Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Act Now! Maryland Alcohol Tax Increase

I am not living in Maryland anymore, but this effects many of the people who read this, and many friends of mine.  Flying Dog and Heavy Seas both made a Call for Action to the residents of Maryland.  There is a proposal to raise the tax on alcohol, pushing it up by over 100 percent.

Here is a chart from Heavy Seas:
MD Tax Inc
And here is what you (residents of Maryland) can do, and it only takes a few seconds:
1) Click here for the "Save My MD Job" website

2) Click on "Send Your Legislator an Email Letter"
3) Enter your zip code, email address, and name and mailing address (this is needed to verify you are a constituent)
4) Click "Send Email Letter". You have an option of a prewritten standard letter or you may write your own.

Here is the text from both Heavy Seas and Flying Dog:

Dear Friend of Clipper City Brewing Company, brewers of Heavy Seas Beers.

As some of you are no doubt aware, there is a strong movement afoot to enormously increase the Maryland tax on alcoholic beverages - an average increase of over 750%. Tell me any other tax you would approve of with a 750% increase!

This movement is gaining traction because it misrepresents a huge tax increase as if it were an inconsequential "dime a drink". Many consumers have mistakenly interpreted this increase to mean the tax would only increase their costs in a bar/restaurant by 10 cents a drink.

Unfortunately, this tax will be levied on all alcoholic beverages at the manufacturer level. These amounts will be the absolute MINIMUM price increase you will see on the beverages you buy in Maryland!

If passed this tax will undoubtedly lead to Maryland job losses! Neighboring states will gladly cater to Maryland residents who will cross state lines to save considerable dollars since 20 of MD's 24 counties border another state.

We are looking at an economy that is just getting back on its feet, gas and food prices are rapidly increasing, and unemployment is just beginning to improve. This is not the time to raise this tax!

We need you to help us fight back!

Please contact your Maryland representatives NOW to tell them you do not support this tax. YOU CAN DO THIS IN 30 SECONDS BY FOLLOWING THESE INSTRUCTIONS:

1) Click here for website
2) Click on "Send Your Legislator an Email Letter"
3) Enter your zip code, email address, and name and mailing address (this is needed to verify you are a constituent)
4) Click "Send Email Letter". You have an option of a prewritten standard letter or you may write your own.

That's it. Personalized letters will be sent to your legislators telling them you DO NOT WANT THIS TAX!

Thank you very much for your support. Your efforts will hopefully prevent this new tax from being forced upon us. Now one more favor - PLEASE FORWARD THIS EMAIL TO OTHER MARYLANDERS WHO FEEL LIKE YOU DO!

Thanks again for your support,
Hugh Sisson
Clipper City Brewing Co.
Here at Flying Dog, we stand for brewing extraordinary craft beer, standing tall, and not letting anyone make you eat shit.

As Maryland's largest brewery, we are asking the People's Republic of Flying Dog to take a stand against a movement to increase Maryland tax on alcoholic beverages (House Bill 121/Senate Bill 168).

The movement misrepresents a huge tax increase as "a dime a drink," which makes consumers feel like their cost per drink would only increase by 10 cents.

That is not the case. That tax is set at the manufacturer level and will snowball once the product is distributed and sold at retail. Can you imagine paying an additional $2 for a 6-pack of Doggie Style Classic Pale Ale?!

In addition, this tax will lead to Maryland job losses. Neighboring states will gladly cater to Marylanders who cross state lines to save money. That will be easy, considering that 20 of Maryland's 24 counties border another state. And here at Flying Dog, we employ over 60 Maryland residents and do not want to see that number decrease.

We ask that you now form an opinion and take a stand.

If you choose to stand against this bill, contact your Maryland representatives. Doing so will take 30 seconds.

Go to
Click on "Send Your Legislator an Email Letter"
Enter your zip code, email address, mailing address, and name (to verify you are a constituent)
Click "Send Email Letter"
The default option is a prewritten letter. You may also choose to write your own.

The first hearing on this legislation is tomorrow (Feb. 23), so time is of the essence. We will be there in Annapolis and we want to carry your voices with us.

Thank you, loyal citizens. As Hunter S. Thompson once said, "Good people drink good beer."

