September 30, 2008

Pumpkin, Oktoberfest and Fest Beers (Bier) In Maryland

Recently someone googled into Baltimore Beer Guy searching for where to find these seasonal beers in Maryland. I try to be a resource, so here's what I know

1)I'm not a huge fan of these beers, so my interest/knowledge is a bit limited

2)As far as in bottles, I can guarantee almost any respectable bottle shop and beer/wine store will have several. They're particularly loaded at The Perfect Pour and I definitely recommend heading down their way to see what they have. Locally, Clipper City's MarzHon seasonal is widely available in bottles and occasionally on tap.

Also, be sure to check out my "Stock Up" listing of shops and custom-made map of places to find good beer in Maryland. I'm trying to build it so it's not the most comprehensive just yet. Both are on the menu at right.

3)More importantly, here's where I recommend finding them on tap.

Max's in Fell's Point is guaranteed to have some. They recently hosted a German beer fest and there are still a few leftover German beers and I'm fairly certain they've added more than a few seasonal taps.

Frisco Grille in Columbia had a ton on recently although the supply has dwindled a bit as they transition to their less seasonal selections.

Ellicott Mills Brewing Company in downtown Ellicott City should be a good option. The last time I was there (just a few days ago) they didn't have any "fest" beers, but they brew in the traditional German Alpenhof style and was told several seasonals were coming on board just as soon as a few of the other beers kicked. Everything is made in-house there and goes great with the fall season in general.

Also, you can find custom beers at various breweries. Flying Dog makes a Dogtoberfest Marzen and is likely on tap at their Frederick brewery (open on Saturdays from 1:30-4, they have a really fun tasting room). Dogfish Head's Alehouse in Gaithersburg also has their seasonal "Punkin" beer on tap right now. Ram's Head Tavern in Savage (and maybe other locations) should also have I think either an Oktoberfest or pumpkin or other "fest" styled beer on tap.

4)Other than that, I'd check with respected watering holes with at least 6-7 tap handles (Victoria Gastro Pub in Columbia and especially The Judge's Bench in downtown Ellicott City come to mind) to inquire what they have available.

5)Finally, I'd check with the handful of German restaurants in Maryland. I only know Eichenkranz (who I doubt carries any seasonals but you can ask) in downtown and Schmankerl Stube in Hagerstown which might, and if nothing else will have terrific German beers on tap.

Feel free to chime in with other suggestions or comments!

Update: Some updates ... Brewers Alley in Frederick has an Oktoberfest beer on tap right now. So too, does Dog Pub in Columbia. I've also stumbled across a third German dining establishment in Maryland that does have authentic German beers and should have some kind of seasonal on tap -- The Old Stein Inn in Edgewater near Annapolis.

Dogfish Head Oktoberfest Beer Dinner

This is being held at the Gaithersburg, Md. Dogfish Head Alehouse (as well as the Falls Church Virginia location).

Details: October 27th (VA) & 28th (MD), starting at 7 p.m.for $50 (tax and tip included)

The Food:

Perogies w/Shelter Pale Ale

Spinach salad with warm bacon dressing w/Midas Touch

German sauerkraut soup with German dark bread w/Theobroma

Sauerbraten with spaetzle, red cabbage and green beans w/Indian Brown Ale

Apple strudel and ice cream w/Punkin Ale

September 29, 2008

Look What Came In The Mail

Other than my brand new growler for fill-ups at Brewer's Art and Max's, of course. My friend Steve (who writes Summer of Beer) sent the following:

The Bruery Trade Winds Tripel
The Bruery Saison Rue
The Bruery Batch Levud's (1038/2157, signed and everything!)
Founder's Breakfast Stout
Russian River Blind Pig

Plus a few coasters and stickers (Russian River, Oskar Blues, Stone -- I love that stuff).

We'll "parallel taste" the Bruery Tripel and Levud's (a Belgian strong pale ale) in the near future. The rest are all mine mwahahahaha. No joke I'm salivating thinking about each and every one of these beers.

