Thursday, July 10, 2008

And I thought we got a lot of inquiries about working at a brewery......

It never fails, after each tour and a few samples, we get lots of hopeful inquiries about job openings at Philadelphia Brewing Co. I can't imagine how long the lines would be if we had a staff like this Tui's ad:

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Beer is Good for you....

We all know that drinking beer makes you live longer....right?

Well, good ol' David April and the Fishtown Beer Runners are living proof that beer loves us and makes us happy. Check this out:

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Absolutely nothing to do with beer, wine, cheese, or anything other than.....I love Ren & Stimpy:


Thursday, July 03, 2008


Here's something that puzzles me; how do drinkers interpret value for the purchase of a pint of draught, or a bottle, or can of beer?

A lot of this has to be subjective and I'm sure that it's different for each individual. Recent increases in raw material and energy costs are driving up the cost to brew, package, and distribute beer so I think that cost is starting to become more of an issue for even craft brew drinkers. At Philadelphia Brewing Co we've kept our costs low by retaining our local market focus and self distribution.

So, as a consumer, is a $3.00 pint of Newbold IPA or Rowhouse Red a better value than a $3.00 pint of Kenzinger or Walt Wit? As a drinker I would say no. For me, grabbing a couple pints of Kenzinger at a good price while out at a bar is what I'm looking for. I personally don't often drink bigger beers while I'm out - I usually save that for when I'm home or at least close to home :)

For me a $3.00 pint of Kenzinger is what I'm looking for so that represents the greater value.

I can tell you, and it may be obvious, that Newbold IPA and Rowhouse Red cost more to brew than Kenzinger and Walt Wit just because of the greater amount of malt and hops required for those bigger beers. Maybe value for beer is sorta like price+features for some folks. So maybe getting a pint of IPA for $3.00 which naturally costs more to brew than a Kölsch represents a better value for some people.

I know that some folks lump beers into categories based on their style. Is an imported Belgian Abbey Ale worth more than a domestically brewed Abbey-style Ale? If your view of beer is bound to style categories, do you differentiate between an all-malt craft brew like Kenzinger and a low cost lager that uses corn or rice and a whiff of hop extract in order to keep cost (and flavor) low?

What about packaging? Are we conditioned to expect to pay less for beer in a can than we would pay for beer in a bottle? You can get some damn fine craft brewed beer in cans now. Sly Fox and Oskar Blues both make excellent craft brewed beer in a can using the finest malts and hops.

So, we all make value judgments on our beer purchases. How do you make yours?

Maybe I just need to have another Kenzinger! :)


Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Sometimes ideas get momentum and become "truths".

I've already spouted about the evils of Internet anonymity and the rampant habit of posting noxious, vitriolic, and just plain useless opinion or commentary in various forums. It's easy and cowardly to slam somebody's work or opinion when you hide behind some false ID. It's easier than ever to get information out there using Web tools such as blogs and forums. Truth, is becoming more difficult to find. Truth, is being replaced by opinion and hearsay. A lot of the stuff that's out there is either being prepackaged by somebody with an interest in a particular version of a story - like news media spinning things up to sell more advertising; people who are presenting an image of themselves that is just plain false; or people who are just too busy or too lazy to check the facts. I'm guilty of this to a certain extent - the lazy/busy thing I mean. I've accepted certain statements as facts because I'd heard them more than once or from somebody that I thought was respectable. Unfortunately, sometimes even people you respect are too busy or too lazy to check the facts. Sometimes, respectable people accept stories as fact just because they too heard them from a respected source.

It ain't hard to appear to know what you are talking about. Speak confidently and be able to spout tidbits of evidence and you'll gain the support of most people.

The other side of the ease of communication and information access provided by the Internet is the fact that you can find the facts. You can find the truth. It just takes work.

So, here's where we get to the point where we find out why this duffus who only cares about fermentable stuff is rambling on about truth and the Internet.

Well, I read the blogs of a few folks in beer-land who are working their butts off researching and posting information about the history of beer and beer styles. Some of the information that these guys are posting basically pulls the carpet out on a few "facts" about the history of certain beer styles that I comfortably held as fact up until now. These are some pretty widely held beliefs in beer-land North America but the research performed by these guys either completely disproves the stories or shows them to be "Americanized" interpretations - partly true but not historically accurate.

