31 October 2010

Washington City Paper Beer Issues at Max's Taphouse tomorrow

I managed to snag a handful (15-20 copies) of the Washington City Paper's "Beer Issue" which was published  a couple weeks ago (during Baltimore Beer Week, ironically).  I plan to drop them off at Max's Taphouse tomorrow at around 5 PM.

Articles include the previously-linked piece on the possible sale of the Brickskeller, an article on four microbreweries planned in Washington in the coming year, a story on cask ale's renaissance, and a ride around town with a "hipster-outreach dude" from Pabst Blue Ribbon.

29 October 2010

Lost Abbey's "Witch's Wit" Label Causes Stir

According to a story from Fox News, Wiccans are protesting a label for a new beer in Port Brewing's Lost Abbey brand, Witch's Wit, which depicts a woman being burned at the stake:

The story on the label of this bottle reads, "Whether you're a wonder healer, a caller of spirits or a lover of black magic, they will find you. And on that day, they will boil your blood, singe your skin and make a point to burn your soul to the ground. From that lonely stake, you'll be left to contemplate your life of spell casting, obscure tests and a world operated between shadows of night and day. Convicted of a dark art, the crowd will gather to watch as they raze your earthen existence. An intolerable pain is the cross you'll bear that day as you are removed from this righteous world. No one will summon the courage to save you in fear of their life. It sucks. But such is the life of a witch. In honor of your fleeting existence, we brewed Witch's Wit. A light and refreshing wheat beer, it's exactly the sort of thing you might expect to find being passed around the center of town on witch burning day. Say hello to the Prince of Darkness for us.
 I'm certainly no advocate of the neo-censorship masquerading as "political correctness," but I find this label just distasteful enough to avoid the product, were it available here, and worthy of negative commentary in this blog.   Would we allow a beer to celebrate or commemorate the stoning of an accused adulteress, or the beheading of someone of the wrong religious persuasion, or the lynching of someone of the wrong tribe or skin tone, or even the shaving of heads of enemy collaborators in World War Two?  (Now, never mind that accused witches were largely hanged, not burned, in Britain and colonial America, and that the ties between "witchcraft" of old and modern Wicca are tenuous at best, if not wholly fabricated out of convenience .....)

To be fair, nearly all the Lost Abbey labels (seen in this slideshow) "walk the line" of decorum and good taste, dealing with the theme of "religious irony" to quote brewer/founder Tomme Arthur.  Someone with a hair-trigger for being offended on issues of religion had best not go anywhere near the 750-ml. bottles of the brewery.

28 October 2010

Attack of the Killer Pumpkin Beers!

Copied/pasted from Metropolitan's e-mail:
Join us this Saturday evening, October 30, for Attack of the Pumpkins, our celebration of pumpkin beer.

We have hoarded kegs and cases for months to allow for a special night where you can enjoy a variety of pumpkin beers, at a time when many places have no more.

Without further ado, the keg and bottle line-up for Saturday night:

On draft:
Brooklyn "Post Road Pumpkin Ale" from Brooklyn (Brooklyn, New York)
Fisherman's Pumpkin Stout from Cape Ann Brewing (Gloucester, Mass.)
Wolaver's "Will Stevens' Pumpkin Ale" from Wolaver's (Middlebury, Vermont)

In the bottle:
Schlafly's Pumpkin Ale from Schlafy (St. Louis, Missouri)
Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale from Smuttynose (Portsmouth, New Hampshire)
Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale from Weyerbacher (Easton, Penn.)

Tonight we are tapping a firkin of Freddie's Revenge Pumpkin Ale from Oliver Ales here in Baltimore, but that  probably won't still be around on Saturday night, but you never know.
In addition, Alonso's reports that they are tapping a firkin of Heavy Seas' Great Pumpkin tomorrow at ca. 4:30 pm........

Anyone else? 

And the mystery beer was............

Those of you who picked this may commence dancing, bragging, or whatever.........

So what did I really think?  Well, okay, yeah, it was an excellent Imperial IPA.  But I'm not necessarily a hophead.  Would I have this again?  Definitely, if I were in the area and could get it fresh (this bottle was supposedly picked up for me at Russian River when the blogger was en route to the airport to come to Philadelphia and Baltimore).  Would I special-order this if the People's Demokratik Republik of Maryland would let me?  Why?  I can find a dozen perfectly good alternative I2PAs around town--including Heavy Seas Loose Cannon on cask, occasionally.

Is it worth a sky-high rating on BeerAdvocate or RateBeer--#2 on BA, #23 on RateBeer?  It's pretty darned good, but as I see it, the lists there are heavily skewed towards extreme beers.  If that's your baseline and you're a hop freak, this is apparently one to seek out.  I think its real appeal is that it's just "extreme" enough to appeal to both the "can't get enough hops/alcohol" geeks but just subdued enough for the beer fans who like more moderate beers and don't wish to be assaulted by an overdone beer.  In that way, it's spot-on.

My prediction: If they ever get to the point where this beer is made in enough quantity to be sent here, three things will happen:
1) Those who judge beer to brag about it will complain that it's not as good as when someone had to order or bring it directly from the brewery (see New Belgium Fat Tire);
2) Firkins will be sent by jet across the nation to be debuted at big beer events or limited tastings at inflated prices and/or exclusive events;
3) Some twit will insist on trying to pump it through a "Randall" hop infuser..........

24 October 2010

Okay, name that beer...........

To heck with it.  After consulting with a couple other folks, I made the decision to go another route with that bottle of beer gifted to me by a fellow blogger.

I split it with a homebrewing friend of mine.  We took about 1/2 hour to split one bottle, in ordinary tumbler glasses.  He had no idea what I was pouring him.

Here are my notes: 
Pours slightly hazy, rich and dense head, pale golden/amber with mild haze.  [Friend] says "This is more of what we just had [Long Trail Traditional IPA]!  {sips again} Okay, no, it's different...."  It's laden with fresh white grapefruit flavors, unsweetened.  [Friend] guesses 6.5-7%, I say same.... LONG head retention, longest seen in ages.  This is a vehicle for rich hop flavors, tang, and aroma, not malt; indeed, I call it a bit thin on the mouthfeel for the style, a call [friend] disagrees with.  The hop nose is not overpowering, but pronounced, prominent, and somewhere between grassy, citrusy, and earthy.  [Friend]: "West Coast, grapefruity, grainy and citrusy.  I'm getting a bit of vanilla extract flavor once I get past the hops."  We're trying to debate whether this is an extremely big IPA or a more restrained Imperial IPA, assuming IPAs are 6-7% and I2PAs 8-9%.. I'm thinking this is like a Goose Island Honker's Ale--another grapefruit-hop-flavor-laden beer--on mild steroids.
[Friend}: "I would rate this in the best 1% of beers I've ever had, but I happen to like this style!"  In the final, warmer sips, we detect a touch of wood notes in there--oak?
My conclusions: I would definitely rate this as vastly superior for the style it's trying to be in, perhaps the best exemplar of the genre, but you have to be a hop fanatic to be ecstatic about this beer.  This beer is not for hot or frigid weather, nor is it for anyone looking for a rich and heavy beer.
Does anyone want to guess what beer this is, based on the notes?  Remember, it's a beer you can't get around here, and is highly rated/desired by beer enthusiasts online.  Go to it...........

22 October 2010

Chesapeake Beer Madness, Part Three: Two dead heats!

The semifinals of What's Up Annapolis/Eastern Shore's Chesapeake Beer Madness wraps up tomorrow; in the run-offs between Heavy Seas Loose Cannon vs. Fordham Helles Lager and Evolution Lucky 7 Porter vs. Hook & Ladder Backdraft Brown, the results are basically a dead heat--in both races, it's technically one or two votes separating the two sides.

Feel free to go in and chuck a vote.

20 October 2010

What to do, what to do.......

Courtesy of a few interesting connections, I scored a bottle of one of those beers that every beer geek in this region either goes bananas over or is anxious to sample thanks to high buzz on beer-rating sites.  It's not commercially available here.

I am SO sorely tempted to take this beer, take the label off of the bottle, and pour it "blind" to a bunch of guys who fancy themselves as beer critics.  Just to see what happens when we strip away the preconceptions.


Heck, I'll have to bring (or fabricate) a bottle of something else, maybe two, just to throw off the scent.

Does anyone think they're up to the challenge?  BeerBaron?  Bruce?  JohnM? Maybe counter with a "blind" bottle from the cellars?

Or should I just drink it all myself and post the notes and see if you can name it that way?

Like this guy needs MORE publicity.....

It seems a substantial portion of the media has fallen in love with Brian Strumke and "gypsy brewing."

This time, it's The Atlantic's turn.

