Hell is having two terrific casks being tapped across town from one another.
Heaven is either of these beers on cask.
So start with the northeastern side of town: White Marsh/Red Brick Station.
Octopus' Pajamas 6.8%-- a real rauchbier, even if that's not what they intended. I've never seen a Scottish with this much smoke except here. Very dry and smoky, drinkable and not overly potent. Perhaps the German models are a bit fuller in body, but I'm not complaining. Just don't go into this expecting a super-sweet malty beer like a lot of so-called "Scottish" in the States.
DPM Lager on firkin for SPBW 5%--a nice dunkels, esp. for a Ringwood house. Dark and roasty with a creamy edge to the flavor, almost a hybrid between Guinness and extra-dark lager. (It's a freakin' firkin, don't ask about nitro taps!)
Batch 1000 barleywine, aged 3 months in oak and shoved aside for handpump: There's NO WAY to get past the Scottish orange marmalade character and flavour. LOTS of Seville orange peel flavour--amazing when you consider there's no actual orange peel in it, that it's all oak. I can't get past a light orange liqueur with lots of wood.
Batch 1000 aged a YEAR in new oak, on CO2 tap.... Fuller, smoother, rounder, more nuanced..... my BIG regret is that, like Selin's Grove's casks or Kriek, that I can't get this in bottles for exhibition elsewhere.........
UPDATE: And for the one or so of you who might have been wondering what the OTHER beer was: Heather Ale's Kelpie Seaweed Ale, on handpump at Metropolitan in Federal Hill. A WONDERFUL rich dark ale, malty as a red but dark like a porter, with a rich, full flavor. Is it any wonder? Carrageenan, one of those mystery ingredients you see in such things as soups and ice cream, comes from another kind of seaweed and is used as a flavor enhancer, generally by adding mouthfeel and texture.
Bluebirds at the Range
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