Tuesday, October 13, 2015

For 2015: Baltimore Beer Legends Hall of Fame.

Baltimore Beer Week 2015

Baltimore Beer Week is on! The Baltimore, Maryland, metro-area celebration of beer began Saturday 9 October and runs through Sunday 18 October.

For this year, the festival's 7th annual iteration, the organizers have created the Baltimore Beer Legends Hall of Fame,
to recognize and honor men and women, past and present, who by their innovation, achievement, influence and/or contribution, and by the example of their lives, personify the great contribution that beer has made to our way of life in the 'Land of Pleasant Living': the beer industry in Baltimore and the surrounding Chesapeake region.

Baltimore Beer Legends Hall of Fame 2015

Individuals will be inducted every year during Baltimore Beer Week. For 2015, those inaugural inductees are:
  • Thomas “Nelson” Carey III : beer, wine retailer, and restaurateur
  • Bob Footlick: President, Bond Distributing
  • Tim Hillman: beer, wine retailer
  • Mick Kipp (aka Mick T Pirate): food and beer entrepreneur

Baltimore Beer Week was founded in 2009 by longtime Baltimore, Maryland, beer maven Joe Gold; Baltimore Sun then-columnist, Rob Kasper; beer and real ale organizer, Dominic Cantalupo; then-president of the Free State Home Brewer's Guild, Les White; and Alexander D. Mitchell, a reporter for the Mid-Atlantic Brewing News.


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Pic(k) of the Week: Kettle calandria at Fair Winds.

Kettle calandria at Fair Winds

That's a calandria, inside the 30-barrel kettle at Fair Winds Brewing Company, a production brewery in Lorton, Virginia.

A calandria is
a tubular heat exchanger that heats wort quickly and efficiently, enabling it to be boiled vigorously in the kettle. [...] Most kettle designs include a dish-shaped wort spreader device that suppresses over-foaming, mixes the wort, and drives off unwanted volatiles. [...] The higher temperatures achieved using a calandria, typically up to 220 °F, can reduce boil times up to 30% while also increasing hop utilization.
The Oxford Companion to Beer.

Fair Winds opened in March of this year; in September, the brewery entered its beers at the Great American Beer Festival, and won a gold medal, the first time out, for Siren's Lure, a hoppy saison.

Charlie Buettner is the head brewer for Fair Winds. For 4 1/2 years prior to that, he had been the head brewer at Mad Fox Brewing, a brewpub in Falls Church, Virginia.


Monday, October 05, 2015

Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 38/39, 2015.

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

Weeks 38/39
13 September - 26 September 2015

  • 26 September 2015
    By the numbers: the 2015 Great American Beer Festival, 24-26 September, in Denver, Colorado.
    "Winners were chosen from 6,647 competition entries (20 percent more than in 2014) from 1,552 breweries hailing from 50 states plus Washington, D.C. This year’s GABF competition saw its biggest panel of judges ever, with 242 beer experts from 15 countries."
    —Via [U.S.] Brewers Association.

  • 26 September 2015
    Mid-Atlantic winners at the 2015 Great American Beer Festival.
    —Via YFGF.

  • Four thousand breweries in the United States.
  • 26 September 2015
    Major American beer milestone announced at the Great American Beer Festival. There are 4,000 breweries in the U.S.
    —Via [U.S.] Brewers Association.

  • 23 September 2015
    He came to the big fork in the road, and he took it. Hall of Fame New York Yankees baseball catcher —and wordsmith— Yogi Berra dies at age 90.
    —Via Yahoo Sports.

  • 19 September 2015
    "We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners." Roman Catholic Pope Francis I, a native of Argentina, visits the United States for the first time as pope.
    —Via Wikipedia.

  • Prost! (01)

  • 19 September 2015
    Oktoberfest, the world's largest party began today, in Munich, Germany. To continue for 16 days until 4 October.
    —Via Oktoberfest.

  • 18 September 2015
    How hops prevent infection in beer: they cause bacteria to 'starve.'
    —Via LarsBlog.

  • 16 September 2015
    What would be the impact be on U.S. 'craft' brewers if Anheuser-Busch InBev would purchase SABMiller?
    —Not so much in the immediate future, via [U.S.] Brewers Association.

  • 16 September 2015
    Today would have been the 90th birthday for blues guitarist, singer, and composer, B.B. King, who died 14 May.
    —Via Wikipedia.

  • 14 September 2015
    The "invisible" men and women of good beer: importers.
    —Via Jeff Alworth, at Beervana.