(Strumke at Baltimore Beer Festival on Sunday.)

"So whadaya think about this new beer coming here?"

Someone just rang me with a query about a press release (which, as far as I can tell, is reprinted verbatim here), asking for my opinions.

The answer I gave pretty much could be applied to any brewery whose products come onto this market from somewhere else, so I might as well rehash them here:

The caution I would apply is that Beer-Geek Chatter® is often inversely important to actual economic importance.  Most of the hype for a "new-to-the-market" brewery's stuff is for stuff that won Great American Beer Festival medals or other accolades such as a high BeerRater.com scores, but are limited distribution and limited production (typically "extreme" beers).  The geeks will pounce on the stuff, wax esoteric, and two months later move right back to pining for New Belgium Fat Tire, Russian River Pliny the Elder, or New Glarus Belgian Red--whatever they can't get easily here.  A "new" brewery will most likely ship out their flagship standards while keeping the more esoteric products back in their home turf to satiate their most loyal enthusiasts, and the standard pale ales, IPAs, stouts, and lagers, good as they may be, will simply get lost in the cluster of mania at better beer bars and stores and be competing with the likes of Boulder, Leininkugel, Pyramid, and even the locals like Flying Dog, Evolution, and Dogfish Head for shelf and tap space--often losing in the process (just try to part a DFH loyalist from his 60-Minute Ale).

I love the open market and the relative ability to find most of the stuff I want, and even a diversity of stuff I didn't know I wanted until I tried it.  It's still an embarrassment of riches.  But I'm content with what I can find here.  I long ago lost the desire to keep notching the bedpost, as it were.  I wish 'em luck, I'm certainly going to sample them when I get the chance, but likely to change my world view of beer?  Hardly.

18 October 2010

Baltimore Beer Week Leftovers

Just a heads-up that any of you who may have been preoccupied with other events during Baltimore Beer Week will find "leftover" special beers at various locations around town--you can probably guess which ones.

There's also a set of six growlers in my refrigerator.  I pity the attendee of the Chesapeake Real Ale Festival that didn't avail himself or herself of the $5 growler fills after it was all over.  (And to whoever prematurely decided that the J.W. Lees Harvest Ale 2009 firkin was "empty" when it still had nearly a gallon left:  I owe you a sample from my growler, thanks....)

Photos, and one Balto. Beer Festival review......

The official Baltimore Beer Week photo compilation on Flickr is still getting lots of uploads from me as I get the chance...........  the latest stream being mostly Saturday's Chesapeake Real Ale Festival.......

Meanwhile the online Baltimore Sun's Midnight Sun blog has posted a review from one attendee of the Baltimore Beer Festival in Canton yesterday.

Were you there?  What did you think?

17 October 2010

The final photo tally for Baltimore Beer Week 2010.......

The five folders of Baltimore Beer Week 2010 photos is full of 2,257 photos.

Delete the odd non-BBW photos--a woodchuck here, a tugboat there, a train here, the Baltimore Marathon there--and we're still way over 2,000 photos to edit, caption, and possibly post.

I am now accepting offers to conveniently "lose" particular incriminating or embarrassing photos--for a price, of course.  All proceeds to a worthy cause...........  >;-)

16 October 2010

BBJ article on Brian "Stillwater" Strumke

Yet another article on Baltimore's latest "rock star" of brewing, Brian Strumke, this time in the Baltimore Business Journal.

15 October 2010

No, THIS is the last Real Ale Fest Update!

 From SPBW president Rick Bloemke:

We hope you're as excited as we are for this Saturday's 7th Annual Chesapeake Real Ale Fest at Pratt Street Ale House! We just wanted to reach out to those attending with updates regarding parking and ticketing.

First, the Baltimore Running Festival is happening on Saturday so there will be some road closures and parking will be at a minimum downtown. We Strongly encourage you to TAKE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION. Light Rail, Convention Center stop lets you off right across the street from Pratt Street Ale House. For the Baltimore Metro running east/west, get off at the Charles Center stop and walk 1 block west on Baltimore Street and 2 blocks south on Hopkins Place. There are several bus routes nearby including the downtown Charm City Circulator. Please visit the Baltimore Beer Week Travel page for
transportation links, and hotel specials:

http://www.facebook.com/l/9923cTgpOeBrDXyQ7kZkQP7E5eA;www.bbweek.com/travel.php

Note that buses may be on diverted routes due to the marathon.

Second, please bring your PRINTED TICKETS. There will be 2 lines forming out front - those With tickets and those Without. I don't think we need to say which one will flow faster! VIP ticket holders - remember you start drinking 1 hour early - at Noon, Regular ticket holders - 1:00 pm. Both groups may begin queueing 30 minutes prior to their entry time. Please have your Photo ID ready for inspection.

Finally, we want to encourage you to have fun but please be responsible. There will be over 40 casks from several breweries, including a few international beers! Ask your server for small samples so you can try all of them and still keep your sea legs! Drink water to stay hydrated, there will be some delicious PSA food specials to soak up the alcohol and port-o-pots (new this year!) to reduce the restroom lines! Note that designated drivers may attend the festival for just $10 paid at the door.

Oh yeah - don't forget to bring some extra cash too for Festival t-shirts and SPBW swag! Check out the t-shirt design and get other festival details at http://www.facebook.com/l/9923cPiww23OvZzMu9jll7Z-mAA;www.spbw.org/realale
Left out of the above:  BRING GROWLERS and/or cash to buy/fill them at the PSAH.  There is LIKELY to be cask ale left over, and buying leftover real ale reduces waste and fills your beer fridge admirably.  The procedure is that towards the end of the fest, you pay the bartenders $5 (or whatever they're charging this year) for a growler fill-up, and you present the slip to the cask attendant for your fill-up.

Sun (finally) names its "Best Bars in Baltimore"

Funny, none of the places we regard as "beer bars" (meaning serving a good selection of craft beers, not just industrial-scale "fizzy lagers" and "lite" beers) made 11-20...........

#10 B&O American Brasserie

#6: Max's Taphouse

#4  Cat's Eye Pub

#2 Brewer's Art

#1 Laughing Pint

The whole list, with commentary, here.  Debate and discuss.

14 October 2010

Alewife's Dogfish tap list for tonight

Tonight's Dogfish Head drafts at Alewife (safe to assume many of these will stay on through the weekend, or until drained):
Palo Santo Marron
Midas Touch
60 Minute IPA
90 Minute IPA
Indian Brown Ale
Raison D'Etre
Chateau Jiahu
Punkin Ale
Burton Baton
Bitches Brew
Saison DuBUFF
Black & Blue
Theobroma
Red & White

Aged Limited Releases:
2008 Pangaea
2009 Fort

More on the Brickskeller's possible pending sale--well, more debate--and Real Ale in DC

The Washington City Paper has an article on cask ale, or real ale depending on who's speaking, in an article by Orr Shtuhl in the just-released edition, available online here.

Fellow writer Tim Carman also covers the rumors, speculation, and debate circulating around the all-but-confirmed sale of the iconic Brickskeller, the pioneering "1,000 beers" bar near Dupont Circle in Washington D.C.  The name doesn't sell, and presumably neither does the inventory; do the Alexanders transfer either/both to their other operation, R.F.D. on 7th Street NW, or do they open a new establishment?  Read the excellent article.  And if you haven't been there ever before, plan on a trip down, just to say you've been on such sacred ground.

13 October 2010

Baltimore Beer Week Thursday-Saturday

My personal recommendations, based on my judgment calls:

Thursday, 60 events:  Victory Beer Breakfast (sick of beer breakfasts yet, Bruce?) at Metropolitan; the previously mentioned Dogfish Head events at Morton's and Alewife and the Brewers Reunion at Pratt Street Ale House; the "Garden of Infinite Pleasantries" fest with real ale and blues at Red Brick Station in White Marsh; Women and Beer at Max's (industry folks, now ladies showing off their assets); the homebrewing and barrel-aged beer seminars and tastings in Columbia; firkin of Flying Dog Single Hop Imperial IPA at Mahaffey's; Local Harvest "farm to table" beer dinner at Pickles Pub; former bartenders return to The Wharf Rat for night shift; and beer trivia nights at The Knotty Pine and Max's.

Friday, 59 events:  Blues & Brews at 8X10 in Federal Hill; Bacon & Bombers at T-Bonz in Ellicott City; "Hall of Fame" Day at Victoria Gastro Pub; LOTS of liquor store samplings about; Blues, Brews & BBQ at Alonso's; pub tour of old Ellicott City; Druid Hill Park's 150th anniversary gala at The Maryland Zoo; several good beer dinners; a homebrew competition at Muggsy's Mug House; Weyerbacher's brewer at Hudson Stackhouse; and more.

