29 May 2009

Upcoming Events

I'm going to crib a few notes from Brewing News' Hoptips, a free e-newsletter from Brewing News (you can subscribe yourself HERE).

Saturday, May 30th: Maryland Brewer’s Springfest in Frederick – The Frederick Keys play host to this annual event at Harry Grove Stadium. Check out the local brewers, event lineup and buy your tickets at www.frederickkeys.com/brewers09.

Saturday, June 6th: Free State Homebrew Guild Summer Picnic, Patapsco State Park –
Join fellow beer enthusiasts for a day of brew, food, games, and a wheat beer contest. There will also be a raffle for a heated and cooled 12 gallon conical fermenter. Chances are $20 each and limited to 200 tickets. Sales start Monday, May 4th, with the drawing at the picnic. All proceeds go to charity. Noon to 7pm. Tickets and details at www.mdhomebrewers.org/.

Wednesday, July 1st: Ladies Only Night at Clipper City – The women of Clipper City Brewing are taking over, sending the men home and setting up for an evening with the ladies. Brush up on your beer knowledge with guided tastings and a tour of the brewery. Chris Ames from MD Homebrewer Assoc will be on hand to answer your brewing questions. Also joining in will be Kim Rigby from Parfections, bringing chocolate truffles made with the Heavy Seas beer to sample and take home. They’re keeping it small so don’t wait to preregister at www.ccbeer.com. 6-8pm.

Saturday, August 1st: Montgomery County Fair Homebrew Competition Entries are due – This competition will accept all BJCP styles and categories. Judging happens on August 8th - Stewards and judges are needed. Details at g_a_b_s.tripod.com/ (Click on "MCAF Competition").

Saturday, September 12th: Maryland Microbrew Fest Homebrew Competition entries are due – Competition to be held at Union Mills Homestead on Sept 26th. This will be limited to 2 beer styles: Scottish 80/- and Belgian Dubbel and the best of show will be brewed by Dog Pub to be served at Buffalo Wild Wings locations in Maryland. More details as they become available.

Max's Rare & Obscure Update

From the e-mail inbox:

JUNE 24-26, 2009
"So, yes we had to expand the amount of days for this event due to the great amount of rare beers. We will be putting on at least 20 rare & Obscure beers on draft each day.I will be sending out a list of what beers will be on what days in two weeks. So , here is the final line up of draft beers for this event.
As always we may add a few or have to take a few off the list, due to shipping and things out of our control."
the list
Allagash Black
Allagash Confluence
Allagash Four
Allagash Hugh Malone
Allagash Interlude
Allagash Mussette
Allagash Victor
Allagash Victoria
Avery 13
BFM Abbaye De Saint Bon Chien 2007
BFM Abbaye De Saint Bon Chien 2008
BFM Alex Le Rouge
BFM La Cuvree
BFM La Mandragore
BFM La Meule
BFM La Torpille
Brouwerij Contreras Valeir Extra
Brouwerij Contreras Valeir Blonde
Brouwerij Contreras Valeir Divers
Brouwerij De Dochter Van De Korenaar Embrasse
Brouwerij De Dochter Van De Korenaar Noblesse
Cantillon Gueuze
Cantillon Iris
Cantillon Rose De Grambrinus
Christoffel Bier
Christoffel Bok
Christoffel Nobel
De Glazen Toren Angelque
De Preof Les Duex Brasseurs
De Ranke Noir Dottingnier
De Ranke XX Bitter
Del Borgo 25 Dodici
Del Borgo Rubus / Lamboni
Ellezelloise Hercule Stout
Ellezelloise Quintine Blonde
Flying Dog Devil Dog
Geants Goliath
Geants Saison Voisin
Geants Gouyasse
Geants Urchon
Grado Plato Kukumerla
Harviestoun Ola Dubh 18 Year (Cask)
Harviestoun Ola Dubh 30 Year (Cask)
Harviestoun Ola Dubh 40 Year (Cask)
Hitachino Classic
Hitachino Espresso Stout
Hitachino Ginger
Hitachino Red Rice
Hitachino XH
Hofseffen Kubelbier
Hofseffen Honigs Bock
Hopfenstark Blanche De l' Emitage
Hopfenstark Ostalgia Blonde
Hopfenstark Postcolonial IPA
Huisbrouwerij Sint Canarus Potteloereke
Huisbrouwerij Sint Canarus Triple
Italiano Cassissona
JW Lees Harvest Ale 2008
Leifmans Oud Bruin
Mahrs Der Weisse Bock
Nogne O IPA
Nogne O Imperial Stout
Piccolo Chiostro
Piccolo Nau Amore
Prof Briem 1809
Slaapmustke Triple Night Cap
Slaapmustke Dry Hopped Lager
Stone Russian Imperial Stout 2007
Weissenhoe Bonator
Wintercoat Cockney Imperial Stout
Wintercoat Double Hop
Wintercoat Oatmeal Stout

[So, what, they can only get seven rare beers from the UK?]

22 May 2009

Clipper City's new Big DIPA

Artwork reportedly approved minutes ago by the Feds in charge of such bureaucracy.

Does anyone still use the skull and crossbones to signify "poison" anymore? I'm just asking............

Late Update: Clipper City has decided to send a firkin of Big DIPA to the Maryland Brewers Springfest in Frederick next Saturday, to be tapped @ 4 PM. Also to be on hand out there: a firkin of Loose Cannon dry-hopped with Palisade, Simcoe, and Cascade hops.....

Wiessner/American Brewery reopening as nonprofit HQs

The Baltimore Sun did such a better job reporting, including a lovely photo gallery, so I'm just going to repost them here.

I'm working on an open house or other tour of the building for the public for Baltimore Beer Week.

Photo shows a seating area carved out of one of the old brewing vessels.

And yes, everyone calls it the American Brewery, but it was built in 1887 as the Wiessner Brewery--more on the building here. Wiessner's monument in Lorraine Park Cemetery has barley sheaves carved all over the monument--mistakenly called wheat by the guidebooks and websites I've seen.

21 May 2009

Max's Rare & Obscure June 25th

Danged e-mail inbox just keeps overflowing today............. I assume this event keeps going on through the weekend of June 26-27......

