26 June 2012

More Cask Ale at Camden Yards Fridays

No, sorry, not more selection, just more of the same.

Updating the previous mention of Firkin Fridays at the Flying Dog stand at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, FDB PR manager Erin Biles updates:
Because our casks each Friday have been so popular, the Orioles decided to feature two casks at each game moving forward! We'll still have one at our storefront, but starting July 13, we'll also have one at the Roof Deck bar. 
And in case you don't have it handy, here's the remaining schedule for the year:
  • June 29: Doggie Style Classic Pale Ale
  • July 13: UnderDog Atlantic Lager
  • July 27: Single Hop Imperial IPA with Chinook 
  • August 10: Snake Dog IPA 
  • August 24: Raging Bitch Belgian-Style IPA
  • September 7: Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout
  • September 28: Single Hop Imperial IPA with Centennial 
The styles are still subject to change, but those are fairly firm. If you need anything else, definitely let me know.

More Raven Beer/Peabody Heights updates

Photos came in today from Baltimore-Washington Beer Works president Stephen Demczuk of the installation going in at the new Peabody Heights Brewery in Waverly.

In other news, the brewery is working to redesign its labels and develop new ones somewhat in the style of Flying Dog's noted technique of hiring illustrator Ralph Steadman to create artwork.  In the case of Peabody/Raven, the artist is noted former Baltimore Sun, and current Economist Magazine, editorial cartoonist "KAL," or Kevin Kallaugher, who will come up with artwork for the company's pending products.

In addition, the spacious facility at Barclay and 30th Sts., a former soda-packaging facility, has plenty of room for additional production, tanks, storage, and the like, so the Peabody Heights Brewery partnership is seeking contracts for supplemental production.  Demczuk reported that negotiations are under way with one Pennsylvania microbrewery, and also with a trademark holder to revive a long-lost beer brand to the area after a prolonged absence (no, not National Premium!).

21 June 2012

YET ANOTHER New Maryland Craft Brewery!

Fin City Brewing, operating at the Hooper's Crab House in West Ocean City, Maryland.  Three recipes--Fin Light, Sneaky Wheat, and Coastal Pale Ale--being brewed on a five-barrel system, with seasonals soon to come.

19 June 2012

Union Craft Brewing Debut June 29th at Max's

Union Craft Brewing has announced their debut/premiere party, at Max's Taphouse on Friday, June 29th beginning at 5 PM.

18 June 2012

U.S. Defeats U.K. in Olivers War of 1812

Why I made a good election judge:  I didn't vote.  Couldn't decide between the two, not even on oak firkin.  (The book, by P.J. O'Rourke, is highly recommended. As is the blended firkin on handpump.)

But one example of the ballot creativity we saw.

The moment the count is announced; Steve groans and Derek cheers.  The tally: 405 to 390, or 50.9% to 49.1%, showing once again how polarized American voters are (at least when it comes to this beer).
 Steve Jones, wearing the "U.S." shirt, commiserates partly on his "loss."
And now he has to stand and recite "God Bless America."  (Well, at least it wasn't singing "Jerusalem" while standing in a tea chest....)

Peabody Heights Brewing Takes First Deliveries Of Brewing Equipment

 Just how full CAN you cram a truck, anyway?

The first of several truckloads of the barely-used 30-barrel brewhouse system from British Columbia was unloaded at the future Raven Beer/Peabody Heights brewery in "lower Waverly" on Friday.  They're hoping to be in production by September, and company president Stephen Demczuk reports that a few other companies are already inquiring about contract production, including a southeastern Pennsylvania brewery.....
 In spite of appearances, that mash tun DID fit in that truck, although they had to move the trailer to find a doorway wide enough to get it out!

 As can be seen in the background, there's plenty of room in the brewery for expansion.

The brew kettle.  Also in the truck was a bottler and 300+ kegs.......  and this was just the first truck.

