On Tap

The German Monks’ Lenten Beer Diet: 40 Days of Doppelbock

There’s a diet that I’d love to try if only I thought my liver could handle it. It involves drinking beer, specifically the style known as doppelbock, every day for about six weeks. Nothing else except water. I’ve been told that people have done this before and survived just fine. But then, those people were monks with significantly more divine capital than me. When it was first brewed more than 300 years ago, the rich and malty style known as doppelbock sustained German monks as

Experimentation And Fermentation Go Well Together

One recent Friday morning, I visited Rick Scully and Scott Russell in Tunbridge and found them messing around with toasted hemp hearts. On a table beside them was a bottle of Jamaican rum. Hemp? “It’s a nutritional supplement,” Rick told me. And the rum? Is that to take the edge off ... Friday morning? Not so much. Rick and Scott, two fine upstanding citizens, would be using the hemp and rum in a batch of beer they were homebrewing. The beer, which they’d dubbed “Marleywine,”

On Tap: The Flavors of Barleywine Can Test Tastes

“What do you think of barleywines?” As soon as the words escaped my mouth, I knew I’d asked the wrong question. The waitress at this dimly lit, almost monastic Seattle beer bar with a growly Tom Waits soundtrack returned a look as if to say, Are you sure you’re in the right place? “Well, we just had a barleywine festival,” she said. Not being from Seattle, I had not heard of this “Hard Liver Barleywine Fest.” But I took her point. You don’t host festivals

On Tap: For Holiday Travelers, There Was No Room at the Brewpubs

The day disappeared faster than we’d expected and, after nine long hours of traveling in the car, my wife Val and I were ready to stop for the night. We were driving back from visiting family in Virginia for Christmas and the car was packed with gifts and luggage. As our toddler stirred awake in the back seat, Val pulled out her phone and researched dinner options in Bethlehem, Pa., where we’d be staying for the evening. Dinner options, of course, must be restaurants with

On Tap: Gifts for Beer Geeks

After the birth of my son, a coworker walked sheepishly toward me with a six-pack in tow. The beer was a gift of congratulations, a stand-in for the old cigar. He exhaled as he placed it on my desk. “It’s like buying a car for my mechanic,” he said. Of course I appreciated the gesture, but I took his point. Buying gifts for beer geeks can be intimidating. There can be an odd sense of self-consciousness that FOBS (Friends of Beer Snobs) feel about giving

On Tap: Holiday Ales Get Creative

Thanksgiving has passed, the holiday gift list is longer than it’s ever been, Route 12A will soon become a parking lot jammed with eager shoppers and every store we enter for the next four weeks will be playing Muzak interpretations of Jingle Bells, Feliz Navidad and Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer. Who needs a beer? Fortunately, the options around this time of year are plentiful as “holiday” ales start showing up on shelves, reminding us that despite the hassles and headaches, this truly

On Tap: You May Be Drinking From the Wrong Glass

Here’s a sad thought: The glass most often used for serving beer is the worst possible vessel for appreciating it. By this, I’m talking about the ubiquitous “shaker pint,” that inverted traffic cone that is the hands-down favorite of pubs and restaurants, and the most despised among craft beer aficionados. It’s used for serving water. It’s used for soda, lemonade and disgusting boozy shakes at TGI Fridays. Alas, it is also used for beer. Now, of all the things to worry about, why fret over