So, all in all, how was it?
I'm happy. And I think a whole lot of other beer buffs were as well. Well, unless you were a Ravens fan watching the game on Sunday. (I told y'all that they were gonna blow it in the last seconds--that's been the pattern all year, from what I've seen.)
I spent Thursday and part of Friday hosting Steve Shapiro, a beer blogger from San Francisco who had blundered into the city with fortuitous timing. We thought we might hit four or five places; we hit..... let's see, Max's, a run through the neighborhood, Brewers Art, then Ryleigh's Oyster where Hugh Sisson was holding court in his former brewpub, then J. Patrick's in Locust Point (because a Guinness doesn't taste right without a session in front of it, and the session was still going strong at 10 PM), then back to Fells Point for one last round.......
Saturday, of course, was the Chesapeake Real Ale Festival. I picked up the oak-aged cider from Reid's Orchard at the Waverly Farmers Market, ran it down, returned home, took the Metro down, and stayed for a terrific and expanded real ale fest. Favorites? My wife loved the new Bruery rye beer, Rhubrod, sent out specially for the Real Ale Fest, while I liked the new Olivers oak-aged Hot Monkey Love, tentatively named "My Monkey's Got Wood"--but it was all an embarrassment of riches.
Sunday: our homebrewing demonstration at Pratt Street Ale House. John (of Ten Hills Brewery, on the west side of town in the neighborhood of that name) and I cranked out a high-octane spiced honey ale, while others cranked out a London Porter, a pumpkin ale, and lord knows what else. Unfortunately, what with the fourth day of cold rain, brewers handily outnumbered spectators and customers. We started around nine and were pretty well all done by three.
More photos and reports to follow, possibly updated from the Baltimore courthouse tomorrow--wish me luck, I get paid $15 to cool my heels all day on jury duty.