Thursday, April 30, 2009

Germany and No Smoking

According to this article in the LA Times, German domestic beer sales are down 6.8% in the first quarter of this year. Exports to other EU member countries are down 12.5%. Exports to all other countries are up over 2%, but only 21% of its total exports go to non-EU countries (I would assume a huge number of that 21% is the US).

How does this mesh with Balto/MD/USA? The brewers are blaming the ban on smoking in the bars, pubs, clubs and restaurants as the main reason for the decline (Germany banned the smoking).

Ever since Maryland considered legislation through the implementation of the legislation, I have been at odds with it. Do I like smelling like smoke after leaving a bar? No (Max's was horrible, IMO). But I always felt that the bar owners should have their choice. Maybe restrict new bars, or liscence transfers, but to make someone who has owned a bar for 30 years change it now. I hated it. Ron at Max's loved the cigars bar, and sold cigars to people who enjoyed them. Even had a happy hour devoted to beer and cigars. I sided with them. If you wanted to go where you weren't around smoke, Red Star was a couple of blocks away, McGovern's was a neighborhood over. I believe Berthas was nonsmoking as well. People had choices, they just didn't want to use them. That was my problem.

Anywho, what do you think about declining sales/smoking ban/any other topic for today?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Who comes up with this?

Apparently Beck's is turning their a Hello Kitty themed beer. Packaging and bottle label. Who would ever think this is good? Maybe they are targeting making their beer for women, but I can't see how any man that sees this bottle would be like, hmm, maybe I will grab a case.
I am sure it won't hurt their sales too much, but unless it is for a good cause (I am thinking Breast Cancer research), why would a beer go pink?
Would you drink this beer with this label?

Friday, April 24, 2009

First up...

Trying to start the weekend off right, I went to the fridge and grabbed a Sierra Nevada Torpedo. This 7.2% "Extra IPA" is a delicious brew by the always good Sierra Nevada. I don't look for Sierra Nevada to break any molds, but I always know they will produce a good beer.

It looks (amberish orange), smells (citrus and pine) and tastes (citrus hop with a good combination of malt) exactly how an IPA should. (I normally do not likeit when people categorize, but this is how I think it should be.) I think they took their pale ale, and looked to improved everything. Fine job Sierra Nevada, I look forward to any future offerings.

How are you starting your weekend off?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Where's the Beer?

Anyone know where I can find some Bear Republic Racer X? I am very intrigued, and first off thought that they kept it close to home. Then over on Lew Bryson's blog, he said he had it in PA. So any around Balto?

I also grabbed a bottle of Brooklyn Local 1 last night. Now I just need to find the time to open and drink 1 and 2.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day

What would make a green beer?

It takes so much energy to make it, store it and ship it, I would think it would be hard to consider any green. Organics like Wolevers are doing their best to be environmentally friendly. I like Wolever's IPA, nice beer, but it being organic does not make me want to have one more. And they ship it from Vermont, in bottles.

Oskar Blues has always used their can as a way of reducing their "carbon footprint". Again, I love Dale's, Gordon's and Ten Fidy, but it comes from Colorado. That is a long way to ship something to say that it is green. The best I can think of are local brewpubs. Straight off their tap. Reuseable kegs limit waste, I guess.

So, I guess the better question is, what beer hurts the environment less, compared to the others? I don't know that answer, and probably no one does.

What beer are you swilling today?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Beer Wars

Here is a great link that I stole through Lew Bryson. It is from Harry Schuhmacher. It gives the other side of the War. And I thought it was interesting.

Click Here

Monday, April 20, 2009

Brewer's Art

I have stated my opinion of Resurrection (good beer, could be sweeter) and Ozzy (my favorite from BA, delicious golden), but now Brewer's Art is getting props from Esquire. Best Bar. Congratulations.

Their explanation of a good bar:
"If it's a dive, it's Christ-this-place-is-a-dive dive. If it's an Irish pub,
it's not an "Irish" pub. If it's a cocktail lounge, it's got some Tanqueray Ten
and a bottle of good rye somewhere. This site is about those places."

