Saturday, November 24, 2012

Get out there - Small Business Saturday

Get out there and support your local businesses, and what better than to stop off and support your local brewery!

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Using corn cheapens the product? Think again!

I just read this great little article on beer history in America, over at

The article contends that, due to the beer shortage on the Mayflower, the Plymouth settlers had to adapt their brewing recipes to use indigenous ingredients, which (most certainly) corn was one of.

Just be certain that, before you go snubbing your nose at a beer because corn was used as an adjunct, you give every beer a fair shake, as the use of corn is very much a part of American history.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

It's OktoBEARfest!

Hey, it's late notification but, of you hustle on down to the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, you can go to OktoBEARfest, today, 12-4.

And then you can stomp around the city for Baltimore Beer Week.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fiery Foods & Firkins Festival!

It looks like the scalawags at Heavy Seas have decided to host an event that'll make anyone want to walk the plank!

Combing three of mankind's most perfect culinary creations - chili, cheese and beer - they have assembled the Fiery Foods & Firkins Festival!

Here's what you're looking at so far:

The event will take place at the brewery on Saturday, November 10. All the details are on their site, linked above.

See you there!

(image property of

Sunday, September 23, 2012

What are you doing September 29h and 30h?

All I can say is wow! Carroll and Frederick Counties have stacked the deck for the last weekend in September.

Since we will be right in the prime of Oktoberfest that weekend, there are four, yes, count them, four beer festivals between Frederick city and Westminster.

First on Saturday, 29 September, there is the 7th Maryland Microbrewery Festival at the Union Mills Homestead. We attended the first three, bailed out for the next two, and tried to go back last year - but it was rained out. It's a good time filled with live music and entertainment, but has grown by leaps and bounds every year. (Experience and reporting from friends have led us to this info.)

  • Time: 11 A - 7 P
  • Price: [In Advance] $18 for adults, $5 for non-drinkers, children 12 & under are free.
  • Price: [At the Door] $20 for adults, $5 for non-drinkers, children 12 & under are free.
  • Food: Hot dogs, pit beef/turkey/pork, crab cakes, cheese steaks, gyros, popcorn, etc.
  • Beer: [6 sampling tokens with your ticket, more available after the fact]
    • Heavy Seas Brewing Company - Baltimore, MD
    • Pub DOG Beverage Company - Westminster, MD
    • DuClaw Brewing Company - Abington, MD
    • Ellicott Mills Brewing Company - Ellicott City, MD
    • Flying Dog Brewery - Frederick, MD
    • Johanssons Brewing Company - Westminster, MD
    • Olivers Ales - Baltimore, MD

Also on Saturday, if there are too many people at the Microbrewery Festival, you can swing by the Carroll County Craft Beer Festival at the Shipley Arena.

  • Time: 12 P - 6 P
  • Price: [In Advance] $50 for adults, $40 for non-drinkers
  • Price: [At the Door] $60 for adults, $40 for non-drinkers
  • Food: Catered by Salerno's of Westminster.
  • Beer: [unlimited 2 - 3 oz pours]
    • Boston Beer Company - Boston, MA. (There looks to be a huge compliment of Sam Adams beers.)
    • DuClaw
    • Stoudts Brewing Company - Adamstown, PA
    • Harpoon Brewing Company - Boston, MA
    • New Belgium Brewery - Fort Collins, CO
    • Flying Dog Brewery
    • Tommyknocker Brewery - Idaho Springs, CO
    • Yards Brewing Company - Philadelphia, PA
    • Spoetzl Brewery - Shiner, TX
    • Baltimore-Washington Brewery - Baltimore, MD
    • Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company - Chippewa Falls, WI
    • Angry Orchard Cider Company - Cincinnati, OH
    • Blue Moon Brewing Co. - Golden, CO
    • The Brewers Art - Baltimore, MD
    • Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Inc. - Lewes, DE
    • Evolution Craft Brewing Co. - Salisbury, MD
    • Lancaster Brewing Company - Lancaster, PA
    • Magic Hat Brewing Company - South Burlington, VT
    • Sierra Nevada Brewing Company - Chico, CA

It's a massive brewery list, but I don't know if the selection make the $50/$60 ticket worth it. Also, charging $40 for a designated driver's ticket is highway robbery. I though the $20ish that I laid down for the Harvest Beer Festival for a DD ticket was expensive, but $40, no way.