Wharf Rat's 25th yesterday, War of 1812 at Pratt Street Ale House tonight

 The Wharf Rat, one of the places where the craft/micro beer renaissance got its  foothold in Baltimore, celebrated its 25th anniversary on Sunday.  Here, Jen Oliver pours one of the first mugs of a "revival" batch of their original brewing recipe, S.W.1.
Yes, that's a cake.

 Bill Oliver orders the issue of the "daily rum rations," a practice discontinued by the Royal Navy in 1970.

Meanwhile, at what had been the second Wharf Rat with a brewpub, tonight marks the conclusion of the "War of 1812" brew-off between the two in-house brewers:
At 6pm on Monday at The Pratt Street Ale House the ballots will be counted and one of us will stand victorious, the other paying a forfeit of the victor's choosing! To celebrate we'll be tapping two special oak barrels, Rule Britannia with Bramling Cross & Juniper Berries and God Bless America with Amarillo & Grains Of Paradise. We'll also be tapping a blended firkin dry hopped with Bramling Cross and Amarillo just to prove that we can still get along after all of the trash talk of the last couple of weeks! I hope you'll come along and celebrate/commiserate with us on Monday. $3 pints of 1812 cask and draft all evening!

Baltimore Proposes Shuttering 128 Liquor Stores

In a not-entirely-unexpected move, the City of Baltimore is looking to rezone certain blocks in the city over a two-year process with the objective of forcing approximately 128 liquor stores, most of which were "grandfathered" in as existing stores in the 1970s and which would not be allowed to open today, to close and sell their licenses.  The city is linking the stores to higher levels of violent crime..

The Baltimore Sun has the story.

I'm willing to wager none of these places sell anything we want to drink.

Among the interesting tidbits in the story:

*"In all, there are 1,330 liquor licenses in Baltimore, [Tomas J. Stosur, planning director] said. Liquor stores hold about 300, restaurants hold about 400 and taverns have more than 600."

*"The goal of the liquor store rezoning is to reduce the density of outlets selling alcohol, officials said. They note Baltimore's population has dropped by almost a third in the last 40 years but the number of outlets has remained constant."

*"About 90 percent of the city's liquor stores are owned by Korean Americans, and a legal representative for them says two years is not enough time to force the stores to move, shut or change operations."
(A personal observation: If 90 percent of the city's liquor stores were owned by a different minority, the cries of "Racism!" would be loud and clear.....)
(UPDATE: That premise is covered further in this updated Baltimore Sun article.)

14 June 2012

So, yeah, apparently Baltimore DOES drink a lot of craft beer......

A marketing research company, Scarborough Research, has just released a study saying that Baltimore is among the top 20 markets for drinking craft beer:
A new study from local market consumer research firm Scarborough reveals that 42 percent of the age 21+ American adult population have enjoyed a beer in the past 30 days. More specifically, five percent of all adults 21+ have had a microbrew in the same time frame. With Memorial Day behind us and BBQ and grilling season heating up, the latest Scarborough analysis looks at behaviors of Microbrew Drinkers. 
Survey results for "the top twenty local markets for American adults 21+ who have had a microbrew in the past 30 days" (UPDATED with more data from Scarborough):
% of Adults 21+ Who Drank a Microbrew
Denver, CO
Portland, OR
Seattle, WA
Colorado Springs, CO
Milwaukee, WI
Spokane, WA
San Francisco, CA
Boston, MA
Grand Rapids, MI
Austin, TX
Minneapolis, MN
Hartford, CT
San Diego, CA
Tucson, AZ
Baltimore, MD
Washington, DC
Rochester, NY
Green Bay, WI
Des Moines, IA
Kansas City, MO

Interestingly, Baltimore marginally beats out its "upscale" neighbor to the south, Washington D.C., and also its "neighbor" to the north, Philadelphia (at 5.4%), which just concluded its own Philly Beer Week.  Maybe it's all the Yuengling up there, I dunno.  Harrisburg/Lancaster/Lebanon/York comes in at 4.5%, Richmond/Petersburg at 3.9%, NYC at 3.8%, Pittsburgh at 3.5%, Roanoke/Lynchburg at 2.7%, and Norfolk/Newport News at 2.0%  Worst of the survey?  Harlingen/Weslaco/Brownsville/McAllen, Texas with 0.6%.

