30 September 2009

Baltimore Beer Week Update--the Latest UPDATED

After a last(?) meeting with the BBW committee yesterday, here are some updates:

*It appears the magic number of events in the official calendar has become 333 335.  Other events may pop up--I was fielding frantic e-mails yesterday from potential participating venues that wanted to add an event or three--but since the official print deadlines for the official programs, etc. have passed, it looks like we're stuck with a nice, round, "lucky" still adding events to a number that is over twice what we in the committee had originally hoped for.  Not bloody bad for a first year!
There are a couple events that are officially sold out--among them the Clipper City beer brunch and tour on Sunday the 11th and the Red Brick Station Brew With The Brewer Day on the 16th.  A couple events are reportedly under threat of cancellation due to low sales, such as the Red Brick Station Brew Day on Tuesday the 13th and possibly Mahaffey's bus trip to Flying Dog's shindig on the afternoon of the 13th.  If you really want to see certain events come off, don't wait until the last minute!

*I will be the first to concede that the numbers in question have been nicely and handily inflated by certain venues using the same marketing gimmick for ten days running.  Muggsy's Mug House, for example, is doing ten days of hoppy beers as "Hop-toberfest"; Duda's Tavern in Fells Point is offering a Fordham beer as a charity fundraiser; and Jack's Bistro in Canton is offering a $20 prix fixe beer dinner with various rotating beers and menu pairings.  And many breweries are hosting short promotional tastings at various liquor stores throughout the region, including some stores usually well off our radar screens.  That still amounts to an average of 33 or more things you're going to have to choose between each day.

*The six keynote events are here.  They include the obvious Opening Tap and after-party, the Md. Oktoberfest at the State Fairgrounds in Timonium, the Beer Pioneers' Luncheon at Bertha's on Monday the 12th at Bertha's, the Blues and Brews concert at the 8x10 on the 14th, and the Real Ale Festival on the 17th at the Pratt Street Ale House.  (To that list, I'll add the public homebrewing demonstration and display at PSAH on Sunday the 18th.)

*The Baltimore City Paper will be publishing 12-page inserts with the schedules and more in both the Oct. 7th and 14th editions.  Baltimore Beer Week is one of two cover stories in the October-November issue of Mid-Atlantic Brewing News, which is due out on the streets and at your favorite venues momentarily.  (Shameless disclosure:  I write for MABN and wrote the cover story; and have ordered an extra 400-500 to be shipped to me; I will attempt to have them available at the Opening Tap, the Opening Tap after-party, the Oktoberfest, and the Real Ale Fest.)

*Extra coasters are on hand; if you truly can't live without one and can't get to Baltimore, e-mail me here and I'll tell you where to send a self-addressed, stamped envelope; I'll stuff as many as I can into whatever envelope and postage is provided.

*The Opening Tap hammer mallet will feature oak from the famed Wye Oak in Talbot County, which fell to old age and a severe thunderstorm in 2002.  (Brewers were threatening to steal the sample of the wood brought to the meeting for oak-aging one of their beers--it has a heavenly scent, let me tell you.....)  UPDATE:  Left behind in my notes was the information that the BBW committee is seeking a name for this mallet, which will be preserved and used for future BBW tappenings and maybe other beer events throughout the years.  I'm not hearing of a specific prize for the winner--I'm thinking maybe an excellent name might garner a t-shirt or Opening Tap ticket.  Any suggestions?

*T-shirts: because the entire BBW operation was designed specifically to be a break-even operation, with just enough in the bank to keep an account active until next year's committee planning, there was little to no money left over for souvenir production.  However, 144 white t-shirts are being produced besides the sample blue and brown ones cranked out for BBW committee members as promotional tools.  Look for what few shirts are available at the Opening Tap Party at Pratt Street Ale House on Thursday the 8th, the Oktoberfest on the 10th, and the Real Ale Fest on the 11th.  IF the t-shirts sell out extremely quickly--as in, all on Thursday the 8th--there exists the possibility that another run of t-shirts can be run.  They're not that expensive--I was hearing a price of $10, which I was suggesting be raised to $12--and they're not making that much money from their sales.

Anything else?  I'm planning like crazy--there's already a spreadsheet on my desk trying to outline how I'm going to make "token" media appearances at as many events as I can..........  so far I have 52 events highlighted, more for their unique qualities than anything else (go ahead--find the place that's serving a pumpkin beer out of a pumpkin.........)  My personal advice:  A Weekly MTA Pass and running shoes.

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