30 June 2009

How to Serve Barleywine in Summer

This just in from Metropolitan Coffeehouse in Federal Hill:

Firkin Thursday
This week's firkin will be Double Dog IPA from Flying Dog in Frederick, Maryland. Given its high ABV of 11.5%, Kristine will be serving it straight-up or as a delicious shandy mixed with lemonade. A sure-fire way to beat the heat. In the Upstairs Bar starting at 6:00 pm.

Well, that's different. Has anyone tried this combo, or any barleywine/lemonade combo, before? (I ain't wrecking a Thomas Hardy's Ale with this stuff, thank you........)

Duvel Green UPDATE

Relative to my earlier post on this, four other places also will be debuting the Duvel Green this week: Metropolitan and Abbey Burger Bistro in Federal Hill, Judge's Bench in Ellicott City, and Frisco Grille in Columbia.

Also, Max's Taphouse is making it their "Pinch a Pint" free-glass-with-a-beer promotional beer on Wednesday, July 1.

"New" Brewery "Returns" in Northern Va.

In case you're not paying attention to the blog feeder at the right, Dave Turley reports on a new brewery starting up in Ashburn, Va., with two of the former Old Dominion brewers utilizing some of the equipment and space used by the former Old Dominion Brewery there.

Read about it here.

(Yes, Rhino Chasers was a contract brand out of Huntington Beach, CA, contract brewed in Minnesota from 1990 to 1997, about the same time frame as Pete's Wicked Ale. I'm very curious to know if the partners managed to acquire rights to the name, whether they just came up with the name on their own and are liable for a trademark infringement suit, or what.)

UPDATE: Tom Cizauskas says that the Rhino Chasers trademark had expired, and has been acquired by the Ashburn owners.

29 June 2009

Why I Hate Government

This just in via Instapundit and a few other sources:

Diageo, the hideously oversized conglomerate that happens to own and make Guinness, is receiving $2.7 billion--with a B--from the United States' Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP).

Why? The lead from here below:

June 26 (Bloomberg) -- In June 2008, U.S. Virgin Islands Governor John deJongh Jr. agreed to give London-based Diageo Plc billions of dollars in tax incentives to move its production of Captain Morgan rum from one U.S. island -- Puerto Rico -- to another, namely St. Croix.

DeJongh says he had no idea his deal would help make the world’s largest liquor distiller the most unlikely beneficiary of the emergency Troubled Asset Relief Program approved by Congress just four months later.

Today, as two 56-foot-high (17-meter-high) tanks for holding fermenting molasses will soon rise from the ground on the Caribbean island of St. Croix, the extent to which dozens of nonbank companies benefited from last October’s emergency financial rescue plan is just beginning to come to light.

Take your blood pressure medication before reading the whole thing.

If and when you see "tea party" protests out on July 4th, or by some miracle hear about them on the news or read about them in the newspaper or online, please don't ask what the heck they're protesting, like many did on April 15th. THIS is the balderdash they're protesting.

(There's supposedly one scheduled for the Inner Harbor on Thursday, July 2nd, 5-8 PM, as well as possible ones on July 4th.)

26 June 2009

I'm back.....

Alive, still in recuperation from gallbladder removal. Slo-motion for a week or so.

Guess you're stuck with me for a while longer yet.

25 June 2009

Most Overrated Bar?

I''m stealing a note/trick from fellow Baltimore blogger Elizabeth Large:

What's the most overrated bar in Baltimore?

BAR, not "beer." (Yet.)

Said places don't have to be beer bars, or even craft-beer friendly. I'm just looking for places I should probably never enter, being the "old f@rt" that I am. Give me your qualifiers as well: Too loud, too pretentious, too expensive, too unpredictable, the patrons are all stuck-up poseurs, they try to pour the fad drink of the week, etc.

Do I have a nominee? I'm thinking. REALLY hard. If it's overrated, I probably wouldn't go there more than once. Thus far, I've not been impressed with Bad Decisions (Yo, Sam, I'm looking at you!), but I haven't been there enough to give them a fair "hearing," so to speak. Ropewalk Tavern has a great beer selection, but somehow I just don't find myself stopping in, for some vague non-political reason.


(If you hit a delay in seeing your comment, see the next post.)

Outta Here For a While........

In what we hope is the final bit of dealing with the pancreatitis attack I got hit with back in February, I'm going in for outpatient surgery tomorrow at University of
Md. Medical Center.