JUNE 25, 2009
NO ENTRANCE FEE-CASH BAR (and yes, we take credit cards)
Max's will be pulling out some really rare gems on drafts. We have been saving some of the rarest and hard to find kegs just for this event.
We have one keg each so they will go quickly.
HERE IS A DRAFT LIST : 50% DONE.I will update this weekly, leading up to the event
Grado Plato Kukumerla
Del Bordo Rubus/Lamboni
BFM La Torpille
BFM La Cuvree
BFM La Mandragore
BFM Abbaye De Bon Chien 2008
BFM Abbaye De Bon Chien 2009
JW Lees Harvest Ale 2008
Harviestoun Ola Duba 40 Year Old (Cask)
Harviestoun Ola Duba 30 Year Old (Cask)
BFM Le Meule (Cask)
Hofsteffen Kuebelbier
Hofstetten Honings Bock
Piccolo Chiostro
Piccolo Nau Amore
Del Borgo 25 Dodici
Allagash Conflouence
Allagash Interlude
Allagash Mussette
Allagash Black
Allagash Four
Allagash Hugh malone
Allagash Victor
Allagash Victoria
Leifmans Oud Bruin
De Proef Les Deux Brasseurs
Avery 13th Anniversary
De Ranke Noir Dottingnies
Stone Russian Imperial Stout 2007

Controversy at Brew at the Zoo?

You may, if you're paying attention, have noticed that weird beer line-up at the Brew at the Zoo, which I reported on here.

Well, I'm not the only one who noticed the lack of local beers. Apparently the reason is being discussed in the comments to Rob Kasper's blog post about the weekend event. I just managed to discretely confirm the details with one brewer off the record.


On the one hand, it's nice that we have a good and strong local beer scene. On the other hand, the Brewers Assn. of Md.'s festivals at Frederick (next Saturday, May 30th, if I need to remind you) and Timonium (Oct. 10th, part of Baltimore Beer Week by design) really dominate the central Md. beer scene, and focus strictly on Maryland beers. We could sorely use a nice any-beer-that-wants-to-show-up beer fest in the region, one that isn't hideously expensive (like SAVOR in D.C. May 30th--$95 and up, and sold out) or split in loyalties like the Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festivals at Timonium, Richmond, DC, and elsewhere........... and we especially need one for Baltimore Beer Week, because one of the best things about Baltimore as a beer town is the diversity of beers from elsewhere (Colorado, Scotland, Japan, California, Belgium, England, Australia, etc.) available here!

Maifest @ Blob's Park

In the ol' inbox:

This is just a reminder that the Maifest Celebration will be THIS SUNDAY, May 24. Check out the website for information - www.blobspark.net
The Alt-Washingtonia Schuhplattlers will be hosting the dedication of the fantastic Neuschwanstein Castle Mural that Idi Brown is just finishing up on the front of the building. The Schuhplattlers will perform traditional dances and songs and they'll be blowing those long alphorns as well! Leon and The Rheinlanders will be playing some great music for our dancing pleasure.

DuClaw Growler Sale this (long) weekend

From DuClaw's e-mail:

From Friday, May 22nd through Monday, May 25th, save $2 on every refill and $4 on every new Growler filled with your favorite DuClaw Brewing Company beers. It's a long weekend, so fill'em up!

Clay Pipe at Greene Turtle Columbia Friday

Some news from Gregg Norris, head of one of our lesser-heard-from local breweries (still contracting at Flying Goose/Wild Dog--I mean, the other way around--last I heard):

This Friday, May 22nd from 4-7pm we want to blow the roof off the Green Turtle in Columbia. With our new distributor alliances, CP has been surging these last couple months. Landing a Backfin tap at the TURTLE is pretty huge and drawing a crowd for our first promo there will help ensure our beer stays at the bar. If you are receiving this email, you are part of a fun group of friends, to whom I wanted to personally reach out(and party with this Friday). Your neighbors, coworkers, friends and family are welcomed too. Lets see if we can make it a weekend kick-off to remember.

And yes, we'll be giving away logo glassware and offering reduced price draft beers if just hanging out with me wasn't enough :]

Latest News from Pratt St. Ale House

Straight from the brewer's keyboard, as it were:

"Brewer's Choice Cask is currently American Oak aged Lions and will be followed by Dark Mild (a nice contrast in styles I think you'll agree!)
On regular tap soon will be the Rustic Red (my interpretation of a Biere de Garde). There will also be a French Oak aged cask on the hand pump in about 6 - 8 weeks (after all, it is a beer for keeping, I'm sure it'll be worth the wait). Also coming in late June is the Nut Brown Ale, a personal favorite of mine, expect plenty of casks of this one to be around!)"

You have been warned. And a reminder that they're still doing Cask Appreciation Nights every Tuesday, cask pints $3.

LATER UPDATE: "I don't think the 3 lions is going to make it through the day . . . just went into the cask room and was shocked to see the cask on full tilt! (those auto tilt stillages are fantastic!) cue a rapid venting/tapping of the mild. I'm brewing 3 lions again next week and I'll be doing a bunch more casks (subject to availability of cooperage). I will fill a kilderkin for sure and we will have a launch party in early July (we are relaunching the brewery with FP Winner with a view to pushing out more beer to outside accounts . . . we'll be focusing on 3 Lions, Amber, Ironman and Irish Red as the core brands though all of our beers will be available by special order. We'll have new tap handle logos, glassware, t-shirts etc."

20 May 2009

Firkins @ DuClaw Bel Air Friday

5 PM Friday the 22nd: firkins of Consecration and Apricot-laced Bare-A$$ed Blonde (written that way in hopes of circumventing spam/smut filters).

Sam Adams: Too Big?

Fascinating--and actually important--column by Washington Post columnist (and Mid-Atlantic Brewing News editor) Greg Kitsock on Samuel Adams becoming so successful that, by strictly technical tax definitions, it will cease to be a "small brewery" sometime in the next year--because it will end up producing more than two million barrels a year.

If nothing else, that's going to mess up the "craft beer continued to rise in production) annual blurb by the Brewers Association.

