26 February 2009
25 February 2009
And, yes, the contractors report that brewing has continued in spite of the reconstruction! Kudos to Steve Jones!
Taverna Corvino ("raven black") now occupies the former Junior's location (if you blinked, you may have missed it, and you may remember it better as the former Vespa) at 1117-1119 S. Charles St., just south of Matsuri and Mother's. It's an Italian-themed restaurant, currently going through a "Test Kitchen" phase (with signs to that effect) in lieu of a "soft opening." I stoped by before opening today and perused the bar menu, a range of appetizers in the $6-$9 range, as well as cheese plates (three cheeses $11); dinners reportedly hover around $16-25. The owner, Bian McComas, also owns Ryleigh's Oyster Bar, the former Sisson's brewpub around the corner.
But we want to know about the beer, right? The beer selection is thus far all bottles (and a can or two), ranging from Guinness and Grolsch to a Unibroue selection to Fullers and Duvel to Italian mainstreams like Peroni and Moretti. As I started nosing about, the management eagerly pulled out two new bottles: Almond 22 Torbata, an old ale spiced with orange peel and honey, and Genziana, a saison-style brewed with gentian and coriander.
Their official opening is March 3rd; stop in this weekend and give them your feedback.
24 February 2009
Go read the whole thing. (Thanks to Instapundit for the link.)
As most other business segments contend with negative growth, craft beer makers - small, independent and traditional brewers that produce less than 2 million barrels per year - are enjoying slowed but still-strong sales increases and outperforming the beer industry as a whole.
While craft brewers have seen slowdowns in the volume of their beer consumed at restaurants and bars, business has picked up at the packies as more people spend their free time at home to save money.
Massachusetts-based brewers such as Boston Beer Co., Harpoon Brewery and Cisco Brewers say they’re also benefiting from consumers trading down to their brews from more expensive wines and liquor.
“In boom times, we might be envying our friends in financial services, but they’re now envying us,” said Dan Kenary, cofounder and president of Harpoon Brewery in Boston. “Beer is a staple. You might not be able to go out and spend $75 on dinner, but you can go out and spend $8 or $9 on a six-pack.”
UPDATE: More on the subject from Washington Post beer columnist Greg Kitsock, with a slightly different take:
(Disclaimer: Kitsock is also the editor of Mid-Atlantic Brewing News, which runs my Baltimore column and occasional articles.)
Americans are not drinking less in the recession, but they appear to be drinking cheaper stuff.
Shipments of beer, for instance, were up by more than 1.3 million (0.6 percent) last year, according to the Beer Institute. But the so-called premium mainstream brands such as Bud and Miller Lite and major imports Corona and Heineken reported decreases. The big winners: no-frills economy labels such as Pabst Blue Ribbon and Keystone Light, whose 12- or 30-packs often sell for less than a six-pack of some higher-end brands.
"Keystone Light is the hottest brand in the industry," says Benjamin Steinman, publisher and editor of the newsletter Beer Marketer's Insights. "It grew more than 500,000 barrels last year."
Nonetheless, craft beers (fuller-flavored and pricier, from small independent breweries) also fared well, up 5.8 percent in volume last year, according to the Colorado-Based Brewers Association. True, that's only half the torrid 12 percent growth rate that craft beers registered in 2007. But it's still way ahead of the beer industry as a whole.
The explanation? Many believe it reflects a trading down: that craft beer is siphoning off sales from wine and spirits. "The people who bought top-shelf $10 margaritas are now buying Sam Adams for $5," says Jim Koch, chairman of Boston Beer Co.
23 February 2009
They will be serving
Belhaven Scottish Stout 7.0% ABV and
Batemans Triple B.-A 5.0% ABV English Pale
Wed Feb 25th, 2009- Troegs Night
Thurs Feb 26th, 2009- Stoudts Event
featuring 11 Stoudts drafts for this event.
In addition, Metropolitan Coffeehouse should be featuring a British cask for their Thursday night firkin event-- a cask of Dorothy Goodbody's Wholesome Stout from Wye Valley Brewery in Stoke Lacy, Hereford, England. Dorothy Goodbody's is a 4.6% stout. Here is what the brewery website has to say about this stout:
20 February 2009
Intended aim: blocking sales of "40-ouncers" of cheap booze to folks who then piddle in alleys and garden pots.
