30 October 2009

The Sun Sets on "Kasper on Tap"

The Baltimore Sun is retiring Rob Kasper's "Kasper on Tap" blog from its website, effective, oh, pretty much any minute now, I guess.  See Rob's announcement here.  Apparently the Sun believes the blog, begun on its website on October 10th, 2007, is attracting insufficient readership to continue.  He will continue to write for the dead-trees and online editions of the Sun, however--more than likely slippin in a sipping of a beer or two in the process.

I'll be truly sorry to see it go.  One of the things I was able to point out to fellow writers that came to Baltimore during Baltimore Beer Week was that Baltimore was one of the few cities in the nation to have a "beer journalist" working for its newspaper (another: Philadelphia's "Joe Sixpack" weekly in the Philadelphia Daily News).  Beer journalism is starting to suffer economic doldrums elsewhere--the Washington Post has relegated Greg Kitsock's beer column in the Food section to monthly status from biweekly.

Does anyone get their beer news from the "mainstream media" anymore?

27 October 2009

Want a Side of Music With Your Real Ale?

Full Baltimore Sun story (with lots of commentary below it) here:
The Baltimore City Council voted Monday to allow bars and restaurants in some of the city's trendiest neighborhoods to hire bands, singers and other performers, overturning a decades-old prohibition that City Council President Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake says has stifled nightlife in town.

"This is an opportunity in lean times for establishments to expand the entertainment they are able to offer," she said after the measure passed by voice vote. "It also makes us more marketable as a city."

The legislation has excited bar owners across the city who are looking to enhance their establishments. But it has also stirred deep concerns among residents of Southeast Baltimore, Federal Hill and Hampden that the lure of live entertainment would bring even more noise, traffic and parking woes to their already popular neighborhoods.
 More from the Sun's Sam Sessa here.

I'm of mixed opinions here.  There's almost no occasion anymore where I go out just for music--or, for that matter, karaoke, trivia night, poetry slams, or whatever.  Usually, if I'm out drinking, I'm there for the beer, so stop distracting me from the notes of toffee, chocolate, and mellow hops.  But many places and musicians owe their business to entertainment and the mutual support of each other: the Cat's Eye, Ram's Head, J. Patrick's, Mick O'Shea's, and others.  Even Max's Taphouse started out, ages ago, as a music hall.

Fortunately, one band of which I am a fan has long been an enthusiastic supporter of real ale:  Fairport Convention, who I haven't seen in person in years and isn't booked for the States anytime soon.........  "Fairport did for real ale what the Grateful Dead did for LSD!"

What's Up Beer Madness--Final Runoff

What's Up Annapolis/Eastern Shore is on its final playoff round of Beer Madness: Evolution's ESB versus Clipper City's MarzHon.

Let the ballot-box stuffing commence.  You have until Friday night.

Thomas Hardy's Ale: Bye-Bye AGAIN?!?

In carrying out some e-mail trades with a fellow beer aficionado, it came out that apparently Thomas Hardy's Ale, the world-class, world-standard barleywine produced in Devon, England for the past 40 years or so (with interruptions), may once again be in jeopardy:

English brewery O'Hanlon's last week announced it would no longer be brewing Thomas Hardy's Ale, a rich, vintage-dated barley wine widely regarded by beer aficionados as a world classic. While another brewery could decide to buy the rights, the beer's future is up in the air – those bottles of 2008 on [liquor store] shelves could well be a collector's item.
The decision to stop brewing one of the world's greatest beers was a painful one, but became necessary because of the time and money it took to produce, said O'Hanlon's sales manager Liz O'Hanlon.
"It really wasn't an easy decision. But in the end, it just wasn't worth it," said O'Hanlon.
Since 2003, O'Hanlon's had been brewing Thomas Hardy's under license for U.S. importer George Saxon [of Phoenix Imports, based in Columbia and formerly in Ellicott City], who had bought the rights to the beer from original brewer Eldridge Pope. Thomas Hardy was created by Pope in 1968 as a tribute to the English author and continued production until 1999, when the company got out of the brewing business. Saxon eventually bought the rights and hired O'Hanlon's to brew it to the original recipe.

Late news, I guess, but I wasn't paying attention at the right moments, apparently. Does anyone have any updates, or should I head out to that northern Wisconsin liquor store and bait and tackle shop where I scored a case of 1998 and 1999 Hardy's for $2 a bottle and see what they're selling it for now?

UPDATE:  Quoting George Saxon of Phoenix Imports at another beer blog from Indiana:

"We are in the process of interviewing other brewers to brew Hardy's and Royal Oak Pale Ale but, given the time involved in that process and in brewing Hardy's, it's quite likely that there will not be a 2009 vintage. And, obviously, no more 2008."

More Belgian Brewers at Max's

One of the things I love about Max's Taphouse is its propensity to hold events like this (from its e-mail list):


This Thursday we will have Jack van Antwerpen, the brewer from Brewery Bosteels, from Buggenhout, Belgium here. Jack makes some of the best Belgian beers in the world.We will also have Lanny Hoff here from Artisanal Imports.This is a great chance to talk with one of the best brewers in Belgium.

We will be featuring:
Deus Brut Des Flandres
Pauwel Kwak
Triple Karmeliet
Straightforward, come by and have a drink or three and meet with the brewery representatives.  No fancy $50 beer dinner or $25 tasting or reservations......   info on the brewery here.  Note that one of the featured beers is Deus Brut des Flandres, a champagne-like beer in special corked 750-ml bottles that usually commands a retail price of ca. $25-30 a bottle.  Here is a chance to sample this beer for less than the price of a full bottle......      and a review/visit of the brewery by fellow writer/blogger Lew Bryson here.

23 October 2009

Get Your Cardiologist First......

The Baltimore Sun website has this gallery of "beers with food" available locally.

Hint, folks:  "Beers with food" is not restricted to beer-battered, deep-fried whatever.  (Though there are a couple exceptions on that list......  only two, though.....)

(Photo of beer-battered pickles--we kid you not--from Pickles Pub by Lisa Wiseman from BaltimoreSun.com)

22 October 2009

Random Good Beers I've Had Lately

I won't torture you with terrific but one-of-a-kind beers you're never going to see again, such as District Chop House's wet-and-dry-hopped bourbon-barrel-aged Trippel (I copped the note sheet for this firkin from the Real Ale Fest).  Instead, a few, random, if-you-see-them-try-them suggestions, in no particular order:

*Clipper City did an experimental batch of The Great Pumpkin aged in a bourbon barrel.  I know that I saw exactly 12 22-ounce bottles at the brewery.  One surfaced at the Hugh-Sisson-returns-to-Ryleigh's event during Baltimore Beer Week.  As Hugh himself told us:  "Now, I don't usually like pumpkin beers.  And I don't like bourbon beers, as a rule.  But this works!"  I beg of you, Clipper City: DO MORE.
*Brooklyn Brewery's Manhattan Project, a strong rye.  Nice.
*The Bruery Rugbrod.  My wife's new favorite.
*Olivers My Monkey's Got Wood, the wood-aged Hot Monkey Love.  If you like oak-aged 3 Lions, you'll like this.
*Williams Bros. Fraoch 20th Anniversary.  "Heather ale matured in single malt whisky casks. 11% alc/vol, triple version: matured in ex-sherry casks previously used to mature single malt speyside whisky for 20 years. The resulting ale has a unique oak / sherry / whisky character, which is best appreciated slightly chilled in a large wine glass.  Ingredients: malted barley, oats, wheat, natural heather flowers, myrtle leaves and hops."  Limited to 7500 750-ml bottles; one opened for immediate pre-Opening Tap toast among BBW committee aboard the Constellation.

