30 June 2011

Max's Italian Fest, Hop Fest, and Other Events

Max's has announced their second annual Italian Beer Fest for July 15th-17th:

We will have around ten special craft Italian beers on draft and over 60 craft Italian beers in bottles. We are changing things up a little this year. Any Italian beer in a 750ml size [bottle] will be available by the glass. 12 oz. bottles will still be sold by the bottle.
This is a great chance for you to taste some really great beers from a country that is on the rise in the craft beer movement.
We will have the most up to date lists on our website, www.maxs.com
Baladin Nora
Baladin Super Baladin
Del Borgo Duchessa
Del Borgo Enkir
Del Borgo My Antonia
Del Borgo ReAle Extra
Del Borgo Rubus Lamboni
Del Ducato Sally Brown Bracco
Plus a few others TBA..............
Almond 22 Farrotta
Almond 22 Torabata
Almond 22 Pink IPA
Baladin Al Ikir
Baladin Isaac
Baladin XFume
Baladin Xyauyu 2004(Gold)
Baladin Xyauyu 2006 (Copper)
Baladin Xyauyu 2006 (Silver)
Barley BB Dexi
Barley Friska
Collesi Imper Alter Bionda
Collesi Imper Main Nera
Collesi Imper Frat Lux Ambrata
Collesi Imp Ubi Rossa
Collesi Imper Ego Bionda
Del Borgo 25 Dodici
Del Borgo Duchessa
Del Borgo Duchessic
Del Borgo Enkir
Del Borgo My Antonia
Del Borgo ReAle Extra
Del Borgo Rubus Lamboni
Del Ducato L'Ultima Luna
Del Ducato Verdi
Del Ducato Via Emila
Grado Plato Cantis Caeli
Grado Plato Chocarrubica
Grado Plato Weizen Tea
Italiano Cassissona
Montegioco Bran Reserva
Montegioco Dolii Raptor
Montegioco Quarta Runa
Montegioco Rex Grue
Montegioco Tibir
Panil Barrique 2007
Pausa Cafe Chicca
Pausa Cafe Navidad
Pausa Cafe P.I.L.S
Pausa Cafe Tosta
Pausa Cafe Tosta Cuvee Normanna
Piccolo Sesonette
Revelation Cat Woodwork Series Acasia
Revelation Cat Woodwork Series American oak
Revelation Cat Woodwork Series Base
Revelation Cat Woodwork Series French Oak
Troll Stella Di Natale
Troll Geisha
Troll Palanfrina
Troll Shangrila
Plus a bunch of others....TBA.........
Other upcoming events and festivals at Max's include an observation of Belgian Independence Day Event on July 21, 2011 at 5pm, their first annual Hop Fest August 19-21st, and the debut of New Belgium 22-ounce bottles on August 23rd.

29 June 2011

Tax Increase Time minus 25 hours and counting.......

Thursday is your last day to stock up, or drink up, before Maryland's state sales tax on alcohol of all sorts goes up 50%, from 6% to 9%.  Given typical closing hours, you have less than 24 hours at the retail level.

Some places are holding pre-tax sales.  Wells, for one.  (It continues through the weekend, tax what may.

And now folks are figuring out that the "dime a drink" marketing by the tax's proponents is a bunch of malarkey.  Annie Linskey of The Baltimore Sun reports.

Another New Brewpub in D.C.

The Washington City Paper's Tammy Tuck has the details on the plans/proposal.  It's said to be by a team centered on the ChurchKey/Birch and Barley, Rustico, and Columbia Firehouse crew, to be set up in Southeast D.C.

27 June 2011

Table for Two Tonight at The Brewer's Art, and DuClaw at Alonso's

Yeah, reservations are usually still hard to come by at The Brewer's Art.

But tonight, 4-7 PM, they're debuting--along with brewing partner (for this beer) Flying Dog--the new Table for Two beer, mentioned here about two weeks back.

Meanwhile, at Alonso's, a DuClaw "takeover" of the upstairs Alonsoville bar, with Black Lightening Ale, Serum XX IPA, Venom Pale Ale, Sawtooth Belgian White, and Colossus.  Free snifter to the first 20 folks to order the bigger beer.