Saturday, 36 events, largely overshadowed, of course, by the Chesapeake Real Ale Festival; a brown-ale homebrew contest at Ellicott Mills Brewing; the now-extinct(?) Unibroue Quelque Chose at Mahaffey's; brewery tours at Heavy Seas; fruit beers at Hudson Stackhouse; and tastings all over town.

Baltimore Sun continues "Best Bars" tease:

#27: Elliott's Pour House.

#26: Ropewalk Tavern.

#23: Mahaffey's.

More here.

Also, from their Dining @Large blog:

Washington's Brasserie Beck won't be adding a Baltimore location after all. News that it might heated up the boards back in September. But, it turns out that chef Robert Wiedmaier instead chose Bethesda for the first expansion of his popular Belgian cafe. Mussel Bar is open for business.

Last(?) Real Ale Fest Update UPDATED

There are still tickets available for the Chesapeake Real Ale Festival this coming Saturday, October 16th. Sponsored by the Society For The Preservation of Beers From The Wood and Pratt Street Ale House, the cask list growing bigger (and more delicious!) each day.  Last night, confirmed by the importer: 2009 J.W. Lees Harvest Ale, very high on any true beer aficionado's "must try before you die" list.  "Unfortunately," said Legends Limited rep Erin Tyler, "they found that the wooden barrels they had been sending tended to leak, so it's coming in a metal firkin."

Not to worry, at least one wooden cask has been pledged to the festival: Ruddy Duck's brand-new oak cask, seen here in action with Ruddy Duck's ESB at the BAM Oktoberfest last Saturday.......  Well, it had been promised; no word on if it actually got carried north to Baltimore as of yet.....


Here's the semi-final list just issued by head firkin wrangler Stephen Jones of PSAH  (in no particular order of merit):


From Scotland, BrewDog Paradox Isle Of Arran & BrewDog Dogma
From England, J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (2009)
Flying Fish, New Jersey:  Abbey Dubbel + one other
Oskar Blues, Colorado: [something] dry hopped with Cascade
Crispin Cider, Minnesota: Brier Rabbit
Lagunitas: --
Boulder: --
Victory, Pa.:  Pursuit Pale Ale
Stillwater Autumnal
Brewer’s Art: Ozzy + Seven Beauties rye Ale
Troegs:Pale Ale dry-hopped with Simcoe Hops
Red Brick Station: --
Heavy Seas: Loose Cannon + Pale Ale (both dry hopped with local hops)
Flying Dog: Raging Bitch + Single Hop Imperial IPA
Dog Brewery:  Pub Dog French Oak Vanilla Black Dog Stout
DuClaw: Double Dry hopped Venom Pale Ale + Sawtooth(Wit) with Red Clover added to the cask
Baltimore Beer Works: The Raven Lager
Brewer’s Alley: --
Stone, Calif.: Smoked Porter
Evolution, Del;./Md.: Lot 3 IPA
Oliver’s/Stillwater: Channel Crossing#2 with French Oak
Oliver’s:  Freddie’s Revenge + High Tea + My Monkey’s Got Wood (oak barrel) + Bishop’s Breakfast with coffee + Bishop’s Breakfast with vanilla + Bishop’s Breakfast with chipotle (and Best Bitter, ESB and Old Habit on the beer engines)

Other stuff MIGHT show up.  If it appears, just shut up, don't ask too many questions, and enjoy.


A reminder that the Baltimore Marathon is determined to screw things up for even the most dedicated beer fans........

12 October 2010

Dogfish Head's Sam Calagione downtown for BBW Thursday

Dogfish Head's founder, Sam Calagione, will be appearing at two events in downtown Baltimore on Thursday to mark Baltimore Beer Week.

From 4:30 to 6:30, he's at Morton's Steakhouse in the Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel. 300 S. Charles St. for a "Hoppy Hour" reception and tasting.  Cost is $45 per person, inclusive of tax and gratuity, and reservations can be made by calling 410-547-8255. A portion of the event proceeds benefits the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
The menu, according to Morton's:

Reception
Display of Fresh Fruit and Domestic and Imported Cheeses
Chicken Goujonettes  Mustard Mayonnaise Sauce
Roma Tomato, Fresh Mozzarella with Basil on Crostini
Offered  with selection of:
60 Minute IPA,
90 Minute IPA
Theobroma and Sah’tea

Formal Tasting
Seared Jumbo Sea Scallops with Apricot chutney
Midas Touch
Grilled Jumbo Asparagus with Balsamic Glaze
Indian Brown Ale

Petit Lamb Chop
Raison D’Erte

Sliced Cajun Tenderloin on Crostini
Palo Santo Maron

Oysters Rockefeller
Morton’s Hot Chocolate Bites
Chicory Stout
 If you wish, you could cut out from there to the Pratt Street Ale House, where they will be holding a "Brewers' Reunion" of all three past and present brewers.  $35 a head includes buffet, tickets still available as of this afternoon; call 410-244-8900.

If you want to be a Dogfish Head/Calagione groupie fanboy follower, Calagione is scheduled to hop north to Alewife for a pay-as-you-go drink event there from 7 PM on, with 16 DFH drafts on at the bar. 

Light Rail, MTA bus, and Metro are convenient to both events.  Please don't over-imbibe and drive.

Saturday RED ALERT: Baltimore Marathon/Running Festival

The Baltimore Marathon is this Saturday.

We repeat:  THE BALTIMORE MARATHON IS THIS SATURDAY.

Beginning downtown around Camden Yards between 8 AM and 9:45 AM, with finishers throughout the day.

Map here.

List of road closures:
Baltimore Marathon to be held this Saturday
The Baltimore City Department of Transportation would like to advise motorists of the temporary parking restrictions and road closures that will be in effect for the 10th annual Baltimore Marathon, which will be held on Saturday, October 16, 2010 starting at 8:00 a.m. The 26.2 mile course will begin at Russell and Camden Streets. In conjunction with the marathon, the Carefirst/Blue Cross/Blue Shield Half-Marathon will also be held, along with the United Way 5K Run, the Legg Mason Team Relay and the T. Rowe Price Kids Fun Run. Approximately 22,000 people are expected to participate in this year’s events.

In preparation for the marathon, various parking restrictions and road closures will be implemented. Motorists should pay close attention to posted parking restrictions, as vehicles parked in violation will be ticketed and towed. Citizens with questions concerning the location of their vehicles should call 311.

The following parking restrictions will be implemented on Saturday, October 16, 2010:

∙ Linwood Avenue from Eastern Avenue to Fayette Street 12:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
∙ Eastern Avenue (north side) from Linwood to Patterson Park Avenues 12:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
∙ Boston Street (north side) from Aliceanna Street to Lakewood Avenue 2:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
∙ Lancaster Street from President Street to Central Avenue 4:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
∙ 33rd Street from Hillen Road to Guilford Avenue 4:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
∙ Eutaw Street (west side) from Madison to Monument Streets 4:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
∙ Howard Street (west side) from 23rd to 28th Streets 4:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
∙ Wyman Park Drive from Remington Avenue to Art Museum Drive 5:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
∙ Camden Street from Russell to Howard Streets 6:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
∙ Fort Avenue from Lawrence to Hull Streets 7:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon
∙ St. Paul Street (upper level) from Franklin to Saratoga Streets 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon
∙ William Street (east side) from Warren Street to Key Highway 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon
∙ Fort Avenue (south side) from Lawrence to Hull Streets 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon
∙ Cuba Street from Towson to Hull Street 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon

The following streets will be closed to through traffic on Saturday, October 16, 2010:
∙ Russell Street from Hamburg to Pratt Street 5:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
∙ Eutaw Street from Madison to Monument Streets 6:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
∙ Eutaw Street from Pratt to Camden Streets 7:00 a.m. – 3:15 p.m.
∙ Camden Street from Russell to Howard Streets 7:00 a.m. – 3:15 p.m.
∙ Light Street from Lombard Street to Key Highway 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
∙ Key Highway from Cross to Light Streets 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
∙ Central Avenue from Gough to Bank Streets 11:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
∙ Pratt Street from Calvert to Exeter Streets 12:45 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
∙ Exeter Street from Pratt to Bank Streets 12:45 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
∙ Bank Street from Exeter Street to Central Avenue 12:45 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