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What I Sampled- Belgian Beer Fest 2011

Friday was a beautiful day.  Weather was absolutely gorgeous, and I was able to head down to the Belgian Fest at Max's.  Soon after arrival, I became slightly disappointed that the De Dolle Dulle Teve was not going to be on until Saturday.  Known as Mad Bitch, this is one delicious brew.  So I made sure to grab a Stillwater/Mikkeller Our Side (cask) and De Struise Black Damnation Mocha Bomb. Both beers lived up to my expectation.  I would have drank the Our Side all night.

As thoughts come to my head, I will make notes, but here is the list of stuff I was able to try (There is a slight chance I mixed up some beers, but don't hold it against me):
Roman Sloeber Rossa
St Feuillien Saison 
Stillwater/Olivers Channel Crossing #3
De Dochter Van De Korenaar Embrasse
De La Senne Equinox
De La Senne Zinnebir    
And a couple more that I didn't write down.

Another Fest goer pulled out a bottle of Westvleteren 12 to share. That was a pleasant surprise.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Max's Belgian Fest tap list

Below is the list that will be on tap at Max's Belgian Fest this weekend.  This is one of the most anticipated weekends for the Baltimore Beer crowd, and it should be.  If you take a look at the list, many or most of the beers listed, most people have never heard of.  Even huge beer geeks never heard of them.  I love to go, and just randomly choose, judging only by people's comments (while chatting it up with those around me) or the description on the draft list.

I am looking forward to a few, some of which I only ever have at the Belgian Fest.  De Dolle Dulle Teve (Mad Bitch) is one of my favorites, and I am also looking forward to the Farmhouse ales from Hof Ten.  I love the beers brewed by De Dochter Van De Korenaar  and never have any losers.  But seriously, you cannot go wrong with any of them.  (The bottle list, which is just as impressive, was just too long to post. If you want to check it out, comment below and I'll email it to you.)