DC Craft Beer Week

Well, whadaya know. Washington D.C. is having its Beer Week as well.

Five days. And nothing on (what appears to be) the "official" event schedule from the "local" brewpub, Capitol City. (Though if you count Flying Dog/Wild Goose, they're all over the place.) (UPDATE: a bigger list compiled by the Washington City Paper's crew.)

I see one event worthy of my consideration, at least.............

And by the way, as you'll discern on the place's website, Pizza Paradiso, the upstairs component of Bierra Paradiso on M St. in Georgetown, will be moving to new quarters on P street in mid-summer. [UPDATE: Or maybe not: see comments below....] I hope they're taking the beer bar with them, though judging from the beer list at their Dupont Circle location, the odds are pretty good. Both places have a terrific (albeit DC-priced) beer selection.

Brew at the Zoo this weekend

Once again, the annual "Brew at the Zoo (And Wine Too)" fundraiser is coming up this weekend at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. Tickets here; event runs both Saturday and Sunday this year. $45 drinking adults, $20 non-drinkers; discounts for Zoo members.

Final list, according to the Sun's Rob Kasper:

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Sierra Nevada Summerfest

Independent Brewers United
Magic Hat #9
Magic Hat Lucky Kat IPA
Magic Hat Wacko
Pyramid Hefeweizen

Saranac Pale Ale
Saranac Pomegranate Wheat
Saranac Imperial IPA
Lake Placid Ubu Ale

Brewery Ommegang
Ommegang Witte
Ommegang Hennepin
Ommegang Three Philosophers
Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence

Lancaster Brewing Co.
Hop Hog IPA
Strawberry Wheat
Amish Four Grain
Milk Stout

Dogfish Head
60 Minute IPA
90 Minute IPA
Indian Brown Ale
Raison D’Etre

Evolution Craft Brewing Co.
Primal Pale Ale
Exile ESB
Lucky 7 Porter

Pabst Brewing Co.
McSorleys Irish Pale Ale
McSorleys Irish Black Lager

Late-entry breweries, beers TBA: Starr Hill, Kona, Red Hook and Coastal Brewery (a.k.a Fordham/Old Dominion).

Personal tip: if you want to see any animals, do a quick round of drinks and then dart through the zoo to see them. If you do what I used to try and do--use a run down to see the otters as an excuse to take a break from drinking later--you may get chased out by staff closing down the zoo early and be disappointed. Apparently they close the zoo long before the BATZ ends.

Wait a minute: what?! No Otter Creek beers? But the Zoo has otters, dang it! And nothing from the Lion Brewery, either! Someone's not thinking this through! Anyone else have any other animal-themed beers perfect for the zoo? (Hale's Ales has Mongoose IPA, with meerkats on the labels, but the zoo has no meerkats. Rhino Chaser's Ale is defunct.........)

18 May 2009

This Week at Max's and Metropolitan

Quoting the e-mails:

Max's Tuesday night Beer Social:

This Japanese brewery opened in 1997 and has been making great beers ever since. Their beer is influenced by American brewing but they work to create traditional brews that push the limits.We will be a featuring a full line up of their beers in bottles. We will be serving:
Triple Hop Ale-5.1%ABV-IPA
Brown Ale-5.1%ABV
Genmai-5.1%ABV-Uses rare Roasted Brown Rice
Pale Ale-5.1%ABV
Scotch Ale-7.0%ABV
On the Max's beer engines:
Lagunitas Correction Ale
Weyerbacher Double Simcoe
Hambleton Nightmare Porter"

Thursday at Metropolitan:

"This Thursday we will tap a firkin of Oliver Dark Mild from Oliver Breweries in Baltimore for Firkin Thursday. Oliver Dark Mild is an excellent session beer and, as brewer Steve Jones puts it, perfect for celebrating mild May the English way."

National Brewery Employee Reunion

Nice piece in the Baltimore Sun by Jacques Kelly on former National Brewery employees from the Highlandtown plant getting together to reminisce.

Now we need to get these chaps to get back together during Baltimore Beer Week in October.

17 May 2009

Off-Topic: Are Cameras Mandatory at Farmer's Markets?

Okay, I'm a photographer. You see my work on this blog and in Mid-Atlantic Brewing News--and some books and magazines, if you look in the right places.

I still don't understand why I can't seem to go to a farmer's market without seeing at least three or four photographers--typically college student age/appearance--taking photographs, sometimes to the point of obsession.

And it appears that the annual opening and closing of the downtown market (the one on Sunday mornings under the JFX) mandates mention and filming by every TV station on their news--I mean, this year, I think I may have seen a crew from Channel 54, which doesn't even HAVE a news show. (Okay, kidding about the last part. I think.)

Anyone seen Goose Island locally?

No, not Wild Goose. No, not Grey Goose.

Rumors are that some beers from the terrific Chicago brewpub/brewery have reached Maryland. No sign of it at the two "if it ain't here, ain't nowhere in Maryland" stores, Wells in Baltimore and State Line in Elkton.

And no, the Goose Island sodas at Target or elsewhere don't count.

And if/when you do see it, I heartily recommend the Honker's Ale, a terrific grapefruity-hoppy ESB.

MS Fundraiser @ Parkside Tavern May 17th

Yes, they're still pouring great beers at Max's.

But tonight at the Parkside Tavern in Hamilton, they're holding a fundraiser for the S'Myelin Peddlers, who are raising funds for a Multiple Sclerosis ride. (Okay, we all know they're raising money for curing/eradicating MS, and not to promote/spread MS, right?). 6 to 10 PM tonight, May 17th. Guest Bartender "Duff" from the Ace of Cakes (hey, how do these "guest bartender" things work, anyway?), no entry fee. donations accepted all night, raffle with gift certificates and donations from local businesses. All beer/food/wine sales and raffle/auction revenue proceeds will be donated on behalf of the Peddlers to the National MS Society and Johns Hopkins Project Restore.

Flyer here.

