Monday, March 17, 2014

C'Mon Man!

First of all, I am not a fan of malls. This is no secret. Bad music, bright lights, obnoxiously strong perfume, and tons of people whose sole purpose for being there seems to be to stroll aimlessly around in front of me. Seriously this your idea of a good time? Wandering around like a zombie pushing a stroller? You may not have anything better to do today, but I do. Move to the right. Or better yet, just move faster. I do not go to the mall to shop. I go to buy. The internet is for shopping. Stores are for buying. All I need is to get around the stroller zombies, find the items I want to purchase, complete the transaction and get the hell out of there. I bought a new laptop computer. Took me ten minutes. Five minutes to get assistance, and then five more to decline all of the add-on bullshit they try to sell you and then swipe my card. It took me twenty minutes to drive there, ten to find the store I wanted, ten to make a purchase, and twenty more to drive home. One hour and I had a brand new computer. Why people seem perfectly content to slowly amble through a mall, staring blankly at everything until some of it accumulates in bags that they drag around is beyond me. If that is what "Saturday" becomes for me, will you please do me a favor and kill me? Attention authorities: I have given my readers permission to take my life under strict circumstances. Do not prosecute them if I am found dead a midst bags full of tightly fitting clothing, heavily scented body lotions, and iPhone accessories. I asked for that. It was a mercy killing.

And then there is this guy....I was parked in front of his truck. I thought he was just taking his time straightening it out, but no. He just decided that he need two spots, because he was that important.
OK, I get it. There was plenty of parking. No one needed that extra half a spot he took, but that is not the point. He didn't need it either. And he got out of his car and looked at me like, "What?", as if it is no big deal to be such a self-important jackass that you take more than you need and tell the rest of the world to go to hell. When you're at the gas station and there is a penny cup, you don't just pour them all in your pocket and walk out. You take what you need, and you leave the rest. Sometimes you even contribute to it. Not this guy. But I guess if you're an uneducated, inbred hick, you don't care if people think you're a jerk because you're too stupid to care. As if I wasn't dreading the mall already, this is the kind of fellow American I had to deal with on my way into the god-awful place.
C'mon man! Try not to be a dick just once.
Luckily there are some good people out there though. People who either have a sense of humor and share it freely, or maybe just people who are crazy and don't mind if you laugh at them. Later in the week I was walking around my neighborhood in Baltimore, enjoying a beautiful spring day, when I came across this spray painted sheet. I gave it a glance and walked on, smiling a little at the humor in it. Not so much the message, which is funny for multiple reasons, but the fact that some people took the time to spray it on a purple sheet in metallic paint and hang it off their porch. Maybe it's simply for the amusement of friends and strangers alike. Maybe it is to keep friends and strangers alike from bothering them during a particularly heavy acid trip, who knows? Either way, I don't understand binary code, so your guess is as good as mine as to what it says to the robots in their own language. If it is binary gibberish, well, that's just going to piss the robots off, and that's not going to be a good idea. No reason to add fuel to the fire that is the Robot Apocalypse.

Resistance is, after all, futile. 
I don't have much else for you today folks. I am off to Atlanta on Wednesday, so if you see me down there, don't freak out. It's really me, not a mirage. I'll prove it. Just buy me a beer and watch me drink it. A mirage can't do that. Until then, enjoy yourselves this week. And if you're name is Spring, you are welcome here in Baltimore any time. Whenever you are ready, so are we.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Coming Soon To A Fred Near You

Hello Readers! I am in the middle of spring cleaning, literally and figuratively. I have a ton of new things to tell you about, so stay tuned for some fun posts as soon as I get settled. I am headed to Atlanta this Wednesday, and it is my first trip back since I moved away in November. I lived there for thirteen years, so naturally I am excited to return. You guys chill out for a while, and I will be back in touch soon with stories galore. Until then, keep your eyes on the plants and trees. Spring is quite awe-inspiring, but it happens very fast. Don't miss one of nature's glories while you have the chance. It only happens once a year. Bye for now!

