30 April 2010

Well, are they gonna can Resurrection or not?

Well, I guess so.  But I'll wait until I actually hold a can myself to be sure.  <:-) 

And yes, that's what happens when I leave my computer for a day to do some work out of town--the story breaks left and right.

Why all this conflicting information--including my managing to kill a report nearly two months ago by Jack Curtin for the most recent Mid-Atlantic Brewing News that Sly Fox was going to begin canning this popular elixir?

As the Facebook status option says, "It's complicated."  Looking over a whole slew of back-channel communication on this, I now see just what happened, or at least I have a pretty good supposition based on the evidence.

The proposal to can Resurrection apparently began within Sly Fox Brewing, the Phoenixville, Pa. brewpub that expanded to a full production brewery in 2004 and became the contract brewer for Brewer's Art's bottled beers in October 2007.  Sly Fox had added a canning line to their brewery, had had much success with their canned beers in the Pennsylvania market, and had been heavily promoting the idea of canning the overly-popular Resurrection to the Brewer's Art management and brewers.  Some were apparently keen on the idea, while others were seemingly not as enthused.  Curtin was apparently being told of the proposal by an enthusiastic Sly Fox crew, and thus reported on it as if it were a done deal, before the BA crew had made a final decision on the proposal.

Said Volker Stewart, BA manager, in an e-mail:  "We didn't even tell our wholesaler about it until this week. We are quite reticent about sharing information unless we are sure something is going to happen."  Furthermore, the denials I had heard earlier were given by one of the project's then-skeptics. 

Volker is also reporting that a couple "issues" have arisen with the project, and that cans will not hit the local shelves until June at the earliest.  So for the sake of the sanity of those at the Brewer's Art, don't badger them for information, samples, retail locations, etc.  When it's out on the shelves, you'll see a report here.

The as-yet-unanswered questions: Will bars who can't get the draft version of Resurrection locally seize  the opportunity to sell it in cans?  Will people who can't necessarily get their hands on a draft version or despair at the thought of opening a 750-ml bottle eagerly regard the canned version as a viable option, or will snobbery prevail?  Will this mean Resurrection at Camden Yards or M&T Stadium (at $10 a can, no doubt)?

(Brewer's Art-supplied prototype photo shamelessly swiped from the Midnight Sun blog at BaltimoreSun.com)

New Heavy Seas releases

From their latest Heavy Seas e-mail:

New to the Mutiny Fleet, barrel aged Below Decks. We've taken our award winning barleywine and allowed it to slumber through the winter in wood barrels. Now out of hibernation and available in 22oz bottles and limited draft. Both are vintage dated and will become more complex as they cellar.

Below Decks (10%ABV), our barleywine style ale, aged in bourbon barrels

Below Decks (10%ABV), our barleywine style ale, aged in cabernet barrels
(photo of their aging barrels taken at Clipper City during their recent Beer & BBQ Fest March 27th)

More cask ale outlets

Latest place to host a firkin:  Phoenix Emporium, downtown Ellicott City (across the street from the Railroad Station Museum), with a firkin of Heavy Seas Loose Cannon (I'm betting there's some left for tonight).

Possibly still Harviestoun Old Engine Oil on firkin at Metropolitan, after last night's fun.

And I'm fielding a couple personal inquiries from scattered pubs as to where to get the necessary "stuff" to have a firkin or beer engine at their establishments................

Camden Yards--and Baltimore beer--as seen by a Toronto reporter

Read what a writer for the Toronto Globe & Mail thinks of Baltimore, Camden Yards, and Baltimore's beer scene.

27 April 2010

Resurrection in CANS coming soon?!?!??!?!?!

I'm not getting into the middle of this one any more.

I'm just going to direct you to THIS BLOGPOST bu fellow beer writer Jack Curtin.......

Jack claims to have held a prototype production can in his hand.  I've had the guys at 1106 N. Charles Street deny to me in the past that they were going to put this beer into cans at Sly Fox.

If it shows up, try it and see if you think it tastes like Rezzie.  If not, let me know so we can get those Sly Fox blokes for fraud.  If it tastes like Rezzie, well..............  don't ask ME why they denied it the first time around.

Brewer's Art Wins Restaurant Assn. of Md. 2010 Award

Congratulations to our favorite Baltimore Belgian spot, The Brewer's Art, which won the Restaurant Association of Maryland's 2010 award for "Favorite Bar and Tavern."  More details here (with other winners) at the Examiner website; nominees (which included a couple beer-friendly places such as Victoria Gastro Pub, Max's Taphouse, and Abbey Burger Bistro scattered across the categories) are here.

Max's Mead Mania

Now, had Casey only done this on a Monday, thern I'd have the wonderful alliteration of "Max's Monday Mead Mania Madness".............

