It doesn’t matter which way its addressed…brew, Brewski, suds, or a beer. One’s wanting of a “Cold-One” gets the message home. A tall and frothy cold glass of beer is plenty refreshing to a beer-lovers palate.

Way before ‘Shaka-Zulu’ and his victories over the Cape Town Colonials, there was beer. The Ancient Egyptians referred to their favorite nectar as beer. They also believed they’d invented it. Beer was actually formulated in Ancient Africa…yes, the (so-called) beginning of quasi civilized man. Beer has always been around…virtually forever. It has been made on every continent, culture, and country known to man. The product has existed amongst multiple varieties, formulas, and flavors since the discovery of flower-laden properties that can be transformed into delicious if not bitter tasting refreshment with relaxation and possible mind-altering affects.

Is Beer for Beer Lovers only? Okay…so what’s your favorite, the can, the bottle, or the tap for a best taste? What about you Home-Brewer’s…is the taste of mainstream brew not good enough? Were the TV commercials during the big game tantalizing enough to make you want to have a tall frosty glass of deliciously satisfying brew…even if you were wearing a pair of European Man-Thongs and taking directions from your Ma while showing off your new tight jeans? Did they also offer enough of a variety of beer to suit you and your buddies?

I didn’t think there was enough of a variety of beer commercials. It seemed to me the one or two same-ole-same-ole. The Budweiser commercial, with many variations of funny anecdotes featuring the famous Clydesdales, the Streaking Sheep, and the spotty Dalmatian dog claimed domination over the brew meister spotlight on many if not all of the TV channels. Hey, remember “Frank and Louie”-The Budweiser Chameleons? Remember the ongoing fight with the Frogs? Now that was some funny stuff. I don’t recall seeing the St. Pauli Girl, the Patriot from the Samuel Adams crop, or the Snow-capped Mountains of the popular Coors point of view.

Speaking as a self-proclaimed connoisseur of beer while it is factual that I have tasted many a brew in my day; there is good beer and better beer. Remember some of the old fogies like Schmidt’s, Ballantine, Black Label, Ortliebs, Esslinger, Piels, Rhinegold, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Knicker Bocker, Miller High Life, and Archie Bunker and Fred Sanford’s no-name beer? They used to be the mainstream brews around the country, yes? All of those old named beers could easily be found at the neighborhood deli and beer-garden on any given day some time ago.

Currently, beer distributors are inundated with all kinds of imported malt liquors, ales, and beers. Albeit, many non-domestic and traditional suds (some many of us have never heard of) stock the shelves and floors in abundance, leaving one to wonder at their rate of move-ability. The specialty beers like “Black and Tan”, Broyhan, Genese, and Honeybrew flavors, named and claimed by many producers whose names and monikers are not yet dominated by the younger set; leave undiscovered refreshment renowned for the pleasure of the beer-lover palate. Some of the younger guys and gals that I’ve spoken with to date, request beers like “Dos Eques” or “Corona.” It’s kool…

As a long-time “Germantown-ite,” my eyes were widened, some time ago, while visiting and eventually becoming and developing a long time and current shopper-patron relationship with a Beer Garden located in Mount Airy – Chestnut Hill Philadelphia, Pa. They used to have a display on the inside cashiers window. It was a collection of wondrously old and antique beer and ale cans. Many had unheard of faces and names – but for obvious reasons, caught the imagination and bewilderment of many who observed the items. One that stuck out in my mind is “Robin Hood Ale.” “Chesterfield Ale” is another fascinating and good tasting brew that caught my attention. The old fashioned looking box with its old style grip handles took me back to a time lost to dreams and lost youth.

As I continued to eyeball the display collection of cans, the image of Robin Hood lifting a mug of ale while toting a brilliant smile with that mouth full of bright white teeth, caused me to think of swigging on a tall foamy frosty pint of grog. There were of course, many other fascinating collectors items on display at the beer garden. There were many images and faces of museum type interest to be seen. They are no longer there. At least they aren’t out where you or I can see them.

The Mid Atlantic Brewing News conveys advertisements of novelty, imported, and specialty brews. They have masterfully and conveniently provided us with an insight to the world of beer and beer lovers. Messages from brew meisters, i.e., “Off Centered For Off Centered People” and products like “Craft Beer-Bar Mitzvah,” “Headwaters Pale Ale,” “Harpon Celtic Ale,” “Dundee Irish Red Lager,” “Commodore Perr” – by Great Lakes Brewing Company, “Moosehead Ale,” “Double Old Thunder Ale,” “Wee Heavy” and “Bock Beer” by Samuel Adams, assorted Honey Brews, Chinese “Tsing Tao” beer, and one of my favorite imported dark beers – “Guinness Stout.” I like the freshness of beer on tap. The bottle beer beats the can for my buck and palate.

An Online commenter wrote:
“I have been to many beer distributors in my days, but this one is by far one of the best in Philly. They have a huge selection of beer, from Belgians to Crafts to Imports, ciders and domestics. They also carry a great selection of kegs, non-alcoholic beverages, cigars, ice, snacks, etc. The store is clean, well organized and has a friendly and helpful staff. If you are anywhere within a forty-five minute drive, you have to check this place out. Oh yeah, they deliver…
Beersnob, Brewers Outlet, 5.8.9

What in the heck is a “Micro Brew?”