16 May 2009

Saturday: Flying Dog @ Max's

serving ON DRAFT
Flying Dog Snake Dog (Cask)
Flying Dog Dog Schwartz
and if any of these are still left on draft....
Flying Dog Double Dog (Nitro)
Flying Dog Doggie Style (Nitro)
Flying Dog Snake Dog (Nitro)
Flying Dog Gonzo (Nitro)

Meanwhile, this is the day of the BBQ fest at Clipper City. Details at the website; $49 for all-you-care-to-eat-and-dring BBQ and Clipper City beers, including the new double IPA about to go into the 22-ouncers.

15 May 2009

Tonight's Lineup at Max's

TOMORROW MAY 15, 2009. 3-10PM
NEW ON DRAFT; tomorrow, Friday May 15
Stone Vertical Epic 08/08/08
Stone Red Wine Barrel Aged Old Guardian
Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA
Dogfish Head World Wide Stout
Dogfish Head Fort
Dogfish Head Burton Baton
Dogfish Head Red & White
Dogfish Head Black & Blue
Dogfish Head Immort Ale
Dogfish Head Midas Touch
Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron
Lagunitas Hop Stoopid (Cask)
Lagunitas Hop Stoopid
Lagunitas Sonoma Farmhouse Saison
Lagunitas Undercover Shutdown
Lagunitas Hairy Eyeball
Lagunitas Brown Shugga 2007
Lagunitas Bourbon Aged Cappachino Stout
Lagunitas Old Gnarleywine 2007
Lagunitas Imperial Stout

Now, I have a nasty feeling that sampler glasses--which had been priced at $3 each all week--are not going to be that price for DFH World Wide Stout or 120 Minute "IPA".............. or they're only going to be half-full.....

A BYOB-Less Preakness

I've been avoiding the whole Preakness madness, like I do every year, because I have zero interest in horse racing, and I have even less interest in what is apparently the ludicrous tradition of stupid debauchery that the "infield" there has apparently mandated for years. It would be like going to Woodstock to analyze different guitar playing techniques, or going to a vertical tasting of Thomas Hardy's to get plastered.

But no more. The operators of Pimlico apparently think they're going to ban BYOB (bring your own booze). I'm sure hip flask sales have skyrocketed.

So in today's Baltimore Sun:

Tim Haus had time to take a phone call Thursday afternoon - one sure sign that this won't be a typical Preakness weekend.

The days leading up to the race are typically crazy for Haus and other workers at Wells Discount Liquors on York Road in Anneslie. On race day, they'd usually open at 7 a.m. just so people headed to Pimlico's infield could load cars with beer, beer and more beer.

That's over. Track officials have prohibited spectators from bringing in any beverages, including malty, hoppy, alcoholic ones - those that fueled the antics that earned the race the nickname "The Freakness" and quenched Baltimore's annual thirst for debauchery.

"Normally for the Preakness, I would triple everything I'd order," says Haus, Wells' beer manager, noting that meant $50,000 in beer sales alone. "That's lost. We've lost a lot."
Not that I want a place like Wells to not make lots of money--after all, mass sales of swill subsidize the presence of the finer stuff I drink--but seriously............. if the Preakness leaves Baltimore or ends, well, as long as it takes this foolishness with it, so much the better, as far as I'm concerned.

13 May 2009

Obama doesn't get MADD, even......

The most sure-fire way to drive up hits to your blog, no matter if you're talking about French escargots, Hannah Montana, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or the string theory's relationship to American Idol: Mention Obama.



Automotive News [sub] reports that the Obama administration has abandoned plans to nominate the CEO of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) to head the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration (NHTSA). Although neither the White House nor Charles Hurley’s MADD men (and women) are saying Jack about the decision, it appears Hurley ran afoul of . . . environmentalists. “His potential nomination had been criticized by environmentalists such as Dan Becker, director of the Safe Climate Campaign. Becker cited Hurley’s work at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the 1990s, when he said Hurley backed car companies that were fighting attempts to reduce vehicle size to improve fuel economy.” I guess they forget that TTAC took Hurley to task for his support of reintroducing the double-nickel speed limit, his close ties to the red light camera industry and his insistence that piloting a vehicle with a .04 BAC constitutes drunk driving. Still, the end result is what counts.
Thanks to Instapundit for the lead.

Firkins @ DuClaw

Friday beginning @ 5 PM @ Fells Point DuClaw: Venom Pale Ale and Raspberry Misfit Red.

Fells Point DuClaw used to be the place to try their firkins minus the almost-violent riots of the Arundel Mills firkin Fridays. Go to Fells Point if you like the firkins but hate the mobs.

Smuttynose Night at Max's

Max's Taphouse daily Craft Beer Week Update

May 14, 2009. 5pm-11pm Smuttynose night
We will be featuring Smuttynose Beers from New Hamphshire. Also, the brewer and a few of their reps will be here.
All on draft-
Smuttynose Brett & I 2007
Smuttynose Gravitation
Smuttynose Hanami
Smuttynose Imperial Stout
Smuttynose IPA
Smuttynose Maibock
Smuttynose Old Brown Dog
Smuttynose Pumpkin
Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog 2008
Smuttynose Robust Porter
Smuttynose Schmutzig Hofen Weiss 2008
Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale
Smuttynose Smutt-A -Roni 2007
Smuttynose Smuttonator 2008
Smuttynose Star Island Single
Smuttynose Summer Weiss
Smuttynose Terminator G-Bock 2008
Smuttynose Wheat Wine 2008
We will be putting on draft a very special test batch keg of
Ommegang Noel


SPBW meets over at Mahaffey's in Canton starting at 6 PM............

Evolution Craft Brewing: Frantic tasting notes

Oh poop, my wife and I were supposed to go to a gallery event tonight, I gotta pound these suckers down ASAP:

Evolution Primal Pale Ale 4.9%: nice deep amber color, nose as much malt as hoppy, lovely biscuitty malt body, crisp and dry with a hint of dry/dried fruit edge (apple? pear?), bracingly dry finish with a mellow hop finish. Classic British style, think Wild Goose Amber done with straight yeast instead of Ringwood.....

Evolution Exile ESB 5.8%: Same color but a funkier, more floral nose, richer body but still quite dry, with flavors more akin to dried grass/hay, pleasant hop balance but it's stil not about the hops..... I'm thinking this needs Indian food, or maybe roast meats.

