Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sveiki Sulaukę Velykų!

A friend asked me for a recipe for 'ham in beer' for her Easter dinner. So I, in turn, turned to friend Lucy Saunders at

Here's Lucy's recipe for Roast Pork Tenderloin in Brown Ale, from her book, The Best of American Beer & Food.

Roast Pork Tenderloin in Brown Ale
From the book: The Best of American Beer & Food, by Lucy Saunders []. Brewers Publications: 2007. Reprinted with permission.

To dress the pork, here's Lucy's recipe Raspberry/Chipotle Sauce.

For side dishes —and for my non-meat-eating friends— here are my recipes for Beer Risotto and Roasted Asparagus with Mock Hollandaise Sauce.

Roasted Asparagus

For dessert, try these 'Little Ears': my sister's take on my Nana's recipe for fried cookies, lightly dusted with confectioner's sugar.

Ausukis (01)

To all my readers: wishes of the season for hope and renewal.

Sveiki Sulaukę Velykų
Happy Easter!

Spring azalea

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Pic(k) of the Week: Brooklyn Lager, limned

Brooklyn lager, limned

Brooklyn Lager:
an American lager, brewed in the manner in which, perhaps, most American lagers once had been: a grist of 100% barley malt, a light amber hue, an evident but not citrusy hop aroma, and a firm finishing structure.

Photo taken at a Brooklyn Brewery Beer Dinner at Fire Works American Pizzeria, 19 April 2011, in Arlington, Virginia.

  • Caveat lector: As a representative for Select Wines, Inc. —a wine and beer wholesaler in northern Virgina— I sell the beers of Brooklyn Brewery.
  • Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly Saturday series of personal photos, often, but not always, with a good fermentable as a subject.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tonight: Cask Lab with Heavy Seas Cellarman Stephen Marsh @Columbia Firehouse

Get to know Cask-Conditioned Ale: fresh, 'living' beer.

Tonight, beginning at 5:30 PM, Columbia Firehouse Restaurant and Barroom welcomes special guest Heavy Seas Brewing Cellarmaster Stephen Marsh, for Cask Lab, an informal evening of Firkinology.

Columbia Firehouse

In the intimate 'Shaker Room', try a freshly tapped cask of Dubbel Cannon (7.25% alcohol-by-volume), a 'Belgian-style' IPA just released by Heavy Seas, its spring seasonal. Marsh will provide insider knowledge on how to brew, serve, and enjoy cask-conditioned real ale.

At the main bar, Columbia Firehouse will also be serving the brewery's flagship Loose Cannon Hop3 IPA (7.25% alcohol-by-volume), from a traditional beer engine.

Heavy Seas glassware is up for the taking - while it lasts - and the kitchen will supply complimentary savory bites throughout the evening.

Heavy Seas Brewing Company

Dubbel Cannon - This is a BRAND NEW beer from Heavy Seas and one of the very first casks of the beer filled. It's a Belgian-style IPA (India Pale Ale), intensely hoppy, but also with Belgian yeast-driven flavor. This particular version has Palisade, Cascade and Centennial hops in the cask itself, offering further floral and citric hop aromatics. Tonight is the opportunity to taste Dubbel Cannon before most everyone else.

Loose Cannon - This very citrus hop-driven American IPA has its aroma augmented with notes of smokiness, vanilla, and caramel. Marsh has dry-hopped the cask and added hand-toasted slats of Red Oak, White Oak, and Birch: a patriotic Red, White, & Birch, if you will.

Details: Heavy Seas Cask Lab at Columbia Firehouse, from 5:30-10pm. No entry fee, simply pay for the beers you order.

Shamelessly cribbed from Columbia Firehouse's Facebook page.