I honestly think that, although they expect a mass of people (1,000+), the price is going to turn them away.

The last event on Saturday is the Frederick Oktoberfest! The good news is, if you want to attend one of the other events (above), the Frederick Oktoberfest spills into Sunday.

  • Time: [Saturday] 11 A - 10 P, [Sunday] 11 A - 6 P
  • Price: $5 general admission for everyone including children 2 and older, $20 for a bag of tokens (1 token = 1 dollar) - note you can only get beer samples and food using tokens. [Admission is free if you wear your Dirndl or Lederhosen]
  • Food: Bratwurst, sauerbraten, pretzels, strudel, and so on.
  • Beer:
    • Brewer's Alley - Frederick, MD
    • Flying Dog
    • Miller Brewing Company - Milwaukee, WI [Miller Lite]
    • Hacker-Pschorr - Munich, Germany
    • Scottish & Newcastle - Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, England [Newcastle Brown]
    • Pabst Brewing Co. - Eden, NC [National Bohemian]

Then, if you are visiting and stay through the night, on Sunday, 30 September, you can swing by the Rotary Oktoberfest of Carroll County. This festival is brought to you by the four Rotary Clubs of Carroll County. The pertinent details follow:

  • Time: 10 A - 6 P
  • Price: $5 general admission; designated drivers and children 10 & under, free. (If you show up in an Oktoberfest related costume (lederhosen, suspenders, etc.) you get in for free!)
  • Food: Catered by Old World Catering. There'll be bratwurst, knockwurst, sauerbraten, sauerkraut and a bunch of other German foods.
  • Beer: All brewed by Pub Dog. Hoppy Dog, Blond Dog, White Dog and Carroll Barrel Brau (a special beer for the event).
So, where are you going to be? It definitely has the making of an expensive weekend. I don't know where we will end up, but if you are around the area, I'm sure chances are high we'll run into each other! Prost!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Raise your Mas!

It's Oktoberfest! Today marks the opening of the annual pilgrimage to Munich for the greatest beer festival in the world.

Ein Prosit, ein Prosit
Der Gemütlichkeit
Ein Prosit, ein Prosit
Der Gemütlichkeit

Prost! Prost!

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Congrats to Clipper City!

Fox News has declared Heavy Seas' Martzen one of the 10 Best Oktoberfest Beers, pulling even with the German classics: Ayinger, Paulaner, Hacker-Pschorr and Weihenstephaner.

Congratulations, Hugh, you've genuinely earned it!

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Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Great Day For A Beer Festival

Today, my folks and I went to the first Maryland Harvest Beer Festival, held at Homestead Gardens. The weather was absolutely stunning, and the setup was tight but manageable.

Above is beer tent #1, where the throng lived; it also housed the most beer. Within was Bold Rock Cidery, Fordham Brewing, Old Dominion, New Belgium, Widmer Bros., Red Hook, Goose Island, Starr Hill, Kona Brewing and one more...darn if I can't remember.

This was the scene outside of the main tent. There was a small area for some live music (courtesy of The Colliders), a WRNR tent, the obligatory food stuff, and a smaller beer tent with more "macro craft".

By "macro" I mean Shock Top, Hoegaarden, Becks, Bass and Boddington's. By "craft", there was Omission (from the Widmer Brothers), a gluten free beer made _with_ barley. You'll have to grill them to determine how.

All in all, I'd say the Marionberry Hibiscus Gose, Oak Barrel Stout (first time having it on tap, and the Boxcar Pumpkin Porter were my favorites, in that order. Boxcar was so tasty I had to have a glass of it.

For next year, what would be nice for the organizers to allow you to print off paper tickets (tix handled via mobile phone this round), provide free water for designated drivers and better signage for glassware rinsing stations.

At the end of the day, the whole thing was very fun and I look forward to the next time!

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

It was a bittersweet evening

One of my favorite liquor stores is under new ownership, and it feels like they aren't in it for a love & respect of the goods they're selling. I was glad to see the old employees were retained though- they are very nice, but not so well versed in the wares.

I also helped educate one of said employees, by teaching him what the four digit code on a bottle of beer meant.

Most of the time that code is the bottled on date. The first three numbers represent the day of the year the beer met the glass, the fourth digit is the last digit of the year. So, the example I showed him of 1921 on a bottle of Long Trail Coffee Stout (22 oz.) equates to day 192, year 2011. (At 8% it might be okay, but it's been sitting on a not so cool shelf in the back, so all bets are off.)