Evolution Lucky 7 Porter 5.8%: perfect porter color, bright, sweet malt nose promises a caramely, creamy porter, and it delivers--thick and creamy as a decadent root beer float, yet full of roast. Not complaining, but this needs a bit of hop balance. A nutty finish, walnuts and chicory.

They're in Delmar, Delaware (or maybe Maryland). No real website yet--but they have a blog....

Oh, the hell with it. Moving on, since it was dropped in front of me by a brewery rep, Otter Creek Imperial IPA, 22-oz. bottle sample: light amber, what I've come to call the "candied hop" nose.... VERY heavy and viscuous beer, but somewhat dry in flavor--that is, what flavor gets through these sackfuls of HOPS. Hops, hops, hops. Bravo, Apollo, Amarillo, Simcoe, 11%, 135 (!) IBU's. New brewer at Otter Creek, Mike Gerhart, ex-Dogfish Head (oh, THAT explains a lot!). Six malts. Bravo and Apollo are new hops to the market, they say.

Wolaver's Ben Gleason's White Ale (named after a grower of organic wheat in Bridport, Vt.) 4.8% (from rep, not on bottle): utterly classic interpretation of Belgian wit, with nice coriander & orange peel.

Why is Pikesville Dry?

Quick Q for thought:

Why is there seemingly no good beer bar in Pikesville, or Northwest Baltimore, or Owings Mills or Reisterstown?

We have good beer on the northeastern quadrant/corner (Racers, Hamilton Tavern, Red Brick Station, etc.). North: Grand Cru and some good liquor stores. West: Ellicott Mills, Judges Bench, etc. Fells Point, Canton, Federal Hill, downtown. Good beer follows money (or vice versa), so I can't/don't expect anything in Brooklyn Park, southwest Baltimore, West Baltimore, etc.

But what's the Pikesville corridor's excuse? The money is there for upscale dining and shopping--boutique coffee shops and clothing, art, a Trader Joe's. There is a historically heavy Jewish concentration up the Park Heights corridor, but Jews aren't historically teetotalers like, say, Mormons or Methodists have been.


The Next Beer to Die For, and Maxs Update, With a NEW Brewery debutting

Must Have This Beer Before You Die: Troegs bourbon-barrel-aged Mad Elf, currently at Max's (if we didn't kill it all last night). Ludicrously decadent. Mad Elf already was a decadent beer to begin with--a cross between a barleywine, a mead, and cherries at 11% alcohol by volume. Add the bourbon barrel richness, and ALL bets are off. Amazingly rich, but still nicely balanced for what it is and not "over the top".

Also on hand as of last night and quite tasty: Troegs Scratch #18, a triple rye IPA. Also some Magic Hat taps and firkins. As of last night, they had SEVEN full-sized firkins on the bar and two smaller cask pins on a rack in the back corner, all still pouring.


MAX'S is changing the weekly pint-glass night from Sierra Nevada to Evolution Brewing (new brewery located in Delmar, Delaware) and Cape Ann

Evolution Primal Pale Ale
Evolution Exile ESB
Evolution Lucky 7 Porter

Cape Ann Fishermans IPA
Cape Ann Tea Party
Cape Ann Green Horn Double IPA

BEERS ON DRAFT As of Tuesday May 12
Abita Dopplebock
Allagash Dry Hopped Barrel Aged Mussette
Allagash Four
Allagash Hugh Malone
Allagash Interlude
Arcadia Hop Rocket
Avery Collboration Not Litigation
Avery Maharaja
Blue Point Rastafar Rye
Brewers Art 7 Beauties
Brewers Art Tiny Tim
Brewers Art Sublimation
Brewers Art Resurrection
Brewers Art Green Peppercorn Triple
Brewers Art Ozzy (cask)
Flying Dog Doggie Style (Nitro)
Flying Dog Snake Dog (Nitro)
Flying Dog Gonzo (Nitro)
Flying Dog Double Dog (Nitro)
Heavy Seas Peg Leg w/ Oak Chips (Cask)
Heavy Seas Red Sky w/ 10 Spices (Cask)
Magic Hat #9 (cask)
Magic Hat Belgian Blonde (cask)
Magic Hat Old Ale (Cask)
Magic Hat Bob's First Ale (cask)
Magic Hat Wacko
Olivers Cherry Blossom
Olivers Mad Monk (cask)
Olivers 3 Lions Oak Aged (cask)
Ommegang Rouge
Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence
Redstone Nectar of the Hops
Stoudts German Kolsch
Troegs Bourbon Aged Mad Elf
Troegs Mad Elf
Troegs Sunshine Pils
Troegs Scratch #18-Triple Rye IPA
Troegs Hopback w/ Crystal Hops (Cask)
Troegs Pale Ale w/ Cascade Hops (cask)
Victory Abbey 8
Victory Rauchbier Porter
Whitemarsh Dunkle Weiss
Whitemarsh Maibock

11 May 2009

No, The Wharf Rat Isn't Closed

Well, actually, it was today, for a spell.

Bill Oliver and crew are installing a new front door and a ramp so typical wheelchairs can enter, in answer to someone's complaint about accessibility. It's a bit ironic, considering one of the Wharf Rat's regulars for years was a wheelchair-bound man.

They should be back to business as usual tomorrow.

Meanwhile, down Lancaster Street, "Bar" remains closed for renovations (or, as the sign on the door says, "out of order"). The earthen sub-floor has been dug out to a depth of three feet in spots, apparently for new water and drain lines.

Max's Craft Beer Week Start

Spotted tonight at Max's Taphouse kicking off Craft Beer Week: the brewers of Brewers Art and much of the staff of Clipper City; Mike McDonald of White Marsh Brewing, Jim Lutz and others from Flying Dog, Rob Kasper of the Baltimore Sun.

The must-try non-local beer: Redstone Nectar of the Hops, a hopped, sparkling draft 8% mead. The hops add JUST enough balance to make it a terrifically drinkable and delightful beverage without actually interfering with the honeyed character of mead with hop flavors and character. Possible runner-up: Victory Rauch Porter, but if you like smoked beer/meat/cheese/etc.