The following streets will be impacted by the marathon on Saturday, October 16, 2010:
∙ Paca Street from Pratt to Lombard Streets 5:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
∙ Paca Street from Lombard to McCulloh Streets 7:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.
∙ McCulloh Street from Paca Street to Greenspring Avenue 7:10 a.m. – 8:50 a.m.
∙ Greenspring Avenue from Beechwood Drive to Wyman Park Drive (in Druid Hill Park) 7:15 a.m. - 9:50 a.m.
∙ Wyman Park Drive from Remington Avenue to W. 28th Street 7:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
∙ W. 28th Street from Howard to St. Paul Streets 7:35 a.m. - 10:05 a.m.
∙ St. Paul Street from 28th to Light Streets 7:35 a.m. - 10:35 a.m.
∙ Key Highway from Light Street to Lawrence Street and Lawrence Street from Key Highway to Fort Avenue 7:35 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
∙ Fort Avenue from Lawrence Street to Hull Street and Hull Street from Lawrence Street to the Key Highway Extension 7:50 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
∙ Key Highway from Hull Street to Lawrence Street to Light Street 8:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
∙ Light Street to Pratt Street to President Street to Lancaster Street 8:05 a.m. to 12:00 noon
∙ Aliceanna Street from President to Boston Streets 8:10 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
∙ Boston Street to Lakewood Avenue to O’Donnell St. to Linwood Avenue 8:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
∙ Linwood Avenue from O’Donnell Street to Madison Street 8:20 a.m. to 12:50 p.m.
∙ Madison Street from Linwood Avenue to Washington Street to St. Lo
Drive 8:25 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
∙ Harford Road from St. Lo Drive to Hillen Road 8:35 a.m. to 1:35 p.m.
∙ Hillen Road from Harford Road to 33rd Street 8:35 a.m. to 1:35 p.m.
∙ Lake Montebello to 33rd Street to Guilford Avenue 8:40 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
∙ Guilford Avenue from 28th to Howard Streets 8:50 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
∙ Howard Street from 28th Street to Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard 8:55 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
∙ Eutaw St. to finish at M&T Bank Stadium 9:05 a.m. to 3:20 p.m.
Please note that traffic along Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. will remain open in both directions during the marathon.
Personally?  I recommend the Metro and Light Rail to the Chesapeake Real Ale Festival at the Pratt Street Ale House.  Though, as one friend has already related, getting a bus connection from home "is gonna be a b*tch....."

11 October 2010

Theme Music for Baltimore Beer Week

First, the theme music for BBW:





Next, the theme music for Metropolitan's Beer Breakfasts. (Go to the link, it won't embed. Both brought to you by the same zany folks that brought you those Quizno's commercials.)

BBW Tuesday and Wednesday UPDATED

I've been struggling to get recommendations up for Baltimore Beer Week two days in advance, the better to give readers a heads-up, but that's running a little late.  Herewith, my "short list" for BBW Tuesday and Wednesday:

Tuesday: 49 events, but a great many of them are week-long specials such as the German entrees at Duda's tavern, the kegerator raffle at T-Bonz in Ellicott City, the Dominion specials at Alexander's "Not The Beer Blogger" Tavern, the "Hoptoberfest" at Muggsy's Mug House, etc.  This would be a good day to catch up on events you've been missing because of the bigger events elsewhere.  But look for the kickoff of Baltimore Oyster Celebration Week at Talara and also Oysters and Heavy Seas at Ryleigh's Oyster House (where it all began, as Sisson's); the Oliver's beer dinner at T-Bonz, the Greater Pumpkin at The Baltimore Taphouse in Highlandtown, the export manager for Ireland's O'Hara's at Joe Squared, the Unibroue beer dinner at Metropolitan,and a Crispin cider aged in Zinfandel wine barrels at Alewife. 

Max's tomorrow night:
12 PERCENT IMPORTS
TUESDAY OCT 11  6-9pm 
Come by Tuesday to meet Brian Ewing owner of 12 percent Imports. we will have a whole bunch of his beers on draft and in bottles

ON DRAFT
Hof Ten Dormaal Blonde
Sint Canarus Triple
Het Alternatief Bitter Truth
Contreras Valeir Extra
De Dochter Van De Korenaar Embrasse
De Hoevebrouwers Toria Triple
Stillwater Cellar Door
Stillwater Stateside Saison
Stillwater/Olivers Channel Crossing #2
Stillwater Stateside Saison(Cask)

IN BOTTLES
Emelisse Imperial Russian Stout
Emelisse Double IPA
Emelisse Esoresso Stout
Emelisse Rauchbier
La Botteresse Noire
La Botteresse Ambree
La Botteresse Blonde
T Gaverhopke Koerseklakse
T Gaverhopke Extra
T Gaverhopke Singing Blonde
T Gaverhopke Blonde
Cazeau Tourany
Cazeau Tournay de Noel
Contreras Valeir Divers
De Dochter Van De Korenaar Noblesse
De Dochter Van De Korenaar Courage
De Dochter Van De Korenaar Bravoure
De Dochter Van De Korenaar Finesse
De Hoevebrouwers Toria
Het Alternatief Piet Agoras
Het Alternatief Eerwaarde pater
Hof Ten Dormaal Amber
Stillwater Autumnal
Stillwater Of Love & Regret



SHELTON BROTHERS IMPORTS

TUESDAY OCT 11
9PM-CLOSE

We will be breaking out some real rare beers on draft and in bottles

ON DRAFT
De Struise Black Albert
De Struise/De Molen Black Damnation
Kaimai Porter Rye Ale

IN BOTTLES
De Struise Pannepot Reserva 2008
Mikkeller /Brew Dog I Hardcore You
Mikkeller 10
Dyaevlebryg Gudelos Imperial Stout
Dieu Du Ciel Rigor Mortis
Nogne O Imperial Dunkel Wit
Beer Here Morke
Hanndbryggeriet Wild Thing

Wednesday:  54 events, same caveat of lotsa repeats.   Beer breakfast at Metropolitan; Breweriana Swap Meet Happy Hour at Grand Cru; Brewer's Art's ONLY event of all Beer Week (a beer dinner); Unibroue brewer at Hudson Street Stackhouse, Sea Shanty singalong at The Wharf Rat (where else?), and a Homebrew Showcase at Little Havana.  Time to clone myself again..........

Max's is clearing a whole bunch of lines to offer nineteen Boulder Brewing beers from 5-7 PM, including six bourbon-barrel-aged versions, plus folks from the Colorado brewery:

ON DRAFT:
Mojo
Mojo Risin
Mojo(Nitro)
Freshtracks
Single Tracks
Hazed & Infused
Obovoid(Nitro)
Obovoid
Planet Porter
Flash back
Sweaty Betty
Never Summer
Woodford Bourbon Aged Coffee Flashback
Woodford Bourbon Aged Single Track
Heaven Hill Bourbon Aged Old Chicago Red
Heaven Hill Bourbon Aged aged Dry hopped w/ Mt Hood Old Chicago Red
Woodford Bourbon Aged Flashback
Heaven Hill Bourbon Aged Cold Hop
Never Summer (Cask)
 Harpoon Brewery will also be on hand 7-9 PM with:
ON DRAFT
Wet Hop Harvest
Belgian Pale Ale
Munich Dark
Leviathan Tritcus
CASK
Oktoberfest w/ Vangard Hops
IN BOTTLES
UFO Hefeweizen
Harpoon Cider

Stabbing Mars Md. Oktoberfest Aftermath, Prompts Debate on Future at Fairground

A fight which resulted in two men being stabbed and a suspect in custody occurred at the Maryland State Fairgrounds on Saturday evening after the Brewers Association of Maryland Oktoberfest.  The incident occurred at approximately 6:30 pm, after the Oktoberfest had closed for the day, with most of the activity at the Cow Palace building in the northwestern corner of the Fairgrounds.  News media reports from The Patch, the Baltimore Sun, and WBAL-TV.  Nicholas Atkins, 27, from the 2400 block of Wilkens Avenue in southwestern Baltimore, was held by Baltimore County police.

Although other events were going on in the Fairgrounds that Saturday, including an arcade and video game show and auction at the Cow Palace in addition to the Oktoberfest at the Grandstand several hundred feet to the south, Baltimore County police say they believed alcohol played a part in the altercation and stabbing incident.  A suspect is in custody; two victims were hospitalized with what reports said were non-life-threatening injuries.

The Timonium Patch website is reporting that Fairgrounds officials are reconsidering whether to allow the Oktoberfest to return in 2011 and beyond:

Andy Cashmen, Maryland State Fairgrounds assistant manager, said in his 15 years working as an administrator, he has never heard of a grisly fight taking place on the property like the one that started shortly after Oktoberfest this past weekend.
An unprovoked attack that sent two men to the hospital with non life-threatening injuries Saturday evening has prompted Cashmen and fairgrounds general manager Howard "Max" Mosner to re-examine the beer festival, which may now be considered for relocation.
Representatives from the Trigger Agency, the event's promoters, did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
As a non-profit organization, the fairgrounds can be selective for which shows, expos and celebrations will be featured in one or more of the property's exhibition spaces.
"If we find it to be a problem, we don't have to have it here," Cashmen said. "We want to keep this place in good standing … in a positive light, without problems."
On a more positive note, The Patch also produced a video of the Oktoberfest, complete with a panel of tasting judges, which can be seen here.  (Turn down your speakers or headphone volume before clicking on the link, please.)

