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Saturday, September 30, 2006

Clipper City awarded silver

It's 2:18 PM Denver time, and here at the Great American Beer Festival, Clipper City Brewing has just been awarded silver medal for Balto MarzHon in the Vienna Lager category. As no gold was awarded (to boos from the crowd), maybe we should claim the virtual gold.

Of all the photos I snapped during the GABF, only the one of Ernie receiving the silver medal was taken with an unsteady hand, and thus too blurry for use. So the photo here is of Ernie getting back to his seat and being congratulated by Clipper City's general partner and founder Hugh Sisson.

Here with Clipper City, my involvement is not with production but with sales. Even so, when the reality hit me that I had finally become involved with a brewery that could boast the best beer in America, I did have to take a few deep breaths. (My quest began in 1992.)

I offer not only congratulations to Hugh Sisson, Ernesto Igot, Matt Saindon, Bruce Dombeck, and the entire brewing staff, but thanks!

UPDATE (other GABF-related postings):

Thursday, September 28, 2006

At Wynkoop Brewpub I enjoyed

Ernie, Hugh, and I had lunch at Wynkoop Brewpub. I believe it's the original brewpub in Denver; quite refreshingly (!), it is owned by the mayor of Denver, John Hickenlooper.


I enjoyed a malty St. Charles ESB, pulled by beer engine from a cask. The stout was tasty with a touch of not unpleasant diacetyl. An interesting if sweet bretanomyces-yeast beer was on tap. It was very complex and alcoholic (10%+) but I found it to have an essence of turpentine that was quite off-putting. I didn't like this strongly wooded 10% abv belgian golden but others might.

I would recommend this brewpub if you visit Denver, not only for its history in the craft beer movement, but because it is a pleasant place with above average pub fare. For lunch, I had green chile; Ernie had a gumbo that he thoroughly enjoyed.

We're setting up our booth now at the Convention Center.

Great American Beer Festival 2006


I just arrived here at Denver @ noon. Clipper City's Brewmaster Ernesto Igot, owner Hugh Sisson, and I checked in to the Hyatt across the street from the Convention Center. Very convenient!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Old Brogue Beer Dinner

THE OLD BROGUE CELEBRATES THE HARVEST SEASON WITH A SAMPLING OF THE BEERS OF CLIPPER CITY BREWING COMPANY OF BALTIMORE .


CLIPPER CITY GOLDEN ALE

OXFORD HEFE WEIZEN

BALTO MARZHON

AYINGER OKTOBERFEST

LOOSE CANNON HOP3 ALE

BELOW DECKS BARLEY WINE (2005 VINTAGE)


plus.... WINTER STORM CATEGORY 5 ALE

POURED FROM A FRESHLY TAPPED FIRKIN CASK (THE FIRST TASTING OF 2006)


GUEST SPEAKER

HUGH SISSON, OWNER

CLIPPER CITY BREWING COMPANY

BALTIMORE , MARYLAND


DINNER BUFFET SERVED AT INTERMISSION

$35 PER PERSON

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26th

7:30 pm IN THE SNUGGERY


more photos

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Brewer's Art 10th Anniversary - review

Brewer/owner Steve Frazier addressing participants at Brewer's Art 10th anniversary dinner

Brewer's Art brewer and co-owner Steve Frazier addressing diners at the brewpub's 10th Anniversary celebratory beer dinner.

Steve welcomed us and the promptly gave a lot of credit to fellow owner (not present) Trom Creegan for coming up with the idea for the dinner, and working with Chef Tim Carter to pair the food and beers. Brewer's Art achieved a milestone this year, producing 1600 bbls of beer - more than its theoretical maximum capacity!

I took incomplete notes: I became more of a happy diner than a reliable correspondent!

The Brewer's Ale Soup was a rich veal-based creamy soup, paired with BA's Proletary Ale. (since I am a vegetarian, I relied on the comments of my fellow diners as to the foods and the pairings. In this case I was given a quite delicious Potato Corn Chowder.) The soup was mated with BA's Saison de Pécore (4.5% abv), brewed with Keffir lime leaves (citrusy), Grains of Paradise (peppery), heather blooms, and Sasison Pipaix yeast (complex). I found it a touch sulfury, but still very tasty.


Tom Baker brewed every style but with his own stamp.
Biere d'Art - Biere de Gard (9 month old) tasted a bit old. Murky brown. But I was a minority of one! Others really liked this.

