Thursday, March 10, 2005

Storm King sails the Atlantic

I subscribe to the Oxford Bottled Beer Database. It's an on-line beer review site. I enjoy reading it for several reasons. Unlike and (both of which I peruse as well), this site favors well-made beers rather than solely those big, bigger, biggest. Plus, as the site hails from the UK, its reviews are a fascininating glimpse into local beers and preferences.

Today, a review of Victory Brewing's Storm King came over. That's unusual in that Victory is, of course, from Pennsylvania, USA.

Storm King is one of my favorite impy stouts. Here is the review.

Victory Brewing Co. Storm King Imperial Stout
ABV: 9.8%; Country: USA

Many thanks to Dominic Pinto for kindly bringing us this beer from the states. This is an extremely strong imperial stout from this Pennsylvanian microbrewery. It is rich dark brown/black in colour with a thick, creamy but ephemeral head. Nose is surprisingly light and herbal, consisting of floral hops and lemon with a touch of malt. On the palate it is heavy and richly hoppy but with balancing malt, though much smoother and with less burnt character than other beers of the style. It is quite sour and acidic, though - the hops impart a citrusy quality with strong vinous, resinous overtones, consistent with extremely heavy dry-hopping. Dark chocolate notes are present, with a wine-like alcohol kick, but overall the beer is far lighter and smoother than its strength would suggest. Aftertaste is long and bitter, with a touch of wine and some treacley sweetness. A fabulous strong stout, pleasantly complex and perilously drinkable.

Sail on, Victory!

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Clipper Serendipity

I was hosting an in-store tasting at Cleveland Park Liquors in Washington, D.C. last night: pouring various Clipper City beers and flogging a few cases in the process!

One younger gentleman hovered about for a few minutes, listening to my spiel.

After a few minutes, he asked: "Are you with the distributor or with the brewery?". "With the brewery", I replied.

Well, my name is Brett ****. In late 1995, I was one of the first employees at Clipper City. I worked on the bottling line with lead brewers Tom Flores and Jerry Rush. Things were frenzied then, but a lot of fun, as in any start-up operation.

During the bottling runs, I would hope for a few cases, say 3 or so, of under-fills. We were allowed to take them home. But if there were too many, owner Hugh Sisson would have us empty the bottles, clean and sanitize them, and refill them. Money was tight: the bottles were worth more than the beer!

'Craft' beer history from someone who might not have been been mentioned in the chronicles ... but is now.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

The Return of DC-Beer

DC Beer, a web bulletin board that is populated by beer enthusiasts in DC, Baltimore, Annapolis, and the exurbs of those areas, has returned. (In proper e-parlance, a web bulletin board is a listserve.)

DC Beer is currently maintained by beer enthusiast, Dan Brown, on his own time and with his own nickels. On 20 January, the server he was using went kaput. Dan has since replaced the server, but for 6 weeks DC's virtual beer community had been undernourished.

Go to:

While DC Beer was under repair, I began a web discussion group for beer enthusiasts in the DC area as a complement to DC Beer, or stop-gap, if you will. Only a few joined; but, nonetheless, I will keep the DC-Baltimore Good Beer Appreciation Society going.

Go to

Yours for good fermentables,
Thomas Cizauskas

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Guinness and my father

On April 3, 2002, my father died from complications connected with Parkinson's Disease.

Two evenings before he died, Dad was not able to drink but only to slurp water from a sponge. My wife was sitting at the bedside, rehydrating the sponge.

Sipping a Guinness Stout, she did a triple take: the glass of water, the pint of beer, the water. She re-hydrated the sponge in the Guinness and gave it to Dad. He sucked the sponge dry, several times.

That was to be my father's last earthly pleasure. A beer. A stout. Guinness Stout.

The next day, he could no longer swallow.

Albert Charles Cizauskas was born on 1 March 1920. Today, my mother and I toasted his memory with a Guinness.


Happy Birthday, Dad.