We will have the owner of B. Nektar Meadery here with a bunch of this stuff. These are some great meads from Ferndale , Michigan.We will be serving:

Wildberry Pyment- Clover Honey, Shiraz Grape Juice with Natural Wildberry Concentrate

Orange Blossom-Honey of Orange and other citrus trees. Aged In American oak

Wildflower Mead-Michigan Wildflower honey aged in American oak

Vanilla Cinnamon-Whole Cinnamon Sticks and Vanilla Beans

Bourbon Barrel- Blend of Orange Blossom and Buckwheat Honey aged in Bourbon Barrels     
As always we start at 6pm ......We will be meeting in the mobtown lounge-upstairs-finally
Yes, I love mead.  Got a problem with that?

26 April 2010

Anchor Brewing Sold

Not strictly Baltimore, but no doubt a lot of beer geeks above a certain age remember Anchor as one of their first microbrews:
Acquisition Continues the Legacy of a San Francisco Icon
(San Francisco, CA) – April 27, 2010 – The Griffin Group, an investment and consulting company focused on beverage alcohol brands, announced its acquisition of Anchor Brewing Company which includes its portfolio of craft beers and artisan spirits, including the award winning Anchor Steam Beer.
The Griffin Group is led by beverage alcohol veterans, Keith Greggor and Tony Foglio, two longtime San Francisco residents who have been working with Anchor Brewing Company’s owner, Fritz Maytag to maintain the iconic brewery and distillery in San Francisco.

23 April 2010

Friday (and weekend) Fun

Alonso's on Cold Spring Lane is having a firkin of Oliver's Three Spires Ale tonight, and also has just tapped Goose Island IPA from Chicago--possibly being the first place in Baltimore proper to tap a Goose Island product (correct me if I'm wrong)..........

Saturday: The City paper Brew Fest, 1-5 PM.  The online sales (at citypaper.com) don't appear to be shut down or have a "sold out" sign posted yet............ "All ticket holders must be 21 or older (no children nor pets, please and thank you); there will be no food to buy in the beer area, and it's all 'beer area' at the Brew Fest; designated drivers are encouraged to stay sober and will not get a wristband (but do not need a ticket), $3 parking at PMS garage at 805 S. Caroline St., and wear sunscreen or bring a hat because this party goes on rain or shine. Finally, please be safe/smart/polite--no one likes a dangerous/dumb/rude drunk."

22 April 2010

And The Winner Is........

.......  jmooy, the first entry to the contest.

It wasn't so much that he was first, but I was reduced to almost flipping a coin between two entries--then I saw that one of them said he couldn't go that weekend anyway..........

Graham, your list was superlative, but I'm going to hold to my rule of "nothing over 8%" as just being fair to the others.  And Clayton, interesting list, but you were one beer short!

I've asked Mooy to give us a write-up of his impressions of the festival (maybe complete with a photo), so let's hope for a guest blogger report Sunday or Monday!

Thanks to all our contestants and to the Baltimore City Paper for making the tickets available and holding the fest in the first place, and hopefully next year I'll be free from other advance commitments!

(The winner is shown with a line-up of all nine Mikeller single hop beers at Max's big draft debut Thursday.)

21 April 2010

Repeat: Win Tickets to City Paper's Brew Fest Saturday!

Reposting just in case some of you missed the memo the first time around:

Thanks to the courtesy and generosity of the Baltimore City Paper and the fact that I have two other commitments that date, I am able to offer two tickets to the City Paper Brew Fest this Saturday, April 24th, being held rain or shine 1-5 PM on the square at the foot of Broadway in Fells Point--yes, outside Max's Taphouse, Bertha's, Jimmy's Diner, and the rest.  Retail value:  $60. 

To win the tickets, I'm going to run a different kind of contest:  I have before me a copy of "1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die."  I'm looking through it myself; stay tuned for a fuller review.

I want each entrant to name six beers they would add to a new edition of such a list, and a brief clause as to why they nominate each of the six beers.  To make it more challenging, I'm going to ask you to exclude any beer above 8.0%--this is perhaps the easiest way to automatically eliminate any of the "extreme" and "holy grail" beers (Thomas Hardy's, Samichlaus, Dogfish Head World Wide Stout, etc.).  I'm looking for nominees that make me think, not just a braggart's check list.

Of course, my selection will be completely subjective.  If you don't like that, I'll have my wife pick a winner.  So write and select to impress.

NOTES:  The winner will have to either pick up the tickets from me on Friday, or pick up the tickets at another location (probably Max's Taphouse) on Saturday.  I intend to select a winner during the Max's Taphouse's new draft kick-off event on Thursday the 22nd; if you're there and see me at my laptop, check in with me.

Disclaimer:  Anyone I can identify as employees of the City Paper or participating breweries are ineligible, as is Drinky Crow.

Another Cask Outlet To Open in Station North

According to Sam Sessa's latest blog post, the new Liam's Pint Sized Pub Liam Flynn's Ale House, moved north from its former location as Liam's Pint Sized Pub, is slated to open in June in Station North's North Avenue Market (the old city market with the twin spires, 20 W. North Avenue), and will feature 13 taps and two cask-conditioned beer engines, if I'm reading the statement correctly.......

