Philly Today: Rita’s Water Ice, Now in Beer Form

Plus: A CHOP expert weighs in on where COVID came from, an Eagle gets hitched, a Sixers win, and oh, those happy Penn kids.

rita's beer water ice neshaminy creek

Rita’s beer! / Photograph courtesy of Neshaminy Creek Brewery

Now, That’s Refreshing!

Just in case you missed snagging your free Rita’s water ice on the first day of spring, we wanted to share that you can now imbibe the Bensalem-born brand in the form of a beer. Neshaminy Creek Brewery is teaming up with Rita’s for a new line of “Rita’s Fruit Brews,” the first of which, Rita’s Fruit Brew Mango Blonde Ale, is launching at Neshaminy’s taprooms, in Croyden, Dublin and New Hope, and soon at distributors. But not, alas, at Rita’s water-ice stands.

Booze You Can Use

And in more booze news, Modern Farmer has the tale of how New Liberty Distillery’s Rob Cassell has joined in the revival of nearly extinct heirloom Bloody Butcher corn to use in his classic moonshine.

Where COVID Came From

CHOP infectious-disease and vaccine expert Paul Offit has handed down his opinion: COVID came from the Wuhan wet market and not from a lab leak. Good enough for us.

You May Kiss the Bride

People magazine covered the March 25th wedding of Philadelphia Eagles guard Landon Dickerson to college sweetheart Brooke Kuhlman, held in South Carolina. She wore a gown from Ardmore’s Elizabeth Johns; he cleaned up nice.

By the Numbers

5: Minutes it will take you to read this New York Times Magazine article on what Abbott Elementary has to teach us about life.

1.96 million: Square footage of a group of massive warehouses being built on a lovely stretch of rural Chester County. The Downingtown Area School District bought the land for $22 million in 2006 and is selling it for more than $96 million to Audubon Land Development. At least the kids will benefit.

#1: Penn’s ranking as the “happiest college in Pennsylvania,” according to a study using artificial intelligence to scan geotagged images of different universities and analyze how many people in them were smiling. Oh, Penn was also seventh overall in the U.S.; number one was Texas Christian University.

6: Philly restaurants and chefs nominated for 2023 James Beard Awards. Hearty congrats to Friday, Saturday, Sunday (outstanding restaurant); Ellen Yin (outstanding restaurateur); Jesse Ito of Royal Sushi, Dionicio Jiménez of Cantina La Martina, and Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranon of Kalaya (best chef, Mid-Atlantic); and Amanda Shulman of Her Place Supper Club (emerging chef). Keep on cooking!

And from the Here-We-Go! Sports Desk …

The first “real” game of the Phillies season is today at 4:05, against the Texas Rangers in Arlington. Catch up on everything red with Laura Swartz’s handy explainer.

Some Eagles fans’ prayers have been answered: Look what’s making a comeback!

And the Sixers came home again after their long, hard road trip out West to play the Mavericks. Stop me if you’ve heard this: Embiid and Harden were listed as questionable prior to the game. But come tip-off, they were were in the starting lineup, thank God, with Harris, Tucker and Maxey. Oh yeah — Dallas was where Kyrie Irving ended up; I almost forgot that. And the Mavericks have … not been good. But they got off to an early lead with a 16-6 run in the first quarter. Georges Niang pulled the Sixers within two with back-to-back triples, and Melton hit one, too, for the lead with a minute left. A final Dallas flurry and a bad call on the clock expiration made it 37-28 at the close of the quarter. In the second quarter, the Sixers fell behind by 12 on a 10-3 Mavericks run and hung around there for a while before pulling closer. At the half: 62-57.

There was a restart delay when one of the baskets suffered the loss of a loop and had to be repaired, but no one seemed to mind the extra breather. The Sixers started strong, battling to a three-point lead halfway through the third, but the Mavs kept pulling ahead. That is, until Niang tied it at the close of the third, 89-89. Whoops, dumb flagrant-one foul by Jalen McDaniels with four seconds left. Make that 91-89 Mavs.

In the fourth, a weary-looking Embiid came alive to put the Sixers up by five with five minutes left. Oh my goodness, Mavs Twitter was up in arms! Was this the Sixers playing … defense? They were pretty good at it, too! Up by seven with a minute to go. And cue the song: 116-108!

Tonight, the Flyers play.