Here's what I'm talking about:

The truth about IPA from Martyn Cornell's Zythophile
- I always accepted and often retold the legend of India Pale Ale being so named due to its use to fortify sailors on the trade routes between England and India during colonial times. Martyn provides some pretty compelling facts that debunk this old brewer's tale.

Ron Pattinson ruffles feathers on his Shutup about Barclay Perkins Blog
- It is widely held in North American brewing communities that the difference between an Ale and a Lager is the yeast used in fermentation and the process followed for fermentation. Both professional and hobbyist or home brewers would argue this to be fact in North America. Ron brings a cultural and historical argument to light in his post. Germans do not widely make a distinction between beer styles based upon the North American convention of yeast type and fermentation process. To a German brewer, an Ale is a style that comes from England. While I will most likely continue to use the modern, western, terminology to distinguish my brews, I can certainly see that it is a modern use of the terms Ale and Lager. Vive la différence! :)

Ron also got into it with the lovely folks on the RATbeer . com forum
- Read this at your own peril; I did and ended up exhausted by the time I finished. Sometimes people can be like a dog with a bone - holding on to their views. The link above takes you to Ron's blog entry - from there you'll find a link to the RATbeer . com thread. I'm amazed how firmly people cling to their own view of the world - where's the fun in that?

Here's one that seems to come back every year - Bob Skilnik fights the common idea that prohibition in the USA ended on April 7 - Man, Bob is a trooper. He seems to post something about this topic year after year. Even the Brewer's Association bought into the April 7th thing and they started to organize country wide events to honor the end of prohibition.

By the way...I should mention that I heard about Ron Pattinson and Zythophile on Lew Bryson's blog - Seen Through a Glass

This may be ironic, but hey - don't believe everything you read on the Internet! :)


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Rev. Doofus Dunkel

Well, originally it was called Reverend Dean's Dunkel; but Doofus is more fun and it's sticking in my head. Maybe I'll just call it Reverend Double D Lager. ;-)

Anyway - I brewed my Dunkel Lager yesterday and it's only the second time that I've done this one at the Porterhouse. I tweaked the hops a little - this time I used Styrian, Tettnang, Hallertau, and Willamette. The malt is a little different too - I added a dash of brown malt. I love that brown malt - it gives slightly nutty, mildly coffee-like, toasted malt goodness to a brew but this is the first time that I've used it in a lager. It will nicely compliment the Munich and Vienna malts.

The next brews for the Porterhouse will be a hoppy, crisp Pilsner, and another batch of hoppy/malty amber lager.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

This is not just a little late.

Weizen Guy finished lagering and has been on tap at the Porterhouse for two weeks now - it's my wheat bock-ish lager. With an estery bouquet, medium body, and spicy wheat driven palate; Weizen Guy is a quaffable lager. Sitting at close to 6% abv this is bigger than most of the beers I've been brewing lately.

I miss the Skye Dew already so I plan to brew another batch of that in the fall. I was really smitten with Skye Dew. Until then, it'll be lagers all the way - little ones, big ones, dark ones, hoppy ones, malty ones, dry ones. You get the idea.

Except for the occasional specialty ale, like Skye Dew, all that I'm going to brew at the Porterhouse from now on guessed it, lagers.

Why? Two reasons; firstly, our well water in Lahaska is perfectly suited for lagers; soft, with mild natural sulfates, mild mineral content, and perfectly neutral PH. Secondly, our patrons love lagers. This doesn't mean that I'll be filling our tanks with PBR knock-offs; no, no, no. Absolutely no way will I brew one of those - there are enough corn lagers out there for folks to choose from already. Maybe this will open a few eyes about what a lager can be; or maybe I'll be the only one that gives a crap.

Last week I brewed up a second round for one of the original four brews that put together when I first took over brewing for Porterhouse back in 2006 - Peace Keeper. Peace Keeper is a Baltic Porter (yes it's a lager) that Tom Baker originally guest brewed with me back in 2006. It will replace the Thug Flemish Sour Stout.

