January 28, 2010

Beer Notes

We're long overdue for a round of Beer Notes, so carve out some serious chunks of time, click all the happy little links, absorb what is to be absorbed and yeah. Here goes:

-- Victoria Gastro Pub

See below for several pictures of the Victoria Gastro Pub/Flying Dog winnebago trip from last week. It was a really great time, and more could be on the way to places like Clipper City and maybe even Troegs and Stoudts.

They just switched out 7 of their 24 taps on Friday, so there should be a bonanza of new stuff on from what I've written about before as well as a few others barman Alex told me recently: Stoudts Winterbock, St. Bernardus 6 and 8, Flying Dog's delicious new and rare Coffee Stout, Flying Dog Gonzo (nitro), Dieu Du Ciel (!), Great Divide Espresso Oak Aged Yeti, Hitacino Witbier and The Bruery's Mischief (extremely limited showing in Maryland)

Also, coming Monday (2/1): its Great Divide night with the Titan IPA, Hercules Imperial IPA, Yeti Imperial Stout and Old Ruffian Barleywine all on tap.

A date has been set for their Unibroue beer dinner: March 9th.

In the meantime I really enjoy that they have an all but permanent supply of Flying Dog's "Raging Bitch" Belgian IPA which sells an incredible volume there.

There's nothing official but like several other major beer bars it looks like Victoria would like to expand their tap system to something like 40 taps (plus a beer engine) above the current 24. They also now have over 200 bottles available.

They were also recently featured on MPT television.

-- Pratt Street Ale House

Their Scottish Ale is making its debut this month, hitting Metropolitan Coffee House among other sports. It has a new recipe with a hint of smoked and peated malt at about 7% ABV.

Much, much more from BeerInBaltimore.com. New beer releases and several events to look forward to from PSAH and brewer Stephen Jones who just recently celebrated a birthday.

Also, save the date: Real Ale fest set for March 27th.

Also, just added on cask: the Blonde Ale, dry hopped with Frederick grown, picked, dried Chinook hops! Yum! Just one pin available, so its gone soon.

Be sure to be there on Tuesday (2/2) as they'll release the new Bishop's Indulgence, an 8% stout with cocoa nibs and vanilla beans. That goes off at 6 PM. At the same time in the lounge brewmaster and Baltimore Beer Guy friend Stephen Jones will hold an informal "cask ales social" discussion about cask beer featuring a glass-bottomed firkin to show whats going on. That could be one of the more interesting, can't-miss beer events of the year.

-- Today (Thursday 1/28) Max's will feature the following beers on cask: Boulder Mojo Rosin, North Coast Red Seal, RCH Pitchfork as well as Cape Ann's Fishermans Greenhorn on the bar.

In addition, they'll play host to Boulder Brewing and rep Melvin who is on a "right coast" tour of sorts. The highlight will be their Mojo Risin double IPA three ways: firkin, draft and nitro.

Boulder Mojo Risin (nitro)
Boulder Mojo Risin
Boulder Hazed & Infused
Boulder Sweaty Betty
Boulder Planet Porter
Singletrack (Copper Ale not published in Max's email)
Never Summer (winter seasonal see above)

The show begins around 6 PM.

-- On tap right now at Mahaffey's is Sierra Nevada's Glissade (golden bock) and Tupper's Hop Pocket, back in action! Coming soon, Sierra's Bigfoot Barleywine and the return of Ola Dubh 40, a rare, extremely expensive dark offering aged in barrels that housed scotch for 40 years. Rare, rare, rare.

-- In Harbor East, a place called City Tap House is planning to open soon, with ambitions for 100+ taps. Read the comments, not sure whether this is another Max's or more of a Yard House/corporate type experience yet.
the City Tap House will have a beer sommelier, private tasting lounge, open kitchen and wood-burning pizza oven, according to owner Brian Harrington.

The Tap House, which will occupy the space next to RA Sushi near the intersection of South Eden and Lancaster streets, will seat 175 in the dining areas as well as 60 around the island bar. ...

-- Flying Dog Brewery

The first Thursday of every month, Flying Dog hosts Twitter-based tweetups/'Bitch Sessions' featuring representatives and employees. Its an opportunity to meet at a new place that features Flying Dog beers, taste some Flying Dog creations and maybe walk away with some swag.

The next one is February 4th, with Sessions set for the Bentz Street Sports Pub in Frederick MD and another at the Sean Bolans in Bel Air MD (with other locations still possible, be sure to check the website. Further details such as time and them are available at the link.