Baltimore Sun's 50 Best Bars UPDATED

The Baltimore Sun has a photo gallery feature on their website over the next couple of days that will list and show their selection of the 50 Best Bars in Baltimore and area.  #41-50 are up here.  Joe Squared is #48.

Stay tuned.

UPDATE: 31-40 include Metropolitan, Ale Mary's, and Dionysus.

10 October 2010

More BBW at Elliott's Pour House

Elliott's Pour House at Hudson and Eaton Streets in Brewers Hill in Southeast Baltimore, tends to get somewhat little attention from me, as they're 1) all the way across town from me, 2) a neighborhood corner bar in a town with lots of bigger beer emporiums, and 3) a relative newcomer to the scene.  Well, in slight compensation, here's the schedule from them for the rest of BBW that was waiting for me in my inbox tonight:

During Baltimore Beer Week a visit to Elliott’s Pour House (or EPH as it’s known around town) is a must. Each date of Beer Week a different beer from The Tower will be highlighted and offered at $5 for your first pint, and $2 for each additional, and the pint glass is yours to keep.
The beer schedule is as follows:
Oct. 11 Troegs Pint Night 7pm-close
Oct. 12 (two events this date)
“Steal the Glass” with Crispen Cider featuring the East Coast sales rep, Mario Lopez, 6pm-TBD
 Brooklyn Pint Night 7pm-close
Oct. 13 (two events this date)
Weyerbacher Pint Happy Hour featuring Brewer/Production Manager, Chris Lampe giving out Weyerbacher pints with the purchase of a Weyerbacher draft.  4pm-7pm
Sweet 16 Beer Madness Tournament. 16 Beers from The Tower (4 India Pale Ale, 4 Local, 4 Seasonal, and 4 Pilsners) are bracketed and compete round by round to be named “Best Beer on The Tower.”  30 3 oz beers for $20. 7pm-close
Oct. 14 Lagunitas Pint Night 7pm-close
Oct. 15 Flying Fish Pint Night featuring Flying Fish owner Andy Newell giving away Flying Fish pints with the purchase of a Flying Fish draft. 6pm-9pm
Oct 16. Flying Dog Pint Night 7pm-close

Photo Coverage of Baltimore Beer Week

The official Baltimore Beer Week photo gallery at Flickr.com--with the vast majority of the work being by yours truly--is up at http://www.flickr.com/photos/baltimorebeerweek/ .

Any of you that attend any BBW events with little or no coverage--a beer tasting at a bar or store, for example--are invited to contribute photos to me for consideration.  Please add appropriate caption information if you do so.

09 October 2010

Metropolitan's second Beer Week Menu

Cut-and-pasted from Bruce's e-mail:

Monday
B. United Imports Exotic Beer Breakfast
10:00 am
Join Ron Fischer of B. United Imports for a 3-Course, 4-Beer Breakfast ($35 RSVP):
Reception: Pausa Cafe Chicca (Italy)
First: Alvinne Melchior (Belgium) with Crab Benedict avec Moutarde
Second: Hofstetten Oktoberfest 1810 (Austria) with Gunpowder Bison Sausage Frittata
Third: Verdi Imperial Stout (Italy) with Egg & Pastrami Roulade

Harpoon IPA Pint Night
6:00 pm
Enjoy some Harpoon IPA in a pint glass you can keep.  Supplies limited.

Lindsay's Trivia of the Damned (Beer Week Edition)
8:30 pm
Lindsay is devoting her trivial inquiries to the subject nearest to our hearts: Beer!
$3 Microbrew bottle specials

Tuesday
Unibroue Beer Dinner
7:00 pm
Join Bernard Johnson of Unibroue Brewery of Quebec for a 5-Course, 5-Beer Dinner ($45 RSVP):
First:  Ephemere Apple with Duck, Papaya & Apple Salad
Second:  Don de Dieu with Tuna & Avocado Tartare
Third: La Fin du Monde with Sea Bass, Potato Croquette & Asparagus
Fourth:  Trois Pistoles with Country-Fried Gunpowder Bison Steak with Bison Sausage Gravy
Fifth:  Quelque Chose with Chevre

Wednesday
Beer Breakfast with Brian Ahern
10:00 am
Join Brian Ahern of Bond Distributing for a 3-Course, 4-Beer Breakfast ($25 RSVP):
Reception:  Beermosas with Wolaver's White Ale
First:  Harpoon Cider with Corned Beef Hash & Egg
Second: Tommyknocker Maple Brown Ale with Gunpowder Bison Sausage Stew & Egg
Third: Flying Dog Coffee Stout with Chocolate Chip Waffle Wedge

Stillwater/12% Imports Beer Dinner
8:00 pm
Join Brian Strumpke of Stillwater Artisanal Ales and Brian Ewing of 12% Imports for a 5-Course, 5-Dinner ($45 RSVP):
First: Contreras Valeir Extra with Tuna & Avocado Tartare
Second: Hof Ten Dormaal Blond with Corn & Potato Soup
Third: Stillwater Of Love & Regret with Langoustine Mac & Cheese
Fourth: De Dochter Embrasse with Piedmont Ridge Brisket Braised in Beer
Fifth:  Emelisse Russian Imperial Stout with dessert

Thursday
Victory Beer Breakfast
10:00 am
Join Joe Gold of Victory Brewing for a 3-Course, 3-Beer Breakfast ($25 RSVP)
Reception: Beermosa with Victory Prima Pils
First: Victory Saison de Buff with Quiche
Second: Victory Village Coffee Brown Ale with Sweet Bean Pancake
Third:  Victory Moonglow Weizenbock with Banana Bread & Gunpowder Bison Sausage

Firkin Thursday with Troegs Brewing
6:00 pm
We will have a delicious firkin of Dead Reckoning Porter as well as draft Flying Mouflan and Pale Ale.

Movie Night with Troegs Brewing
8:00 pm-ish
Join Pete Showvaker of Troegs as we watch the classic beer movie Strange Brew.  Rumor has it there may be Jelly Donuts about . . .

Friday
Samuel Smith Beer Dinner
7:00 pm
Join John Brown of Merchant du Vin for a 5-Course, 5-Beer Dinner ($45 RSVP) featuring the very rare beer Yorkshire Stingo:
First:  Brewery Old Pale Ale with Shrimp, Tomato & Mozzarella
Second:  Nut Brown Ale with Butternut Squash Soup
Third:  India Ale with Pastrami-Stuffed Chicken
Fourth: Taddy Porter with Gunpowder Bison Steak
Fifth:  Yorkshire Stingo with Cheese & Apple Tarte

Stillwater One-Off Special & drafts at Max's on Sunday

For those who absolutely MUST have one of everything....
REQUISITE: An Imperialistic Stout--one bottle per person.  Tomorrow only at Max's- 60 bottles available. First come, first served.
CELLAR DOOR
STATESIDE SAISON
AUTUMNAL
OF LOVE & REGRET

will be on draft at the main bar starting at 10am.

ON DRAFT
CELLAR DOOR
STATESIDE SAISON
OF LOVE & REGRET
STILLWATER/OLIVERS CHANNEL CROSSING #2

ON CASK
CELLAR DOOR W/ PINEAPPLE CITRA AND STERLING HOPS
STATESIDE SAISON
AUTUMNAL
 Meanwhile, elsewhere in Max's Taphouse:

FOUNDERS DAY EVENT
tomorrow 3pm-7pm
Max's will have some great casks and drafts on from some of Maryland's best breweries
 
ON CASK
HEAVY SEAS LOOSE CANNON W/ 3 LOCAL HOPS
HEAVY SEAS SMALL CRAFT WARNING W/ SPECIAL WOOD
HEAVY SEAS WINTER STORM W/ LOCAL HOPS
OLIVERS OAK AGED 3 LIONS
WHITEMARSH BIG GUNPOWDER PALE
BREWERS ART PROLETARY W/ DUTCH COCOA
FLYING DOG DOGGIE STYLE W/ CASCADE AND NORTHERN BREWER
FLYING DOG RAGING BITCH
STILLWATER CELLAR DOOR W/ PINEAPPLE CITRA AND STERLING HOPS
STILLWATER AUTUMNAL
STILLWATER STATESIDE SAISON
 
ON DRAFT
BREWERS ART COUP DE BOULE
BREWERS ART 12 LABORS
OLIVER'S HOT MONKEY LOVE
OLIVER'S HOT MONKEY LOVE W/ FRENCH OAK
OLIVER'S HOT MONKEY LOVE W/ AMERICAN OAK

(I'm advised that the "special wood" referenced in the Heavy Seas firkins are shavings from woodworking of pieces of the Wye Oak used in the making of the ceremonial "Star Spangled Banger" mallet.......  Do I need to tell y'all the significance of the Wye Oak in Maryland history?)

