26 April 2012

Upcoming Events, This Weekend and Beyond UPDATED

Tight for time, most of you (if you've been reading here) should have had enough advance warning that you should have made advance plans. 

Starting tonight:  Max's Rare & Obscure Fest.  Yes, yes, by national beer standards, one could easily make the case that every day is "rare and obscure" day at Max's Taphouse.  But tonight through Saturday is an extended weekend for those who insist on trying to max out their tasting sheets or records for bragging rights.  A reminder that all of the following will be parceled out over the next three days, and survivors may linger through Sunday and the early part of next week, if crowds or other events conflict with your desires:

Flying Dog Barrel aged Gonzo dry Hopped w/ Chipotle & Vanilla Beans
Flying Dog Woody Creek Wit dry Hopped w/ El Dorado
DuClaw Five Hail Mary
Firestone Walker Velvet Merlin
Heavy Seas Greater Pumpkin 2011
21st Amendment Lower De Boom
Black Diamond Brandy Grand Cru
Black Diamond Dried Up Geezer
Blue Point Old Howling Bastard
De Dolle Dulle Teve
Elysian Arboreal
Elysian Poison Dwarf
Elysian Slight Return
Elysian Perfesser
Elysian The Dread
Hantversbryggeriet Munken
Hopfenstark Faust
Hopfenstark Captain Swing
L'Olmaia Karkade
Smuttynose Brett & I
Smuttynose Smuttonator 2011
Alvinne Morpheous Wild Undressed
BFM Spike & Jerome
De Struise Pannepot Reserva 2008
De Struise Pannepot Special Reserva 2009
DuClaw Oak Aged Old Flame
Evil Twin an Uncommon IPA
Evil Twin Hop Flood
Evil Twin Nurse Pepper
Evil Twin Imperial Biscotti Break
Evil Twin Monks Suffers Serious Sugar Rush On Barbados
Evolution Petit Houblon
Flying Dog Barrel Aged Gonzo
Flying Dog Horn Dog
Hambleton Nightmare
Hebrew Funky Jewbelation
Hitachino Nest 3 Days
Hofstetten Kubelbier Zymatore Aged in Whiskey Barrels
L'Qhilika African Dry Mead Zymatore Aged in Mourvedre Barrels
Allagash Old HLT
Crispin Marvin
De Glazen Toren Zymatore Aged in Zinfandel Barrels
Emelisse Black & Tan
George Gales Conquest Masterbrew 2000 Aged In Whiskey/Pinot Barrels
George Gales Prize Old Ale 2001 Aged in Whiskey/Pinot Barrels
Olivsholt Lava
Oskar Blues Gordon Aged in Wine Barrels
Schneider Brooklyner Hopfen Zymatore aged in Gin/Pinot Barrels
Stillwater Bri Witter Weisse
Thornbridge Kipling Zymatore Aged in Belgian Owl Whiskey Barrels
Troegs Scratch # 57-Weizenbock
Troegs Scratch #56-Single Hop pale
Troegs Scratch #59-Mighty Moose MIld
Troegs Scratch #60-Spring Fest Lager
Williams Bros Profanity Stout
Plus Maybe one or two more.......you never know......
Brew Dog Nuclear Penguin
Brew Dog Sink the Bismark
Brew Dog Paradox Speyside 2009
Brew Dog/Mikkeller Divine Rebel 2009
De Molen Bommen & Granten 2010
De Molen Heaven & hell 2008
Del Ducato/3 Fontenien Beersel Mattina
Evil Twin 9th Symphony
Evil Twin Disco
Evil Twin Hoekerens Jubilaeums Ol
Firestone Walker Sucaba
Firestone Walker XV Anniversary
Full Sail Top Sail Bourbon Barrel Porter
George Gales Jubilee 2002
George Gales Prize Old Ale 1996
Goose Island Night Stalker 2010
Haandbryggeriet Krokkebic
Hopfenstark Ostalgia Blonde
JW Lees Harvest Ale in Calvados 2003
La Trappe Oak Aged Isid'or
La Trappe Oak Aged Quad Batch 6
Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch Weasel
Nogne O Dark Horizon 3rd Edition
North Coast Old Rasputin Barrel Aged XIV
Orkney Dark Island Reserva 2007
Saint Bock Sacrilege
Sam Smiths Stingo 2008
Samichlaus 2010
The Bruery Coton 2010
The Bruery Cuir 2011
The Bruery/Cigar City Marron Acidifie
Thomas Hardy Ale 2004
Unibroue 15
Vapeur D'Antan 1996
Meanwhile, we hope we need not remind you of the Pratt Street Real Ale Fest, the spring counterpart to the Chesapeake Real Ale Fest, in the newly-expanded Pratt Street Ale House:

The Casks
  • Brewdog – Paradox (Isle of Arran)
  • Brewers Alley – Oatmeal Stout
  • Brewers Art – Tiny Tim (VIP Cask)
  • Brewers Art – Monument Pale Ale
  • DuClaw – Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Flame
  • Evolution – Lot 3 IPA (Dry Hopped W/Citra)
  • Evolution – Rise Up Stout (VIP Cask)
  • Firestone Walker – Velvet Merlin
  • Yards – ESA (Extra Special Ale)
  • Oskar Blues – Deviant Dales Pale Ale (Double Dry Hopped)
  • Weyerbacher – Blanche
  • Flying Dog – TBA
  • Old Dominion – Oak Barrel Stout
  • Heavy Seas – Plank II (w/poplar, eucalyptus, and liberty hops)
  • Oliver Breweries – Jacobs Winter  (Oak Barrel W/ Juniper)
  • Oliver Breweries – James Brown Ale (Red Oak Aged)
  • Oliver Breweries – Ape Must Never Kill Ape
  • New Belgium – Ranger IPA (Double Dry Hopped)
  • Flying Dog – TBA
  • Flying Fish – Hopfish (Dry Hopped W/Simcoe)
  • Dog Brewing – Blue Corn Triple
  • Still Many More To be Announced!!
In Annapolis, Saturday, April 28th: MD Drafts and Laughs: 50+ craft and imported beers while enjoying the region's funniest comedians. Beer seminars throughout the evening in private tasting rooms. Food and wine is available though not included in the fee. $35 in advance, $40 at the door, $60 VIP. Details at 443-926-1464 or www.mddraftsandlaughs.com.

As if that's not enough for one weekend, consider the following for those for whom a Guinness doesn't taste right without an Irish music session in front of it:   The first Baltimore Irish Trad Fest will be held at several locations in Baltimore over the three-day weekend, including J. Patrick's Irish Pub in Locust Point, James Joyce in Harbor East, and Liam Flynn's in Station North.  More info here.

May 5th: Heavy Seas Blues at the Brewery, Halethorpe:  International blues artist Deanna Bogart will be performing with her band. Heavy Seas beer, and food concessions from Koopers Chowhound Wagon, will be available onsite for purchase. $20. 7:30-11pm. www.hsbeer.com/blues-brewery.

Frederick Beer Week:  May 12-19th.  Enough said?

For the women reading this, the newly formed Baltimore Beer Babes will be hosting their first-ever gathering at Max's Taphouse at 6:30 PM on Wednesday, May 16 to gather a group of Baltimore women who are involved in the brewing industry, or just love great beer.
A $15 ticket will bring five beer samples, as well as light appetizers and the chance to connect with a group of women who want to learn more about beer, the brewing process, food pairings and other educational aspects regarding quality suds. Message @BaltoBeerBabes on Twitter or connect with their Facebook page for reservations. Seats are limited.  SOLD OUT!

May 26-27:  The Maryland Zoo's Brew at the Zoo. Go early to see the zoo animals (including beer-name animals like otters, rhinos, ruddy ducks, and elephants--and maybe a raven), them stick around to have the beer and eats.

Down in Millersville, Hellas Restaurant is holding an Ommegang-d'Achouffe Beer Dinner on May 30th, $65 per person:

Reception Course
Greek Poppers with Tzatziki
Marinated artichoke hearts and fire roasted red peppers
stuffed with feta cheese and Panko breaded
Paired with Ommegang Witte
First Course:
Lamb Chop Salad
Grilled Lamb Porterhouse Chops atop a bed of local lettuce,
blue cheese, pine nut , golden raisin and pomegranate
Paired with Ommegang Aphrodite Ale
Second Course:
Zucchini Slippers
Zucchini halves baked with ground beef and rice stuffing and
topped with zesty light tomato sauce and shaved Greek
Cheese (Keffalo-Gravyera)
Paired with Houblon Chouffe
Third Course:
Smokey Bison Sliders
Gunpowder Trading Co (Monkton, MD) Bison sliders
char-grilled with coffee rub, topped with bacon, Hawk Hill
Creamery (Street, MD) Smoked Cheddar, frizzled onions
and chipotle aioli—served on mini-brioche rolls with sweet
potato fries
Paired with Ommegang Three Philosophers
Waffle with Berries n Cream
Homemade waffle topped with homemade ice cream, fresh
local berries and hand whipped cream
Paired with a Two Year Verticle Pour of 2010 N’ice Chouffe
and 2011 N’ice Chouffe

Way down the pike in the future, at Victoria Gastro Pub in Columbia:
American Craft Beer Fest at Victoria Gastro Pub
Saturday, June 23, 2012  12 pm - 4 pm