Leininkugel Plans

Further on last month's post on a planned Leininkugel's Beer Garden at the Power Plant Live, company owner Jacob Leininkugel came to Baltimore to host a beer dinner at Luckie's Liquors in the Power Plant Live a little over a week ago. 

Before a dinner of salad, soft-pretzel-log with Gruyere cheese dip, rolled flank steak with caramelized onion and asparagus and baked potato, and cheesecake, Leininkugel waxed on the history and revival of his family's brewery.  Afterwards, he detailed plans for the place: the flagship six Leininkugel brands (Classic Amber, Honey Weiss, Fireside Nut Brown, Berry Weiss, Sunset Wheat, and Red Lager) would share the drafts along with thirty-two guest beers.  Opening of the new outdoor, glass-roofed beer garden (in front of the Port Discovery Museum and the former Babalu's) is anticipated for mid-to-late July.  Joe Squared's new outlet will set up in the now-empty former Two Boots location on the west side of the Power Plant Live complex to the south of The Ram's Head Live.

Two More Bite the Dust in Federal Hill UPDATED

As previously announced, Don't Know Tavern has shuttered as part of its sale.  Owner Jason Zink was waxing philosophical as he attempted to clean out inventory, offering up free wings and hardshell crabs yesterday, as well as free beers as long as supplies held out (even Brewer's Art Green Peppercorn Tripel, Troeg's Hop Back,  and Victory Weizenbock).  Zink pledged to take the craft beer scene back to his No Idea Tavern nearby; "It'll be better than ever when we're done."  UPDATE:  New management is stating via Facebook that they'll be reopening under new management on Wednesday, with samples of new menu items.

Meanwhile, another craft-beer location is also closing: Muggsy's Mug House will serve its last beers Thursday, marking the end of the month and lease.  Manager Danny Young described the closure as amicable, hinging on a disagreement between partners as much as the competition.  "If you gotta close down a bar, it couldn't happen in a nicer way," say Young.  "[The landlord] was as nice as you could be about it, and we're coming out OK financially.  I'm staying in the neighborhood, and you'll be seeing me at other bars around here," he said while wearing an apparently new Ropewalk Tavern staff shirt while helping out Zink for a couple hours at Don't Know.

24 June 2011

The Raven Beer Plans For a Brewery at Haussner's

I've been sitting on this story for a while by the request of the principal, but seeing as the news has been leaked by someone on the other side of the river, so...

Stephen Demczuk, one of the original "gypsy brewers" before Stillwater and Mikkeller made the term a cult concept, is now proceeding with a plan to finally give his Raven Special Lager a permanent home, something it has not had since being launched in 1998 1996.  (Yes.  His beer predates the Baltimore Ravens.)

And that home is none other than the legendary Haussner's Restaurant building, a long-loved Highlandtown landmark with a legendary art collection at Eastern Avenue and Clinton Street that has been closed for nearly a dozen years now.  Demczuk was, last we spoke with him, close to finalizing a financing deal that would allow him to set up a production brewery in the building, with a brewpub and German-styled restaurant in addition.

Demczuk is currently shopping around for brewing equipment to install in the pub, although as he just now said to me, "It's hard to keep a secret, as you have to speak to so many people for their info, blessings and permits.  I'm meeting with the architect and builder next week. We are moving forward, but it's never a done deal until the cash is in hand!"  Demczuk also passed on a conceptual sketch:

More on the late, lamented, eccentric Haussner's here, from the City Paper in 2001.

The Raven has of late been contract-brewed at Clipper City Brewery in Arbutus.

UPDATE:  More here (from BBJ) and here (from Baltimore Sun).

Sales Tax on Booze Goes Up Next Week

Yep, that's right.  You now have six days left to stock up before the sales tax on all booze goes up 50% over previous levels (from the standard 6% to 9%) in the People's Democratic Republik of Maryland, courtesy of your state legislature and the lobbyists to which it gives token service (or pretends to).

Another Brewery About to Open, on Eastern Shore

Well, it's way off in Berlin, Md., on the mainland side of The Maryland City I Never Go To (a.k.a. Ocean City), but a new brewery is a new brewery.....

