Columnist: ‘Beer is pretty much beer if you ask me’

Jess Harter | Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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More quality coverage of craft beer from the Arizona Republic, this time courtesy of columnist Clay Thompson.

From his question-and-answer column posted on AZ Central this morning:

Today’s question: I keep seeing a commercial touting one beer company’s “IPA?” What the heck is an IPA?

Now I get that Thompson’s schtick is trying to be “folksy,” but his response is cringeworthy:

Beats me. I’ve never heard of it, either.

International Philosophic Association? Industrial Pee Analysts? Indiana Petunia Access?

None of the above. It turns out that IPA – or more correctly Ipa, I suppose – stands for India pale ale, a type of suds which, according to beeradvocate.com is, at least in its American form, “a different soul from the reincarnated IPA style. More flavorful than the withering English IPA, color can range from very pale golden to reddish amber. Hops are typically American with a big herbal and/or citric character, bitterness is high as well. Moderate- to medium-bodied with a balancing malt backbone.”

“Withering English IPA?” Whatever. Beer is pretty much beer if you ask me. Withering or reincarnated, it all makes you stupid.

And the Republic wants us to pay how much every month for great information like this?

Latest info on today’s Founders release parties

Jess Harter | Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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I can’t believe this is the third post I’ve had to write about today’s confusing Founders Brewing Arizona release parties – thank you, Hensley! – but now that the “surprise” tappings have been outed, here’s the latest info for the East Valley…

At The Hungry Monk in Chandler, six Founders beers – Curmudgeon Old Ale, Dirty Bastard, Centennial IPA, Red’s Rye IPA, Porter, Pale Ale, and All Day IPA – will be tapped around noon. The exception is Kentucky Breakfast Stout, which will be tapped at 6:30 p.m. A Founders rep will be giving away swag from 5-7 p.m.

At Boulders on Broadway in Tempe, they’ll be tapping all the Founders beers, including Kentucky Breakfast Stout, at 11 a.m. There’ll be a chicken-and-waffles brunch special. The promotional event will be 6-8 p.m.

At World of Beer Gilbert, they’re tapping all the Founders beers, including Kentucky Breakfast Stout, at 11 a.m. The promotional event will be 7-9 p.m.

At Papago Brewing in Scottsdale, they’re tapping six Founders beers – all except Kentucky Breakfast Stout – at noon. KBS will be tapped during the promotonal event from 6-8 p.m., when all seven Founders beers will be $1 off.

For other Founders release parties in Arizona, click here.

Earlier:
Founders beers coming to Arizona
Will Founders launch parties have KBS?

Post image for It’s Wine Wednesday! Here are today’s East Valley deals

It’s Wednesday, which means deals on wine…

Today’s wine specials:

May 3: Cinco de Mayo celebration at La Ristra

Jess Harter | Tuesday, April 22, 2014

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May 1: Grand Canyon beer dinner at Flancer’s

Jess Harter | Tuesday, April 22, 2014

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To see the full-size version, click here.

New Times does a 180 on ‘outing’ anonymous critics

Jess Harter | Tuesday, April 22, 2014

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Prominent Valley chef Payton Curry, responding to a less-than-flattering review in Phoenix Magazine, posted a photo of Valley dining critic Gwen Ashley Walters on his Twitter feed Monday.

The chef behind Brat Haus and Taco Haus wrote, “Looking forward to thanking you in person for the review!”

How did Curry get the photo of the anonymous critic, who had reviewed Taco Haus? Apparently he simply googled her. In fact, such a search will bring up several old corporate photos of Walters.

I’ll leave it to others to discuss whether a chef’s unmasking of an anonymous critic is unethical, as I will the question of whether having photos readily available online is a mitigating factor.

What bothers me, though, is the hypocrisy of the media, in this case Phoenix New Times, which wrote a blog post today headlined, “Payton Curry Posts Photo of Food Critic on Twitter — Way to Keep It Classy, Chef.

You see, those who have been around the Valley long enough may remember when Howard Seftel left New Times to work at the Arizona Republic, where he has become the state’s foremost dining critic.

New Times’s response? They ran Seftel’s photo. In print. And they included the caption, “Restaurant owners, clip this and save.”

Way to keep it classy, indeed.

Panera Bread opening next week in south Chandler

Jess Harter | Tuesday, April 22, 2014

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The East Valley will get its first Panera Bread next week when the St. Louis-based chain opens a bakery-cafe on the northeast corner of Arizona Avenue and Ocotillo in south Chandler.

Panera Bread, which is scheduled to open its Chandler location Monday, sells 16 kinds of freshly baked bread, ranging from sourdough to cinnamon raisin swirl.

The cafe menu includes bagels and breakfast sandwiches in the morning, and sandwiches, panini, and soup in bread bowls for lunch and dinner.

In 2007, Panera purchased a majority stake in Valley-based Paradise Bakery & Café, which has more than 70 locations in 10 states. It bought the rest of Paradise in 2009.

Panera opened its first Valley location in Phoenix last month. It also has three stores in Tucson.

Post image for Philly’s Sports Bar & Grill opens Philly’s on Priest

Philly’s Sports Bar & Grill, a mainstay for the past 19 years on Scottsdale Road in north Tempe, opened a spinoff location, Philly’s on Priest, Monday in west Tempe.

The new location, on Priest about a half-mile north of Broadway, formerly was home to Hail Mary’s and, later, Mary’s Place.

Philly’s offers six 8-inch varieties of its namesake sandwich ($8.50-$9.50 with side).

Otherwise, the menu is typical sports bar fare, mostly burgers ($8-$10), sandwiches ($9-$11.50), and pizzas ($6-$16).

Philly’s on Priest is open for lunch and dinner daily.

Post image for It’s Taco Tuesday! Here are today’s East Valley taco deals

It’s Tuesday, which means taco deals…

Feds yank approval of Valley man’s powdered alcohol

Jess Harter | Monday, April 21, 2014

Post image for Feds yank approval of Valley man’s powdered alcohol

In one of the coolest – and potentially scariest – products I’ve seen in a while, a Valley resident has created powdered alcohol. Whether he will be able to sell it remains to be seen.

According to Mark Phillips, you can tear open a 1-ounce package of his powder, add 5 ounces of water, and – presto! – instant cocktail.

The powder, which he’s calling “Palcohol,” comes in two spirits – a premium vodka distilled four times and a premium Puerto Rican rum – that can be enjoyed straight up or mixed with another beverage, such as orange juice or Coca-Cola.

One ounce of powder makes the equivalent of one shot.

There also are four cocktail versions – Cosmopolitan, Mojito, Powderita (Margarita), and Lemon Drop – that only require the addition of water.

Phillips, who lives in Phoenix, received federal approval for Palcohol earlier this month.

After a flurry of publicity in recent days, though, a rep from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) announced late Monday that approval was an error.

Gimmick or godsend?

MarkPhillipsPalcoholPhillips (pictured), a nationally known wine personalty and author of the 2009 bestseller “Swallow This” says the inspiration for Palcohol came from his frequent outdoor activities. After hiking, biking, or kayaking, he likes to enjoy a drink but doesn’t want to carry a bottle.

Already, some critics are questioning the Pandora’s box that powdered alcohol would open. For example, people could bring it into an event or venue that doesn’t allow alcohol far easier than a bottle.

There also are concerns some people may try to snort the powder, although a filler already has been added to increase the volume of the powder for that very reason.

Although the ATF spokesman didn’t say what “error” had taken place in the approval process, the company making Palcohol says it will re-submit the powder for approval.

The company says Phillips was traveling today and unavailable for comment.

(Note: This post was updated after the federal announcement late today.)