In his new book, Don Russell asks: ‘What the Hell am I Drinking?’

Don Russell — aka Joe Sixpack — isn’t complaining about the wealth of beer in Philly.

Don Russell likes beer. It’s as simple as that. As a founder of Philly Beer Week, he’s had a part in putting Philly on the map as a craft brew destination, but we’ve also known him to enjoy a green Miller Light on St. Patrick’s Day.

His latest book wants to make a similarly educated, open-minded beer-lover out of you before the hops snobs ruin your fun. Written under his pen name Joe Sixpack, “What the Hell am I?Drinking?” is a collection of 50 essays designed to shed some light on the gigantic draft list now available at your corner bar.

We caught up with him because, well, we never know what we’re drinking over here.

Do even you wonder what the hell you’re drinking?

It’s gotten to the point that yes, sometimes. I remember when you just asked for a beer and that was it. It was just beer. I think today, beer drinkers are confronted with thousands of different styles and might not be completely sure what they’re ordering.

Is that a good thing?

I think it’s a good thing — I’ll never complain about more beer. I’ve thought for some time now that we’re living in the best time ever to be drinking beer. Pretty much anyone can find a beer that they’ll really enjoy the flavor of. But an educated consumer is a good consumer.

It’s almost as intimidating as ordering wine.

I’ve described it as the wine-ification of beer. Beer, in many ways, has done things that are very wine-like. A good example is the price of beer. It’s inching upward and upward all the time. And I think that’s a bad thing — beer should be accessible, and it has to be careful about turning off consumers because it’s too expensive or too special. What beer has always done well is that it is the everyman drink — you shouldn’t have to worry about how to pronounce it.

Is part of this because we’re in beer-crazed Philly?

Philly is leaps and bounds beyond almost every other city in the country, but it is happening everywhere. When we started Philly Beer Week in 2008, it was the first one in the country. Now there are over 75 of them. And it’s not just big cities — I saw one the other day in Huntsville, Ala. I don’t think there’s much of a beer culture down there besides Bud, but they got it together.


So, what the hell are you drinking for Thanksgiving?

   
You would think that there would be a lot of fall beers out right now, but unfortunately most of the pumpkin beers are off the shelves. Right now, you’re apt to find the first of the Christmas beers coming in — some of the outstanding beers from Belgium and some of the American craft beers.

What’s on Joe Sixpack’s Christmas list?

Here are his three picks for seasonal brews this year:

1. Anchor’s 2011 Christmas Ale

2. Troeg’s Mad Elf Ale

3. Lion Brewery’s Stegmaier Winter Warmer


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Federal prosecutors charge 3 men in multi-million dollar…

Federal prosecutors in New York charged three men in connection with a $33 million fine art scam that spanned more than two decades.

Local

Metro-North unveils solar-powered kiosks at Bronx station

The Woodlawn station will take part a pilot program to test solar-powered kiosk with real-time arrival and departure times for connecting services.

Local

Central Park's Tavern on the Green to reopen…

The famous Central Park restaurant Tavern on the Green will once again welcome diners on Thursday, April 24 after its closure in January 2010.

National

University of New Mexico running back arrested for…

By Joseph J. KolbALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (Reuters) - A University of New Mexico football player has been arrested on suspicion of raping and kidnapping a…

Television

John Turturro tags in for Robert De Niro…

The cast of the courtroom drama miniseries has undergone yet another shift. Following Robert De Niro's exit, the cable network has brought in John Turturro…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, April 22: 'Glee,' 'Agents…

'Glee' Rachel makes her Broadway debut in "Funny Girl." Remember when she was just a high school drama nerd? FOX, 8PM 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'…

The Word

Lindsay Lohan's big, drunk interview

Lindsay Lohan appears to be completely off the wagon now, if Kode magazine's chronicle of her trip to Coachella is any indication. According to the…

The Word

What we learned from the premiere of 'True…

Does watching someone's marriage implode make for great TV? The show runners at "True Tori" think Tori Spelling's heartbreak is hot stuff indeed.

NBA

Nets settle for 1-1 series tie with Game…

DeMar DeRozan, who was an All-Star this season, hit two huge jumpers back-to-back to give the Raptors an 89-85 lead over the Nets with 2:10 to play.

NHL

Rangers reclaim home ice with Game 3 road…

The Rangers jumped out to a 2-0 lead early in the first period for the second straight game. This time, they held on.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Brewers best in baseball, Dodgers,…

MLB Power Rankings: Brewers best in baseball, Dodgers, Cardinals, Yankees surge. The A's, Braves, Rangers, Giants and Rockies are also in the top 10.

NBA

Jason Kidd reacts to Mike Woodson being fired…

Jason Kidd played for Mike Woodson last year and Joe Johnson spent four seasons being the main focus on offense for Woodson in Atlanta.

Wellbeing

How to burn off all that Easter candy

Sorry to be a buzzkill, but you can't eat chocolate eggs and Jelly Bellys forever.

Food

Powdered alcohol: 5 things to know about 'Palcohol'

What's the deal with powdered alcohol? Here's what you need to know about Palcohol.

Travel

Travel hacks: 6 tips on living out of…

Lynne Martin shares her travel hacks on living out of just two suitcases.

Wellbeing

Tough Mudder pro gives tips on conquering a…

Learn hacks from head designer Nolan Kombol.