The SPBW is going to have to hold "meetings" twice a month at this rate.  Not that I'm complaining......

Sam Adams Utopias Tasting in DC Thursday

Well, I'm telling y'all about it as fast as I heard about it......  here's your chance, and I can't make it, darn it.

RFD Washington, the beer bar run by Dave and Diane Alexander of the Brickskeller, will be hosting a Sam Adams beer tasting event where you will get to sample 7 different Sam Adams products: 3 Sam imperial series (White, Double Bock and Stout), 3 barrel room collection (New World Triple, American Kriek and Stony Brook Red), and the Utopias..  $35 per head, limited to 45 participants. 

More details here at DC Beer.

20 April 2010

Washington Post's Beer Madness Winner

Started back on March 16th, mentioned here, detailed here in the original Washington Post article complete with brackets.

Baltimore's The Raven made the Final Four.  "The Raven, America's last hope, remains the eternal bridegroom. The clean, malty lager has finished in Beer Madness's Final Four for three years straight but has never pushed its way to the top."
The winner, by a narrow 5-4 victory over Nogne O Plale Ale from Norway: Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout from England.  Details here in the final WaPo article in the series.

Max's Thursday Draft Kick-Off UPDATED

You already know they're debutting a new 102-draft set-up at Max's Taphouse; look over the list and drool........

Abita Purple Haze
Abita Select Weizenbock
Aecht Schlenkerla Lentbier
Allagash Confluence
Allagash White
Amager Imperial Stout
Avery Maharaja
Bear Republic Nor Cal
Bear Republic Rebellion
BFM Abbaye De Saint Bon Chien 2007
Troll Stella Natalia
Blue Moon    <==== (gotta leave something for the Bud drinkers, I guess.....)
Brewers Art Resurrection
Brooklyn Dark Matter
Contreras Valeir Divers
De Hoevebrouwers Toria
De Hoevebrouwers Toria Triple
Del Borgo Genziana
Delirium Tremens
Dogfish Head 60 Minute
Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron
Dogfish Head Midas Touch
Dupont Biere De Miel
Duvel Green
Emelisse Barleywine
Emelisse Espresso Stout
Emelisse Rauchbier
Evolution Sprung
Flying Dog Double Dog(Nitro)
Flying Dog Raging Bitch
Fransizkaner Hefeweizen
Fritz Briem 1809 Berliner Weisse
Fruli Strawberry
Great Divide Oak Aged Espresso Yeti
Guinness                        <==== (rare, my posterior.....)
Haandbryggeriet Nissefar
Heavy Seas Letter of Marque Hop Rye Porter
Heavy Seas Loose Cannon
Het Alternatief Ambetanterik
Het Alternatief Bitter Truth
Het Alternatief Hik Blonde
Hitachino Espresso Stout
Hitachino XH
Hoegaarden Wit
Hopfenstark Lou Lou Porter
Hopfenstark Ostalgia Blonde
Hopfenstark Post Colonial IPA
Hopfenstark Saison 16
Hopfenstark Saison 55
Italiano Tipo Pils
JW Lees Harvest Ale
Le Trou Diable La Buteuse
Le Trou Diable La Chose
Le Trou Diable La Grivoise
Le Trou Diable L' Imperatrice
Le Trou Diable Weizgripp
Leipziger Gose
Lindemans Framboise
Magic Hat #9
Malhuer 10
Malhuer 12
Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast Stout
Mikkeller Black
Mikkeller Single Hop Amarillo
Mikkeller Single Hop Cascade
Mikkeller Single Hop Chinook
Mikkeller Single Hop East Kent Golding
Mikkeller Single Hop Nelson Sauvin
Mikkeller Single Hop Nugget
Mikkeller Single Hop Simcoe
Mikkeller Single Hop Tomohawk
Mikkeller Single Hop Warrior
Oliver's Bishop Breakfast Stout (Nitro)
Oliver's Strongman
Oliver's Hot Monkey Love
Ommegang Rare Vos
Ommegang Three Philosophers
Pausa Cafe Chicca
RJ Rockers Fish Paralyzer  <==== (how's that for a name?  Belgian pale ale, they say......)
Sam Adams Boston Lager
Sam Adams Summer Ale
Schnieder Brooklyner Hopfen
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Sint Canarus Potteloereke
Southern Tier Jah Va
Stella Artois
Stone Sublimely Self Righteous
The Bruery Rugbrod
The Bruery Saison De Lente
Victory Hop Devil
Victory Prima PIls
Weyerbacher Quad
Woodchuck Amber
Yuengling Lager
De Regenboog Catherine The Great
Alvinne Podge
Stillwater Stateside Sasion-dry Hopped in French Oak
Olivers Cherry Blossom
Victory Uncle Teddy's Bitter
Plus a few more.............
In other notes, the 1999 Sierra Nevada Bigfoot that was the $3.50 "house draft" last week has been replaced by its spiritual opposite: Bud American Wheat.............  buit at the moment, lurking in the coolers are a few "$3.25 bottle special" bottles of Stone/BrewDog Bashah..........

