Philly Loves Beer: Last Call
As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end and this is unfortunately one of those times. While Phillyist has another week, this will be the last Philly Loves Beer as I will be in the land of Abita and too much High Life when that happens. So this will be goodbye, and as I am horrible at these kind of things I will leave you with other places you can turn to when you need beer info, brewing, drinking, or otherwise.
I'll start local—as one always should—with Philly Beer Scene Magazine, Joe Six Pack, and Drink Philly. Philly Beer Scene Magazine is the only print publication in Philadelphia exclusively dedicated to craft beer, and can be found in bars, homebrew shops, and of course online. They cover every aspect of Philadelphia beer, from restaurants, new shops, to homebrewing. There isn't much to say about Joe Sixpack that hasn't been said a thousand times. The man has helped bring craft beer into the spotlight in this city and his weekly newsletter is an invaluable resource for finding new and interesting beer. Go to his site, sign up for his news letter, drink what the man tells you to. It's as simple as that. Drink Philly is a site dedicated to all things drinking and has an excellent beer review section.
It does not pay to brew in a vacuum, and the internet is full of places for the aspiring homebrewer to find like minded folks and tons of information. Unfortunately not all of it is helpful. Google is a great place to start, but there are also some established sites and forums that are incredibly helpful. Homebrew Talk is a forum that I swear by. This site has prevented me from panicking when my first brew didn't start bubbling away in what I thought was an acceptable amount of time, provided me with ideas for brew day substitutions when I didn't buy enough chocolate malt, and is currently helping me pick out a site to buy a kegerator conversion kit. The Brewing Network started out as one man's mission to quit his job and talk about beer and has grown into a full blown podcast network with shows that range from cloning popular craft beers to five guys getting drunk with the owners of craft breweries. Some of the best and most respected home brewers contribute to weekly podcasts as well as actively contribute to the forum. I recommend starting with the Sunday Session episode featuring Shmaltz Brewing Company and then downloading the entire library.
Before the internet there existed an amazing invention called books. Often more trustworthy then the random ranting and ravings of complete strangers claiming to be experts because they saw a thing that one time, these rectangular objects made of dead trees were the main source of information. These strange objects still exist and are worth your time and money, and can often be acquired in digital form as well. John Palmer's How to Brew is an amazing resource for homebrewers of all levels. Brewing Classic Styles, a collaboration between Mr. Palmer and Jamil Zainasheff, will help all grain and extract brewers gain a better grasp of the many beer styles that exits as they brew their way through the collection. Want to know more about yeast and fermentation? Pick up Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation, by Chris White with Jamil Zainasheff. Home Sweet Homebrew has a a great bookrack set up in the back of the store if you want more suggestions.
Speaking of Home Sweet Homebrew—my homebrew shop of choice—seriously, my brewing has only grown better for my time spent talking to them. George, Nancy, and Rich are great to talk to about beer, brewing, and just about anything you can think. Not only have they helped me improve my technique, my recipes, and my beer, but they have reminded me to buy gloves (thanks Nancy), helped me figure out how to work around an inability to keep my apartment heated to 70 degrees during active fermentation (it was all about the yeast), and made shopping in their store a much more pleasurable experience than anything I could have found online.Seriously, my brewing has only grown better for my time spent talking to them. Go there, talk to them, buy things, and pet two of the coolest cats around.
So that's all. Not with a whimper but with a metal cap falling to the ground, and all that fun stuff. I've had a great time writing this column and I hope you've enjoyed reading it. I'm off to make more beer.