27 April 2009

Beer Chili?

Okay, folks, I've been playing with a variety of chili recipes of late, both meaty and vegetarian (my wife gets the latter). I enjoyed the heck out of the chili cookoff at Metropolitan Coffeehouse, and am working on adding a chili event to Baltimore Beer Week, headed up no doubt by "Nick the Beer Trekker."

But can someone explain to me why I keep seeing chili recipes where beer is added?

What the heck? Unless you add something outrageous like Dogfish Head World Wide Stout or a Belgian Quad to a mild chili, there's no way in Hades the flavor is going to get through. And any alcohol will cook off quickly. So what in tarnation is the excuse for adding beer to a chili, other than a placebo or psychological effect or an offering to the Chili Gods?

(For the record, I grew up in a house where my father was a great cook, worked in kitchens during my college years, and spent a while as a head cook and restaurant manager. I know at least something about cooking and cuisine.......)

Ruddy Duck Brewpub, Solomons

No photos yet, no beer tasting notes yet, and I'm being coy on the details because someone pays me for the exclusive stuff--but if you're heading to Calvert or St. Mary's Counties anytime after Memorial Day, you're supposed to have a new brewpub to visit: The Ruddy Duck, still under the final stages of construction (as is the web site) in the north end of Solomons, outside the Hilton Garden Inn there (along 765, parallel to Md. 2/4). Long delayed (well over a year) by the current financial/credit turmoil, the owners are aiming for an opening by mid-to-late May. Two encouraging signs: they have an experienced brewer lined up, and it appears the first batch has already been "sold" in the form of free first pints to people who signed up as part of their e-mail list (approximately 2,000!).

Since it won't take up that much space in my article and it's already open, let me point out the Blue Wind Gourmet over across the Patuxent River in that vast commercial strip that Rt. 235 in California, Md. has become. It's a nice little place. likely to be missed if you're not looking for it. It's basically a combination of a bistro, gourmet shop, and a liquor store selling wine and beer to go--kind of like Philly's Foodery. The selection is quite big for the area (seriously, I know of no other good selection in the county), and they're also somewhat "green" and doing a lot of local charity work if that makes a difference in your buying habits.

13 April 2009

Coming up at Max's

Some quick Beer Social notices, and lots more (below verbatim, with minor edits for clarity):

This Tuesday [April 14th] we will be featuring a great cask from the York Brewery in England. This 4.3% ABV English Bitter will go quickly, so you don't want to miss this one.
As always we start at 6pm.
We will be meeting at at the main bar downstairs.
Oakham Attila
Abita Purple Haze
Allagash Black
Allagash Curieux
Cazeau Tournay Black
Cazeau Tournay Blonde
Contreras Valeir Blonde
Contreras Valeir Divers
Dogfish Head Black & Blue
Dogfish Head 60 Minute
Dogfish Head Midas Touch
Dominion Spring Buck
Ommegang Rouge
Redstone Black Raspberry Nectar
Redstone Sunshine Nectar
Rogue Dead Guy
Southern Tier 422
Southern Tier Unearthly
Southern Tier Uber Sun
Stone Pale Ale
Stone Russian Imperial Stout
Whitemarsh Station Bitter
We will be featuring Dieu Du Ciel Equinoxe Du Printemps, a maple Scotch Ale 8.0% and Dieu Du Ciel Soltice D' Hiver, a Barleywine, 8.0% ABV.
These are two great new beers from this Montreal Brewpub
This is A great new little brewery in East Flanders , Belgium. We will be serving
TORIA, a 6.0% Blonde Ale and KEKELARING a 6.5% Brown Ale
These are two great beers that are very limited.

