April 30, 2009

Real Time

Trying out Summer of Beer's homebrewed Belgian wit

Notes: Nice nose, fresh bright lemony-ness, a touch tart in taste, excellent body not too watery, exceedingly sessionable and fun. Nice work Steve!

His notes: all-grain, no extract

OG 1.060
FG 1.014
6% ABV

Belgian Pilsner grain, flaked unmalted wheat, flaked oats

Hallertauer hops .75oz ~ 16 IBU

Naval orange zest 0.5oz
Lemon zest .25oz
Coriander 0.4 oz all added last five minutes of boil

Fermented at 66-68F bottled after 10 days in primary fermentor, bottle conditioned

RFD's First Annual Charity for Children

At RFD in D.C. they'll have a charity event on May 2nd.

Starts at 4 PM, $40 ticket gets you food, drink and live music in the Courtyard and Backroom Bar. The flier I have in front of me says "bottomless cups of Flying Dog and Miller Lite". Wizard cheerleaders, door prizes, raffles, giveaways, t-shirt. All proceeds go to Children's National Medical Center.


National Homebrew Day

May 2nd, mark your calendar and then get to making something!

DuClaw New Beer On Tap

Just in time for Cinco De Mayo (and that pesky swine flu emanating from south of the border), DuClaw is putting its "El Guapo" Mexican-style Vienna lager on tap.

Flying Dog D.C. Tweetup

Flying Dog is having a "Tweetup" in D.C.'s Luna Grill and Diner on May 27th at 6 PM. All Tweetup attendees get one complimentary Flying Dog beer and can be registered to win some swag. They'll also have free Flying Dog pint glasses for the first 50 people through the door.

April 29, 2009

Real Time

Flying Dog Double Dog cask Frisco Grille


-- Tonight's bomber at Mahaffey's is Southern Tier Uber Sun, an 8% imperial wheat beer. Throw in 30 cent wings and new bottles tomorrow. They'll also run $3 Mexican beers until they run out, "please forgive the Dos XX on tap".

-- Looney's Pub (Maple Lawn) is having a charity event tonight from 4-10 PM for Avon Walk For Breast Cancer. A portion of sales go directly to the Avon Walk Team. The team will also sell wristbands that get people extended happy hour prices.

April 28, 2009

Picture Dump

Brewers Art dark basement bar a few weeks ago. Charm City Sour Cherry!

Picture Dump

Beer Wars screening

I don't have too much (belated) commentary to add. It was nice to see a movie about the beer industry though. It inspired a lot of conversation at Frisco Grille immediately afterward, and I think the opinions were quite balanced and informed listening to everyone.

There were certain Michael Moore-esque elements to the movie, and a couple people essentially said the same thing that it could have lifted the story back just a bit more. That is, reveal more to how all the players go about things, the distributors, etc. instead of the simplified good vs. bad storyline.

But it was informative, I certainly don't know a great deal about the mechanics behind how this all comes together. I'm sure it was old hat for many viewers but I learned some things.

The real stars were clearly Dogfish Head's Sam Calagione and Stone's Greg Koch. Both are charismatic to put it mildly, great faces for the industry and their companies.

April 26, 2009

Get Your Glassware

I have a friend who might possibly maybe sorta be in the market for specific beer glassware like perhaps a tulip glass without an annoying logo.

Its just me, but I recommend these guys. They'll even throw in a few coasters.

Monday Open Forum

Feel free to discuss the week/weekend that was (City Paper Brew Fest?) and the week that will be (Kentucky Derby!)

Pimlico Microbrew and Wine Fest

Just saw a commercial, Pimlico Microbrew and Wine Fest this Saturday, $20 for tasters of all beers at Pimlico.

Thats Kentucky Derby day.

Memo to Self

Hit up the Old Stein Inn biergarten sometime soon with this nice weather.