Burley Oak Brewery just went live with their website.  They're attempting to set up an organic brewery using exclusively locally-grown barley and hops, setting up shop in a former restaurant-supply building (and before that, a cooperage) on Old Ocean City Boulevard.  The Worcester County laws, which Burley Oak had to work to get changed (they're not the only ones down on the Eastern Shore prompting such changes, mind you), allow the brewery to hold tastings and sell retail like a winery, but not set up a food-serving bar.  The test batches that have been reported so far are English- and Belgian-styled ales.

As with quite a few similar projects in the Mid-Atlantic, they're somewhere close to a year behind their original planned opening date.

23 June 2011

Two Expansions in Howard County

Two beer bars in Howard County have recently expanded their draft beer offering substantially, to the point where Howard County, once a "wasteland" for craft beer with but one very good beer bar, the Last Chance Saloon in Columbia, now has three bars with substantial draft offerings fighting for the attention of beer connoisseurs, not even counting the "brewpubs" in the Ellicott City and Savage Mill areas.

T-Bonz Grill is almost striving for the "hideaway" status formerly held by The Last Chance Saloon in Columbia's Oakland Mills "neighborhood" (now the Second Chance).  Tucked in back of a strip mall along Rt. 103 (Montgomery Road) and Rt. 104 (Waterloo Road) in an area generally considered the southern suburbs of Ellicott City, T-Bonz has been creeping its way up the craft beer bar ladder, starting with 15 quality beers on draft.  Earlier this month, they broke out of that mold by expanding to 40 drafts, complete with a chalkboard menu listing the beers and alcohol strengths.  In addition, the bar offers a "sampler" of four small glasses of any of their drafts for $6.50.

Concurrently, Kloby's Smokehouse, off Rt. 29 on Montpelier Road near Burtonsville and Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab, is similarly expanding, more than doubling their capacity and beer offerings.  Their "soft opening" was yesterday, sort of accidentally when they didn't block off the new section of the bar and folks started lining up while they were still setting up and testing the new draft lines, according to owner Steve Klobosits.  (Minus the one that was still leaking when I left, they should be up to 32 drafts--20 on the new bar, plus 12 at the older one--when all is done.  Plus pretty dang good barbeque.)  They should be at least are ready to handle the weekend crowds this weekend.

22 June 2011

Max's Rare & Obscure 4: the final(?) draft list.....

While we either loiter about waiting for either Liam Flynn's to open, the Colossus Tour to make another stop, or the U2 concert at M&T Bank Stadium tonight, here's the final update on this weekend's Rare & Obscure event at Max's Taphouse (with typos I can catch corrected):

Aecht Schenkerla Märzen (cask)
Aecht Schelnkerla Oak Smoke (cask)
Fraoch 20th Anniversary (cask)
Hanssens Oud Gueuze (cask)
Hanssens Oude Kriek (cask)
Dieu Du Ciel Rescousse
Dieu Du Ciel Equinoxe Du Printemps
Evil Twin Soft DK
Evil Twin Yang
Evil Twin Ying
T' Gaverhopke Singing Blonde
Guineu Riner
Mikkeller Funky E Star
Struise Black Damnation Mocha Bomb
Struise Svea IPA
BrewDog Tokio
Agullons Pura Pale
Evolution Spring Migration
The Bruery Cuir
J.W. Lees Moonraker Zyamore
Nogne O Brun
Mestreechs Aajt
Strubbe Itchegems Grand Cru
Oppigards Well Hopped Lager
Etienne Dupont Cidre Triple
Oppigards Stark Porter
Stone Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout
Djavlebryg Old Mephisto
Page 24 Biere De Printemps
Brugse Zot Unfiltered
Struise/Stillwater Outblack
Cantillon Rose De Gambrinus
Cantillon Iris
Cantillon Kriek
Beer Here Nordic Rye
La Rulles Grand 10
Mikkeller Triple
Guineu Montserrat
Haandbryggeriet Costa Rica
Haandbryggeriet Blanda Drops
Thirez Extra
XBeeriment Madraz IPA
XBeeriment Hoppenheimer
Hofbrouwerijke Hofblues
Heavy Seas Plank 1 aged in Rum Barrels (Cask)
Hof Ten Dormaal Blonde
Allagash Vrienden
Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast
De Molen Cease & Desist
De Molen Hel & Verdoemenis
Agullons Bruno Pale
Agullons Runa Brown
CCM Lupus
CCM Negra
XBeeriment Black Force One
Plus a few others TBA.................

