27 August 2012

DuClaw Real Ale Fest selling fast....

Real Ale FestDuclaw Brewing reports that ticket sales for its 5th Real Ale Festival on Sept. 8th are outpacing last year's ticket sales.  Expensive, yes, but includes that huge food buffet.

If you're looking for a safe ride to and from the festival, an extra $25 gets you round trip bus service from their Arundel Mills and Bowie locations, and--new this year--you can also catch the bus at JD's Smokehouse in Baltimore's Canton neighborhood!  But 2012 Real Ale Fest buses are filling up and a limited number of seats remain.
Bus schedule to Real Ale Fest 2012 from DuClaw Brewing Company of Bowie:
  • Bus departs PRECISELY at 9:15am for the VIP 11am to 4pm session
  • Bus departs PRECISELY at 10:15am for the 12noon to 4pm session
Bus schedule to Real Ale Fest 2012 from DuClaw Brewing Company of
Arundel Mills
and JD's Smokehouse:
  • Bus departs PRECISELY at 10:00am for the VIP 11am to 4pm session
  • Bus departs PRECISELY at 11:00am for the 12noon to 4pm session

25 August 2012

HampdenFest Sept. 8, with Local Beers

Created in part as a local, less-crassly-commercial alternative to the "HonFest" started by Cafe Hon's owner years ago, HampdenFest, slated for September 8th from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on "The Avenue" (36th Street) in Hampden, is slated to feature beers from The Brewer's Art, Pub Dog/Dog Brewing, and Union Craft Brewing.

23 August 2012

"Most Openly Transparent Administration Ever," My Posterior...... UPDATED

After a considerable amount of sudden publicity rehashing the somewhat old news that the White House now has a "brewery" and a homebrew recipe using honey from a beehive kept on the grounds (and you can't convince us it wasn't an attempt at distracting the media from real campaign issues), now comes the news that someone filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the homebrew recipe.  It, like virtually all such requests concerning the White House, was routinely rejected.

So now they're trying a petition.

Our personal guess:  If you thought "North American Industrial Lager" like BudMillerCoors was formulated for maximum mass appeal and least offensiveness in flavor and character, imagine a beer recipe formulated by a political campaign committee.

 UPDATE:  The White House follows through.  With something that looks suspiciously like the directions off the side of a brew-your-own kit, extract and all.  Spot the typos.

Gordon Biersch-Harbor East Hires Local Brewer Cashell

Had this information for a few days now, promised to sit tight awaiting official release, but:

Chris Cashell, a former brewer at The Brewer's Art until 2009 and later partner in the ill-fated Parkside on Harford Road, will be the head brewer at Gordon Biersch's currently-under-construction Harbor East location on Lancaster Street. Opening is still slated for October 22nd, during Baltimore Beer Week.

Press Releases We Never Finished Reading, Late August 2012 Edition

I wish I were making this up.

22 August 2012

Steltzenmuller departs Of Love & Regret

The Baltimore Sun's Richard Gorelick reports that the culinary half of the Of Love & Regret Pub team, Ted Steltzenmuller, has departed to resume operating Jack's Bistro full-time, and that co-owner Brian Strumke has temporarily lined up Keith Curley, formerly of Red Maple, to hold down the kitchen pending a re-vamping of the menu for the fall.

20 August 2012

Craft Beer (and Soda) In The Atlantic (.com)

Two articles turned up in the online version of The Atlantic.

The first examines the correlations between geography and craft beer.

The second examines regional soda brands ("craft" or not) and whether more widespread distribution and production will make them lose what makes them unique--an issue often also confronted by craft breweries as well.

Both are somewhat worthwhile (albeit too short) reads, if you're into the geeky topic of beverage distribution and marketing.

19 August 2012

Future Raven Beer Artwork

Stephen Demczuk of Peabody Heights Brewery leaked a preliminary peek at the new packaging artwork/graphics by Kevin "KAL" Kallaugher for Raven Beer......

