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January 28, 2010 - Tuppers' Hop Pocket Ale Returns
Tuppers' Hop Pocket Ale is back.

The cult favorite beer, created by Bob and Ellie Tupper, disappeared from the market two years ago when the Old Dominion Brewing Company, which had contract brewed Hop Pocket since 1994, was sold. The new brewer is St. George Brewing Co. of Hampton, VA and they are fermenting the beer in the same tanks as previously, tanks they bought when Old Dominion went out of business.

Hop Pocket is brewed with four separate additions of hop pellets and fermented atop a bed of hop cones for three weeks. It was one of the first big, hoppy beers which have become a trademark of the craft brewing industry.

The Tuppers are well known in the beer community, not least for their personal tasting log that now numbers more than 18,500 brews sampled and recorded.--JACK CURTIN

January 28, 2010 - Sly Fox Will Add Rt. 113 IPA to Canned Beer Releases
Sly Fox Brewing Company will add a fifth beer to its canned beer portfolio this spring when Rt. 113 IPA, available only in 22oz bottles previously, will be released in the 12oz package.

Rt. 113 joins Pikeland Pils, Phoenix Pale Ale, Dunkel Lager and Royal Weisse in the can lineup. It will be a year-round release and eventually be part of a variety 12-pack, along with the also year-round Pikeland and Phoenix, as well as standard cases. The othetr two canned beers are seasonal releases.

Until now, Rt. 113 has only been packaged in 22oz bottles. "The bottles will stay in the portfolio, at least for now," promises brewmaster Brian O'Reilly. "They're selling better than ever, just not as fast as do the canned beers. So long as sales hold up, we'll be happy. I really like the 22oz size, but it's a little tougher sell in a case state like Pennsylvania. On the other hand, we've just reopened the Pittsburgh market and that should help maintain and probably grow sales levels."

Rt. 113 IPA has been beer most requested to be made available in cans by customers, O'Reilly said.

A photograph of the new can can be seen here.--JACK CURTIN

January 28, 2010 - TJ's Embraces Drink Local Concept
It was a "stolen" idea that led Jeff Miller to establish the new Drink Local campaign at TJ's Restaurant and Drinkery in Paoli.

Miller has dedicated a separate space on the chalkboard and website of his popular venue---which appears regularly on those lists of best places to drink craft beer in the region which pop up every now and then---to five to seven local beers which are featured on tap.

The idea, Miller says, is to escape from the "unsustainable business model" of always chasing the next hot and difficult to get beer. "this is a way to show how much the regions local breweries have to offer at the same time boosting the bottom line. These beers are easily attainable and reasonably priced. I can't take credit for the idea, though. I stole it from Arthur Etchells at Foobooz.com--with his permission---after I read a comment he posted at Brian Koelsar's brewlounge.com website."

Miller says he contacted brewers within a two and a half hour drive of his restaurant and asked them to provide him with two or three sixtels each month of their freshest beers and he would showcase them. The program began during the first week of January.

"Sly Fox, Yards and Stoudt’s were the first shipments. Those stocks were supposed to last through the month but have already been depleted and re-stocked. We just got in a shipment from Troegs, Flying Fish, Dogfish Head, Heavy Seas, Philadelphia Brewing Company & Lancaster. In all, besides what is currently on tap, there are about 35 sixtels waiting in queue for the rotation. At the rate we’ve been going through them that should take us only to the end of February."

Miller says the program is also helpful in introducing novices to the world of craft beer. "When someone new to the beer revolution looks at a chalkboard with 24 names they’ve never heard of before. it can be daunting. Local beers are recognizable for even the newest craft beer drinker. It makes a decision easier for them."--JACK CURTIN

January 20, 2010 - PBW Co-founder Bruce Nichols Will Open The Headhouse in Society Hill
As revealed in Don "Joe Sixpack" Russell's website and confirmed in Michael Klein's "Insider" column in the Philadelphia Inquirer on Monday, a new beer and dining venue is coming to the closed Zot location at 122 Lombard St. in Philadelphia's Society Hill neighborhood.

The Headhouse will be a new venture for Bruce Nichols of Museum Catering Company in partnership with landlord Madame Saito Ai. The space has 20 taps on two floors and they're looking at a March opening.

Nichols, a founder of Philly Beer Week together with Monk's Cafe's Tom Peters and Russell, was instrumental in making the late Michael Jackson a fixture in Philadelphia every March for the long-running The Book & The Cook, bringing the famed beer writer in to host a series of tutored beer tastings at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology for 18 straight years.

