It was to be one quick 'session' pint at my local today: Fennec Bitter at Mad Fox Brewing Company in Falls Church, Virginia.
And, then, I ran into Stephen Demczuk [pronounced DEM juk], the guru behind Baltimore-Washington Beer Works' The Raven Special Lager. He was talking to brewer Charlie Buettner about the brewpub's brewing system.
Because Demczuk, after nearly 15 years of having his beer brewed for him under contract by someone else, has decided to build his own brewery —and he was doing his 'due diligence' about which brewing equipment to purchase.
If you're a Baltimore native (or visitor) of a certain age, you'll remember the Baltimore restaurant Haussner's . For nearly 70 years it was a city landmark, renowned for its crab cakes and 'continental' cuisine, imported beer, and collection of artwork. Haussner's closed in 1999. In addition to that loss, Baltimore' German-style lager brewpub, DeGroen's, closed its doors in 2005.
Demczuk, a German beer lover in the computer recycling business, says he plans to re-open Haussner's, but installed with a brewery, brewpub, and a bottling/kegging facility on-site. "We'll concentrate on German-style lagers," Demczuk said, but his brewer, who has already been hired, will brew some ales as well.
By this point, Demczuk was heading out the door, on his way to his next stop, the District ChopHouse, in Washington, D.C. He told me that he wanted to meet with brewer Barret Lauer and examine the brewing equipment there. Demczuk plans to open his brewery and pub in 2013.
Demczuk's The Raven Special Lager is currently brewed under contract by the Heavy Seas Brewing Company of Baltimore.
UPDATE: In the echo-chamber that is the internet, the story quickly went 'semi-viral' after appearing here.
- Sandy Mitchell, at Beer in Baltimore, who had earlier embargoed news of this, posted his story.
- The Baltimore Sun, which nicely credited Mitchell as one source for its story.
- Baltimore Business Journal (which did not).
- Caveat lector: As a representative for Select Wines, Inc. —a wine and beer wholesaler in northern Virgina— I sell The Raven Special Lager.