Real Time

Clipper City 'Red Sky At Night' saison ale and one of those glutinous red/white bean cakes from La Boulangerie in Ellicott City.

Real Time

Hambleton Nightmare English Porter on cask at Mahaffeys, yum. Look at that head.

Real Time

Mahaffeys, Legacy Dear Abbey and some shrimp po boys

Real Time

At Camden Yards, Flying Dog pale ale, good stuff! Go O's. Update: Correction, it was Old Scratch Amber Ale. The stand sign said Pale Ale but the tap handle was Old Scratch.

Picture Dump: The Perfect Pour

1) The entrance, nearly hidden in the corner of a Columbia shopping center. Fortunately, they're acquiring the space next door for expansion according to rumor.

2, 3, 4) The expansive, massive back beer wall. Psst, Belgians mostly in the right corner.

5) Their excellent Italian micro brew collection in one of the mostly import aisles. Pricey, but I can't wait to dive into a few of these at some point.

April 25, 2009

Camden Yards

Got any beer recommendations?

I know about Pickles and the refurbished Pratt Street Ale House. Anything inside the stadium worth checking out?

Real Time

Mikkeller Cascade Single Hop IPA at home

Update: Good stuff, not spectacular but a good kind of unique. The Kaiserhof pint glass is from Kaiserhof, a great little German place in Ocean Beach near San Diego.

Real Time

Onto the second Flying Dog IPA, getting a bit more resinous, bright. Cascade?

Real Time

Green Flash Le Freak hybrid Belgian tripel, IPA. Summer of Beer made me do it.

Real Time

Flying Dog Snake Dog IPA at home

Real Time

Confirmed! Chicago's Goose Island in Md. (The Perfect Pour shelf)


April 24, 2009

Real Time

Saison DuPont at The Judges Bench as Chicago plays in the background and the old man enjoys his Avery Maharajah

Real Time

Russian River/Avery Collaboration Not Litigation at The Judges Bench

Real Time

Actual reporting here, Frisco just added Racer 5 IPA and Blue Point Rastafar Rye on tap.

Mobile Comment Response

To Steve: poor mans Lagunitas IPA

Real Time

'The Cannon' Clipper City Hop3 Loose Cannon IPA, delicious

Real Time

Harpoon IPA at Frisco Grille.

April 23, 2009

Flying Dog Night at Frisco Grille

Next Wednesday April 29th is Flying Dog pint night at Frisco Grille. They'll feature Flying Dog's Woody Creek Wit, Snake Dog IPA and Dog Schwarz. Tentatively I'm planning on being in attendance for good beer since I have more than enough Flying Dog glassware.

See you there, perhaps.

Funny Text

From my friend Steve at Summer of Beer a couple days ago:
Is there ever a time of day you're not drinking?

Great Quote

From The Brewers Art's Volker Stewart at The Sun's Midnight Sun blog, discussing the defunct Celis Brewery in Austin Texas:
Celis White was an epiphany for me in 1994, when I visited Austin for the first time. I thought "perhaps someone can brew solid Belgian style beers in the US."
We're so very glad this ephiphany happened.

Daily Beer Events

A daily calendar of *regular* beer events in Maryland/Baltimore. Send me an email if you'd like something mentioned on here.

Monday: Beer club at Victoria Gastro Pub, discounts, gear etc 5 PM-close

Tuesday: Max's beer social 6 PM+ usually upstairs new beers introduced

Wednesday: Pint night at Frisco Grille -- featured brewer and free glassware with featured beer purchase after 7 PM; 22oz bomber night at Mahaffey's; "Pinch the Pint" night at Max's 5-8 PM $1 off refills with glass; beer promotion night at Royal Mile Pub;

Thursday: Reduced price bottle specials at Mahaffey's;

Friday: Max's 32 oz "Big Ass Draft Happy Hour" beers excluding some "big" beers and Belgians for $6 in plastic cups; Semi-regular Firkin Friday events at rotating DuClaw locations; Jack's Bistro $20 beer dinners two courses one beer; "Firkin Friday" events at Muggsy's and Metropolitan Coffehouse


