Friday, June 26, 2015

That 'Weasel' tune

There's an ice cream truck that roams through Telford playing the same tinkling music over and over. But today, the ice cream man changed the song to "Pop Goes the Weasel." Right away I thought of the second-ever Three Stooges short, "Punch Drunks," the only one of their Columbia Pictures shorts that Moe, Larry and Curly get writing credits. Note that Curly also uses his regular speaking voice.

And then I remembered this Weasel tune.

A blistering jab at Vanilla Ice -- sampling Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer," The Who's "Eminence Front" (which oddly is being used to sell GMCs), and Stevie Wonder's "You Haven't Done Nothing"(Presumably, unlike Ice, 3rd Bass got their samples cleared) -- in a bizarro turn of the tables, Vanilla Ice landed on his feet, even hosting a home improvement TV show on DIY. Meanwhile 3rd Bass has been relegated to the answer of a '90s trivia question.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Craft distilling the new in thing

Craft beer brewing? Old news.
You've perhaps heard about Lansdale getting an artisanal liquor distillery. Here's the latest on that development.
But the Mamedovs of Boardroom Spirits are not the only ones in on this party. Since April 2014, Chris Moyer, a 1988 Souderton Area High School grad, and a fraternity brother from his days at Bloomsburg University, have been harnessing the bounty of New York's Hudson Valley to make hand crafted vodka, applejack, gin, whiskey, and something called "Fine Shine," from ingredients harvested from their farm and apple orchard (The whiskey involves a New York craft porter beer). The Hudson Valley Distillers LLC tasting room is on Route 9 in Clermont, N.Y. HVD celebrates its one-year anniversary of being in business with an all-ages public party, featuring live music, on Saturday June 20.
In a phone interview, Moyer said that the biggest differences between mass produced liquors and craft spirits like the ones he and business partner Tom Yozzo are distilling are the absence of additives, but with distinctive flavors brought by naturally occurring yeast, the wood of the barrels (There's a lot of nuance to the barrels the liquor ages in) and the Hudson Valley's soil and weather.  
After he explained that Fine Shine is really just a clear, non-aged, but still alcoholic, applejack, I asked Moyer if there were any plans to try making rum or tequila. After all, a rye whiskey made with New York rye and barley (a crop The Empire State is not known for, he said) is in development.
Surprisingly, sugar cane for rum can be greenhouse cultivated, and an experiment to see if it'll work is a realistic future challenge. However, there will not be a Hudson Valley Distillers tequila because it's not the right climate for agave.  

Chris Moyer (left) and Tom Yozzo of Hudson Valley Distillers.

Detail of the still at Hudson Valley Distillers in New York.

The distillery and offices are in a 150-year-old barn building.

The Cocktail Grove at Hudson Valley Distillers in New York.

Their website tells you when they're open for tours, how to get there, even some cocktail ideas. They're on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, but how about exporting to the folks back home in Pennsylvania? While he didn't completely rule it out, Moyer did say: "We'd have to get a distributor. We're not in this to distribute nationally."
Hudson Valley Distillers has high marks on Trip Advisor, so who's up for a road trip? According to Moyer, HVD gets between 150-200 visitors each month,