Thursday, January 31, 2013

VeggieDag Thursday: Super Bowl XLVII Edition

VeggieDag Thursday
VeggieDag is an occasional Thursday post on an animal-free diet and its issues.

Sunday, it's Super Bowl XLVII. That's forty-seven, 47, for you non-Catholic-schooled mathematicians. In New Orleans, Louisiana, the Baltimore (Maryland) Ravens will play the San Francisco (California) 49ers,  for the championship of the National Football League.

Purple Mr. Boh!

Rooting for:
The Baltimore Ravens, of course.

Drinking, while watching:
Baltimore beer, of course.

Noshing, while drinking:
So many options, but here are a few, keeping them non-animal.

Black Bean spread sandwich (02)

  • Super Bowl noshing: the gluttony by the numbers (and calories). Via The Street.
  • I can't leave the topic of Super Bowl parties without a reference to, ahem, Arsehole Chili.
  • VeggieDag is an occasional Thursday post on vegetarian issues. Why the name? Here.
  • Suggestions and submissions from chefs and homecooks welcomed! Here.
  • Monday, January 28, 2013

    Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 1/2, 2013.

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

    Weeks 1/2
    1 January 2013 - 12 January 2013

    • 2013.01.12
      Homebrew inflation! A bottle of White House Honey Ale fetches $1,200 at a charity auction. Via Time Magazine.

    • 2013.01.12
      The black market for 'craft' beer. Via Christian DeBenedetti on Slate.

    • 2013.01.12
      A new beer flavor wheel, with flavor descriptors rather than chemical compounds. Via Mark Dredge.

      Michael Jackson's autograph (2006)
    • 2013.01.12
      "Beer Hunter: The Movie" on the career of seminal beer writer Michael Jackson, advance screening announced for 27 March 2013 in Washington, D.C. Via YFGF.

    • 2013.01.12
      Lunch with Mike McCarthy, past executive brewer at Washington, D.C.'s Capitol City Brewing Company. Lots of great stuff on & off record. Via YFGF.

    • 2013.01.08
      A small movement within craft beer towards session beer. Via Greg Kitsock of Washington Post.

    • 2013.01.08
      In an ever retrenching beer wholesaler environment, DOPS —long-time beer/wine distributor in Maryland and Washington, D.C.— sells the 'rights' to 7 'craft' beer brands. Via Brewbound.

      Hop Cannon @Lost Rhino
    • 2013.01.05
      Towards an East Coast style of IPA? Jonathan Reeves brewer at Port City Brewing, of Alexandria, Virginia, opines.

    • 2013.01.02
      "Tennessee Waltz" singer Patti Page dies at age 85. Via AP.

    • 2013.01.02
      Building a quantum computer, which would rely on the quantum properties of particles to run certain types of calculations blazingly fast. Via Science News.

      Falls Church Market 003
    • 2013.01.01
      The ten biggest Napa-centric wine business stories of 2012. Via Napa Valley Register.
    • Clamps and Gaskets is a weekly wrap-up of stories  not posted at Yours For Good Most deal with beer (or wine, or whisky); some do not. But all are brief, and many are re-posts from
    • The Clamps and Gaskets graphic was created by Mike Licht at NotionsCapital.

    Sunday, January 27, 2013

    Maxs 9th annual Belgian Beer Fest: 15-18 February 2013

    What began in 2005 with 25 drafts and 100 bottles, as the 72 Hours of Belgium festival, is in its 9th year at Max's Taphouse, in Baltimore, Maryland. Now, with more than 200 drafts and 200 bottles, it's called simply Max's Belgian Beer Fest. Stretched to 4 days, what a festival it will be!

    Max's TapHouse


  • Friday, 15 February - Monday, 18 February, 2013.
  • 11 am - close each day.
  • No entrance fee; no reservations required.
    Come as you are; pay as you order; various pour sizes sold.
  • "Belgian-inspired" food menu.

  • NEW FOR 2013

  • Sour & Wild Day
    Monday, February 18th, 11 am - close
    20 drafts and 20 bottles: each an American 'sour' beer.
    Also, a special bottle sale (to-go only) beginning at 11 am. List to be posted soon.


