Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Archive

So, one free day I resolved to go
 inside.  The outside appears to be a vast warehouse, void of windows and aesthetics.  It deceived me and left me utterly unprepared for what lay inside.  I crossed the threshold and was immediately overwhelmed by florescent lights and shelves, upon shelves, upon rooms of books.  Straight ahead there was a room with a door closed that displayed a sign with a time limit and age requirement for entering, because it's is a room stacked to the gills with old Playboys and other semi-scandalous magazines.  
Beyond that a desk of comic books.  Beyond that a room full of children's books.  On my first trip here I found a children's history book from Abraham Lincoln's administration for $15 - The American Child's Pictorial History of the United States.  I held it like a Bible and walked the rest of the warehouse in absolute wonder.  
I was Alice In Wonderland.  (which I very fittingly purchased from there on another visit.)  I had fallen down the rabbit hole and did not care if I ever returned.  I went through the room with vintage magazines, old documents, prints, people's personal photos, boxes of match stick books, paintings, and God knows what else and arrived in a musical oasis.  
Boxes of vinyls lined a wall.   I breezed by various mini-stores full of nick knacks and toys.  I found a Cobra Commander station I swear my brothers had when I was little, among other frightening, hilarious and just plain awesome items.  

Eventually I made it back to the checkout and handed over the meager $15 for a piece of history.  I met owners Nancy and Dale who were more than friendly and took the time to find out what my interests were.  They have since set aside items they think may be of interest to me.

I have been back several times and have made this my official stop for all my records.  Their reasonable prices and vast treasures continually reel me in.  You should absolutely make this a stop if you are ever in Lansdale.  I promise you'll not be disappointed in this treasure chest with something for everyone.

The Archive
725 W. Second Street
Lansdale, Pa 19446 

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Nerd Beer

On an inauspicious Saturday night with little money and no plans, my husband and I hopped into our car went for mexican food and then began a quest.  He had come home earlier that week and shared with me a fascinating article he'd read in the UPenn Gazette about McGovern, the director of UPenn's Bio molecular Laboratory, and Calagione, the founder of Dogfish Head Brewery coming together to brew "Ancient Ales".  

"McGovern, the scientific director of the Bio molecular Archaeology Laboratory for Cuisine, Fermented Beverages, and Health at the Penn Museum, has spent the last two decades on the trail of ancient wines and beers. Scraping the gunk out of old cauldrons and pottery sherd's, he has found evidence of alcoholic beverages as far apart in space and time as Iron Age Turkey and Neolithic China. Some of his discoveries have been surprising. Some have been bizarre. Using tools like mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography, McGovern has deciphered, with unprecedented exactitude, the ingredients of fermented beverages brewed as far back as 9,000 years ago. 

Calagione has helped him put some of that evidence to a literal taste-test. Together they have reverse-engineered four archaic grogs. Each started out as an academic exercise, but the project has taken on a commercial life of its own. Two have won medals at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado. One, a mixed wine/beer/mead concoction reconstructed from McGovern’s analysis of a drinking set buried with the legendary King Midas circa 700 B.C., has won more awards than anything else Dogfish Head makes. "
- UPenn Gazette

Read the full article at:

That's right!  An archaeologist has just spent part of his career analyzing ancient ruins to figure out what their poison was.  Then a local brewer (Dogfish calls Milton Delaware home) says, "Hey, how about I just take those findings and turn it into some tasty concoctions so people can experience what ancient civilizations experienced."  Say no more!  I'm sold!  It's really a nerd meets libation love story and I fell in love.  So, archaeologist scrapes ancient barrels.  Brewer brews concoctions and on a cold January night a couple of enthusiasts hop into a car with a mission.  

First we went to a local store that sells beer.  No go.  Then we went to a large beer distributor, but to no avail.  Finally we went to the Blue Dog Cafe in Valley Forge Road in Lansdale.  This is a bar I frequent to grab a stout and edit my photos in peace on Monday nights.  So, I was pleased to find they did not disappoint.  They hosted a variety of the beers mentioned in the article at varying, but reasonable prices.  We assembled a six pack and made our way back home.

We had agreed that we were extremely interested in "The Midas Touch" as it infused elements of wine and beer together.  Seeing as we both love wine and beer, but rarely drink any hard liquor, this sounded brilliant to us.  Perhaps our "kill two birds with one stone", is over kill, but never the less, we agreed to snag a few of these for our six pack.

I have to say The Midas Tough is gold!  The flavors are unique and distinct, but not over powering.   One can taste the fruity influences.  However, they do not subtract from the dominating hops flavor.  I recommend any beer, wine or cultural enthusiast hurry out and snag a brew or two before they're gone.  If you decide you can't get enough then certainly visit the brewery, which is practically in your back yard if you live in the tri-state area. (I mean, it's Delaware.  How long can it take to get to any point in that state? P.S. No sales tax, score!)  I plan to go on a tour, myself in the near future.  Maybe I'll see you there and we can share a pint together.