Sunday, September 13, 2009

Living Social

I have to say, I have really become accustomed to the Living Social: Beer application available through and It's a pretty cool place to enter in all of the beers you may have sampled over the years and post a simple review, flag your favorites, and check out photos of different containers, etc. It is a more organized version of something I was trying to do myself a couple of years ago through I like LS:Beer for it's ease of use. I know there are several other review sites--and they have their positives as well as their negatives--but LS:Beer just plugs into my toolkit seamlessly. I suggest you check it out.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

'Tis the start of the season

And on with the fall beer festival season!

Today, in Bel Air, Maryland, DuClaw is holding their real ale festival. There is a limited number of tickets available for those who didn't buy them ahead of time.

Real ale is defined as a beer brewed from traditional ingredients (malted barley, hops water, and yeast), matured by secondary fermentation in the container from which it is dispensed, and served without the use of extraneous carbon dioxide. Typically the beer is served by hand-pump or dispensed by gravity, where the cask is above ground and is tapped at the bottom. Some really extraordinary beer is made and served this way.

Unfortunately, we won't be able to attend, but I would love to hear from some folks who do! Just drop us a line by clicking contact at the right hand side of our page.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Saranac Brewery's New Blog

The Matt brothers at Saranac Brewery just turned on a redesigned blog. It has some pretty spiffy information regarding the history of the brewery and events that are going on in, and around, Utica, NY. Go ahead and check it out by following the link on the right-hand side of the page, under "Blogs We Like."

Friday, August 14, 2009

Well, it's no bumper crop

Last year, I decided to venture out and buy some hops rhizomes from Maryland Homebrew. The varieties I bought were Cascade and Hallertau. I planted them in large planters around Mother's Day, and let them run wild.

Well, they didn't run that wild.

Both popped up out of the soil, but didn't grow beyond 12 inches tall. I cut them back in mid-September, and covered them with spent grain.

This spring I noticed my Cascade planter shooting up like crazy! Well, wouldn't you know, it has grown about 10 feet tall on a trellis I built. Wouldn't you guess the Hallertau wasn't as fortunate: I decided to dump it in the back of our back yard.

Tonight I harvested my Cascade cones--they feel papery to the touch, and have a fantastic aroma of spicy grapefruit! Below you will find pictures of my "first harvest."

P.S. That Hallertau plant I pitched in the back, back yard--I think it rooted itself in some of my grass clippings and wild flowers and has simply exploded behind our bird feeders. Perhaps I will be harvesting some Noble hops in September...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Ah, The Brewer's Art

So, we went out to dinner recently to The Brewer's Art, located in downtown Baltimore. It has stood as one of our absolute favorite restaurants to visit whenever there is a performance we're going to attend or if we're celebrating a special occasion.

Why would the place be called The Brewer's Art unless they (you guessed it) brewed their own beer!

With my appetizer, I enjoyed a great beer they call Twelve Labors, in honor of their 12h anniversary, as well as the 12 labors of Hercules. From what I was able to tell, TL is a very tasty, savory potion, made from an interesting mix of wheat, some coriander, some generous hopping that offered a citrus kick, and the herbaceous/floral notes I believe provided by the yeast. I heartily recommend this beer to anyone who can get there in time. It's a limited seasonal, and once gone, I'm sure it's gone.

The beer selected to accompany my entree was their Beacon Ale. Unfortunately, it didn't have enough complexity to cut through the TL. However, I am confident, on its own, it is a wonderful session beer!

I can't tell you how much I missed this place--it had been a good 2+ years since we last visited. I hope we don't wait another 2 years to go back.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Special Offer

To everyone out there on the Etherwebs:

I received an email from the publisher of The Beer Guide, Savory House Press, stating if you order the book through their website, you'll get a dollar off the cover price! It's all ready a great value at $9.95, but to get it for $8.95 is simply icing on the cake.

I forgot to mention in my review that the bulk of the entries from are from average people--not everyone who writes these reviews and rates these beers are BJCP certified.

Again, for those of you who are on the run often, or go exploring to new beer/wine/liquor stores, and encounter a lot of bottles that you may have questions about, this is a sweet book to have on-hand.

Here is the link right to the product page: The Beer Guide @ Savory House Press.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Book Review: The Beer Guide

The Beer Guide, edited by Josh Oakes

Published by Savory House Press, Fort Worth, Texas.

Have you ever had the experience of walking into your local beer purveyor, checking out their selection, settle in on a sixer and ask yourself, "is this a good beer?" For most of you, I would imagine the answer is a big fat yes. Luckily, I received a copy of The Beer Guide, from Savory House Press, and it seems to solve this very issue!

Josh Oakes, the editor of, pulled together 2,700 reviews based on user feedback (30,000+ members) from the website, into a well thought-out and portable hand guide. Imagine what the Zagat Survey is to restaurants, this is to beer. What makes it neat, is its size; it can easily fit into the glove box of your car (or your back pocket) making it really handy to take into the store.

The majority of the reviews are spot-on and very witty. "This is the only beer that managed to travel through my esophagus in both directions at the same time," Corona Extra; and of Dogfish Head World Wide Stout, "something to be savored."

There are some hits and misses, such as reviews that don't match the rating (a one to five-star system), or missing ABV figures, but they don't detract from the overall book.

The selected entries do a great job of covering a wide selection of beer. Not every beer makes a showing in the book, but with nearly 3,000 unique reviews, you would be hard-pressed to find a brewery that is not represented. And, let's be honest, this book would be HUGE if it had everything.

At the end of the book are three nice appendices: updates & corrections, and two pairing guides, written by Stan Hieronymus. The first for pairing food to beer, and the second for pairing a beer style to food. Both have an easy to use cross-index by style and cuisine/drink. This is very, very handy if you are going to a restaurant that caters to a specific style of food. Crab for dinner? Try a Belgian blond. Only have porter on hand? How about steaks, or some Gorgonzola cheese for a tangy twist?

Overall review
It tastes great: super convenient size, extremely affordable ($9.95, The Beer Guide @, makes for a clever gift.

It's less filling: minor grammar/spelling issues, a few mismatched ratings--all of which can be corrected in a future edition.

It's last call: Buy. A must-have for those on the go and who are serious about their beer.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Let's get it started, in here

New times, new posts, new awesomeness. Everyone, sorry for the hiatus, things happen, you know.

So, back to starting your own brewery, the brewing industry, homebrewing, and all stops in between!

Expect a book review this week--I'll drop a hint, it's The Beer Guide, built from input provided by's member base.