18 April 2010

Increased Fines for Public Drunkeness coming in Baltimore City?

So suggests an article (with video, no less) in Monday's Baltimore Sun:

It's this excessive drunkenness, in Federal Hill and other neighborhoods, which City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young hopes to curb by increasing fines for spitting, urinating, public drinking and other "quality of life" offenses.

"We want them to come and have a good time, but we want them to leave the community the same way they found it," Young said. "We want them to be responsible."

Young will introduce a bill at tonight's council meeting that would increase fines for a variety of misdemeanors including scalping tickets and selling loose cigarettes.

People drinking or holding open containers of alcohol in public could be fined as much as $500, 10 times as much as the current penalty. Those found guilty of "disorderly drinking" could be forced to pay as much as $1,000 under the proposal.

Lighting up indoors, which was outlawed in 2008, could cost the smoker as much as $500 and the bar owner as much as $750.

Adults found urinating or defecating in public places could be fined as much as $1,000 — twice as much as the current fine.

The goal, says Young, is to discourage unhealthy and disrespectful behavior while raising revenue for the cash-strapped city.
The bill would provide judges with the discretion to impose the higher fee but not require them to do so, said Michelle Wirzberger, Young's director of legislative affairs. In a former job with the nonprofit Community Law Center, Wirzberger represented neighborhood groups in disputes with bars and nightclubs.

Win Tickets To Baltimore City Paper Beer Fest April 24th!

Thanks to the courtesy and generosity of the Baltimore City Paper and the fact that I have two other commitments that date, I am able to offer two tickets to the City Paper Brew Fest this Saturday, April 24th, being held rain or shine 1-5 PM on the square at the foot of Broadway in Fells Point--yes, outside Max's Taphouse, Bertha's, Jimmy's Diner, and the rest.  Retail value:  $60. 

To win the tickets, I'm going to run a different kind of contest:  I have before me a copy of "1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die."  I'm looking through it myself; stay tuned for a fuller review.

I want each entrant to name six beers they would add to a new edition of such a list, and a brief clause as to why they nominate each of the six beers.  To make it more challenging, I'm going to ask you to exclude any beer above 8.0%--this is perhaps the easiest way to automatically eliminate any of the "extreme" and "holy grail" beers (Thomas Hardy's, Samichlaus, Dogfish Head World Wide Stout, etc.).  I'm looking for nominees that make me think, not just a braggart's check list.

Of course, my selection will be completely subjective.  If you don't like that, I'll have my wife pick a winner.  So write and select to impress.

NOTES:  The winner will have to either pick up the tickets from me on Friday, or pick up the tickets at another location (probably Max's Taphouse) on Saturday.  I intend to select a winner during the Max's Taphouse's new draft kick-off event on Thursday the 22nd; if you're there and see me at my laptop, check in with me.

Disclaimer:  Anyone I can identify as employees of the City Paper or participating breweries are ineligible, as is Drinky Crow..........

15 April 2010

Max's Taphouse Draft Expansion Opening Kick-off April 22nd

Just announced in an e-mail from Max's Taphouse (with typos corrected):

The time is coming soon!  Max's is almost finished with the new installation of its new draft system. In celebration of this, we have gone through our keg stock and picked out some of the best, rarest and tastiest beers we have.We will have 102 beers on draft and it's going to be a great line-up!
Schnieder Brooklyner Hopfen Weisse
Het Alternatief Hik Blonde
Sint Canarus Potteloereke
The Bruery Saison de Lente
Aecht Schlenkerla Lentbier
Contreras Valeir Divers
Malhuer 10
Malhuer 12
Leipziger Gose
Fritz Briem 1809 Beliner Weisse
De Dolle Stille Nacht
De Dolle Dulle Teve
Mikkeller Simcoe Single Hop
Mikkeller Nelson Sauvin Single Hop
Mikkeller Cascade Single Hop
Mikkeller Tomohawk Single Hop
Mikkeller Amarillo Single Hop
Mikkeller East Kent Golding Single Hop
Mikkeller Nugget Single Hop
Mikkeller Chinook Single Hop
Mikkeller Warrior Single Hop
Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast Stout
Mikkeller Black
Amager Imperial Stout
Haandbryggeriet Nissefar
Brooklyn Dark Matter
JW Lees Harvest Ale
BFM Bats
BFM Abbaye De Saint Bon Chien 2007
Duvel Green
Hopfenstark Saison 55
Hopfenstark Saison 16
Hopfenstark Post Colnial
Hopfenstark Ostalgia
Hopfenstark Lou Lou Porter
Emelisse Barleywine
Emellisse Espresso Stout
Emelisse Rauchbier
Great Divide Oak Aged Espresso Yeti
De Hoevebrouwers Toria Triple
De Hoevebrouwers Toria
Het Alternatief Bitter Truth
Het Alternatief Ambetanterik
Evolution Sprung
Evolution Lot #6
Avery Maharaja
Bear Republic Nor Cal
Bear Republic Rebellion
Heavy Seas Letter Of Marque
Stone Sublimely Self Righteous
Ommegang Rare Vos
Ommegang Three Philosophers
Allagash Confluence
Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron
Dogfish Head Midas Touch
Dogfish Head Raison Detre
Weyerbacher Quad
Dupont Biere De Miel
The Bruery Rugbrod
Southern Tier Jah Va
Great Divide Hercules
Pausa Cafe Chicca
Del Borogo Genziana
Italiano Tipo Pils
Le Trou Diable Weizgrip
Le Trou Diable La Buteuse
Le Trou Diable La Chose
Le Trou Diable La Grivoise
Le Trou Diable L'Imperatrice
RJ Rockers Fish Paralazer
Alvinne Podge (Cask)
De Regenboog Catherine The Great (Cask)
Olivers Cherry Blosom(Cask)
Stillwater Stateside (Cask)
Victory Bottoms Up Brown Ale(Cask)   ......  plus more TBA....