    As Max's receives the kegs and bottles for the festival (or is given a fervid promise of delivery), it updates the list. At present, it's 85% completed. As Max's update, this list will be updated.).
    • Achilles Serifijn De Liter Van Palliter
    • Achilles Serafijn Christmas Angel
    • Achouffe Houblon
    • Achouffe La Chouffe
    • Alvinne Gaspar
    • Alvinne Melchior
    • Alvinne Melchior Zymatore in Bourbon barrels
    • Alvinne Undressed Regular
    • Alvinne Wild Undressed aged on oak
    • Bavik Petrus Aged Pale
    • Bavik Pils
    • Blaugies Darbyste
    • Blaugies Darbyste
    • Blaugies La Moneuse
    • Blaugies La Moneuse Special Noel
    • Blaugies Saison De Epeautre
    • Cazeau Saison
    • Cazeau Tournay Black
    • Cazeau Tournay triple
    • Cinq Cents
    • Contreras Valeir Extra
    • De Dochter Belle Fleur
    • De Dochter Embrasse
    • De Dochter Embrasse Peat Whiskey
    • De Dochter L'Enfant Terrible
    • De Dolle Arabier
    • De Dolle Dulle Teve
    • De Dolle Stille Nacht
    • De Glazen Toren Canaster
    • De Glazen Toren Jan De Lichte
    • De Glazen Toren Saison De Epre Mere
    • De Glazen Toren Canaster (Wooden-clad side-tapped keg)
    • De Koninck Triple D'Anvers
    • De La Senne Band of Brothers
    • De La Senne Taras Boulba
    • De La Senne Zwarte Piet
    • De Landstsheer Malhuer 10
    • De Landstsheer Malhuer 12
    • De Ranke Guldenberg
    • De Proef KO
    • De Ranke Pere Noel
    • De Ranke Saison De Dottigines
    • De Ranke XX Bitter
    • De Struise Black Albert Batch Zero
    • De Struise Black Damnation VII Single Black
    • De Struise Cuvee Delphine
    • De Struise Ignis & Flamma
    • De Struise Pannepot (Danish version)
    • De Struise Pannepot Reserva
    • De Struise Rio Reserva 2008
    • De Struise Rossa
    • De Struise Sint Amatus
    • De Struise Svea IPA
    • De Struise Tjseeses
    • De Struise Witte
    • De Struise X
    • De Struise XX
    • De Struise XXX Rye Triple
    • De Struise XXX Quad
    • Dilweyns Vicaris Geneeral
    • Dilweyns Vicaris Triple Gueuze
    • Dupont Avec Les Bons Voeux
    • Dupont Avril
    • Dupont Biere De Boeliel
    • Dupont Monks Stout
    • Dupont Posca Rustica
    • Dupont Saison
    • Duvel Single
    • Ellezoillse Hercule Stout
    • Ellezoillse Quitnine Blonde
    • Geants Noel De Geants
    • Het Nest Hertenheer
    • Het Nest Kleveretien
    • Het Nest Schuppenboer
    • Het Nest Turnhoutse Saison
    • Hof Ten Dormaal barrel-aged Blonde Project Armagnac
    • Hof Ten Dormaal barrel-aged Blonde Project Cognac
    • Hof Ten Dormaal barrel-aged Blonde Project Jenever
    • Hof Ten Dormaal barrel-aged Blonde Project Maderia
    • Hof Ten Dormaal barrel-aged Blonde Project Port
    • Hof Ten Dormaal barrel-aged Blonde Project Sauternes
    • Hof Ten Dormaal barrel-aged Blonde Project Sherry
    • Hof Ten Dormaal barrel-aged Dark Project Maderia
    • Hof Ten Dormaal barrel-aged Dark Project Armagnac
    • Hof Ten Dormaal barrel-aged Dark Project Cognac
    • Hof Ten Dormaal Dark
    • Hof Ten Dormaal White Gold
    • Hof Ten Dormaal Winter 2013
    • Hofbrouwerij Hoftrol
    • Hofbrouwerij Hofblues
    • Huyghe Delirium Tremens
    • Jandrian V Cense
    • Jandiran VI Wheat
    • Kerkom Bink Bloesom
    • Kerkom Bink Triple
    • Kerkom Winterkoninkske
    • La Rulles Cuvee Meilleurs Voeux
    • La Rulles Estivale
    • La Rulles Grand 10
    • La Rulles Triple
    • Lefebvre Floreffe Blonde
    • Lefebvre Floreffe Double
    • Lefebvre Floreffe Triple
    • Leifmans Cuvee Brut
    • Leifmans Goudenband
    • Leifmans Oud Bruin
    • Mannekin Pils
    • Maredsous 10
    • Maredsous 8
    • Musketeers Troubadour Magma
    • Musketeers Troubadour Magma Sorachi Ace
    • Musketeers Troubadour Westkust
    • Palm Ale
    • Rodenbach Classic
    • Rodenbach Grand Cru
    • Sainte Helene Black Mamba
    • Sainte Helene Simcoe Lager
    • Sainte Helene Black Mamba
    • Sainte Helene La Grognarde
    • Sainte Helene La Grognarde
    • Sainte Helene Gypsy Rose
    • Scaldis Cuvee Des Trolls
    • Scaldis Triple Blonde
    • Scheldebrouwerij De Zeezupier
    • Scheldebrouwerij Lamme Goedzak
    • Serafijn De Liter van Palieter
    • Silly Titje
    • Slaapmutske Hop Collection Halltertau
    • Smisje Catherine the Great
    • Smisje Wostyntje
    • St Bernardus Abt 12
    • Steenberge Triple
    • Strubbe Ichtegems Grand Cru
    • T Gaverhopke Singing Blonde
    • T gaverhopke Kerstbier
    • Tilquin Gueuze
    • Timmerman Pumpkin Lambicus
    • Timmermans Faro Lambicus
    • Timmermans Peche Lambicus
    • Timmerman Blanche Lambicus
    • Troubadour Westkust
    • Troubadour Magma Sorachi Ace
    • Van Eecke Popering Hommel
    • Van Eecke Popering Hommel Dry Hopped
    • Van Eecke SAS Pils
    • Van Eecke Watou Cuvee
    • Van Honsebrouick Kasteel Rouge
    • Van Honsebrouck Kasteel Winter
    • Van Steenberge De Garre Triple
    • Van Steenberge Ertvelds Wit
    • Van Steenberge Gulden Draak Quad
    • Van Steenberge Klokke Roeland
    • Van Steenberge Monks Café Flemish Red
    • Van Steenberge Piraat
    • Vapeur Cochonne
    • Vapeur Saison De Pipaix
    • Viven Blonde
    • Viven Imperial IPA
    • Viven Smoked Porter
    Bartenders in action