Beer History and Appreciation Class Oct. 14th

Buried away amongst all the event listings at BBW is this odd listing for a "Beer Appreciation Course" at Howard Community College's Columbia campus:

From ancient Sumatra to Delaware; Old Country to Plymouth Rock; Chicha to Chili Pepper Ale; Fritz Maytag to Michael Jackson; Prohibition to the GABF--learn a brief history of the Nectar of the Gods. Join Nick "The Baltimore Beertrekker" Nichols as you taste a variety of beers from microbrews to imports. Emphasis is on fall beers.
Includes at least 5 beers, plenty of gourmet cheeses, class materials, and giveaways/swag for everyone.
This sounds way too much like an excuse for either a stuffy college professor to charge people to have a beer with him, or a silly fraternity stunt.  Notwithstanding that HCC doesn't have "frat houses" as far as I know, here's a further description from Nichols himself:
This ain't some frat boy fantasy...this is a hardcore barrel aged beer tasting with cheese and plenty of giveaways. We will taste at least 8 expensive (SOME RARE) beers aged in wood for at least a year mostly more. Stone Brewing DVDs for everyone. Nick has taught this class and others to almost 1000 people over the last 6 years. Nick has visited over 800 brewpubs and microbreweries in the last 20 years. We will learn about each beer take notes, rate them, and discuss. This is not for credit so we have more fun!
Nichols claimed last night that the normal price of the beers served--he says he's bringing Allagash Curieux and the now-no-longer-made Thomas Hardy's Ale, as examples--would easily rival the tab of a similar tasting event at Max's or the Brickskeller.  Find out for yourself.  If he sells out, there's a homebrew demonstration at nearby Maryland Homebrew that evening...

08 October 2010

Random Photos From a Random Night

Scottish brewer Bruce Williams with his beer at Metropolitan.
















Stillwater's Brian Strumke at Homewood Museum at Johns Hopkins University's Homewood Campus, along with Legends Limited (Crispin Cider and B. Nektar mead) and Linganore Winecellars (fruit wines).











The Charmingly Chilibrew Too homemade chili and homebrew contest at the 2640 Space in Charles
Village, supporting the Velocipede Bike Project.


The Dirty Marmaduke Flute Squad, co- sponsored with The Raven Lager, at The Windup Space on North Avenue--easily and by far and away the biggest "What The [Bleep]?!?!?!?" event of Baltimore Beer Week.  But fun and a success for the venue and The Raven.

Mahaffey's New (Wine) Bar Opens

Well, no wonder we haven't heard much out of Wayne lately.

A report from Baltimore Magazine covers opening night (last night, during BBW's Opening Tap) at Mahaffey's new project, Bistro Rx at Baltimore and Linwood Streets next to Patterson Park's northeastern corner, about a mile to the north of his eponymous bar in Canton.

The wine menu includes 20 options by the glass (which you can also get by the bottle) and an additional 40 bottle choices. Bistro's happy hour is from 4-7 p.m., which includes $3 off wine bottles and $1 off everything else.
And, for anyone that knows anything about Mahaffey's, it comes as no surprise that the beer selection was on-point. There are 24 bottles available, like Lindemans Framboise Lambic, Chimay White, and Westmalle Triple. The menu included local selections, like Flying Dog Pale, Dogfish Head 90 Minute, and Loose Cannon. There were also seasonal beers on tap, like Paulaner Oktoberfest and Cape Ann Fishermans Pumpkin Stout. Most drafts were $5.
I caught up with Wayne this evening at his new bar.  "I had to get this bar open as soon as possible; it just happened that it was October 7th, the start of Baltimore Beer Week," he said.  Although he carries several quality beers (such as a dedicated Unibroue tap tower), he is adamant: "This is a wine bar, not a beer bar."  The place is running with an experimental food menu for the next two weeks, and invites customer feedback.

Today's Bargain

Actually, available through Sunday:

$15 for $30 worth of food, etc. at Alonso's/Loco Hombre.  Good through June 2011.

[Insert usual disclaimers, fine print, etc. re: Groupon.  I have no financial stake in this.]

Thanks to the reader who tipped me off to this.

This Weekend's BBW Fun

The big one, of course, is the Maryland Oktoberfest at the Timonium Maryland State Fairgrounds.  The head of Trigger Agency, the company organizing and running the show on behalf of the Brewers Association of Maryland, says that advance ticket orders are ahead of last year's numbers.


Some other selected events Saturday: a "Blind Beer Tasting" at The Judge's Bench:

Return to the not so thrilling days of yesteryear with a blind tasting of 7 prehistoric fizzlagers. On hand will be National Bohemian, Schaefer, Strohs, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Schlitz, Schmidts & Old Milwaukee- all at special pricing. Can you pick 2 out of the 7 correctly? If so, you win a logo t-shirt! Or are they all the same??
Also, a beer ingredients seminar at Grand Cru hosted by Victory rep (and before that BBW co-founder) Joe Gold;  Stillwater and Oskar Blues tasting in the afternoon at Joe Squared, tap handles and homebrew at Mark Supik & Co. in Highlandtown; Duvel three ways (including a new Triple Hop version) at Max's Taphouse; a "beer revolution" tasting (rebuking hop-bomb, high-alcohol beers with "mystery" beers) at Shawan Liquors; and four-ounce pours of double-digit alcohol-by-volume beers at Mahaffey's.

The entire Saturday list of 39 events is here.

Sunday: 30 events, primarily more of the same tasting/food specials hither and yon, but also a beer brunch at Alonso's, a mini-cask festival and more Stillwater at Max's Taphouse, a "Hootenanny" session at Bertha's, a wild game beer dinner at Ellicott Mills in Ellicott City, an Urban Pyrate Beer Cruise out of Fells Point, and an improv film contest screening at the Creative Alliance theater in Highlandtown, complete with music and beer (of course).

Columbus Day: 42 events, starting with a beer breakfast at Metropolitan and a beer history luncheon at Bertha's, another beer lunch at Abbey Burger Bistro, "Octoberfests" all over (Muggsy's is making it a "Hoptoberfest" with all hoppy beers), meet Lancaster Brewing's brewer at Kloby's Smokehouse, meet and greet/harrass the Baltimore City Liquor Control Board chairman during happy hour at the Wharf Rat, a dog-friendly fundraiser with Lagunitas at Little Havana, a Pyrate Pub Crawl of Fells Point, beer trivia at Metropolitan.........  and much more.........

07 October 2010

Baltimore Sun covers BBW

See here...  Also, here as well.

Annnnnnnnnnnnd......... THEY'RE OFF!

Baltimore Beer Week is now off and running.  Metropolitan didn't schedule a beer breakfast this morning, otherwise they might have qualified as the first BBW event.....

In less than an hour, several bars will open their doors for lunch with BBW specials.

Opening Tap is tonight at the Baltimore Museum of Industry on Key Highway from 6 to 8 PM, with events at other bars (Metropolitan, Max's, Pratt Street Ale House, Little Havana) afterwards.  I'm told a VERY few tickets may remain for at-door sales............

See you out and about!

Vote in Chesapeake Beer Madness

The voting has begun for Chesapeake Beer Madness at What's Up Magazine's website.

You'll see a few local favorites, and even a local face or two among the videos and experts.

Thousands of votes in already.  Add yours!

05 October 2010

October Mid-Atlantic Brewing News is Out

Just in time for Baltimore Beer Week........  it's available at the "usual suspects" (brewpubs and good beer places such as Max's Taphouse, Metropolitan Wine Source, Frisco Grille, Muggsy's Mug House, etc.) and will be on hand at the Opening Tap, Maryland Oktoberfest, Real Ale Fest, and (if any last long enough) the Baltimore Beer Festival.

Baltimore Beer Week: 46 Hours and Counting.......

Are you ready for Baltimore Beer Week?


ARE YOU READY FOR BALTIMORE BEER WEEK?!?

Okay, then.

The Baltimore Beer Week 2010 booklets are being distributed this evening to participating venues and locations.  The Baltimore City Paper is slated to run its BBW schedule insert in tomorrow's edition, available at the "usual" outlets and businesses and in those ubiquitous yellow boxes throughout downtown and hither and yon (as a cynic would say, wherever people actually read).