The Breakfast Stout and Blind Pig are both in Beer Advocate's top 100 beers (I've had the Pig, its awesome -- I want it now -- but I'm holding off).

The Bruery is a fairly new, sorta Belgian inspired brewery in Orange County, California of all places. I've had their Black Orchard (Belgian dark ale) several times now when I swing by Stone Brewing and each time I'm impressed.

September 28, 2008

Two Different Howard County Beer Stops

On Wednesday evening I went to one of my favorite places, Frisco Grille in Columbia. At some point there will be a proper review of the place here at Baltimore Beer Guy but in brief they're the most craft beer friendly taphouse in Howard County. It's someplace I now regularly frequent.

Anyway, once there I had the Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale on tap (famously sold in cans around the country) which is one of my favorite "common" craft beers. I also had the Victory Festbier. Almost everywhere right now there seems to be an abundance of "fest", pumpkin, and Oktoberfest beers. Rightly so, but I've never gotten that into them.

The Victory surprised me a bit, it has some malty sweetness and wasn't off-putting while tasting, well, seasonal. For people who dig that kind of beer, this is your time of year!

Anyway, from there I made a short drive up Snowden River Parkway to Victoria Gastro Pub. They too, never a proper review from Baltimore Beer Guy. I haven't frequented them as much lately, but it was a good visit. I actually arrived at the peak of SIN (Service Industry Night) so the dining area was closed down and the bar was jammed with various people. They had a discount on tap beer, and I had a truly delicious Saison DuPont.

I've been on a huge saison kick lately, and while DuPont is a saison I have mixed feelings about, this thing was particularly fresh and refreshing that evening. Normally I think Victoria would serve that in a 10 oz chalice, but the 20 oz nonic glass really worked out well with this most recent pour.

On Friday I again went out, first to stock up at The Perfect Pour (my favorite bottle shop right now and a tremendous place for beer nuts) and then for some beers in downtown Ellicott City.

The first stop was at Ellicott Mills Brewing. I hadn't been there in a while, but decided to have some German brews which are seasonal without being cutesy like some of the true seasonals I've found lately. I tried the Firecracker Dunkel (I believe?) which was delicious and just about out, and then some kind of bock. Both were solid. Right now it seems Ellicott Mills is doing a ton of unique brews. I enjoy their standards -- the Marzen is particularly good and sessionable -- but it's nice to see variations on their Alpenhof theme so now is a good time to get in there.

From there I walked just up the street to The Judge's Bench. I had mixed feelings about this place the first time I went in, but I'm liking it a lot more now. They have a really good bottle selection and 17 taps along with a clean bar surface. Sticking with my saison kick, I went with an Ommegang Hennepin which was fresh and yummy if not quite as tasty as I've had it on tap before. The owner here is really nice and I timed it right, arriving before it got crowded and the beer drinking crowd focused on standard brews instead of their great tap offerings.

I need to make those kinds of trips more often. I'm more than happy to camp out at Victoria or Frisco's in particular, but the other stops went so well I'm itching to return.

ALSO: See my custom made "Howard County Beer Map", one of the new features here at Baltimore Beer Guy. I'll be updating the various beer maps (linked on the menu at right) as I turn this site into more of a beer resource for the area, feel free to suggest additional maps, locations on maps, revisions, etc.

September 25, 2008

The Perfect Pour This Week

Lagunitas tasting on Friday (5 p.m.) with brewery rep Chris.

Blue Point Brewing and Legacy Brewing tasting Saturday from 3-7 p.m. Try the Toasted Lager and Hoptical Illusion (Blue Point) and Hedonism Ale (Legacy).

They've re-arranged the place a bit, as I was completely thrown off the last time I went in there. I was told they had gotten additional shelf space and the employees were feverishly re-stocking the shelves with boxes and cases all over the place last Friday.