    Obviously, this is a lot of beer, and most of it higher alcohol. There will be psychotropic effects. Max's has arranged special rates at two nearby hotels.
    • Courtyard by Marriot Inner Harbor East
      Guests will call the hotel directly at 800-321-2211 or 443-923-4000 on or before January 15, 2013 to reserve rooms. Ask for the Belgian Beer Fest Group staying at Baltimore Downtown Courtyard. The room rate is $119 per night. Online: under "Special Rates & Awards." Use the group code BBFBBFA for rooms with a king bed, and BBFBBFB for rooms with 2 double beds.

    • Admiral Fell Inn
      One block from Max’s
      $149 per night , free parking, $25 gift card towards next stay, discount on Belgian Fest tee shirt 2013.
      Link here to reserve a room.

    The crowd

    As has the beer list grown over the first 8 years, so have the crowds. The pub consists of two floors, several rooms, and three bars, but it will be thronged. So, here's a beer ticker tip: go early or go late. By Sunday and Monday, many of the rarer beers will have been consumed, but there will be numerous choices still remaining, and the pace will be less frenetic. The bartenders will have greater opportunity to stand still and talk about the beer.

    If you spy him in the crowd, give greetings to Max's General Manager and cellarman, Casey Hard. He's the man, who —with copious assistance from owners Gail and Ron Furman, manager Bob Simko, and the rest of the staff— puts on this amazing and fun show.


  • 737 South Broadway, Baltimore, Maryland.
    In the historic Fells Point district of Baltimore, one block from the Inner Harbor.
    410. 675.6297
  • For more information, follow:
    Facebook: here; Twitter: @MaxsTaphouse.
  • Parking and mass transit to Fells Point: here.

    I can't help but wonder: will Budweiser —owned by Belgian-based conglomerate, Anheuser-Busch Inbev— be one of those 200 Belgian drafts?
  • Saturday, January 26, 2013

    Pic(k) of the Week: Steam brew

    Steam brew (01)

    On a cold winter day, steam billows, inside, during a brew at the ...

    Heavy Seas Brewing Company.
    Baltimore (Halethorpe), Maryland.
    16 January 2013.

  • More photos from that day, touring Heavy Seas: here.
  • Caveat lector: As a representative for Select Wines, Inc. —a wine and beer wholesaler in northern Virginia— I sell the beers of Heavy Seas.
  • Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly series of personal photos, often posted on Saturdays, and often, but not always, with a good fermentable as a subject. Commercial reproduction requires explicit permission, as per Creative Commons. Camera: Olympus Pen E-PL1.

  • Thursday, January 24, 2013

    VeggieDag Thursday: Quick links for January

    VeggieDag Thursday
    VeggieDag is an occasional Thursday post on an animal-free diet and its issues.

    Quick links:
    • How No Bull Burger, a small, Charlottesville, Virginia-based, veggie-burger company is handling growth. Via Washington Post Business.

    • The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations states that animal agriculture responsible for 20% of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions. Via WAMU.

    • Is non-animal protein enough? Concern that vegetarians go short of protein is misplaced. Via Vegetarian Society.

    • Perfect mashed potatoes. Don't boil, don't use animal products. Do use olive oil. Via Post Punk Kitchen.

    • How to wash vegetables with baking soda and vinegar. Via Happy Herbivore.

    • Nutritional powerhouses in need of better public relations: cabbage, cauliflower, and rutabaga. Recipes via Washington Post Food.

    • Study by Institute of Food Technologists suggests that eating asparagus may alleviate alcohol hangover and protect liver cells against toxins. Via Science Daily.

    • Four recipes for Vegetable Paté. Via Washington Post Food.

    • The 7,500-year old remnants of a cheese-making 'facility' are found in Poland. Via Reuters.

      Mushroom Strudel at Mad Fox Brewing Company
      Mushroom Strudel at Mad Fox Brewing Company

    • The violent and psychotropic history of nutmeg. And a recipe for spinach/nutmeg puree. Via NPR.

    • From Deb Perelman of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook: Cole slaw without the cream.

    • New study says eating meat (and cooking) was evolutionary advantage for human brain development. Via Live Science.

