Author: Tom Ward

Hard sodas catch fire

I’m always looking for new column ideas, and a number of people have recently urged me to write on the rise in popularity of hard sodas, which my son dubbed “reverse mocktails.” The concept didn’t sound too good to me — kind of like candy cigarettes — but, in the interest of science, I thought I’d give a couple of a try. Hard sodas are, technically, flavored beers — as they are malted alcoholic beverages with added sugars and other flavors — although they don’t taste anything like beer. While the boom in hard sodas is a relatively recent development, with a number of different brands putting out a host of different flavors, such beverages go back a number of years to the introduction of Mike’s Hard Lemonade (which, incidentally, I really like) and, for those of you who remember the early ’90s, Zima. Small Town Brewery of Wauconda, Illinois, puts out a number of hard sodas (which, incidentally, they define as beers), under the “Not Your Father’s” and “Not Your Mom’s” brands. The female versions include apple pie, iced tea and strawberry rhubarb flavors, while the male offerings are root beer, ginger ale, cream soda and Mountain Ale. Small Town’s “Not Your Father’s Root Beer” is actually the best-selling hard soda in the United States, but as I had not seen a Mountain Ale from another company, I...

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Craft brew pioneer Dogfish Head comes to Alabama

As much of my misspent youth was on the Delaware shore, I was excited to see the First State’s favorite beer finally available in our area. When Dogfish Head Craft Brewery opened in Rehoboth Beach in 1995, it was the smallest brewery in the nation (in the second-smallest state), according to founder Sam Calagione, who was recently in Mobile to promote the launch of his beers in Alabama. From its humble beginnings, Dogfish Head (the name of a peninsula in Maine) has become one of the country’s most successful and creative craft breweries, and Calagione has become a celebrity...

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Beer festival season is upon us!

We love festivals on the Gulf Coast, and as we approach the end of summer, a number of brewfests for fans of craft beer are coming up in our area. In Mobile, the Dauphin Street Beer Festival has become a staple event of late summer, and as it enters its 20th year it looks to be bigger and better than ever. This year’s festival is Saturday, Aug. 26, from 6-9 p.m. There are will be 29 participating bars and restaurants throughout the LoDa entertainment district, plus the official Beer Fest tent on Cathedral Square. Tickets are $30 and available...

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Mississippi craft beer scene booming

In 1966 Mississippi became the last state in the country to repeal Prohibition, after being dry since 1908, more than a decade before the 18th Amendment was ratified. While the production and sale of alcohol was banned in Mississippi for most of the 20th century, the ban was selectively enforced, especially along the Gulf Coast. Sale of alcohol during these years was sufficiently widespread that the state actually had separate tax codes for “legal-illegal” alcohol (bootleg booze produced legally in other states, and for which federal taxes had been paid) and “illegal-illegal” alcohol (homemade hootch, such as moonshine). Because...

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Readers name their favorite tipples

It’s Nappie time and the votes are in for the best drinks in Mobile! Not surprisingly, local favorite Fairhope Brewing Co. won as Lagniappe readers’ Favorite Craft Beer for the second year in a row with its Take the Causeway IPA, beating out a number of other excellent beers — including its own Judge Roy Bean Stout. Take the Causeway is not only great general local navigation advice, but also a very nice, strong (8.2 percent ABV) IPA with good flavor and not too much bitterness. COMPLETE LIST — 2017 NAPPIE AWARDS In the Favorite Import Beer category, the...

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