Wish me luck, and have one for me if you so fancy.

Coming Events

Clipped from the Hop Tips newsletter, with previously mentioned events edited out:

Sunday, June 28th: Beeradvocate gathering at Max's – This is an informal, low key event, with the idea to meet some other BA's in the area, and share/sample/trade some great beer. Everyone is welcome, so don't feel you can't come because you're worried you don't have anything worthy. From past experiences, there will be more then enough great beer to share, so bring whatever you can and just come. 2-5pm. Direct questions at john.michaelsen@ssa.gov or call 410-258-4335.

Wednesday, July 1st: Ladies Only Night at Clipper City – Oooh, I like this one. 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.

Tuesday, July 7th: Heavy Seas Beer Dinner at Cork’s in Baltimore – Join Hugh Sisson, founder of Clipper City and Chris Coker, Sommelier of Corks Restaurant for a Beer & Wine Dinner. Three courses plus dessert for $50. Reservations are required. 6-8:30pm. 410-247-7822 or www.ccbeer.com/event.

Wednesday, July 8th: Heavy Seas Big DIPA Release – Join the gang from Clipper City Brewing as they celebrate the release of Heavy Seas DIPA, the 10.6% Double IPA, in bottles at Mahaffey's of Canton, and on draft at Max’s. Meet the brewers, drink great beer, get free stuff. 5-8pm. 410-247-7822 or www.ccbeer.com/event.

Wednesday, July 22nd: 5th Annual Hagerstown Suns Beer Tasting – Receive 10 sample tickets for $15 in advance or $18 on the day of the event. http://hagerstownsuns.com.

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.

LOTS more events in the newsletter--subscribe at http://www.brewingnews.com/hoptips/?p=subscribe&id=3

23 June 2009

Avery Samael's Oak Ale at Grand Cru--UPDATED

Do you like oak in your beer?

I mean, do you REALLY REALLY like oak? I mean, do you fancy the thought of oak splinters in your beer or wine?

Have I got a beer for YOU.

Grand Cru up at Belvedere Market is currently pouring from one of its taps a devastating oaked ale from Avery, a super-strong (they list it as 15.5%, other sources online are calling it 14.9% in bottle) powerhouse of a beer. You'll find lots of tasting notes online with a simple internet search; this is likely a beer to either love or hate, but everyone that considers themselves a serious beer connoisseur should at least try it. The closest I can come to it in general character is White Marsh Brewing's epic Batch 1000.

On draft, to boot.

Notes from the brewery's website:

Beer Style: Oak Aged English Strong Ale
Hop Variety: Columbus, Fuggels
Malt Variety: Two-row barley, caramel 150L
OG: 1.140   ABV: 14.5   IBUs: 41
Color: Copper

Samael’s Ale is a super-caramelly, oak aged English-style strong ale. Perhaps the least hoppy (sacrilege here at Avery!!) beer we’ve brewed, to accentuate the malt. The oak is very apparent in this rich and high gravity ale, adding additional depth and complexity with a woody and cask-like nose and a pronounced vanilla flavor on the palate. Notes for 2007 - With the addition of an additional roasted malt, Samael's now delivers subtle bitterness to add balance to the natural sweetness.

Let me know your thoughts. Tell Charlie I sent you.

UPDATE: Casey Hard says he is putting this beer on at Max's Taphouse tonight (Thursday) as a last-minute substitution in the Rare & Obscure event.......

Duvel Green @ Max's Taphouse June 30th

Gleaned from an e-mail from a distributor:

Duvel will have its Maryland launch of its draft-only Duvel Green at Max's Taphouse on Tuesday, June 30th. [I presume this is during/as the weekly Beer Social.]

Never heard of it? See these notes from Lew Bryson (along with some commentary on Belgian beer marketing) back in September:

Duvel Green is single-fermented and filtered, where Duvel is fermented twice (second time in the bottle, both using the same yeast, we were told), and it comes in at a reduced 6.8% ABV. It is, however, brewed with that same yeast, same Styrian Golding and Saaz hops, and the same pilsner malt as the original.