MAY 11-17, 2009
This a week long event with special breweries featured each day. I will be sending out a full schedule of events this week and will be updating the drafts as they come in. We will have over 80 throughout the week.
Allagash Four
Allagash Interlude
Allagash Black
Allagash Dry Hopped barrel Aged Mussette
Avery Collaboration not Litigation
Avery Maharaja
Cape Ann Eclipse
Cape Ann Green Horn Double IPA
Cape Ann Tea Party
Dogfish Head 120 Minute
Dogfish Head World Wide Stout
Dogfish Head Black & Blue
Dogfish Head Red & White
Dogfish Head Fort
Dogfish Head Midas Touch
Dogfish Head Burton baton
Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron
Ommegang Rouge
Redstone Nectar of the Hops
Southern Tier Chocolate
Southern Tier Gemini
Southern Tier Jah Va
Southern Tier Oak Unearthly
Troegs Mad Elf
Unita Barleywine
Victory Abbey 8
Victory Rauchbier Porter
Magic Hat #9 (Cask)
Magic Hat Old Ale (Cask)
Magic Hat Bob's First Ale (Cask)
Heavy Seas Red Sky w/ Spices (cask)
Heavy Seas Peg Leg W/ Oak Chips (cask)

12 April 2009

Microsoft Cancels office-complex pub

Okay, it has nothing to do with Baltimore, but something to do with being online:

Microsoft has canceled plans to open an eight-tap bar on its campus in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood, just three days before it was to open.

(Hat tip: Instapundit and Slashdot.) And for the record, I use Mozilla Firefox on two XP machines, using IE only for checking coding and display.)

Flying Dog on Frederick News-Post Video

.........with CEO/General Partner David Caruso. Right here. 1:45 in length, not counting ad before main feature.

Thanks to David Turley's Musings Over a Pint for the tip.

11 April 2009

News from Pratt St. Ale House

I just received a lengthy e-mail from Stephen Jones of Oliver/Pratt Street. It's very long with way too many details--some of which will probably be held aside for Mid-Atlantic Brewing News--but I wanted to pass on new developments as soon as possible:
As you know, cask ale is my passion so to promote it, Tuesday night at the Pratt St. Alehouse will be Cask Ale Appreciation Night with $3 cask pints after 5pm. I encourage patrons to come early and have a beer with the brewer...I'll be around for an hour or so after I've finished my brewing day. I'm hoping that it will generate enough interest to justify putting a cask on the bar from time to time and also inviting some guest brewers/casks along. I've just taken delivery of some kilderkins and am hoping to purchase some auto-tilt stillage systems in the very near future. We're investing heavily in our cask system and will promote it at every opportunity.

As you may know, last week we held the judging for the C.R.A.B.S / Oliver Breweries Homebrew Competition, in which 13 homebrewers offered their versions of my Best Bitter using my recipe and yeast. Judging was very enjoyable and the winner will be announced next Wednesday at an awards party at the Alehouse. We hope to make this an annual event with the club choosing a different one of my recipes to brew each time with the most authentic being judged the winner.We intend to run an additional homebrew competition towards the end of the year to coincide with the Baltimore Beer Week. We invite homebrewers to submit a beer that can be commercially brewed at my brewery and the winning homebrewer will be invited to brew the beer at the Pratt St. Alehouse and the beer will not only be on tap at the Alehouse as a seasonal offering but will also be made available at the Brewer's Association Oktoberfest and at the Chesepeake Real Ale Fest. Full details will be posted on our web site in the near future.

Our latest seasonal offering will be on tap very soon. Cherry Blossom Ale will make a welcome return after a number of years hiatus and will be available throughout the Spring and early Summer. I'll also be brewing a Biere de Garde (at least an Englishman's version of said style) in the very near future. The Hot Monkey Love (barley wine) is on the brewing schedule for next week and will make its debut at the Real Ale Fest in October where I will offer an oak aged version alongside a regular cask...should be interesting!

Also noted: the new cask pump system has its own separate glycol cooling system to hold and serve the cask ales at the proper temperature.

09 April 2009

Heck, might as well play equal time.... Flying Dog...

Flying Dog also sent an e-mail my way, plugging their usual website and their stand-along blog. And at least that one's coming up for me.

Check out the news of the release of their Canis Minor series, a session-strength line to complement their bigger "Canis Major" series.