Part of the analysis hints at throwing off the results:
Where are these beer drinkers buying their brew? More than half (53%) of Microbrew Drinkers purchased beer at a grocery store in the past 30 days. Microbrew Drinkers also purchased beer at sit-down restaurants (45%), nightclubs or bars (38%) and liquor stores (37%). Microbrew Drinkers are more than twice as likely as all beer-drinking adults 21+ to have purchased beer at a stadium or arena in the past 30 days.
Not like we can buy a beer at the grocery store around here (or in Pennsylvania or Delaware).  I'm wondering what the results would have looked like if we could.

13 June 2012

Baltimore Sun reviews Dempsey's "Brewpub"

They (well, the free-lancer) found everything satisfactory except the beer.

Considering that the beer preparation system is an oversized version of the "no boiling necessary! Just stir in the extract, add yeast, and wait!" Mr. Beer "homebrew" kit......  why am I not surprised?

12 June 2012

Sail For the Ales? And Other Events Coming Up

For the next week, downtown Baltimore is going to be chaotic with tourists and traffic to mark the bicentennial of the War of 1812.  But there are a few good beer events coming up, so let's tip you all off with a brief guide.

Here's the main website for Star Spangled Sailabration, the tall-ship flotilla en route as we type.  HEADS-UP: Expect traffic to be thoroughly snarled all week.

You already know about Pratt Street Ale House's battle of the brews.  Right?

Tonight:  Heavy Seas Alehouse has a beer dinner with Hugh Sisson presenting.  Still some seats left, we're told.

Thursday:  The Society for Preservation of Beers from the Wood meets at Red Brick Station in White Marsh.  Promised firkins:  Barrel Aged Octopus Pajamas (Scottish Ale, ABV = 6.3%), They Made Me Do It (Blueberry Ale, ABV = 4.10%), and Daily Crisis (English IPA, ABV = 6.10%).

Also Thursday, Donna's at Cross Keys is hosting a lecture and book signing by Rob Kasper, author of the new book Baltimore Beer. Starts at 5:30; pilsner beers will be available as "Pilsners On the Patio."

Though it's been unofficially "out" on the streets for a week or two now, the revived National Premium Beer is now "officially" released.  Check out the website.

DuClaw is releasing its X-5 Sorachi Ace IPA on Thursday at its locations.

Meanwhile, Max's Taphouse has the following events lined up:



We will have two great IPA’s made at Oliver’s on draft:
One brewed by Steve Jones(Englishman & Brew master with all UK Ingredients)
One brewed By Derek Davis(PA native & Assistant Brewer with All USA Ingredients.)
We will also have a cask of each.

We will be voting so see who makes the best IPA……….

Sah Tea, Palo Santo Marron, 90 Minute, My Antonia, World Wide Stout, Ta Henket, Burton Baton, Festina Peche, Red & White, Black & Blue, Midas Touch, Urkontinet, Namaste, 60 Minute, Tweason Ale and Olde School.
To Celebration the War of 1812 we have brought in a whole bunch of great Shipyard drafts
We will have
Chamberlain pale Ale
Fuggles IPA
Export Ale
Old Thumper
Monkey Fist IPA
Light Ale
Blue Fin Stout
Double Old Thumper
Smashed Blueberry
Imperial Porter
Barley wine
 This is a great line up of world class ales from Maine….
We will be tapping 4 great Seas Dog Brewery Drafts
Blueberry Wheat
Raspberry Wheat
Apricot Wheat
We will be featuring a whole bunch of great Full Sail Brewery Bottles
Pale Ale
Session Lager
Session Black
Extra Special Barney ESB
Top Sail Bourbon Barrel

Finally for now, I almost hesitate to mention this one, not because the place isn't deserving of a fine time and all generously due celebration and thanks, but because the place just isn't that big.....  the Wharf Rat in Fells Point, among the pioneering locations of the craft beer revival in Maryland and the Northeast, is marking its 25th anniversary on Sunday, June 17th (yes, Father's Day) with appropriate festivities.  Do yourselves and the place a favor, and don't all arrive at once.  Please.