    • Say it ain't so. Twinkie-maker, Hostess, may go out of business. Via Dallas Morning News.
  • VeggieDag is an occasional Thursday post on vegetarian and ecological issues. Why the name? Here.
  • Suggestions and submissions from chefs and homecooks welcomed: Here.

  • Wednesday, January 23, 2013

    Drinking, Again: New Albion, again!

    Beer reviews

    "How beautifully simple, [an almost] almost mythical beer," says Boston Beer Company's Jim Koch, of New Albion, the original 'craft' beer in America (1977-1983), first brewed in a time before government alcohol warning labels, in a time of breweries closing, not opening, in a time of no cicerones or beer dinners, of no craft brewery equipment manufacturers, in a time indeed of no other U.S. 'craft' beers. A time, not so long ago, yet hard to imagine, really.

    Now, Boston Beer (maker of Samuel Adams beers) has 'collaborated' with Jack McAuliffe, owner and brewer of New Albion of that time past, to recreate the beer, and it's on the shelves again, with the original label artwork.

    New Albion, now

    How does year 2013 New Albion Ale taste? A deep golden/light amber ale, 6% alcohol-by-volume, a bit sulfury, but still firm in toasty malt flavor, and distantly citrusy in aroma, while not nearly as grapefruity as 'modern' American pale ales (a flavor and aroma derived from hops). Does it taste like the beer brewed in 1977? Mr. McAuliffe thinks so, and that's good enough for me.

    To read some of the 'meh'-laden barbs on the beer-rating boards is to view firsthand the solipsistic claptrap of those who today declare themselves guerrillas of a beer revolution ... when that revolution —if brewing beer can actually be considered an insurrection— began, without them, over 30 years earlier.

    They miss what a treat it is to taste this liquid history (and, yes, thank you, Jim Koch, for doing this), to bridge this distance of brewing time. Attempt to imagine the thrilling shock to the taste buds this must have been, in 1977, when most else was industrial lager. Is a beer that was good, when it was brewed thirty plus years ago, no longer good when brewed now, because of modern 'craft' beer expectations? I think not.

    Drink New Albion with historical perspective. To paraphrase that great American composer of the early 20th century, Charles Ives (himself a craftsman ahead of his time): stand up and use your taste buds like a man (and woman). And, drink New Albion just for the flavor. It's not a 'big' beer, but it's a fine beverage.

    In fact, I think I'll have another.

  • Read more about New Albion and Jack McAuliffe in historian Maureen Ogle's book: Ambitious Brew. Or, for a shorter on-line reference, read New Albion Brewing, by John Holl.
  • Drinking , Again is a series of occasional reviews of beer (and wine and spirits). No scores; only descriptions.
  • Graphic created by Mike Licht at NotionsCapital.

  • Monday, January 21, 2013


    "We the people." Democracy, they exult.

    "We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate." Base politics, they decry.

    "While these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing." Socialism, they shout.

    Sigh ...

    "Panzer Division Destroyed" (01)

    Time for a beer.

    Transcript of the second inaugural address of Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States of America: here.

    Sunday, January 20, 2013

    How to write a beer review ... by writing a wine review.

    In his approving review of Eric Asimov's book, How to Love Wine: A Memoir and Manifesto, Alan McLeod of A Good Beer Blog cites the following passage.

    I've become a firm adherent of the notice that wine is for drinking, not tasting. Only by drinking, swallowing, savoring, and returning to a wine, and repeating the process over time, can one really get a full and complete idea of what's in a bottle and what the wine is all about. A taste is fine if you believe that understanding a bottle consists of writing down impressions of aromas and flavors. It's like buying music over the Internet - if a fifteen-second snippet offered everything you needed to know, why pay for the whole song.

    Remarking on that, McLeod pivots to beer:
    When was the last time you read beer writing like that? Focus on the complete idea of what's in the bottle? No reference to being a pal of the wine maker or how it fits into a structure of styles? A fluid first approach to appreciation.

    Not often, I would agree.

    Mr. McLeod's blog itself being one exception, read Mr. McLeod's review in its entirety. Then, read Mr. Asimov's book.

    Perhaps I should have entitled this post: "how to write a book review."

    Saturday, January 19, 2013

    Pic(k) of the Week: Blue hands & big smiles fill casks.

    Blue hands & big smiles fill cask.

    Sanitary, and stylish, a team from Fire Works Pizzeria (Leesburg, Virginia) and Magnolia's at the Mill (Purcellville, Virginia) is pleased with their efforts.

    On a tour of the Heavy Seas Brewing Company (of Baltimore, Maryland), the group filled and primed three firkins (10.8 gallon casks) of Loose Cannon Hop3 IPA, adding fresh hops and herbs ... under the careful supervision of Heavy Seas Brewing's cellarman Chris Mallon.

    The blue hands team, left to right:
    Chris Mallon, Erin Willingham, Katy May, Curtis Allred (restaurant manager), and Jennifer Miller.

  • Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly series of personal photos, often posted on Saturdays, and often, but not always, with a good fermentable as a subject.
  • Commercial reproduction requires explicit permission, as per Creative Commons. For non-commercial purposes, no permission is required (but kindly link back).
  • Caveat lector: As a representative for Select Wines, Inc. —a wine and beer wholesaler in northern Virginia— I sell the beers of Heavy Seas and Allagash.