Then I handed him a six-pack of Beerlao Dark Lager, and told him to yell at their distributor. I was too eager to pounce when he asked why. I told him, "you see, not all bottling dates are encoded, and this one is in plain English. See, stamped on the front label it says 'MFG DATE Sep.26.08'." Four years old, lowish ABV, covered in a thick layer of dust, sitting on a hot shelf. It's as much the owners fault (past & present) as it is the distributor, but the distro people should be checking this stuff every time they come in there, and the owners should be checking the inventory sheets regularly. Oh well.

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Saturday, July 7, 2012

A clever little mix

I know the picture stinks, but you'll survive.

It's called a Black and Sam: Guinness floated over Samuel Adams Boston Lager, and it's pretty wonderful. The Stout is silky and is chased nicely by the caramel sweetness of the Sam Adams.

I'd tell you which restaurant served this concoction, but I think their food and atmosphere is rather lacking. Try to make this at home with a B&T turtle, you may have a new favorite mix.

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Friday, July 6, 2012

Wide selection

If you're in central MD and haven't stopped in to Total Wine (née Corridor Wine & Spirits) lately, you should. I popped in last night and was stunned by the widening of their imported and craft beer selections. They even have a printed guide to styles and regions.

There are two drawbacks, though: Their prices are a touch high on some things but on par with the region, and the lions share of the beer is out under fluorescent lamps. Buyer beware.

It's nice to see their focus on an expanded beer selection, now to emphasize taking care of that product.

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Friday, June 29, 2012

Is it El Budweiser or La Budweiser?

AB-InBev just snatched up Modelo, the company that brews Corona and a host of others, for the low, low price of $20 billion.

Again, is it el Budweiser or la Budweiser?

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

It's a douche bag move

Short & sweet.

I don't have much to say other than shame on MillerCoors for the punch top can, for a "smoother" flow. All that encourages is binge drinking of your product and you know it. How you got that past the BAFTE is beyond me.

Second, there is now a beer called Pong, from Latrobe, PA. I am equally disgusted as I'm sure the stuff tastes like brake fluid.

If you're going to play beer pong, use something with some flavor. I wouldn't use that stuff to wash my balls.

#rant #qualitynotquantity

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Saturday, April 7, 2012

It's Session Beer Day!

Raise a pint! Hell, raise two or three!

Happy Session Beer Day!

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

How do I say, most dangerous of 2012?

So, I've been neglecting the beer I bought for the Xmas holiday. And this is it's vengeance...

This beer is 9/10, without doubt. It's super grainy, very hot on the tongue and a rocky aromatic head. It sneaks up like a damn ninja!

It's supremely dark for a Helles, but this beer is royalty! And, after the hot flavor washes over you, you are met with a well built and well hopped lager, that truly welcomes you to indulge.

I can't say anymore: if you can find it, chill or and drink it moderately.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Craft brewing is kicking ass!

Hey! Keep on fighting the good fight! Support your local brewery and drink full flavor beers!

Image courtesy of
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Saturday, March 24, 2012

2 for the day

Ah, talk about a rare style: Gose, brewed in the city of Gosar, next to the river Gose. Oh Germany, you fickle animal.

This is one of the stranger styles of beer, brewed with coriander and salt. Yes, salt. The underlying beer is surprisingly tart and would make for an excellent and refreshing summer beer.

I don't think this is a beer for everyone. All the same, I have to give it at least 7/10. I'm sure that this, when fresh, is absolutely jaw dropping. But, considering I only know of this one example of the style, that's as high as I can rate it comfortably.

The Beer, Bourbon & BBQ festival was today, but sadly we couldn't go due to household chores that had to get knocked out. That said, I can always enjoy an ale from one of the breweries that was there.

Weighing in at a moderate 5.6%, DuClaw's Anti-Venom is really well-built. This beer is their APA, hopped with New Zealand Geen Bullet.

The label states it is laced with exotic flavors, which I don't taste. What I do get is a wonderful grassy/straw flavor that is brought to the palate on Cascade-grapefruit wings.

The malt is in the background hints at caramel sweetness and unsalted crackers, but the hops absolutely dominate this beer. The bitterness is not so overwhelming as you drink, but crushes you on the aftertaste. I'm happy with this beer; but it would be interesting to see it entered as a straight APA in competition, what would it score?