Unintended consequence: effectively banning the sale of Belgian beers, 22-ounce "bombers" of craft beer, and "big" beers like Thomas Hardy's, Dogfish Head's bigger beers, Flying Dog's Wild Dog beers, etc.
“I think it is a terrible policy no matter which way you slice it, but unfortunately all too typical of DC politics—a broad, superficial gesture aimed at a deep infrastructural problem,” wrote a member of the Beer Advocate board last month.Could this happen in Baltimore? If we're not careful. We may be extremely lucky in that we have a local liquor board chairman who is a certified beer geek and has his name on a stool at one of the local great beer bars, but that does little if bigger politicians get bees in their bonnets. Be ready to oppose.
18 February 2009
Craft Beer has arrived by Rail to the East Coast2/16/2009
SADDLE BROOK, NEW JERSEY - Imagine a world where Craft Beer could be transported by railroad to the East Coast. Thanks to LAK Warehouse, Inc. and North Coast Brewing, it has been done.
With a simple idea from George Fisher, Steve Krawczuk and Doug Moody came up with a cost-cutting idea that at the same time keeps the East Coast supplied with North Coast products. This is the first time a pair of smaller companies put together a plan to compete like the big companies. By loading a train car full of beer and sending it via rail direct to LAK Warehouse, shipping costs are dramatically lowered (1 box car holds 4 trailer loads of product) and there are no additional costs since LAK Warehouse has rail siding at their facility making the product go from the rail car right into the warehouse. All these services can be tailored to individual needs.
With LAK's customer base, adding North Coast to their portfolio was a "no-brainer". Since North Coast Brewing's East Coast Customers already pick up product at LAK Warehouse, it is easier and more cost effective for the distributors to consolidate with other suppliers at LAK Warehouse. End result - North Coast keeps stock at LAK Warehouse so East Coast distributors have easier access to the product. Imagining a world where Craft Beer could be transported by railroad to the East Coast is no longer a dream.
First order of business--covering a beer event in Inner Harbor (Clipper City celebrating its roles in the new movie "She's Just Not That Into You").
Second order of business: Showing up at Max's Tuesday beer social, slamming down an IV bag and saying "Fill 'er up!" Only one of the regular bar staff was there, however, to get the joke, as the usual guys were all recuperating from the long, hard weekend.
Third, and longest, task: recuperation. Still eating timidly and slowly, a low-fat diet (as Garfield will point out, "diet" is "Die" with a "t", though I always called it the penalty for exceeding the feed limit), and no booze for the time being, orally OR intravenously.
Ironically, today I received a call asking if I wanted to renew my subscription to "Brew Your Own" magazine. They were most gracious when I explained my excuse.
14 February 2009
Feel free to send me your own (links to galleries, please, such as the above--not actual photos), and I'll post them (or at least the best of them).
UPDATE: From Chodite. Note the new display cases upstairs in the lounge.
13 February 2009
Quote from brewery in comments:
The Feds ordered us to shut down the production of the beer, but they certainly didn't raid us with guns and teargas like this post makes it sound.
They sent a TTB rep down to the facility, and then later followed up with someone from the Dept of Homeland Security to make sure we weren't doing anything funny. A cease and desist order was given, and we were required to surrender our labeling license and destroy all product that may have been in inventory.
The point is there will be no more Hop Obama as the Feds have officially put the kabosh on it - its over.
12 February 2009
Philly transit agency sells pass with photo of NYC
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia's primary mass transit agency is embarrassed about a discount pass it sold that features a picture of New York City.
The pass is marked with the logo for Philly Beer Week, a festival celebrating local breweries and taverns. The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority is selling the pass to discourage people from driving from one event to another during the festival.
A spokeswoman for the agency, Jerri Williams, says transit officials liked the look of the pass but didn't realize the stock photo was of the wrong city. New passes are being printed.
So if my sister's going to report on my hospital stay at her blog, I guess I'd better humor her.
She's a nice sister. One or two of you might have even met her. But we look both so similar in certain features and so unalike in others (body shape, for one), that we've jokingly harassed each other under our breaths for years, "You're adopted."
Okay, who's saving me some beer from tonight's SPBW event at Red Brick Station?