More to come.....................

UPDATE:  Fraoch 20th Anniversary will be served at Max's Taphouse's Tuesday Beer Social on Oct. 27th.

Liftoff, and Real Ale Fest Leftovers

I added the yeast--Fermentis Safale S-04--to my beer, all six or so gallons of it, last night, after running to John to borrow a hose for blow-off.  Original gravity 1.085, potential alcohol around 10%.

For any newbies to homebrewing, a blowoff tube allows the vigorously fermenting wort--and do I mean vigorously, almost explosively--to throw off not only carbon dioxide, but also excess yeast foam, and the foam carries with it the bitterest and worst of the hop resins.  Homebrewers learn REALLY quickly that the biggest jar or bottle possible should hold your blowoff bubbling water--I've already dumped off perhaps a quart or more of excess blowoff, and sadly it actually tastes better (even though it's watered-down foam) than a lot of American beers I've had.

Let's look inside the fridge for a minute, and we'll see the down side of $5 growlers at the end of a Real Ale Festival.  From left to right: Troegs Javahead Stout, Brewers Alley Woodford-bourbon-barrel-aged Oatmeal Stout, Olivers/PSAH My Monkey's Got Wood, Dogfish Head Chicory Stout primed with gourmet licorice candy, and The Bruery Rugbrod rye beer.  Shoved way in the back is a growler of White Marsh Batch 1000 and a split bottle of a friend's mead......  in the foreground is a Wild Goose glass with some leftover wort from the Christmas beer, which my wife found makes terrific malted milk.........  and, yes, that's a real can of Moxie soda on a lower shelf, and a stray bottle of Erie Railbender to the right..

Bad Decision Beer?

I've been invited to a shindig at Bad Decisions, the relatively new bar across Fleet Street from Ale Mary's.

I think I should bring a "bad decision" beer.

The only one I can come up with is Cave Creek Chili Beer.  Well, that or any variation of the low-taste carb/calorie North American industrial lagers.

Got any better ideas?

19 October 2009

Baltimore Beer Week Redux

So, all in all, how was it?

I'm happy.  And I think a whole lot of other beer buffs were as well.  Well, unless you were a Ravens fan watching the game on Sunday. (I told y'all that they were gonna blow it in the last seconds--that's been the pattern all year, from what I've seen.)

I spent Thursday and part of Friday hosting Steve Shapiro, a beer blogger from San Francisco who had blundered into the city with fortuitous timing.  We thought we might hit four or five places; we hit.....  let's see, Max's, a run through the neighborhood, Brewers Art, then Ryleigh's Oyster where Hugh Sisson was holding court in his former brewpub, then J. Patrick's in Locust Point (because a Guinness doesn't taste right without a session in front of it, and the session was still going strong at 10 PM), then back to Fells Point for one last round.......

Saturday, of course, was the Chesapeake Real Ale Festival.  I picked up the oak-aged cider from Reid's Orchard at the Waverly Farmers Market, ran it down, returned home, took the Metro down, and stayed for a terrific and expanded real ale fest.  Favorites?  My wife loved the new Bruery rye beer, Rhubrod, sent out specially for the Real Ale Fest, while I liked the new Olivers oak-aged Hot Monkey Love, tentatively named "My Monkey's Got Wood"--but it was all an embarrassment of riches.

Sunday: our homebrewing demonstration at Pratt Street Ale House.  John (of Ten Hills Brewery, on the west side of town in the neighborhood of that name) and I cranked out a high-octane spiced honey ale, while others cranked out a London Porter, a pumpkin ale, and lord knows what else.  Unfortunately, what with the fourth day of cold rain, brewers handily outnumbered spectators and customers.  We started around nine and were pretty well all done by three.

That was enough time for me to race John and his gear home and then race back to Max's Taphouse for what would be the final (for me) BBW event, the Ravens & Rare Beer event, with the game on a projection TV in the upstairs lounge and rare beers of all sorts being opened and shared (for a price, of course--for example, $6 for a 5-ounce serving of 1999 Thomas Hardy's Ale).  After the Ravens' last-second loss, however, out came a magnum of Stone Double Bastard for a final toast to the initial Baltimore Beer Week.

More photos and reports to follow, possibly updated from the Baltimore courthouse tomorrow--wish me luck, I get paid $15 to cool my heels all day on jury duty.

16 October 2009

Screwed Up Order

No, no, no.

I ordered Scottish ALE, not Scottish weather.

(Actually, it's warmer right now in Aberdeen, Scotland than in Baltimore, Maryland--52 degrees F versus 41....)

14 October 2009

Last Night's Fun, and Tonight's Fun

Cape Ann Pumpkin Stout tapped at Max's.  Yes, they hollowed out a pumpkin, tapped it, and then filled it with Cape Ann Pumpkin Stout from the tap, and the first three servings were in mini pumpkins hollowed out as cups!  They also had an oddball 9%, draft-at-the-brewpub-only Fisherman's Tea Party Barleywine, made with three kinds of tea (and the brewer, T.J. Peckham, was shocked--shocked--at my ability to discern two of the three teas by flavor alone!), and their 7% Navigator Dopplebock.  Details on the beers here.  The Tea Party (no politics intended) has an oddly herbal character, much akin to a strong-ale version of Fraoch Heather Ale or other "ancient recipe" beers of that ilk.  Part of the reason--the teas involved include heavily-smoked Lapsang Souchang and unsmoked Oolong, as well as a green tea (I'm guessing semi-green Darjeeling, but even the brewer has forgotten by now).

For the record, Max's is keeping many lines free in order to add new special-feature beers throughout this week.  In all probability, most of the beers you see being featured will be on for a week or so after the 18th.

I then popped around to the beer-trivia night at the Wharf Rat--and discovered that the antique beer-engine rack formerly grandly featured at the Camden Yards location (now Pratt Street Ale House) is set up there at the end of the second bar.  Three engines out of a potential five were set up and running, with the two old ones at the bar, for an eventual potential of at least six or seven beer engines.  At that rate, it'll be real-ale supplies rather than mechanics that keep the pumps pumping.

Tonight: the Blues & Brews at the 8x10 in Federal Hill, with Clipper City and beer-friendly bands in attendance.  (I may be late--I have a party to go to at Metro Gallery first.)

Metropolitan's Schedule for rest of week

Direct from their e-mail:
Wednesday, October 14 - Firkin Wednesday, Pumpkin Ale
Tonight is our celebration of Oliver's Ales, and we're doing it in grand style.  We have a firkin of Freddie's Revenge, a pumpkin ale.  We also have two Oliver's Ales on draft: Harvest Ale (a 5.2% amber ale brewed with honey) and 3 Lions Ale.

Thursday, October 15 - Firkin Thursday, Nugget Nectar
For Firkin Thursday we have a firkin of Nugget Nectar, the sensational hop bomb from Troegs Brewing Co. in Harrisburg that has a maniacal following.  That will be joined by some Troegs drafts, including Dead Reckoning Porter and (most likely) Troegenator, a serious doppel bock.

Friday, October 16 - Brewery Ommegang Draft Night
We celebrate Friday with a bunch of great drafts from Brewery Ommegang from Cooperstown, New York which are expected to include Ommegang Abbey, Hennepin, Chocolate Indulgence, Three Philosophers, and maybe a mystery beer.  Special deals and widgets no less.

Saturday, October 17 - Trappist Belgian Beers & Trappist Belgian Cheeses
The Trappist monks in Belgium make more than great beers -- they make great cheese too.  Check it out with beer selections from ChimayOrvalRochefort and Westmalle, and a variety of cheeses from Chimay and Orval.