Chow.com Talks To Russian River's Vinnie Cilurzo

Cool interview, Vinnie talks about the dangerous but awesome Brettanomyces yeast, his background, etc.

Russian River beers are no joke, among the world's finest. I was fortunate enough to check them out (several times!) on a summer trip to Northern California with my friend Steve from Summer of Beer. They're also now beginning to distribute a bit more around California and their kegs and bottles are even showing up in Pennsylvania.

Maryland would be all the better with a talented "wild" beer brewer like Cilurzo. Brewer's Art does the state proud through the talent of its mostly Belgian-inspired interpretations of beer, but I'm always looking for "more" of a good thing, if you will.

September 24, 2008

Bud's New American Ale

Bud has released on tap (and in a few more days, in bottle) its first serious foray into "craft" beer with its American Ale. What are we to make of it?

Unlike other Anheuser-Busch products, this one appears to be true to respected brewing without adjuncts, etc. Good. But how will it taste? And should beer nuts/snobs give it a cold shoulder if it's actually a quality product?

Bud is marketing this as something that in blind taste tests is preferred by craft beer lovers over actual popular craft beer. That's hard to believe, but moving past arguing merits of claims for a moment I'll probably give it a try if I'm somewhere that they serve it.

Based on this map at the Bud American Ale website, that won't happen, at least until it gets a stronger distribution on tap in the area.

Anyway, this is an interesting and seemingly more frequent story of the beer macro going micro.

September 23, 2008

Fun Beer Time In Downtown Baltimore

I write this mostly to reference the simple fun beer-related things that can be done in and around Baltimore and Maryland.

Last Sunday the family had a pair of Ravens tickets, and I was the odd man out. No biggie, but I turned that into an opportunity to piggyback a ride into town. It saved gas and let me be a bit more freewheeling in what and how much I could drink.

I chose to start at Fell's Point, specifically the great Max's (around 3 p.m. Eastern). As most Maryland beer nuts know, Max's is an outstanding place with just a ridiculous amount of taps, most of them high quality and in high rotation. The owners have good connections so there's always more than a handful of hard to find goodies.

The problem was it was NFL Sunday, and Max's is supposedly jammed on Sundays. I took the risk and it paid off. I was able to find a seat at the bar within about 10 minutes. It was crowded in there, but could have been much worse (this was still about two hours before the Ravens game, maybe that had something to do with it). Max's has a deal where you can get 32 oz of beer in a plastic (eh) cup for $6. I passed on that and dove into two Belgian beers: an Ename Triple and a Kasteel Rouge.

Both came in chalices, and the bartender wisely asked if I'd had the Kasteel before (I hadn't, but I knew what was coming). I'd had a different Kasteel on a recent trip to Dr. Granville Moore's in Washington D.C., but this one was special. As I've written before, beer is sort of an avenue to satisfy my sweet tooth at times. The Kasteel Rouge is a "Belgian Cherry Ale" and it was like malted Kool-Aid, absolutely delicious. I was hooked and would have had more but I was trying to not get stuck simply at Max's (which isn't exactly a problem, but I had adventure on my mind).

The Ename was far more bland, served a bit warm as well, but there were some floral notes to it that I liked but a bit mild in flavor. Many tripels are that way so I didn't hold it too much against them, but I've had more enjoyable tripels.

From Max's I walked to Ale Mary's, about five minutes away. I'd read about them before having never been, as a place with a slight religious and Belgian beer theme. The facility itself is tiny, very narrow with a long bar and a long row of narrow seating past the bar. It opens to the street which is nice. The regulars there were a bit older, and glued to the television just a few minutes before the Ravens game kicked off.

I ordered their famous "cheesy tots" -- self-explanatory -- and the house Belgian pale ale. I expected a bit more out of the pale, but it wasn't a dud either. It had some spices and complexity in the nose and taste but was also a little off-putting. The service was great, as the person who handled my tab was one of the rare people to notice the "ask for ID" section on my credit card. We had a good laugh about that. The bartender woman was also friendly and offered everyone shots after her Redskins had just pulled off a victory. I passed, but that was festive and lively and part of what makes a place like that fun.