17 August 2012

DuClaw NOT Moving To Havre de Grace

Yeah, remember that long-ago announcement that DuClaw was relocating to a larger facility in Havre de Grace?


As a DuClaw representative said, "This is what happens when a business paper runs with the story before the contract is signed.  Unfortunately, the Baltimore Business Journal piece [in December] was published before the deal saw itself all the way through. We take the blame for that though."  

Reportedly, the company now has its eyes on another location or two in an adjacent county.

Stay tuned.

Gordon Biersch Harbor East Looking Like a Brewery

Well, it's sure LOOKING like a brewpub.

Note the rather amusing hanging of the official liquor board meeting notice literally on one of the fermentation vessels facing the street!

The 329-seat brewpub is currently slated to open October 8th 22nd, right in the middle of Baltimore Beer Week, possibly with "flagship" beers brought in from other Gordon Biersch locations (such as Rockville and D.C.) while the brewery itself is brought up to speed.

15 August 2012

Union Craft Brewing To Host Anthony Bourdain in November

From their media release:

Have you ever been sitting around on the couch watching No Reservations and thought to yourself, "I'd love to have a beer with Anthony Bourdain"? Well we have and now we can! And so can you!

We are thrilled to announce that UCB will host a VIP Private tasting with Tony B after his gig at The Hippodrome.

Exclusive presale access for Anthony Bourdain: Guts & Glory at the Hippodrome Theatre on Saturday 11/17! Use code: TONY to get tickets before they go on sale to the general public on Friday. Purchase tickets at Ticketmaster.com or by calling 410-547-SEAT (7328).

A limited number of VIP tickets are available, which include: premier seating, a limited edition tour poster and VIP laminate, and exclusive access to a post-show meet and greet reception featuring complimentary hors d'oeuvres, local craft beer, and photo and signing opportunities.
 Prices were not disclosed, but if this is your "kind of thing," it's probably mostly irrelevant anyway......

13 August 2012

E-Mails We Never Finished Reading, August 2012 Edition

Hi Alexander
I came across this article last week on the use of webcams in major blockbuster movies and thought that it might make for some interesting inspiration for one of your blog po--

New "Beer Bistro" To Open in Woodberry

Baltimore Magazine's Suzanne Loudermilk reports in her "In Good Taste" blog:

Robbin Haas, one of Food & Wine's 10 Best New Chefs in 1994, is planning to open a craft beer/artisan pizza restaurant in the Hampden-Woodberry area by the end of September.
The Baltimore restaurant will be called Birroteca (a beer version of an Italian enoteca) and will feature a number of craft brews, wine, small plates, charcuterie, artisan cheeses, and desserts in addition to organic artisan pizzas. "It's the way people like to eat," Robbin said.
It's located in the space formerly occupied by Mill Steakhouse Tavern, 1520 Clipper Rd., not far from Woodberry Kitchen. "It had all the bones," Robbin said. He's redecorating and was checking out the reclaimed goods at Second Chance when I talked to him.
More details at the link above.

UPDATE:  I spoke with Robbin Haas; the plan is to offer 24 drafts, and 24-48 bottled beers, as well as wine, cocktails, and pub grub/small plates.  The building is being renovated currently, with plans to reopen by the end of September.  And they've signed on for Baltimore Beer Week.

Ruhlman Brewery Opening

"But we're not a farm brewery."

So says brewery owner Henry Ruhlman.  A look about, and the confusion will be quite palpable.
Not a farm brewery, even though it's off the main roads, nestled on a family farm in Carroll County, and they grow their own hops and try to buy locally grown and malted barley?

"We have a Class 5 Brewery license," says Ruhlman Brewery co-owner Henry Ruhlman, the spokesman and tour guide for the family operation.  "Remember, the 'farm brewery' category doesn't become effective until October 1st [in Maryland]."