20 June 2011

Two Good Ways To Keep Your Draft List Up to Date

This is one way.  (Another variation of the same.

This is the other, at least if your customers are on Facebook.

I'm waiting for the day when someone has a webcam focused on the menu chalkboard.

DuClaw Colossus "World Tour"

If you can't make it to Max's Wednesday evening, here's the official list of places it will be served, with dates scheduled:

  • Max’s Taphouse (Baltimore, MD): Wed. 6/22 @ 5pm
  • Frisco Taphouse (Columbia, MD): Thurs. 6/23 @ 7pm
  • Alewife (Baltimore, MD): Fri. 6/24 @ 5pm
  • Alonso’s (Baltimore, MD): Mon. 6/27 @ 6pm
  • JD’s Smokehouse (Baltimore, MD): Wed 6/29 @ 6pm
  • Racers’ Cafe (Balt. Co. MD): Thurs 6/30 @ 6pm
  • Firestone’s (Frederick, MD): TBD
  • Mahaffey’s (Baltimore, MD): Tues. 7/5@ 6pm
  • Judge’s Bench (Ellicott City, MD): Fri. 7/8 @ 5pm
  • T-Bonz (Ellicott City, MD): Sun. 7/10 @ 10AM (Pints & Pancakes)
  • Mt Airy Inn (Mt. Air, MD): Wed 7/13 @ 6pm
  • The Falls of Mt. Washington (Baltimore, MD): TBD

You probably owe it to your beer-geekery credentials to sample this at least once.  You know, just to mark off your "bucket list," beer-list-maintaining website standings, whatever....

Max's: Heavy Seas Letter of Marque, DuClaw [Something], and "Rare & Obscure"

Short, sweet, and to the point:

Tuesday the 21st: Heavy Seas releases it Letter of Marque at Max's Taphouse, a Belgian-style Dubbel that won the most recent Letter of Marque homebrew competition sponsored by Heavy Seas.

Wednesday the 22nd: So you couldn't get to Arundel Mills, Bowie, or Bel Air for the Colossus release?  Max's is tapping their allocation of this elixir at 5 PM.  (I sampled it at Arundel Mills on Saturday.  Call it a boatload of orange-peel-tinged bitterness countered with a load of malt backbone and sweetness, reminiscent of a British barleywine laced with triple sec.)

June 24-26: Max's fourth Rare and Obscure beer event:
Max's will be pulling out some of our rare gems on draft for this event. We will have around 20 drafts per day.These will be rare, Obscure, One offs, vintage and Specialty kegs that we are very proud to bring to you.There is no entrance fee for this event.

Hanssens Oud Gueuze(Cask)
Hanssens Oud Kriek(Cask)
Aecht Schlenkerla Oak Smoke(Cask)
Aecht Schlenkerla Marzen (Cask)
The Bruery Cuir
Struise Black Damnation Mocha Bomb
Struise Svea IPA
Dupont Cidre Triple
JW Lees Moonracker Zythmore
Brew Dog Tokio
Gaverhopke Singing Blonde
Evil Twin Soft DK
Evil Twin Yin
Evil Twin Yang
Dieu Du Ciel Equinox Du Printemps
Dieu Du Ciel La Rescousse
Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast Stout
Hof Ten Dormaal Blonde
Mikkeller Funky *Star
Page 24 Biere De Printemps
Nogne O Brun
Oppigards Well Hopped Lager
Oppigards Stark Porter
Agullons Pura Pale
Guineu Riner
Heavy Seas Plank 1 aged in Rum Barrels (Cask)
Great Divide Belgian Style Yeti
Evolution Spring Migration

17 June 2011

Another Beer Oasis in Eastern Baltimore County

Yeah, technically some would call Racer's Cafe and Red Brick Station "Eastern Baltimore County," but generally that term is used for the territory immediately to the east of Baltimore City--Dundalk, Essex, Middle River, Chase, and the other areas below Interstate 95 that garner about as much respect as Rodney Dangerfield ("As kids, we played hide-and-seek.  Nobody came to look for me!").  And if you've ever headed northeast from Highlandtown, your only good-beer respites have involved lengthy detours to Red Brick Station or DuClaw, at least until you get to State Line Liquors or Newark's Iron Hill Brewery.