Sunday, October 18 - English Beers & English Cheeses
We wrap up beer week with a pairing of classic English cheeses and beers from uber hip English craft brewers Burton BridgeRCH and Wye Valley.

13 October 2009

How To Guarantee a Sobriety Field Test

Spotted in the car of someone who will remain anonymous for obvious reasons.  The owner stated that this was the only one in his collection that fit the shifter's handle mount, not necessarily his choice of beer or handle.

Three MORE Beer Dinners Tonight

Metropolitan (featuring Unibroue from Quebec),  newcomer-to-Beer-Week Diamondback Tavern in Ellicott City (featuring Flying Dog), and Mothers Grille in Federal Hill with Clipper City Heavy Seas beers.  And the usual weekly Trivia Night at The Wharf Rat in Fells Point has a beer focus.

12 October 2009

Brewers Art and Red Brick Station Beer Week Dinners Wed./Thurs.

The menu for the beer dinners at Brewers Art on the 14th and 15th have been released.  See them here.  Rich and decadent.  $50, not including tax and tip.  Oysters, quail, scallops, pork, cheeses, tarts.  Oh, and beers.

Minutes after posting this, I received an e-mail with the following menu for Red Brick Station's beer dinner for Thursday night, $45 for members of their Mug Club and $55 for the general public:






11 October 2009

The Weekend's Events

The "big kahuna" of the weekend, of course, was the Oktoberfest up at the Timonium Fairgrounds.

"Nobody goes there anymore; it's too crowded." -- attributed to Yogi Berra

Are there people alleging that there's still a recession?  Couldn't prove it by the Oktoberfest.  A preliminary guess by event organizer Greg Nivens (president of Trigger Agency) was that attendance was up 20% over last year, possibly even more.  It was so loud and crowded that my wife surrendered, and we bailed after only an hour or so.  I returned later to catch up with more of the news and events.

In the meantime, however, I was able to run past what turned out to be one of the sleeper hits of Baltimore Beer Week: the tour of the woodcrafting shops of Mark Supik & Co. in Highlandtown.  This company will likely be the subject of aeither a future Mid-Atlantic Brewing News article or a post here; for now, let's just say that this place is like walking into a time capsule of old-time craftsmanship.  This company uses vintage lathes and woodworking equipment to produce stock and custom tap handles for breweries nationwide.  In a side room is a display of many of the most innovative tap handles you are likely to ever see, including some one-of-a-kind examples and ones likely to evoke nostalgia among Baltimore beer fans--anyone remember the crab claw holding aloft a DeGroen's "Baltimore Lager" logo?  In the photo above, Nancy Supik is shown holding a new tap handle for Oliver's new Pumpkin Ale; I was specifically asked not to photograph certain tap handles being worked on in the shop that day, because they were in development to be unveiled by certain clients--one example was waiting to be express-shipped to a major national client on Tuesday.

Want your own?  They are willing to sell you a stock handle that you can then finish as you please, or you can attend regular classes and make your own.  Contact the company via the website for details.  There's also another shop tour on Saturday, Oct. 17th--stop in anytime between 1 and 3 pm.

Now, back to the zoo--I mean, Oktoberfest.............

The big problem with the Maryland Oktoberfest, as opposed to a major "open" festival welcoming all comers, is that there are relatively few "new" beers to show off from year to year.  Certainly there were newcomers--the pumpkin ales from Olivers/PSAH and White Marsh/Red Brick, for example, and the Grisette session beer from Brewers Art.

DuClaw, however, took the opportunity to announce not only a new beer, but a new strategy: The new beer is Nemesis, an 11% abv "Imperial Alt" beer; and the new strategy is bottling.  DuClaw is going to begin bottling both 22-ouncers of their stronger beers and four-pack 12-ouncers of their more "moderate" offerings, beginning with "bombers" of Devil's Milk and Nemesis to hit store shelves by the end of October, with an expected price of $10 or so a bottle.

To say they announce beers with much fanfare is an understatement.  The previous menu board atop their beer trailer, which had Velcro-affixed signs that had to be changed by climbing through the mosh-pit-like crowd and reaching above, has been replaced with a large flat-panel LCD TV screen, run with graphics from a specially-converted Microsoft Xbox video-game controller (to the right in the photo).

As beers either ran out or were replaced to free up lines for special releases, those stuck in the lines watched as the menu selections were "vaporized" by "lasers" and replaced with "robot arms" unveiling the new featured beer, with loud sound effects blaring from speakers beside the screen.  At 5 PM, however, Nemesis was announced and released with a long video display introduction straight from the world of video games.  If for no other reason than avoiding having to crawl through the crowds, it was genius.  And no other brewer could rally such frenzy, excitement, insanity, and crowding--and my camera lens has a nick in it to prove it.  (By the way, they said their "tech guys" came up with the screen.  This brewery has tech guys.  Think about that.)

So how is the Nemesis?  There aren't that many beers of this hybrid style to compare it to--a cursory Internet search only shows three or four other commercial examples in the States--and that style certainly isn't in my copy of the downright obsessive-compulsive Beer Judge Certification Program Style Guidelines.  So what did I think?  Too danged sweet for what I would consider alt style.  I compared notes with other beer writers, and what I came away with was saying it tasted like an attempt at an extra-high-alcohol Belgian dubbel with German ale yeast and too much candi sugar that died off at 11% alcohol instead of a potential 15% or so--or, say, take a high-alcohol doppelbock and add more sugar.

And that crowd killed off whatever keg of Colossus (21%) they put on at 6 pm in only 20 minutes.

Sunday:  I had been roped into helping a friend of my wife's move, so there went the morning.  I got time during the process to swing by Clipper City to check on the sold-out beer brunch.  I wish I had found time instead to get to the scheduled Red Brick Sattion beer brunch instead.  In the afternoon, I swung by Grand Cru up on Belvedere Square, who was having a chili taste-off--only four chilis being served, which was actually a bit of a blessing rather than having to struggle through fifteen or so recipes as I did at Metropolitan a while back.

Also on display was a preview of tomorrow's Grand Cru event, a do-it-yourself "kegerator" construction seminar.  If the example on display at Grand Cru today is any indication, it should be an excellent one.  That's builder and seminar presenter Christopher Attenborough posing with what really is almost a "work of art."  (No, that's just a flatscreen TV where the bar's patrons just saw the Ravens lose in the last minute of the game--there's no Xbox showing the beers on tap inside the kegerator--although, come to think of it, that's an idea, and I'm sure some techy homebrewer has tried it....  )

Monday, Oct. 12th:  The Beer Luncheon at Bertha's for me.  Other events, including lots of beer lunches and dinners, here. On Tuesday and Wednesday there are musical events in Fells Point--a free public concert on the square on Tuesday and the usual monthly sea shantey sing-along at the Wharf Rat--and the Blues and Brews concert at the 8x10 in Federal Hill on Wednesday (a featured Beer Week event).

2009 Maryland Governor's Cup--Clipper City Heavy Seas Hang Ten again......

Still awaiting a promised press release from the Brewers Association of Maryland regarding the 2009 Governor's Cup competition, but I have it on high authority that the 2009 Cup (best overall beer) went once again to Clipper City's Hang Ten weizen doppelbock, the second year in a row it won.