It sounds like something of a miniature beer statue doesn’t it? Microbrew is beer brewed in small commercial breweries, a microbrewery that brews less than fifteen thousand barrels of beer a year. Microbrewers limit their production to not more than that amount as its beer is brewed and distributed only on a regional basis. It’s also called “Craft Beer.” The term microbrew is reputed to have originated in the United Kingdom, circa 1970ish. Microbrewers emphasize their particulars with keen attention to the ingredients while constantly monitoring the entire brewing process. The traditional process starts with sugars from a specialized form of malted grain. Barley or Wheat are added to Hop Flowers and water while the mixture ages and is generally not pasteurized, the process occurs after the initial fermentation. The soul of a craft beer or microbrew is in the quality of the product as opposed to mass production. Another moniker placed on this liquid refreshment is known as “Cask Ale or Real Ale.”

Microbrew pubs offer beer that is produced in limited quantities…usually on the premises. Many of these pubs allow the sampling and/or tasting of the product. Microbrew is usually carbonated by live yeast that ferments in a container. Darker beers take longer to age while the lighter beer and ales require early usage. Also, the process used for bottled beer, as opposed to the filtering and heating process, ale is placed directly into a cask where it continually develops. Some craft beers are filtered. Brewpubs are also known, as “Microbrewery’s as long as the beer production has a significant distribution beyond the premises. The American Brewers Association bases the determination of whether a producer is recognized as a microbrewery upon its recognition. The Association has used a fixed amount of seventy-five percent of production between fifteen thousand and two million barrels per year, according to the Brewers Association. “In order to be classified as a regional craft brewery, a brewery must possess either an all-malt flagship or have at least fifty-percent of its volume in either all-malt beers or in beers which adjuncts to enhance rather than lighten the flavor.”

A microbrewery can be described as a brewery, which produces a limited amount of beer – an American craft brewery is a small independent and traditional brewery. The inclusion of specialty malt and hop ingredients, a microbrew varies in aroma and flavor as opposed to flavors of or a mainstream brewed beer. It has been said that microbrew aficionados believe these beers have a more complex flavor than typical American light lagers. In the making of beer, the hop flower causes the brew to have a flowery, fruity, or sweet-smelling aroma. Microbrews are sold in bottles, mugs, and by the pitcher size servings for those who appreciate the aroma and flavor from the special attention given by the producers. Craft beer contains, in many cases, natural ingredients and “does not harbor the use of artificial flavorings, or thickeners.”

Mr. George Hummell wrote about a neighborhood on the outskirts of “Philly” – “Roxborough” (my upper school years were spent at Roxborough High), entailing the Episcopalian Church of St. Timothy and its creation, circa 1862 – around the time of the Civil War. The church plays host to a beer club. Hummell recorded the Franklin Society and their monthly meetings in the parish hall “We brew usually twice a year, sometimes making two recipes at a time.” The Reverend Kirk T. Berlenbach continued, “It doesn’t matter whether it be with friends or strangers, the flavor and aroma give us something truly wonderful to enjoy while the sociability and even the brew itself help us to feel joy and Comradery.” The intrinsic skill enabling these skillful brau meisters to specialize in their craft of memorably tasty brews provide us with the pleasurable enjoyment of a crisp yet smooth tasting beer. Home brewers are indeed a special brood.

Magazine-like-circulars, i.e., the Mid Atlantic Brewing News – highlight their deeds and beer excitement on a state-by-state venue.

In my view, (open to counter opinions) the distributor in my column of favorites is (it’s actually number one) the “Brewer’s Outlet.” Paul Egonopoulus hails as its president and fearless leader. If you live in the Germantown, Mount Airy, Roxborough, or Chestnut Hill area, do yourself a favor and stop in to this popular beer garden – even if you don’t reside in the immediate area, get yourself to the Germantown Avenue and Gowen Street location for your non-alcoholic beverages and brews. Stop in and taste the only true-to-beer-taste of Coors N.A.! This beer distributor is the only outlet in town that stocks this delicious product. I’ve been all over the Northeast and Northwest Territory and could not find one beer garden that stocked this product. Many have met me at their doors professing to have it…only to find they did not. While in search of my favorite non-alcoholic beer, yes I’ve tried O’Doul’s and several other brands only to discover the unmatched crisp and snappy beer taste in a Coors non-alcoholic beer. Brown’s Shop Rite Super Market used to carry the brew; I fail to understand why it can no longer be found on their shelves as well as the many beer gardens that inundate the Philadelphia Region.

What’s your favorite Suds, Brew, Brewski, or Beer?

If you are/were a beer lover and can no longer indulge in alcohol based brews for health, diet, or whatever reason, I wholeheartedly endorse this product and encourage anyone to taste the beer and see for yourself…it’s the best brew around. I would challenge the non-drinker to enjoy the taste and no longer be the tea-toddler at the next social gathering where everyone is having a taste. Yes you too can enjoy a tall frosty glass, mug, or pitcher of a Coors Non-Alcoholic Beer. You’ll fall in love with it as I did. Ask for it at your favorite beer garden – and tell them Greg sent you …

Now lift your mug and put another head on it.

Don’t forget to sample the micros and craft brews.

Til next time…

Mid Atlantic Brewing News, February / March – 2011
Micro Brews, Wikipedia
Mr. George Hummell, Homebrew News, “The Spiritual Side of Beer”

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