Like many other farm operations in areas inconveniently close to big-city suburbia, the Ruhlman farm has had to adapt to survive.  The income from corn, berries, or wheat don't keep pace with soaring property values, and on the scenic drive to the Ruhlman farm northwest of Hampstead, atop one of the highest points in the area, one is apt to pass "McMansions"and farms "repurposed" as party/picnic farms for weekend events.

As the Ruhlmans themselves recount the tale:
Norman Ruhlman established the farm in 1970, dividing his time between raising beef cattle, growing fresh food and vegetables for the family table and working construction – and providing for a family of eight. The farmhouse was built in 1890 and there’s a foundation on the property that dates earlier than that.

Brewing beer became a passion for [Norman's son] Henry, about six years ago. “Back in 2010 just before Dad died, we talked to him about using a pasture on the farm to grow hops. I had been brewing small batches for a couple years and was seriously thinking about a brewery. That’s when he said, 'Might as well go ahead. It’s not good for anything else.'"
After Norman's death,  his children decided to retain the farm and make a go of staying in business, changing the business.  Henry decided to construct a brewery on the property, along with a small retail store.  In addition, the farm has another function: a disc golf ("Frisbee golf" to those who disregard trademarks) course has been established across the farm, attracting weekend enthusiasts.  "We're hoping they'll take growlers around the course with them!" Henry said with a smile.
The brewery is a new ten-barrel system, complete with two fermentation vessels and a bottling line.  Thus far, four recipes are being offered: an IPA (of course), a Milk Stout, a Red Ale, and a Tavern Pale Ale.  The IPA exudes the freshness of the hops, but Henry admits that they've had to order in additional hops for now, as not all of their near-acre of hops are producing yet.  The Milk Stout has a good sweet flavor but a seemingly light body--it would seem to suggest that it should see nitro tap duty--while the Red and Pale are still undergoing some refinement.

Ruhlman Brewery has a self-distribution license, and expects to sell its wares in local (Carroll County) outlets shortly; on site is a small retail counter with taps for samples or pints, as well as growlers and six-pack sales.  They also expect to offer one-use recyclable 5-gallon "mini-kegs" for "kegerator" aficionados.

UPDATE: More in a Baltimore Sun article for Tuesday's editions.

New Belgium "Lips of Faith" Beer Dinner at Alewife Aug. 21

From Alewife Baltimore:
Tuesday, Aug 21st
Reception to begin @ 7:30pm
Dinner to begin @ 8:00pm

Featured Chefs:
*Sajin Rene of Fork and Wrench
*Kristofer Sandholm of Supper (Philly)
*Anisha Jagtap of Baltimore Burger Bar & Puffs and Pastries
*Justin Smith (Sous Chef) of Alewife
*Chad Wells (Executive Chef) of Alewife

Beer Dinner Includes:
*Reception Beer: Fat Tire
*5 Course Wild Game Dinner
*Each course will be paired with a New Belgium Lips of Faith Series
*Lips of Faith Series Beers:
-Brett Beer
-Cocoa Mole
-Tart Lychee

Come "Enjoy the Ride" for only $65!

Please inquire via email @ AlewifeBaltimoreEvents@gmail.com

10 August 2012

The Baltimore Ravens = Stella Artois

So says this online article which attempts to compare the 32 NFL teams this season to beers--everything from Natural Light to Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye.

09 August 2012

SPBW Bus Tour of Lancaster and York Breweries this Saturday

Short notice, I know, but normally the Chesapeake By Branch SPBW doesn't have extra tickets.

The Branch is running a charter bus trip from Timonium to Lancaster and York County, Pa. breweries this Saturday, August 11th.