From last year's press release from Clipper City:
The Governor’s Cup winner, “Hang Ten” is a classic Bavarian style wheat beer – unfiltered and slightly cloudy, brewed with a high percentage of wheat malt, and using a special yeast yielding aromas of apple and spice. It is also a dopplebock in style, brewed to strength of 10% alcohol by volume (ABV), so it has a very robust flavor, with a subtle sweetness on the finish.
“It is always gratifying to receive acknowledgment for quality work,” said Hugh Sisson, Clipper City’s managing partner. “‘Hang Ten’ is an unusual beer so it is fun to see it get some well deserved recognition. This award, on the heels of our Gold Medal in the World Beer cup, seems to indicate that we are on a pretty good roll!”

10 October 2009

Who Wanted Sam Smith's Yorshire Stingo?

One of my readers--and I can't remember who--asked me if I knew where he could find Samuel Smith's Yorkshire Stingo, now being advertised hither and yon in the beer press.

I haven't checked retailers, but I saw it last night in the cooler at Alonso's in Roland Park.  Paging Steve Jones:  They also have a Welsh bitter, the only place I've seen this one so far.  Look for the daffodil on the label.  (Tomos Watkin's Cwrw Braf).

In other news, Duda's has an excellent German-themed menu for all of October for "Oktoberfest"--German sausages, smoked pork chops, etc.  If you missed the German Fest at Max's and you're down there, there's another chance for you.

The Coastal Brewing Defender's Choice at Duda's and other places, by the way, is delicious.  I was expecting a North American Industrial Lager clone, but instead it's a ridiculously malty beer, more like a rich marezen.  By all means, do NOT simply disregard this combination of German menu and this beer.  This is probably one of the "sleeper" hits of Baltimore Beer Week.

Off to the Fairgrounds momentarily.............

09 October 2009

Friday Night in Fells Point

Six PM in Max's.  The North Coast rep/owner hasn't shown up yet (maybe the watch is still on Pacific Daylight Time?  Oh, yeah, cell phones automatically adjust...), the Old Rasputin XI (11.6% imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels) on nitro is mighty delicious, utterly perfect melding of flavors, well balanced.  BrewDog Paradox Speyside still on handpump, as is Olivers ESB; White Marsh Daily Crisis IPA pin is still on the bar from last night.  Only 50 beers on at the moment, including eight Allagash beers to star beginning at 8 pm.  (The bourbon-barrel Curieux is on cask later, apparently.)

Off to Duda's for shrimp and Fordham's......

(Oh, yeah.....  Parking's a rhymes-with-witch down here right now, but again, I'm used to parking down here on Tuesday nights, not weekends.)

The Story of the Mallet

Published as a PDF at the Baltimore Beer Week website's history page HERE.

I'm not that keen on the name--but then again, I didn't come up with a better alternative, so.......

Mandatory Obama Post

Apparently, every blog in the blogo-verse is now under orders to immediately comment on today's announcement that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 was awarded to Barack Obama.

So here's my apparently mandatory post on the subject.    (I don't see orders that I have to actually type an opinion on the matter...  <:-)  .....)

Okay, wait a minute:  He DID, after all, pull off that "Beer Summit".................

Handy BBW website tweak

The events schedule for Baltimore Beer Week's website now defaults to the list of the day's scheduled events.  Look here.

Also added:  The earlier policy was to list the events by sponsor only.  Now, the venue is included in the listing, even if they're not officially sponsoring the event.  This adds The Parkside on Harford Road and the Abbey Burger Bistro in Federal Hill, as well as several liquor stores, to the venue list, if indirectly.

(MAJOR Oops:  The venue in question was the former "Parkside" at 2901 E. Baltimore Street near Patterson Park, now known as "three...", NOT the Harford Road establishment.  More than one person was caught off-guard by that boo-boo by the distributor, in spite of the correct address being printed in the website list.)

Good for them.  (Hey Walter, we listened, OK?)

Where am I going?  Highest priority for me is the North Coast Brewing event at Max's.  I'm tempted by cheap shrimp, though, and I should swing by Parkside, even if I already saw the Evolution brewers last night at Phillips.......

The Opening Tap

Former Baltimore Orioles slugger "Boog" Powell drives home the Opening Tap into a firkin of Heavy Seas Loose Cannon at the ceremony aboard the USS Constellation last night.

What a start.  Perfect hit, no spray, only one hit and it was in and ready to pour.

Now, if BG&E hadn't decided to schedule extensive line replacement in my neighborhood last night.....  It was disconcerting to be walking home from the Metro station and have all the lights on the block go out simultaneously.  They said it'd be back on by 7 AM; they went back on about 20 minutes ago..........

Lots of photos by fellow blogger Tom Cizauskas posted here. Hopefully none are incriminating......

08 October 2009

More Media Coverage for Baltimore Beer Week

Rob Kasper and Hugh Sisson on WJZ this morning. (4.5 minutes video)

MP3 of yesterday's WYPR show, for any that missed it.

 WBAL-AM's Shari Elliker featured an interview with co-founder Dominic Cantalupo this morning.

More to follow, I'm sure.................


Annnnnnnnnnnd..........  WE'RE OFF!!!!!!!!

Who gets the title for first "official" beer event for Baltimore Beer Week?

There are eighteen "events" today, of which six are simply today's version of week-long daily events.  The "official" kick-off is the Opening Tap aboard the USS Constellation tonight (and, guys, we gotta get a bigger venue next year!), but if we really want to be snarky, we figure out who opens their doors first:  The Wharf Rat, Muggsy's Mug House, or Duda's Tavern.  No, wait, Muggsy's doesn't open until 4 pm.  That leaves The Wharf Rat and Duda's.  I'm looking at the Wharf Rat web site, and I'm seeing that it hasn't been changed since Justin Dvorkin and Co. took over last year and still lists the old Camden Yards locations and phone numbers, and it doesn't list hours for the Fells Point location......  no, no, you guys, I'm not THAT much of a Fells Point drinker that I have these all memorized...........  So, by default, because I know they open at 11 am for lunch:  Duda's Tavern and their Fordham's Defender's Choice Premium Lager special.  And yummy burgers.

The rest of today's line-up is here.   Late event:  Troegs free samples/tasting at Wine World in Abingdon.

Tomorrow:  35 events.   Highlights: Half-price drafts at Grand Cru for happy hour, owner of North Coast Brewing of California at Max's 5-8 and a bunch of Allagash and other special beers on after that, and Stoudt's firkin at Metropolitan.

Saturday:  The Oktoberfest at the Timonium Fairgrounds, of course.  But that's not all.  If you prefer Belgians, go to Max's.  For craftsmen or breweriana collectors, there's the tap-handle-maker's shop tour.  Runners can enjoy the Baltimore Running Festival and the after-party downtown.  And 31 other events.

See y'all aboard the Constellation, and at both of the "after parties" (Evolution/Phillips and Brewers Assn. of Md./Pratt Street Ale House)!

UPDATE:  The Max's Taphouse Ravens & Rare Beers event on Sunday the 18th is now sold out; they're taking names on a possible waiting list.

07 October 2009

Top Ten Signs You're Taking Baltimore Beer Week Too Seriously

10. You're picking out which beer shirts to wear on which days.
9.   Your schedule-planning spreadsheet is now wall-sized.
8.   You're taking a vacation week for the occasion.
7.   You've filled out a temporary mail-forwarding form to have your mail sent to Max's Taphouse.
6.   You actually ask a price for filling a REAL "yard of ale."
5.   You've plotted out which of your friends lives closest to which pubs, and which have futons or sofa beds.
4.   You've already downloaded or printed out tasting notes for all the special beers listed so far on the schedules.
3.   You've already arranged for rides home from all the events in question, or gotten your Weekly MTA Pass.
2.   You've taken out a home equity loan to pay for all of it.
1.   You've already requested the second week of October 2010 as vacation time.