They usually have about 5-6 beers on draft here from what I've read, including the house pale and a few more common beers. The notable exception that day (they usually have one really good beer on draft when people write about Ale Mary's) was a Victory Golden Monkey Belgian-style tripel which was calling my name but something I also passed on to save room for the next stop.

From there I grabbed a cab over to Brewer's Art just in time for their opening. Part of my mission was to try their 12th Anniversary beer they called the "Twelve Labors". That was my first order at the upstairs bar. It had a great nose, served in their great kolsch-style glasses. It tasted solid, too, but not spectacular. They describe it as follows:
"A wheated, Herculean 'Chesapeake Mild' brewed to celebrate the twelfth anniversary of our opening (4.5% ABV)"

Sounds about right. Good, not great, but quite enjoyable as most of their offerings are and why I'm such a loyal follower.

From there I shifted to the cavernous, brooding downstairs bar for several chalices of their seasonal "Saison Pecore". This is a ridiculously refreshing, aromatic, tasty and enjoyable saison-style beer and in line with other inspired offerings from Brewer's Art. They describe it as follows:
"A deep golden ale, hopped with East Kent Goldings and Willamette hops, spiced with kaffir lime leaves and paradise seed (4.9% ABV)"

The bartender upstairs mentioned this will be out soon, so I recommend heading over there for a few if they aren't out already.

Eventually the folks made their way out of the Ravens game and met me at Brewer's Art for another round and a bite to eat before ending the evening. Good times, as usual, downtown. At the same time I could say this stood out but it didn't which is part of the appeal to the beer offerings downtown. Only schedule and responsibility keep me from more regular trips like that.

Brew Review: Trappistes Rochefort 8

This is a classic "trappist" ale brewed by monks in Belgium, classified as a "Belgian Strong Dark Ale" by Beer Advocate. Real time tasting notes follow.

The 11.2 oz bottle was poured into my brand new Brewer's Art chalice. If you've been to BA, you know how cool these glasses are. This thing is murky and dark, more brown than black. Not much head retention. I poured way too strong so there's tons of "floaties" which are spent yeast that a more skilled pour would leave at the bottom of the bottle. Oh well.

I'm getting coffee and dark roasted malt in the nose. Not my favorite beer aroma ever but I like to try as much as I can from each style. Lots of carbonation here as the head recedes, lots of bubble action. A bit of candi sugar in the nose too, I wasn't expecting that.

First sip: suitable. Really easygoing, I was expecting more of an alcohol bite (this is listed at 9.2% ABV). Nice little numbness on the tip of the tongue (that almost always happens to me with these trappist beers). I taste a little red grape, perhaps. Overall this is pleasantly mild, way better than I assumed given the BSDA assignment. I can see why this is up there as a 4.31/5 on Beer Advocate.

There's a little bite to the mouthfeel, which would be off-putting and work against the mouthfeel scores, but I was expecting worse so that's worth balancing expectation and mostly enjoyable delivery.

Complaints? Not many. It wouldn't really be to style but I always love a bit more candi sugar sweetness, but seeing as how this doesn't have a syrupy, alcohol-y body like I expected I can easily do without.

This is a great, relaxed drinking beer more meant for home than at a loud bar. I wouldn't quite call it outstanding, but it does surprise and offer a great nose, a good body, a decent amount of complexity, a light sweetness and lots of malt body without being syrupy or too high in alcohol punch. Definitely lots going on with the malt base as this warms up a bit, a bit more roasty and coarse.

