With all the attention these days going to the 'rock stars' of extreme beer, it's easy to lose sight of those who may not make our beers, but bring us our beers.
Take for example, Casey Hard, the cellarman for Maxs TapHouse in Baltimore, Maryland (and, oh yes, the General Manager).
Ten years ago, Casey was a doorman, checking IDs and enforcing civility.
Since then, he has overseen the creative expansion of Max's 70 draught lines, its several hundred bottle list, and its reserve list of carefully aged beers. He is the cellarman for its cask lines, and he has been the moving force behind its 3 (soon to be 4) wildly successful annual Belgian beer fests: 72 Hours of Belgium.
In 2010, Casey will be overseeing the emporium's growth to 100 draught lines and 6 cask lines. Think of Max's as a living good beer museum —without pretense— and Casey as the (cool) docent who oversees it all.
If you're in Fells Point in Baltimore tonight, stop by Max's, buy a beer, tip your bartender, raise your glass (there will be a beer you haven't had before) and toast Casey. It's his birthday, and he's working the evening shift.