  • Wednesday, January 16, 2013

    Blog comments: the good and the bilge.

    To post a comment to this blog, look for this form at the bottom of the blog post you wish to comment on.

    You'll have to sign in with your Google ID, Wordpress ID, or with a name and URL, or several other choices, including anonymously.

    Your comment, however will not be automatically published. I need to 'approve' (of) it first. Why?

    Some comments express views contrary views to mine. (Gasp!) I publish those. Some are corrections to mistakes I've made. I publish those. Some are hilarious put-downs. Ditto.

    Then, there are some comments that are off-topic or nonsensical, and there are others that are commercial or spammy. I publish neither. And, regrettably, there are some comments that are profane in word or putrid in message. Those, I simply refuse to publish.

    I received a repugnant, unattributed, comment in response to my New Year's Day post on the Emancipation Proclamation.

    Use of "anonymous" might be an invocation of privacy. A writer might have need to protect his or her job, for example. But anonymity can also be a marker of cowardice. In this case, it was the latter. I did not publish the comment. QED.

    Monday, January 14, 2013

    Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 51/52, 2012

    Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 51/51, 2012

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

    Weeks 51/52
    16 December - 31 December 2012

    • 2012.12.31
      White House beer, Virginia derecho beer, and District gin and relaxed liquor laws. A boozy year 2012 in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Via

      Murtaugh of Hardywood Park

    • 2012.12.31
      A recapitulation of Virginia's burgeoning 'craft' brewery and beer scene in 2012. Via

    • 2012.12.29
      A tribute to Professor Emeritus Michael Lewis: at University of California at Davis, an educator to many current U.S. 'craft' brewers. Via Brookston Beer Bulletin.

    • 2012.12.29
      Only four states out of fifty (and Washington, D.C.) are without a (craft) brewers guild, but Mississippi is forming one in 2013. Via

      Menage a trois?
    • 2012.12.29
      The effect of alcohol in the human body. Via Johns Hopkins University, at the Huffington Post.

    • 2012.12.28
      Ray Collins, the guitarist who helped found the Mothers of Invention with Frank Zappa, has died. Via Rolling Stone.

    • 2012.12.27
      General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, the U.S. general credited with leading U.S.-allied forces to a victory in the first Gulf War, dies at 78. Via ABC.

    • 2012.12.26
      Not just for old men, anymore. Rye whiskey sales have tripled over the last 5 years. Via NPR.

    • 2012.12.26
      The best photograph and/or digital image of (a) beer during 2012. Via A Good Beer Blog.

    • 2012.12.23
      "Shame on you!" says August Schell Brewery to Brewers Association as the latter de-lists the former, the nations's 2nd oldest family-owned brewery, as a craft brewery. Via BeerPulse.

      Roasted chestnuts
    • 2012.12.20
      Scientists attempt comeback of the American Chestnut tree, once considered the "redwood of the east." Via NPR.

    • 2012.12.20
      Trenchant comparison of the collapse of the 'craft' beer bubble of the late 1990s to the situation now. Via Jack Curtin: "The only thing we have to fear is bad beer."

    • Clamps and Gaskets is a weekly wrap-up of stories not posted at Yours For Good Most deal with beer (or wine, or whisky); some do not. But all are brief, and many are re-posts from
    • The Clamps and Gaskets graphic was created by Mike Licht at NotionsCapital.

    Sunday, January 13, 2013

    Advance screening for "Beer Hunter: The Movie" announced for Washington, D.C.

    J.R. Richards is an independent filmmaker. For several years, he has been working on Beer Hunter: The Movie, a film about the late beer and spirits writer, Michael Jackson. After finding archival footage, securing rights, conducting interviews, and editing, Richards has finished. He's announced a special preview screening, in Washington, D.C., for 27 March 2013, on what would have been Jackson's 71st birthday.

    Join us in Washington D.C., on March 27th, 2013, to celebrate and remember Michael Jackson, the "Beer Hunter". We are teaming up with Dave, Diane, and Josh Alexander at RFD Washington for a very special Beer Hunter Birthday Celebration, featuring an advanced preview screening of Beer Hunter: The Movie.

    Attendees will enjoy five special complimentary craft beers, discounts on all other beer, beer-centric food all evening, and a custom logo glass commemorating the event.

    There will be a birthday toast for Michael, and a variety of special guests, brewers, and beers on hand. We'll also be showing rare videos and footage throughout the evening.

    Proceeds from the event will benefit the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, and the Michael Jackson Beer Education Scholarship Fund. This event marks the first year of what will become an annual fundraising event in Michael's honor. It also kicks off our Beer Hunter documentary tour. Tickets are very limited.

    When: March 27th, 2013
    Where: RFD, Washington D.C.
    Time: 7-11. Movie begins at 8 pm.
    Tickets: $100. Available: here.