But with a name like Hop Heads, you know there has to be a beer geek involved.

Sandwiched between the Silver Moon Diner and the Colonial Inn  on the soutth side of  Rt. 40/Pulaski Highway at Middle River Road in a nondescript, easy-to-miss building, the relatively new bar (a couple months old) looks like just about any North-American-industrial-lager-fueled "dive" along that highway.  But inside this somewhat plain bar, customers will find four taps and a cooler filled with bottles of craft beers, including Troeg's, Victory, Heavy Seas, and even a few Belgians. 

This is apparently still a work in progress, but thus far the initial appearances are promising.

DuClaw Says More About Colossus......

....... and corrects some misconceptions perpetuated in part by me (to be fair, my source was the company owner, Dave Benfield, out at the BAM Springfest in May, when they still didn't have a precise fix on the release yet):

1) This is our 2nd batch of Colossus. The first batch brewed in 2006, was initially released in litre bottles. Then last year we released the remaining beer from that batch in 22oz bottles. So those bombers last year, were already aged 4+ years.
2) The alcohol is not higher this year than before. It is the same as the previous batch, 21%.
3) The beer was brewed in early November of 2010, and sat in the fermenters for 4+ months. Its primary fermentation was almost 4 weeks long. Just to give you a reference, most beers have a primary fermentation of a week and have a total time in the tanks of 30 days +/- .
4) Due to the long time in the tanks, and higher production requirements we are seeing, we won’t be able to brew Colossus again until we get a new, bigger facility.  We are working on that as I type..
5) 22oz bottles will be shipping to retailers next week.  The price is set by the retailers, but expect it to be a few dollars higher this year per bottle.
6) Starting Wednesday the 22nd, we are launching the Colossus World Tour.  If you want to know details, stay tuned to this blog.

USA Today Suggests Taking Your Father to Brewer's Art

Well, The Brewer's Art and nine other brewpubs nationwide.  And technically Andy Crouch suggested it, and USA Today just published the recommendations.  But we'll take whatever recognition the Baltimore beer scene can garner, as long as the words "shown here in custody" aren't involved........

16 June 2011

Don't Know Tavern Sold

Well, it was nice while it lasted.

Don't Know Tavern in the southern fringes of Federal Hill, the bar that recently expanded its tap lines to have a considerable craft beer selection, is being sold.  The story is long and convoluted, but is being summarized by Erik Maza at Midnight Sun.  The last day under current management is June 26th.

How To Analyze Wine Labels

Brilliant blogpost satire/analysis.  (Full article at link.)

We need the same thing for beer labels/names.  (Well, here's a boring, academic one from Finland.)

Troegs Tap Takeover in Federal Hill Tonight

Yeah, short notice.  We've been busy.

Troeg's Tap Takeover tonight at Don't Know Tavern. Six different Troeg's drafts. Buy a pint, get a free glass to take home. While they last.
Reminder: Don't Know is becoming the Racer's Cafe of southern Baltimore.  Good beer selection, unpretentious and laid-back atmosphere.

Is Liam Flynn's Open Yet?

Whether or not it's open right this minute, Liam Flynn's Ale House is expected to have a "soft" opening sometime over the weekend--whether the "soft" refers to the traditional meaning of "unpublicized" or the status of the lacquer on the bar top, we'll find out the hard way.

Meanwhile, here's a blog write-up by Matt Kelley of What Weekly highlighting previous projects by the erstwhile Flynn.

Flying Dog Resumes Brewery Tours

Erik Maza reports at the Baltimore Sun's Midnight Sun.

The quick and dirty:  Begins July 1st; tours, will be offered Thursday and Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. along with two sessions on Saturday.