Firkins du Jour UPDATED

Max's Taphouse, Fells Point: Williams Bros. Grozet (gooseberry-wheat ale from Scotland), RCH Santa Fe (7.3% strong ale from England), Gwatkins Golden Cider (England), Williams Bros Session (a session ale from Scotland--3.8%), plus a Lagunitas en route.

Pratt Street Ale House, downtown via Facebook: " 'My Monkey's Got Wood' will be on the beer engine at the Pratt Street Ale House today starting @ 5pm. Special pricing 5 - 7pm ($3 10 oz snifter). This is the only cask of batch # 1 we'll be serving so come try it while you can!"

Metropolitan, Federal Hill: "Joker IPA from Williams Bros. Brewing in Alloa, Scotland.  Joker is a 4.3% Scottish IPA, which is copper colored and very elegant compared to many of the other IPAs we have served from time to time."

Frisco Grille, Columbia: Stillwater Saison.  More scheduled events, including a meet-and-greet with Allagash's Rob Tod on the 21st, here.

Dogfish Head, Rehoboth Beach: a firkin of 75 Minute IPA (via Graham and Facebook). 

From the comments: Clementine's, 5402 Harford Road in the Hamilton neighborhood, gets aboard the real-ale wagon with a firkin from Heavy Seas, to be tapped 5:30 Friday the 16th..............

Anyone else want to check in or report?

13 April 2010

City Paper Brew Fest April 24th

Just a plug/reminder for what usually turns out to be a fun (and sold out) fest on the square at the foot of Broadway  in Fells Point every April.  Advance tickets here @ $30 each.

Preliminary list: of breweries:
Clipper City/Heavy Seas
Baltimore-Washington Beer Works
Twisted Tea <==not a beer, but..... well, you get the idea.......
Sam Adams
Otter Creek
Pratt Street Ale House/Oliver's
The Brewers' Art
Old Dominion
Red Brick Station..."more to come!", says the City Paper and your intrepid blogger...........  

Beer Bargain of the Year RIGHT NOW

Max;s Taphouse has long had a "house beer" special whereas they offer a selected beer (it's always whatever they want to move--heck, for all we know, someone's dangling them dollars to promote a beer, we know that's how this business runs) for $3.50 a "pint" glass "all day every day".

As I type, it's 1999 Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Ale.

I kid you not.  Some places would be charging you an extra premium for this.  Ridiculously malty, chewy, AND hoppy, yet very dry in actual flavor, my wife says "grapefruit, grapefruit, grapefruit!"

Come and get it.  Don't say I never told ya.

Bawlmer Beers Update

John O'Melia, the founder of Bawlmer Beers, and I finally caught up and touched base.

Long story short--he's swamped in paperwork and tax stuff.  But there will be more on the story later.

To answer one question, however:  The brewing system in question apparently came from the now-defunct Hart Robinson Brewing Co. in Carleton Place, Ontario, the brewer of a well-renown line of English-style ales, some of which appeared in cask (including Dragon's Breath Pale Ale).

Beer Revolt at Camden Yards?

The Baltimore Sun's Kevin Cowherd is blogging about an apparent revolt against steep beer prices at Oriole Park at Camden Yards:

 A well-orchestrated chant in the terrace box seats the other night turned the traditional bugle call over the PA system into -- you can't make this stuff up -- a plea for more equitable beverage pricing.
Instead of just yelling "CHARGE! after the bugle call, a half-dozen of these folks were yelling: CHARGE! LESS FOR BEER!"
(Also from the article, and of serious note: "The crowd of 9,129 for Monday night's 5-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays was the lowest in Camden yards' 19-year history."  Oh, yes, look at all the economic return we're getting from building those stadiums and all but giving them to the sports teams' owners......)

