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Welcome to 100.7 The Bay’s Craft Beer Blog from Jefferson The Craft Beer Guy!

Check out the pics from Pappas Restaurant Cockeysville with The Craft Beer Guy Here.

Check out pics from the Greene Turtle Owings Mills Craft Beer Party Here.

April 6, 2018 – RAR Brewing’s Nanticoke Nectar
 
It’s really the beer that put RAR Brewing on the map, Huber! And like many craft breweries, the people who were behind it all were homebrewers first. Chris Brohawn and J.T. Merryweather took what started off as brewing for fun and for the love of beer and turned into RAR Brewing in 2013. In 2014 Randy Mills joined their team as head brewer and is now a co-owner of RAR Brewing.
 
The taproom is in what was an old pool hall, on Poplar Street in downtown Cambridge. It has exposed brick walls, a beautiful hand crafted cedar bar-top and a draft system that features 12 rotating RAR beers.
 
I got together with Chris Brohawn and enjoyed a fresh Nanticoke Nectar IPA.
 
(RAR Brewing’s Chris Brohawn talks)
 
So the next time you’re heading to the beach… or on the way back… make a visit to RAR Brewing in Cambridge. You’ll see why Huber and I love their beer so much.
 
Cheers!

Jefferson

The Craft Beer Guy

Email: jward@thebayonline.com

 
March 30, 2018 – Craft Beer and Baseball
 
 
There’s nothing quite like Orioles baseball and some delicious craft beer! And getting the awesome walk-off home run from Adam Jones made the day even better! Huber and I had a blast at the game, talking baseball, life and craft beer! Just the way he bought a beer for me that I never had before, I did the same thing for Huber, buying him a Tropi Cannon, Heavy Seas’ citrus IPA featuring blood orange, mango, lemon peel and grapefruit!
 
With the wonderful growth of craft beer, Oriole Park has responded by offering an impressive line-up in a variety of styles. This list probably isn’t complete, but it’ll get you even more fired up for this year’s baseball season!
 
These are some of the beers that are available this year:
From Union Craft Brewing: Steady Eddy, a Wheat IPA; and Duckpin Pale Ale.
From Heavy Seas Beer: Loose Cannon IPA; Tropi Cannon IPA; Pounder Pils, a Pilsner; and
Smooth Sail Summer Ale.
From Key Brewing: Dundalk Calling, a Double IPA; and Chesapeake Common Lager
From Manor Hill: Manor Hill IPA.
From Flying Dog: Snake Dog IPA, Bloodline Blood Orange Ale, and Bleacher Beer, a lager.
From Monument City: 51 Rye IPA.
And from Calvert Brewing Company: Calvert Cream Ale.
 
Thirsty? It’s time for some baseball and some craft beer!
 
Cheers!

Jefferson

The Craft Beer Guy

Email: jward@thebayonline.com

 
 
March 23, 2018 – New England IPAs

 

Over the last two years, a new style of IPA has gone from being made by only a few New England breweries to one of the hottest craft beer styles in years.  This delicious style of IPA is often referred to as a New England IPA because that’s where it all started.  Vermont breweries, The Alchemist and Lawson’s Finest Liquids, are two of the breweries that are often identified as being responsible for creating and launching this incredible style.  New England IPAs are distinctive because of their hazy appearance and juicy flavor. 

Whether you call the beer a New England style IPA or a juicy, hazy IPA, you’ll find this beer style to be quite a bit different from the Northwestern IPAs that really made IPAs explode in popularity years ago.  While a Northwestern IPA brings out the bitterness in the hops, a New England IPA brings out the sweetness and juicyness of the hops.

Diamondback Brewing in McHenry Row, makes an excellent hazy, juicy IPA called Green Machine.  You can have it on draft in the Diamondback Brewing taproom or, now, at your local liquor store in cans.  And industry forerunner, Boston Beer, has come out with an awesome New England IPA!  The name?  Sam Adams New England IPA!  It is spectacular!