I can't complain about that. If it wants to be a certain type of bar, be that bar. Brewer's Art has its own thing going. I love going downstairs grabbing a beer, and finding a table in the cave. Good stuff.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

DogfishHead ApriHop

Last night was the Pint Night at Max's. When I walked in, I was told it was ApriHop. Immediately, I figured it was another day for me to dislike the beer (I always try it, and leave disappointed with it). But for whatever reason this time, I really enjoyed it. Maybe it was so fresh that it turned me on. I don't know. I felt it was very sweet, malty sweet. A little bit of hops, but not overpowering. The aroma was good, and represented the taste well. I didn't ever think that I would like this one, but I did.

My second offering was Ommegang Rouge. I am a fan of Flemish Red beers, and I have been waiting to try this one. Finally, I was able to get into Max's when they had it on tap. The beer did not disappoint me. Deliciously sour, it makes my mouth water just thinking about it. The sourness hits you like a brick, and then disappears, making you go back for another sip. I would drink a couple of these, but I think it would be better to enjoy it every once in a while. I will think of it as a treat. (Normally, I don't drink Flemish Reds when I go out. I like to think of them as something to have to treat myself.)

Finally, I went with a York Nortic Fury, which was on cask. Probably not the best choice to go with an English Bitter following the Rouge, but I was going to give it a whirl. I usually like Bitters, and I was kind of in the mood for one. I must say I was disappointed in it. It just didnt give me what I was looking for, or the Rouge killed my taste buds and I didn't get everything out of the beer. I am hoping it is the latter, and I would grab another pint of it in the future to give it its due.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Brewery visit

Last Saturday, I met some friends at the Yuengling Brewery. They drove up from Baltimore, and I was already in PA, so I came down. I always forget how nice the tour is. This was my thirdish time going on the tour, and I always see something different. I am one of the few people on the tour that isn't looking for that free sample at the end, although I normally partake of it. The other day, my sample was of their Bock beer, which apparently they are only brewing for a short time. It was delicious though. If you have a chance, grab a pint.

Yuengling is held dear to my heart. I was turned into a quasi-hophead when I moved to Baltimore. Sitting in Max's with my friend Chris gave us hours of IPAs, Belgians, maibocks, yada yada yada. But through it all, I could go and grab a Lager and enjoy it. In Bloomsburg, we would spend hours downing pitchers of Lager, then go to someone's house after the bars closed to drink more Lager. It was the beer we drank. It isn't the complex beer that makes you love beer. It isn't a beer that will win gold medals. But it was what we drank, and enjoyed. (Better than drinking a miller lite, or any other macro-crap). The brewery tour reminded me that I don't drink it much anymore. Too many other beers to try, so little time. I will get back to Yuengling. When we go out with friends, it is Lager. So go out, drink what you like, try many beers, but don't forget about your first love. (Also, head up to Pottsville and take the tour. It is worth it. Family owned since 1829.)

What beer did you have that was (and always be) your beer?

Now after all this talk of Yuengling, I will have to grab a hopbomb.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Choosing Beer

I had off on Friday. That meant it was my job to drop the Better Half off at work (from now on she will be the NonBeerChick, since she doesn't enjoy it like me). So I decided to stop by the Wine Source and pick up some Resurrection for my brother, who lives in Michigan. (Note, even though I claim to be BaltimoreMan, I am from PA, a transplant). I gave him a bottle of the Green Peppercorn for Christmas two years ago, and missed out by 4 feet of getting him a bottle of Resurrection this year. I found it fitting to get him a bottle of Resurrection for Easter.

That is when the fun began. I walked into the Wine Source at 9:01. They open at 9, so I figured I was the first one there. Until the lady behind the counter stated a man was waiting, as soon as she opened the door, he grabbed his bottle, paid and was out. Wow. Anywho. I walked to the beer section, and that is when I felt like I was in a candy store.

There are the beers that you always get, and can get anywhere (racer, 90 min, Sierra Nevada, etc.), but I didn't want them. I found the Resurrection, and decided to grab one for me as well as a bottle of Green Peppercorn. Then what?