Achilles Serafijn Chrsitmas Angel 8.00% Winter Strong Ale
Achouffe Houblon Chouffe 9.00% Triple /IPA
Achouffe la Chouffe 8.00% Golden Ale
Achouffe Mc Chouffe 8.00% Bruin
Achouffe N' Ice 10.00% Barleywine
Alvinne Bolleville 10.00% Strong Ale Aged in Calvados
Alvinne Caper Fumatis 6.70% Smoke Ale
Alvinne Extra 7.00% IPA
Alvinne Gaspar 8.00% Bitter
Alvinne Melchior 11.00%
Alvinne Oak Kersaus 2008 6.00% Sour Cherry Ale
Alvinne Oak Melchior 11.00%
Alvinne Podge 10.50% Imperial Stout
Alvinne Wild Morpheus 5.90% Wild Ale
Alvinne Wild Undressed 5.20% Wild Ale
Bavik Petrus Aged Pale 7.30% Sour/Wild Ale
Bavik Petrus Winter 6.50% Sour Winter Ale
Bavik Pilaarbijter Brune 7.00% Abbey Dubbel
Blanche De Bruxelles 5.00% Wit
Blaugies Darbyste 5.80% Saison w/ Fig Juice
Blaugies Epeature 6.00% Saison W/ Spelt
Blaugies La Moneuse 8.00% Saison
Blaugies la Monuese Special Winter 8.50% Winter Saison
Bockor Bellegems Bruin 5.50% Flanders Brown Ale
Bockor Cuvee Des Jacobins Rouge 5.50% Unblended Old Lambic
Boelens Santa Bee 9.00% Winter Ale
Bosteels Pauwel Kwak 8.00% Amber
Bosteels Triple Karmeliet 8.00% Triple
Brouwkot kalle 8.50% Triple
Brouwkot Netebuk 6.50% Golden Ale
Brouwkot Vlaskappele 5.00% Scotch Ale
Cantillon Kriek Cherry Lambic
Cantilon Rose De Grambrinus
Cazeau Saison 4.80% Saison w/ Elderflowers
Cazeau Tournay De Noel Dark Saison
Chimay Cinq Cents 8.00% Trappist Triple
Contreras Valier Blonde 6.50% Blonde
Contreras valier Divers 8.50% Triple
Contreras Valier Donker Bruin
Contreras Valier Extra 6.50% IPA
De Dochter Van De Korenaar Bravoure 6.50% Smoke Ale
De Dochter Van De Korenaar Embrasse 9.00% Dark Ale
De Dochter Van De Korenaar Finesse 8.50% Specialty Grain Triple
De Dochter Van De Korenaar Noblesse 5.50% Pale /Golden
De Dochter Van De Korenaar Noblesse Extra Ordinaire 7.00% Dry Hopped Golden
De Dolle Dulle Teve 10.00% Triple
De Dolle Oerbier 9.00% Strong Ale
De Glazen Toren Angelique 8.00% Historic Recipe
De Glazen Toren Canaster 9.50% Winter Scotch
De Glazen Toren Jan De Lichte 7.50% Imperial Wit
De Glazen Toren Ondineke 8.50% Triple
De Glazen Toren Saison De Epre Mere 6.90% Saison
De Glazen Toren Saison de Epre Mere Einejaar 9.50% Saison
De Hoevbrouwers Toria 6.50% Blonde Ale
De Hoevbrouwers Toria Triple 8.60% Triple
De La Senne Equinox 8.00% Winter Ale
De La Senne Taras Boulba 4.50% Blonde/IPA
De La Senne Zinnebir 5.50% Nlonde
De Landtsheer Malheur 10 10.00% Strong Golden
De Poef /Terrapin Monstre Rouge Flemish Red
De Proef Les Deux Brasseurs 8.50% Wild Ale
De Ranke Guldenburg Golden Ale
De Ranke Pere Noel
De Ranke Saison De Dottignies 5.50% Saison
De Struise Black Albert 13.00% Stout
De Struise Black Damantion Black Mes 13.00% Imp Stout aged in Whiskey Barrels
De Struise Black Damantion Coffee Club 13.00% Imp Stout Aged in Rum barrels
De Struise Black Damnation Mocha Bomb 12.00% Imp Stout w/ Coffee Beans in JD Barrels
De Struise Ignis & Flamma 7.00% India Pale Ale
De Struise Pannepot Reserva 2008 10.00% Strong Ale agd in Oak
De Struise Pannepot(Danish Version) 10.00% Strong Ale
De Struise Red Haired Jeanne 7.00% Special Ale
De Struise Rosse 6.00% Amber
