrel brewery in Manayunk. We increased the size of the brewhouse to 30 barrels when we moved to Roxborough and kept it the same when we moved to Kensington but expanded the amount of fermentation to increase capacity. Each one of these brewhouses was designed by me to brew Yards. Now I am working on a new larger Brewhouse -- one that will be designed by brewery engineers to my specifications to produce Yards Beers. Yards brews (and the Yards drinking public) will benefit from the move by having Yards produce a better product and an increase in availability.

It's all about the beer -- Cheers, Tom.

I've just put up a news story here.

And now I'm going to bed.


[Posted 10:54pm edt]

Links update.
If anybody checks out the "Beer Places" links in Monk fashion (hey, there gotta be some anal retentive, obsession sorts reading this, refugees from BeerAdvocate and like that), this morning you'll quickly see that Ron's Schoolhouse is no longer listed, replaced by Ron's Original Bar & Grill.

Not to worry. It's the same place, with new branding and a new identity.

Seriously? Ron's Schoolhouse as the name for a beer bar?

Only Sam "our beer is selling like crack in a schoolyard" Calagione could get away with that.

Change is good.

I've also added Brother Paul's in Eaglesville, which does pretty good job with beer (though you'd never know it from the website).


[Posted 6:58am edt]

5 August 2007
Kehoe speaks.
Bryan got it up first (he was hanging out over at BeerAdvocate.com this morning, proving once again that he has no life) so let's let The Brew Lounge to get the online hits it's earned.

You'll find the complete text of a message posted by Yards' Tom Kehoe at that link as well as a second link to the ongoing BA thread.

I think Tom strikes just the right notes in his message without providing much new information. He neatly sums up his major involvement with the first three iterations of the company he founded and give a hint of what's coming. That was obviously a good move, given some of the misinformation out there.

The devil, of course, is in the details. I'll try to get some of those for this week.


[Posted 11:18am edt]

Two beers I drank this week...and one I didn't.
You've not seen the logo the right before in this space, but I figure you've seen it around. A passel of beer bloggers got together a while back and began selecting a beer or beer theme each month on the first Friday of the month, with an agreement that each would drink an appropriate beer and write about it.

I didn't sign up because that sort of group thing isn't really my bag. Love the logo, though, and always wanted to use it. Then, last night, sitting at Sly Fox Phoenixville with a select group of the regulars who'd all arrived for Incubus Friday, I was hit with an inspiration.

This Friday's was a "Fruit Beer" mandate. "If I buy a bottle of Black Raspberry Reserve," I asked the table, "would everyone be willing to take a sample and then give me your comments on it?" As you might expect, the reaction was a unanimous "Yes!"

My offer was based upon having seen, I swear, something somewhere that made me think that the 2006 Reserve was still available (the 2007 version will be introduced later this month). When we asked barman-to-the-stars Corey Reid for a bottle, however, he just laughed and made that twirling sign with his forefinger upside his head.

Ah, well, at least I get to use the logo to explain the story, right?

Now on to two new beers I did get a chance to sample over the last few days.

Leo Orlandini, the head brew guy at The Lion, send down a sixpack of Knight's Head Pale Ale, a contract brew for a new company (which appears to be purely a beer marketing company; I'll talk to them and get the skinny this week) called Round Table Brewing. The beer is based on The Lion's Stegmaier 100th Anniversary IPA and is a 100% malt brew which smooths out much of the prominent spiciness of the original. It's a well-made beer which goes down easily, belying the 7.5% abv Leo said it hits. This is one of what I call the "chewy beers," the ones that leave a pleasant aftertaste and make you want another sip, but not quite yet.

The other bottle at left once contained the new Weyerbacher Twelve Anniversary Ale, a Rye Barleywine that comes in a 10.2%. I was anxious to try this one and when I told Dan Weirback I hadn't yet been anywhere where I could buy a bottle and that Matt Guyer wasn't about to let me cannibalize a case at The Beer Yard, he sent a few bottles down last Tuesday while I was there doing my weekly four-hour penance. The guy carrying the load was the estimable Dick Lampe, a name and face familiar to anyone who knows anything about Weyerbacher.

The beer? It has a nice, citrusy nose with clear alcohol notes, and the Rye backbone is evident at first sip. It has a quite sweet flavor which likely masks some complexities which will become evident with aging. Indeed, my first thought as I was mid-way through the bottle: "this is gonna be a helluva a beer a few months down the road." This beer should age very well and become more the barleywine it seeks to be. Saying that my reaction was about what the beer could be rather than it is now is not a criticism, understand. My reaction to many big, complex beers is often a "wait and see" thing, enjoying what I have while finding in it clues to what I might yet come to enjoy.

Given the unusual style, I'd think this is one that the beer geeks need must seek out forthwith. And definitely put a few bottles down until, oh, this Christmas. You won't be sorry.


[Posted 10:40am edt]

2 August 2007
Another precinct heard from.
Last night, several hours after I got to reminiscing here, Mr. Joe Sixpack chipped in with an email which bore the subject line

It must be Nostalgia Week
and included a link to some memories of his own which he posted in the form of ....well, go see.

If Sixpack and I are starting to think on the same wave length, one of us is in Big Trouble.