I had to push myself past the Ommegang. Maybe they would have the Cave-Conditioned beer? I went back. No luck. Maybe the Rouge? No luck. So I press on. My first grab was a bottle of Green Flash Grand Cru. I never had it. Never even heard of it. Kind of intrigued me. Green Flash IPA is one of my favorites. What possibly could go wrong with a Grand Cru from them?

Travelling down the aisle, I find purchase #2. It just happens to be Brooklyn Brewing Local 2. I had heard a million good things about this brew, but never had a bottle for myself. Now I do. (I am excited about this beer, I hope my excitement doesn't ruin the experience.)

The final bottle I picked up was a hard decision. I heard good and bad from it. I grabbed a Victory WildDevil. On some accounts, you get the HopDevil IPA with funk (from the Brett) making it a delicious complex beer. On the other hand, people have stated it is just a HopDevil with very very mild changes, at a premium price. I will be delighted if it comes out as the former, or mad if it comes out as the latter. I will have to wait and see. It is a nice bottle though.

The Sweet Nectar of the Gods

Pulled the cap off of a bottle of Troeg's Flying Mouflan last night. I will call it sweet hops. The south has sweet tea, so the north can have sweet hops. Much more maltier than Nugget Nectar, has the strong backbone of hops that one would expect. Very very drinkable, maybe dangerously drinkable. Overall, a very nice beer. Go find one.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Pint Glass

Last night, Max's pint glass was from Lake Placid Brewery. Their beer was called Ubu Ale. At first I was timid, due to the dark pour. I am an amber colored beer type of guy. But, as Will Ferrel says in Old School, once it hits your lips, it's so good. Nice beer. Nothing overdone. Very drinkable.
The other beer that I gave a whirl was the Claymore Scotch Ale from Great Divide. You can't go wrong with most Great Divide stuff. Claymore is dark and a little heavy. Good beer, with a caramelly malt flavor, I guess, that goes well with the hops. Nice beer, if you haven't had any, get a pint.
To top it off, the O's took down the Evil Empire again.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

That's Not Baseball...

Baseball. Some call it America's Pastime. All I think is a warm night, a hotdog and a cold beer. What is better than that. Sitting in centerfield at Camden Yards, drinking some Clipper City. Yelling to KoolAde (a vendor friend) to get a hotdog. That is baseball. Families come to the game. What do they buy? Hotdogs, cotton candy, fries and the dads drink beer (so they can put up with the kids).

But not in Canada. Beer was banned for the Detroit Tigers v. Toronto Blue Jays game last night. I cannot express how wrong that is. I hate that there are people who ruin it for others,

This is the reason:

The clubhouses were cleared of booze, too, after the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario suspended the liquor license at Rogers Centre for three dates because of past infractions. The stadium will also be dry April 21 when Toronto plays Texas and for a Canadian Football League game Aug. 1.

The Blue Jays' 12-5 win Monday was delayed nine minutes in the eighth
inning when fans threw two baseballs in the direction of Detroit left
fielder Josh Anderson and tossed a handful of paper planes and empty beer
cups onto the field.

I can't say I don't blame the Alcohol and Gaming Commission for it. I would be mad if I got there and couldn't grab a brew, but I would eventually understand. I have yelled at players/refs/coaches, but I would never throw something on the field.

A Tradition Unlike Any Other...

This year was the first time in a couple that I did not attend a Masters practice round. Two years ago it was the Monday practice round. I remember walking onto the course, seeing all that green at 8 a.m. Never did I imagine that it was that green, that perfect, and that (Ugh!) hilly. The television broadcast does not give the hills justice. Up and down. When you walk around the course, you are sore, tired and just feel beaten up. No matter how sore you are you leave amazed at its beauty, especially Monday, at 8. The best conditions, no one was on the course except Tiger, who started before the crowd was let in. Augusta National has crazy elevation changes. That day will always stick in my mind.