22 June 2009

Max's Rare & Obscure June 24-26: The Scheduled Beers

The final day-by-day list for this week's Rare & Obscure beer event at Max's Taphouse, according to cellarmaster Casey Hard:

Beginning at 6 PM each day (well, maybe a little earlier):

Wed., June 24th:
Hitachino Red Rice
Hitachino XH
Hitachino Classic
Hitachino Espresso Stout
Hitachino Ginger
Harviestoun Ola Dubh 40 Year (Cask)
Harviestoun Ola Dubh 30 Year (cask)
Harviestoun Ola Dubh 18 Year (cask)
Harviestoun Ola Dubh 12 Year (Cask)
Hofstetten Honigs Bock
Hofstetten Kuebel Bier
Cantillon Gueuze
Cantillon Rose De Grambrinus
Cantillon Iris
Grado Plato Kukumerla
JW Lees Harvest Ale 2008
De Proef Les Duex Brasseurs
De Ranke Noir Dottignies
Geants Urchon
Geants Gouyasse
Ellezelloise Hercule Stout
Ellezelloise Quintine Blonde
Slaapmustke Dry Hopped Lager
Nogne O IPA
Nogne O Imperial Stout
Flying Dog Devil Dog

Thursday, June 25th:
Hopfenstark Ostalgia Blonde
Hopfenstark Rosso
Hopfenstark Postcolonial IPA
De Dochter Noblesse
De Dochter Embrasse
Sint Canarus Triple
Sint Canarus Potteloerke
Contreras Valeir Blonde
Contreras Valeir Extra
Contreras Valeir Divers
BFM Alex Le Rouge
BFM Le Meule
BFM La Cuvree
BFM La Mandragore
BFM Abbey De Bon Chien 2007
BFM Abbey De Bon Chien 2008
BFM La Torpille
Del Borgo Rubus / Lamboni
Del Borgo 25 Dodici
Piccolo Nau Amore
Wintercoat Oatmeal Stout
Prof Briem 1809 Berliner Weisse
Leifmans Oud Bruin
Oskar Blues Oak Aqed Ten Fidey
Oskar Blues Oak Aged Old Chub

Friday, June 26th:
Allagash Black
Allagash Interlude
Allagash Confluence
Allagash Mussette
Allagash Hugh malone
Allagash Victor
Allagash Victoria
Allagash Four
Avery 15
Christoffel Bier
Christoffel Bok
Christoffel Nobel
De Ranke XX Bitter
Slaapmustske Triple
Geants Goliath
Piccolo Chiostro
Weissenhoe Bonator
Mahrs Der Weisse Bock
Wintercoat Double Hop
Wintercoat Cockney
Stone Russian 2007
De Glazen Angelque
Geants Saison Voisin
Italiano Cassissona

Avery Samuels
St Fueillien Blanche

I would predict that some leftovers will be available into the weekend, but if you're heck-bent on certain beers, plan accordingly.

New at Pratt Street Ale House

Just in from brewer Steve Jones:

New on the beer engine today is the Rustic Red Ale aged with French Oak. The Oak imparts the soft, warm flavors of coconut and vanilla to this otherwise earthy Biere-de-Garde style ale. Don't forget that Tuesday night is cask ale night at The Pratt Street Ale House, all 3 of our cask conditioned ales are $3 pints from 5pm until close.

Ruddy Duck in Solomons revisited

Happened to have a family event down in St. Mary's County this past weekend, so I swung by the just-opened Ruddy Duck.

Quick and simple: Large crowds that Father's Day weekend. Menu is priced to compete with the TGIRubyBenniOutBee's of the food world--the most expensive thing I saw was a $20 steak entree, with most entrees in the low $10's or even lower. Brick oven pizzas looked and smelled wonderful.

But you're reading this for the beer. At the moment they have four house beers on, with the part-time brewer, Jonathan Reeves (ex-Sweetwater and Appalachian) brewing as fast as he can. Co-owner Carlos Yanez says that of over 2,000 web coupons for a free pint of beer (for signing up for the e-mailing list), only a hundred or so have been redeemed so far.

And the beer quality? I went in expecting pedestrian or mediocre--think the Hops chain, or any mass-market brewpub chain. I was surprised. The Belgian Wit was a bit too non-Belgian and light, if you ask me--and the brewer and owners know it, and are looking to beef up the next batch. But it'll be perfect for summer heat. Their Pale Ale is seemingly styled on the order of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, not a pedestrian and inoffensive offering; the IPA had an aggressive bite to it, aiming to please hopheads; and fermenting right now is a Dubbel...... rounding out the tap selection are a couple guest beers, including Dominion Oak Barrel Stout, Bud Light, and Brooklyn Lager.