Rarest beer there? Heck, many of these qualify as one-offs, but extrapolating for both scarcity and distance, possibly Allagash barrel-aged dry-hopped Musette. A better contender likely to dethrone this tomorrow, though.....

My wife's new favorite beer of all time: Olivers oak-aged 3 Lions. If you haven't run into this exquisite beer, run, don't walk.

Max's has installed a THIRD beer engine/handpump.

Let's Go Firkin Crazy at Max's Tomorrow! UPDATED

Tomorrow at Max's Taphouse, as part of American Craft Beer Week, they will have no fewer than EIGHT cask beers available:

Tomorrow, May 12, Max's will have 5+ firkins: 4 Magic Hat casks on the bar, and 2 pins from Troegs:

Magic Hat #9
Magic Hat Bob's First Ale
Magic Hat Belgian Blonde
Magic Hat Old Ale
Troegs Hopback Amber dry-hopped w/ Cascade hops
Troegs Pale Ale dry-hopped w/ Centennial hops

Plus probably still on the handpumps unless they run out before then:

Heavy Seas Red Sky at Night with Spices
Olivers oak-barrel-aged 3 Lions

Members of the Society for Preservation of Beers from the Wood, Chesapeake Bay Branch, will be on hand to assist in draining these special treats, so hurry! (SPBW will also hold their monthly flash mob--er, meeting--er, gathering at Mahaffey's Pub in Canton on Thursday evening, casks TBA.)

In addition, from Casey Hard, "also to keep everyone up to date, here are the draft beers that I put on today, so maybe some may make it to tomorrow, but you never know."
Abita Dopplebock
Allagash Barrel Aged Dry hopped Musette
Allagash Four
Allagash Interlude
Allagash Hugh Malone
Arcadia Hop Rocket
Avery Collaboration not Litigation
Avery Maharaja
Brewers Art 7 Beauties
Brewers Art Sublimation
Brewers Art Tiny Tim
Brewers Art Green Peppercorn Triple
Blue Point Rastafar Rye
Flying Dog Doggie Style (Nitro)
Flying Dog Gonzo (Nitro)
Flying Dog Snake Dog (Nitro)
Flying Dog Double Dog (Nitro)
Oliver's Cherry Blossom
Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence
Ommegang Rouge
Redstone Nectar of the Hops
Rye IPA-on draft, from the scratch series
Troegs Bourbon Aged Mad Elf-on draft
Troegs Mad Elf- on draft
Troegs Sunshine Pils-on draft
Victory Abbey 8
Victory Rauchbier Porter
Whitemarsh Dunkleweiss
Whitemarsh Maibock

Wanna Buy a BIG Brewery?

The surplus equipment of the Old Dominion Brewery in Ashburn, Va. is up for sale:


Equipment Available includes:

40+ Stainless, Jacketed Fermentation and Bright Tanks, Sizes 25 - 200 Barrel
-Complete 250 Bottle / Minute Glass Bottling Line. Includes Krones 40-head filler S/N 120-631 and Krones Universal Labeler

But no mention, oddly enough, of the brewing kettles and related equipment...........

10 May 2009

The REAL Trouble With High-Test Beers

Midnight Sun's Sam Sessa pondered about the problems of higher-than-usual-alcohol beers being overconsumed by unsuspecting consumers, with not-so-pretty results. The typical culprit in this region: Brewers Art Resurrection, which is 7% alcohol by volume, basically 50% higher than the typical North American industrial lager (i.e. Bud/Miller/Coors/SexInACanoe). Sessa reports on a person that consumed four Belgian beers at 9% in short order.

I have a couple responses to this syndrome.

First, a drinker should NOT be consuming anything alcoholic without knowing exactly how potent the concoction is. As a rule, the more potent a beer is, the more expensive it is and the smaller the serving glass should be. There's a reason a Belgian or "extreme" beer (usually) costs a lot more than a "normal" beer, and it isn't just the cost of shipping or the bar's success in gouging consumers. "Big" beers cost much more to make than regular beers, and the actual profit margin on big beers is usually smaller than it is for mass-market beers. (Trust me on this: what keeps the bills paid at places like Max's and Brewers Art is not the big beers, but the sometimes-obscene mark-ups on mixed drinks, spirits, and the like.)

But therein lies the second part of the dilemma: Bars have a dual responsibility to both inform the consumer of the alcoholic level of a beer or other drink (provided it's not out of the ordinary--we should expect a wine to between 11 and 14% by volume and a whiskey to be around 40% or 80 proof) and adjust serving sizes accordingly. Any bar that is pouring 9% beers into typical shaker tumblers (which usually hold 12 to 14 ounces at best, in spite of the "pint" name--and that's a whole 'nuther post) is doing a disservice to the patron. Many "responsible" beer bars and brewpubs will post the actual alcoholic content in alcohol by volume either on the menu (see Brewer's Art, Max's, Wharf Rat, etc.), or on a chalkboard or other signage (Racers Cafe, Ellicott Mills, DuClaw, the late Capitol City Brewing-Baltimore). A few brewing places still inexplicably hide behind "original gravity" in degrees Plato, which doesn't help unless you know the relationships between original gravity, final gravity, and fermentation.

But one final challenge awaits some drinkers. Federal law requires the alcoholic content to be listed on the label of any wine or spirit sold in the U.S. But it's not only NOT required of beers, but in some jurisdictions, the listing of alcoholic strength was, and maybe still is, expressly prohibited on beer! To quote the FAQs of the old newsgroup rec.food.drink.beer:

When Prohibition ended, a statute was enacted that prohibited the alcohol content from appearing on beer labels unless required by state law. Nor could they use words like "strong", "full strength", or "high proof". Coors recently challenged this law in court and has won their lower court battles. However, some states have regulations that require certain beers to be labelled using other terms that are supposed denote strength without violating the above statute. Consequently some beers are labeled ales, even if they are lagers, due simply to their strength. Texas is one example of this usage. Similarly, "malt liquor" is the appellation attached to strong beers in other states, such as Georgia. Barley wines are strong beers, typically at strengths comparable to wines (8% alcohol by volume and over). However, this is not just an arbitrary term for strength but the actual name of the beer style as well.

In April 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Coors' favor regarding the placement of alcohol percentages on beer labels. Some of Coors' beer labels now include this figure and other brewers are following suit.