There will be a Flying Dog night Friday January 29th at Callahans in Frederick. They'll have $3 Doggie Style Pale Ale pints, a new happy hour menu and some samples and giveaways.

Flying Dog will be the featured beer at Frisco Grille's weekly "Pint Night" Wednesday February 3rd. Super rep Matt Crow will be on hand as Frisco Grille pours four Flying Dog offerings including the spring seasonal Garde Dog. Buy a Flying Dog beer (after 7 PM) and get a complimentary Flying Dog glass while supplies last.

Another pint night goes off at the WOW Cafe & Wingery in Frederick on February 11th from 7-9 PM. Stephanie will be on hand for samplings and giveaways plus $3 pints and $4 bottle specials. Tire Bite and Doggie Style will be on tap, with bottled Road Dog, Old Scratch, In-Heat Wheat, Snake Dog, Raging Bitch and K-9 Cruiser.

A cool "Meet The Brewers" event will be held February 17th at Koopers Tavern in Fells Point. From 7PM+ they'll have two Flying Dog "beer of the month" beers on tap and five different bottles.

Aaaaaand Alonso's on Cold Spring Lane in Baltimore will have a specialty Flying Dog firkin on March 3rd. The last firkin I had from Flying Dog was at Frisco Grille, the Doggie Style Pale Ale and the hop flavor coming out of it was ridiculously good. No pressure, guys!

Oh hell, one more: Flying Dog will be at Lures on March 16th for Lures' "beer club" event.

-- Troegs' Nugget Nectar release schedule:

Jan 1st = 22oz
Jan 15th = 12 oz
February 1st = DRAFT

-- Muggsy's Mug House

Muggsy's in Federal Hill has several goings-on in February (thanks for the heads-up email Danny!). The headliner is the "Week of 100,000 Mugs" starting February 1st. Basically, you come in, order a mug, get a raffle ticket to win prizes. Do this as often as you want all week. They're promising a ton of great beers.

The drawing (be there) will be on February 6th at midnight. Grand prize is a trip to Atlantic City for the 5th Annual Atlantic City Beer Festival (held March 20th and 21st). It plays host to 75 brewers and breweries. Prize includes two nights stay and admission to all three sessions.

The catch is you must be present at Muggsy's to win prizes, of which there will be many secondary prizes all week.

Features that week include two steal the glass nights featuring Schmalz (Tuesday) and Stone (Thursday) as well as a Friday firkin for their monthly "First Friday Firkin Night". Prize examples include the Harpoon package: t-shirts, hats and a bottle of 100 Barrel series Wet Hopped Ale (!).

Also in February, for Mardi Gras week, they'll be pouring "the maltiest" beers available including Louisiana native Abita. Look for a steal the pint night on Fat Tuesday February 16th.

-- This is an event I'm really looking forward to: the "Pints and Pancakes" breakfast at T-Bonz in Ellicott City. T-Bonz is a hidden beer gem and is hosting a pretty cool event here. Basically, you gain access to a mess of pancakes and can drink from an interesting lineup of breakfast themed beers. It will go from 10AM-2PM on the first "no football Sunday" of the year.

Featured beers: Butternuts Porkslap Pale Ale, Pub Dog Chocolate Oatmeal Stout (delicious!), Abita Purple Haze Raspberry Wheat Beer, Flying Dog Coffee Stout (delicious very rare one-off beer), Lancaster Strawberry Blonde, Riverhorse Oatmeal Milk Stout, Wells Banana Bread Beer, Kona Pipeline Coffee Porter, Wild Blue Blueberry Lager, 33rd Street Ale.

-- Kudos to downtown Ellicott City's The Judges Bench which now lists their taplist (as of the opening time each day) online. Any place that rotates their taps -- and Judges definitely does with 17 taps in a space with only storage room for sixtels so they invariably move through a lot -- needs to have their beer list online to eliminate the guesswork. Anyway, great news.

Speaking of downtown Ellicott City, I stopped by the tiny, very modern looking Pure Wine Cafe the other day, and they have a small if respectable bottled beer selection in a cool little space. Hard to complain about a Flying Dog Garde Dog in a nice glass with several Ommegang and other selections available.