11 February 2009
Tonight (maybe some left over tomorrow--call before a trip): a firkin of Troeg's Nugget Nectar at Frisco Grille in Columbia.
Thursday the 12th: SPBW meets 7 PM at Red Brick Station, the Avenue at White Marsh (click at SPBW link on the right for information).
Meanwhile, back downtown, Metropolitan puts on a firkin of American Dog Ale, an American IPA from Dog Brewing of Westminster/Federal Hill.
And this weekend, of course: Belgian blowout at Max's, starting @ 11 AM Friday.
Now, if any of you enterprising chaps wants to swing by the University of Md. Medical Center, mercilessly mock my being fed with a tube up my nose, and then take an IV bag over to any of these places on my behalf...............
10 February 2009
Saturday, Jan. 31st while attending the Great Scale Train Show at Timonium, I received an acute case of "indigestion". The pain was basically that of a sucker punch up under the front of the rib cage/sternum. (For the history-minded, think the punch that ultimately killed Harry Houdini.) I chalked it up to either acid indigestion or just "something I ate" and left for home, where I laid around for most of the weekend, suffering a bit more and not having much of an appetite.
On Wednesday the 4th, I woke up somewhat lethargic and ill-at-ease. I chalked that up to inadequate sleep, called work to tell them I was coming in late if at all, and went back to bed. Around 11 a.m. I got up to do more normal Wednesday routines--eat the breakfast my now-unemployed wife made for me, get the Washington Post and Baltimore City Paper, read e-mails--and then go down to the Baltimore Streetcar Museum to see if they had the CD for Microsoft Front Page so I could work on their website.
While I was at the BSM in the Md. Rail Heritage Library, the "indigestion" came back like Refrigerator Perry trampling for a touchdown. I managed to stagger home and crawl up the stairs to my flat, where I promptly made an altogether vain effort to get comfortable.
By 7:00 or so I was having my wife call for suggestions. My sister and brother-in-law were a bit taken aback by my asking for any good gastro-enterologists that might be available.
Around 9 p.m. my wife pulled up to the emergency department of Maryland General Hospital ("because I know where it is!") and I was admitted, to spend hours more in a waiting room with no possible place to lie out or get comfy.
The verdict, after x-rays and an ultrasound scan: Pancreatitis and gallstones. A massive gallstone was thought to be blocking the duct from the pancreas to the digestive tract, and several more were clustered in the gall bladder. I was transferred to U. of Md. Medical Center the next evening by ambulance, although I joked that they could have just put me and the stretcher on a southbound Light Rail train!
More details will follow as I get the chance, but suffice it to say that the short-term goal is reducing the inflammation from the pancreatitis to the point where the gall bladder can be removed via a simple (possibly outpatient basis) laproscopy. I just hope that for all the pain these buggers are causing, I get to take them home in a glass jar!
Alcohol consumption? THAT topic made for lively discussion and debate--starting with how no doctor ever seems to believe anyone who straightforwardly states they drink in moderation (specifying exact amounts from a journal, no less). First, no way I can expect to partake of any booze until well after the gall bladder is removed and the pancreas and incisions heal. (And goddammit, let me tell y'all how much I've lusted for certain beers of late, such as Uinta Wildfire, Coniston Bluebird Bitter, and Fraoch Heather Ale....) Even then, there appears to be a faction of doctors that are of the belief that alcohol is what instigates the pancreatitis, and that alcohol should thus be verboten forevermore. I'm not buying that, but if they ultimately win, I may be holding a nice "charity fundraiser" beer sale whereas all my valuable stashes go to settle outstanding hospital bills.
UPDATE midday 11 Feb.: Not yet on solid foods, but still alive and kicking. The pain level is down substantially, and there's a chance in Hell I actually might make it to Max's this weekend, albeit with the condition that I have NO beer or even food there.
06 February 2009
AND A LATE UPDATE: I actually may have to miss it this year, for reasons beyond my control. Stay tuned...........
02 February 2009
cribbed from an e-mail from Danny at Muggsy's Mug House--the former Sean Bolan's at 1236 S. Light St.:
Just wanted to let you know we are having our first "Firkin Friday" next weekend, Friday February 6th. We have a firkin of Loose Cannon just waiting to be tapped. everything gets kicked off at 7pm, mugs are going for $4 each, it should be a lot of fun.