Got better ideas?

Pairing Books With Beer, or Vice Versa

Found via Instapundit:

Gene Wolfe, Jack O'Connell, and 09.09.09 Stone Vertical Epic Ale: The Perfect Pairing?

 If you're not the literary type, at least you have this description of Stone's Vertical Epic 09.09.09, which last I saw was on tap at Max's Taphouse:

What's the beer like? Prior to our tasting, head brewer Mitch Steele described it thusly: "During the brewing process we added dark candi sugar, vanilla bean, and tangerine peel to complement the flavors of the porter. The vanilla bean addition is fascinating, as it actually enhances the chocolate character from the roasted malts, and the candi sugar adds a nice hint of molasses flavor to the finish. The tangerine actually turned out to be quite subtle on the finish, and combines nicely with the chocolate malt character. We aged this beer on French oak chips, which contributes a smooth and subtle woody undertone and even more vanilla flavors."
While that gives you an idea of the ingredients, it doesn't begin to hint at the complexity of the taste. This is a beer that gives you three, four, even five different taste perspectives. At base, I was reminded of Guinness, in that the foundation has that kind of firm, comforting flatness. But over top of that, there's a slow-motion carnival going on. There's a definite disappearing horizon of spice in there--it's just a hint but emphatic--and then as your taste buds encounter the beer fully there's an energy and a uniqueness that's difficult to describe. The taste tends to gather and grow, until you go from something that has a friendly broad flavor to something that would make a Pinback song or Frank Zappa solo look simple--without descending into chaos. There's a definite analogy to tasting a good wine, in that there's such a confluence of different grace notes and things to experience. Again, difficult to describe, but if I had to sum it up, it's like a great orchestra piece, with many different instruments coming into play, that starts out slowly and simply, and then builds to a crescendo that's never overwrought or melodramatic. You know it's a classic because the form of it seems so perfect and so complete. The 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale is now one of my favorites--and one of the terrible, horrible things about my week is I just found out that the Fermentation Lounge here in town now has this ale on tap. This could be very, very dangerous.

 Many more book/beer pairings are at the link.

But these folks probably need an alternative beer for their first book selection The Resurrectionist, of course......

DuClaw Replies.......

Since I was willing to put my (veiled) criticisms of DuClaw in this publicly-viewed blog, I feel that I should offer the opportunity for Duclaw to respond just as publicly.  Therefore, I am reposting a comment from this earlier blogpost as its own post, to give it the visibility it deserves:

Though it is our customary policy to not to respond to critiques of DuClaw Brewing Company in blogs, I feel it is necessary to explain why we are not participating in Baltimore Beer Week this year. As I am sure all Maryland breweries are, we are very busy trying to brew and sell beer and prepare for the BAM Oktoberfest. When the information was first given to us about the BBW, I was not quite sure what was happening. This is not to say we were not given good or appropriate information; I was just unclear as to what we were supposed to do or how we would ‘participate’. In preparing for & attending several festivals, putting on our Real Ale Fest and launching at least 3 monthly seasonals (and a special project we have been working on) since we were first informed, we just we never able to figure out how we would participate, time passed and we missed the opportunity to be a part of it this year...things simply fell through the cracks. If this sounds ‘iffy’ to you, note that our brewery staff consists of 2 people (Jim & Bo), so when many things are happening for us, it is easy for us to get overwhelmed. I do regret not participating this year, and it is our intention to be a part next year.

With all that being said, I believe your 2nd reply was completely uncalled for. We at DuClaw, as I am sure every one of the places you listed, either sponsor, promote, donate or are involved in dozens, if not hundreds of events every year. If your attempt was to ‘shame’ places into participating next year, it was not well thought out. Also, If your initial post about our Mad Bishop release was to ‘hint’ we were trying to ‘ride off the coat tails of the event’ w/o paying, all of are beer releases are planned over a year in advance.

David Benfield
DuClaw Brewing Company

Mr. Benfield, I politely respond: You state that you were left "unclear as to what we were supposed to do or how we would ‘participate’".  If that is the case, then that is possibly an issue that needs to be addressed for BBW 2010, re: the confusion in marketing between the Brewers Association of Maryland Oktoberfest and BBW.

You're not the only one coming into the situation late.  As late as last week, after all our printing deadlines,  I was fielding inquiries from two venues who had similarly let BBW slip off their radar screens and were trying to play "catch-up." Even this morning we were still adding a few just-finalized events to the online schedule on behalf of their sponsors.

I am not insinuating that DuClaw is attempting to "ride the coattails" of BBW without participating.  That doesn't apply until I see "BBW" posted in your windows, or in an e-mail or on your website.  My apologies if my attempt at humor came off wrong.

And you are not the only one who objected to my rattling off a list of other venues that, for whatever reasons, aren't participating in BBW as being in bad form or poor judgment.  (And, as it turns out, I unintentionally left off two noted venues from that list.)

So let me instead present this list.

This is a list of people/places/etc. who figured out what they were supposed to do or how to participate:

Clipper City Brewing Company
Flying Dog Brewing
Red Brick Station/White Marsh Brewing
Pratt Street Ale House/Oliver Brewery
Max's Taphouse
Brewers Art
Grand Cru
Dogfish Head Brewing
Sierra Nevada Brewing
Magic Hat Brewing
Boston Beer/Samuel Adams
Legends Limited
DOPS Distributing
The Baltimore City Paper
The 8x10
Alexander's Tavern (not mine)
An Poitin Stil
Baltimore Taphouse
Bay Ridge Wine & Spirits
Brooklyn Brewery
Chesapeake Wine Co.
Christopher Daniel Restaurant
Country Malt Group
Cross Street Irregulars Homebrew Club
Dawson's Liquors
Duda's Tavern
Evolution Craft Brewing
Fordham/Old Dominion Brewing
Honeygo Wine & Spirits
Jack's Bistro
Kooper's Tavern
Lancaster Brewing
Lures Restaurant
Mark Supik & Co.
Maryland Homebrew
Metropolitan Coffee House
Mothers Grille
Mt. Washington Tavern
Muggsy's Mug House
Otter Creek/Wolaver's Brewery
Paulaner USA
The Perfect Pour
Phillips Seafood
Pickles Pub
Pyramid Brewing
Saranac Brewing
Shawan Liquors
Society for Preservation of Beers From the Wood
Staples Corner Liquors
Starr Hill Brewing
State Line Liquors
Stone Brewing
Victoria Gastro Pub
Wharf Rat Pub
Whiskey Island Shop
The Wine Source
Wine World Beer and Spirits
Christo’s Discount Liquors
Chesapeake Real Ale Brewers Society (C.R.A.B.S.)
Frisco Grille
Hamilton Tavern
I. M. Wine
Joe Squared
Judges Bench Pub
Ryleigh’s Oyster
Swirl Wine
Troegs Brewery

These establishments, groups, or venues are the reason we are having Baltimore Beer Week.  These groups or places, for whatever reason--financial incentive, marketing opportunity, or simply a belief in or love of good beer and the experience and culture that surrounds it--have stepped up to the bar, so to speak, and worked in partnership with sellers, vendors, staff, and even hobbyists to make the next ten days Baltimore Beer Week.

So these are the folks I should be, and will be, acknowledging and paying attention to.  And I thank them all for their support.

(And just for the record, I hand-typed that list above.)

The Media Blitz Kicks Up!

Cover Story, today's B (free newspaper put out by the Baltimore Sun).