Oh, and what Belgian beer must a place named Ruddy Duck carry?

Yep. Kwak. And they do.

Clipper City's new Big DIPA revisited

I managed to secure a 22-oz. bottle of this new product, last reported on here, from a brewery representative. She told me that this beer should be on the shelves sometime this week; the delay has been with getting the labels printed up, and indeed they supposedly had unlabeled bottles ready to roll as soon as the labels arrived.

So how is it?

I inked over the Clipper City bottle cap and hauled it to a couple of beer-drinking friends for a blind tasting. The overall verdict: "I want a case of that sucker!" The debate became just which beer had been brewed on steroids: Clipper City Loose Cannon, Victory Hop Devil, Victory Hop Wallop, or Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA, with one guess that Dogfish Head had finally produced something good between 90 and 120 Minute IPA. It's really a BIG beer in both senses: 9%, feeling like 10+%, and 22 ounces per bottle. I would strongly advise NOT drinking this alone.

But, yeah--get this. Cross the street to get this. If you see this on cask, run, but don't push aside little old ladies.

More Beery Bowie Baysox

Like baseball and GOOD beer but want to pay less than Camden Yards' prices? From the inbox, from the Bowie Baysox:

It's officially summertime and what better way to celebrate than beer and baseball at the Baysox Baseball Stadium! On Wednesday, July 8th, come enjoy three hours of our featured summer beers, including Samuel Adams, Blackberry Witbier, Honey Moon Summer Ale by Blue Moon, Otter Creek Summer Ale, Blackfin Fin Pale Ale, and HOP-OCALYPSE India Pale Ale while watching the Baysox (Class AA Affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles) take on the Harrisburg Senators (Class AA Affiliate of the Washington Nationals) from our exclusive luxury suite level restaurant. Come relax and enjoy a two hour all-you-can-eat refreshing summer spread, for the price of $41 per person. Pricing includes food, beverage and game ticket. Gates open at 6:00pm, for a 7:05 game start time; food and beverages begin when the gates open at 6:00. For menu and other information, or to order your tickets, please call Janna Green at (301) 464-4886, or email her at jgreen@baysox.com. Deadline for ordering tickets is 3:00pm on Monday, July 6th.

PS: Stay tuned, but there's a possibility the Bowie Baysox MAY do a beer dinner or more post-season to join up with Baltimore Beer Week in October!

Tennessee passes distillery bill; craft distilleries to follow?

From the Knoxville News:

NASHVILLE - Moonshiners could face new competition from legal distilleries in as many as 44 Tennessee counties, including several in the Knoxville area, under legislation given final approval in the waning hours of the 2009 General Assembly. . . .

Sponsors of the bill Rep. Joe Carr and Sen. Bill Ketron, both Rutherford County Republicans, say the measure is an economic development opportunity that could create jobs and promote tourism with the establishment of "mini-distilleries" around the state.

Carr said a small distillery could require as little as a $750,000 investment, In legislative discussions, some lawmakers envisioned someone marketing a legal "Tennessee moonshine."

I can't help but notice that this was "buried" (by newspaper journalism standards) on a Saturday. Notice also just how far off topic the comments to the short article spin--though that's somewhat par for newspaper commentary these days...

(Tip of the hat for the last two items: Instapundit.)

Excuse me, there's an Obama in my drink......

Under the Obama administration, as promised during the debates and campaign, "95% of Americans will get a tax cut."

Unless you drink soda or alcohol.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Early work on the ambitious health care overhaul the Obama administration is seeking has exposed the kinds of in-house fights that typify just how hard it will be to get meaningful legislation this year. Case in point: A proposal to help bankroll universal health coverage with a dime-a-can increase in the price of soft drinks. . . .

Also under consideration are higher alcohol taxes, increases to the Medicare payroll tax and a value-added tax, a sort of national sales tax, of up to 1.5 percent or more.

(Excuse me, I have to brew up another pot of tea............. and what about DIET soda?)

19 June 2009

Lucy's Irish Pub closing

News from Sam Sessa's Midnight Sun blog that Lucy's Irish Pub, the former Maggie Moore's in the old Baltimore Equitable Building across the street from the Hippodrome Theater, is closing at the end of business Sunday night. Supposedly closing to reopen in September, but you probably know how likely that is in the bar business.

