Good pubs, Good Beer, Good People

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Monticello Report: Jefferson and Beer

Inasmuch as I trace my ancestry back to Thomas Jefferson--and the connection is not a blood one, though a most interesting one--I am compelled to post this delightful article about Jefferson and beer. Many thanks to my drinking buddy Joe Skelly for tippling tipping me off...


Monticello Report: Jefferson and Beer

Thursday, July 24, 2008

New Philly destination for Beer Nuts!






PHILADELPHIA, PA – This September will bring a transformation to the corner of 20th and Lombard Streets in the city's gracious Rittenhouse Square area with the opening of Pub & Kitchen (1946 Lombard Street), a new neighborhood drinking and dining destination.  Entrepreneur-owner Dan Clark has brought in some of Philadelphia's most exciting restaurant talent to create Pub & Kitchen's comfortable atmosphere, enticing selection of wine, beer and cocktails and affordable menu of seasonal dishes and classic pub fare. 

 "We simply want to offer a great neighborhood spot to eat and drink, inexpensive enough that our guests will join us whenever they feel like it," says Clark.  "And we're going to serve a late-night menu until 1 a.m., in order to accommodate as many of their needs as we can."

Clark is joined by managing partner Ed Hackett whose Philadelphia restaurant resume includes stints with Daniel Stern, Neil Stein and Stephen Starr; he will run the front of the house, alongside bar manager Mike Ojeda and pioneering chef Jonathan McDonald.

 Affectionately known as "Jonny Mac," McDonald was named "Chef of the Year" in 2007 by Philadelphia magazine and has worked in kitchens as diverse as Gilt, Snackbar, Marigold Kitchen and Brasserie Perrier.  For Pub & Kitchen, he crafted a menu that will be updated weekly and includes his own interpretations of classic pub fare alongside the freshest seasonal dishes.  The menu is broken into simple categories: Starters, Mains, Bar Snacks, Sides and Desserts

Menu highlights will include:  Fresh East and West Coast Oysters, a selection that will rotate daily;  Fish and Chips, a beer-battered filet of hake with house-made fries and lemon aioli;  Roasted Striped Bass with apple potato cakes and a cider broth;  Bangers and Mash with mustard green beans;  and Lobster BLT, a classic updated with the addition of succulent lobster meat.  Bar snacks will include:  Warm Walnuts, served in the shell with a hand-cracker, and a Domestic Cheese Plate served with house-made condiments such as Guinness caramel.  In addition to the constantly evolving menu, McDonald plans to offer daily specials in each menu category based on ingredients in season.  Menu items will range in price between $6 and $24.

"It was really important to me that our menu be accessible," says McDonald.  "I want to serve people foods that they enjoy, to create flavorful renditions of familiar favorites that everyone knows and loves.  Whether it's stopping by for dinner and a great bottle of wine or a quick pint and a sandwich at the bar, this is a place that will serve the kind of food you want after a long day."

As for the pub side of Pub & Kitchen, it relies on the same formula of delectable favorites, and includes a carefully crafted selection of domestic and imported wines and beers and perfectly poured, traditional cocktails, often made from house-infused liquors such as vanilla bourbon, blueberry vodka and melon rum.  Bottles of wine will all be priced under $50, with glasses ranging from $6 to $9.  Their 12 tap offerings will include local and imported craft brews, such as Breckinridge and Sly Fox, alongside more mainstream beers, all for $3 to $5. 

Entrepreneur Dan Clark initially met with Hackett to sketch out ideas for a bar or restaurant that they might like to open.  Baffled by the absence of an outlet in the Rittenhouse area where they could comfortably meet for a drink or a great meal while making plans for their project, they developed a strategy for opening just such a place.  When the space that had long housed Chaucer's Tabard Inn became available, Clark leapt at the opportunity to revitalize the cozy corner spot.

"We plan to work really hard to keep the great 'corner bar,' neighborhood feel of the old Chaucer's, but also to brighten everything up," Hackett explains.  "We love the outdoor seating area, and we added landscaping to create an even more inviting sidewalk café.  We will also interject that airy, open quality to the interior with large picture windows."  The breezy space will accommodate about 120 seats, including the outdoor tables.

Pub & Kitchen will serve food from 4 p.m. until 1 a.m., seven days a week.  Pub & Kitchen will open early this fall, for more information, please visit them online at


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Latis Imports scores Rodenbach

Latis Imports Gets RODENBACH Portfolio

RODENBACH Grand Cru and a Limited Batch of 2004 Vin de Céréale

Will Also Join Belgium's PALM Ale at the Connecticut Specialty Beer Importer


Ridgefield, CT (July 22, 2008) Latis Imports, founded by two former InBev executives David van Wees and Anthony Giardina, is growing its Belgian portfolio with an announcement today that it will gain import rights to the coveted RODENBACH brand. The company will also have import rights to RODENBACH Grand Cru and 2004 Vin de Céréale, a limited run, high-end sour beer.


"This is an exciting day for us since RODENBACH is such an important brand in the beer world," says van Wees, CEO of Latis Imports. "PALM Breweries is a great patron of the Belgium brewing industry and saving the RODENBACH brewery is just one example. Its portfolio is the quintessential Belgian beer experience because it brews using all four different fermentation types – top, bottom, mixed and spontaneous."


Over the last century, the number of breweries in Belgium dwindled from 3,349 around the turn of the century to just 112 in 1999. That's when the Roeselare, Belgium-based RODENBACH brewery was purchased by PALM Breweries and its passionate shareholder and brewer Jan Toye.


"Beer lovers appreciate RODENBACH for its distinct sweet and sour taste, the result of a unique mixed fermentation brewing process and oak cask aging," says Rudi Ghequire, brewmaster for RODENBACH, who calls it the "missing link between beer and wine."


Recognized as an official regional product of the Belgian Province of Southwest Flanders, the brewing of RODENBACH is a tradition that's here to stay. RODENBACH is praised by the late beer expert Michael Jackson as the "most refreshing beer in the world," while RODENBACH Grand Cru picked up a Gold Medal at the 2006 World Beer Cup in Seattle.


Latis signed an agreement to be the American importer for a rich selection of PALM Breweries' brands in September 2007. The company launched PALM Ale – its U.S. debut – in Manhattan in November 2007 and subsequently San Diego, northern New Jersey and Connecticut.



About Latis Imports:


A collective 25 years of experience in the U.S. and global markets leading brands like Rolling Rock, Labatt Blue, Beck's, Bass, Stella Artois and Hoegaarden drove David van Wees and Anthony Giardina to create a company that mirrored their passion for developing premium beer brands. And so the idea for Latis was born and given life in Connecticut's diners and well-equipped, free wireless public libraries. At the heart of Latis is a mission to build a portfolio of authentic, craft beers from independent brewers with rich history, traditions and pride. Latis imports PALM Ale, Belgium's best selling amber from the country's largest independent brewer. The company is headquartered in Ridgefield, CT. For more information or    

Saturday, July 12, 2008

"Kirkland Hefeweizen?"

You may recall an entry in this blog that spoke about Trader Joe's beer, and what a pleasant surprise it was. Now it looks like Costco may be ready to launch its own beer under the Kirkland label. Click the link below to the "Brew Blog," a publication of, um, MillerCoors.


"Brew" Blog - Beer Industry Market Analysis, News and Commentary: Costco to Sell Private Label Beer?