Last year was a let down. We went for the Wednesday practice round and the Par 3 tournament. The tournament was neat, but they pack everyone that would be out watching the course onto a packed par 3 course. We were still able to get a seat and view some of the shots. The highlight of that day was seeing Jack and Gary Player out on the course before the Par 3. (Also seeing KJ Choi and Justin Leonard running with their kids from the tee to the green. Leonard's daughters thought it would be fun to roll onto the green, so they did. Classic family moment.)

Where does this pull in beer? It is golf, and golf goes with beer. Augusta National is pristine. You do not put trash on the ground. The food is as cheap as it gets, one dollar for a bag of chips, $1.50 for a ham sandwich, a buck for a candy bar and, get this, $3 for a Heinekin. Where are you able to get a $3 beer at an event that huge. They don't care about the money, but you better not miss the trash can.

Anyhow, Tiger will win. That is what he does. Go on, be a Tiger.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Rodenbach Grand Cru came through last night with a win over DogfishHead 90 Minute. Grand Cru used strong defence and a low turnover to win the Championship of Beer, 2009. 90 Minute, on the other hand, turned it over way too much, and was downright sloppy. I am sure Sam will clean it up for next year and have another good showing.

I turned the game off in the middle of the first half as Michigan State refused to hit their shots, or sometimes they just handed the ball to UNC instead of shooting. The second half was much better, but UNC's lead was too great. Unfortunately, I did not partake of any beverages during the game last night, maybe why I didn't enjoy it as much. What did you think of the game?

Go Orioles!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Taming of the Brew

The Taming of the Brew is a fundraiser to support the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensamble. They limit the tickets, creating demand, but also giving the participants a chance to sample a wider range of beers. (No 10 , or even 3, person lines.) The TotB also has area restaurants participate. Along with the beer and food, there was a presenter who gave a history of beer as well as samples. (I am sorry, I forgot my camera. I was not pleased with myself.)

There were some nice surprises, good beer and good food. It was a really nice night.

Bullfrog Brewery (Williamsport, PA) didn't bring the Edgar IPA (I was a little disappointed) but did have Houblonium P-38. They call it a Belgian-inspired IPA, and it was just as good. If anyone ever gets up to the Little League World Series, or if they are just looking for a trip, Bullfrog is a must stop. Good food, Great Beer.

Sly Fox released their Odyssey at 10. The Odyssey is an Imperial IPA. Very well balanced. Not the super hopped up IPA that I normally drink, but it was very tasty. I wish I could enjoy this beer more. Also of note, Sly Fox bottle the Brewer's Art beers. I thanked them for that.

And finally, the surprise of the evening was Ommegang. Their taps, Hennipin, Witte and Rare Vos, are all great beers. But I was hoping for a little more. Last year, I was able to introduce some of my friends to Three Philosophers. This year I was hoping for Ommegeddon, Rouge, Friut or something else. (As long as it wasn't Ale 2009. Obamagang is aweful. Some people may like it, but it is aweful. The guys at the TotB from Ommegang agreed with me.) What they did have, at 10 o'clock, was a Cave-Aged Three Philosophers (I missed out on it) and a Cave-Aged Abbey. It blew me away. So many different flavors than the regular Abbey. I am going to start searching for the beer this week. Hopefully, I will be able to find a couple of bottles.

Full Pine

The Oregon government is trying to make sure you get a full pint.

What's a Calorie?

I stumbled across this website today, thanks to, It gives the calorie information of many beers. Very cool.

Best reply I have ever heard about calories. One lady asked the bartender how many calories were in a certain beer. The bartender pointed out that, since there wasn't any calorie information listed on the lable, the beer had zero. I think the lady actually believed the bartender, because she proceeded to order the beer a couple times that night.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Pint Glasses

When I initially moved to Baltimore. My friend, now roommate, informed me of Max's Pint Night. I stop by after work most Wednesdays, and I would do it just for the beer. The pint glass has been a treat.

Last night, I was able to pick up a Sierra Nevada Harvest pint glass. It was the pint of the night at Max's. I followed the Harvest with a couple of Nugget Nectars. One on tap and another from the cask. I am not looking forward to when the kegs run dry. I enjoy the Wednesday Pint Night.