So; here's the updated tap list:
House Brews:
  • Weizen Guy - Wheat Lager
  • Red Rye Ale
  • Thug - Belgian Style Stout
  • Left Field Lager
Guest Taps:
  • Philadelphia Brewing Co - Kenzinger
  • Philadelphia Brewing Co - Walt Wit
  • Philadelphia Brewing Co - Newbold IPA
  • Oskar Blues - Dales Pale Ale

Monday, March 31, 2008

Porterhouse Brew

I put another Lager in the fermenter at Porterhouse yesterday - a pilsner brewed with malted wheat and a mild but noticeable hop flavor. Nice and balanced; I'm looking forward to this one. You'll see a lot more lagers coming out of my brewery at Porterhouse. Our well water is much more suited to the flavors of lagers than traditional ales.

Gabe dubbed the lager currently on draft "Left Field Lager" in honor of spring, opening day, and just plain off centered behavior. Left Field is a dark Marzen style with an aggressive amount of west coast hops - it's very drinkable and is just the thing to go with a Porterhouse burger, hand-cut steak, or a bowl of our award winning chili.

Here's what's on tap at Porterhouse now:

House Brews:
  • Skye Dew Scotch Ale
  • Red Rye
  • Thug - Belgian Style Stout
  • Left Field Lager
Guest Taps:
  • Philadelphia Brewing Co - Kenzinger
  • Philadelphia Brewing Co - Walt Wit
  • Philadelphia Brewing Co - Newbold IPA
  • Oskar Blues - Dales Pale Ale

Monday, March 17, 2008

Porterhouse - New Lager On Tap

I just transferred a new lager over to a service tank at Porterhouse Pub yesterday. It's conditioning now and should be ready to drink by Wednesday. I had a hard time thinking up a name for this brew - it's been a weird couple of weeks and I'm still a little brain dead so I left the naming up to Gabe.

Anywho; after two months of lagering, this is a malty, copper colored brew with a load of west coast American hops - very drinkable and quite complex. Next up will probably be a farmhouse style pale ale brewed with oats and European hops, but, I reserve the right to change my mind on this one. I'll let you all know what it is after brew day. :-)

Our tap list at Porterhouse now includes two of our beers from Philadelphia Brewing Co. - Kenzinger, and Walt Witt. Once the Lagunitas kicks we'll be adding the Newbold IPA as well.


Thursday, March 06, 2008

Philadelphia Brewing Co - Beer on Tap!

Wednesday March 5 marked the day when PBC began distribution of draught beer. Close to thirty customers received kegs of Kenzinger, Walt Wit, and Rowhouse Red yesterday - with the majority of them tapping up and beginning service immediately. Our Newbold IPA will start to be delivered next week. Newbold, by the way, is tasting great - think American IPA with traditional European hops. The PBC IPA has much less of the citrus notes typical of the west coast US strains of hops and a lot more of the earthy, spicy, floral tones going on.

Naturally, the PBC crew spent the evening last night visiting customers and drinking our own poison - as is our custom. It's nice to once again be able to quaff your own beer whilst bending the ear of one of the usual suspects. All of the beers are tasting great and, happily, folks are lining up their favorite PBC pints. The enthusiastic support that we are receiving from bar owners and drinkers alike is great.

I'll be posting a simple page on listing locations where PBC brews are on tap.

Cases of bottled product will be available close to the end of March.

Hope to see you out there!


Monday, February 11, 2008

Kenzinger is in the Tanks!

What a weekend! After so much hard work and seemingly endless delays, we've got the first Philadelphia Brewing Co. beer in the fermenter.

Name: Kenzinger
Sex: Why Not?
Birth Weight: 10 Plato
Birth Length: 30 Barrels

Mother and father are pleased as punch and all three brewers are doing fine. John and Josh will be posting pictures to their blog shortly. Walt Wit is up next; we plan to brew up a small (30 bbl) batch of each of the four initial Philadelphia Brewing styles before swinging the yeast into full production.

There was definitely a palpable sense of relief and contentment in the brewery and on everyone's faces yesterday. Every PBC employee in the house had a hand in pulling the first batch of spent grain from the mash tun.