With somewhat of controversial statement, Steve said that while Dogfish Head Brewery is good for the industry it doesn't make palatable beer. He stated that its sense of adventure helps to create momentum and interest, but that its final product is often of lower quality than the idea behind it.

Coriander Poached Pear
Shropshire quenelles
Heavyweight Saison
with Westmalle and Chouffe yeast
good pairing - fruity and citrusy.

Brewers' Art's 10th Anniversary Ale was brewed with cardamom, cinammon, and saffron (10 grams.per 280 gallons). The brewpub itself opened 13 Friday (!) 1996. The spices were used as an homage to French soccer star Zidane (before the head-butt!). I had squash and Tempura Asparagus, whereas all others were served Escolar, described as Oilfish. The diners found it delicious and not at all oily. The beer was wonderful.

The main course was the Venison Chop. Ron Fischer, Cellarmaster for importer B. United, declared it the most tender veal chop he had ever had. It was served with Unibroue's Cranberry Ephemere. I was served a Vegetable Cassoulet. The tartness paired well.

Happy Anniversary, Brewer's Art ... and many more!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Brewer's Art 10th Anniversary

With a beer dinner this evening, Brewer's Art begins a one week celebration of the 10th anniversary of its founding. I'm attending the dinner with Ron Fischer, cask manager for importer B United, and 2 beer buyers, from DC and northern Virginia, for the Whole Foods grocery chain.

Brewer's Art is one of 3 brewpubs operating in Baltimore. It features home-brewed Belgian beers, and is a highly regarded restaurant in its own right, with a well-executed wine list and an extensive bottled beer list.

brewpub website here.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Beer and Jazz at Shockoe Bottom



For several years, the River City Real Beer & Seafood Festival in Richmond, Virginia, celebrated regional seafood and craft beer. Recently hijacked by large concerns, it became a festival bereft of 'real' beer and, wierdly, also of much seafood!

So, the Richbrau Brewing Company in Richmond took the initiative last year and organized the Shockoe Craft Beer Festival. Shockoe Bottom is an area near the James River fronted by a series of rebuilt canals and walks. A low area, it was submerged by Hurricane Gastone a couple of years back.

Clipper City Brewing Company participated in the inaugural event last year, and again this year. There appeared to be about 15 breweries; the food selection wasn't much, but the music seemed to be a draw, with several bands both days. It ran Friday and Saturday, 25/26 August.

It was a warm weekend, but we found no hesitation among Richmond beer enthusiasts to enjoy our Loose Cannon Hop3 Ale and our dark, rich, full-bodied Imperial stout - Peg Leg. In fact, it was the women who asked for the stout more than the men.

Among the many enthusastic beer fans, I met Michael Gourrier. He is a Katrina survivor. In addition to the loss of his livelihood and his house, he lost his entire collection of 8,000+ jazz records, 45s, and 78s - a priceless, unrecoverable loss. He had been a jazz DJ on New Orleans radio for years; he and his wife have relocated to Richmond where he hosts a Sunday morning jazz show - Bebop and Beyond with Mr. Jazz on WRIR, a Richmond public radio station.

We talked at length. His enthusiasm was infectious; his sang-froid, inspirational. I laughed in agreement when he adjoined his two passions: "Jazz is like beer. There's more than one kind. But the average person will say, I only know this kind."

WRIR streams its music live via the internet. I listened last week and am listening today. (His substitue host this morning, Giz Bowe, is staying true to Mike's choices of bobp and neo-bop.)

Mike this week is in Chicago for the Chicago Jazz Festival. A theme of this year's Festival is the connection between Chicago and New Orleans; several performers from New Orleans are participating. I believe Mike will be emceeing some of the shows.

I would be remiss if I didn't thank our Richmond distributor, Legendary Distributors, and especially its chief, Rick Uhler. Noticing that we would run out of beer on Saturday - we poured 8 full kegs of Peg Leg Imperial Stout and Loose Cannon Hop3 Ale! - Rick ran back over the bridge, a good 2 miles, to his warehouse, loaded up his truck with more beer, and drove back.

And thanks to Richbrau lead brewer Mike Banks and his crew who organized the Shockoe Craft Beer Festival, the marketing company they hired, and all the volunteers who helped to pour beer at the booths.