This might explain why I wasn't getting returns for my calls about setting up a Guinness/Beamish/Murphy's taste-off for Baltimore Beer Week. Let's see, who else is available in Irish pubs in Baltimore? J. Patrick's, Mick O'Shea's, James Joyce...... Slainte, Cat's Eye (honorary)..........

15 June 2009

This week's beer updates

From the Pratt Street Ale House:

New on cask Dry Hopped (Bramling Cross) Summer Ale, 3.4% .... an excellent Summer session ale.
After that will be French Oak Aged Biere de Garde followed by a chocolate nut brown ale.

From the Max's Beer Social list announcing Tuesday evening's specials--to heck with the featured beers, look at the ciders on the beer engines!!!:

This Tuesday we will be serving Allagash Confluence from Maine on draft. This Wild ale uses Allagash's house yeast and Brettanomyces, imported Pilsner and domestic pale malts, Tettnang & East Kent Golding Hops and is aged, and then dry hopped with Glacier hops. 7.5% ABV.
Gwatkin Scrumpy Real Cider
Gwatkin Norman Real Cider
Lagunitas Undercover Shutdown Ale

12 June 2009

Ruddy Duck brewpub opens in Solomons

The new Ruddy Duck brewpub in Solomons, featured in the latest issue of Mid-Atlantic Brewing News, opened its doors earlier this week in a soft opening. Two house beers on hand, their Belgian White and a golden ale. More beers are reportedly on the way, along with guest beers rounding out the taps for the time being.
(Photo of a ruddy duck at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, taken during Brew at the Zoo 2009)

10 June 2009

Goodbye, Whistling Oyster; Hello, Green Cilantro

The Whistling Oyster, located on Fells Point's main square and one of the older holdouts of the Fells Point bar scene, apparently finally sold. It had a new sign and new owners yesterday. The claustrophobic bar (compared to most bars down there by now) is awaiting new draft lines, but has bottles for the time being. Aside from the signs, no real hints as to other changes/themes. Stay tuned.

09 June 2009

The Decline and Fall of British Pubs--what, again?

A business associate and fine-beer-drinking friend of mine sent me the following story from the Los Angeles Times: English Villagers Try to Save Struggling Pubs :

Last summer, the tranquil English village of Kentisbeare woke up to find a dagger piercing its heart.

The man who ran the neighborhood pub, the Wyndham Arms, had decided to call it quits. Hit by hard times, he locked up one evening and never came back, leaving the village bereft of its "local," the watering hole down the road where, for more than 200 years, the good folk here could always drop in for a pint, a pie or a piece of gossip.

The tavern seemed destined to become yet another lost marker of traditional village life, bound for the same remorseless oblivion that had already swallowed the baker's, the butcher's and the petrol station in this lazy green countryside where bluebells nod in the breeze, medieval church towers loom like giant chess pieces and thatched roofs peek coyly through the leaves.

This time, though, residents drew a line. They retrieved the keys to the pub, renovated the whitewashed 16th century building themselves and reopened it less than two months later.

"People couldn't bear the thought of it being boarded up," said Mavis Durrant, 67, a lifelong resident of the village in southwestern England. "There's something very appealing about a country pub, isn't there?"

Indeed. For centuries, virtually nothing has been more central to the good cheer and cozy charm of English village life than the local pub, whose name alone -- the Bishop's Finger, the Drunken Duck, the Quiet Woman, the Moorend Spout -- could summon a smile.
Okay, fine and dandy. We all cheer when quaint English pubs are saved, right?

But just how long have we been reading this stuff?

Look, as long as I can remember, I've been reading stories about how "ye olde British pubs" are disappearing. The theme was even highlighted in the Andy Capp comic strip thirty and forty years ago. At what point is this just more and more hand-wringing about a somewhat inevitable process of transition and change? Britain's beer revival mimics ours closely: massive consolidation, mega-breweries, and a backlash of craft brewers.

I checked my back issues of The Good Beer Guides to Great Britain. Neither of the pubs in this article show up in the editions I have. In the photo above from the article, we see four Fuller's taps--and Fuller's is known to be one of the recent promoters of "fake" beer engines that mimic real ale pumping but use CO2 to force-feed. (Though, truth be told, we just had two decent Fuller's beers at Max's last week....) And for every really fine pub I visited/saw on my three weeks in Britain in 1991, I saw at least one other place that would characteristically be called a "dive" in the States--mass-market beers, Guinness, nitro'ed Boddington's (before it hit the States), and a generally tired place. Think Moe's Tavern in "The Simpsons," not "Cheers." And I was too busy riding trains to look too hard.