That popular event, always sold out, will be reinvented this March, by the way, with U.S. beer writer Randy Mosher as the tutor.--JACK CURTIN

January 16, 2010 - EB+B Raising Funds To Help Free American Hikers Detained in Iran
Earth Bread + Brewery, the Mt. Airy brewpub operated by Tom Baker and Peggy Zwerver, is conducting a month-long fund raiser for the families of Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal, three Americans who have been detained in a prison in Iran since July 31, 2009.

The trio was detained after, according to news reports, hey accidentally crossed an unmarked border during a hiking trip in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan. The peaceful region is increasingly popular with Western tourists. MOre details can be found here/

Josh Fattal graduated from Cheltenham High School and his parents live in Elkins Park, explains Baker, "and his mother approached us and said that good friends of Josh come into Earth regularly and maybe we could help get the word put about the efforts to get him and his friends freed. I figured we could do something more than that, since they and the other parents have a lot of expenses involved with their efforts. We want to raise some money to help with that."

The next beer in the EB+B pipeline was a tank of Scotch Ale, originally to be named Velvet Underdog ("A great beer name," says Baker). It has been renamed Free The Hikers Ale and $1 is being added to the prices of 12oz glass, %.50 to the price of a 20oz glass until the tanks is kicked. Those additional amounts are customers' contributions; EB+B will add one-third of the total sale amount for the tank to the total. "It should work out to about $2500 to $3000 that we raise," according to Baker.

In other EB+B news, Baker says that assistant brewer Jon Defibaugh, who also doubles as a baker for the pub, has created his first beer, a Saison which he brewed with the help of EB+B regular Ryan Michaels, head brewer at McKenzie Brew House, who contributed DuPont yeast and some herbs to the project. --JACK CURTIN

January 03, 2010 - Bill Moore Named Brewmaster at Lancaster Brewing Company [UPDATED]
UPDATE (4 Jan 10): Former brewmaster Christian Heim and sales manager John Frantz are no longer with Lancaster Brewing Co. . The changes were announced to Moore and the staff last Wednesday and apparently reflect a whole new management team for the brewery.

ORIGINAL STORY: Industry veteran Bill Moore has been named Brewmaster at Lancaster Brewing Co. and will oversee all brewing operations, the company announced on Dec. 31.

"I am proud to be leading brewery operations," Moore was quoted in the news release. "Brewing exceptional craft beers is what I live for, and being able to do it here is really something special."

Moore has worked in the craft brewing industry for over 20 years, starting at Stoudt's Brewing in the late 1980s. The brewery garnered 14 GABF medals, seven of them Golds, during his tenure. He left Stoudt's in 1994 to a partner, with Bob Connor, in the new Independence Brewery in Philadelphia.Independence's big, beautiful plant proved to be too large for the company to support and a series of bad decisions and acquisitions doomed the enterprise from the start. The doors shut in 2000.

After an interim stint at Sly Fox Brewhouse & Eatery, he began brewing at the brewpub at the historic Sunnybrook Ballroom in his home town of Pottstown. He went fulltime at the latter in 2001. When that business collapsed, he brewed for the management team which ran the operation for the bank and then for Henry Ortlieb, who bought the place in 2003 and created Ortlieb's Brewery & Grille. That constantly struggling business shut down for good after Ortlieb's death in a boating accident in the summer of 2004. Moore began contract brewing beers for the new Legacy Brewing Company in Reading at Ortlieb's during that final year. He signed on as brewer at Lancaster in 2005.

Also joining the LBC team as Marketing Director is Patrick Casey, who brings over 25 years of advertising, sales and management experience to the LBC family. "I look forward to growing sales and building the brands for the brewery. They have an impressive line of craft beers and a strong number of loyal fans including myself," said Patrick.

Irene Keares, President of the company stated her objectives for the brewery’s future growth in the release. "My mission is as much about creating the best team as it is about brewing the best beer and that is why I am honored to have Bill and Patrick on the LBC team. Both are key to the brewery’s future success and our ability to grow to the next level."

LBC currently produces four flagship beers year round (Hop Hog IPA, Milk Stout, Strawberry Wheat, Amish Four Grain Pale Ale), along with popular seasonal beers including Oktoberfest, Winter Warmer and Rare Rooster Rye Ale, all available in bottles and kegs. The brewery also produces twenty different styles of craft beer throughout the year in kegs only. --JACK CURTIN