De Struise Tjseeses 10.00% Triple Aged on Stonefruit
Deca Wetsoek Ale Triple/ Blonde
Delirium Noel
Delirium Tremens Golden Ale
De Proef Draeckenbier
Dubuisson Scaldis Cuvee Des Trolls 7.00% Golden Ale
Dubuisson Scaldis Noel 12.00% Strong Winter Ale
Dubuisson Scaldis Peche Mel 8.50% Blended Peach Lambic
Dubuisson Scaldis Triple Triple
Dupont Avec Les Bons Vouex 9.50% Winter Saison
Dupont Biere De Miel Saison w/ Honey
Dupont Saison Saison
Duvel green Golden Ale
Ellezelloise Hercule 9.00% Stout
Ellezelloise Quintine Blonde 8.00% Blonde
Fantome Hiver Winter Special Ale
Geants Goliath 9.00% Triple
Geants Gouyasse Blonde
Geants Noel de Geants 8.50% Winter Spiced Ale
Geants Saison Voisin 5.00% Saison
Geants Urchon 7.50% Brown Ale
Gordon Finest Scotch Ale Scotch Ale
Het Alternatief Ambetantik 11.00% Stout
Het Alternatief Bitter Truth 11.00% Triple IPA
Hof Ten Dormaal Amber 8.00% Farmhouse Amber
Hof Ten Dormaal Blonde 8.00% Farmhouse Blonde
Hof Ten Dormaal Dark 6.50% Dark Farmhouse
Hof Ten Dormaal Winter 8.00% Winter Farmhouse
Jandrian -Jandrenouille IV 6.50% Saison
Jandrian -Jandrenouille V Cense 7.50% Dark Saison
Kerkom Bink Triple 9.00% Triple
La Rulles Cuvee Meillieurs Dark Triple
La Rulles Triple Triple
Lefebvre Barbar Winter Bok Winter Bok
Leifmans Cuvee Brut 6.00% Cherry Sour/Wild Ale
Musketeers Troubadour Magma 9.30% Triple IPA
Oud Beersel Framboise Raspberry Lambic
Palm Ale
Rodenbach Red Flemish Red
Rodenbach Vintage 2008 Flemish Red
Roman Sloeber Rossa 7.20% Amber
Schelde Hop Ruiter 8.00% Hoppy Blonde
Silenrieux Noel 9.00% Strong Dark Ale
Silly Enghien Noel 9.00% Winter Triple
Silly La Divine 9.00% Triple Amber
Silly Saison 5.50% Saison
Silly Scotch de Silly 8.00% Scotch Ale
Sint Canarus Triple 7.50% Triple
Slaapmutske Kerstmutske Dark Ale
Slaapmutske Triple Night Cap Triple
St Bernardus Christmas 10.00% Winter Ale
St Feuillien Brune 7.50% Brune
St Feuillien Cuvee De Noel 9.00% Winter Ale
St Feuillien Saison Saison
St Feuillien/Green Flash Biere De L Amitie
St Fueillien Blanche 6.30% Wit
Steenbrugge Triple 8.70% Triple
Stillwater /Max's 25 to one 8.50% Abbey Style Dark
Stillwater Saison Darkly 8.00% Dark Saison
Strubbe Pils 5.00% Pilsner
T' Smisje Vuuve 5.00% Wit
T' Smisje BBBourgondier 12.00% Barleywine
T' Smisje Blonde 6.00% Blonde w/ Lime Blossoms
T' Smisje Kerst 11.00% Dark Ale w/ Coriander
T' Smisje Sleedorn 6.00% Ale w/ Sloeberries
T' Smisje Wostyntje 7.00% Ale w/ Mustard Seeds
T'Gaverhopke Extra 12.00% Quadruple
Van Eecke Leroy Christmas 7.50% Scotch Ale
Van Steenberge Biere Du Boucanier Dark 9.00% Dark Triple
Van Steenberge Biere Du Boucanier Golden 11.00% Golden Ale
Van Steenberge Gulden Draak Vintage 10.50% Dark Triple
Van Steenberge Leute Bok 8.20% Bock
Van Steenberge Oude Zupiers 11.00% Triple
Verhaeghe Echt Kriekenbier Cherry Ale
Stillwater 25 to One w/ Cocoa Nibs(cask)
Stillwater 25 to One(Cask)
Brewers Art Cerberus Triple /Hibuscus & Lemon Peel (Cask)
Brewers Art Saison L Ombre /Cornflowers & Rose Hips (Cask)
Stillwater/Mikkeller Our Side(cask)
Stillwater/Olivers Channel Crossing #3(Cask)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Worst Part of Homebrewing

