Saturday, October 18, 2014

Pic(k) of the Week: Wine Contemplations

Wine contemplations

As seen at a wine café and market, only latterly opened: two, in seeming wine reverie.

Bistro 360
Arlington (Rosslyn), Virginia
17 October 2014.


Friday, October 17, 2014

Chesapeake Real Ale Festival 2014

Baltimore Beer Week 2014 began last Friday, 10 October. It ends this Sunday, 19 October. (Yes, that's a ten day week.)

Before it all ends, the Pratt Street Ale House and the Baltimore chapter of the Society for the Preservation for Beer from the Wood (SPBW) present the 11th annual Chesapeake Real Ale Festival, this Saturday, at the brewpub, in downtown Baltimore, Maryland.

Jones vs. the firkin
Festival host brewer, Steve Jones, of Oliver Brewing.

There will be at least forty-one casks of real ale (and one 'real' lager) at the festival. And, what is 'real ale'?

Also known as cask-conditioned ale, 'real ale' is beer brewed from traditional ingredients; matured by secondary fermentation in the container from which it is dispensed; served without the use of extraneous carbon dioxide; presented unfiltered, yet 'bright' not cloudy; served at cool 'cellar' temperature, approximately 50 - 56 °F, at which point the subtleties of flavor become prominent. It's the beauty of beer at its freshest.

The festival takes place both inside and out the Pratt Street Alehouse. Outside, no problem. The weather forecast for Saturday is for good autumn weather. Or, as some might say, good cask ale weather. And, the festival is a bargain. For one admittance fee, a festival go-er can drink unlimitedly (within the bounds of supply and good and decorum), without the nuisance of purchasing drink tickets. Food, however, is not included, but can be purchased off the pub's menu, in the dining rooms or at the bar.

Here's the line-up of casks: some TBDs (to be determined), some MIAs, and, as always, some yet-to-be-named guest beers.

Brewery Location Beer Cask Additions Alcohol %
Blue Mountain Afton, Virginia Double Oat IPA Centennial hops 8.4
Breckenridge Colorado Oatmeal Stout Salted caramel and coffee beans 4.9
Brewers Alley Frederick, Maryland IPA ... 5.8
The Brewer's Art Baltimore, Maryland Proletary Brown Ale ... 5.3
The Brewer's Art Baltimore, Maryland Apres Saison Citra hops 5.3
DC Brau Washington, D.C. Stone of Arborath Scotch ale Gin-soaked oak chips, rosemary, thyme 8
DuClaw Baltimore, Maryland Neon Gypsy IPA Simcoe, Amarillo, Chinook hops 6.5
Evolution Salisbury, Maryland Lot 3 IPA ? hops 6.8
Flying Dog Frederick, Maryland The Fear Imperial Pumpkin Ale vanilla 9.0
Flying Dog Frederick, Maryland The Truth Imperial IPA ... 8.7
Flying Fish New Jersey Exit 16 Wild Rice Double IPA Citra hops 8
Flying Fish New Jersey Red Fish Amber Ale Simcoe hops 7
Frey's Mount Airy, Maryland Pussy Pilot Parade Black Rye IPA ... 5.9
Full Tilt Baltimore, Maryland Hop Harbor IPA Mosaic hops 8.3
Gordon-Biersch Baltimore, Maryland Heather Mel Scotch Ale (aged in Woodford Reserve bourbon barrels) 7.5
Harpoon Massachusetts IPA El Dorado hops ...
Heavy Seas Baltimore, Maryland Plank III (Wood-aged tripel) ... 8.5
Jailbreak Laurel, Maryland The Carrot Cake Conspiracy (Amber Ale, with roasted carrots and spices) ... 6
Milkhouse Farm Brewery Mt. Airy, Maryland IPA ... 6
Monacacy Frederick, Maryland Riot Rye Amber Ale ... 6.2
New Belgium Colorado 1554 (Black Lager) Fuggles hops 5.6
Oliver Brewing Baltimore, Maryland Bizarre Gardening Accident (Anglo-American Brown Ale) ... ...
Oliver Brewing Baltimore, Maryland The Black Code #2 Black IPA ... 7
Oliver Brewing Baltimore, Maryland ESB ... 6
Oliver Brewing Baltimore, Maryland Modern Life is Rubbish Porter ... 5.9
Oliver Brewing Baltimore, Maryland My Monkeys Gone Sour (Oak-aged, soured barleywine) ... 10.5
Oliver Brewing Baltimore, Maryland Pink Torpedo Raspberry Saison ... ...
Oliver Brewing Baltimore, Maryland There's A Fine Line Between Stupid And Clever (Smoked Black 'Pseudo' Lager) ... ...
Pub Dog Brewing Westminster, Maryland Imperial Dog IPA ... 6.5
Pub Dog Brewing Westminster, Maryland Pumpkin Ale ... 6.66
Oskar Blues Colorado/North Carolina Dales Pale Ale mangos 6.5
Oskar Blues Colorado/North Carolina Old Chub Scotch Ale coffee, vanilla 8
Real Ale Revival Cambridge, Maryland Nanticoke Nectar IPA Citra, Cascade hops 6.0
Sly Fox Pennsylvania Chester County Bitter ... 4.5
Sly Fox Pennsylvania Hop Project #05256 #05256 hops 6.1
Terrapin Georgia Midnight Monk Black IPA ... 9.8
Union Craft Baltimore, Maryland Hampden on Rye Ale coriander 5.9
Weyerbacher Pennsylvania Last Chance IPA Simcoe hops 5.9
Weyerbacher Pennsylvania Last Chance IPA Centennial hops 5.9
Yards Pennsylvania Presidents Peculiar Bitter Ale ... 5
Yards Pennsylvania Brawler English Mild French Aramis Hops 4.2

Pratt Street Ale House


Monday, October 13, 2014

Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 38/39, 2014.