What a day!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

On Tap at Porterhouse

House Brews:

Skye Dew - Mild Scotch Ale; brewed with peated malt, round and smokey

Browne Mild
- English Dark Mild; brewed with brown malt, nice and roasty

Dark Wheat
- Weird, dark, red wheat beer; a real phenol bomb

Thug - A dry Irish stout malt bill fermented with a Belgian yeast; starts like an Irish stout and finishes with a Belgian tang.

Guest Taps:
Dales Pale Ale
Stone IPA
Ommegang Witte
Sly Fox Pikeland Pils
Another Brew Session - North Lager

This brew continues my pursuit of the perfect (in my mind) dark lager at Porterhouse. Before they were acquired by a Canadian mega-brewer about 3 years ago; Creemore Springs brewery in Ontario brewed an exceptional lager. It's still good but it's lost something. The current version is not as malty; not as hoppy; not quite as inspiring. The original brewer actually skipped out of Creemore and landed with a tiny brewery in Burlington Ontario (west of Toronto) called Nickel Brook. I spoke to both the owner of Nickel Brook and the brewer whilst buying a stack of their beer. They probably would have shared the recipe with me but where's the fun in that?

Any-who; this round of North Lager is a perfect dark copper color (lighter than the last batch); with a load more aroma hops. I should start lagering this batch in another four days of fermentation. It'll go on tap some time around March.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Thug on Tap

Thug stout is now on tap at the P-House Pub. I don't like to brew stouts very often; so when I do, I want them to be special. This one is put together like a typical Irish stout but I knocked it around a wee bit and fermented it using my house Belgian Ale yeast.

The result?

It's dark as a northern Canadian winter night; it's got a load of roasted malt bitterness, a Belgian nose, and a sour finish. My kind of "stout". I'd bet a pint that it'll go great with any one of the P-House's signature burgers too.

Check it out for yer-self.


Friday, January 04, 2008

Wee Yeasty Buggers

I'm finally getting around to posting an update about our yeast trials. It's been a fun experiment and well worth while - even though we ended up selecting the strain that we (John, Josh, and I) felt would be most suitable from the start. There is a load of good information out there about the fermentation characteristics of different yeast stains. What we ultimately proved to ourselves was that you can trust the descriptions provided by the yeast lab folks - we're using BSI.

To re-cap; we brewed up a recipe that will be the basis for Rowhouse Ale using my brewhouse up at Porterhouse Pub. (that was a lot of 'houses' for one sentence eh?) BSI kindly provided us with 5 gallon pitchable samples of four different Belgian yeasts: Westmalle, La Chouffe, Celis wit, and the Forbidden Fruit strain from Hoegaarden. We fermented each yeast in 5 gallons of Rowhouse, kegged them up and ran blind taste tastes with our extended PBC family. Forbidden Fruit and La Chouffe overwelmingly garnered the most praise from our PBC menagerie.

Forbidden Fruit actually got most of the votes for flavor and aroma but this yeast likes to work long and steady. A fact that may present problems for us in the initial phases of getting our brews up and running. In the end we may go with a blend of the two.

We still have more trials to run, but we hope to have beer ready for sale in February!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Welcome 2008!!

Well, it's 2008 and that means that we've got our brewery back! We're in the very final throws of our licensing process and our recipes are coming together nicely.

2007 was a long, often difficult and tedious year; I guess that's to be expected. After all, we traded away a brand that we all put our hearts and backs into and spent over eight years out of our lives building. On the other hand; now we get a fresh start - no baggage and no history to fight. The only real legacy that we need to deal with is the equipment design which is a hangover from the previous brand. We've made good beer on this setup before, in spite of the design; we'll do it again until we are able to rectify its faults.

A bunch of us greeted 2008 from the roof of our newly reclaimed Kensington brewery building. As we entered the building, we were greeted by a lingering odor of mold and what can only be described as stale, sweaty socks. This odor had become resident during the transition time during which we had been locked out of the brewery. It may seem strange but to me this was the smell of a new day. This would be the last time that our brewery would smell this way.

We all climbed up onto the roof of our brewhouse to watch the fireworks; champange and beer in hand. It seemed almost affirming that the individual neighborhood fireworks going off all around us dwarfed the city's display out over the Delaware river.

Cheers to you and yours; it's going to be a good year.