10:00 AM Depart Light Rail Park and Ride Greenspring Dr. Lutherville Timonium, MD 21039
11:30 AM Arrive Lancaster Brewing Company 469 Eisenhower Blvd, Harrisburg, PA 17111
1:30 PM Depart Lancaster Brewing Company
2:00 PM Arrive Troegs Brewing Company 200 East Hershey Park Drive, Hershey, PA 17033
4:00 PM Depart Troegs Brewing Company
4:30 PM Arrive Bube's 102 North Market Street, Mount Joy, PA 17552
6:00 PM Depart Bube's
6:30 PM Arrive York PA
Venues to visit are:
Liquid Hero Brewery – 7 of their own brews on Tap
Mudhook Brewery - 4 regular and 2 seasonal of their own brews on Tap
Holly Hound Taproom – 30 rotating taps
Cornerstones – 67 beers on tap including a beer engine cask
9:30 PM Depart York, PA
10:00 PM Arrive Park and Ride Greenspring Dr. Lutherville-Timonium, MD 21039

For those of you who have not yet purchased tickets the Branch still has a few available. This shuld be a great day, and the SPBW encourages you or anyone you know who likes great beer to come along with us. 148 taps and what should be well over 120 unique brews at 7 locations, plus beer on the bus. $30 members, $40 Non-Members (includes your $10 2012 membership). Get your tickets at www.SPBW.org

The First Carroll County "Farm" Brewery Opens This Weekend

Ruhlman Brewery, at Creeping Creek Farms northwest of Hampstead, Md. opens to the public this weekend.

Edited press release below:

Brewed locally, using water from the farm’s well and naturally-grown 100% whole flower hops, Ruhlman Brewery enters the fast-growing craft brewery field with the debut of their four hand-crafted distinct ales, marketed as “Our Ales.”
Located at Creeping Creek Farms in Hampstead, Maryland, Carroll County about 45 minutes north of Baltimore, Ruhlmans Brewery makes its debut with Milk Stout, Tavern Pale Ale, Red Ale, and India Pale Ale (IPA) during a special release party, Saturday, August 11, from 8am to 5pm.
Norman Ruhlman established the farm in 1970, dividing his time between raising beef cattle, growing fresh food and vegetables for the family table and working construction – and providing for a family of eight. The farmhouse was built in 1890 and there’s a foundation on the property that dates earlier than that.
Creeping Creek Farms and the brewery continue the family tradition, which now spans three generations of Ruhlmans – and Marylanders – involved in its operation: Henry, Roger, Janet and Edith are siblings and own the farm; Henry’s sons Matt and Danny help with the brewery; Cousin Jesse is also a brewer; and brother-in-law Bob along with Janet work the hops and are helping with the packaging.
Brewing beer became a passion for Henry, about six years ago. “Back in 2010 just before Dad died, we talked to him about using a pasture on the farm to grow hops. I had been brewing small batches for a couple years and was seriously thinking about a brewery. That’s when he said, 'Might as well go ahead. It’s not good for anything else.'"
With a scent that is both herbal and spicy, that pasture is now a thriving hop field featuring six different varieties of hops--Mount Hood, Willamette, Centennial, Saaz, Fuggles, and Cascade, all grown naturally with no pesticides, herbicides and only natural fertilizer. “You can smell the freshness,” Matt said. The ales are scheduled to hit ten Carroll County liquor stores in August, with the plans to expand into other counties and stores in Maryland in the fall, according to Matt.
Ruhlman Brewery is located on Creeping Creek Farm at 2300 Harvey Gummel Road, about 45 minutes north of Baltimore. Brewed using naturally- grown hops on the farm, the micro-brewery will focus on ales “brewed for the people.” The retail ale store at the brewery is scheduled to be open Saturdays and Sundays, 9 to 5.

08 August 2012

The Wine Source's Tim Hillman

For those who didn't hear through e-mails or social media earlier this week, the Baltimore area lost one of its primary promoters of the craft beer industry in Baltimore with the untimely passing of Timothy Hillman, beer manager of The Wine Source in Hampden, on Sunday at age 49.

The Baltimore Sun's Fred Rasmussen has an obituary.