Stock Up

Baltimore Beer Guy's Index: Where to buy great beer

Custom Google Map

"Stock Up" Locations Map (Created by Baltimore Beer Guy)

Famous Stops

The Perfect Pour (Columbia)
Wells Discount Liquors (Baltimore)
State Line Liquors (Elkton)
Chevy Chase Wine & Spirits (D.C.)
Shawan Liquors (Hunt Valley)

Downtown Baltimore & Beltway

Beltway Fine Wine & Spirits (Towson)
Chesapeake Wine Company (Baltimore)
Mt. Washington Wine Company (Baltimore)
The Wine Market (Baltimore)
The Wine Source (Baltimore)
Vineyards Elite (Pikesville)
Wells Discount Liquors (Baltimore)
Wine Underground (Baltimore)

Howard County & Suburbs

Carpe Vinum (Ellicott City)
Columbia Palace Wine & Spirits (Columbia)
Enchanted Forest Wine & Spirits (Ellicott City)
Jason's Wine & Spirits (Ellicott City)
Northridge Wine & Spirits (Ellicott City)
Spirit Shop (Ellicott City)
The Perfect Pour (Columbia)
Your Wine & Spirit Shoppe (Ellicott City/Woodstock)

Washington D.C., Northern Virginia & Southern Maryland

Bethesda Market Beer, Wine & Deli (Bethesda)
Burtonsville Crossing Beer and Wine (Burtonsville)
Chevy Chase Wine & Spirits (D.C.)
Corridor Wine & Spirits (Laurel)
King Farm Wine & Beer (Rockville)
Olney Beer and Fine Wines (Olney)
The Wine Specialist (D.C.)
Village Pump Liquors (College Park)
Whole Foods (Tenley Town)

Western & North Central Maryland

Cranberry Liquors (Westminster)
Total Discount Liquors (Sykesville/Eldersburg)
Ye Old Spirit Shop (Frederick)

Annapolis, Eastern and Southeastern Maryland

Baker's Liquors Inc. (Chester)
Bay Ridge Wine & Spirits (Annapolis)
Staples Corner Liquors (Gambrills)

Northeast Maryland

Calvert Wine (Hunt Valley)
Shawan Liquors (Hunt Valley)
State Line Liquors (Elkton)
Wine World Beer & Spirits (Abingdon)

Miscellaneous Links

Beer Advocate Profiles (Maryland)
Beer Advocate Profiles (Washington D.C.)
Beer Advocate Profiles (Northern Virginia)
Baltimore Beer Guy Reviews

Notes

--> Please feel free to contact me with notes about establishments on this listing or recommend others that should be added so as to make this as comprehensive as possible. Thanks!

Busy Week and Weekend

Let's get right to it.

Wednesday September 24th there's a "Beer Breakfast" at the Royal Mile Pub in Wheaton. Check the link for the menu, it looks delicious! $35, reservations required.

Friday September 26th will be an "Art of Homebrew" presentation at Studio Gallery in Washington D.C. The nationally recognized Brewers United for Real Potables (BURP) hosts and offers tastings.

On Saturday September 27th and Sunday the 28th, Ripken Stadium will host the Maryland Beer & Foodfest. Pretty self-explanatory, and they ran this in the spring as well. Here's a link with the beers and breweries scheduled to pour. Lots of good stuff there (Stone, Ommegang, etc.), tickets are $15.

Also on Saturday is the 3rd Annual Maryland Microbrewery Festival at Union Mills in Westminster. Most of the state's top breweries will be there, and there will also be a homebrew competition. It runs from 11 am to 7 pm.

Das Best Oktoberfest will be held in National Harbor just south of Washington D.C. on Saturday. Beer gardens, 100+ craft brews, German food, crafts, Oompah bands, etc. Kids are free. Noon to 8 pm.

Related: OktoBEERfest, a block-party type event held the 27th at the Rustico restaurant parking lot in Alexandria, Virginia. Free, but you pay for your drinks. At least 20 festbiers and harvest beers on tap with five pumpkin ales also available.

On Both Saturday and Sunday September 27th and 28th will be the Northern Virginia BrewFest. Festivities are from 11 am to 7 pm both days with food, beer, music, kids stuff, etc. in Centreville, Virginia.