Heavy Seas' Cellarman Marsh

Stephen Marsh has been the Cellarmaster for Heavy Seas Brewing (originally known as Clipper City Brewing) since 2005. He has become well-regarded for his innovative yet tradition-honoring cellar techniques. An accomplished home farmer, he grows many of the hops and herbs he infuses in the brewery's casks. Among many awards, he received silver for a cask of Loose Cannon at the 2010 Great British Beer Festival.

UPDATE: Photos!


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Tuesday: Brooklyn Brewing & Fire Works Beer Dinner

Fire Works American Pizzeria

Fire Works Pizzeria in Arlington, Virginia, presents a beer dinner with the Brooklyn Brewery (from, of course, Brooklyn, New York City, New York), Tuesday, April 19, 2011, at 7pm.

Chef Frank Mayo will prepare the 5 course dinner. Restaurant manager Mike Berry will host the dinner. In a confluence of Mikes, brewery representative Mike Ferry will provide the commentary on the 6 beers to be tasted.

Brooklyn Brewing Company

  • Brooklyn Lager (draft)
    How standard American lagers may have tasted years ago: all-malt with firm hop backbone. 5.2% abv.
    Greeter Beer

  • Main Engine Start (draft)
    An American-brewed Belgian-style pale ale. Spicy, golden. 6.8% abv.
    Porte Salute Cheese & Andouille Sausage Mini-Calzones with Spicy Mustard Sauce

  • Summer Ale (draft)
    An example of a light-hued American-brewed British bitter. 5% abv. Charred Shrimp Bruschetta with Shaved Manchego Cheese

  • Sorachi Ace (750-ml bottles)
    A saison-style ale, brewed with lemony Sorachi hops from Japan. 7.6% abv.
    Ginger-Orange Carrot Bisque

  • Local 1 (750-ml bottles)
    Belgian-style strong golden ale, re-fermented in the bottle. 9% abv.
    Herb-Crusted Lamb Loin with Fried Goat Cheese & Marinated Tomatoes

  • 2007 Vintage Monster Barleywine Ale (draft)
    Vinous, sweet malt barleywine (strong ale). 10.8% abv.
    Sticky Toffee Pudding
UPDATE: Photos from the dinner: here

  • Fire Works
    2350 Clarendon Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia 22201
    Phone: 703.527.8700. Facebook page.
    Reservations are $75 (including tax and gratuity).

  • Caveat lector: As a representative for Select Wines, Inc. —a wine and beer wholesaler in northern Virgina— I sell the beers of Brooklyn Brewery.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Pic(k) of the Week: Proud Papa

Proud Papa

On an historic occasion,  DC Brau's co-owner Brandon Skall beamed like a proud papa, welcoming many to the Meridian Pint in Washington, D.C., 15 April 2011, for the draught release party of The Public Pale Ale, the inaugural beer from DC Brau [pronounced dee cee brow], with his business partner, Jeff Hancock.

DC Brau is the first production brewery to open in the Nation's Capital since the Christian Heurich Brewing Company [pronounced hi rick] closed 55 years earlier, in 1956.

  • More photos from the event: here.
  • 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. In this case: a good fermentablist!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Airing tonight: "Brewed on the Bay: Craft Beers of Maryland"

Brewed on the Bay: Craft Beers of Maryland airs tonight Thursday, 14 April, at 8:30pm, on Maryland Public Television, as part of the station's Chesapeake Bay Week.

Join Al Spoler, local food aficionado and cohost of WYPR's Cellar Notes, as he takes us on a tour of the Chesapeake region's microbreweries. Explore Maryland's rarely considered beer traditions and history in a thirst-quenching travelogue of our area.

Brewed on the Bay (02)

Here's what I wrote about the program when it was still under development:

[Brewed on the Bay] is a half-hour documentary on the history of Maryland brewing and the rise of the 'craft' beer movement, filmed at breweries throughout Maryland, including all of the state's brewpubs. Those interviewed include Hugh Sisson, Jim Lutz, Steve Jones, Rob Kasper, Turkey Joe Traber, Volker Stewart, Tom Flores, and other brewers and beer poobahs in the region.