Featured Breweries: Sierra Nevada, Flying Dog, New Belgium, Stone, Dogfish Head, Oliver’s, Lagunitas, Sixpoint, Oskar Blues, Peak, DuClaw, Goose Island, Heavy Seas, Evolution, Boulder

$50 per person, $40 for Beer Club Members
Includes Beer Tasting from Each of the Participating Breweries,
Tasting Glass & Passed Hors D’oeuvres
Advance Purchase ONLY!
Pick up your ticket at the Pub, call 410-750-1880 or email heather@victoriagastropub.com
May 14th-20th: American Craft Beer Week
Monday, May 21st: Victoria Day-Beer Club Trip Drawing
Wednesday, June 13th: Evolution Beer Dinner
Wednesday, July 11th: DuClaw Beer Dinner
Way off in the District of Columbia in June, Sushiko, one of Washington’'s premier Japanese restaurants and sushi bars, will offer its first pairing event of Japanese cuisine and craft beers. The six-course menu will be presented by owner and creative director of Sushi-ko, Daisuke Utagawa, together with beer expert Jocelyn Cambier.  Priced at $85, all inclusive, the menu features >Edamame paired with Port City pale ale; Lobster and Asparagus Suimono (clear soup) with Brasseurs Illimites double porter; Flounder Carpaccio with White Soy and Truffle Sauce complemented by a surprise beer of Brasseurs du Monde; Honey and Soy Roasted Duck with A l’Abri de La Tempete Corps Mort; Spicy Broiled Mussels and Coronado Islander IPA and a final course of Nigiri Sushi paired with Brasseurs Illimites Imperial Stout.This dinner will be Tuesday, June 26, 2012 at 7 PM, limited seating is available. For tickets please contact Gabriella Geerman & Andrea Thompson at Sushiko (301) 961-1644

20 April 2012

Example #85,721 of Inconsistent Alcohol Regulation By Authorities

We hope to have Example #85,722 shortly, as soon as we don't jinx it.

But today:

Alabama decides Fat Bastard wine is OK, Raging Bitch is OK, but not Founders Dirty Bastard.

Completely OT Rant: Why Do I Have This Cell Phone?!?

I am flummoxed.

I want to believe the government programs to ease access to cell phones, as a modern, hardwire-less way of doing what they used to do 30 years ago to bring phones to rural areas and to the working poor to bring them up out of poverty, help get and keep a job, keep in touch with police and family, etc., is a Bloody Good Idea.

We received a box today from one of those "Free Cell Phone if You're On Government Assistance" companies, One of many that seemingly set up card tables at random curbside spots every day across this city, looking only a little more professional (if that) than the pirate-DVD bootleggers selling out of suitcases. Addressed to this address, to a name my wife and I have never seen before "Or Current Resident". With a cell phone, charger, and documentation, set up for Verizon Wireless with 100 "preloaded" minutes and a phone number written on the documentation.

This phone is arguably nicer than my current Not Really A Major Telecom Company pay-as-I-go phone, and blows Dick Tracy's old wrist TV radio out of the atmosphere. Someone's supposed to be getting this for free, and it's being paid for out of the Universal Service Fee (i.e. a tax) you and I all pay for phone service. My wife and I don't happen to qualify, as we don't get food stamps or any of the other multitude of assistance programs that qualify you. (If we applied for winter heating bill help--even just a token amount--we'd probably qualify.) Instead, like rubes, we just pay for our cell phone service as we go like any rabid free-market chumps, and use them frugally and only as necessary.

So now I'm stuck trying to decide whether to try and return it, forward it, use it up and return it, use it and see if it automatically renews, or hack it so it'll work with my hideously cheap (because I use it so little) Not Really A Major Telecom Company service and I can transfer my years-old cell-phone number to it. All appear to be possible options.

And this has apparently been going on for NEARLY TWO YEARS: http://consumerist.com/2010/06/i-dont-want-this-random-government-subsidized-cell-phone.html

Seriously. WTF?!?  They apparently don't even care if the person who requested it gets it?

And it does look like the program is being abused:  http://www.prweb.com/releases/2011/11/prweb8995902.htm   

(photo deliberately blurred to protect possible identity of company and client/phone number)

18 April 2012

Will Baltimore Get Another Bottle Tax Hike?

A hearing of the  Taxation, Finance and Economic Development Committee occurs in City Hall at 5 PM today to determine whether Baltimore raises its per-bottle tax on beverages from two cents to five cents.

The topic of Baltimore's bottle tax has been roundly discussed before here.

A lobbyist group of beverage and retail industry folks have been lobbying long, hard, and expensively (with radio ads, TV time, and even direct-mail flyers) against this tax.