Maryland Breweries

Maryland Beer/Brewers Map

Google Map (Created by Baltimore Beer Guy)

Breweries (strictly beer)


Clipper City
Flying Dog/Wild Goose
Hook & Ladder Brewing Company
Clay Pipe Brewing
Eastern Shore Brewing
The Raven (B-W Beer Works)

Brew Pubs (grab a Pint and some grub)

The Brewer's Art
DuClaw Brewing Co. (4 locations)
Pratt Street Ale House
The Wharf Rat/Oliver's
Brewer's Alley
Ellicott Mills Brewing
Dog Pub (2 locations)
RamsHead Tavern (4 locations)
Rocky Run Tap & Grill (3 locations)
Johansson's
Red Brick Station
Rock Bottom (Bethesda)
Gordon Biersch (Rockville)
Bare Bones
Franklin's Brewery
Growlers
Barley and Hops
Ruddy Duck Brewery

In-House Brews

Bertha's
The Owl Bar
McGarvey's Saloon
Castle Bay Irish Pub
Ale Mary's
Rusty Scupper (Amber Ale contract brewed by Clipper City)

Miscellaneous

Dogfish Head Alehouse
(Gaithersburg)

Historic Local Beers

National Bohemian (AKA Natty Boh)

Links
Maryland Brewer's Association
BeerFly: Maryland (Beer Advocate)
BeerFly: Baltimore (Beer Advocate)
Beerfly: Washington D.C. (Beer Advocate)
Beer Me!: Maryland

Notes

--> Feel free to contact me with additional breweries that should be mentioned on this listing, particularly places that have their own "house" beer but aren't necessarily a commercial brewer (think Bertha's with their Bertha's Bitter made by Oliver's).

--> Dogfish Head does not brew in Maryland and ships its (fresh) beers to the Gaithersburg location from the main brewery in Delaware.

Baltimore Beer Guy Reviews

Pending

September 22, 2008

Mmmm, Brewer's Art

Sipping an "Ozzy" ale from my brand-new Brewer's Art logo Belgian glass purchased at the source last night. Mmmmm ...

September 19, 2008

Not That You Care, But ...

What I had tonight at Frisco Grille:

A taster of Southern Tier Imperial Pumking, considered the best pumpkin beer around. Eh, but I'm not that into fall/Oktoberfest/pumpkin beers. It was enjoyable for a taster and I can see where pumpkinheads fall in love with it, but not my thing.

A pint of Southern Tier Harvest, sort of a pale/ESB, enjoyable but a bit mild.

A pint of the Troegs Dead Reckoning Porter on cask. In a lot of ways this is a great beer but also disappoints. I love cask beer but even for a cask, this seemed a bit watery and flat. Its flavor was still robust but something was not quite perfect about it, but definitely the kind of beer you want to put on cask.

Lagunitas Imperial Red, which was fantastic. I'm not a red/amber fan by any means, but this was hoppy and fresh and complex and flavorful and very sessionable. Highly recommended.

September 18, 2008

Seriously: What's up Baltimore?

I just spent about a week in San Diego and Los Angeles, California. On the way back I began to ponder the difference between that area and the Baltimore/Maryland area as far as beer culture and availability and enjoyment.

I've got some thoughts and I'll add them along the way, but what prompts this entry is that the Baltimore Sun's Rob Kasper at his Kasper on Tap blog asks: "Do we need a Baltimore Beer Club".

My short answer is: maybe, more likely no, weird, but we need something. Got all that?

He specifically mentions meet-ups or a social network (MySpace/Facebook) type deal. Thoughts?

Parallel Beer/Blog Tasting: Lost Abbey Bourbon Barrel Angel's Share

As is the occasional ritual at Baltimore Beer Guy (Example #1, Example #2), I did a parallel blog/beer tasting with Steve from Summer of Beer last week. Silly me, I forgot to write about it until now.