Looking at the 65+ pint glasses is usually fin as well. Thinking about the beer that came in them, as well as the uniqueness of the glass. From German mugs to tall Hefe glassware to a simple pint glass with a brewers logo on it, each glass gives me thoughts on their beer. And it is nice to drink a X beer in and X pint glass. There are some pint glasses that may never be filled with their beer again. Off the top of my head I can think of Dos Equis, Miller Lite (I didn't have miller, it was an O's glass though) and Peroni.

My favorite glass that I picked up was a Amstel Light glass. It is basically a wine style glass, with detailing on the stem and around the rim. The glass is thin, which makes it extremely light. Overall it is a clean, good looking glass. I would post a picture, but after its last use, yours truly dropped it on the counter. Stupid me.

There is always the debate over which pint glass to use for what beer. If it is glass, then I will use it. I don't segregate when it comes to glassware. I could use a tumbler for an Belgian as well as a wine glass for a stout. Will it change the taste/texture... maybe, but not enough for me to decide on whether I like the beer.

What is your opinion on glassware? Do you have a beer glass at home?

Rodenbach Grand Cru

Either you like it or you hate it. The comparison of UNC and Rodenbach Grand Cru can go pretty deep. Ask a fan of any other ACC team, and you can hear the dislike. I have heard the same while tasting the Grand Cru. The sourness, the cherries, whatever it is, there are many people out there that would take a sip and hate it. On the other hand, there are people out there that charish every sip.

I fell into this beer at the first Belgian Beer Fest that I went to at Max's. I didn't know what to think of a Flemish Red Ale. First sip, I didn't know about it. Second sip, I could taste it. Third sip, I was in love. Now it is something I look forward to. When other brews are supposed to be similar to it, the comparison always is bad for the other beer.

What is your opinion on these sour beers?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

This weekend

I will be missing the Beer, Bourbon and BBQ up on the Timonium Fairgrounds. But I am happier going to the Taming of the Brew, in Bloomsburg, PA. The TotB is sneaky fun. As a fundraiser for the local theatre group, the TofB brings a collection of around 30 brews (most breweries and one Miller distributor) and most area restaurants in for a night of good beer and good food. As you walk in they hand you a 10oz glass, and give you a shove. Not really, but I feel like they should.

If you would like to go and don't have a ticket, well you are out of luck. The tickets went on sale a couple of days after Christmas and they sold out in under 30 minutes. Why? (this is the best part) They limit the amount of people in the Fest. Maybe it is because of the Fire Marshall declared occupancy of the building, or maybe it is to cause demand. I don't know, but I was able to secure tickets this year, and am happy to go. The lines at all of the brewers never get very long, maybe waiting for one or two people in front of you, and the food stands are always ready for you as well.

Some of the beer I look forward to. Troegs will have their beer there, which is nice, but you can get most of it anywhere. Ditto for Victory. Sly Fox was there last year, and I don't get up to Lancaster to go drinking enough, so that was a treat. Ommegang (Maarstad) comes down, so I could swill that all night long. The PA Homebrewers are there with some of their brew, as well as smaller brewpubs. It is nice to try out people's craft. I can't wait to get there to see what was brought.

I will get some snap shots at the TofB to share. And hopefully those of you who go to BB and BBQ, let me know how that goes.

Bear Republic Racer 5

UConn came into the tournament as a favorite to go to the Final Four. Racer 5 is a favorite to land in my fridge. Connection? Yes.

Racer 5, from Bear Republic, may be the smoothest IPA I have ever tried. Very easy to drink, and delicious to boot. The beer is overflowing with hops. This beer was introduced to me through a hop-loving friend that made me take a sip. This golden/orangish beer pours with a foamy head. The aroma hits you right away. The hops pour through your mouth, and continue to linger.

If I could only have one IPA (or maybe one beer) in my fridge, I would have to consider this beer. What would be in your fridge? What do you think of Racer 5, Bear Republic? (Yes, I do love Hop Rod Rye, as well as their Red Rocket)