From the Bay, For the Bay: A Celebration of Maryland Seafood (with Beer!)

Maryland's Department of Natural Resources has initiated a weeklong celebration of Chesapeake Bay seafood, titled "From the Bay, For the Bay":
For a week in October, participating restaurants from Philadelphia to Northern Virginia will be featuring fresh, locally caught Maryland Seafood for their guests. This will be an excellent way to support our local watermen, while enjoying the best seafood the region has to offer.
October is an outstanding month for seafood with many species available including striped bass, crabmeat, oysters, flounder, dogfish, bluefish, lobster, and scallops being in season and on menus throughout the region.
Each of the participating restaurants is donating $1.00 for every Maryland seafood dinner that is sold during this week to the Oyster Recovery Partnership in Annapolis, MD (www.oysterrecovery.org), a non-profit organization that works to replenish the population of our native and treasured Chesapeake Bay oyster.
Over the last decade, the Oyster Recovery Partnership has replanted hundreds of millions of oysters in the bay. Oysters are a critical species to the Bay's long term recovery -- a healthy oyster reef not only filters the Bay's waters, but also provides a firm, elevated bed that supports a community and habitat for other marine wildlife, like blue crabs and striped bass. So while you are enjoying a great meal you will be supporting watermen and helping to restore this iconic Chesapeake species.
Astute readers will notice that this just happens to neatly overlap with Baltimore Beer Week.

"Craft-beer-friendly" venues that have already signed on to the project include Alewife, B&O Brasserie, Diamondback Tavern in Ellicott City, the Clyde's chain, Hellas in Millersville, Kooper's Tavern, Ryleigh's Oyster (of course), Slainte, Victoria Gastro Pub, and the Woodberry Kitchen.  No doubt other places might be eager to get in on the action as the week gets closer--any of our brewpubs up for making an oyster stout again?

Japanese Craft Beers

Slate, of all places, has an interesting article on Japan's growing craft beer scene.  A worthwhile read, especially if you're a sushi eater.

14 June 2011

Flying Dog and Brewer's Art Collaboration

No doubt about it, "collaborative" beers have become the craft beer craze of the past year or so.  It'll probably reach its zenith with one beer at the Great American Beer Festival into which every brewery there dumps a half-barrel or so of wort into a common fermentation vessel.

The latest local entry: Table for Two, a joint production of Baltimore's The Brewer's Art and Frederick's Flying Dog.  From the latter's blog:

We started working closely with The Brewers Art on a recipe in March and landed on a beer that pays homage to the traditional table beers that have existed in Belgium for centuries. Table for Two will be a variation on the old world style with unique added ingredients like honey.
“We look to do collaborations in instances where it’s clear we will grow and learn from the partnership,” Flying Dog Brewmaster and COO Matt Brophy explained. “We have always had great admiration for The Brewers art and their beers. It was clear that working closely with them gave us the opportunity to try some new things and break the rules as well, which we always enjoy doing.”
Table for Two will be available at the beginning of July in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft in Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia.

Other Beer Events This Week

Lures in Crownsville is having its monthly Beer Club Dinner tonight, featuring all four of Sierra Nevada's Beer Camp beers.  $38.50 inclusive.

Victoria Gastro Pub in Columbia:  Colorado Beer Dinner tonight, special menus for Father's Day on Sunday.  July 12th: Dogfish Beer Dinner.

Wells Liquors: In-store tasting of Harpoon and Flying Dog on Friday, 4 to 8 PM. 

Max's: Tuesday Beer Social beer: LeFebvre Hopus.  Also, a 14-tap Dogfish Head "tap takeover" this Thursday:

60 Minute
90 Minute
Indian Brown
Midas Touch
Palo Santo Marron
Raison D'Etre
Black & Blue
Burton Baton
My Antonia
Olde School
Festina Peche
Plus Bottles of:
Squall IPA
World Wide Stout
Red & White
Chateau Jaihu
Plus some specials from our Stash..........
Frisco Tap House, Columbia: Flying Dog tap takeover on Wednesday, with 25 FD beers......  next Wednesday the 22nd, Ommegang and 11 of their beers on tap...........