Story/column by co-founder and committee member Rob Kasper in his employer's Baltimore Sun.

Kasper, "Turkey Joe" Trabert, and committee member Mick Kapp on Dan Rodrick's Midday Show on WYPR 88.1 FM at 1 PM today.  (Check the website for webcast or possible rebroadcast/web archive.)

Twelve-page insert in today's Baltimore City Paper.  (Free out of those ubiquitous yellow boxes all over downtown and nightlife neighborhoods, and at many fine stores.  Also included, if you look in the right places: the concurrent City Paper's Guide to Baltimore 2009-2010, a magazine-sized glossy-paper publication, with bars covered on pp. 38-41.)

Getcher BBW Brochure Here!

The BBW brochures are out ans about town now, with a complete listing of events, sponsors, and venues (or at least the ones that committed by print deadline).  You can head to your favorite sponsoring venue and pick one up, or you can download a PDF version and print it here.  [Insert usual PDF-Adobe Acrobat disclaimer here.]

The Ceremonial Opening Tap Mallet

Photos depict ceremonial mallet maker John Gasparine posing with his creation for Baltimore Beer Week, the official mallet created for tomorrow's ceremonial keg tapping to open Baltimore Beer Week 2009, and most likely for future Beer Weeks.

Note the carefully created hop cone finial at the bottom of the handle and the "Baltimore Beer Week--Est. 2009" logo in the head.  The mallet features two pieces of the Wye Oak, as mentioned in a previous post.  There supposedly is a formal name for this splendid piece of craftsmanship, but we'll have to await the Opening Tap to find out what that is.

There's still some discussion about what to do with this thing in between annual Beer Weeks.  My personal suggestion was that this could be hung in a ceremonial case at a selected venue in between BBWs.  Perhaps it could be "awarded" as an annual award to a venue that sponsors real ale, maybe the winner of "People's Choice" at the SPBW's annual Real Ale Festival, for example, or a venue or maker selected annually by the SPBW membership or officers.  (Of course, that would mandate a case being made, plus appropriate security of location.....)

Any ideas?  It's truly a shame for such fine workmanship to lurk in a closet for 50 weeks a year.........

06 October 2009

359 and counting............. UPDATED

Magic Hat just added three more events to the BBW schedule, and Dogfish Head a series of beer dinners at The Wine Market, for a total of 11 Magic Hat events, 35 Dogfish Head events, and 348 359 360 total.......  The Magic Hat event list now includes some pretty funky ones, such as a costume pub crawl in Fells Point on the 16th.

And now the question:  Is that it? Is that the final count? Nope.....

Maybe not.  The inevitable problem with any event like this is that the organizers will have folks "piggybacking" onto the coattails.  (My personal biggest nightmare: Giant promos for "Michelob Ultra/Bud Light Lime/Corona Light Proudly Celebrates Baltimore Beer Week!" on the Jumbotrons at M&T Bank Stadium during the Ravens game.....)

One other question:  When is Dogfish Head going to get around to opening a Dogfish Head Alehouse in the Baltimore area?  I know some interesting possible locations (*cough cough* CapCityInnerHarbor *COUGH* GlobeBrewing*Cough), but of course I'm not a commercial real estate specialist.......

But for now, back to the planning schedule for MY attendances............

Beer Meals at Metropolitan

No, I'm not going to post every dang scheduled event listed everywhere.  But if I get word of some of the more notable events--the ones more than just pouring a certain brewery's beers--I'm gonna plug them.

At Metropolitan on Charles Street in Federal Hill:

Date:  Monday October 12
Event:  Beer Breakfast with B. United Imports
Featuring:  3-Course Breakfast Paired with Beers
Smoked Duck Frittata, Boar Sausage & Potato Pancake, Waffle & Coffee Mousse
Beers:     Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Weizen, Schneider Weiss, La Meule, Birolla Malthus, Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout
Cost:  $30 per person, seating limited, call or email Metropolitan to reserve a seat  
Time:  10:00 am

Date:  Tuesday October 13
Event:  Beer Dinner with Unibroue
Featuring:  5-Course Dinner paired with Unibroue Beers
Shrimp Ceviche, Smoked Duck Breast, Pork Loin, Beer Marinated Steak, Dessert  
Beers: Blanche de Chambly, Chambly Noire, La Fin du Monde, Maudite, La Terrible
Cost: $50 per person, seating limited, call or email Metropolitan to reserve a seat
Time:  7:00 pm
Date:  Saturday October 17
Event:  Trappist Belgian Beers & Trappist Belgian Cheese Specials
Time:  2:00 pm to close

Date:  Sunday October 18
Event:  English Beers & English Cheese Specials
Time:  2:00 pm to close

Beer History for BBW

Two notes for those interested in beer history:

1)  The Beer Pioneers of Baltimore Luncheon at Bertha's (which, technically, predates the Wharf Rat as the founding base for real ale in central Maryland, pouring cask-conditioned Oxford Class Amber Ale on hand-pump back in 1991!) on Monday, Oct. 12th (Columbus Day holiday) is within ten or so seats of sell-out.  This promises to be a terrific event:

Please join guest panelists Hugh Sisson – Founder and General Partner of Clipper City Brewing Company (formally of Sisson’s Brew Pub - Maryland’s first brew pub), Tony Norris – Owner of Bertha’s, Craig Stuart Paul – Founder of Oxford Brewing Company (Maryland’s first micro-brewery) and Jim Lutz – Founder of Wild Goose Brewing Company (currently Vice President of Sales at Flying Dog Brewery) as they discuss the birth of the craft industry in Maryland. MC for the event will be long time Baltimore Sun columnist Rob Kasper.

Menu to include: Steamed mussels with assorted sauces, and Bangers & Mash. Meal includes beer samplings of Wild Goose Pale Ale, Bertha’s Best Bitter (on hand pump) and Heavy Sea’s Loose Cannon.

SPACE is limited. Reservations are required. Credit card reservations @ 410 327 5795 (ask for Bernard) Tickets also available at the bar at Bertha’s starting Monday 21st September.
 As an aside. make the reservations by phone or in person; they'll take cash that day.

In addition, could I call your attention to the "Beer History" page at the BBW website.  They are actively seeking out contributions to the site, and I think much of what is in the current issue of Mid-Atlantic Brewing News would qualify for inclusion.

The BBW Kick-Off Parties!

Okay, so danged few folks ended up with tickets for the Opening Tap event aboard the Constellation Thursday night.  I'm told that the number of folks who asked for tickets was easily twice what the fire marshalls say the boat can safely hold.  Next year, we have to find a bigger space.  (My personal nominee, strictly on the basis of both theme and location?  The Baltimore Museum of Industry.)

But do not despair.  There are TWO parties being held to mark the beginning of Baltimore Beer Week that night!

The Brewers Association of Maryland is hosting its shindig at the Pratt Street Ale House, a couple short blocks away, at 8 pm.  Tickets are $10 and gets you a souvenir glass, your first beer free, and a complimentary buffet. In addition to PSAH's own offerings, they will be serving the following beers from BAM members ($3 pints all evening):
Brewer’s Art … Ozzy
Dog Brewing … Dog Fest Oktoberfest & Black Dog Stout (GABF medal winner)
White Marsh Brewing … Something Red
Clipper City … Loose Cannon & MarzHon (repeat GABF medal winner)
Fling Dog … Old Scratch & In Heat Wheat

 In addition, Evolution Brewing of Delaware will be sponsoring its own kick-off party at the Phillips Seafood restaurant in the Harborplace Light Street Pavilion, a pay-as-you-go affair a little closer to the ship itself.