Sunday: SIN "Service Industry Night" at Victoria Gastro Pub 1/2 off 20 oz beers; Sunday Brunch $2 draft beer (excluding Guinness) all day at Diamondback Tavern;

Happy Hour:

$1 off Frisco Grille
$4 for 3x10 oz mugs excluding some beers
$3.75 beer (I believe?) Brewer's Art
$2.95 selected beers at Victoria Gastro Pub 5-7 daily, 10-12 S-Th and 11-1 F and Sat.
$0.75 off at The Judges Bench
$2 off beer at Jacks Bistro 5-7 and 11-1 daily

Real Time

Westmalle Trappist Tripel at home, gift from Oliver at Frisco Grille. Great guy, the entire Frisco crew really.


-- Concert for a Cure honoring Mike Lacey tonight (Thursday April 23rd) at Looney's North (Bel Air). All day and night, benefiting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Guest bartenders, raffles and 50/50, door prizes, giveaways, silent auction and raffle for a signed Joe Flacco (!) uniform.

-- Another reminder, the City Paper Brew Fest is this Saturday April 25th at Fells Point. I won't be going, but sounds like fun in a good location there central to many solid beer stops (Max's, Cat's Eye, Slainte, Duda's, DuClaw, Ale Mary's, Wharf Rat, John Steven Ltd. etc.).

-- DuClaw's Bel Air location is pouring two firkins this Friday: Raspberry Kangaroo Love and Double Dry Hopped Venom (pale ale).

-- The Perfect Pour beer tastings are Friday (April 24 5-8 PM) Lindeman's lambic and Saturday (25th 3-7 PM) "favorite 22 oz's" for the spring including Magic Hat #9, Southern Tier Cherry Saison (yum!), Abita Andygator and Abita Abbey Ale.

Not sure if I've mentioned it before on here but it sounds like The Perfect Pour is acquiring the space next to them and will expand into that area. Its actually a huge store but their entrance is but a narrow doorway hugging the elbow of the shopping center they occupy in Columbia.

-- Flying Dog has updated its website, more social media-y stuff going on. Among other participatory events already named on here recently, they'll also be at Alexandra's Restaurant (Ellicott City) for their "Spring Beer Dinner", $45/person on Saturday May 2nd. Alexandra's is a classy french place, haven't been but I believe it was named in Baltimore Magazine's top 50 restaurants issue.

Real Time Error

Still working out the kinks in this new feature. I was at Frisco Grille last night but every attempt to send a picture along failed, something about busy networks or whatever.

Brewer's Art Is The Best

You knew this of course, but Esquire confirms it. Esquire Magazine has named Brewer's Art America's best bar. They've earned this and then some.

Confirmed pretty much everywhere, hat tip to Brian at I Am Beer Wise for the heads up.

April 21, 2009

Real Time

Beautiful day turned rainy. Dinner (no drinks) at La Palapa in Ellicott City which was recently reviewed in The Sun.

Ellicott Mills Brewing in fine form but off to Judges Bench. Mmm Allagash.

Real Time

Brooklyn Pils at Frisco Grille, beautiful day.


From a visit to The Judges Bench a few weeks ago.


Or overheard, not sure if this is rumor or final or what, but I heard Chicago's Goose Island beers are making their way to Maryland in bottle form.


Test email post. Success?

April 14, 2009


-- Tonight (Tuesday) is Max's weekly Beer Social night starting at 6 PM. This week they'll feature a cask from York Brewery (England) called Oakham Attila at 4.3% ABV. New drafts this week can be found at the bottom of this post.

Future Beer Social events include:

April 21st Dieu Du Ciel Equinoxe Du Printemps (maple scotch ale) and Dieu Du Ciel Solstice D Hiver (barleywine)

April 28th De Hoevebrowers, a "new little brewery in East Flanders Belgium", featuring Toria (blonde) and Kekelaring (brown ale).