    There's a good chance that the beer in your hand is the result of Michael Jackson's writing. No other individual did more to celebrate the history, culture, and enjoyment of craft beer. Yet many new fans of craft beer have no idea who he was, and his role in the global phenomenon that is the craft brewing movement. This film is a tribute to his efforts and life.

    Michael Jackson is a legend in the world of craft brewing. His 1977 book, The World Guide to Beer, was the first of its kind, and the first to categorize almost every major style of beer in the world. His 1993 television series, The Beer Hunter, became an instant classic, and helped launch the spectacular craft beer movement that we take for granted today. Michael's engaging writing literally saved many styles of beer from extinction, and his work inspired an entire generation of brewers to experiment with beer styles from around the world. Many in the beer world are unaware that Michael was also the leading author on the subject of whiskey, and his books on whiskey have sold more copies worldwide than his books on beer. His sudden death in 2007, at the age of 65, shocked the beer and whiskey worlds. His legacy and contributions were substantial, and should be recognized and remembered. As a person, Michael was one of the best, as those fortunate enough to know him can attest to.

    I first met Michael in London in 2004, and began producing DVD tasting segments for his Rare Beer Club. As time went by, I was sent out to follow Michael on his many trips through Europe and the U.S., and we discussed the idea of making a documentary, or even another Beer Hunter series. After Michael's passing, it was decided that the footage from these travels should be made into a documentary.

    Through this rare visual record we are treated to an intimate picture of Michael, as he traveled to beer meccas such as Belgium, the Czech Republic, Ireland, California, and the Delaware Valley. Woven into this unprecedented library of Michael's later years will be current interviews with the world's leading brewers, distillers, and beer enthusiasts, giving us insight into Michael's enigmatic personality, his remarkable contributions to beer and whiskey, and his secret struggle with Parkinson's Disease.

    J.R. Richards

    For more information:

    Saturday, January 12, 2013

    Pic(k) of the Week: A Bird in Winter

    A bird in winter

    "Stay," I hoped, as I ran downstairs to get my camera. "Hold on," I asked, as I fumbled to attach the telephoto. "Don't be spooked," I wished, as I opened the front door.

    Snapped and done.

    Falls Church, Virginia.
    30 December 2012.


  • Photo taken with an Olympus Pen E-PL1 camera, using a Lumix 45-200 mm interchangeable telephoto lens.
  • Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly series of personal photos, posted on Saturdays, and often, but not always, with a good fermentable as a subject. Commercial use requires explicit permission,as per Creative Commons.
  • Wednesday, January 09, 2013

    Mike McCarthy responds

    In a recent Washington Post piece by Greg Kitsock ("A shake-up at Cap City Brewing"), brewer Mike McCarthy discussed his departure from the Capitol City Brewing Company after 11 years on the job. Some of his comments engendered a Twitter mini-storm, precipitated in part, alas, by my Tweet of the article.

    McCarthy felt that some of his comments had been taken out of context. He communicated with me to clarify his position.

    I've read Twitter posts by some who had read the recent Washington Post article about my departure from Capitol City Brewing Company. They seem to think I am bitter about the Washington, D.C. beer scene.

    I'd like to emphasize that that had NO part in why I left Cap City. In fact, I even made comment in the article on how great of a beer city DC is; it's a reason that I have been brewing here for 11 years!

    My statements regarding the DC beer scene were said in context of me getting financially involved in opening another brewery in the city. What I was referencing was the tap and shelf market and how challenging it can be here. With the many breweries that are in planning, my point was that I didn't know if that would be a risk I personally wanted to take.

    I know that some people have a less than great view of CCBC. I would agree with some of those comments. Without doubt some aspects of the company had turned stale. Along with some other talented brewers at the company, I had tried to change things in the last few years and build more of a good beer culture within the company.

    I was not successful, and felt it was my time to leave.

    Keep in mind that one goal of the 'craft' beer movement is indeed the main-streeting of good beer. Have good beer available everywhere, at every corner shop and at every pub, in malls and in shopping centers, not the exclusive property of beer Xanadus. We're not quite there yet, but the times, they are a' changing. That's a wonderful difference between the good beer scene now and that of 25 years ago.

    On a personal note, I'd like to stipulate that I've long been a fan of the beers of Mike McCarthy and Travis Tedrow at Cap City (especially those cask ales!). I've had good discussions with both brewers about beer and beer-making. And both are helluva nice guys.

  • Read the Washington Post piece: here.
  • Read my piece on McCarthy's departure: here. And, on other Virginia comings and goings: here.
  • UPDATE 1 March 2013: Mike McCarthy, past head brewer of Capitol City Brewing, to take the head brewer position at startup brewery J Dub's, in Sarasota, Florida. Via Ticket Sarasota.

  • Monday, January 07, 2013

    Lyon Hall Restaurant challenges Allagash Brewing

    Lyon Hall, a bistro in the Clarendon district of Arlington, Virginia, continues its series of "Versus" Beer Dinners on Tuesday, 8 January 2013.