The weather forecasts through the Columbus Day three-day weekend are looking optimistic for fair weather the whole time.

I will be attempting to post recommendations of specific events I consider worthy of your attention a couple days in advance, beginning with Thursday the 7th:  Although the Opening Tap Party at the Baltimore Museum of Industry at 6 PM (tickets still available, but reported as 90% sold out) symbolically marks the beginning of Baltimore Beer Week, several other places will technically be starting off BBW with daylong specials as soon as they open, many of them around 11 a.m.  The Opening Tap party will move over to the nearby Little Havana, while other events transpire that evening at Metropolitan, Hudson Street Stackhouse, and Pratt Street Ale House--the latter being a release of Channel Crossing #2, the second collaboration between Olivers and Stillwater.  A full list of all 29 events is right here.

Friday: 50 events, including a German Beer Breakfast at Metropolitan, a Flying Dog luncheon at Big Jim's in the Cross Street Market, a Long Trail (Vermont brewery new to the Maryland market) promotion at Max's, two real ale casks from Heavy Seas at The Judge's Bench in Ellicott City, a charity benefit raffle of Steadman artwork memorabilia at Max's, Scotland's Bruce Williams of Fraoch Heather Ale fame at Metropolitan, a brew fest at Phillips in Harborplace, a "Historic Home Brews" event at Homewood Museum at JHU in Charles Village, and beer-themed music concerts at  The Windup Space in Station North and the Pratt Street Ale House.  The full schedule here. 

In other "get your tickets now!" notices, here's the sales spiel from the Chesapeake Bay Branch of the Society for Preservation of Beers from the Wood:
Greetings Real Ale Drinkers!
The Society for the Preservation of Beers From The Wood is again excited to bring you the 7th Annual SPBW Chesapeake Real Ale Festival.  A “Featured Event” sponsor of Baltimore Beer Week, this year the Chesapeake Real Ale Festival will be bigger and better than ever.  Featuring over 40 firkins of cask conditioned ales from literally around the globe.
The list so far includes Scotland’s BrewDog, with their Dogma and Paradox in cask, and Stone Brewing featuring Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla. Flying Dog is sending Raging Bitch and their new Single Hop Imperial IPA!  Other amazing brewers at this year’s event include Lagunitas, Oskar Blues, Flying Fish,Weyerbacher, Troegs', Evolution and Minnesota's Crispin Cider.  Local legends The Brewer’s Art will be well represented by casks of Ozzy as well as Seven Beauties Rye Ale.  Heavy hitters Heavy Seas, DuClaw, White Marsh Brewing, Pub Dog and The Raven will all represent the grand tradition of real ale in the Chesapeake region with casks of their finest.  The newest sensation to Baltimore (or for that matter U.S.) brewing, Stillwater Artisanal Ales, will have a few surprises on hand as well.  Lest we forget, we are once again pleased to partner with The Pratt Street Ale House and Oliver Ales  who will again be featuring the Fest’s favorites “Hot Monkey Love”;and its American White Oak aged cousin “My Monkey’s Got Wood”;, directly from the oak barrel.  This years list is the biggest and the best ever…can it get any better?  We think not.
V.I.P Tickets have already SOLD OUT!
For those of that have purchased tickets, thank you and we look forward to seeing you Saturday, October 16th.  For those of you that have not, tickets can be purchased by going to http://www.spbw.org/realale/ and clicking where it says “Click Here to BUY Tickets”.  Tickets are limited and will sell out in advance, so don’t miss your last opportunity to surround yourself for a day with the finest cask ales available anywhere.

04 October 2010

Top Ten Signs You're Taking Baltimore Beer Week 2010 Too Seriousy.....

10. You're already picked out which brewpub or craft beer shirts to wear on which days.
9.   Your cell phone's scheduling software has crashed already from trying to track it all..
8.   You're taking personal leave time from work for the occasion.
7.   You've filled out a temporary mail-forwarding form to have your mail sent to Alonso's or Metropolitan.
6.   You have glassware with your name on it waiting for you at one bar--and they don't do a "mug club."
5.   You've done "dry runs" on the Circulator and MTA buses to ascertain how long it will take you to get between events.
4.   You've already prepared a notebook that includes downloaded tasting notes for all the special beers listed so far on the schedules--or, worse, written your own cell phone app.
3.   You've gotten an MTA Weekly Pass to "commute" to and from the events--and it's the first time you've ever ridden a bus since school, or the first time you've ridden the Metro or a Light Rail train without a ball game involved
2.   You've applied for an economic stimulus grant from the Federal government to pay for it all.
1.   You've already requested the second week of October 2011 as vacation time.

What's Old is New Again, in Baltimore Bars

The Baltimore Sun website (and I presume tomorrow's paper edition) has an excellent article on recycled building material being incorporated into many of Baltimore's distinctive bars, including Ale Mary's, Max's Taphouse, Ropewalk Tavern, and the now-abuilding Liam Flynn's Ale House.

Photo slide show here.

03 October 2010

Coming to Baltimore for Baltimore Beer Week 2010? Here's How!

First of all, the Baltimore Beer Week Committee encourages you to travel responsibly while partaking of Baltimore Beer Week.  Do not drink and drive.  Take a designated driver (many events have discounts for designated drivers), pool together to take a taxi, or ride public transit.  If in doubt, call a cab or have one called for you--even a long taxi ride is cheaper than a car accident or arrest.  Heck, hire a limo or van if you must--several limos showed up at Baltimore Beer Week events in 2009!

First things first: a SERIOUS Traffic Warning.  There is massive reconstruction of Baltimore city streets under way as I type, primarily Pratt Street and Lombard Street, the main downtown eastbound and westbound traffic arteries respectively, and Light Street, the main north-south street adjacent to the Inner Harbor's west side.  Traffic on Pratt Street has been reduced from a normally crowded four lanes to a parking lot masquerading as two lanes of traffic in the heart of downtown, the vicinity of the Baltimore Convention Center, Camden Yards, and--unfortunately--the Pratt Street Ale House, site of the Chesapeake Real Ale Festival.  Traffic has also, on occasion, backed up all the way to I-95 on I-395, the main exit from I-95 to downtown, and on Russell Street, the transition from the Baltimore-Washington Parkway to downtown.  Buses are also stuck in these nightmarish traffic jams.  Therefore, RAIL transit (Metro and Light Rail) use for downtown events, especially at the Pratt Street Ale House, is strongly encouraged whenever possible.  You are also encouraged to seek routes to other neighborhoods, such as Fells Point, Federal Hill, and Mount Vernon, that completely bypass downtown.

NOTE ALSO that the #10 MTA bus lines, mentioned below as a primary bus connection between downtown and Fells Point, is currently operating eastbound via Baltimore Street, NOT via Pratt Street, because of this construction and the related traffic jams   Buses will continue on Baltimore Street rather than turn on Light Street; the buses will turn right on President Street and resume regular route. 

ALSO: On Saturday, October 16, 2010 between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., the Baltimore Marathon will cause major bus diversions.  Please allow extra time for your trip on this day.  MTA encourages transit riders to ride the Light Rail and Metro Subway to avoid downtown congestion.  The Baltimore Marathon will loop through many areas of Baltimore City, causing MTA to put significant diversions in place to maintain local bus service.  This may require customers to catch a bus at a designated bus stop on a street that may not be a part of the normal route.  See the MTA's official page for the Baltimore Marathon  for exact route diversions and other details.


Downtown Baltimore has a new, and free, "circulator" shuttle bus service, the Charm City Circulator.  Two routes are currently in service:  the north-south Purple Route which operates from Amtrak/MARC';s Penn Station south to Federal Hill, and the east-west Orange Route, which operates from Hollins Market/the B&O Museum east to Harbor East.  With the Circulator, it's easy--and free--to ride from Penn Station or downtown hotels to Federal Hill, or to go from Federal Hill to Mount Vernon.  The southeasternmost stop of the Orange Route (#225 on the maps) is seven blocks from the heart of Fells Point, approximately a ten-to-twelve-minute walk.
Circulator Hours:
Monday-Thursday: 6:30am-9:00pm
Friday: 6:30am-midnight
Saturday: 9:00am-midnight
Sunday: 9:00am-9:00pm


The Water Taxi: Baltimore's Inner Harbor is served by a flotilla of passenger boats called the Water Taxi.  These boats do not just stop when flagged as the name implies, but operate over designated routes between designated stops like a bus (weather permitting--strong winds or thunderstorms will suspend service).  Passengers pay  a flat $10 day pass (children $5).  Throughout Baltimore Beer Week, Water Taxi service starts at 10 A.M. every day, and ends at 8 P.M. every day except Friday and Saturday when service continues to 11 P.M.  The Water Taxi can be an ideal way to travel from downtown locations or Federal Hill to Fells Point or Canton, especially for the Chesapeake Real Ale Festival or the Baltimore Beer Festival on the last days of Beer Week!