I predict that at the end of the night, in spite of any lobbying efforts, I'll be citing a Rush Limbaugh book title once again.

16 April 2012

This Sunday: Charity or War?

Coming up this Sunday, you get your pick between the fifth edition of the Charitably Charming Chilifest, this time staged (rain or shine) at the Baltimore Free Farm, or the first edition of what promises to be an annual Charm City Beer Wars at Mother's Grille in Federal Hill.

The former:
It’s time for our 5th celebration of the DIY spirit! Brought to you by the BaltiBrew homebrew club, the Charitably Charmin’ ChiliBrew is an informal, semiannual charity homebrew competition and chili cookoff, now benefiting the Baltimore Free Farm, the Bearings Bike Project, and the Baltimore Green Currency Association. Previous installments have each drawn about 30 entries and 200+ enthusiastic judges, and this spring we will be returning to the Free Farm’s “Localize It!” outdoor festival.
Anyone can compete in the ChiliBrew, and anyone can judge! Just looking for a good time with good food/brews/all of the above? Come on out! Got a killer family chili recipe or brew your own beer? Bring it on! Involved with some other hobby or organization that Does It Together, here in Baltimore? Share the love! We want to bring people interested in all aspects of local lifestyles together to cross-pollinate and build community.
We’re suggesting a $10–$20 sliding-scale donation at the door from those who partake of the ChiliBrew. That’ll get you a ballot to vote on any or all of the competitions (chili con carne, veggie chili, and homebrew, though you must be 21 or older for homebrew of course). If you weigh in on the upper half of that sliding scale we’ll also give you a commemorative glass.
 The latter:
You are invited to the 1st Annual Charm City Beer Wars hosted at Mother's Federal Hill Grille. You get to choose who makes the best craft beer in Maryland. You as the consumer get to try multiple samples to help determine who has the best beer in Maryland. It's $30 all you can try. One vote per participant. If you missed out on the Charm City Wing Wars- you really missed out. Get yours to this now before it sells out.

Participating Breweries:

Baltimore Washington Beer Works
The Brewer's Art
Brewers Alley Restaurant & Brewery
Dog Brewing Company
DuClaw Brewing Company
Flying Dog Brewery
Heavy Seas Beer
Pratt Street Ale House
Red Brick Station Restaurant & Brewpub
Stillwater Artisanal Ales
Of course, if you have a designated driver or other such chaperone, there's naught keeping you from both save laws against public intoxication.

Also, please note that Federal Hill is a NIGHTMARE to park in on Sunday afternoons, as parking restrictions start on the streets at 2 PM and last until Monday morning. READ PARKING SIGNS CLOSELY or park in the West Street Garage, or take the Circulator/taxi/MTA bus/designated driver option.  Or walk or bicycle, whatever.

15 April 2012

The Police Cars Outnumbered the Protestors....... UPDATED

An average of four protestors for the hour.  An average of five police cars and 12 or more police officers, present because Ale Mary's and supporters had presented evidence of suggestions/threats of illegal acts made on the Facebook pages opposing Ale Mary's and/or for the protest.

And, apparently by instruction from the police, they were restricted to standing across the street.  (This is not the first time this writer has seen such restrictions upon bar protestors; a similar order was directed to protestors opposing a paid speech by Irish Republican Army member Gerry Adams at Mick O'Shea's years ago.)

So they were standing under the awning of--wait for it--Bad Decisions.

That is really all that needs to be said.

The bar had specials on Flying Dog's new Disobedience, Monty Python's Holy Grail Ale, and Maudite ("Damned" or "Condemned" in French) on draft, as well as a "Gluttony Tots" ("Tater Tots" covered in gravy) special.  Patrons filled the bar and surrounding sidewalk for the "free entertainment."

UPDATE:  The Maryland Catholic Review's article and video.

13 April 2012

Ultimately, We May Have All the Beer Just Poured Into Our Mouths From the Tap Or Pitcher......

For a while now, we've seen many craft breweries shifting away from bottles and more towards aluminum cans.  The debate has flowed back and forth for years: glass is traditional and inert but heavy and fragile, and lends itself to easy swap-out of labels between batches; cans block light, are inert from beer thanks to liner coatings, don't break, are safe to carry onto beaches and into stadiums, and are far lighter both empty and full.  Both recycle fairly readily, but aluminum has of late come in as a "green" choice that's supposedly better for the environment.

But now the owner of one of the noted craft breweries, Lagunitas, has come out adamantly opposed to the use of aluminum cans.  Possibly inspired in part by this article and others like it. 

I think I'll take my own glass or cup to the City Paper Brew Fest tomorrow.  That would certainly be "green," wouldn't it?  Oh, wait, beer festivals don't let you do that, do they?