13 June 2011

DuClaw Colossus III Debut Wednesday

UPDATE:  I promised to hold the news until Wednesday, and I'm still awake.  Yeah, it's a third (and, they swear, "final") batch release of ColossusReportedly stronger than Same strength as the first two, and to be priced accordingly.

DuClaw Brewing's hype publicity machine is in overdrive with news of a "new" beer about to debut at their three regular locations on Wednesday and Thursday evening.

The gargantuan news of this not-officially-released-nor-confirmed behemoth beer is, of course, one of the worst-kept mammoth secrets among DuClaw and central Maryland craft beer fans, but I've been informed that if you don't want to take the titanic undertaking to battle the humongous crowds at Bel Air, Bowie, or Arundel Mills to pay around $6 a small glass for this immense product, then you may have up to a dozen opportunities to sample it elsewhere on tap as it takes a cruise of sorts like a giant ocean liner.  There are also reports that a few large bottles will show up for retail sale at a certain few beer-retailing locations with monstrous, prodigious selections.

And if you don't know what it is by now, why are you reading this?

Oh, and they wanted me to make very clear:  no growler fills.

Changes to Capitol City Brewing

The Washington Post's Greg Kitsock (also Mid-Atlantic Brewing News' editor) reports on changes coming to the Capitol City Brewing Co. chain, which has evolved so far from its origins as a brewpub that it's somewhat hard to quantify what they really are anymore.  Among the latest news:

The opening of a new company-owned restaurant, 901, which will feature four of its own house beers brewed for them at the chain's Shirlington brewery;  not listed on their website yet, plus guest beers:
901 Lager is a clean, smooth amber lager, no rough edges, a gateway to the craft beer universe for the cocktail crowd. A Belgian-style pale ale is more interesting, with a yeasty character and notes of citrus, banana and pear. The IPA has a dry, lingering, tropical fruit flavor; if you like Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA, you’ll recognize the hops, a variety called Citra. The oatmeal stout goes down smoothly with lots of bittersweet chocolate and a hint of burnt molasses.
The company is proceeding with plans to close its location in the Post Office building across the street from Washington Union Station on July 18th, but all is not lost for thirsty commuters and Amtrak riders:
Capitol City, says [Capitol City brewer Travis] Tedrow, will move across the street to Union Station, with a tentative reopening set for October in the space formerly occupied by the restaurant, America. But no beer will be made there. The Capitol Hill site’s nine 15-barrel fermenters will be shipped to the company’s Shirlington location to augment production there. (The rest of the equipment, including the brewhouse, will be sold or scrapped.)
Opportunity may knock for any further local brewery start-ups.............

Finally, read the article for news of a Cap City bar coming to a fitness gym.  Or maybe it's a fitness gym coming to a Cap City bar.  Either way, you may be able to work off your beer gut.

(All of this comes after the weekend that news broke that Phillips Seafood, a pioneering restaurant at Baltimore's Harborplace and a one-time neighbor of Capitol City's erstwhile Baltimore branch/outlet, would be closing this fall.)

10 June 2011

Press Releases We Never Finished Reading, #4

Seriously, I don't have any idea how I get on these lists.  I actually stopped at the fifth word, but forced myself to keep reading just to see where this went.....  and the typo didn't help matters....
Just like bombshell Kim Kardashian, [bar name] in Las Vegas always likes to go big.  In honor of the beauty's recent engagement, [bar name] created a stunning replica of Kim's 20-plus-carat engagment ring, made completely out of ice and weighing over 500....

But they're not doing a "Hon"-ey beer, darn it........

Heavy Seas Beer has graphically weighed in with a commentary of sorts on the recent controversies swirling around Cafe Hon owner Denise Whiting and the "Honfest" this weekend in Hampden:

If you're on Facebook, they're having a contest to name it.

07 June 2011

Real Ale Thursday

In addition to the usual "3M" cask ale specials on most Thursdays--specials at Mahaffey's, Max's Taphouse, and Metropolitan in Baltimore--this upcoming Thursday, the9th, brings the Society for Preservation of Beers from the Wood to Columbia and Frisco Tap House for their monthly meeting/gathering.  "Expect to knock back pints of Harvestoun Old Engine Oil and Heavy Seas Plank 1 (Rum Barrel Aged) on cask...and a little treat for you as well, Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen on clad (gravity poured wooden cask)."  This is in addition to the bar's typical 50 beers on tap.........

