Don Russell celebrates the debut of his book,
Joe Sixpack’s Philly Beer Guide
PHILADELPHIA, PA - In March, Don Russell, one of the best-known American beer writers, will celebrate the release of his first book, Joe Sixpack’s Philly Beer Guide: A Reporter’s Notes on the Best Beer-Drinking City in America (Camino Books, 240 pages, $14.95.) The book will be the first comprehensive guide to all of the great beers, taverns, and elbow-bending traditions of Russell’s home town.
“Philadelphia is unmatched as a beer town,” says Russell, who names Brussels, Belgium and Portland, Oregon as the only other cities that can be compared with Philly in terms of beer. According to Russell, diversity is the No. 1 factor that sets Philadelphia apart from other worthy beer destinations. While some regions tend to adopt a single style as their own, Philadelphia-area brewers turn out the full spectrum of traditional styles while pushing the envelope with extreme beer innovations. “We don’t play favorites here,” says Russell.
Philadelphia is home to some of the most famous watering holes in The United States, including Monk’s Café and Standard Tap. World-class breweries such as Yards, Victory, Stoudt’s, Slyfox, Flying Fish, and Dogfish Head call the greater Philadelphia region home, and the area boasts award-winning brewpubs, including Nodding Head, Dock Street, and Triumph. In his book, Russell cites more than 300 places to grab a great beer.
Another trait Russell examines in his book is the authenticity of Philadelphia’s tavern scene. “The fact that our bars are woven into the fabric of each neighborhood makes it a world class beer city,” says Russell. Unlike the cookie cutter and chain restaurant bars that are ubiquitous elsewhere in the U.S., Philadelphia’s highly individual corner bars typically offer excellent beers right where people live as well as the opportunity to participate in the community. “It’s the social lubricant of our daily lives,” says Russell. “The City of Brotherly Love is renowned for its amazing beer bars.”
Philadelphians themselves are another factor in the city’s superiority as a beer town. “We’re known around the world for our savvy beer drinkers,” says Russell. He notes that many of the best imported Belgian and German beers are shipped to Philly first while the rest of the world is relegated to leftovers. Joe Sixpack’s Philly Beer Guide will give visitors insider tips and a strong sense of place, while Philadelphians will recognize themselves in the pages and acknowledge Russell’s collected beer expertise as a must-have resource.
Don Russell is a beer reporter who has been penning his Joe Sixpack column for the Philadelphia Daily News since 1996. He has traveled extensively, visiting many of the world’s great beer cities, including the world’s northernmost brewery in Honningsvag, Norway. Before devoting himself to full time beer reporting, Russell spent 30 years writing for daily newspapers, including many years at the Daily News as a general assignment reporter. One of his most prominent stories centered on the infamous suds-skimming scandal at Philadelphia’s Veterans Stadium in 1998. Russell exposed disreputable vendors who were shorting baseball fans during games, ultimately forcing the stadium to slash prices. He is also a contributing writer for Beer Advocate and Draft Magazine and is a two-time winner of the Great American Beer Festival’s “Journalist of the Year” award. Russell lives in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia.
Joe Sixpack’s Philly Beer Guide will be officially launched during Philadelphia Beer Week at Joe Sixpack’s Philly Favorites event at The Marketplace at East Falls on Friday, March 7. This beer-tasting extravaganza will give fans a chance to meet Russell and taste many of the area’s best brews all in one place. For more information about Russell’s work and upcoming events, visit www.joesixpack.net.
JOE SIXPACK: A Reporter’s Notes on the Best Beer-Drinking City in America
5 ½” x 81/2”
240 pages, maps, 50 photographs