Frederick Beer Week--Firkin Fest Tickets On Sale

This is about the time we need to start reminding you that Frederick Beer Week is coming up May 12-19th.  As with Baltimore Beer Week, it has several ticketed special events that warrant advance planning.  Among them are the Brewers Association of Md. Springfest, a Tour de Brew bicycle tour of several breweries before the Springfest, and a Firkin Fest "bookending" FBW just as the BAM Oktoberfest and Chesapeake Real Ale Fest do Baltimore Beer Week.  Currently, the Firkin Fest's participating breweries include Flying Dog, Barley and Hops, Brewer’s Alley/Monocacy Brewing Company, DuClaw, and Heavy Seas.

Tickets for the FBW events just went on sale.

12 April 2012

Another Baltimore Beer Book: "Baltimore Beer" by Rob Kasper

New breweries aren't the only thing coming out in bunches these days in the Baltimore area.  Fast on the heels of the recently-released Maureen Prey's Brewing in Baltimore comes Rob Kasper's Baltimore Beer: A Satisfying History of Charm City Brewing.
Those of you who have lived in the Baltimore area for many years and read the Baltimore Sun will readily recognize that Kasper was, for all practical purposes, the Sun's beer columnist disguised as a roving reporter and columnist.  Hardly a season or month went by without Kasper somehow managing to eke out an article or column mentioning either the local craft beer scene or the changing beer industry and market.
Officially the book is to be released tomorrow, but Kasper and his publisher are busy arranging for book-signing events in local bars and bookstores; one is tentatively slated for the Pratt Street Ale House on June 10th.  A review copy is supposedly in the mail to Beer In Baltimore world headquarters.

(Disclaimer: this photographer provided several of the photographs in the book.)

11 April 2012

Brewers Cask/DuClaw Beer Dinner April 19th

The poster/flyer pretty much tells you what you may need to know; click on it for a larger view.  Tickets available at MissionTix or maybe at the bar.

A Big Day For Brewing Equipment Deliveries in Central Md. UPDATED

Both Push Craft Brewing/Frisco Tap House in Columbia (top photo) and Union Craft Brewing in Baltimore's Woodberry/Clipper Mill neighborhood are taking delivery of new brewing equipment today.  Now, if only Peabody Heights Brewery in Charles Village received at least a token UPS package of/from their brewing equipment source today....

Coincidence?  Hardly. Call it yet another brewing collaboration.

"We shipped them all out on the same two trucks from San Diego to save trucking costs," said Union co-founder Jon Zerevitz.   "The fermenters are coming in from China via the Port of Baltimore, and they should be here today, too!"

Union Craft Brewing also secured its Federal TTB brewing license effective today; the brewers hope to have product rolling out the door by the end of May.

(Frisco photo from Frisco Tap House Facebook account)

A Perfect Storm of Beer Releases

Okay, this is getting just TOO good.

At the same time that a group of "busybodies" is planning a protest of the alleged "blasphemy" at Ale Mary's....

Not only is Flying Dog releasing its Disobedience Abbey dubbel......

But DuClaw is doing its now-annual release of its 14% quad, RePent, with a release/glass night at Alewife on Thursday the 12th (tomorrow, as I type) and its usual release events at the three outlets in Bowie, Arundel Mills, and Bel Air......  Of course, DuClaw has several other occasional beers that would fit the theme of aggravating the protestors: Retribution, Consecration, Devil's Milk....

10 April 2012

Howard County OKs Growlers, Too

The story from ExploreHowardCounty.com, part of the Baltimore Sun (paywall alert).  But only beer, and not wine also, as originally proposed:

The delegation had requested an amendment to the growler bill to allow the sale of tap wine, but the House Economic Matters Committee did not approve it. The amendment had been requested by Joe Barbera, owner of AIDA Bistro and Wine Bar in Columbia, which offers 30 wines on tap.
"I'm a little disappointed that that wasn't part of the (bill)," Barbera said. He said the amendment probably failed because wine on tap "is something fairly new and it's not available in a large number of locations, like there are places that have beer on tap."

SPBW: Friday the 13th at Brewers Cask

Chesapeake Bay Branch of the Society for Preservation of Beers from the Wood shall meet at Brewer's Cask for 'Firkin Friday' and our April social evening:

Date: Friday 13 April 2012
Time: 7pm
Venue: Brewer's Cask, 1236 Light Street, Baltimore, MD 21230

Public Transport: Light Rail to Hamburg Street, MTA bus 64 (Curtis Bay) and 1 (Mondawmin-Fort McHenry), also free Circulator (Purple Route) with its southernmost stop a few feet from the bar!