Hillman was one of the more important figures in the craft beer revival in Baltimore, working first at Rotunda Wine and Spirits in the Rotunda shopping center on 40th Street and then moving to The Wine Source along with boss David Wells.  Hillman may have been a major player in the craft beer industry in town, but he was also a more subdued presence than the brewers and salesmen, diligently working quietly in the back offices and helping build The Wine Source's beer selection to one of the best on the Eastern Seaboard.

(2008 photo by Tom Cizauskas.)

07 August 2012

City Paper covers National Premium

Wednesday's edition of the City Paper has a fascinating cover story (well, kind of--the cover photo is a "cheesecake-y" vintage poster from the company) on the revival of the National Premium beer brand and recipe by Easton realtor Tim Miller, titled "Lager of Love."

For those who enjoy the history of beer, beer marketing, and advertising and branding, the story will be a fascinating read.  Indeed, the question actually arose as to whether or not the old National premium recipe could be accurately reproduced in 2012, even if one had the original brewery and recipe at hand.  Even the die-hard "extreme beer" fan who wouldn't use National Bohemian to rinse out his beer glasses will find some worthwhile reading in this piece, if only to possibly reinforce a few negative assumptions about beer branding and marketing in the modern "beer renaissance" era.

Go grab the (free) paper out of its yellow box, or read the article here.

05 August 2012

Urbanite Magazine Hops To It

The August issue of Baltimore's free-distribution Urbanite Magazine has a story on urban hop growers.  You may know one or more of the people mentioned.

Mid-Atlantic Brewing News is out

The August issue features a cover story by yours truly on upscale pub grub in Baltimore, plus the usual columns, photos, etc.  Pick it up at your favorite craft beer venue, brewpub, or retailer.

Monocacy Brewery opens in Frederick

Monocacy Brewing, the new project of the Brewer's Alley brewers, opened yesterday.

WTOP Radio has the story online.

DC Beer Week Aug. 12-18

Just a friendly little warning that Washington D.C. Beer Week is fast approaching, August 12-18th.

Official website.

Unofficial website.

One of the better events, Cask Night on Thursday the 16th at District Chophouse, with 15 or more breweries attending, including some that don't show up at Baltimore cask fests.

Burley Oak Begins Bottling

Maryland's "downda ocean" brewery, Burley Oak Brewing in Berlin, has begun bottling, according to this story from Delaware Online.  Expansion of their line to the Baltimore and Philadelphia markets is planned.

02 August 2012

"International IPA Day"

Yes, I'm ignoring "International India Pale Ale Day."  Let's see the list that tells us when the "official" Scottish Ale, Gose, Hefeweizen, Bourbon-Barrel-Aged Beer, Amber Ale, Imperial Wit, Schwarzbier, Dark Mild, Rauchbock, Kriek, E.S.B., Russian Imperial Stout, Baltic Porter, etc. Days are.  I don't tend to buy into artificial marketing campaigns by press release unless backed by an organized effort to actually offer more events or occasions behind it.

But some are marking the occasion.  Pratt Street Ale House is offering a flight of four different "house" IPAs for $5.  Max's Taphouse has put a few more IPAs on than usual, including Evil Twin Mad Dog, Long Trail IPA, Rogue Chatoe Oregasmic, Dales Pale Ale, Sixpoint Bengali Tiger, Firestone Double Jack, Stone Ruination, Flying Dog Imperial Chinook, Omnipollo Leon, Omnipollo Mazarin, New Belgium Ranger, Heavy Seas Loose Cannon, Union Duckpin, Flying Dog Double Dog, Green Flash Imperial IPA, Boulevard Double Wide, Bear Republic Racer 5 and Flying Dog Imperial Citra (cask).  Max's official "Hopfest," incidentally, is August 17-19, with over 70 hoppy beers promised.

More on IPA Day, and the style, from Yours For Good Fermentables.