You know, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of "corner saloons" all over Baltimore that are either closed, dead, or at death's door. You don't see anyone holding candlelight vigils for them, now, do you?

Dogfish Head Helps Out a Belgian Brewery

The following is a press release passed on to me by a DC-area associate and fellow MABN writer:

Our friends, Belgian brewer/blender Armand and his wife Lydie Debelder, recently suffered a heart wrenching production set-back at their brewery 3 Fonteinen.

A thermostat broke and as a result excessive heat ruined about 100,000 bottles of lambic and gueuze in storage – representing about a third of their annual revenue. Armand hopes to distill the beer and create unique new product as a way of making the best of an unfortunate situation.

Armand has been a great friend and inspiration to creative brewers throughout the world. I got to spend some time with him alongside Vinnie, Tomme, Adam, and Rob when we toured Belgian breweries a few years ago and again with a bunch of Italian craft brewing brethren when we all participated in Salon De Gusto in Turin last year. On that same trip I got to brew at a batch of My Antonia (a continually-hopped imperial pilsner) at Birra del Borgo, a great brewery outside of Rome with my friend the owner Leonardo DiVincenzo. Like us Leonardo is a great fan of Armand’s beers and we received the news of their accident just before Leonardo was scheduled to come visit us in Delaware. We decided to brew a beer together along with our lead brewer Bryan Selders and my wife Mariah that would be a tribute to 3 Fonteinen. We will be sending a portion of the profits to 3 Fonteinen but more importantly we wanted to use this brew as a celebration of the vibrant, creative Belgian brewing culture that, in our minds, 3 Fonteinen embodies. Our ultimate goal is that news of this brew and the production set-back will inspire beer enthusiasts to seek out 3 Fonteinen beers in which ever town and country they live in.

The beer we are brewing together at our Rehoboth pub is a Belgian White made with dried organic orange slices, fresh cut lemongrass and a bit of coriander. It should go on tap at our pub in about three weeks. Mariah had the idea for the lemongrass and orange slices and also the name: Namaste.

All you fellow-freaky yoga types probably know this but…..The gesture Namaste represents the belief that there is a Divine spark within each of us that is located in the heart. The gesture is an acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another. In other words it is a show of mutual respect and admiration – a great single word summary of the inspiration behind this brew.

Here’s what Armand had to say when Leonardo, Bryan, Mariah, and I let him and Lydie know of our intentions for this brew:

" I am very impressed by the moral support of the many beer lovers in US and Italy. We got mail from all over the world, especially from beer lovers who already visited our brewery. They all give us the courage to continue with our brewing of authentic beer.

The brewing of Namaste is heartwarming and shows that good beer can bring people together. A good pint knows no barriers or frontiers.

I was really impressed last year by the quality of some American beers. My wife Lydie and I were invited by Daniël Shelton to the memorial of Michael Jackson and attended the Philly Beerweek. I lived a tremendous week and met some wonderful brewers such as Sam Calagione, brewing marvelous beer.

In January we were at 4:20, a famous beerpub in Rome and there again we met some great Italian brewers creating very nice beers.

To me, a brewer of a very ancient limbic beer, it is very encouraging to see that there are such good beers made outside of Belgium.

Belgium has got a very long tradition of brewing but in a way this is keeping many brewers away from the "creating" part in brewing.

The "freedom" to try out new beers in very various styles in US and Italy is bringing renewal to the beerworld.

The brewing of Namaste is not only a financial help to 3 Fonteinen brewery, it is also a statement of respect and international craft beer solidarity. "


Okay, so it's chock full of the overwrought hype that Sam and Co. are deservedly famous for, but as for me, I can't wait to sample this. Let's hope it escapes Rehoboth to Max's or other beer bars here in Crabby Beer Town.