If you’ve not been able to enjoy other IPAs because of their wonderful dryness and bitterness---and I do mean wonderful!---try a New England IPA.  Hazy.  Juicy.  And delicious!

Cheers!

Jefferson

The Craft Beer Guy

Email: jward@thebayonline.com

 

March 16, 2018 – Black and Tans on St. Patrick’s Day

We’re counting down the days until Spring and tomorrow definitely makes all of Maryland look a little greener!  It’s St. Patrick’s Day and the wearing of the green will be everywhere!

Throughout Baltimore and all of our suburbs, tomorrow will be a day of parades, music, fellowship, laughter and… beer!

St. Patrick’s Day and Irish stout are certainly synonymous for all the right reasons: St. Patrick’s Day is a cultural and religious day of celebration, acknowledging the date of the death of Ireland’s patron saint, Saint Patrick.  So Irish food and Irish beer are naturals for celebrating the day.  Shepherd’s pie, Irish stew, corned beef and cabbage, and Irish Soda bread are among the most popular Irish foods, especially on a day when everyone is a little Irish!  And Guinness Draught and Murphy’s Irish Stout are two of the most available… and delicious… dry stouts you can enjoy.

I love Guinness Draught for its Irish Heritage, its drinkability---it’s a 4.2% ABV beer---and its wonderful, distinct flavor and aroma.  But I also enjoy an American version of a black and tan; a black and tan is, traditionally, half stout and half ale. 

Here are a few delicious Irish/American black and tans to try:

  • Guinness with Loose Cannon, an IPA from Heavy Seas Beer
  • Guinness and The Infinite, an amber ale from Jailbreak Brewing
  • Guinness with Double Duckpin, a double IPA, from Union Craft Brewing
  • Guinness and Balls to the Walls, an American pale ale from Oliver Brewing

Have a great weekend and a great St. Patrick’s Day, tomorrow!

Cheers!

Jefferson

The Craft Beer Guy

Email: jward@thebayonline.com

 

March 9, 2018 – Max’s Taphouse
 
Imagine a place that feels like home the moment you step through the doors; a place where your every craft beer desire can be met; a place where the bar staff really knows beer. Welcome to Max’s Taphouse.
 
I got together with Bob Simko, one of Max’s managers and asked him about the history of this very special beer bar in Fells Point.
 
(Bob Simko from Max’s Taphouse talks)
 
This is a place that you have to visit. Max’s Taphouse is a block from the harbor, located on Broadway in historic Fells Point, a wonderful part of this city: cobblestone streets, cool shops and restaurants, and, well, Max’s.
 
(Bob Simko from Max’s Taphouse talks)
 
And once you visit Max’s, you’ll go back again and again and again. It’s really a special place.

Cheers!

Jefferson

The Craft Beer Guy

Email: jward@thebayonline.com

 
 
March 2, 2018 – Oyster Stout from RavenBeer!

Last Saturday, I visited the new home for RavenBeer.  RavenBeer has entered into a partnership with DuClaw brewing and is now brewing all of their beer at the RavenBeer/DuClaw Brewery on Yellowbrick Road in Rosedale.

I visited the brewery last Saturday and spent some time with Stephen Demczuk, the Founder and President of RavenBeer.  I asked Stephen how this move came about.

(RavenBeer’s Stephen Demczuk talks)

RavenBeer’s line-up is impressive: Raven Special Lager, celebrating its 20th anniversary of being brewed here in Baltimore, Pendulum Pilsner, Tell Tale Heart IPA, The Cask---a Double Bock, Annabel Lee---a Belgian-style Wit, and Dark Usher---a German-style Kolsch.  And, coming soon, a new craft beer: an Oyster Stout.  I had a chance to talk with Ted Cooney, the Founder of Madhouse Oysters and asked him about the creation of this new craft beer from RavenBeer.