Al Spoler is the brains behind the project.

A former director at Maryland Public Television (MPT), now working as a freelance producer, Spoler may be better known as sidekick to Hugh Sisson of Heavy Seas Brewery on the long-running Public Radio show Cellar Notes, a weekly wine (and occasionally, beer) review program in Baltimore, Maryland. Spoler runs the annual Maryland Governor's Cup Wine Competition, and teaches at Loyola University.

I may have a small part in Brewed on the Bay. In mid-December at the Olney Ale House, Spoler interviewed me about the Oxford Brewing Company, where, in the early 1990s, I had been a brewer and, later, manager. Begun as the British Brewing Company, but now closed, Oxford was the first microbrewery to operate in post-Prohibition Maryland.

Brewing on the Bay (08)

In some locations you can receive MPT on more than one channel. For cable, check with your local company.. In northern Virginia, MPT can be viewed on Channel 22. In Maryland:
  • Annapolis Channel 22
  • Salisbury Channel 28
  • Baltimore Channel 67
  • Hagerstown Channel 31
  • Oakland Channel 36
  • Frederick Channel 62

UPDATE: The documentary is available on DVD for purchase. Go here.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Drinking, Again: 8 beers in quick review

Beer reviews

An occasional series of reviews of beer (and wine and spirits).
No scores; only descriptions.

Eight —brief— beer reviews.
  • Essential Pale Ale from Port City Brewing Company of Alexandria, Virginia. Pale ale, deep golden (darker than the first draft run). Hint of orange peel and talcum powder in nose. Tastes of grapefruit, orange, and hint of melon. Mix of shortbread and tannic bitterness in finish. Good stuff ... especially after waiting 95 years for beer to return to Alexandria! Tasted, poured from a bottle. More...

  • Maibock from Legend Brewing Company of Richmond, Virginia. Light copper color; good head retention. Sweet food spice and graham-cracker aroma and flavor. Juicy body (!). Long finish. Seasonal. 6.4% abv. Tasted, poured from a bottle.More...

  • AARSH 'Imperial Irish Red' Ale from Heavy Seas Brewing, of Baltimore, Maryland. Sweet dark caramel malt character dried in finish by hint of roastiness. Good head retention and conditioning. Scant haze. Seasonal. 8% abv. Tasted, pulled from a firkin. More...

  • Scotch Ale, from Mad Fox Brewing Company, of Falls Church, Virginia. Deep brown/red and malty: flavors of toffee, caramel, some roast and plummy fruit. 8% abv sneaks up on you. Tasted, pulled from a firkin. More...

  • Corp Mort Barleywine (The name can be translated as "Dead Body."), from Quebec brewery A L'Abri De La Tempête. slightly turbid reddish/brown. Sweet malt middle, hint of peat-like smokiness, dry finish. 9% abv. Tasted, on draft. More...

  • Les Deux Brasseurs, a collaboration between breweries Allagash —U.S. based— and DeProef —Belgian based— collaborated to produce this beer (meaning 'the two brewers'), each using their own house strains of brettanomyces yeast, known for its 'wild' barnyardy character. Hazy, deep golden. Sharp, quick finish. Tasted, on draft. More...

    Bitter American

  • Bitter American from 21st Amendment Brewery of San Francisco, California. Light amber, brilliant clarity, good head retention. Citrusy nose. At 4.4% abv, a fine example of a bitter: using a relatively small amount of hops to achieve an apparent level of bitterness equivalent to that of a much higher alcohol beer (such as a double IPA). Tasted, poured from a can. More...