Car Parking: Available at the multi-story in West Street.
Cask beer not yet announced.

Hellas Flying Dog Cask Night Friday the 13th

We haven't heard much out of Hellas in Anne Arundel County lately, but Joey Marchiano sent their regulars a little dispatch which may be of interest to some here:

I know it's been a while since we've had a beer event at Hellas, but we've got some great ones in the works. The next one is coming up this week, on Friday the 13th starting at 5pm. We will be hosting a Pint Nite and Flying Dog will be stopping by, bringing with them a firkin of their "Disobedience" Abbey-Dubbel Ale (7.6%). As with all of our "Pint Nite's", your first purchase of one of these great beers gets you a Flying Dog pint glass that's yours to keep (one per customer, while supplies last). In addition to the firkin, we will have discounted prices on "Raging Bitch" on the night of the event and we're also planning on having a "Gonzo" barrel-aged Imperial Porter on tap.

That's not enough?! Well, we've got more..... Since we've got all these great beers and we're pretty good in the kitchen too, we figured we'd put the two together. We're going to have 3 special menu items on the night of the event.

First one is a "Disobedience, Maple-Glazed Pork Belly". It's a mouth-watering pork belly glazed with Disobedience beer and maple syrup atop a sweet potato and corned beef hash with a jalapeno-bacon waffle.

Second item are "Raging Rockfish Sliders". Created to pair with "Raging Bitch". Panko-breaded fillets of rockfish with sweet corn salsa and Raging Bitch aioli - served with sweet onion hush puppies.

Last item is a "Gonzo Burger". A bison burger on a sesame potato roll topped with peppered bacon, frizzled onions, pickled jalapeno, pepper-jack cheese and a barrel-aged Gonzo reduction - served with sweet potato fries.
 You know, that sounds like a beer Flying Dog needs to ship to Ale Mary's as soon as possible........

BBC (British Broadcasting, not Baltimore Brewing!) Writes Up Baltimore Beer

You can read it for yourself here.

(Disclaimer: I was one of the folks interviewed for opinions for the piece.)

09 April 2012

The Ale Mary's Facebook War Ramps Up UPDATED

Ale Mary's is enjoying the scads of free publicity garnered from a Fabebook protest against their bar's "blasphemy" (see earlier post).

Meanwhile, another Facebook group has sprung up in direct opposition to the first one,  "500,000 Supporting Free Speech & "Ale Mary's"

I will not recommend the disingenuous tactic openly used and espoused by the original protest group: "Help push this thing over 1000! Invite all of your friends whether they like it or not." But I trust this blog's readers to take appropriate action as they see fit.  (When openly questioned, several times, about potential membership inflation via this tactic, the anti-Ale-Mary's group's moderator repeatedly deleted the questions from this blogger and then ejected this blogger from membership.) 

UPDATE: Fox 45 Baltimore's TV news story has supposedly been picked up as incidental (i.e. what else is happening elsewhere) news on Fox station newscasts as far away as Miami.......   

UPDATE II:  Baltimore Sun's Jill Rosen reports.

06 April 2012

National Tartan Day Today, and Session Day Tomorrow

It's National Tartan Day--not that you really noticed, even if you're a Scot.

The Scots have yet to coalesce on a single, unifying holiday with which to express their Scottish identity as the Irish so famously have with St. Patrick's Day.  Some celebrate Robert Burns' birthday in the middle of winter; some just go to the nearest Scottish or Celtic festival, whenever that is.  For the religious, there's the day for the patron saint of Scotland, but that's November 30th, easily overshadowed by America's Thanksgiving.

A group in Washington, DC managed to get National Tartan Day put on the map in 2005, but has done little with it since.  Regardless, the unofficial "Scottish pub" of Baltimore, Liam Flynn's, will mark the occasion with discounts on Scottish beers for those who show up in tartan.  (And let us point out, there's a difference between a plaid and a tartan.  Showing up in your "lumberjack" flannel shirt won't cut it.)

And a gentle reminder, Session Beer Day is being observed tomorrow, April 7th.  Two locally participating venues are Liam Flynn's (Oliver's Blonde and Heavy Seas Session Pale Ale on cask) and The Pratt Street Ale House will be selling their three session ales (Blonde Ale 4.3%, Dark Horse Mild 4% & Bishop's Breakfast 4.4%) for $3/pint on the day.

It's also Good Friday in the Christian church, and I hear a different religion is converging on a diamond-shaped temple of a different sort downtown today......

05 April 2012

Someone Out There Has a Problem With Ale Mary's...... UPDATED

I don't know whether I should give a bunch of sourpuss crackpots any publicity, but.....