(Madhouse Oyster’s Ted Cooney talks)

And it is… or was… delicious!  It has a nice warmth to it and comes in at around 6.3% ABV.  Right now, you can only savor RavenBeer’s Oyster Stout and the RavenBeer/DuClaw brewery, so stop by this weekend and be one of the first to drink this excellent craft beer!

Cheers!

Jefferson

The Craft Beer Guy

Email: jward@thebayonline.com

 

February 23, 2018 – A New Space for Union Craft Brewing

Just as there are restaurants that have better food than others, there are craft breweries that brew better beer than others.  And one of the really good ones here in Baltimore is Union Craft Brewing.  Jon Zerivitz, Adam Benesch and Kevin Blodger are a strong team and Union is brewing some really good beer.

I got together with Jon Zerivitz to talk about their coming expansion and the idea that Jon, Adam and Kevin developed to make it possible.

(Union Craft Brewing’s Jon Zerivitz talks)

Union is approaching their 6-year anniversary and they are already planning to have a combined Anniversary and Grand Opening party in what will be their new, much larger taproom and brewery.

(Union Craft Brewing’s Jon Zerivitz talks)

I can’t wait!  In the meantime, it just makes sense to have a delicious Union craft beer.  How about a barrel-aged Chessie?  Chessie is a mighty fine barleywine!

Cheers!

Jefferson

The Craft Beer Guy

Email: jward@thebayonline.com

 

February 16, 2018 – Reforming Maryland’s Beer Laws

As you may have heard, Maryland’s laws about brewing beer are among the most restrictive laws in brewing. Last year House Bill 1283 was passed by the Maryland General Assembly that modestly improved Maryland’s antiquated beer laws. But that bill was still far from welcoming to the craft beer industry.
 
Shortly after that House Bill 1283 passed, Comptroller Peter Franchot created a 40-member task force that went on to meet with people across the state over the last year to assess the state of brewing and distribution in Maryland. That effort has resulted in a group of bills that is now in the hands of the General Assembly. Many contemporary thinking Senators and Delegates have stepped up to support these extremely important bills.
 
As good as that is, more support is needed. You can make a difference by contacting your Senators and Delegates. And when you do, please be sure your communication, whether written in an email, posted on social media, or said in person, is polite and respectful so that your voice is heard. You can find the names, phone numbers, and email addresses of your Senators and Delegates at http://www.mdelect.net. Again that’s
 
When you write, post, or call, urge them to support House Bill 518. House Bill 518 is known as the Reform on Tap Act and removes limits on manufacturing, sales and distribution.
 
If you love craft beer, make your voice heard. Contact your Senators and Delegates and share your enthusiasm for craft beer, your pride in Maryland and your strong interest in seeing Maryland become more welcoming to craft breweries and ask them to support House Bill 518.
 
Passing House Bill 518 means only good things for Maryland: more jobs and… more craft beer!

Cheers!

Jefferson

The Craft Beer Guy

Email: jward@thebayonline.com

 
February 9, 2018 – Hysteria Brewing Company
 
Yesterday I visited one of Maryland’s newest breweries, Hysteria Brewing in Columbia. Hysteria open last July with a taproom designed to feel like a retro-modern library and tasting room. There are bench couches, metal bar stools, a massive wall of books, board games and a beautiful, creative custom TV display that hangs above the bar, with a clock centered at the top and Hysteria Brewing Company across the bottom. It’s a cool space.
 
I spent some time talking to owners Rich Gue and Geoff Lopes, along with Zach Michel, Hysteria’s marketing director and Jordan McGraw, the head brewer at Hysteria. I asked Geoff and Rich to tell us how Hysteria Brewing got started. Here’s Geoff Lopes.
 
(Hysteria Brewing’s Geoff Lopes talks)
 
Next, Rich Gue tells us how he, Geoff Lopes and their third partner, Jordan Baney, came together to create this new brewery.
 