05 October 2009

Well, finally............

DuClaw Brewing finally pulls out a beer event during Baltimore Beer Week..........

The annual release of Mad Bishop on Oct. 14th and 15th at Fells Point location, beginning 6 pm each day.

Wait, what?  That's just coincidence?  Not on the BBW schedule?  Oh.............  never mind.

(The rumor mill reports that the brewers of DuClaw were totally for DuClaw's involvement in BBW, but that the company's owners were not.  Maybe next year?)  (UPDATE:  See above--they say they'll be "on board" for 2010.)

BBW Hits the TV Airwaves

There are folks who don't take any story or event seriously until it's on television.

So, without further ado.......  HERE.

By the way, the official tally is now (somehow) up to 345 events.  (Late additions include events by Grand Cru up in Belvedere Square, at York Road and Northern Parkway.)

First Christmas Beer Spotted? (UPDATE: Maybe Not--See Comments)

Relevant to this post, reader Thomas Strong reports spotting Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout 2009 in four-packs at Wells Discount Liquors on October 2nd.

I dunno.  Do we count Brooklyn Black Chocolate as a Christmas beer, or do we wait for something more painfully obvious, that calls itself a Christmas beer?

But it beats my Oct. 10th prediction by a over a week.

02 October 2009

The Ultimate Imperial Session Beer!

Frankly, I'm still not 100% convinced this isn't just a well-crafted publicity-garnering prank:

Scotland's BrewDog brewery, a tiny maker of numerous "extreme" beers that many aficionados apparently either love or detest, has, in apparent response to negative publicity over their 18% Tokyo oak-aged stout, has announced the release of Nanny State, a 1.1% (that's right, one-point-one percent) "Imperial Mild."

Nanny State is our quiet and dignified response to the ongoing controversy surrounding Britain's strongest ever beer, Tokyo*. Nanny State is a 1.1% ale. We have gone from making Britain's strongest beer to a brew so low in alcohol it is below the legal classification of beer and not strong enough to be subject to beer duty.

If logic serves the same people who witch-hunted and publically slated us should now offer us heartfelt support and public congratulations. However I fear that this, unfortunately, is an arena devoid of logic and reason.

Nanny State is an extraordinary little beer. It contains more hops than any other beer we have ever brewed. There is over 60 kilos used in our tiny 20HL batch. It contains more hops than any other beer ever brewed in the UK. It has a theoretical IBU of 225. It is jam packed with our favourite hops and already tastes amazing. Nanny State picks up where How to Disappear Completely [a 3.5% "Imperial Mild double IPA" with 198 IBU's] left off and takes the low ABV hop-bomb concept to the next level and cranks the BrewDog craziness up a few notches.

Paging Lew Bryson and other "session beer" aficionados...........  that's right, a "theoretical IBU's of 225......   Mike?  Steve?  Up for it?

Incidentally, their Tokyo is reported by the brewery as en route to the American market, with the name changed to Tokio for us.  No word yet on the Nanny State........

Oh, and just so you know:  Their Paradox Islay that showed up on cask at Max's was heavenly, in an "imperial" Alaskan Smoked Porter sort of way--but their Paradox Smokehead on draft was just that little too "smoky," more charred and ashen tasting...........

So Did You Think Max's Was Just Going To Offer Up A Few Beers For BBW?

Think again.

Here is the final draft of the Max's Taphouse schedule for Baltimore Beer Week:

ON DRAFT: Heavy Seas Big DIPA, Heavy Seas Imperial Oktoberfest, Heavy Seas The Great Pumpkin

ON DRAFT: Whitemarsh Pumpkin, Whitemarsh Brown Ale, Whitemarsh IPA (Cask)


North Coast Rasputin X 2008, North Coast Rasputin (Nitro), others TBA
North Coast Rasputin IX

ALLAGASH: Four, Fluxus 09, Odyssey, Victor, Victoria, Confluence, Interlude, Burnham Road, plus a cask ale TBA
21st AMENDMENT: Back in Black IPA
SMUTTYNOSE: Baltic Porter
IN BOTTLES: Malhuer 10, Malhuer 12, Malhuer Brut, Malhuer Dark Brut; Wells Banana Bread

OCT 10:
Tournay Black
Valier Extra
Alternatief: Piet Agoras, Hik Blonde, Eewaarde Pater
Saison Cazeau

Autumn Maple
Mishchief, Rogbrod
Orchard White, Orchard Black, Saison Rue, Autumn Maple, Trade Winds Triple, Saison De Lente, Hottenroth Berliner Weiss, Barrel Aged Autumn Maple

OCT 11
Will Schederndi Amber Lager(Gravity Keg), Sauer Rossdorf Unfiltered Lager(Gravity Keg)
Beer Here Morke, Beer Here Dark Hops, Others TBA
Beers TBA

Oak Aged Ten Fidy, Oak Aged Old Chub

OCT 12
Harvest Ale, Fox Trot, 14th Anniversary
Imperial Pumpkin

Java Head, Mad Elf
Java Head,  Nugget Nectar
Java Head. Flying Moulfan

OCT 13
Pausa Cafe Tosta, Pausa Cafe Chicca, Pausa Cafe Toarimica
De Regenboog  BBBourgondier (Gravity Keg)

Le Canard, Coup De Boule, Clampers Ale-Grisette

ON DRAFT:  Cape Ann Fisherman Pumpkin Stout (served from a pumpkin)

OCT 14
Horn Dog (Nitro), K9 (Nitro), Dogtoberfest, Raging Bitch, Road Dog Porter
Gonzo Special Edition

Evolution Lot #3 IPA
Otter Creek Stovepipe Porter
Wolavers Will Stevens Pumpkin
Lancaster TBA

OCT 15
Mojo Risin, Cold Hop, Planet Porter;
Others and Cask TBA

Cali Belgique, 13th Anniversary, Vertical Epic 09/09/09
Ruination w/ Simcoe Hops, Arrogant Bastard w/ American Oak
IPA,  Pale Ale, Oak Arrogant Bastard, Levitation, Bitter Choclate Oatmeal Stout
We will also be pouring Glasses of Double Bastard from a 3 Liter Bottle

Pinkus, Orval, Rochefort, Sam Smiths, Ayinger

OCT 16
Dogfish Head: Chateau Jiahau, Theobroma, Fort, Burton Baton, Sah Tea, Pangea, Festina Peche, Special Wit
Sierra Nevada: Estate Harvest
Squall IPA, World Wide Stout 1999
Sierra Nevada Keller Weiss, Bigfoot 2007,  Torpedo, Wet Hop

The Manhattan Project (partially aged in Rittlehouse Rye barrels and infused with fruits and botanicals)

Little Sumpin Extra
Lucky 13

OCT 17
Choclate Stout, American Sour, Howl, #9, Vinyl

Duvel Green, Ommegang Rouge, La Chouffe, Ommegang Adoration, Ommegang Rare Vos, Ommegang Three Philosophers
Cave Aged Hennepin, Cave Aged Abbey, Biere De Mars, Chocolate Indulgence

OCT 18
Brooklyn Black Ops
Samichlaus 1996
Thomas Hardy 1999
George Gales Prize Old Ale 1998
BFM Abbaye De Saint Bon Chien Jin Jaune
BFM Abbaye De Saint Bon Chien Trousseau
Ommegang Cave Aged Hennepin
Malhuer Brut
Hannsens Cassis
A Leq Coq Imperial Stout 1999
A Leq Coq Imperial Stout 2003
Nogne O Imperial Stout Edition 1
Nogne O Imperial Stout Edition 2
Panil Barrique Reserve 2007
Panil Barrique 2006
Brew Dog Speyside
Heavy Weight Saison
Baladin Super Baladin Sour Edition 2005
Baladin Nora Sour Edition 2005
De Molen Rasputin
De Molen Hel & Vel
Schlafy Oak Barlywine 2007
Unibroue 2004
Unibroue 15 & 16


ON DRAFT:  Special Kegs , very Special

ON DRAFT:  Millenium 1998
IN BOTTLES:  Oak Aged Millenium

And then Casey and the rest of the barstaff goes home to sleep for 2-3 days, I presume..........