That area's a sneaky good pub crawl spot if you're looking for good beer: there's Ellicott Mills Brewing Company, The Judges Bench and its 17 taps and excellent beer fridge, Diamondback Tavern and their Flying Dog friendly taps, Phoenix Emporium which doesn't have any taps but does have a very extensive bottle list and now Pure Wine Cafe. There's plenty of free parking and its just fun walking around the historic old town.

-- Elsewhere in Howard County, there's two YouTube videos online showcasing Maryland Homebrew's wares. Its a nice little homebrew shop tucked away near the post office in Columbia not far down the road from Frisco Grille.

-- More HoCo as the great HowChow generates an interesting discussion about liquor stores and reveals that a Buffalo Wild Wings (24 taps) may be headed to Dobbin Road at the sight of the former Rocky Run.

-- Frisco Grille, among other bars, will be host to a new local brewery very early in April featuring a pint/firkin night event with some really cool glassware. I should be able to say a LOT more in a few weeks.

One Frisco Grille event I can talk about is a visit from Allagash brewer Rob Tod, who will be on hand for something of a "meet and greet" from 530-730 PM on a special Frisco Grille "pint night" April 21st.

-- Looney's (North/Bel Air) is hosting a Rock 4 Relief benefit concert for the Haiti earthquake victims on Sunday January 31st with several live bands from noon to 8 PM. Its a concert and silent auction with 30$ of all sales donated to Catholic Relief Services and the American Red Cross. Similar 20% proceeds will be donated from Looney's in Canton and Maple Lawn locations.

-- Ram's Head Tavern Annapolis is hosting a $70 Fordham Brewing Beer Dinner on Thursday March 4th at 7 PM.

Speaking of Fordham, their Queen Anne Kolsch should be released soon if not out already. That is one of my absolute favorite styles and a sure sign warm weather is (hopefully) on the way.

Also, be sure to get on their email list for more thorough updates on musical acts and whatnot. The most recent one has a generous 20% off full check coupon.

-- Long Trail Brewing out of Vermont will be expanding into Maryland, Delaware and Virginia sometime in 2010, just a heads up. We'll have to give them a hearty welcome whenever they arrive.

-- Earlier this month, Ruddy Duck put their Robust Porter (7% ABV) on tap.

-- Slightly belated: DuClaw released their Old Flame last week, its an Old Ale style. Next month is their release of Serum, which has been pushed back a bit to Feburary 17th and 18th. The Serum is their Double IPA, woo!

Again, belated, but obviously they closed their Fells Point location. I thought it had one of the best spots down there but as they've noted, it was more of a seasonal location great for the summer and people watching but a little overlooked in the winter. Fortunately there's three other locations to fall back on!

-- Gilly's in Rockville has a ton of new beers in stock from Southern Tier, Victory, Allagash, Rogue and North Coast. Also: Saturday January 30th is a "Nobil Pils" tasting from Sam Adams, $3 pints and keep the glass. The Noble Pils is made with all five "noble" hops and will replace the White Ale as the new spring seasonal for Sam Adams.

Saturday February 6th is a Sierra Nevada tasting with special discount. Do check them out, its a little out of the way for me but they now have a six tap system, a really nice beer and glassware selection and a cool deli with unique sandwiches, cheeses, etc. Plus the people are nice. Another hidden gem beer place.

Currently on tap: Heavy Seas Winter Storm Warning, Kona Longboard Lager, Lindeman's Peche, Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron and Brooklyn Brown Ale.

Just arrived in stock: De Dochter Embrasse, Kalle Triple, Hornsby Cider, Atwater Cherry Stout, Flying Dog Garde Dog and Raging Bitch BIPA, Arcadia Hopmouth, Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, Eerwaarde Pater and more ...

Also: DC IPA adds his $0.02 about Gilly's.

-- Join the Lures (Crownsville, MD) "Beer Club". For $30 you get a platinum members card, a free beer each month ("do the math"), a free birthday dinner (up to $20) and a members only hat. Yet another place I need to visit soon, I keep hearing good things about it.

-- Nice deal coming out of famed pizza joint Joe Squared: a free 10-inch pizza with purchase of two bottles of beer (not named National Bohemian, at least).

-- Check out the "Mid Atlantic Beer Club" More info at the Twitter account.

-- Check out this cheese and beer pairing "clock"

-- For Christmas I sent my friend Steve in California bottles of Heavy Seas Yule Tide and Brewers Art's Coup De Boule. He's got pictures.