(Hysteria Brewing’s Rich Gue talks)
 
Zach Michel’s background includes a genuine love for craft beer, years of working in retail helping customers buy the right beer and home brewing. Zach joined Hysteria as an assistant brewer as the brewery was getting ready to open and has now taken on marketing responsibilities. Zach poured four of Hysteria’s beers for me and described each one.
 
(Hysteria Brewing’s Zach Michel talks)
 
Hysteria Brewing is on Berger Road, off Snowden River Parkway in Columbia. Step inside and enjoy the taproom… and the beer!

Cheers!

Jefferson

The Craft Beer Guy

Email: jward@thebayonline.com

 
February 2, 2018 – Love Thy Beer Winter Warmer Showcase

Here we are, in the heart of winter!  February 2nd.  Groundhog Day.  And it’s cold outside!  But there are other things to know about today that relate to… surprise… craft beer!  Today is day number two of Maryland Craft Beer Lovers Month, now known as FeBREWary!  Today also means that it’s just two weeks until the Brewers Association of Maryland’s Love Thy Beer Winter Warmer Showcase, taking place at the Silver Spring Civic Center, Friday, February 16th from 6pm-10pm.

And today, in about a minute, you can win tickets to the Love Thy Beer Winter Warmer Showcase from your friends at 100.7 The Bay!  How awesome is that?  Free craft beer festival tickets!  Details, in a few seconds!

The Love Thy Beer Winter Warmer Showcase is a celebration of craft beer and gives special attention to the wonderful seasonal offerings that are available now.  In addition to winter seasonals, there will be over 100 different beers to enjoy, in almost every style: stouts, porters, IPAs, pilsners, sours, pale ales and more, including special small-batch craft beer.

It’s an evening with lots of beer and lots of breweries: Antietam, Brewer’s Alley, Denizens, Evolution, Flying Dog, Heavy Seas, Hysteria, Jailbreak, Manor Hill, Milkhouse, Monocacy, Oliver, Red Shedman, Union, Waredaca and many others!  And everyone gets a BAM tasting glass!

Do you want to go?  Then text the word “BEER” to 410-584-100.7 right now.  If you’re one of the first six texts, you’ll win two tickets to the 2nd Annual Love Thy Beer Winter Warmer Showcase!  And one lucky person will be selected at random to win VIP tickets.  Text “BEER” to 410-584-100.7 now and win tickets to this great craft beer celebration!

Cheers!

Jefferson

The Craft Beer Guy

Email: jward@thebayonline.com

 
 
January 26, 2018 – Cellaring Beer
 
Last week, I talked about barrel aged beer and the creativity behind this concept and the resulting new aromas and flavors that emerge from barrel aging.
 
Although barrel aging is part of the brewer’s craft, you and I can also age beer-- -it just takes a little patience. The term that’s used for this is “cellaring”, as in putting the beer in the cellar, or basement. Unfinished basements are ideal. The below ground nature of the space means less light, steadier temperatures and cooler air. Warm air and light are enemies when aging beer. If you don’t have a basement, use a closet where you rarely
turn on the light and there is no direct heat nearby. Light can give beer a skunky smell and the heat, essentially, cooks your already cooked-- -brewed- -- beer.
 
Okay, that’s the first step to proper cellaring. The second step is to store your beer vertically. Don’t lay it on its side. When your craft beer is stored in a vertical position, there is only a small amount of oxygen exposed to the beer. In addition, a vertical storage allows any yeast in the bottle to settle at the bottom.
 
The third step in cellaring beer is choosing the right beer. IPAs and most hoppy beers are best when they are fresh and, consequently, are not conducive to cellaring. In general, higher alcohol beers are the best candidates as well as ones with a strong malt character. Some of the styles that are good choices for cellaring include Barleywines, Scotch Ales, Belgian Strong Ales, Russian Imperial Stouts, Doppelbocks, Tripels and barrel aged beer.
 