    David McGregor, the restaurant's Beer Director, 'battles' Suzanne Woods, the local representative from Allagash Brewing (of Portland,Maine). The dinner features five courses and ten beers. Each course, prepared by Chef Andy Bennett, is paired with two beers: one from Allagash and the other selected by McGregor. Customers vote for their preferences for the better beer-food pairings. A winner is declared.


    The Menu 

    1st Course 

    Cauliflower velouté sauce, grapes, and caviar.
    Allagash White vs. Hitachino Nest White White Ale
    An interpretation of a traditional Belgian wheat beer, Allagash White delicately balances full flavor with a crisp, refreshing taste and subtle hints of spice. Naturally cloudy, with yeast. 5% alcohol-by-volume.

    Hitachino Nest White Ale (Japan) is brewed in the tradition of a Belgian style white beer with coriander, nutmeg, orange peel, and orange juice. Malts: Lager, Wheat  Hops: Perle, Styrian Golding  Adjuncts: Flaked Wheat, Flaked Barley. Spices: Coriander, Nutmeg, Orange peel. Sugar: Orange Juice. 5.5% abv 

    2nd Course 

    Carrot salad, tossed with house-made ricotta, pecans, and yogurt-cumin dressing.
    Allagash Curieux vs. Pretty in Pink Saison
    Allagash Curieux was the brewery's first foray into barrel aging. Curieux is made by aging its Tripel Ale in Jim Beam bourbon barrels for eight weeks in cold cellars. The aged beer is then blended back with a portion of fresh Tripel. The resulting beer is soft with coconut and vanilla notes, with hints of bourbon. 11% alcohol-by-volume. [The brewery pronounces the beer as 'CURE eee oh'.]

    In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, four women from four breweries —Lost Rhino (Virginia), Bluejacket (Washington, D.C.), Vintage 50 (Virginia), and Hardywood (Virginia)— came together to craft a beer for hope, Pretty in Pink: Awareness Ferments Hope. Using the finest malts, two strains of hops, and an Ardennes yeast, then adding flavor, aroma, and hue with (hibiscus and pomegranate), they produced a brisk saison. Pink, slightly tart with subtle fruit-esters and hints of spice. 5.8% abv.

    2nd course: Carrot salad

    3rd Course

    Pan roasted Artic Char, served with red cabbage, salsify emulsion, and bitter chocolate.
    Allagash Tripel vs. Petrus Aged Pale Ale
    Allagash Tripel is strong golden ale, marked by passion fruit and herbal notes in the aroma, with suggestions of banana and honey in the complex palate. The Tripel has a long and smooth finish.9% alcohol-by-volume. 9% alcohol-by-volume.

    From Brouwerij Bavik (Belgium), Petrus Aged Pale Ale is matured 3 years in oak barrels. Deep golden in hue, tart in flavor. 7.3% abv

    4th Course

    Glazed short ribs, served with Brussels sprouts kimchi and smoked pineapple jus.
    Allagash Dubbel vs. Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter
    Allagash Dubbel boasts a deep red color and a complex malty taste. The finish is dry with subtle hints of chocolate and nuts. The yeast asserts itself by lending a classic Belgian fruitiness. 7% alcohol-by-volume.

    From Great Lakes Brewing (in Cleveland, Ohio), Edmund Fitzgerald Porter has a complex, roasty aroma with a bittersweet, chocolate-coffee taste and a bold hop presence. 5.8% abv.

    5th Course

    House made Camembert and apple panna cotta, with chestnut honey and celery salad.
    Allagash Interlude  vs. Brouwerij Bosteels Deus
    Two yeast strains were used to create Allagash Interlude. The first, a Belgian farmhouse yeast, establishes the flavor foundations of a classic Belgian-style ale. The second, a house strain of Brettanomyces yeast, brings it to the next level contributing a myriad of flavors including pear, apricot, graham cracker, and bread crust. Finally, a portion of the Interlude is aged in French Merlot and Syrah oak barrels, which impart a vinous plum character and a drying, almost tannic finish. 9.5% alcohol-by-volume.

    Brewed at Brouerij Bosteels in Belgium, Deus Brut des Flandres is transferred, after fermentation, to the Champagne region of France, were it is treated much like a champagne, with the bottles inverted and the yeast expunged and bottle re-corked. 11.5% abv.


    The facts: 

    5 courses/10 beers: $60 per guest (plus tax and gratuity) 
    Tuesday, January 8th at 6:30 pm 
    Call Lyon Hall @ 703.741.7636 for reservations.

  • UPDATE. By a narrow margin, Allagash 'won' the vote. Photos from the dinner: here.
  • Caveat lector: As a representative for Select Wines, Inc. —a wine and beer wholesaler in northern Virginia— I sell the beers of Allagash.     
  • Saturday, January 05, 2013

    Comings & goings of Virginia brewers.

    Small-scale brewing tends not to be a secure occupation.

    A few weeks ago, I reported on the resignation of Mike McCarthy from the Capitol City Brewing Company, of northern Virginia. I haven't received comment from the brewery, so, from, here's confirmation of a sort.