Clamps and Gaskets: weekly roundup
A bi-weekly, non-comprehensive roundup
of news of beer and other things.

Weeks 38/39
14 September - 27 September 2014

  • 2014.09.27
    Cold temperatures and wet weather damage already historically small North American barley harvest. Malted barley prices may rise. Will beer prices increase as a result?
    —Via Reuters.

  • 2014.09.25
    Cask ale volumes (in the U.K.) grew in 2013, despite a declining market. The 2014 U.K. Cask Report has been released.
    —Via Pete Brown.

  • 2014.09.25
    Britain celebrates Cask Ale Week, 25 September through 5 October, organized by Cask Marque: "only in UK, only in pubs."
    —Via Cask Ale Week.

  • 2014.09.23
    Belgian brewery, De Halve Maan in Bruges, to move its beer via an underground pipeline from its brewery to its bottling plant, three kilometers away.
    —Via AFP.

  • 2014.09.22
    Autumn began on Monday, 22 September 2014, at 10:29 EDT in the Northern Hemisphere, with the occasion of the Autumnal Equinox.
    —Via YFGF.

  • 2014.09.21
    NASA's MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) probe arrived in Mars orbit late Sunday, 21 September 2014.
    India's first-ever Mars probe, the Mangalyaan Mars Orbiter Mission, arrived at Mars orbit on 23 September.

  • 2014.09.20
    The best beers in Maryland as determined by the Maryland Comptroller's Cup.
    —Via Brewer's Association of Maryland.

  • Mr Boh
  • 2014.09.19
    Pabst —the non-brewing owner of several American 'legacy' brands including Pabst Blue Ribbon, Old Milwaukee, Schlitz, Colt 45, and National Bohemian— has been sold to a consortium including a Russian company, Oasis Beverages.
    —Via Baltimore Sun.

  • 2014.09.19
    Scottish voters have rejected independence, opting to stay in the U.K.
    —Via CBS News.

  • 2014.09.18
    Anne-Françoise Pypaert is the first-ever woman brewmaster at any Trappist brewery, directing brewing operations at Brasserie d’ Orval, where she had been Director of Quality Control since 1995.
    —Via Belgian Beer Specialist.

  • All about "All About Beer"
  • 2014.09.17
    Daniel Bradford, owner of All About Beer Magazine for 22 years, has sold the magazine and the World Beer Festival to a North Carolina company. The sale marks a generational change in craft beer, Bradford was former director of the Great American Beer Festival, former president of the Brewers Association of America, and former marketing director of the Association of Brewers.
    —Via Real Beer.

  • 2014.09.15
    Nearly one in every three beers in the world might soon be owned by the same company. Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest beer maker by volume, is preparing to offer as much as $122 billion for SABMiller, the world's second-largest brewing company.
    —Via Washington Post.

  • 2014.09.15
    The twenty-five 'Best' Beer Bars in America in 2014, as selected in a national poll, run by the Brewers Association.

  • Why 'craft' beer costs so much
  • 2014.09.14
    Why does a 6-pack of craft beer cost what it does? An explanation, via writer Joe Satran.
    —Via Huffington Post.

  • 2014.09.14
    Sad legal kerfuffle at Balcones Whisky, one of America's 1st 'craft' distilleries, in Waco, Texas. The distillery founder, Chip Tate, has refused to attend board meetings with the venture capital group that now owns a majority stake in the company.
    —Via Whisky Advocate.

  • 2014.09.14
    The 200th anniversary of Francis Scott Key's writing of the "Star Spangled Banner," in 14 September 1814.
    —Via Washington Post.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Pic(k) of the Week: Stouts & Dirndls.

Stouts & dirndls for Oktoberfest

Attending an Oktoberfest celebration, these two were into the spirit of the thing, wearing dirndls, traditional Bavarian peasant dresses.

But the beers they were holding?

Dark ... cask-conditioned Oatmeal Stouts. Brewed byOliver Brewing of Baltimore, Maryland, which served them hand-pulled from a firkin (10.8-gallon cask), via a 'beer engine.' Not so Bavarian-traditional, but quite the traditional English way of doing things.

'Chick' beer? Hah!

Photo taken at the Mid-Atlantic Oktoberfest, organized by the Capitol City Brewing Company, in Arlington, Virginia, a close-in suburb of Washington, D.C.
4 October 2014.


Friday, October 10, 2014

Happy birthday, Mr. Monk.

Thelonious Sphere Monk, the great American composer and jazz pianist, would have been 97 years old today. He was born on 10 October 1917. He died on 17 February 1982.

I would like to play a beautiful tune I composed not so long ago, entitled Pannonica. It was named after this beautiful lady here. I think her father gave her that name, after a butterfly, that he tried to catch. I don't think he caught the butterfly.

Monk's performance, here, of Pannonica —named for Kathleen Annie Pannonica de Koenigswarter (Rothschild), an English-born patron of late 1940s and 1950s American bebop jazz ('Nica' for her friends)— displays his compositional ethos and kepboard virtuosity distilled to its essence: use of null time and coaxing of tones between a piano's keys, transforming a deceptively simple melody into a miniature gem of severe beauty.

Along with Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and a handful of other players, he developed the style of jazz that came to be known as bebop. Monk's compositions, among them "Round Midnight," were the canvasses upon which these legendary soloists expressed their musical ideas. In 1947, Monk made his first recordings as a leader for Blue Note. These albums are some of the earliest documents of his unique compositional and improvisational style, both of which employed unusual repetition of phrases, an offbeat use of space, and joyfully dissonant sounds.
Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz

Happy birthday, Mr. Monk, wherever you are!