12 April 2010

Bare Bones, Ellicott City

Here's a place that has largely fallen off the radar screens of most craft beer fans.  This place, at St. John's Lane on Rt. 40 just west of Rt. 29 northwest of old Ellicott City, ceased being a brewpub years ago after an epic series of screw-ups involving a now-extinct Cockeysville location, and have since contracted with other craft breweries to do beers for them.  Currently, beers are brewed for them by Clipper City, Olivers, and Fordham.  The eight house beers (mostly a litany of familiar styles, though a surprise sneaks in every now and then) and root beer are often playing second fiddle to the place's famous BBQ ribs and free happy hour food buffet (liberal offerings of hot wings, roasted potatoes, pasta, tacos, cheese, veggies, meatballs, etc.).

But a surprise met me the other day as I stopped in prior to the SPBW "meeting" in Ellicott City:
"What's the guest tap [pointing to a bare wood tap handle)?"
"Sierra Nevada Bigfoot."
".............. You're kidding, right?"

And they weren't.  Bar manager Noel Johnson claimed responsibility for last week's heat wave: "Who knew it'd get this hot when I put it on?"  And it was delicious, heat notwithstanding.
Waiting on deck to replace it?  "I have two kegs of [Heavy Seas] Big DIPA, then [Dogfish Head] Life and Limb, and Limb and Life."

Stop ignoring this place, folks.  But you still might, depending on the specific beer, want to specify a non-chilled glass.

Local Winners in World Beer Cup

Congratulations are in order to Heavy Seas Beer, who won a Gold for its Heavy Seas Gold in the Golden or Blonde Ale category (beating out 49 other entries), a Bronze for its Heavy Seas Pale Ale in the Classic English-Style Pale Ale (out of 29 entries), and a Bronze in Vienna-Style Lager (28 entries) for its Heavy Seas Marzen (formerly BaltoMarzHon).

There's a local tie-in to the Small Brewpub of the Year Award to Devil's Backbone Brewery of Roseland, Va., whose brewer, Jason Oliver, is a former veteran of the Wharf Rat/Oliver's Brewery (and ironically, the brewery was not named after him, as we all know).

Brewer's Alley in Frederick won a Silver for its IPA in the "English-Style India Pale Ale" category (32 entries);  Flying Dog of Frederick won a Silver in Aged Beer for its 2007 Gonzo Imperial Porter (20 entries);
Rock Bottom of Bethesda took a Gold for its Highland Courage in Scottish-Style Ale (29 entries).

From the press release:

This year, 642 breweries from 44 countries and 47 U.S. states vied for awards with 3,330 beers entered in 90 beer style categories. The entries in each category were eligible for gold, silver and bronze awards. Judges presented a total of 268 awards.
The 2010 World Beer Cup eclipsed the record of the Brewers Association's own Great American Beer Festival (GABF) to become the largest commercial competition ever. There were 3,308 entries judged in the 2009 GABF, compared to the 2010 World Beer Cup's 3,330 entries judged.

Look over the list of winners here.

08 April 2010

Firkins Update

Alonso's, Roland Park: "Tomorrow night we'll be drinking a firkin of Flying Dog Brewery Snake Dog. We'll tap her around 5:00."

Metropolitan Coffeehouse: Tonight:  Firkin of Stillwater Stateside Saison, with brewer Brian Strumke in attendance.

Judge's Bench, Ellicott City, Tonight: SPBW "meeting" featuring a firkin of Olivers Oak 3 Lions ale;. "We've also sent them Hot Monkey Love and Cherry Blossom Ale kegs as well," said brewer Steve Jones.

Frisco Grille, Columbia: Williams Bros. Joker IPA

Anyone else want to check in or "represent"?


07 April 2010

Beverage Tax coming to Baltimore? UPDATED

WJZ-TV is reporting that one of the proposals by Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to close a $120 million budget deficit is a four-cent-a-drink tax on soda, bottled water, beer, and alcohol.

More here.  And here.

Stay tuned.

We're not THIS bad, are we?

This cartoon above (click here for a bigger version) showed up in the midst of a somewhat controversial blogpost at the website of the UK's newspaper The Guardian

The blogpost--addressing the perceived failures of marketing real ale in the UK--is worth a serious read, but the comments--203 and counting--will take a lot of time to properly peruse.

Latest Baltimore Beer Label Art

For the next Stillwater Artisinal Ales release, "Of Love & Regret"............

06 April 2010

SPBW at Judge's Bench Thursday, and Other Local Events

The usual SPBW group e-mail hasn't shown up in my inbox, but I know that the monthly "flash mob" is scheduled for the Judge's Bench in Ellicott City on Thursday evening.  Cask ale to be offered for certain.

Here are a bunch more "local" events; for more across the region and nation, go to http://www.brewingnews.com/calendar/index.shtml .