From separate coasts we simultaneously drank a bottle of the Lost Abbey Bourbon Barrel Angel's Share from Lost Abbey in San Diego, California. I haven't had a ton of Lost Abbey until this most recent trip (I'll write about that soon), so this was a treat and a hard-to-find offering of theirs.

Steve's got the full review, so please do stop over there for most of what went on and my thoughts. Hint: this beer is delicious.

This Week At The Perfect Pour

My favorite place to stock up on beer, as if you didn't know that already.

Clipper City beer tasting on Friday (5/19) from 5-8 p.m. They'll sample the Balto-Marzhon, Peg Leg Stout, Small Craft Warning and more.

On Saturday, Ken Hadley from Otter Creek/Wolaver Brewing will referee tastings of some of Vermont's finest including Wolaver's Pumpkin and Otter Creek Oktoberfest.

Also, looking ahead: Friday September 26th will be a Lagunitas tasting (5-8 p.m.) and Thursday October 9th Weyerbacher gets sampled.

New arrivals this week include Wild Goose (Md. !) Pumpkin Patch, Flying Fish Oktoberfest, Ayinger Oktoberfest, Unita Punk'n and Paulaner Oktoberfest in a 5L mini keg.

If you are on their email list, there's a coupon for 20% of select summer beers through 9/25.

Brew Review: Founder's Devil Dancer Triple IPA

Yet another Brew Review here as happens occasionally at Baltimore Beer Guy. This is a "Triple IPA" from Founders Brewing in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The bottle says it has 13% ABV, yikes. Founders is famous for their Breakfast Stout, Rubaeus and Kentucky Breakfast Stout.

Many thanks to my fellow beer geek Steve at Summer of Beer who sent this may way recently.

First off, it pours a very, very dark reddish-amber color. Not much of a head, yellowish what did fizz up though. I'm getting alcohol in the aroma right away. Hops too obviously, sort of sweeter hop aroma instead of bitter though. Maybe some malt sweetness too.

... First sip: whoah. Nice, filmy gooey texture that I like in pale ales and IPA's, but um ... this is ridiculously bitter. Surprisingly, it's up front more than back of the throat bitter as the unpleasantness mostly faded away in rapid fashion. That won't last for a full pint though.

... The taste is definitely distinctive, I'm getting some hop flavors but nothing familiar to most IPA's I enjoy. Just an odd brew right here. It comes in real strong but sort of retreats after a few seconds. Struggling to find what to compare it to. I appreciate originality in a beer so it's nice to taste something I haven't necessarily tried before (I've had many triple IPA's, but not one like this).

As far as the hop flavor, I'm starting to summon maybe the BridgePort (Oregon) IPA I had many, many moons ago when I was first learning about beer. There's something similar in flavors between these two although this is a much more aggressive, less refreshing example. If I remember correctly, BridgePort is a British style IPA. There's some things that are quite enjoyable about the Bridgeport and to a lesser degree this Devil's Dancer, but it's a strained revelation of those fun tastes where I like something more upfront.

Their website says this beer has more IBU's than any brewery has documented. Nice, so far I've stood up to them, but its intense. They dry-hop it for 26 days straight with a combination of 10 hop varieties. It is produced quarterly.

... It is starting to sweeten up (malt coming through!) as we go along. More balanced now with a bit of warming and a brief respite for the mouth to sort of get its act together. Not bad, I'd written it off but it's growing on me. Lots of fun little bitter elements if you know how to find them hiding in your mouth. The more I have, the more I realize how drinkable this is, which is surprising how off-putting it was at the start.

This is a good beer for someone chasing hops but who doesn't enjoy the west coast "hop bombs" but isn't particularly in love with the flatter, drab, stuffy British and east-coast style IPA's. It's a compromise, if that's possible for such a potent monster.

Alright, time to finish this sucker. Not bad, definitely improved as I drank it, lots to like, try it if you can get it from a rather famous and talented brewer.