Be sure to mark the year on each bottle so that you can taste changes as the beer ages. While there’s no exact number of years you can age a beer, if you can be patient, you can store some beers as long as ten years, and most beers in the styles that I just mentioned will age for at least two years.
 
Finally, just as there is no set perfect period of time to cellar your beer, there’s also no way to predict what will happen to your beer’s appearance, flavor and aroma. As the beer ages, some of the flavors that may have been prominent when you first drank the beer can fade and, in so doing, let other aromas and flavors become more a part of the beer’s character. And that’s part of the adventure.
 
Cellaring beer. Another part of the wonderful world of craft beer!

Cheers!

Jefferson

The Craft Beer Guy

Email: jward@thebayonline.com

 
January 19, 2018 – Barrel Aged Craft Beer
 
Over the last several years, more and more craft brewers are aging select beer in wooden barrels. The type of wood is typically oak, but apple, hickory… even an exotic wood known as palo santo are also used. But what’s important to the brewers is not just aging beer in wooden barrels, but knowing what was in that barrel before! Cabernet sauvignon, port,
chardonnay, sherry, bourbon, whiskey, scotch, and rum barrels have all been used to make some incredible beer. And brewers often toast or char the insides of the barrel to bring other possibilities into play as the beer ages in the barrel.
 
The process works like this: once the beer is finished, it’s placed in wooden barrels and then aged for weeks and, even, months. Over that time, the flavors of what the barrel was last used for permeate the beer and become part of the flavor and aroma profile.
 
For the most part, barrel aged beer is brewed in smaller batches. And almost all of these are limited in availability, so if you have one you like, buy it again as quickly as you can or it may be gone.
 
Here are a couple to look for:
 
Dogfish Head Oak-Aged Vanilla World Wide Stout. Dogfish Head took their ridiculously delicious World Wide Stout and aged it in massive oak barrels with vanilla beans. The result is an unbelievably rich, intense, fascinating beer. It’s ABV is extremely high, but that is also part of why it tastes so good. You can find this beer now in 12 ounce bottles, but when it’s
gone… it’s gone.
 
Another wonderful barrel aged beer is Founders’ Canadian Breakfast Stout, or CBS. CBS is extremely hard to find and is sold in 750 milliliter bottles. It’s aged in bourbon barrels that had previously held maple syrup with coffee and chocolate added for the aging process. The taste is spectacular.

Barrel aged craft beer. Another wonderful part of this great craft beer world.

Cheers!

Jefferson

The Craft Beer Guy

Email: jward@thebayonline.com

 

January 12, 2018 – Flying Dog Snake Dog IPA

Maryland’s outstanding craft beer culture is the direct result of so many passionate and creative people in the craft beer industry and, as consumers, our love for craft beer!  I’ve been fortunate to meet some really good people in the craft beer community over the last four years since starting this Craft Beer on The Bay feature.  One of those “good people” is Ben Clark, the Brewmaster at Flying Dog Brewery.  Ben and I got together a while ago to taste and talk about some of Flying Dog’s craft beers.  First up, Snake Dog IPA, what Ben Clark described as one of their flagship beers.

(Flying Dog’s Ben Clark talks)

CTZ hops are a blend of three hops: Columbus, the C”, Tomahawk, the “T” and Zeus, the “Z”, in CTZ.  The CTZ hops give Snake Dog IPA its distinct character and is one of the reasons why this IPA is so immensely popular.

Enjoy your weekend.  And enjoy a Snake Dog IPA from Flying Dog Brewery too!

Cheers!

Jefferson

The Craft Beer Guy

Email: jward@thebayonline.com

 

January 5, 2018 – Imperial Stout

Bitter cold temperatures.  Icy winds.  Time for an Imperial Stout! 