Wednesday, April 7th: Dogfish Head Aprihop Release Party – Stop by Union Jack’s in Bethesda for free glassware and specials. 6pm. 301-652-2561 or www.unionjacksbethesda.com.
Friday, April 9th and Saturday, the 10th: Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ Festival – Join in at the Timonium Fairgrounds for a great day of beer sippin’, bourbon tastin’, music listenin’, cigar smokin’, and barbeque eatin’. 60 beers, 40 bourbons, and lots of bbq. Your admission buys you a sampling glass to enjoy an all-you-can-taste sampling of beer and bourbon. Some of the best bbq vendors on-site if you get hungry all while enjoying seminars in the tasting theater and live music all day. Tickets and more details at http://beerandbourbon.com/matyland/show-info.
Friday, April 9th: Olney Village Spring Fling – Hosted by Olney Village Fine Wine. Enjoy beer and wine from several breweries and vineyards including Heavy Seas. Details at 301-774-7593 or olneyfinewine.com.
Saturday, April 10th: ESB Homebrew Competition – At Ellicott Mills Brewing Co., Ellicott City, Md. 410-313-8141 for info.
Tuesday, April 13th: An Evening of Food and Beer presented by Fishpaws Marketplace – Featuring beers from Fordham and Dominion Breweries with special guest speaker, Walter Trifari, Brewmaster. Along with dinner at Carrol’s Creek, they’ll be offering a bus trip to the Fordham and Dominion brewery in Dover, Delaware, that includes a brewery tour and lunch on Saturday, April 17th. Join in to see the brewing process from start to finish; production, bottling line, and beer tasting. Rsvp by the 7th to Kim, Kurt, or Angela at 410-647-7363 or info@fishpawsmarket.com. $50 dinner only, $75 dinner, brewery tour, and lunch.  954 Ritchie Highway, Arnold, MD 21012, 410-647-7363
Wednesday, April 14th and Thursday, the 15th: Duclaw’s Sawtooth Beer Release – All four locations celebrate the release of their 4.8% Belgian White Ale. Draft specials. www.duclaw.com.
Friday, April 16th: Heavy Seas Ladies Night at Clipper City Brewing Co., Halethorpe– Beer vs Wine – Join the gals from Heavy Seas for a ladies only event at the brewery. This educational beer tour will give you the excuse you need to hang out with your friends and learn the similarities and differences between beer and wine. Included is a tour of the brewery and a souvenir pint glass. $10 in advance at www.hsbeer.com/ladies-night-beer-vs-wine. 6-8pm.
Tuesday, April 20th: Beer Club -- Stoudt’s Brewery Night at Lure’s Bar and Grille, Crownsville, Md. – $38.50 includes Beer, Buffet, tax, and gratuity. 6-8pm. 410-923-1606 or www.luresbarandgrille.com.
Tuesday, April 20th: Beer Dinner with Hugh at AgroDolce, Germantown – Join founder, Hugh Sisson, for a culinary exploration of beer and food. Contact the AgroDolce directly for reservations and pricing. 7-9pm. 301-528-6150.  http://www.agrodolcerestaurant.com/
Saturday, April 24th: City Paper’s 14th Annual Brew Fest, Fells Point, Baltimore – Sample 30+ beers from local and regional microbreweries. Plus, music, food, and prizes. $30. 1-5pm. Tickets at www.missiontix.com/events/product/8719/city-papers-14th-annual-brew-fest.
Saturday, April 24th: Corsendonk Beer Tasting at Fenwick Beer and Wine, Silver Spring, Md. – Come out between 4-7pm for this free tasting. Located 2 blocks from the Silver Spring metro, Fenwick’s offers the largest selection of craft beer in Montgomery County (360 at current count with more to come!). Free parking in front. 301-650-5770 or www.fenwickbeerandwine.com.

05 April 2010

New Brewery in Highlandtown/Greektown--again......

I've been trying to flush some hard confirmation (read: seeing the guys and stuff for myself in person, seeing the brewing equipment, holding a test bottle, etc.) on this report/rumor for at least two weeks now, and finally did enough first-hand shoe-leather (well, sandal and car) work to confirm enough to follow up with the readers here:

Bawlmer Craft Beers LLC has set up "shop" in the former Crown Cork & Seal industrial complex (yes, the former bottle-cap factory) south of the "Greektown" block of Eastern Avenue in Highlandtown, Southeast Baltimore.  According to a report by Scott Dance in the Baltimore Business Journal, the company is the project of former water-treatment engineer and consultant John O'Melia, along with $250,000 in private investment.  Plans are for potential production of 2,500-4,000 barrels a year, beginning with three flagship beers: Amber's Ale, Hon, an amber; Formstone Ale, an American Brown Ale named after Baltimore's ubiquitous cast-concrete faux-stone rowhouse facade material, and Crabby Abbey, a dark Belgian abbey ale.  Initial plans are for only local distribution to the beer neighborhoods of Southeast and South Baltimore, with possible expansion north along the York Road corridor, according to the BBJ article.  The website reports that the company has on hand a 20-bbl. Peter Austin brewing system complete with open fermenters.