If you questioned homebrewers what they thought the worst part was, you might get a variety of answers. From bottling to clean up to infections, the answers could go on and on. 

For me, it has been the wait after the beer is bottled. I have no problem with bottling (sure I have made a bit of a mess, but that cleans up) or clean up/sanitizing (you have to clean in your everyday life, so clean up is not too bad) and I haven't had an infection (fingers crossed) yet. 

But having the Amarillo Armadillo in bottles, waiting for it to carbonize is killing me.  One day after I bottled, I wanted the beer to be perfect.  I have had to sit on my hands, drink more of the Sierra Marietta Pale Ale, or other stuff.  And just keep myself busy trying not to think about it.

The people with kegging systems can say. "Ha. We just put gas on it and it is carbonated in half the time." But I don't have the space (yet, bar in basement is a project for the near future), nor cash to get started with kegging. Hopefully soon.

My guest post on Lost in the Beer Aisle

One of the blogs that I follow all the time, Lost in the Beer Aisle, had a request for some guest reviews (he is travelling to Las Vegas).  It just so happened that I was about to open a bottle of Heavy Seas Thank You, Thank You Very Much.  And magic ensued. 

Here is my post on LIBA. (Make sure to bookmark his page, it is some good reads.)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Valentine's Day gifts

I caught a hold of DRAFT Mag's "6 Valentine's gifts for beer lovers" article this morning and noticed two things:

A) They are some cool items to get for beer people.
from his etsy page (not my purchase)
B) They have listed a 4-pack/6-pack holder from a guy on Etsy.

I feel bad that I don't think I ever mentioned this, but for Christmas last year, this was my gift to my brother. And it was Awesome. He carries his homebrew in it everywhere he goes. His neighbors were jealous (all homebrewers) and were hinting to their spouses to get them one.  A couple things about it:
-it is very sturdy, no thought of it coming apart.
-it can be customized. I sent the graphic to the maker, it came out perfectly. (And I am pretty sure he will be able to draft something simple up for you if you don't have something.)
-he is a real person. It is great to work with someone with a small workshop in his basement.
-it adds a personal touch to any gift. Check out the other stuff, from wedding invitations to coasters to jewelry boxes, the stuff is quality.

This is definitely a gift that almost all beer lovers would like.  Whether it is a homebrewer taking their own beer to a party, or someone who just wants to have something cool on their shelf, it works.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Surprise!

A couple of weeks (maybe months?) ago, my neighbor was having a Christmas party at his house.  He placed an order for a keg of Troegs Mad Elf (he loves it) to put in his home tap system (a great bar I should add).  He was told that is probably would not come in on time, so the day of the party, he grabbed a keg of Yuengling Lager.

After tapping it for two days, he gets the call that his keg of Mad Elf showed up.  Surprised and unknowing how the lager would last after being on and off gas, he comes knocking on my door.  We grab my growlers and go up to fill up to limit the beer loss- if it would go bad.

Fast-forward to two nights ago.  It was time for me to keg my Amarillo Armadillo (single-hop amarillo IPA).  I go and grab a growler of the Yuengling that I have been meaning to get to.  Pour a pint, notice a low head, but think this would be normal for Yuengling... until I bring it near my mouth/nose.  BOOM!!! Honey and Cherries.  I forgot that he gave me one of his old (2009) Mad Elf growlers that he never got to- he works up the street from Troegs and fills up regularly- now with his home tap, he doesn't drink them often enough.  It was a pleasent surprise to have a growler of Mad Elf in February.  Delicious brew.  Alcohol very present, cherries more in the nose than mouth, and the carbonation holding on.  Good stuff.

Now to only keep sitting on my hands until this IPA fully conditions.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Session #48- Cask, Keg, Can or Bottle?

This month’s The Session is hosted by Reluctant Scooper, and poses the questions: cask, keg, bottle or can?
The method of beer dispense often raises the hackles of even the most seasoned beer drinker. Some evangilise about living, breathing cask as being the one true way. Others heartily support the pressurised keg. The humble tinny has its fans. Lovers of bottled beer, either conditioned or pasturised, can be equally vociferous.

Perhaps you think that one method magnifies a beer's impact. Perhaps you won't try a beer if it's dispensed in a way you don't agree with. Perhaps you've tried one beer that's been dispensed every which way.

The question is simple but your answer may not be: Cask, Keg, Can, Bottle: Does dispense matter?
I find that this is strictly a matter of preference.  You can get great beer out of any of these beer dispensers.

Once you get over the fact that good beer is packaged in cans, your beer tastings can open up to some great beers. I have found that neither the bottle nor the can made a big difference to me.  I like to pour the beer into a glass, to allow it open up to me.  Allow for me to add sight and smell to the senses that the beer can affect. Sitting inside the bottle or can, the beer is masked and not allowed to perform at the level that it is intended.

The question between cask and keg can start a fight if you are surrounded by CAMRA hooligans. For me, I have found that both the cask and the keg can be different beers (even if they are the same beer).  But I have found that when pairing a cask and keg version of the same beer next to each other, it is a 50/50 split on which I prefer (unscientifically researched).  That being said, the cask version can seem more lively and smooth, where as I find that many times the keg version has more bold flavors.

Taking these opinions into account, when I walk into a well stocked bar, say Max’s Taphouse, I check out the casks, then the tap list and finally the bottle/can list. Give me a cask of anything Olivers, a keg Stillwater, a case of Troegs Scratch bottles and a case of Oskar Blues Dales Pale Ale and I won't complain.