Most of the world measures alcohol as a percent of volume (abv). In the U.S., alcohol in beer is measured by weight (abw). Since alcohol weighs roughly 20% less than water, abw measures appear 20% less than abv measures for the same amount of alcohol. In Europe, beer strength tends to be measured on the basis of the fermentables in the wort.

Until recently, Britain used OG (original gravity), which is 1000 times the ratio of the wort gravity to that of water. Thus a beer with an OG of 1040 was 4% more dense than water, the density coming from dissolved sugars. You can generally take one tenth of the last two digits to estimate the percentage alcohol by volume once the dissolved sugars are fermented. In the example used, the abv would be approximately 4% (40/10 = 4%) Currently, British beer is being taxed on its actual %ABV rather that the older OG so you'll often find both displayed.

Continental Europe tends to uses degrees Plato. In general, the degrees Plato are about one quarter the last two digits of the OG figure. Hence, in our example above, the beer would be 10 degrees Plato. To get the expected alcohol by volume, divide the degrees Plato by 2.5.

There was a craft-beer industry campaign a while back for "Just Say Know". It promoted the idea that beer consumers should know alcoholic content, and breweries and points of sale should disclose it as well.

Years ago, I read of a study conducted where scientists tested a group of drinkers who believed they were drinking alcoholic beverages when they were drinking non-alcoholic beverages. They promptly proceeded to "get drunk"--i.e. perform increasingly poorly in motor skills and cognitive thinking--at almost the same rate as regular drinkers. If anyone has any idea where I/we can find that study or a similar one for review, let me know.

American Craft Beer Week at Max's

I KNEW I was forgetting to post something. [head smack]

The final (we presume) draft list from Max's for Craft Beer Week. Note that not all these beers will be on at once or at the start--your best guide for what will be on tap when is the list of brewery-sponsored events at the end. These events normally start around 5 PM (or maybe a bit earlier). And I took the liberty of correcting the spellings here and there. (You know you're a beer geek when your word processors have such words as "Lagunitas" and "hefeweizen" and "Ommegang" and "Fuggles" custom-entered!)


MAY 11-17


Abita Red Ale
Allagash Black
Allagash Dry Hopped Barrel Aged Musette
Allagash Four
Allagash Interlude
Appalachian Trail Blaze
Arcadia Hop Rocket
Avery Collaboration Not Litigation
Avery Maharaja
Blue Point Hefeweizen
Blue Point Oatmeal Stout
Blue Point Old Howling Bastard
Blue Point Rastafar Rye
Brewers Art 7 Beauties
Brewers Art Green Peppercorn Triple
Brewers Art Ozzy (Cask)
Brewers Art Sublimation
Brewers Art Tiny Tim
Brooklyn Intensified Coffee Stout
Cape Ann Bavarian Wheat
Cape Ann Fisherman's IPA
Cape Ann Greenhorn Double IPA
Cape Ann Tea Party
Dogfish Head 120 Minute
Dogfish Head Black & Blue
Dogfish Head Burton baton
Dogfish Head Fort
Dogfish Head Immort Ale
Dogfish Head Midas Touch
Dogfish Head Palo Santo
Dogfish Head Red & White
Dogfish Head World Wide Stout
Flying Dog (Cask) TBA
Flying Dog Dog Schwartz
Flying Dog Doggie Style (Nitro)
Flying Dog Double Dog (Nitro)
Flying Dog Snake Dog ( Nitro)
Flying Dog Gonzo (Nitro)
Great Divide Belgica
Great Divide Saison
Great Divide Dunkel Weizen
Heavy Seas Loose Cannon (Cask)
Heavy Seas Peg Leg w/ Oak Chips (Cask)
Heavy Seas Red Sky w/ Spices(Cask)
Hebrew Rejewvenator w/ Dates
Lagunitas Bourbon Aged Cappuccino Stout
Lagunitas Brown Shugga 2007
Lagunitas Correction Ale
Lagunitas Gnarleywine 2007
Lagunitas Hairy Eyeball
Lagunitas Hop Stoopid
Lagunitas Imperial Stout
Lagunitas Saison
Lagunitas Maximus(Cask)
Lagunitas Undercover Shutdown
Magic Hat #9 (Cask)
Magic Hat Old Ale(Cask)
Magic Hat Bob’s First Ale(Cask)
Magic Hat Belgian Blonde(Cask)
Magic Hat Wacko
Olivers Cherry Blossom
Olivers Mad Monk (Cask)
Olivers Oak Aged 3 Lions (cask)
Ommegang Abbey Ale
Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence
Ommegang Rouge
Ommegang Noel (Test batch)
Otter Creek Imperial IPA
Redstone Nectar of the Hops
Sierra Nevada Brown Saison
Sierra Nevada Celebration
Smuttynose Brett & I 2007
Smuttynose Gravitation
Smuttynose Hanami
Smuttynose Imperial Stout
Smuttynose IPA
Smuttynose Maibock
Smuttynose Old Brown Dog
Smuttynose Pumpkin
Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog
Smuttynose Robust Porter
Smuttynose Schmutzig Hofen Weiss 2008
Smuttynose Shoals Pale
Smuttynose Smutt-A-Roni 2007
Smuttynose Smuttonator 2008
Smuttynose Star Island Single
Smuttynose Summer Weizen
Smutyynose Terminator G Bock 2008
Smuttynose Wheat Wine 2008
Southern Tier 422
Southern Tier Choklat
Southern Tier Gemini
Southern Tier Iniquity
Southern Tier Cuvee Series #2
Southern Tier Jah Va
Southern Tier Uber Sun
Stone Red Wine Barrel Aged Old Guardian
Stone Vertical Epic 08/08/08
Stoudts Abbey Double
Stoudts German Kolsch
Troegs Bourbon Aged Mad Elf
Troegs Hopback(Cask)
Troegs Mad Elf
Troegs Pale (Cask)
Troegs Triple Rye IPA
Uinta Barleywine
Victory Rauchbier Porter
Victory Abbey 8
Weyerbacher Double Simcoe(Cask)
Whitemarsh Dunkel Weiss
Whitemarsh Maibock

MONDAY MAY 11 (5-close)
Brewers Art
Clipper City
Olivers Ales
White Marsh Brewing
Flying Dog
TUESDAY MAY 12 (6-11pm)
Magic Hat
Troegs Brewery
WEDNESDAY MAY 13 (5-10pm)
Sierra Nevada
Cape Ann
THURSDAY MAY 14(5-10pm)
FRIDAY MAY 15 (5-8pm)
Stone Brewing
Dogfish Head
Flying Dog
SUNDAY MAY 17-(11am-close)
Southern Tier

09 May 2009

New Clipper City 22-ounce Bottles & Contents

Clipper City will be introducing its 22-ounce big-bottle Heavy Seas limited-edition beers, with the first of the series, a 10% double IPA, being debuted on tap at their BBQ Feast at the brewery next week, with the bottles reacing shelves by June (all going well).