There is no such place as Monk's on Green.
Don't panic. There is...or soon will be...a place; it's just that the name is different.

It will apparently be called The Belgian Cafe. That's what George Hummel, who should know 'cause he's always around, says in the latest Mid-Atlantic Beer News and reading it kicked in a recollection of something Tom Peters said when I talked to him last week that didn't really register at the time.

By the by, I do now have a couple of photos from Tom iPhone (sadly, not as clear and sharp as they appeared on the phone's screen and pdf files of the Russian River beers we discussed from Vinnie Cilurzo. I'll see about posting those, or at least some further information on them, this week. Say a prayer or two that Tom remembers to send me what he says are better photos taken with an actual camera.


Resolution day? We'll see.
Today is the day that the final agreement between Tom Kehoe and Bill & Nancy Barton is signed and the on the Yards/Philadelphia Brewing situation should be formally resolved. There should be further news beyond the battle of the news releases soon. I will be on the case.

Meanwhile, the wildest comment yet on the topic was posted in an ongoing thread at BeerAdvocate.com earlier this week:

I highly doubt it will happen, but I have heard that Yard's has met with the Bayonne, NJ city council about a possible move there. You never know, stranger things have happened.
I'm pretty sure the guy was serious. Some others in the thread (a Mr. Thomas Baker (ilikebeer) who apparently has some free time, being the most prominent) are just having fun with it.

As such threads often do with a controversy is involved, this one has suddenly drawn some brand new posters, some of who are easily identifable, one of whom chooses to remain anonymous clearly have an agenda. My semi-employer Matt Guyer(beermaninpa) called that one out the other night. The newbie used the name sapy134 and a New Brunswick, NJ, address and his/her sole post (to date) showed, in another responder's words, "a level of detail and accusation" that indicated one should be careful about accepting anything therin at face value.

Finally, a personal aside for the regular reader who felt moved to email me when this story first broke specifically to allow as how I was, in his eyes, way out of line terming this a "Blockbuster"--mostly on the grounds that it wasn't about the future plans of either the aforementioned Mr. Baker or of Scott 'The Dude' Morrison.

The two BA threads about this story on that site since it first was reported have nearly double the readership of any other threads currently running.

just sayin'.


[Posted 9:20am edt]

1 August 2007
In the beginning.
Mr. Kolesar, beginning his now solo, terribly lonely journey over at The Brew Lounge, starts out with an easy one this morning, a posting about anniversaries which occur this month.

Who am I not to tread that same simple path?

Liquid Diet Online went, well, online on September 8, 2002. But the first-ever post went up two days earlier and began with these immortal words

If you've wandered in here before Sunday, September 8, 2002, it turns out you're a bit early for the party. Sorry about that.

Liquid Diet Online will launch that date and offer ongoing regular coverage of the Philadelphia area beer scene and beyond (well beyond, if things go as planned). Call it a weblog, or "blog," although one without the anal retentiveness of daily posting.

We see how that "anal retentiveness" thing worked out, don't we?

The original "Liquid Diet" was a column I wrote for various dead-tree outlets in the late '90s, the longest run being in the Suburban chain of weeklies in the western Philadelphia suburbs. Since going online, it has gone through various manifestations, eventually moving into the Home Page slot here at www.jackcurtin.com and, as of last month, reformatting itself into the classic "blog" structure. It has created its own recurring cast of characters, some controversies here and there and often given its proprietor, more than a few brewers and publicans and the occasional reader just a touch of agita.

Well over a year before that September '07 debut, however, I already had a place on the web where I could report, pontificate now and then and otherwise comfort or afflict, depending.

That was, of course at The Beer Yard, where Fine Human Being Matt Guyer has, from the start, allowed me incredible freedom and leeway in giving that website its ambiance and personality. Between us, and in the spirit of "it ain't braggin' if you can back it up," I think it fair to say that we've made the site the foremost, fastest and favorite online source of local beer news and events listings for beer aficionados in the Delaware Valley region.

The first ever news post on that site was on July 12, 2001 and read, in its entirety:

July 12, 2001 - Red Bell Announces Brewpub
Red Bell Brewing Company announced on July 12 that a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company has completed an agreement to acquire the assets of 4421 MAIN ST., Inc. and that Red Bell will develop and operate a 3,650 sq. ft. Red Bell Brewery & Pub at 4421 Main Street in Manayunk.

Red Bell President Jim Bell said that renovations would begin immediately and be completed "for a late September Grand Opening."

Then again, Red Bell announced a new brewpub for State College, PA well over four years ago. We all know how that worked out.

As you can see, I wasn't yet vain enough (or, more kindly, "professionally wise enough") to add my byline to the end of every posting but already cynical enough (or, more kindly, "professionally keen enough") to express my doubts about anything forthcoming from Jim Bell.

So, thanks to Matt for the start and to all of you who slip in the doors here every day and keep me on my toes. I'd finish by calling it all a "long, strange trip" but that's just too much of a cliche for the sophisticated likes of us.

True though it might be.


[Posted 10:00am edt]

The complete July 2007 postings have been archived here.

Malt does more than Milton can
To justify God's ways to man.

--A. E. Houseman

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