Beer Wars in (some) Theaters April 16th (ONLY)

Since Dogfish made it so easy for me to cut/paste from their e-mail:

If you consider yourself a fan of American craft beer, you have to clear your schedule for next Thursday, 4/16/09. That's because for one-night-only more than 450 movie theaters across the country will be screening 'Beer Wars' a documentary about the beer industry in the U.S. This is a must-see for beer fans, and not only because Dogfish is front and center. The 4/16 screening will be followed by a LIVE simulcast discussion featuring our own Sam Calagione and hosted by Ben Stein. Follow the link to learn all about Beer Wars, find your closest screening and buy your tickets. As an added bonus, lots of beer-centric bars and restaurants are hosting pre and post-Beer Wars parties, so check your local joints!
The list of Maryland theaters showing it:

RegalBel Air Cinema 14AbingdonMD21009
RegalBowie Crossing 14BowieMD20716
AMCAMC Columbia Mall 14ColumbiaMD21044
RegalSnowden Square 14ColumbiaMD21046
RegalGermantown 14GermantownMD20874
AMCAMC Owings Mills 17Owings MillsMD21117

Dogfish Head's new website

I got an e-mail minutes ago through my Mid-Atlantic Brewing News e-mail that Dogfish Head Brewery in Delaware has revamped and relaunched its website as of last month.

I'm getting page load errors, however, on both Mozilla Firefox and MS Internet Exploder--err, Explorer. Good timing, gents. (UPDATE: Working as of 6 pm today....)

From the e-mail:

First off, we still have all the great content you want about our beers, spirits, restaurant and more. Over the next few months we'll be adding even more (think videos, ageing recommendations, polls, etc...).

But we know you wanted more... On the new website we've created a Dogfish Community. Register, create a profile and start interacting with us. You'll be able to subscribe to our blogs (yes, we have a whole team of Dogfish folks blogging!), post to our forums (homebrew recipes, food recipes, and more), create Fish Finder Map pins to let us know where you find your Dogfish Head beer, and more. Even more features for our Community Members will be added as we move forward (post your own photos, videos, etc...).

Also, on our 2009 Beer Release Schedule you'll 'Brand X' to be released in the April/May timeframe. I have an few updates for you there - 2009's Brand X beer release will be Sah'tea. If you saw last year's amazing article in The New Yorker about Dogfish Head, you will know all about Sah'tea. So, we will be releasing Sah'tea as our Brand X beer this year, but it won't be out until early summer, so stay tuned to our website and our newsletter for the latest on the Sah'tea release.

I now sincerely believe that the vast overload of Twitter, blogs, forums, etc. everywhere is designed to ensnare the readers and participants into a Borg-like assimilation from which there is no escape.

To that end: Stop reading this blog and go have a beer today. A GOOD one, of course.

Federal Hill Parking Redux

Article from March 29th's Baltimore Sun details the pending changes to Federal Hill's parking restrictions. Might be better to take transit, hit happy hour only, or head for the garage.

08 April 2009

And THIS was the problem with the BB&BBQ Fest crowd........

"Hey, everybody, come and get me!!!! I'm a fresh and free firkin--that's right, a FIRKIN--of cask-conditioned Heavy Seas Loose Cannon! SELF-SERVICE, folks! The BEST beer on the grounds, the ONLY cask beer here...................


(SIGH......... maybe the guy over there taking a picture will like me.........)"

Typo of the Day at BB&BBQ

"Phone call from Carol of Adamstown, Pa. on line 2!"

(Thankfully, the signs were obviously made up in advance by the organizers, and therefore DuClaw gets no blame for this.....)

New Product Spotted at Beer, Bourbon & BBQ

I presume they're pushing this on either people trying to quit cigarettes, or fellow bloggers for "The Session."

Beer, Bourbon, & BBQ Fest

Quick impressions of the Beer, Bourbon, & BBQ fest at the Timonium Fairgrounds on Saturday: I left about halfway through before it got too ridiculously crowded (actually, too late by that point), and the proportion of idiots screaming "WHOOOOO!" got too high--as some said, "It's a frat party, plain and simple."

Lancaster Brewing probably scored the best presentation display:

a barn holding their taps and chillers.

07 April 2009

National Cask Ale Week! (well, if you're British....)

This is National Cask Ale Week in the UK, sponsored by the Campaign for Real Ale.

Note the "World's Largest Toast" link at the right of the home page. Yet another effort to pull off a huge bunch of participants.

But ironically, it's scheduled for 7 PM Greenwich time, which should work out to 2 PM Eastern Daylight Time........ and the Chesapeake Bay Branch of the SPBW will be at Johansson's in Westminster at that time............

