Honey Bee Brew: Ancient beverage finds newfound buzz

The fermented love child of honey, water and yeast, mead has been charming the palates of drinkers since the dawn of time (well, not technically, but 2000 B.C. is pretty close). And it’s having a bit of a moment in this millennium, too. For the DIY-inclined, mead is a popular homebrew project. Nancy Rigberg, co-owner of Home Sweet Homebrew, says the greatest challenge to crafting flavorful mead is to be patient.
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Power Grapes: Local vintners do more than wine about the environment

When it comes to caring about the well-being of the environment, Pennsylvania’s roughly 200 wineries are inherently invested in sustainable practices, according to Jennifer Eckinger, executive director at the Pennsylvania Winery Association.

“Using our locally produced products is obviously a big part of all these wineries,” Eckinger says. “But caring for the land and being good stewards of the soil and water is also part and parcel of what these businesses are about. It’s about being sustainable for them and for future generations.”

Although any bottle of wine made in Pennsylvania is going to come with a smaller carbon footprint than an Australian shiraz, Eckinger says these nearby Pennsylvania wineries make an extra effort to be responsible.

Crossing Vineyards

Located less than an hour from Philadelphia in Washington’s Crossing, Bucks County, this family-owned vineyard strives for sustainable agricultural practices in the fields and at the winery. A recent upgrade to a geothermal heating and cooling system has significantly reduced energy consumption.

1853 Wrightstown Rd., Washington Crossing

crossingvineyards.com

215-493-6500

Vynecrest Winery

This Lehigh County gem calls a 19th century banked barn home, allowing the winery to take advantage of the earth’s natural insulating properties. They’ve also installed geothermal, taking the bite out of a pricey and carbon-intensive oil heating system.

172 Arrowhead Ln., Breinigsville

vynecrest.com

610-398-7530

Manatawny Creek Winery

Located on the banks of the Manatawny Creek, this Berks County winery uses integrated pest management, has rooftop solar panels and instead of using chemicals, fertilizes their vines with compost made from wine-making byproducts and manure from local farms.

227 Levengood Rd., Douglassville

manatawnycreekwinery.com

610-689-9804

 

Story by Brian Rademaekers illustration by Michael Alan 

Summoning the Spirits: Art in the Age crafts distinctive liquors that celebrate the past

Art in the Age founder Steven Grasse (left) and collaborator Michael AlanWhen it comes to libations, it can be fun to mix things up. But what if you’re after something that’s interesting, straight from the bottle? The lineup of liquors from Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction — Sage, Snap, Rhubarb Tea and Root — exist somewhere outside the scope of the usual boozy suspects.
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