A Revolting Development .....

A beer appreciation column should be about the
positive attributes of beer.  Mine usually is.There
are times, however, when negativity about our
favorite subject should be addressed as well, for
a variety of reasons.

One extremely important reason is to warn
fellow enthusiasts about pitfalls in our eternal
search for the perfect beer. Many an eager
brewfan has been tricked into spending seven
or eight dollars on what he believes will be an
important ingredient to his evening’s relaxation
only to discover he has brought home a six pack
of skunky, oxidized swill that would make even
Ted Kennedy recoil in horror. Negative reviews
taken seriously may help to prevent such a

Another important consideration for including
unfavorable comments about beer is so that
readers who don’t share our love of the malt
beverage can readily see that we can be
objective, and not just grinning, belching sots
who can’t distinguish Brooklyn Chocolate Stout
from St. Ides Malt Liquor.

Lastly, there are people who know nothing
about beer but who know much about what is
“in” or fashionable.   These types cheerfully
stock up for their soirees and barbecues with
Corona, Coor’s Light, and Budweiser,  thinking
they’re offering their guests a “choice”.  Of
course these same gracious hosts will, if they
spot an impossibly expensive display of
microbrews, pick up a case or two to really
impress their guests.   

Possibly some honest negativity in this column
regarding these types of consumption will deter
these people from forming incorrect opinions
about beer that this type of sampling would
assuredly cause.

A recent negative experience I had addresses all
three of the above scenarios. Over the last
several months, in the liquor store I frequent,
there was a large display offering cases or
sixpacks of
Thomas Jefferson Tavern Ale and
George Washington Tavern Porter
. An
examination of the bottles supplied the
information that they are products from Yards
Brewing Company in my favorite city of
Philadelphia.  A sign above the display proudly
proclaimed that these brews were offered at
$12.99/sixpack or $48.99/case. There are too
many other great brews available at half the
cost, so I passed this "deal" by.  

My interest was piqued ,however.  A visit to the
Yard’s website revealed that these beers were
marketed as “Ales of the Revolution”, were
based upon recipes from that era, and were
brewed in October with alcohol contents of 7%
and 8% ,respectively.

Now my curiosity was really aroused, but still I
balked at the idea of thirteen bucks a sixpack.  I
questioned the proprietor about the sale of
individual bottles, to which he responded in the
negative.  Each week on  my trip to the store
I’d see that display and notice that neither the
stock nor the price had decreased.  

Finally, while checking out the stock of
individual bottles as I always do, I discovered
that the “Ales of the Revolution” had indeed
been given a place of honor at $2.50/bottle.  
Although the price was even greater than the
$49/case I figured I could spend five bucks to
try a bottle of each.

I rushed home to put them in my beer
refrigerator( every beerfan has a fridge
exclusively for beer,no?) to cool while I did
some yard work and took a bike ride. Returning
home I showered, got out my favorite beer
glass, took the “Ales of the Revolution” to the
deck and sat down to read Larry McMurtry.

With great anticipation I opened the
Jefferson Tavern Ale
and was immediately
reminded of British French fries , onto which a
copious amount of vinegar had been splashed.
Only half the bottle could be poured into the
glass since the overcarbonation caused a great,
frothy head to rise to the top and cascade down
the sides and onto the pages of the McMurtry

A special bonus of this beer is the “secondary”
head! This one came out of the bottle neck like
an oil field gusher, and went through the cracks
in the picnic tabletop onto my shoes. Holding
the bottle up to the sunset, I noticed what
appeared to snowflakes racing madly around
the inside. If the Yards company had had a little
more foresight, they could have installed little
houses or reindeer in the bottoms of the bottles
and marketed this crap as snowglobes at

I figured anything that costs $49/case, has to
be good and I probably just got a bad bottle, so
I dumped the remainder into the window boxes
of impatiens (the flowers around the deck seem
to thrive on the dregs of last night’s beer
bottles) and uncapped the
George Washington
Tavern Porter
. Unfortunately, ditto except that
due to it’s darker color it was harder to see the
snowflakes. The flowers had a good night.

“Ales of the Revolution” is an appropriate
slogan because the average drinker would easily
be revolted by this awful stuff. I think the
Continental Army gave barrels of this slop to the
Redcoats, who took a sip, promptly
surrendered, and returned to England in search
of drinkable ale. The rest is history.

At the 8% alcohol level this beer should last
longer than the seven months since it was
brewed. I’ve had trouble with Yards beers in
the past. Sometimes they’re good, often
they’re not drinkable. So unless, like the
Pubcrawler Reviewers of “Gettysbrew”, you
want to see for yourself, RUN….DON’T WALK,
away from any display of “Ales of the
Dan tackles the
of 1776
(that's the

$12.99 a
great beer or
swill ??   

Find out in

this month's
installment of
"Beer My
Dan Hodge

Someone has
to say these
things and it
could only be

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by   Dan Hodge