-- The Brewer's Art now has the much-anticipated Charm City Sour Cherry on tap as well as the Green Peppercorn Tripel. I thought the Sour Cherry wasn't as good as last year but I'll be back to try it again soon. The Green Peppercorn Tripel, on the other hand, was spectacular, vastly superior to their bottled version and absolutely lively and delicious. Do not miss either.

-- Wednesday is Stoudt's meet the brewery night at The Judges Bench from 7-9 PM.

-- Wednesday is also pint night featuring Virginia's Starr Hill brewing (with brewmaster Mark Thompson) at Frisco Grille.

-- Thursday is beer bottle night at Mahaffey's, $3 for most 12 oz bottles. Their bomber this week is Avery's Collaboration Not Litigation. Oddly, they'll be featuring a mead on tap this week. Finally, on Saturday will be Mahaffey's anniversary party, with a free catered buffet from 7-9 PM.

-- Thursday night at 8 PM is the nationwide one night only theatre event called Beer Wars. It is only being show in six Maryland theatres, I'll be at the Snowden Square one. Be sure to check it out, tickets are $15 and there's a hosted panel afterwards with several major brewers broadcast live from Hollywood. The movie's theme is about the ongoing battle between craft brewers and the major breweries while obviously providing some more general content about the brewers, the industry and whatnot.

-- Local Clipper City Brewing Co. just released its beloved Belgian-style saison ale, "Red Sky At Night". I'll have to pick up some bottles before its all gone. Anyone know if they plan to put it on tap?

-- American Craft Beer Week will be May 11-17 this year. This is an awesome nationwide event with local flavor.

Some of the goings-on:

May 11th-17th: Max's Craft Beer Week, weeklong selection of GREAT taps, approximately 80 throughout the week. More info as it comes in but there's a preliminary list at the bottom of this email. Do not miss this.

May 11th: Clipper City taps several firkins at Max's including Loose Cannon (great!), Peg Leg and Red Sky at Night

May 16th: Clipper City's Real Ale & BBQ Fest at Clipper City noon-4 PM, $49/ticket

-- Clipper City is hosting a home brew competition. Anything goes, so long as the beer is above 7% ABV in keeping with their Heavy Seas line, and they'll favor those which are big and assertive. Entries must be submitted between June 8th and June 19th, winner announced July 3rd.

-- Clipper City is also having a beer dinner at Sotto Sopro in Mt. Vernon on April 30th. On May 7th they'll have a beer dinner at The Melting Pot in Gaithersburg. On May 11th they'll be part of a Meet The Brewery event at Max's. On May 23rd they'll participate in the Kayak, Tunes and Brews event at the Wisp Ski Resort in western Maryland. And on May 30th they'll be at the Maryland Brewer's Spring Fest.

-- Reminder, City Paper's Brew Fest is April 25th in Fells Point.

-- The Brewer's Association just released its annual top 50 craft breweries list (by sales) and Maryland's own Flying Dog checks in at No. 30. Congratulations to Flying Dog! They also check in at No. 41 overall in the United States once you factor in the mega breweries.

-- Max's new drafts this week are: Abita Purple Haze, Allagash Black, Allagash Curieux, Cazeau Tournay Black, Cazeau Tournay Blonde, Contreras Valeir Blonde, Contreras Valeir Divers, Dogfish Head Black & Blue, Dogfish Head 60 Minute, Dogfish Head Midas Touch, Dominion Spring Buck, Ommegang Rouge, Peroni, Redstone Black Raspberry Nectar, Redstone Sunshine Nectar, Rogue Dead Guy, Southern Tier 422, Southern Tier Unearthly, Southern Tier Uber Sun, Stone Pale Ale, Stone Russian Imperial Stout, Whitemarsh Station Bitter