  • Black Cannon from Heavy Seas Brewing of Baltimore, Maryland. The brewery designates it as a 'Black IPA'. The Great American Beer Festival calls the style "American-style India Black Ale." I call it a delicious, dark, hoppy strong ale. Pours nearly black, with beige head. Characters of baker's chocolate, toasted bread, melon fruit, citrus: 7.25% abv. late winter seasonal. Tasted, poured from a bottle. More...
  • Caveat lector: As a representative for Select Wines, Inc. —a wine and beer wholesaler in northern Virgina— I sell the beers of Heavy Seas and Allagash.
  • Drinking Again is a series of occasional reviews of beer (and wine and spirits).
  • The graphic for Drinking Again was created by Mike Licht at NotionsCapital.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 13/14, 2011.

Clamps and Gaskets: weekly roundup
A non-comprehensive roundup of two weeks'
news of beer and other things.

Weeks 13/14
27 March 2011 - 9 April 2011

  • 2011.04.09
    Pierre Celis, the father of modern Belgian Witbier, has passed away. Via Brookston.
  • 2011.04.09
    WAMU's Kojo Nnamdi interviews brewers Jeff Hancock of DC Brau and Ben Matz of Chocolate City Brewing, Washington D.C.'s newest production breweries.

  • McDonald & Klipner
  • 2011.04.09
    Congratulations to Brad Klipner —the creator of He has been named Market Manager for Coastal Brewing.
  • 2011.04.09
    Kevin Zraly honored with 2011 James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award, for his achievements in wine education, including his influential Windows on the World book and course.

    Joe Gold

  • 2011.04.09
    Heavy Seas Brewing Company of Baltimore, Maryland, has introduced its new National Sales Manager: Joe Gold, founder of Baltimore Beer Week. Via Beer In

  • 2011.04.08
    Lost Rhino Brewery in Ashburn, Virginia, receives its Federal Brewing License. Plans to begin brewing immediately.

  • 2011.04.08
    How lax alcoholic beverage import regulations have made Washington, D.C., a 'craft' beer haven. Via Lagerheads at Washington City Paper.

  • 2011.04.07
    Today, on 7 April in 1933, beer —or at least a small version thereof— became legal again in the USA.

  • 2011.04.03
    A brief historical look at the development of light-bodied, light-hued, filtered, and artificially carbonated bottled beer, in Britain in 1906.

  • 2011.04.03
    30th Birthday of the Portable Computer.

  • 2011.04.02
    Maryland wine corkage bills die in Senate and House of Delegates. Via Baltimore Business Journal.

  • 2011.04.01
    Production beer to return to Washington, D.C., after 55 years: DC Brau.

  • 2011.03.30
    The known, and speculated, historical origins of beer. Via Scientific American.

  • 2011.03.30
    The environmental skinny on wines labeled natural, organic, and biodynamic. Via Washington Post.

  • 2011.03.29
    Maryland House and Senate approve winery direct-to-consumer bill.

  • 2011.03.29
    Why the Anheuser Busch InBev purchase of Goose Island Brewing is good for 'craft' beer. Via Beer Scribe.

  • 2011.03.29
    Amazon has launched a Cloud Music Player, challenging iTunes, and before Google's planned launch. Via Mashable.

  • 2011.03.28
    The sales of IPAs are up 38% in 2010, and up 45% in the last 13 weeks. "The hottest thing in last 6 years." Via Benj Steinman of Beer Marketer's Insights.

  • 2011.03.28
    A definition of 'craft beer', rather than 'craft brewery.' Via Jeff Alworth at Beervana.

  • 2011.03.27
    Birthday in Beer: Michael Jackson (1942-2007)

  • 2011.03.27
    Maryland Senate passes license change. Evolution Brewery may expand from Delaware to Salisbury, Maryland.

  • 2011.03.27
    Maryland Senate bill allows growler sales at soon-to-open Burley Oak Brewery in Berlin, Maryland.

  • 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 my Twitter account:
  • The Clamps and Gaskets graphic was created by Mike Licht at NotionsCapital.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Pierre Celis & his Witbier stand tall in beer history.