Me? Torn between 7 and 8. It's too well made to be less.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Maryland Craft Beer Festival

Remember the Maryland Brewers Springfest? Well, that sweet sign of spring has been renamed the Maryland Craft Beer Festival, Put on by the Brewers Association of Maryland!

Here is the official poster. Print them by the gross and pepper your neighborhood!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Zombies in my beer?

This is simply too good not to repost: an article written in BYO magazine about surviving the zombie apocalypse with beer.

It's truly well written from the guise of brewing without hops and forcing the brewer to use local herbs.

Here's the link to the original article.

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Oud Beersel Oude Gueze

Sour nose, crystal clear gold color, pillowy white head, endless tiny bubbles, tart flavor & finish, and clean overall. One great ale. 9/10

What? Oh snap, bonus content! A video review!

St. Paddy's Day!

To all!

Please be safe today, be merry, and be responsible!

Thanks to NPR for whipping this together:

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cheers to Emma!

(The original title of this post was "What's in the box, man?")

I recently placed my first order with Northern Brewer, where I ordered a brewing kit, their homebrewing DVD set (for future review), and the obligatory shirt.

My focus is really on the kit: Emma's Ale.

A lot of you might all ready know this, but for those who don't, allow me to recap.

Chris German, of Brewers Supply Group, has a 4-year old daughter named Emma, who was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, a form of brain cancer. Chris' homebrew club, Jack of All Brews, called all around the state to organize a benefit to help their friend and his family. At the same time, the crew at Northern Brewer learned of Emma's story and created the Emma's Ale kit, where 100% of the proceeds from the sale of that kit go to pediatric cancer research at the Children's Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota.

The outpouring of support from the community was staggering. And the update provided in October of 2011 states that, after Emma's last bone marrow transplant, Emma's cancer is in full remission!

This story touched me dearly, as I had a childhood friend who lost the battle to cancer, and anything I can do to contribute to those trying find a cure to that bitch, I'm going to do. You should too.

I love you and miss you, Anthony.

Here are all of the links for more information:

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Maryland Brewers Need Your Help

(Text courtesy of Maryland Homebrew)

The Brewers Association of Maryland has requested that beer enthusiasts take action to support legislation beneficial to the state's small brewers and beer consumers.

Please read the following information provided by the Brewers Association of Maryland.
The Brewers Association of Maryland is asking for your help in supporting three bills that are the subject of committee hearings in the next couple of days.
Calling your elected officials is easy. A staffer will answer the phone. Tell the staffer your name and where you're from and tell him/her why you're calling and why the issue is important to you. he/she will thank you for your call and that's it. There's nothing to it. It will only take you a minute or two, but it makes all the difference.
- Stott Noble, Homebrewer

On Friday afternoon, February 24, the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee will hear Senate Bill 579 which creates a farm brewery license. Beer brewed under this new license would be required to contain agricultural ingredients grown on the farm and license holders would be able to offer samples of their beer and sell that beer into the distribution network, both in and out of state.

On Monday, February 27, the House Economic Matters Committee will consider House Bill 1126, which is identical to Senate Bill 579 above, and House Bill 1127 which allows a pub-brewery or a micro-brewery license holder to provide samples, operate a second location in the state and self-distribute their beer on a limited basis.

Please contact the following committee members as soon as possible and ask them to support the bills before their committees.

Let them know that these bills provide a real opportunity for Maryland’s small brewers to grow, to create more jobs in Maryland communities and to offer an increased variety of beers to consumers.

Supporting these bills supports Maryland small businesses, Maryland agriculture and tourism in the state.

Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee – Senate Bill 579
Chairwoman Joan Carter Conway --
Senator James C. Rosapepe --
Senator Karen S. Montgomery --
Senator Bill Ferguson --
Senator Bryan W. Simonaire --
Senator Edward R. Reilly --
Senator J. B. Jennings --
Senator Joanne Claybon Benson --
Senator Paul G. Pinsky --
Senator Ron Young --
Senator Roy P. Dyson --

House Economic Matters Committee, Alcoholic Beverages Subcommittee -- House Bills 1126/1127
Chairman Charles Barkley --
Delegate Brian McHale --
Delegate Dereck Davis --
Delegate Donna Stifler --
Delegate Hattie Harrison --
Delegate Joseph Minnick --
Delegate MaryAnn Love --
Delegate Rick Impallaria --
Delegate Warren Miller --

Thank you and cheers,
Mike Franklin, President
Brewers Association of Maryland

Thanks for your support of Maryland’s small brewers.
Charlie Papazian
Brewers Association

Gary Glass
American Homebrewers Association

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

High & Mighty? More like Low & Lame

First, let me caveat this post: I'm sure that the folks at High & Mighty Beer make some fine beer and they never intended their beer to be served in the condition described below.