  • 15 September 2015
    MillerCoors to close its Eden, North Carolina, brewery, which began operations in 1978.
    —Via Jay Brooks, at Brookston Beer Bulletin.

  • 14 September 2015
    National grocer Kroger to pour draft beer AND wine at several of its stores in Ohio, Georgia, and Virginia, and offer growlers (take-home resealable containers).
    —Via Craft Brewing Business.

  • 13 September 2015
    Nine reasons why there might be an upcoming 'craft' beer bubble-burst.
    —Via Mitch Stone, at The Hop Tripper.

  • 13 September 2015
    On wine reviewing, and the effects of social media on it, sanguine and not so.
    "I have read arts critics fulminating against the proliferation of “amateur” reviews and arguing that these cannot possibly carry the weight of those freighted by decades of experience and deeply relevant education. But it’s not an argument I can use when I have spent my entire working life trying to arm consumers with as much information as possible so that they can make up their own minds about individual wines."
    —Via Jancis Robinson, at Financial Times.


Sunday, October 04, 2015

He's visited every brewery in Virginia; and shows you how to.

I caught up with the peripatetic Rayner (Ray) Johnson, Friday afternoon, at Port City Brewing, a production-brewery located in a light-industry-zoned area in a neighborhood at the southwestern corner of the city of Alexandria, Virginia.

We were both there, along with many others, to congratulate owner Bill Butcher, head brewer Jonathan Reeves, and the entire brewery staff of Port City. The brewery had just won Small Brewery of the Year, the previous Saturday, at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF), in Denver, Colorado.*

Three medals for Port City (2015 GABF)

Bill Butcher sat down with us for a few minutes. He was soaking in the good feelings. He told his brewery staff to do the same, even though they, of course, needed no prompting. "But temper this," he said he had admonished them, "with the memory of the feelings we had last year when we won nothing" (after having won four medals in 2013, and one in 2012, the year the brewery opened).

The [U.S.] Brewers Association has determined that there are now four thousand breweries in the U.S., with nearly two opening every day. The competition will only become fiercer, Butcher added, making national victories —especially for smaller breweries like his — much more difficult to attain in the future.

As the Port City taproom began to fill with well-wishers, Ray Johnson was up and schmoozing, busy passing out complimentary copies of the November/December issue of Virginia Craft Beer magazine, for which he is the Distribution Manager for Northern Virginia. I know this because he gave me his business card.

Beer and magazine

In 2014, Johnson visited every brewery in Virginia, and had a beer at each. There were eighty-two breweries in the Commonwealth last year, give or take. This year, there are one-hundred twenty-five.

Johnson —who is better known as the long-time organizer of the annual Blue & Gray Breweriana Show, in Fredericksburg, Virginia— maintains a database of each brewery visit, and a spreadsheet of those he has yet to visit. He has a watch-list of one-hundred fifty breweries currently in planning, and, of those, forty that are scheduled to open by early 2016. It's as up-to-date as he can keep it, he told me. The rapid growth of brewery openings makes the task, well, a labor of love.

Virginia breweries spreadsheet

Writing in the current issue of Virginia Craft Beer Magazine (October/November 2015), Johnson put some order into it all, creating six 'brewery trails': highway-arranged brewery-jaunts in the state.
  • I-95 Trail (Alexandria to Petersburg)
  • I-64 East Trail (Toano to Smithfield)
  • I-64 West Trail (Richmond to Danville)
  • I-66 Trail (Arlington to Sperryville)
  • Route 7 Trail (Capital Beltway to Bluemont)
  • I-81 Trail (Winchester to Bristol: the longest of the 'trails', running over 314 miles, north to south.)
In his article, Johnson listed the breweries and brewpubs of his I-95 and Route 7 trails. He'll do the same for the remaining four in upcoming issues.

Ray Johnson of Virginia Craft Beer Magazine

There are four, more formal, brewery trails in Virginia, independent of Johnson's research, each with its own website: -----more-----

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Pic(k) of the Week: Socks of a brewer

Socks of a brewer (02)

The 'hose' couture of Matt Ryan, lead brewer for Mad Fox Brewing Company, in Falls Church, Virginia. This is just one of many colorful pairs in his closet.

As seen at the brewpub's 4th annual Hoppy Oktoberfest, an outdoor festival to which several mid-Atlantic-area breweries brought their Oktoberfest-style lagers, autumnal beers, and IPAs.

19 September 2015.