03 June 2011

June Mid-Atlantic Brewing News is out

Cover stories/theme of the new D.C. breweries. 
Go get it at your favorite good-beer outlet.

DuClaw Announces Homebrew Contest Winner, and Another Competition to Pick a Charity

From the DuClaw e-mail:
Our H.E.R.O. ["Honest, Excellent. Robust. Original."] home brewing competition has come to an end and we have a winner! Ladies and gentleman, your H.E.R.O. is...
Peanut Butter Porter brewed by Tony Huckestein.
Tony’s Peanut Butter Porter will be produced by our brewery as a limited edition run of 22oz bottles and will be available everywhere that our beer is sold. And, in the spirit of being a hero, we are donating EVERY SINGLE PENNY from the sale of H.E.R.O. 22oz bombers to charity.
That’s where all of you come in, and all you have to do is point us in the right direction. Email the story of an organization or individual in need of a hero to hero@duclaw.com and we will donate ALL of the proceeds from this promotion to one of the causes that you recommend. Hero-up, and send us your stories!
For more information on the top 3 finishers in the H.E.R.O. home brew competition, or how you can help us help someone in need, check out Dave’s blog.
The charity outreach and contest concept sound terrific.  As for the beer, I'll reserve comment until I taste it--it sounds way too much like the cliche of a homebrewer desperate to brew a "different" beer by any means still drinkable.  (Of course, mass-market beer slaves devotees will say the same about many of our favorite fruit, spice, coffee, smoked, etc. beers.......)

First Friday Firkin at Phoenix Emporium in Ellicott City

Yet another old-guard place we don't mention often enough here, at 8049 Main Street, across the street from both the Ellicott City B&O Station Museum and the tiny but excellent Carpe Vinum liquor/beer store:
Phoenix Emporium
Ellicott City ~ First Fridays ~ June 3rd
Live Music
Evening shopping & dining ~ most shops open until 9 or later!
Sales & Specials throughout town

First Friday Firkin
Join us at the Phoenix this Friday as we tap our most exclusive firkin to date, Heavy Seas Plank 1. Unveiled in March at the Extreme Beer Fest in Boston, Plank 1 is an 8% ABV Olde Style English Ale aged on roasted poplar. Heavy Seas Beer (Clipper City Brewing Company - Baltimore, MD) is the first brewery to use this new species of wood for aging beer and has created an entirely new genre for wood-aged beer. This special brew is available in extremely limited quantities and the Phoenix was chosen to showcase one of the few available firkins.

02 June 2011

Firkin Thursday

Metropolitan in Federal Hill, starting @ 6 PM:

The cask tonight is Single Hop Centennial Imperial IPA from Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick, Maryland.  Single Hop Centennial is a 10% Imperial IPA, but is oh-so-smooth and decepetive as to its devilish alcohol content.  Be careful.
Max's, Fells Point, starting @ 5 PM:

Wadworth Bishop Tipple
Weyerbacher Blanche
Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout
Wells Bombardier
Stillwater Cellar Door
Special cask Pricing Thursday Only

Maryland Wine Week, June 3-12

Okay, so it isn't beer.  But it IS local, it IS alcoholic, it IS good (or at least can be), and a lot of readers of this blog are also wine enthusiasts as well.  And they shamelessly admit that they stole the idea from were inspired in part by Baltimore Beer Week.  So.....

Welcome to Maryland Wine Week.

01 June 2011

Where Have All the Meads and Honey Ales Gone?

Now THIS is an ingredient price spike:

The National Honey Board reports that a pound of honey now costs $5.22, up from $3.78 in 2005.
I remember picking up my first five-gallon, 60-pound bucket of wildflower honey from an apiary in 1994 or so for about $50.  Same thing from the same apiary today: $240.  Heather honey from Scotland, arguably the "champagne" of honeys for fermentation, used to be £5.00 a pound in bulk years ago, and oddly the prices in Europe have held steady by comparison with here.