This Week's Beer Events, including SPBW Pub Crawl

Tonight at Max's:
This Tuesday we will be featuring some really rare bottles from the Nogne O Brewery in Grimstad,Norway. We will be serving all in bottles:
Nogne O Sunturnbrew.
A Smoked Barleywine Hybrid, using 30% Smoked malt and 20% Rye. 11.0%ABV
Nogne O Dugges Sahti.
A Collaboration beer between the Dugges Brewery in Sweden and Nogne O. Brewed with Rye and Wheat, Sea Wormwood from the Swedish Archipelago, juniper twigs from the Norweign forest, honey from heather flowers in Telemark and 3 selected yeast strains from Belgium, Germany and Britain. And of Course malts and Hops.This is a special twist on the Finnish Style Sahti.11.0%ABV
Nogne O Tushi Double IPA.
A Guest brew by Tushi Ishii from the Yo- Ho Brewery in Japan. An Imperial IPA . 100IBU's 8.5%ABV
Nogne O Saison.
Uses Wheat and lager malt. east kent Goldings and Crystal Hops, Belgian Ale Yeast and Local Grimstad Water.6.5%ABV.
These are 4 great beers that are very limited and very interesting. You don't want to miss these.See you Tuesday
As always we start at 6pm in the Mobtown Lounge [upstairs]

Lagunitas IPA
Harviestoun Old Engine Oil
Whitemarsh Blueberry

Thursday at Metropolitan in Federal Hill:
Firkin Thursday - Oliver Oak-Aged Biere de Garde
This Thursday we will tap a firkin of Oliver Breweries' Oak-Aged Biere de Garde. I've been excited about this one ever since I popped open a few bottles of Biere de Garde with brewer Steve Jones one night and learned of his admiration of the Biere de Garde style. Should be a memorable evening. In the Upstairs Bar starting at 6:00 pm.

Also on Thursday in Federal Hill: the SPBW Real Ale Pub Crawl, beginning @ 6 pm:

John Stevens 1800 Thames Street
Oliver's Wharf Rat 801 S. Ann Street
Bertha's Mussels 734 S Broadway
Max's Taphouse 735 S Broadway

If you're an SPBW member, you have received by e-mail specific directions where to report. If you're a not, come along and join ($10 a year) and just blunder your way along with the crowd (look for yellow hats and shirts with the SPBW logo--or just look for the handpumps and firkins!).

05 June 2009

In Memorium: Albert Sisson

News from former Clipper City rep Tom Cizauskas' blog, in the CRABB box to the right. Indirectly, we have this chap to thank for his role (quite substantial, as it were) in the Mid-Atlantic craft beer renaissance/revival:

Albert Sisson died yesterday evening.

In 1979, Albert opened the Sisson's Pub in Federal Hill district, then still known as Southeast Baltimore. Sisson's venture was a gamble; it was a neighborhood on the decline.

The pub thrived however and soon became part of the area's revitalization. It became a destination spot throughout the greater Baltimore area, especially prized for for its Creole cuisine.

His son, Hugh Sisson, added brewing equipment in 1989, making Sisson's the first post-Prohibition brewpub in Maryland (Virginia and DC, for that matter).

Hugh Sisson is the General Partner of the Clipper City Brewing Company.

If a measure of a man's wealth is the measure of his friends, Albert Sisson was an incalculably wealthy man. Many a patron became a friend, after Albert, wearing his trademark large suspenders, had served him a pint and swapped a tall tale.

The family will announce memorial details.

Baseball and Beer in Bowie--again!

This just in from the Bowie Baysox. I went to one of their beer dinners a while back, and it was a grand time. I'm beginning to understand my Pennsylvania friends who permanently swore off major-league baseball after the last baseball players' strike, and shifted their summertime baseball-park touring to minor league teams. They claim the baseball is MUCH better and more exciting, and the stadiums (stadia?) more interesting and a far better bargain than ANY major league park. (The last time I went to an Orioles game at Camden Yards was back when you could have held a chicken fight in left field and sold out the stadium--and our behind-home-plate seats cost $13 each!)

The last time I was at a Bowie beer dinner, the food was plentiful and excellent (not gourmet, perhaps, but a step or two above normal stereotypes of stadium food), the beer was flowing, and the game was also fun and interesting. You can really go for the game and get the dinner as a bonus, or go for the dinner and the game is a bonus.

Join the Bowie Baysox at Prince George's Stadium in Bowie, Maryland for
Spaten Brewery's "Beers of Munich" Dinner on Thursday, June 18th beginning
at 6pm. While watching the Baysox (Class AA Affiliate of the Baltimore
Orioles) take on the Reading Phillies (Class AA Affiliate of the
Philadelphia Phillies) from our luxury level restaurant, enjoy three hours
of Spaten Munich Lager on draft, NEW Spaten Munich Dunkel, Franziskaner
Hefe Weiss & Franziskaner Dunkel Wiess and two hours of great German food
all for $41 per person. For menu and other information, or to order your
tickets, please call Janna Green at (301) 464-4886, or email at
jgreen@baysox.com. Deadline for ordering tickets is 3pm on Tuesday, June

03 June 2009

FREE Kegerator?