Fault for the flaws in this beer lies with the distributor/shop--unfortunately the latter is a beer Mecca, The Perfect Pour.

Bottled on 3/24/10, this beer should not have been sold in 2012. Upon opening the bomber, I was socked with a very fruity aroma, almost like citrus garbage disposal cleaner. The pour was absolutely gorgeous: a burned orange with amber tint; with an extremely rocky foam up top. That aside I decided to take the plunge: extraordinary effervescence; solventy mouthfeel & taste (hard to see why at 5.4% ABV); closing with a very harsh, bitter finish. Just plain bad.

That then forces me to award this unfiltered lager 2/10, which again I think blame goes to poor product handling and stock rotation.

Always check your dates on lower ABV beer: they aren't meant for long term storage unless you can guarantee its always been refrigerated; even then it's suspect.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

It's never too late for Christmas Beer!

Local (well, Philadelphia) beer reporter & blogger, Don Russell's book, Christmas Beer: The Cheeriest, Tastiest, and Most Unusual Holiday Brews, is a terrific read. In it, he reviews over 50 holiday ales and lagers, with some of my favorites for the season, a quick history of Santa, and the history of the Christmas beer style; and I am happy to report that Maryland is well represented on his list! Don's been around the block once or twice, and he certainly knows his way with the pen; the book is very well written and edited.

The actual construction of the book is solid and impressive. I loved the color photos and the paper stock was one of the most beautiful, heavy-weight that I have seen in a long time: I wish more books were published this way.

All in all, this is a timeless book. I believe that if you enjoy the occasional beery night cap, then this book deserves to be on your shelf. It would make a great gift for a beer lover you know, too.


Here's a link to Don's website: Joe Sixpack

Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy President's Day

To celebrate the holiday, I found a bottle of Thomas Jefferson's Tavern Ale, brewed by Yards Brewing Company of Philadelphia, PA.

Call me a romantic, but it's been a long time since I've seen anything so pretty. It sits amber in the glass with a short off-white head.

The first sip of this historic ale delivers a charming spiciness and monumental malt backbone. As it warms up, the beer kind of exposed a slight toffee flavor that really goes well with what this beer, I think, is going for. My guess, if it was intentional, was that it comes from some caramelization.

I am really enjoying this beer and think you would too.

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Perfection, by New Glarus

Two Women is my first beer from New Glarus, and I think this bottle delivered to me (by a coworker from that part of the country) is a flawless example of a classic German dark lager. Perfect.


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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

And now for something weird

So, on a small whim I bought some beer from Austria, and let me state the following: the Austrians aren't known for their brewing prowess.

This is Zipfer Helles. It is dark - too dark for a Helles. Also, it is surprisingly cloudy for the style.

As for aroma, there was none. As for flavor, it was like drinking melted butter (diacetyl). As for me buying it again, no.


May I present MacQueen's Nessie, imported all the way from, what the hell, Austria?

This is a "whisky malt red beer", peeking through the loch with 5% ABV.

Let's cut to the chase- she needs to remain an enigma.

Nessie has a very interesting aroma, like a sour mash with a sugary tang. It tastes like nothing. But it retains a very nice mouthfeel. I detect no whisky (where I thought there'd be some peated malt), so I have no clue what "whisky" means to Schloss Eggenberg, other than malted barley.

The color was pretty brown before it was red.

Eggenberg's Samiclaus is a classic beer. Schloss Eggenberg MacQueen's Nessie is not.

Overall, I'll give it 4/10.

Don warned me about Austrian beer, saying they are more miss than hit. Heed the advise.

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Allow me to introduce...

This is Belhaven Scottish Ale from a draught can.

YouTube Video

Don told me about this beer, claiming it was one of his new favorites, and I have to agree: it's quite smooth, malt-centric, and has an amazing pour.

This is certainly a tasty ale and earns a 7/10.

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