    Capitol City Brewing Company, the first brewpub in the Nation's Capital, has an opening for Head Brewer [in Shirlingon, Virginia]. In operation for more than 20 years, we are looking for a skilled and committed brewer who can carry on the fine tradition we have built. You must have four years of experience working in a brewery as well as the technical degree commensurate with this position.

  • More on the position: here.

  • UPDATE (7 January 2013): The Washington Post interviews Mike McCarthy, and reports that long-time assistant brewer Travis Tedrow will also be leaving, to open a Gordon-Biersch brewpub near Washington Nationals Park.

    UPDATE (18 January 2013): Kristi Mathews Griner —current brewer at Vintage 50 in Leesburg, Virginia— to accept position as Capitol City Director of Brewing Operations, beginning 15 February. Press release: here.


    "Your retreat from life's everyday battles."

    Further down I-95, in Fredericksburg, Virginia, the Blue & Gray Brewing Company has also lost its head brewer, and is looking for a replacement.
    The Blue & Gray Brewing Co. of Fredericksburg Va., seeks Head Brewer 30-50 hours a week beginning February 1, 2013. [Me: Yeast never sleeps. 30 hours of work per week? 50 would be more like the minimum to expect!]

    The Blue & Gray Brewing Co. opened a 25 bbl brew house March 17th 2001 in central Virginia (An hour from Washington, DC, and Richmond). Annual production averages around 750 barrels a year. Total capacity approximately 1,250 bbl annually. The brewery is attached to Lee’s Retreat Brewpub, a casual slightly upscale restaurant serving fresh made local produce. We are looking for a dedicated head brewer who can handle all brewing aspects of running a small brewery and brewpub. Brewer works alone and is the primary brewery employee.

  • More on the position: here.

  • ***************

    There's another brewing position available in northern Virginia. Only this is not a replacement job. A successful applicant could be the original brewer for Beltway Brewing, which plans to open in 2013, in Loudoun County. Beltway will be a brewery for other breweries, housing the equipment and expertise to produce beer for breweries that lack their own packaging capability.
    Production brewery dedicated exclusively to partner brewing and contract brewing seeking an experienced professional brewer to brew and oversee the brewing and packaging operations on our new DME 30bbl brewhouse and kegging, canning, and bottling lines.

    Optimal candidate will have extensive experience in packaging brewery operations. Full-time position will be opening in early 2013, optimally ramping up with part-time hours in late 2012. Generous compensation package for individuals properly qualified.

  • More on the position: here.
  • More on Beltway Brewing: here.

  • There are rumors galore about more changes at Cap City, about a 'craft beer' pioneer's exodus from brewing, and about a DC area brewer's move to Florida. Stay tuned.

    And, not to forget the move in October of 2012 of long-time Legend Brewery brewer, Mike Killelea, to new brewery Center of the Universe.

    Pic(k) of the Week: Tapping the cask

    For some reason, the number of hits on this photo of me —working for the Clipper City Brewing Company, five years ago, in 2008— has taken off in the last few months, and even more so in the last few weeks.

    Why, I don't know. There was nothing special about the photo's composition, except maybe for the young observer in the background. Me, I was doing what I like to do —tapping a firkin of real ale. I'll take all of this sudden interest as a compliment.

    Tapping the cask

    The caption I wrote for the photo was:
    Jacket safely removed (from cask and person), Thomas Cizauskas of Clipper City Brewing taps a firkin (10.8 gallon cask) of Loose Cannon Hop3 Ale at the ribbon-cutting for Grapevine.

    Baxter (Fort Mill), South Carolina.
    29 January 2008.


  • Caveat lector: The Clipper City Brewing (of Baltimore, Maryland) is now known as Heavy Seas Brewing. As a representative for Select Wines, Inc. —a wine and beer wholesaler in northern Virginia— I sell the beers of Heavy Seas.
  • Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly series of personal photos, posted on Saturdays, and often, but not always, with a good fermentable as a subject. Commercial use requires explicit permission,as per Creative Commons.
  • Tuesday, January 01, 2013

    New Year's Day, 1863.

    On New Year's Day, one hundred fifty years ago:

    Whereas, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:

    "That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.

    "That the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof, respectively, shall then be in rebellion against the United States; and the fact that any State, or the people thereof, shall on that day be, in good faith, represented in the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such State shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State, and the people thereof, are not then in rebellion against the United States."

    Now, therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-in-Chief, of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do, on this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and in accordance with my purpose so to do publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days, from the day first above mentioned, order and designate as the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof respectively, are this day in rebellion against the United States, the following, to wit: Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, (except the Parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James Ascension, Assumption, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the City of New Orleans) Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, (except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth[)], and which excepted parts, are for the present, left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.

    And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.

    And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defence; and I recommend to them that, in all cases when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages.

    And I further declare and make known, that such persons of suitable condition, will be received into the armed service of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.

    And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.

    In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

    Done at the City of Washington, this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the eighty-seventh.

    By the President: ABRAHAM LINCOLN
    WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

  • Interesting to note that Lincoln included mention of a fair ("reasonable") wage.
  • At Smithsonian Magazine: How the Emancipation Proclamation Came to Be Signed.