The Baltimore Sun's Jill Rosen reports that there's a Facebook group protesting the "blasphemy" of Ale Mary's in Fells Point.

More at Ale Mary's Facebook Page.

I think I'll go down there for dinner this weekend.  You know, just to show MY feelings.

More here.

Maybe a whole bunch of craft beer fans with common sense should join just to spread some common sense and, you know, those sound Christian feelings of inclusiveness and diversity.........  O:-]

UPDATE: As of 11:45 Good Friday, the Sun's website article cited above has 68 comments, of which the vast majority are in opposition to the Facebook group and supportive of Ale Mary's.

UPDATE II: A perusal of the Facebook group in questions reveals that 1) the group allows the addition of registered Facebook users to the group by other members with or without their explicit consent, 2) members have stated that they have done so, and 3) I just added someone else to the group without his or her consent as a test.  So take any membership numbers touted by the group with extreme suspicion and skepticism.

Flying Dog Newcomers at Camden Yards

Straight from the press notice from Flying Dog (which, by the way, is now adamantly referring to itself as Flying Dog Brewery, as opposed to its earlier Flying Dog Ales):

Camden Yards is offering Flying Dog at over 20 locations in the ballpark this season, including at the new Roof Deck center field bar and at our own storefront (which will feature locally-inspired food and beer pairings).

Also, starting April 27, our "Firkin Friday" will feature a special cask-conditioned beer at each of the Orioles' Friday night home games.

And if that's not enough, a special shipment of our very first cans produced will be available at Sliders and Pickles Pub tomorrow [Friday the 6th] only. Starting at 5:30 am[!?!?!?!], cans of UnderDog Atlantic Lager are just $4 each.  Cans won't hit the Baltimore area for at least another month, so we are stoked to share this exclusive preview.
Those of you who are baseball geeks--is this the first time cask ales have been pledged to a major league baseball stadium on a regular basis?

Anyone for a Raspberry Imperial Shandy?

The wrong time to read this blog post discussing shandy concoctions was when I had just walked in the door with a jug of raspberry lemonade.  Now I'm compelled to grab it and run down to Max's or Brewer's Art and experiment.

16 Mile Brewing Switches to Glass Bottles, Expands to Baltimore

The Baltimore Sun reports on the Georgetown, Del. brewery's switchover from the unusual 16-ounce aluminum bottles to glass-bottle six-packs and their expansion into the Baltimore market.

So add any of the aluminum bottles you might see or have to the "collectible" category.

04 April 2012

Expanded Pratt Street Ale House

Brewer's Art annual Lymphoma/Leukemia Society Fundraiser

Brewer's Art brewer Rob Perry's LLS fundraiser is tomorrow, Thursday, April 5. Go to The Brewer's Art, eat and drink, and know that a portion of the night's proceeds will benefit research into the treatment or cure of  leukemia and lymphoma!

03 April 2012

Well, it LOOKS like a brewpub......

Photos of ongoing construction in the future Dempsey's in the Camden Yards Warehouse.  Decide for yourselves.

Pratt Street/Oliver Breweries to Open Columbia Ale House

Reported to me minutes ago in person by Pratt Street Ale House co-owner Justin Dvorkin:

"We just bought the former Rocky Run Tap and Grill in Columbia's Dobbin Shopping Center.  We're going to open it as the Columbia Ale House.  We expect to have fifty draft lines or so, three cask engines, dominated of course by Oliver Brewies products, just like the Pratt Street Ale House, and a good bottle selection.  It's about 9,000 square feet, with a lot of outdoor patio space."

Longtime central Maryland craft imbibers may remember that Rocky Run operated as a brewpub for a spell, with a not-very-stellar reputation, closing in August 2008.  The restaurant has reportedly been vacant ever since, in spite of the thriving culinary scene in Columbia.  (Note that head-to-head competition, the Frisco Tap House and Brewery, is just down the road a short distance!)  Dvorkin noted, "That place is going to need a LOT of work before we can open it.  We're hoping we can have it open by September."  Dvorkin is considering retaining the barbeque and Tex-Mex food theme that made Rocky Run a popular restaurant for a spell.

Meanwhile, renovations frantically continue at the downtown Baltimore Pratt Street Ale House, trying to have the entire expanded building (including the former Nest/DSX bar on the east side) open for Opening Day this Friday.  "The Grand Prix was big for us, but Opening Day is by far our busiest single day of the year."

Granted, this puts additional pressure on Oliver Breweries to find new/additional brewing resources of one kind or another, or else start cutting back on distribution to other outlets.  Stay tuned......