-- The Ravens' season is over but the playoff win over New England netted some interesting spoils: lobsters! Max's inherited the beasts and is auctioning them off for charity but in the meantime, check them out at the Lobster Cam.

If you're still feeling Raven crazy, The Raven lager is on tap at two places I'm aware of (maybe many more): Annabel Lee Tavern in Canton and The Diamondback Tavern in downtown Ellicott City.

-- Brewer's Art just changed its dining and appetizer menus (yum!). The veggie banh mi, chili dog and mac-n-cheese all look great.

Currently on tap (per website): La Petroleuse, Zodiac and the deliciously sessionable Proletary Pale.

-- Be sure to check out the website "Alex Brews" run by a DC native and Twitter follower of mine. Also: "Beer Blog" by another local. Also: DC IPA (+Twitter). Also: Beer . Simple. Also: Brew Notes. Also: Beltway Beer. Also: Scottie Knows Beer. Also: The Amber Age run by Mid-Atlantic Brewing News' Kevin Smith (Twitter) who also writes the Frederick Craft Beer Examiner and wrote up "The Brewing Decade In Brief" recently. Yes, I think we're in the middle of a modest renaissance of beer blogging in the area.

Thanks also to The Foaming Head for a link, too kind. They're a great NY based clearinghouse of beer items

-- Follow Orr Shtuhl on Twitter, he has a knack for uncovering the elusive Bells Hopslam in and around DC. Speaking of DC, DCBeer writes up five new DC beer spots to check out in 2010. They recently hosted a canned beer tasting at can-beer-only Red Derby. We could use a place like that in Maryland.

-- The Atlantic reviews new DC beer hotspot ChurchKey/Birch & Barley and the first sentence of the review is "I hate beer". Really?!

-- This is cool: a listing of places in Pennsylvania that carry Russian River beer (with their phone numbers). Thanks to my Twitter friend David for the link.

-- Also cool: a gallery of photos taken from the Clipper City Brewery and Brewer's Art via DC Foodies who ventured north to partake in two of Baltimore's finest breweries.

-- New, sort of bare-bones beer website: BrewAdvice.com. The concept is like the Yahoo! Answers thing where brewers can ask questions and select from a range of brief answers as guidance.

-- So, Tupper's Hop Pocket is back. I've never tried it having only been in this area for about two years now but the oldtimers rave about it. Its been spotted at Mahaffey's and The Judges Bench and is listed as pending at Frisco Grille, so its making the rounds. Thoughts?

-- Long tail: so Mr. Mitchell didn't like Poe Boys, but has anyone else given it a try? Its got Flying Dog on tap. We would all love to have a million 15+ tap beer bars around but its just not reality right now. In the meantime I think it helps that beyond the Max's, Mahaffey's, Frisco Grill etc. places out there there's enough Poe Boys, Buffalo Wild Wings etc. that carry some of the corporate stuff but also make room for a few craft goodies in the mix.

-- Franklin's new brewer Mike Roy has started a blog, bookmark it! This Friday's firkin will be their Anarchy Ale.

That's all (for now). Hopefully this has proven useful. Someone recently accused me on HowChow's blog of simply regurgitating the beer emails everyone's on. First of all, I do provide information that isn't always available via those emails (plenty right here, for starters) of which I appreciate the many great people in the beer world in Maryland who are kind enough to bother with me and talk shop and share the goods, if you will. Second, not everyone is signed up to those emails (hell, I'm probably missing a few). I enjoy being a conduit passing along the obvious but also the not so obvious that may not be in email but rather on the websites or Twitter and even information I personally glean from my various friends and contacts.

Bottom line: this is fun, no need to be all snide like that.

As to those out there reading who qualify as "contact" types that I don't already personally know, feel free to shoot me an email sometime, I'd be happy to relay what I can to Baltimore Beer Guy's audience and help the overall beer scene here grow and be more connected. A rising tide lifts all, right? Cheers.


Anonymous said...

Great stuff... thanks for doing this.

Brandon Miller - Milhouse44 said...

Let's make the Ellicott City Pub Crawl happen!

...and as long as there is internet access and finger left to punch a keyboard, their will always be one.

Christian said...

Ellicott City Pub Crawl-please!

platypotamus said...

mmmmm... Ellicott City pub crawl, indeed. last time I was out there, I only knew of Ellicott Mills as a good beer bar.

many thanks for the linkage! much appreciated. don't go trying to make me a DC native, though - I'm B'more born and raised, mayun!