If You Were Patriotic, You'd Be Drinking More Hard Cider..... and SPBW Real Ale Festival

So says the teaser for this article up on Slate, found via the Washington Post website.  (Slate is owned by the Post.)

The article does a nice recap of cider history in America, but does nothing, really, to tell us why we should be drinking more cider, or why it's "patriotic" other than sheer Americana nostalgia.  Besides which, aside from a few mass-market ciders like Woodchuck (disparaged indirectly early in the essay), if we were to head out seeking ciders, we'd find little quality stuff out there save for the imports.

Reminder: I'm arranging to bring more "cask cider" again to the Chesapeake Real Ale Festival on Oct. 17th.  Tickets are now on sale for the Festival at the SPBW website and at the Pratt Street Ale House.
"THE PRICE: $35 which will include a souvenir SPBW/PSA mug to go along with unlimited samples of over 35 cask conditioned beers, some rare, some not so rare, all delicious though! Plus tons of giveaways and food available a la carte.
THE BEERS: We expect to have 35 firkins from 30ish brewers. See the web page for a full list. Right now we have Appalachian, Barley & Hops, Brewers Alley, Brewers Art, Clipper City, District Chophouse, Dog Pub, Dogfish, DuClaw, Evolution, Flying Dog, Franklins, Lancaster, Magic Hat, Pratt St. Alehouse, Red Brick Station, Rock Bottom Bethesda & Troegs CONFIRMED. Growlers will be available but ONLY at the end at 6 PM for a nominal price for any beers left over."

It's Not Beer, But.......

.... out of a sense of allegiance to a field that is in the same place as Hugh Sisson and Maryland craft brewers were in 1985-1986, I call attention to this article in today's Baltimore Sun on raw-milk cheese-making:

For years, Maryland has banned the sale of raw milk because of health concerns. The ban also applied to products made with raw milk, even though such products made outside Maryland could be sold here.

Now, Maryland has started a test project allowing several dairy farms to produce raw milk cheese that is aged at least 60 days, a process that mimics pasteurization. And the Fosters' Chapel's Country Creamery is the first to start production.

"Don't expect too much," Eric Foster said with a laugh as he used a tool the size of an oar to stir the curds and whey.

But expectations are high. That three months from now - good Lord and good bacteria willing - the curds and whey will become fine blue cheese. That the blue cheese will command at least $22 a pound at farmers' markets and retailers such as Whole Foods. That this family farm can survive.

The last is perhaps the greatest challenge at a time when small dairy farms around the country are failing because of competition from mega milk producers, declining export markets and plummeting wholesale prices. The number of dairy farmers in Maryland has dwindled to 547 from about 800 just 10 years ago, according to state records.

To break even milking 85 grass-fed Jersey cows on their 114-acre farm, Eric and Holly Foster - both 39, with four children - need to make about $1.75 a gallon.

"You don't get rich, but you could pay your bills" at that price, Eric Foster said. "You could fix a flat tire."

Within the past two years, the Fosters got as much as $2.40 a gallon. Now the price is down to about $1.17 a gallon.

"This is the worst dairy crisis that's occurred in the last 100 years," he said. "It's just a bad spiral."
I'm watching relatives with horses and cattle out West.  Something like this is all the difference in the world between survival of the herd and shipping them off to the stockhouse.

01 October 2009

Clipper City/Heavy Seas Updates, V. 2.0

Short and to the point here; you can go to www.ccbeer.com for more details..............

NOT on the website:  Next Heavy Seas Mutiny Series big beer (assuming the Feds approve the label, etc.) will be Yule Tide, a 10% Belgian Tripel to be available in November, four malts, two hops, Trappist yeast and candi sugar. . . .

*For the vegetarians (hey, Jenny!), an Indian Food and Beer Tasting at Vineyards Delight in Pikesville on Saturday Oct. 3rd,  2-6 PM, free.  See here for details.

*Heavy Seas The Great Pumpkin is out on the streets, ca. $6 a bomber where I saw it yesterday.  Still at least some Prosit out there as well.  Winter Storm is also rolling out as well in six-packs.

Oh, and how IS it?  Scary, but in a good way.  It's neither totally over-the-top, in-your-face pumpkin pie with alcohol (like some pumpkin beers out there) nor a beer where if you dig around a bit,you uncover some pumpkin-pie-like spice (like others I've had).  This is exquisitely balanced between those two extremes.  And NO WAY does it taste like it's 10% abv.  It's packed with malt and "pumpkin" (I hesitate to think just what anyone uses to duplicate pumpkin early--butternut squash? canned pumpkin?), but has a much drier body and finish than one would expect for both the style and alcohol.

*They will be selling beer at the Fells Point Fun Festival this weekend.

*Ladies Night returns to the brewery, Nov. 4th 6-9 p.m.  $10 a lass; see website for details.

Final(?) Baltimore Beer Week schedule: 

MEET THE CREW* from the brewery,  talk & drink beer with a brewer & other crew members & get free stuff at :
10/8    Max's  5 - 8pm
10/9    Kooper's Firkin Friday  5 - 8pm
10/12  Mahaffey's   3 - 7pm
10/12  Alonso's   5 - 8pm *
10/13  Antonio's  5 - 8pm
10/14  Lure's Firkin Night  5 - 8pm
10/14  CC's Tavern  6 - 9pm
10/15  Cat's Eye Pub  9 - 11pm
10/15  Victoria Gastro Pub  5:30pm
10/16  Judge's Bench  5 - 8pm 
10/17  Duda's  8 - 10pm

10/11  Brunch & Brewery Tour  11 - 2pm SOLD OUT!
10/13  Beer Dinner at Mother's Grille  7pm *
10/13  Bertha's - beer & oysters   5 - 7pm
10/15  Ryleigh's - beer & oysters  6 - 8pm *
10/15  Rowhouse - beer & cheese  8 - 10pm *
10/16 Judges's Bench - beer & cheese 5 - 8pm 
10/09  Perfect Pour   5 - 8pm
10/16  Wine Source   5 - 8pm
* Hosted by Clipper City founder, Hugh Sisson. 

Oct. Mid-Atlantic Brewing News is IN!

Seven boxes' worth ended up on my doorstep last night via UPS.

Check your favorite craft-beer drinking spot over the next day or three.

For those who can't read the headline (most of you, I'm sure--hard to make out even on the hard-copy edition), it's "Baltimore Braces for 10-Day Beer Blast on the Bay".  The other theme of the issue is 25 years of craft-beer brewing, starting with ChesBay in Virginia Beach in 1984.

For the record, the Oct. issue of Ale Street News came out a couple days earlier--and I can't find a word about Baltimore Beer Week in it.  Now, obviously, MABN has an edge in that one of the people responsible for starting BBW is a columnist and feature writer for them, but the editors chose to put BBW on the cover, not me.

Copies should be available at the Opening Tap and after-party at Pratt Street Ale House, the Maryland Oktoberfest, and if they last long enough at the Chesapeake Real Ale Fest.