(Photo from ComeVisitColumbiaMd.com)

02 April 2012

Sweet Cherry or Sour Cherry? UPDATED

Choose for yourself at Max's Taphouse tomorrow:
This Tuesday we will be featuring Oliver's Hot Monkey Love 4 different ways along with a bunch of their other great drafts:
Hot Monkey Love
Hot Monkey Love French Oak
Hot Monkey Love American Oak
Hot Monkey Love Bourbon Barrel
3 Spires
3 Lions Bourbon Barrel
We will also have two different version of Oliver's Cherry Blossom one on cask and one on draft. One will have Sweet Cherries and the other will have Tart Cherries.
Traditionally, you'll always get a far stronger, and more traditionally "cherry", flavor from sour cherries in fermentation than from sweet cherries.  This is well-known to experienced wine and melomel (fruit mead) makers; it'll be fascinating to sample the two Cherry Blossoms side by side and compare.  I expect a remarkable contrast.

UPDATE:  Tart (cask) on the left, sweet (draft) on the right.

More about that supposed Oriole Park brewpub.... UPDATED AGAIN

With Opening Day for Oriole Park creeping up this Friday, more news is coming out about the proposed brewpub at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

To be named Dempsey's after former Orioles catcher Rick Dempsey, the brewpub will be one of three new restaurants to open in the Eutaw Street "warehouse" building of the stadium, the other two being outlets of Gino's, the once-popular local burger chain originally founded by Colts Gino Marchetti and Alan Ameche and now being revived, and Stuggy's, the gourmet hot-dog shop in Fells Point.  Dempsey's, in the former Bud Light Warehouse Bar, will be open on a limited basis starting Friday for Opening Day, with a full opening planned in late April. The restaurant will then be open year-round on game days and non-game days.

Although Dempsey's chef Josh Distenfeld told Baltimore Magazine that beer will be brewed on the premises, representatives for Delaware North, the service franchisee for Camden Yards, have not responded to several inquiries regarding the specifics for constructing the brewery, hiring a brewmaster, and the like.

More from the Sun's Richard Gorelick:
Dempsey's opening roster of beers, which will be brewed on premises, include Wild Pitch Wheat, Pine Tar Stout, Rick's Red Ale and -- how could they resist -- Rain Delay IPA, according to Camden Yard's food and beverage director Adrian Sedano. The bar at Dempsey's is scheduled to be open on April 6. The dining menu and house-brewed beers will may be ready for the second homestand, Sedano said.
 UPDATE:  Dempsey is apparently not the only former Oriole to get into the microbrewery business.

UPDATE II: I just went by Oriole Park--they're installing that looks passably like a brewing system albeit far smaller than even Bare Bones or Rocky Run ever had.  It may be either an extract system or a facade.....

Growler Bill Passes Md. Legislature

We've long ago learned never to take anything in politics for granted, but after this weekend, it appears that legislation to allow the almost-universal filling of growlers by any Baltimore City venue licensed for on-premises consumption, save for non-profit venues and clubs such as the American Legion and the city's municipal golf courses (and how far do the thought processes that mandate such a specific exemption extend?), to fill and refill growlers with draft beer for off-site transport and consumption.

Baltimore City Liquor Board chairman Stephan Fogleman reported that the Senate approved the Baltimore City growler bill 46-0 and the Senate passed it 133-1 in the final vote late on Friday.  If/when signed by Governor Martin O'Malley, the law would become effective July 1st.

A similar bill for Howard County, which includes containers for wine, has passed the House of Delegates and is awaiting Senate action.

The bill originally restricted growlers to restaurant licensees, but it was then changed to include any liquor license holder, with the exception of clubs. Establishments that already sell package goods, such as a six-pack to go, can apply for a $50 annual license to sell growlers. Businesses without carryout licenses will also be able to sell growlers but will have to pay $500 for a license.  Sen. William C. Ferguson IV, a Democrat who represents Baltimore's waterfront and is the measure's sponsor, told the Baltimore Sun that the distinction was created because some establishments felt that refillable containers are an extension of presealed items to go, such as bottles of wine--and in some instances, such as prefilled growlers stocked by Baltimore Brewing Co./DeGroen's in a cooler back in years past, that's exactly what they amounted to.  Ferguson said growlers will have to be able to be sealed, and the bar or restaurant will have to brand the filled growlers with stickers identifying where they were filled, in addition to other labeling provisions.

The additional licensing measures and labeling requirements will mean that it will be unlikely that bars not specifically dedicating themselves to craft beer and its aficionados are unlikely to participate in growler fills.  In addition, why fill a growler if a perfectly acceptable six-pack or 22-ounce bottle of the same beer is sitting on the shelf, properly pre-packaged by the brewery?  Besides which, $8 (plus tip?) for a 64-ounce growlerful of Budweiser, or $7 for a 72-ounce six-pack?

More at the Baltimore Sun.