Baltimore MTA in general: http://www.mtamaryland.com 
MTA's Transit Trip Planner:  http://www.mtamaryland.com/transit/
Google Maps http://maps.google.com
MTA City Buses: http://www.mtamaryland.com/services/bus/ 
MTA Light Railhttp://www.mtamaryland.com/services/lightrail/  
MTA Metro Subway:  http://www.mtamaryland.com/services/subway/
MARC Commuter Rail: http://www.mtamaryland.com/services/marc/
Baltimore Super Shuttle: http://www.supershuttle.com/bal.htm
BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport: http://www.bwiairport.com
DC Airports: http://www.metwashairports.com
Amtrak: http://www.amtrak.com
Greyhound: http://www.greyhound.com

BoltBus http://www.boltbus.com
Megabus: http://us.megabus.com (NOTE: Megabus uses White Marsh, Md., northeast of the city proper, as its stop for the city.  Riders can ride downtown on the MTA #35 bus, or they can just proceed directly to Red Brick Station, the brewpub on The Avenue at White Marsh.....)

More Transportation: http://www.baltconvstr.com/pages/transportation.htm


Baltimore City Taxi Cabs
Yellow Cab (410) 685-1212
Baltimore Taxi Company (410) 327-7777
Royal Cab (410) 327-0330
Anne Arundel County Taxi Cabs
Cab Connection (410) 766-1000
Baltimore County Taxi Cabs
County Cab (410) 339-0000
Jimmy’s Cab (410) 296-7200
Howard County Taxi Cabs
Columbia Taxi Service (240) 210-6688
Downtown Hotels: http://baltimore.org/hotels-and-accommodations/

TWO SPECIAL HOTEL DEALS:

 Days Inn Inner Harbor
100 Hopkins Place
Baltimore, MD 21201 USA
(410) 576-1000
www.daysinnerharbor.com
For Group Rate mention Baltimore Beer Week. Special low rates for BBW Attendees available 10/10 – 10/17

Celies' Waterfront Inn
Historic Fell's Point
1714 Thames Street
Baltimore, MD 21231
(410) 522-2323
www.celiesinn.com
Baltimore Beer Week guests will receive a complimentary breakfast for two at Slainte Irish Pub and Restaurant.
 

Some more information posted by BBW at its Hospitality page.

General hints:  An MTA Day Pass, good for all modes, is $3.50--cheaper if you're a senior.  It's little more than the cost of two bus trips, or any round trip on the subway or Light Rail, so best to get said pass if you anticipate any use other than a simple round trip.  Baltimore has just instituted a "smart card" electronic card reader program called the Charm Card, similar to Washington DC's SmartCard; in fact, they are interchangeable, and DC's SmartCards will work on Baltimore's MTA and even carry over cash balances!

Routes:  If you're trying to get to Fells Point from downtown, you should seek out the #10 bus line, which drops you off at the Broadway Market at Broadway and Eastern,  three short blocks from Max's and less than that for Alexander's, etc.  Bus routes 7, 11, and 13 will get you to various points around Canton, with varying success depending on your origin and exact destination.  Routes 1 and 64 will get you to Federal Hill, with the former getting you to Locust Point.  Light Rail can get you from downtown or Glen Burnie to the Timonium Fairgrounds on Saturday the 9th for the Oktoberfest; it will get you from the north and south to Pratt Street Ale House for the Real Ale Fest on the 16th.   

Try the MTA Trip Planner at: http://www.mtamaryland.com/transit/

Lastly, I will shamelessly refer you over to another nonprofit's website and its "how to get to our convention" pages:    http://www.otakon.com/allroads.asp .  I harbor no qualms in doing so because I wrote approximately 90% of the content on that page in 2006-2008 (in spite of the lack of credit).  Actually, I do have one qualm in that some of the information and links are outdated, but nothing so critical that you'll get lost, gouged, or hopelessly stranded.  It's especially useful for getting downtown for the Chesapeake Real Ale Festival on Sept. 17th or any events at the Pratt Street Ale House, as that's right across the street from the Baltimore Convention Center's main entrance.  Similarly, it also works for the nearby Pickles Pub.

02 October 2010

Getting Stoned at Alewife

Yeah, I know, hardly an imaginative headline.

Alewife, the new beer bar in western downtown (in fact, the only decent "beer bar" I can think of west of the Light Rail in downtown) started its much-hyped Stone Brewing Co. tasting

That's right, folks. 40 Stone beers on draft.  A stunt being repeated at seven Eastern bars in as many days, but last night was the first of the series.

Here's someone with ten of them.  As I was to understand it, they didn't actually get through all ten.  Also, this shows a tiny flaw:  Alewife had run out of the small 5-ounce glasses they were serving up the beers in, and had resorted to every glass close to the right size available.  The staff spent much time rounding up empties to be washed and reused.



 After a while, the "Man of the [Three] Hour[s]," Stone's owner Greg Koch, the CEO and co-founder of the brewery, held court with an appreciative crowd from the bar's "mid-level" balcony (there's a third floor above that, complete with bar and kitchens).  Left to right: Lee Marren, Stone representative for the Mid-Atlantic; Greg Koch, and Daniel Lanigan, Alewife's owner.  (Note the "Stone Brewing Tour" worn by one of the "early birds" at lower center.)


 To keep things a bit simple, the bar had suspended regular dining service, and sold tokens at the door for $2.50, good for a 5-ounce glass (now, that might sound excessive, but Max's charges $3 for similar servings of Belgians and other beers, and these beers, by and large, were "up there" in that range for exclusivity, scarcity, and complexity).  Three tokens would get you one of the night's five food offerings: a half-dozen Blue Point ousters on the half-shell, a pulled pork sandwich with chipotle cabbage slaw, a wild-mushroom-and-buffalo-mozzarella risotto cake sandwich with tomato and aioli, a smoked turkey leg with chipotle BBQ sauce, or a Kobe beef hot dog with wild boar chili and pickle mustard relish on a pretzel roll.

Now, a "Kobe beef hot dog" seems as much an oxymoron as an "Imperial Mild" or a light barleywine.  The last of the turkey legs (which, as you can see, remind one of the Renaissance Festival or other more barbaric displays) disappeared before I got to claim one, so I had to try the oxymoron.  It was indeed a meal unto itself, sort of like doing a Philly cheesesteak with prime rib, smoked Gouda, and seasoned oyster mushrooms on ciabatta loaf.  (Hey, if I see that sandwich on a local menu, I'm claiming a free one for inspiring it.)  I doubt they can make either the hot dog or the turkey leg a regular special, but I'll be back looking for them.

Koch stuck around for over three hours to talk with his fans and fans of his brewery's beer, and to sign copies of a DVD of videos about the brewery's beer--the $2 fee was to be donated to charity.  He finally did have to leave, as he had to be up early for a noon appearance at Lord Hobo in Boston the next day.

First to kick last night?  According to Koch, The Imperial Russian Stout 10th-Anniversary GK's Madman Mix blend, a 10.5% monster.  (There were stronger beers--five variations of Old Guardian Barleywine in the 11% range, and the Imperial Russian Stout 2008 Bourbon Barrel Aged at 11.9%)  Second: the 14th Anniversary Imperial IPA (Double Dry) (8.9%).

Stone's beers need no introduction to most of you.  All 30-some beers left will remain on through next Wednesday or Thursday, when Alewife will put 30 other beers back on the lines and rotate the remaining Stone beers, ten at a time, until they are depleted.  However, servings revert back to standard pints or goblets at standard prices, not the sampler extravaganza of last night.

Would I recommend such an event to others?  Well, there is a problem.  With so many beers from the same brewery, and a great many of them higher-alcohol, palate fatigue sets in--quickly.  I've seen (and experienced) similar situations at other "everything-the-brewery-has" pouring extravaganzas such as epic Victory, Allagash, and Lagunitas samplings at Max's Taphouse.  After the sixth or eighth high-octane hop-bomb or complex mix, it doesn't matter how many palate cleansers you nibble or glasses of water you chug (and Alewife was being very generous with the water), it all blurs together on the tongue.  Better to hit them several at a time over the course of a month or so than all during one weekend.

To answer another question, yes, Alewife is planning to install beer engines and routinely stock cask ale.  Just wait until the craziness of the Stone mania and Baltimore Beer Week dissipates somewhat.