Imperial Stout is a style of beer that fits so well for cold, winter days.  In general, Imperial Stouts tend to have a subtle sweetness that Extra, Dry, Cream, and Oatmeal stouts don’t have.  It’s part of what defines the style.  And Imperial Stouts are usually higher in alcohol by volume than other stouts.  Years ago, when I was just beginning my craft beer journey, I bought a bottle of Northcoast Brewing’s Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout, not knowing anything about the style at the time and was blown away!  And now each time I have one, I am still amazed.  It’s black and rich with toffee and coffee aromas and robust malt and chocolate flavors.  Spectacular.  And in many ways, Old Rasputin sets the standard for a truly great Imperial Stout.

Here are some other world-class Imperial Stouts that are equally outstanding:

·         Brooklyn Brewery makes a stunning Russian Imperial Stout called Black Chocolate Stout.  Deep, dark, and delicious, this beer has a very clear chocolate flavor to it, without having any chocolate added to the brew.

·         Heavy Seas Beer makes two incredible Imperial Stouts: Peg Leg and Siren Noire.  Peg Leg Imperial Stout is available all year and is a wonderful example of the style with the richness and subtle sweetness that is characteristic of Imperial Stouts.  Siren Noire is a Chocolate Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels for five weeks with vanilla beans and cocoa nibs.  Awesome.

·         Southern Tier Brewing makes some of the best craft beer in America and their Imperial Stout line-up is unbelievable… and unbelievably good!  I don’t have time to describe each one, but if you try any one of these, you will be impressed… and love every minute of it.

o        Choklat, with notes of chocolate

o        Choklat Oranj, brewed with chocolate and orange peels

o        Salted Caramel, with Himalayan Pink Sea Salt and notes of caramel

o        Thick Mint, brewed with chocolate and mint

o        Crème Brulee, with vanilla beans

o        Warlock, brewed with pumpkin and pumpkin spice

o        Monstrosus, aged in bourbon barrels.

Imperial Stout.  Perfect for a cold, winter weekend.

Cheers!

Jefferson

100.7 The Bay’s Craft Beer Guy

Email: jward@thebayonline.com

 

December 29, 2017 – Beer on New Year’s Eve

As we head into this weekend, I find myself reflecting on this past year and thinking about things to do in 2018.  And like you, I’m also thinking about welcoming in the New Year on Sunday night. 

While toasting the New Year with a glass of champagne is what is most commonly associated with New Year’s Eve, I love celebrating the end of one year and the beginning of the next with a delicious glass of craft beer.  Typically I vary the style of glass I use based on the craft beer I’m drinking, but on New Year’s Eve I like using a wine goblet.   The wine goblet’s long stem and deep, wide bowl present the beer beautifully and allow the beer’s color to be seen clearly and the aromas to be captured easily as you raise your glass for your toast.

If you want to stay with the champagne mood, try one of Brewery Ommegang’s beers.  Based in Cooperstown, New York, Brewery Ommegang has been making inventive, mostly Belgian-inspired beers for years.  All of their beers are available in 750ml bottles and have caged, corked tops, giving you the chance to have the visual, large bottle and cork experience that you get with champagne.  Their six primary beers are each stylistically different: Hennepin is a Golden Ale; Gnomegang in a Blonde Ale; Witte is a Wheat Ale; Rare Vos is an Amber Ale; Abbey Ale is a Dubbel Ale; and Three Philosopher’s is a Quadrupel Ale.

No matter what you chose, resolve to find something special to savor as you celebrate New Year’s Eve and Day this year. 

 Happy New Year!

Cheers!

Jefferson

100.7 The Bay’s Craft Beer Guy

Email: jward@thebayonline.com

 @jwcraftbeerguy

 

December 15, 2017 – Santa’s Private Reserve from Rogue Ales

Earlier this week, I was out looking for some Christmas gifts and was in search for a special beer for a person I work with here at 100.7 The Bay: Joe Heffron, the station’s General Sales Manager.  Joe has been with the station for 16 years, but before joining The Bay, Joe worked as the Bar Manager and Marketing Director for Kclinger’s Tavern in Hanover, Pennsylvania.  It was during his time at Kclinger’s that Joe developed a passion for craft beer.  Alas, Kclinger’s isn’t around anymore but craft beer certainly is! 