06 June 2012

Union Craft Brewing Fires Up!

The first batch of Duckpin Pale Ale is being brewed as we type.

05 June 2012

Interesting Legal Question of the Day

The new Maryland Farm Brewery license law, scheduled to go into effect July 1st, specifies, in part that:

I wonder if water from a farm well would count....  or flowers.... or....

Note that the law doesn't specify how much must be present.  One hop cone and/or one grain of malt per fifty-barrel batch might suffice.  But at least the 15,000-barrel annual limit will keep one of the corporate brewers from getting ideas....

More discussion here.

Peak Beer Dinner at Blue Grass Tavern tomorrow

Short notice, to be sure, but here's another beer dinner, this one in Federal Hill.
Event Date and Time:  Jun 6 2012 - 7:00pm - 10:00pm
Blue Grass Tavern in Federal Hill joins with Calvert Liquors to host a beer dinner featuring the beers of Peak Organic Brewing. Chef Ray Kumm displays his culinary and pairing skills while featuring delicious late spring and early summer dishes that will fill you up but never weigh you down! Beer and Wine Dinners are now paid in advance, so please visit the restaurant, call at 410-244-5101 or email Chris Coker at cwsomm@gmail.com for tickets. The cost of the Peak Dinner is $55 per guest and does not include tax or gratuity.
Menu for the evening:
First Course
House Cured Local Pork Loin
blueberry, celery, peanut
Summer Session
Second Course
Chesapeake Striped Bass Tartare
sorrel, jalapeno, bacon
Amber Ale
Third Course
Chinese Style Twin Ponds Duck Sausage
pea shoot, mushroom, radish
India Pale Ale
Fourth Course
Prime Rib of Gunpowder Farms Bison
parsnip, ginger, foie gras
Nut Brown Ale

03 June 2012

Delaware Won't Lose a Brewery After All....

As if we're not getting enough good beer sprouting up in Baltimore and the surrounding area....

The Salisbury Daily Times reports this morning that two Salisbury women, Suellen Vickers and Lori Clough, are purchasing the former Evolution Craft Brewing location in Delmar, to re-open as the Third Wave Brewing Co.  Because the brewery was sold complete after its recent replacement with Evolution's new Salisbury brewery, they expect to start brewing in mid-July, federal permits approval allowing.

Meanwhile, as for the Evolution brothers, John and Tom Knorr, their new brewery is now operating at 201 E. Vine St. in Salisbury, a short distance down the track from the former PRR station in which they had originally hoped to set up a brewpub. The new Evolution Craft Brewing Co. building has production space, a tasting room, and a new restaurant, Evolution Public House, open 4-10 every night and also for Saturday lunch and Sunday brunch. More information is at their blog.

01 June 2012

The War Is On at Pratt Street Ale House

As promised, the two competing versions of the War of 1812 IPAs are now on tap, dueling it out at the Pratt Street Ale House (and elsewhere--see below), as well as the fifth version of the joint Stillwater/Oliver Channel Crossing:

Will your rallying cry be "Rule Brittania" or "God Bless America"? Come to The Pratt Street Ale House and decide, cast your vote for the War Of 1812 IPAs! We'll be taking the battle to Liam Flynn's Ale House on Tuesday 5th with casks of each War Of 1812 IPA and Max's Taphouse on Wednesday 13th with casks and draft. Your vote counts, use it wisely!
(Photo from Oliver Ales)

Heavy Seas Alehouse Beer Dinner with Hugh Sisson June 13th

$60 a head; details, menu, and reservation form here.