September 17, 2008

Frisco Grill Tonight: Troegs Pint Night

One of my favorite beer stops in Maryland, Frisco Grille is having is weekly (every Wednesday night) Pint Night. After about 7 p.m. they give away a free pint with the first beer purchase of that night's featured brewer.

Tonight is Troeg's night and their website lists them as having the Troegenator (good!), the Hopback Amber and the just-released Dead Reckoning Porter (on cask!) available. Sounds awesome.

BTW next week's pint night is listed as "TBD". Hmm ...

DuClaw Release Night: Twisted Kilt

Just a reminder from an earlier entry, DuClaw is releasing its "Twisted Kilt" Scotch Ale tonight (Sept. 17) and tomorrow night (Sept. 18) at all four locations. Be sure to get on their email list to be able to print out a special barcode for freebies and whatnot at the event.

DuClaw NFL Growler Deal

Go to any DuClaw for any NFL game and they're offering $2 off new growlers and $1 off growler refills to go with the usual happy hour prices on other items (bar area only).

Chimay Event At D.C.'s The Brickskeller

Once in a while its worth mentioning something outside of Baltimore/Maryland.

The world famous Brickskeller in Washington D.C. is hosting an event to commemorate Chimay's 25th anniversary in the U.S. Chimay representatives will be there to talk about their great beers, compare the taste differences between the large bottles (Premiere, Cinq Cents, Grand Reserve) and small bottles (Red, White, Blue) as far as bottle refermentation.

They will also be sampling their three hard-to-find Chimay cheeses.

Tickets are $35 and the event will be next Wednesday, September 24. Doors open around 6 and the event should begin around 7 in the upstairs area.

I can't vouch for the Brick, although I enjoyed my brief visit to its sister establishment, RFD Washington.

Be sure to read about Baltimore Beer Guy's recent beer trip to Washington D.C. as well as check out my growing Washington D.C. Beer Google Map for more of what's available nearby.

Clipper City Embracing "Talk Like A Pirate Day"

This Friday September 19th is "Talk Like a Pirate Day". Annoying, we know, but seeing as how Clipper City has always embraced the pirate/maritime theme this is right up their alley.

In fact, they're hosting a celebration at their brewery (not far from the airport). From 7-10 p.m., $15 admission will get you beer, a souvenir pint glass and music from the "Salty Dogs" a 3-person pirate band. Food and concessions will also be available.

They will also feature a special cask version of this year's Winter Storm (mentioned below), but in order to get it you will have to wear something pirate.

Limited to the first 200 people who sign up.

Hyarrrrr.

Coming Soon: Clipper City/Heavy Seas Winter Storm

It should be available in the next few weeks. Winter Storm won the gold medal at this year's World Beer Cup. Clipper City describes it as a "ruddy hued winter warmer" and their best-selling seasonal.

It is an "imperial ESB" in style.

Gonzofest Aftermath

I was out of town, but the Flying Dog folks have a gallery up to peruse the goings-on at their Gonzofest beerfest/chili cook-off.

September 9, 2008

Cluster of Events This Weekend

Max's First Annual Germanfest

If you've been to their Belgian Beer Fest you know the drill. This thing will run from Friday to Sunday, with an unbelievable number of German beers.

Mahaffey's 7th Annual Block Party

In Canton, I assume (this is listed in Mid-Atlantic Brewing News). "With bands, craft beer, & food. (410)276-9899

10th Annual Capital City Invitational Beer Festival

Held in Harrisburg, PA, featuring samples from 20+ breweries in PA, Md., Delaware and New York. Three sessions, tickets $30-$35 (designated drivers $15)

DuClaw New Release: Twisted Kilt

It's a "Scotch Ale", a generally tasty style. It is "layered with subtle smoky malt and thick caramel flavor."

Be sure to get on their email list so you can receive giveaways and be informed of what's going on with these release parties.

Speaking of the release party, DuClaw will debut this beer at all four locations on Wednesday September 17th and Thursday September 18th, at times ranging from 6 or 7 p.m. until close.