-- Max's anticipated drafts for Craft Beer Week: Allagash Four, Allagash Interlude, Allagash Black, Allagash Dry Hopped Barrel Aged Mussette, Avery Collaboration Not Litigation, Avery Maharajah, Cape Ann Eclipse, Cape Ann Green Horn Double IPA, Cape Ann Tea Party, Dogfish Head 120 Minute, World Wide Stout, Black & Blue, Red & White, Fort, Midas Touch, Burton Baton and Palo Santo Marron, Ommegang Rouge, Redstone Nectar of the Hops, Southern Tier Chocolate, Southern Tier Gemeni, Southern Tier Jah Va, Southern Tier Oaked Unearthly, Troegs Mad Elf, Uinta Barleywine, Victory Abbey 8, Victory Rauchbier Porter and casks of Magic Hat #9, Magic Hat Old Ale, Magic Hat Bob's First Ale, Heavy Seas Red Sky w/spices, Heavy Seas Peg Leg w/oak chips.

-- I'll be back with another miscellaneous email soon, but wanted to get these items out tonight.

April 9, 2009

Beer Wars Live

Just purchased my advance tickets for this craft beer movie event (April 16th, 8 PM).

I'll be at the Snowden Square location in Columbia, see you there.

Psst ... Frisco Grille, Dog Pub and Victoria Gastro Pub are all very nearby to either pregame or postgame.

April 1, 2009

Freeze Frame

At The Judges Bench

2nd Anniversary celebration, got there early, Mike was handing out shirts. Nice.

Uinta Monkshine (BPA) and Unibroue Maudite (BSDA)

Apparently the Dobs distributorship will no longer carry Uinta (out of Utah). They make some good stuff, so this is disappointing. Judges Bench had been a consistent carrier of Uinta, sad to see them go.

DuClaw Firkin Friday at Arundel Mills

This Friday (April 3rd), 5 PM sharp:

Pre-release 13 Degrees (hef) and Cascade Double Dry Hopped Venom (pale ale)

Mahaffey's Goings On

As noted on the April calendar below, Mahaffey's is having its anniversary party on Saturday April 18th, with a free catered buffet. Thanks to solid business from customers, there are now new windows, giving the place "a whole new airy feel" among other improvements.

They'll open at 2 PM this coming Monday to mark Opening Day for the Orioles.

Tonight's bomber is Abita Abbey Ale (interesting), at 8% they'll charge ... $8.

And one of Wayne's favorites, Avery Maharaja (a DIPA), will probably be on starting tonight.

(Information via the weekly email)

April Calendar

April 1 -- The Judges Bench 2nd Anniversary Celebration (its also Sierra Nevada pint night at Frisco Grille)
April 4 -- Beer, Bourbon, BBQ Festival in Timonium
April 7,8 -- UEFA Champions League (had to throw that in there)
April 14,15 -- UEFA Champions League
April 15 -- Stoudts night at The Judges Bench, 7-9 PM
April 16 -- Beer Wars Movie
April 18 -- Mahaffey's Anniversary Party w/free catered buffet; Opening Day at Pimlico
April 25 -- City Paper Beer Fest at Fells Point
April 28, 29 -- UEFA Champions League

Anything missing?

The AAA Beer City

I've been meaning to discuss this for a long, long time, and yesterday's mention in Kasper On Tap provides a good opening. In it, I'm quoted as saying,
"I really miss the bright hoppiness of the West Coast beers. But I think the beer scene here is kind of thriving. There are a lot of places here that I think would be right at home in other beer capitals in the United States - Portland, Denver, San Diego, Philadelphia. Baltimore's maybe not quite in that tier, but is maybe just a step below, like a Triple-A ballclub."
Ignoring the west coast beers thing for a minute, is my classification of Baltimore/Maryland as AAA to those other areas fair? Accurate?