Pierre Celis, the father of modern Belgian White Ale, died yesterday at the age of 86. Diminutive in stature, ebullient in nature, a milkman by original profession, Celis' profound legacy of beer stands tall.

In 1988, this is how the late beer writer Michael Jackson, described Pierre Celis' White Ale:

Fruity, pale Wheat Beers in a variety of local versions were once widespread in the east of Brabant
[Belgium]. There were more than 30 White Beer brewers in the valley around the small town of Hoegarden [pronounced "Who garden"] during the 1700s, but the last closed in 1954. A dozen years later, an enthusiast, Pierre Celis, salvaged an old brew-house, and set about restoring the style. His brewery De Kluis ("The Cloister" or "The Hermitage") and his Hoegarden White Beer captured the imagination of young drinkers. The beer became very fashionable. <...>

The old Hoegarden beers had a pronounced lactic character, like that of Berliner Weisse. Today's product is not so obviously lactic, but is distinctive enough.
<...> [In Flemish, it is] identified as a Witbier. In French, it is described as a Biere Blanche. <...>

Oud Hoegards is brewed from 45 per cent wheat. It contains also oats, to a proportion of five per cent. The wheat and oats are raw, and the remainder of the mash is malted barley.
<...> More significant is the spicing of the beer with Curaçao orange peels, coriander, and a third "secret" ingredient. Cumin seeds, perhaps?

Celis' brewery would suffer a devastating fire. Needing cash to rebuild, Celis entered a Faustian bargain with Interbrew, now AB InBev, to whom he would eventually lose control of the brewery.

In 1992, he moved to the US, to Texas, at a time when more US craft breweries were still closer to the two coasts. His White Ale and other brands achieved "cult following." Celis would chuckle that he had settled in Texas because he could understand Texans: they drawled s-l-o-w-l-y.

For assistance in marketing, Celis turned to Miller, but the brewing behemoth would prove clueless in promoting craft beer. Celis would move back to Belgium at the turn of the millennium. Then in his mid-70s, he, indefatigably, would begin new brewing ventures.

I met Mr. Celis on three occasions. Each time, he was gracious to me, and infectiously exuberant. The first two occasions were tastings in his honor at the renowned Brickskeller in Washington, D.C.

Pierre Celis Dinner @The Brickskeller November 1994 (01)

Then, in 1995, I met Celis at his brewery, while I was attending the Craft Brewers Conference in Austin, Texas. I asked about a large, partially crumpled tank I had noticed in the brewery. A twinkle in his eye, he bandied about a 'Texas' tall tale in explanation. That would help to soften the blow for me, when, a few years later, I would partially implode the dome of a brewery's hot liquor tank.

As Stan Heironymous wrote, at Appellation Beer:
[Celis was] an otherwise extraordinarily engaging gentleman whose influence cannot be overstated.

He was 40 years old, delivered milk for a living and had little brewing experience when he produced his first official batch of Oud Hoegaards Bier in 1966.
<...> Just over 5 feet tall, from the beginning he described himself as a “small brewer.”

As Philadelphia beer and food writer Rich Pawluk eulogized:

RIP legendary brewer Pierre Celis. 86 yrs old. Such a joyous man to be around.

As Jackson observed:
In Belgium, passionate beer-lovers knew of Celis, and admired his achievements. In the United States, they deemed him a hero.

  • Beer writer John White has an on-line biography of Pierre Celis.
  • Beervana puts into perspective the witbier style that Celis re-created.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Pic(k) of the Week: Grape Hyacinths

Deep Purple (3)

Are they purple? Are they blue? Grape hyacinths bloom in early April in northern Virginia.

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.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Pic(k) of the Week: Pints-a-deux


The interplay of light and shadow in this photo caught my attention: a still-life dance between two pints of real ale. Note the creamy head on the beers —formed naturally without artificial nitrogen or added CO2— an indication of well-conditioned cask ale.

Taken at Public House No. 7, in 7 Corners, Virginia, on 30 March 2011.

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.