Earlier this week, Joe asked me if I had ever had Santa’s Private Reserve from Rogue Ales, a legendary Oregon brewery.  I told him that I loved the brewery’s products and had Santa’s Private Reserve several times, but it didn’t capture what I was looking for in a Holiday ale. 

So with that said, here’s what happened after that conversation.  While looking for some craft beer for Joe, I saw a bottle of the 2017 version of Santa’s Private Reserve and it looked very different.  The artwork had changed.  The colors were different.  Instead of mostly red and white, the label was green, red and white.  And the recipe had changed, just from the description on the bottle.  So I grabbed a bottle and took it home to try that night.  When I opened the bottle, I immediately picked up the scent of Belgian candi sugar.  Then when I poured the beer, a beautiful deep brown nectar filled my glass, with a thick tan head and I knew my adventure was just beginning.  After the head settled, I lifted the glass for my first taste of Santa’s Private Reserve 2017.  The aroma had hints of toffee and fruit and the flavor exploded with raspberries and cherries, enhanced by the Belgian candi sugar in the brew.  This is a Christmas ale!  And on the bottle, it’s all spelled out: a Belgian Dark Ale with Cherries and Raspberries!

Rogue’s Santa’s Private Reserve is available in 22 ounce bottles and is now on my annual craft beer Christmas list!

With the Holiday Season underway, a cold night and a little snow, warm up with a bottle of Santa’s Private Reserve tonight!

Cheers!

Jefferson

100.7 The Bay’s Craft Beer Guy

Email: jward@thebayonline.com

@jwcraftbeerguy

 

December 8, 2017 – Anchor Christmas Ale

Back in the early days of my craft beer journey, I discovered a few breweries that were making beer specifically for the Holiday Season. And since that moment, I’ve made a point of drinking almost nothing but Holiday inspired beers during this time of the year. Now here we are at December 8 th , Hanukkah is only four days away and Christmas will be here in just 17 days! This is the time to go exploring and find some Holiday seasonal craft beer!

 
Because I love this time of year so much, I make sure each year that I have certain Christmas Ales ready to enjoy the day after Thanksgiving. As a result, when I go to the basement to grab a beer this time of year, I really am “walking in a Winter wonderland!”
 
There are a lot of really good Holiday beers, but the one that started it all for me was from Anchor Brewing in San Francisco. The beer is appropriately named Anchor Christmas Ale. And it is special.
 
I think the best way for you to get a feel for Anchor Christmas Ale is to hear the words of Anchor Brewmaster Scott Ungermann: “This year’s Christmas Ale has a strong malt profile that is enhanced with wintry spices. The beer pours a deep, dark, mahogany brown with a creamy, tan head. It has flavors of creamy bittersweet chocolate, coffee, roasted malts and toasted nuts, with a rich, smooth, velvety mouthfeel. This is the third year in a row that we peeled back the layers of spices, taking some ingredients out and making those remaining stand out even more. In the meantime, we added more specialty malts, some that we’re using for the first time. The combination of malts, spices, and hops add layers of complexity to the beer and bring this year’s ale to a new level."
 
Now in it’s 43rd year, Anchor Christmas Ale’s label features it’s 43 rd different tree. The recipe changes in subtle ways each year as does the label, but it’s always delicious!
 
You can find Anchor Christmas Ale in 12 ounce bottles and in a beautiful gold-foiled 50.7 ounce magnum bottle.
So capture a little Holiday spirit in a bottle this weekend! Anchor Christmas Ale is here!

Cheers!