Beyond that, what kinds of things would make it a "Major League" beer city? Feel free to comment below, there's no right answer and what follows of my own thoughts could be completely wrong, its an open question here.

I haven't personally been to many of the so-called beer capitals, but here's what I like when it comes to a city or region's cumulative beer presence:

-- High volume of great beer bars. Meaning -- lots of taps, rotation, access to great beers from within the region and without, regular beer events, great fridges stocked with amazing bottle collections, meticulous care of the beer and lines, a lack of pretension about the places.

-- Great local breweries. In volume and quality and variety, not everyone making the same beers, a tremendous deal of experimentation and quality overall, reasonably accessible distribution within the area, a decent number of publicly acknowledged great beers produced from within those breweries.

-- Access to great beer. Part and parcel with the two above, plus the various bottle shops and general beer drinking and producing community's commitment to beer allowing access to great beer from outside the region.

-- Miscellaneous. Big beer geekery things like abundant cask conditioned beers and beer engines in a variety of bars, strong connectedness of establishments and breweries in the area, a public that embraces and acknowledges beer's role in the community, things like city beer weeks etc.

-- An accepted city/region style. Call this the center of gravity or identity concept. San Diego has tremendous variety within its breweries but is generally known for its intensely hoppy beers. Portland does the brewpub every other corner concept. San Francisco and Northern California are experimental and progressive, Philadelphia has the best pub culture, you get the picture.

Baltimore hits on a lot of that, through a fairly large geographic area. The limitations I see are that the area doesn't have a ton of great breweries, is missing a bit of an identity, and although in general the variety and availability of beer borders on excellent, there are some great, can't-miss breweries/beer that have not made their way here for various reasons. I'd also add that although the situation has improved *immensely* in the time I've been here, the connectedness of the brewing and bar (and beer geek) community seems lacking, for now (hopefully the suddenly burgeoning beer blog community is an indicator that history is on the march). Hopefully Baltimore Beer Week will be a huge step forward in that department.

One thing that isn't missing is great beer though. At the end of the day all complaining is relative when you have a Max's, a Mahaffey's, a Frisco Grille, a Brewers Art, a Flying Dog and Clipper City, a Judges Bench, and a million other similar places that take this stuff seriously and work their tails off for us, the beer consumer. Its a blast being here and being able to participate -- as a consumer -- in all of this.

Best of Howard County

After a little over a week of voting, the winner in the "Best of Howard County" poll is ...

Frisco Grille!

Frisco Grille grabbed 7 of the 32 votes, outpacing Ellicott Mills Brewing Co. and Victoria Gastro Pub and a host of other excellent beer destinations. Congratulations to Frisco Grille, which was also recently mentioned as a Reader's Choice for top beer bars in the Northeast a recent issue of Draft Magazine.

I'll re-open the voting to allow for continuous voting (similar to the current Brewer's Art poll) and move the poll further down the page on the menu at right. Thank you for participating.

Beer Appreciation Class

Nick Nichols is a fellow beer nut I've bumped into on occasion around several beer bars. He has a regular email list of beer news and events and also teaches various beer classes around the area.

The next upcoming class will be called "Beer Appreciation" at Howard Community College (the Columbia Gateway campus) on April 23rd.
From ancient Sumatra to delaware; Old Country to Plymouth Rock; Chicha to Chili Pepper Ale; Fritz Maytag to Michael Jackson; Prohibition to the GABF -- learn a brief history of the Nectar of the Gods.

Join Nick "The Baltimore Beertrekker" Nichols as you taste a variety of beers from microbrews to imports. Emphasis is on fall beers. Participants must be 21 or older (IDs will be checked). Please bring a glass (not plastic), a bottle of water, $49 (includes $15 materials fee).

Thursday April 23 630-930 PM
#7179 XE 624 6432 Gateway Campus

Thursday May 14 630-930 PM
#5009 XE 624 6458 Gateway Campus

(202)564-1970 to reach Nick