And I have some photos from the Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Fest on Saturday to get around to posting. Long story short: It got SERIOUSLY overcrowded, and I left before there was any ugliness from running out of beer and bourbon. (And just a few too many people who insist the only way to enjoy beer is by yelling "WHOOOOOOOOO!" at the top of their lungs.........)

03 April 2009

This Weekend (Updated!)

1) Haven't confirmed in person, but the beer engines at the Pratt St. Ale House should be up and pumping by now. Also, note an ad for the place in this week's City Paper.

UPDATE: Just received an e-mail from Pratt St. minutes ago: They're on, with the 3 Lions, Strong Man strong pale ale, and ESB as the initial offerings.

2) Moorea Marketing's Beer, Bourbon, & BBQ Fest this Saturday at the Timonium Fairgrounds. Tickets still available, but not for the early VIP sampling from noon to 2 PM.

01 April 2009

Globe Brewery to reopen?

UPDATE: Yes, the following post was indeed an April Fool's post! But we can dream, can't we? (Well, the other idea I had was a kosher-friendly beer bar in Pikesville......)

I get the strangest things in my e-mail inbox while I'm working.

A usually reliable source reports that the long-shuttered Globe Brewing Co. along the 1300 block of Key Highway near Federal Hill is slated to reopen--as a brewpub.

The details are sketchy, in part because I'm only hearing one part of the story from one side (typical in this trade--no new bar owner wants to jinx things until all the licenses are in place), but it appears the owners of the nearby Little Havana (right up Key Highway) have signed a letter of intent to purchase what is now best described as a ruin of a brewpub, with the intent of reactivating the brewpub.

Furthermore, in what can only be described as a good turn of events, the new owners are apparently seeking to set up the brewery as a LAGER brewery. This would finally give Baltimore back its once-fine distribution of brewpub beer styles (American, British, Belgian, German) that has been lacking since Baltimore Brewing Co. closed its doors in February 2005.

Now, my recollection is that a) the brewing equipment in Globe Brewing was ripped out ages ago, or that at least anything left is unusable, and b) what was in there wasn't suited to lager production. Supposedly, however, the owners have secured the services of a noted lager beer producer in the Baltimore area (cough, *cough*Raven*cough*), and will be working with him/her to relaunch the brewery, possibly involving contract brewing at some local brewery until on-site production is up to speed. It's also possible that they may produce beers with Little Havana in mind as well, possibly lighter-bodied lager styles to compete with the likes of Corona, Carib, and Negra Modelo.

The Globe Brewing Co.--opened in 1997 but using a historic brewing name for Baltimore (anyone remember Arrow and Arrow Bock? No, dammit, I'm not THAT old.....)--was a happening scene for the year and a half or so of its existence, with oysters and other seafood, but the building suffered from chronic ventilation and air-conditioning problems, which actually shuttered it for a time during what should have been prime season for them. They also suffered from chronic service problems, as I recall--I remember making more efforts to go drink there and failing (closed, "private party,", etc.) than actually drinking there, and the old reviews still lurking in musty corners of Pubcrawler.com confirm.

Stay tuned--time will tell............

In a similar vein, Sam Sessa of Midnight Sun reports that Ron Furman, owner of Max's Taphouse, is ALSO expanding:

Here's one from left field: Ron Furman, the owner of Max's Taphouse (737 S. Broadway), is planning to open a high-end lounge called G&T in the old Crabby Dick's building. G&T (short for gin and tonic) is still a working name, and Furman is open to suggestions, he said.

"Ever since Max's at Camden Yards closed a few years ago, I've been itching to open another bar," Furman said yesterday. "I see places like Power Plant Live doing really well, and I think I could do that."

G&T -- or whatever it ends up being called -- will have a $10-$15 cover, depending on the night, Furman said ...

Furman wants G&T to have an upscale feel, with leather couches, a large martini list and, of course, a gourmet beer selection. True to its name, G&T will have an extensive gin list, with spirits imported from England and Africa.

For G&T's, grand opening, which will be in late summer, Furman wants to bring in a large ice luge shaped like the statue of liberty.

"We're going to go all out," he said. "We're going to have some fun."

More at the link to Midnight Sun above............ (damn, I hate being scooped on stories like this....)