Jefferson

100.7 The Bay’s Craft Beer Guy

Email: jward@thebayonline.com

@jwcraftbeerguy

 
December 1, 2017 – Flying Fish Brewing

The year was 1994.  I was working at a radio station in Philadelphia and already into my deep love affair with craft beer when I read about an internet-only brewery.  But it didn’t make any sense to me.  For beer to be made, there has to be a physical brewery… right?  As it turned out, the internet-only brewery was simply a concept that Gene Muller used to launch the now extremely successful Flying Fish Brewery.

Gene Muller is the Founder and President of Flying Fish Brewery.  I had the chance to spend some time at the Flying Fish Brewery in Somerdale, New Jersey recently, and asked Gene to tell us the story behind Flying Fish.

(Flying Fish’s Gene Muller talks)

You can see, smell and taste the true care and craft that has gone into making these award-winning beers.  Flying Fish has six year-round craft beers.  Here’s Gene Muller with the line-up:

(Flying Fish’s Gene Muller talks)

 Now I know you’re thirsty!  Time to have a Flying Fish craft beer

Cheers!

Jefferson

100.7 The Bay’s Craft Beer Guy

Email: jward@thebayonline.com

@jwcraftbeerguy

 

November 24, 2017 – Reforming Maryland’s Beer Laws

Back in March this year, I talked with Kevin Atticks, the Executive Director of the Brewers Association of Maryland, about Maryland House Bill 1283 and the challenges and problems it presented for Maryland craft brewers.

On Monday, this week, Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot held a press conference at the new location for Union Craft Brewing on West 41st Street in Hamden and revealed the findings of his Reform On Tap Task Force, a 40-member group representing every region in the state and made up of brewers, distributors, retailers, consumers and lawmakers from both major parties.

The result of the work that group did is the writing of The Reform On Tap Act of 2018, an act designed to give any planned or existing brewery the same opportunities that Pennsylvania, Virginia, DC and Delaware offer.  The Reform On Tap Act of 2018 would change antiquated laws and restrictive regulations that have actually caused some Maryland breweries-in-the-planning to move elsewhere.

Here are some of the highlights of the Reform On Tap Act of 2018:

·         All limits on beer production, taproom sales and take-home sales will be removed. 

·         Local town governments will set taproom operating hours.

·         Smaller craft breweries will be able to self-distribute, a term that refers to the distribution to their beer to restaurants, bars and liquor stores by brewery employees.

·         The current restrictions on contract brewing are lifted.  Contract brewing refers to the relationship that is set up when a young brewery contracts with a larger operation to brew their beer.

The craft beer industry in Maryland is a vital part of our economy with an overall economic impact of nearly $803 million in 2016 and supporting or creating over 6500 jobs that same year.

So as we give thanks for many things on this special weekend, let’s also give thanks for a very encouraging piece of legislation due for the 2018 Maryland General Assembly session.

Cheers!

Jefferson

100.7 The Bay’s Craft Beer Guy

Email: jward@thebayonline.com

@jwcraftbeerguy

 

November 17, 2017 – Thanksgiving and Pumpkin Ales

Fall is alive; the colors are spectacular; the air is crisp; and Thanksgiving is just around the corner.

Whether you’re at home or visiting family and friends, a great way to add something special to Thanksgiving dinner is to bring along some pumpkin ale for the occasion!  Although most of these are released in late August and early September, the brewers of some of the best pumpkin ales have seen the demand for these run all the way into the Christmas Holiday season.

I’ve tried a ton of pumpkin ales and have found some that are spectacular and a couple that I will never buy again.  But that’s part of the craft beer adventure---explore, experience and decide if you want to visit that beer again.  That process will bring you to amazing craft beers and will also help you know which ones you just don’t want to ever have again. 

I remember picking up six-pack of a not-to-be-named pumpkin ale a couple of years ago that was so bad that I dumped the rest of the first bottle… and the rest of the six-pack… down the sink.  But that was definitely the exception!  Great breweries make great beer and there are several knock-it-out-of-the park home runs that will make Thanksgiving dinner extra special.

Here are so

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