I have the press release, and was sworn to secrecy regarding the name, only getting it because I had a story to file that would go on the press literally as they were announcing the beer name. Someone else, however, didn't get the memo. If you scout about in the beer news universe, you'll find someone blabbering the name.

By the way, tickets are still available for the excellent BBQ fest, 12 to 4 on Saturday the 16th--go to www.ccbeer.com . It's the first time they haven't had such an event sold out before I could mention it here, in spite of excellent BBQ from Andy Nelson's and seven firkins. "I think it's because we're up against the Preakness," said CC head Hugh Sisson.

Also on the website: details of their homebrew contest. They're looking for ideas for more "big beers" (7% and above) for their 22-oz. bottles. Bottles must be there in June.

08 May 2009

What's the Deal with DuClaw?

Okay, I'm just gonna throw this out there.

What is the deal with DuClaw, anyway?

They produce great beer, they're a terrific asset to Maryland's beer scene......... and yet, they don't seem to catch a lot of beer geeks' attentions.

Why is that?

They do good seasonals, they do terrific marketing and promotion, yet I get a sense a lot of beer aficionados don't care for the places or beers. When I go to the one in Fells Point, I seldom, if ever, see any of the beer fans I know, and the DuClaw fans I see here and there seldom appear at any other beer events.

I believe a large reason for that, upon some thinking, is that DuClaw simply doesn't have any outside distribution. I can, if I look in the right places, find Oliver ales in places as far flung as Easton, or Brewers Art beers here and there. Baltimore Brewing Co./DeGroen's was about town and even central Maryland in its heyday. Clipper City/Heavy Seas. Flying Dog/Wild Goose. Victory. Dogfish. Fordham. Even the Dog Pub is doing outside accounts (see below). But no DuClaw unless you go to one of four places or certain festivals.

Come on, folks. Talk about DuClaw. Do you love them? Hate them? Love the beer, hate the bar crowds, as two fellow drinkers have said to me?

07 May 2009

In Salute to National Homebrew Day

.... which was apparently May 2nd:


-Every t-shirt you have is from a brewpub or brewery.
-Walking across your kitchen floor sounds like Velcro.
-You wanted to name the puppy/kitten Fuggles.
-You can recognize the smell of exploded beer bottles from outside your house/apartment.
-You hear a beer bottle exploding, and you can tell whether it's a 12-ouncer or 22-ouncer from the sound.
-You've had to answer to the police why you're raiding bottles out of the neighbors' recycling bins late at night.
-You've sent the kids to bed dirty because the tub was full of soaking bottles.
-You know seventeen different ways/formulas for getting a label off a beer bottle.
-You've ever said any of the following:
"Is that by weight or by volume?"
"Probably dirty hoses."
"Aw, c**p, twist-offs."
"Green bottles? Ya gotta be kidding me..."
-You're desperate to use the word "sparge" in a sentence because..... well, just because!
-You've ever even THOUGHT about how to cut a hole in the side of a refrigerator.
-You've ever sneaked a hop pellet into your bottle of mass-produced beer at a party.
-You refuse to drink a beer out of the bottle or can.
-Your kid does his or her science fair project on fermentation.
-You have more than fifteen gallons of beer in your house right now.
-You measure beer in gallons.
-You just now said ".......... but fifteen gallons isn't a lot........."
-Every party invitation you get says "Bring a keg, dude!"
-Your kid criticizes the head retention of his root beer.
-You can't find a glass to pour milk into, because EVERY glass in the house is a beer glass.
-You get the technician who prints microchip labels at work to jigger the printer to run off labels for your bottle caps.
-You used the label for your Christmas beer as a Christmas card design because you were too busy bottling to design a proper Christmas card.
-You've added crystal malt to your party snack mix, and roasted barley to the coffee.
-Your spouse has forbidden you from bringing more bottles into the house--one must go every time one is added.
-You ever tried to brew with a 13-gallon carboy--without considering the weight of the full vessel.
-Your wife threatens divorce over the long-term ramifications of a boil-over on her new range.
-You've had the argument of whether to come up with a beer name or a drinkable beer first.
-You've searched the office supply catalog in vain for an Avery bottle-label paper/template.

More contributions welcomed.

No "Dog Pub" in Fells Point

Man, that title can be misread so many ways.

There was apparently a good reason why the Dog Pub in Federal Hill didn't return my calls about the reports that they were seeking to acquire the old Admiral's Cup pub in Fells Point.

In spite of several reports from usually reliable sources, it didn't happen. A group of investors apparently headed up by the owners of Kali's Court down the street have apparently signed a contract on the building.

Someone at the Dog Pub said yesterday "We were looking at getting [the Admiral's Cup], but it just didn't work out."

But if you're thirsty for Dog Brewing beers, be advised that J.A. Murphy's at 1703 Aliceanna St. (the former Lulu's Off Broadway), which just celebrated its 100th day/evening in business, is now serving Raspberry Dog and Hoppy Dog. This would be the second draft account for the brewery/pub, after Muggsy's Mug House and an occasional firkin to Metropolitan Coffeehouse.

03 May 2009

Sexy Beer Cans?

My wife, in her professional pursuit of art, has occasional need to search for reference photos of female anatomy. In the process, she came upon these.

More here.

Don't thank me, thank her.................... you're welcome.