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
International

Canadian charged in 'Heartbleed' attack on tax agency

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian police have arrested a 19-year-old man and charged him in connection with exploiting the "Heartbleed" bug to steal taxpayer data from…

National

Every dog has his day in court, in…

(Reuters) - Call him juror K-9.A computer glitch is likely to blame for a summons that called a German Shepherd to report for jury duty,…

Local

Local politicians pressure DOJ to investigate Ramarley Graham…

On what would have been his 21st birthday, Ramarley Graham's mother joined elected leaders to ask the U.S. Department of Justice investigate his death.

Local

Muslim leaders welcome NYPD surveillance changes with degree…

Leaders and advocates praise the NYPD's move to shut down a unit tied to its Muslim surveillance program but say there's more left to do.

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 8

Sure, it's called Survivor. But this season should really be called 'The Tony Show.'

Television

Jim Rash talks 'The Writer's Room' and amazing…

For Jim Rash, as the fifth season of "Community" comes to a close, the second season of "The Writer's Room" begins.

Going Out

Tasty chicken and waffles in NYC

Try some soul food goodness around the city.

Television

'Dexter' star Jennifer Carpenter moves into producing role

The actress who played the title character's sister in "Dexter" is teaming up with producer George Stelzner to adapt Erika Hayasaki's book "The Death Class:…

NHL

Marc Staal healthy, eager to contribute to Rangers…

Marc Staal remembers the feeling of helplessness watching his teammates compete for hockey’s ultimate prize and being unable to contribute.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

NHL

Flyers, Rangers meet in playoffs for 11th time

The Flyers and Rangers will start a new chapter in a historic rivalry.

MLB

Masahiro Tanaka dominates Cubs over eight shutout innings

Masahiro Tanaka certainly had no-hit caliber stuff Wednesday as he allowed just two bunt singles.

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: chocolate may prevent obesity…

Can chocolate prevent obesity and diabetes? Location of study: U.S. Study subjects: Mice Results: The positive health benefits of chocolate have been studied increasingly more…

Wellbeing

This Week in Health News: breastfed infants trying…

Are breastfed infants trying to prevent mom from having another baby? Theory: The act of breastfeeding not only brings mom and baby closer together –…

Wellbeing

Unexplained infertility may be caused by lack of…

Researchers have identified a protein on the egg's surface that interacts with another protein on the surface of sperm, allowing the two cells to join.

Tech

5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.