My wife found this on Craigslist:

Keg Fridge & Accessories (Baltimore)

Reply to: sale-ejy27-1202304514@craigslist.org
Date: 2009-06-02, 7:21PM EDT

I have a beer keg fridge with integrated tap (on top) that's clean and in good working condition. Have to get rid of this before moving! Free to anyone who can haul it! Just call 443 987 7261 to arrange pick up.

Location: Baltimore
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

PostingID: 1202304514
If one of my readers gets it, I want a drink from it as commission. <:-)

02 June 2009

Beer Dinner @ The Parkside June 21st

Just copying/pasting the e-mail from The Parkside:

The Parkside is hosting a "Beer Dinner" the evening of June 21st. They will have dinner entrées paired with beer offerings. Limited to 50 seats. Info can be found at our Facebook Event for the dinner
(http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=93012681554 ) or there is a PDF copy of the menu at

Five-course beer dinner, $65:

Belgian white beer infused with hibiscus & spices 11.5oz ABV 5%
served with chayote, smoked chick pea & carrot salad in an
orange vinaigrette

Belgian ale fermented with 100% bettanomyces, a cultivated wild yeast 5oz ABV 6.7%
served with seared duck breast with arugula & cannellini beans

-DEDOLLE BREWERY Belgian tripel 5oz ABV 10%
served with petite Monte Cristo sandwich of house black forest
ham, raspberry preserves & gruyere

-GREENE KING BREWING COMPANY Traditional English ale 12oz ABV 5.2%
served with 8oz coullette steak served with wilted spinach & a
corn, petite pea & lima succotash

-UNIBROUE Ale with apple, coriander, curacao & orange rind 7oz ABV 5.5%
served with assorted fruit & cheese plate

4709 Harford Rd. Baltimore 21214 410-444-6004

01 June 2009

Weekly Beer Update

MAX'S, Tuesday:

6.8%. a nutty, rich and warming ale. deep amber with raisin and caramel flavors.
3.5%. Refreshing and highly drinkable. Flowery and fresh with a well developed hop characteristic.
Lagunitas IPA
Harviestoun Old Engine Oil
Whitemarsh Brewing Charlotte


"This Thursday we are scheduled to tap a firkin of cask-conditioned Weyerbacher Double Simcoe IPA from Weyerbacher Brewing Co. in Easton, Pennsylvania. Double Simcoe IPA is an intensely hopped IPA clocking in at 9.0% so watch out. In the Upstairs Bar starting at 6:00 pm."

The Session Beer Project

Another of Lew Bryson's pet projects, one I wholeheartedly support.

Session beers in Baltimore? Olivers Dark Mild and Summer Light qualify (there's a dry-hopped cask at Pratt St. Ale House waiting for its turn in the line-up). Brewers Art has Beacon, but at 4.8% it's just a touch too strong to qualify under Lew's definition.

My favorite? Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted from Scotland.


Beer Taxes and Your Six-Pack

Fellow beer writer (and, apparently, fellow libertarian) Lew Bryson has an excellent post on his excellent beer blog discussing various proposals to raise taxes on beer, not just here but all over:

First, it's damned near immoral to raise taxes in a deep recession. At some point, especially with excise taxes, you're taking money away from people who don't have enough to give it to people who don't have enough (while stripping away enough to continue paying the wages of the government employees who administer the programs).

Second, if the government programs truly are wonderful and benefit everyone...grow (or borrow) a pair and tax everyone fairly (and progressively). Don't put it on the back of moderate drinkers like me whose only 'sin' is to enjoy a beer.

Finally... I'm already buying beer that costs more than 90% of the beer sold in this country. The beer I buy costs almost twice as much a case as the popular beers do. What purpose will increasing the cost of every beer sold serve when the people who buy the more expensive beers are already paying that much and more? Simple: it's about raising revenues, not moderating behavior. And at that point, sweetie, you should be talking income or sales tax, or I should be voting your thieving, lying ass out of office.
Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Useful state-by-state tax map here.