The BBJ article does delve into the background of the current craft beer environment, including comments about the recent shutdown of Clay Pipe Brewing and the expansion of Heavy Seas' market.

Baltimore beer fans with longer memories may remember that Brimstone Brewing was similarly set up in 1994 in a corner of the former National Brewing plant nearby, now part of the Brewer's Hill real-estate and commercial development.

PS: Don't go driving around the old Crown plant trying to find it yet.  You won't, and the place isn't really set up for serving or entertaining the "public" anyway.

03 April 2010

Olivers: The Beer Blend To DIE For

All you need to know:

On cask at Pratt Street Ale House RIGHT NOW: the first of the Cherry Blossom Ale.

On draft FOR NOW at Pratt Street Ale House:  The LAST of the heavily-chocolately-infused Bishop's Indulgence.

Thanks in part to a certain obnoxious customer a short while ago, the bar staff now understands the potential of the two of them blended together.

You have maybe 24-48 hours before the Indulgence runs out.

You can thank me (and the bar staff) later.

Olivers Cherry Blossom on cask at Pratt Street Ale House

As per Facebook report a few minutes ago.  Perfect timing as local cherry blossoms are at max blooming.  I should grab a sample en route to Max's.......

02 April 2010

April/May Mid-Atlantic Brewing News is out

First spotted tonight at Judge's Bench in Ellicott City.  Expect the usual other venues to have it now or within a day or three.

Another Belgian Brewer To Visit Baltimore

Not doing anything Saturday?  Max's Taphouse is offering a last-minute alternative:

Max's is proud to have the brewer from the St Feuillien brewery in Le Roeulx, Belgium here.
Tomorrow, Saturday April 3, 2010  3pm.
We will be featuring St Feullien Saison and St Feuillien Triple on draft. We will also have St Feuillien Brune in bottles. This is a great chance to meet one of Belgium's finest brewers.

01 April 2010

Camden Yards 2010 Draft Beer Lineup

Got a sneak preview of the new draft line-up for Camden Yards this spring/summer.

In addition to the "usual" macroswill at the stands and being served by the walk-around vendors, there will be a bar on the upper level serving drafts and cans to the fans.
The offerings will rotate between the following:
21st Amendment (cans)
Oskar Blues (cans)
New Belgium (cans)
Evolution Craft (aluminum bottles)
Tuppers Hop Pocket (draft)
The Raven (Orkney Brewery, Scotland, draft)
Duvel (draft)
Chimay (draft)
Samichlaus (draft)

Ommegang (draft and plastic bottles)

More info available at http://baltimore.orioles.mlb.com/bal/ballpark/guide/beer.jsp

BrewDog Declares End to Beer Strength Wars, and more "Historic Ale" from Scotland

Oh, yeah--you all DID figure out this was an April Fool's joke, right?

Now that it's been publicized, I can now let loose the news that James Watt leaked to me during his visit to Max's last week.

He and partner Martin Dickie have decided to declare an end to the ever-ratcheting "beer strength wars" by brewing the beer to end it all: a 100% alcohol-by-volume beer.  The beer, to be named "M.A.D." for the acronym for "mutually assured destruction" (the Cold War tactic of increasing armament and parity in missile destructive power), will be released in a limited edition release of 200 limited, numbered 90-ml bottles to be auctioned in a special "Dutch auction" in June with a starting price of a mere £1,500 ($2,250) each.

"We acknowledge that the price is expensive, but it really reflects our costs and efforts," said Watt in an e-mail to me confirming the release.  "We had to contract with a large pool of migrant hop pickers from the South of England to root through the concentrate and individually pick out any remaining molecules of water, lest the batch not end the record for all time.  Besides which, isn't the price worth it to drink such an affirmable record breaker?  History has shown that people will pay for the privilege of drinking the strongest beer available, and we are honoured to be the ones to bring it to an eager public, and to bring the title back to Scotland once and for all, never to fall to those pretenders across the water again."

Details of the beer, along with a pending all-brewing, no-distillation 30% beer brewed in answer to American brewers who decried the freeze-distillation technique used by the brewery in past beers as "cheating," are available in the brewery's latest blog post at http://www.brewdog.com/blog-article.php?id=AprilFirst .

Meanwhile, from Bruce of Williams Brothers, the makers of Fraoch Heather Ale, Kelpie Seaweed Ale, and others, comes word that they are brewing up another "historic ale" recipe and relegating Grozet gooseberry-wheat beer to "regular beer" status.  Look for Capercaillie, a new ale featuring a dose of capercaillie in the brewing, to be on store shelves this summer, helped in no small part with an ad campaign in Scotland featuring music by by the Scots Gaelic band Capercaillie.....   More details when I get time to write up the last couple bar visits and tours..........