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The most interesting thing about beer writer and historian Dale Van Wieren for the moment is that the man has tasted and logged notes on nearly 10,000 beers and doesn't think for a moment that such behavior is at all unusual.

But the most interesting thing about Dale Van Wieren as of Saturday, Nov. 21, will be that he will reach the magic 10,000 mark at Sly Fox Brewhouse & Eatery in Phoenixville with a special one-off beer which he and brewmaster Brian O'Reilly brewed in late October (photo).

Dale's 10K, an "amber Pils/Dubbel/Bier de Garde hybrid of about 7.5% abv" in O'Reilly's words, will be tapped at 5pm and Dale will then sip and make notes as his friends and an expected crowd of Sly Fox regulars and beer aficionados drawn to the historic occasion cheer him on before rushing to the bar to enjoy their own pints of 10K.

Until and unless someone disputes the claim, Dale and Sly Fox are saying that he holds the American beer-tasting record, so that "historic" claim is not hyperbole.*

Here, in Dale's own words, is how he achieved his plateau of beer geekiness:
In 1971, shortly after my 21st birthday, some friends and I went down to Lentz?s Beer of All Nations bar in Allentown and picked up several different take-out brews. For some reason, probably unknown to even me at the time, I wrote down the beers we had, their characteristics, and how I rated them on a five star scale. I also saved the bottles. I?ve kept a record of every beer I?ve had since then, and saved the bottles too.? The first four, by the way, were Dinkelacher Black Forest Lager, Fix Beer, Kirin Beer and Stegmaier Porter.

For years I would only count bottled beer and there are about 7500 bottles on shelves in my garage and house, along with tons of brewery advertising items. In response to the can collecting craze, breweries would put the same beer in several dozen different cans. The can was the product. I visited breweries and talked to the brewmasters, learning which bottled brands were actually different beers, and stuck to them (14 formulas for example served hundreds of canned brands for Pittsburgh Brewing). At some point, interest in the beer took precedence over bottle collecting, and I began cataloguing draft brews and cans. And as the craft brewing industry took off, and beer festivals proliferated, the number of brews logged increased at a greater rate.

The record-keeping varied. I went through a phase after sitting with the company taste testers at the G. Heileman brewery in Lacrosse where I used their forms for a while. Eventually, I decided drinking had become too much work, and scaled back to recording the name, brewery and rating. I also put it all on computer.

In addition to tasting beers, my wife and I began in 1973 visiting breweries around the country as we traveled. By 1978 I had begun writing about breweries in a quarterly column in The Keg, a publication of the Eastern Coast Breweriana Association. In 1982 I began writing my column under the name "The Beerhunter." About eight years later a certain Englishman came up with the same name. Fortunately for the course of beer in the world, my lawyer dissuaded me from trying to stop him from using that name. I still write my quarterly column, and have done many other articles for collectors? publications over the years, plus writing the "Eastern Pennsylvania" column for Mid-Atlantic Brewing News for five years. I had also begun researching brewery history while in high school, which led to my work on American Breweries I and II.

While no one really knows how many closet beer recorders there may be in the world, All About Beer magazine recently put forth 9,000 as the highest known recorded total in the United States (13,500 for a man in the Netherlands is number one world wide).I am on a schedule now that will put me at 10,000 different brews as of 11/21/2009, so for the moment, I proclaim myself as number one in the US. *
* Dale Van Wieren's 10,000th beer will not be an American record, based on this story from 2007.

BEER HISTORIAN DALE VAN WIEREN will create History at Sly Fox by tasting his 10,000th beer on Nov 21st...





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On the First Friday of every month, Incubus Tripel goes on tap at Noon, only in Phoenixville.

The culmination of Hop Project 2009,
with all 11 Varietal Pale Ales on tap at Phoenixville plus
the release of Odyssey Imperial IPA!

On the Third Friday of the month, a firkin of cask ale goes onto one of the hand pumps in Phoenixville at Noon.


Sly Fox Brewing's Pikeland Pils was named National Grand Champion in the Pilsner category at the recently completed 15th annul United States Beer Tasting Championship? (USBTC) Summer Event.

The award topped off a stretch in which the brewery's award-winning Pilsner received considerable national attention, being featured in beer articles in Details, Gentleman's Quarterly and Penthouse magazines in recent months.

The USBTC determines both a Grand Champion and the best entry in various style categories from each of six U.S. regions: Northeast, Mid-Atlantic/Southeast, Midwest, Rockies/Southwest, California and Northwest/Pacific. In addition to the Pikeland award, Sly Fox Saison Vos won the Belgian/French Specialty category in the Mid-Atlantic/Southeast region.

A total of 379 beers from 137 breweries were examined across 14 different beer categories in this year's competition. The competition is held in multiple stages: sequential field trials are conducted wherein judges select the best beers to advance to subsequent rounds, allowing entries to be judged in relatively small flights. All beers were tasted blind.

A delay in receiving all the necessary building permits has set back moving Sly Fox Phoenixville across Rt. 113 to its new location in the Maple Lawn Shopping Center until early next year.

"Even though appearances may be deceiving since there's no construction going on, we are moving along with a lot of the work necessary to make the move," says Pete Giannopoulos, "but at this point, given the coming holiday season, we wouldn't try to get open this year in any case. Looking at things on the bright side, and that's always my philosophy, we can use the extra time to be sure we get everything exactly right and to work out a lot of the details about the interior. Where do we put this? Where do we hang that? I'd like to have gotten into the new location as quickly as we could-believe me, we are as excited as our customers about taking this next big step-but you don't always get want you want in this life."

Check the Sly Fox website or one of our other internet presences (see next item) regularly for further updates.

Are you a friend of Sly Fox on Facebook yet? Well, you should be, so come and join the fun. All the Sly Fox news you need to know, a chance to exchange beer thoughts with other Sly Fox fans and, coming soon, regular contests where you can win Sly Fox gear with you photos and creative efforts.

As of September, the second Wednesday of every month is Royersford Green Drinks at Sly Fox.
If the environment is your thing?and it should be everybody?s?stop in at? Sly Fox Brewery & Restaurant on Lewis Road at 6pm and share a pint or three with others who share an interest in sustainability and environmental issues.

To show its support for this worthy cause, Sly Fox has extended Happy Hour to 8pm for this monthly gathering. Tables will be set up by the bar--just look for the Green Drinks Royersford logo.

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