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Night We Almost Lost Eddie

This year's European beer trip was another incredible journey through the beers, breweries and the brewing
I had this, and suarbraten, for lunch.
cities of the Old World. I got to revisit Munich finally, having been there for a few days in 2011. It is refreshing to see places that just don't change. Here in America, everything is changing all the time. No problem. That's what we're good at. But in some places, they like everything just the way it has always been, and they don't plan on changing a thing. An American beer drinker these days expects something different every time they walk into a beer bar or store, and in general they get it. If that's what you want, and you get all bent out of shape when you don't get it (you know who you are), then stay out of Munich. They make just a few styles of beer there, and they make them really, really well. What I love about Munich is that these classic beer styles, which are mainly overlooked now in the American craft beer scene, have subtle differences from brewery to brewery. Think you're knowledgeable about beer because you drink every wacky beer you can get your hands on? Try picking out the nuances between six different versions of the same style of beer with essentially the same recipes. Just shellacking your tongue with flavor every time you sip a beer doesn't do a whole lot to fine tune your beer drinking abilities. Plus, why did we all stop drinking hefeweizens? I pounded those things all over that town and loved every minute of it. Go out and buy a real Munich hefeweizen, pour it into a real hefe glass, keep the fruit off the damn glass (!), and enjoy. They don't put fruit in their beer in Germany, and you shouldn't either. They do, however, drink a lot of what is called a Radler, which is beer and lemonade. I had one, and it was delicious. One of my fellow travelers swore by them as a morning beverage.

We rode in a bus over to Austria to visit a newly accredited Trappist brewery call Stift Engelszell. The monastery was very scenic as you would imagine, resting on the edge of the Danube river. The brewing facility is relatively new, but they also make some phenomenal schnapps in just about every flavor imaginable, and some great stinky cheese. They didn't quite expect the enthusiasm for schnapps from our group, being a group of beer lovers that we were. But once the schnapps samples started flowing, things got a little lively in that tiny distillery. They had some that were super thick, like eggnog, and one with poppy seeds that looked like salad dressing. There was hazelnut, herbal liqueurs, and every fruit you could think of. I got a bottle of strawberry that we drank on the bus the next day. Should have bought two and brought one home. Oh well.
Beer and schnapps from the monks.
We also visited a small farmhouse brewery in Austria called Hofstetten. They make a beer called Granite Bock that is cooled in granite tubs, and then red-hot granite rocks are added to caramelize some sugars for added flavor. Very cool and very tasty beer. They also make some great lighter beers, including an unfiltered lager, and an incredible pilsner that is dry-hopped for nine months. No kidding. It takes the same amount of time to make a baby. know what I mean.

Vienna was our next stop, and it is truly a spectacular city. The beers are relatively boring really, especially if you had just left Munich. Austrian beers are like German beers, but just not as expertly done. However, there is a brew pub in Vienna called 1516 that makes a variety of beers like oatmeal stout, wit bier with quince, and a Victory Hop Devil that they made on site. What? Yep, they have guest brewers come to their little spot in Austria to make a clone of their American craft beers. Frequent readers may recall that Spike, brew master and co-founder of Terrapin Beer Company, is on all of these trips I have taken to Europe, and that he typically brews a collaboration while over there. This time he just helped this Austrian brewer make a batch of Terrapin Rye Pale Ale. So in a few days, the beer drinkers of Vienna will be enjoying fresh Terrapin Rye, brewed right in their own little brew pub. Pretty cool, don't you think? Now I am trying to get a Heavy Seas brewer set up with this guy over there so the Viennese can get some Loose Cannon.

Next stop was Pilsen in the Czech Republic, home to Pilsner Urquell. And guess what Americans? They pronounce the "u". It is not "pils-ner ur-kell", it is "pils-ner ur-kwell". The brewery was impressively large and clean as you would expect, but the cellars were like a trip back in time. Huge open vats made of wood for fermentation, and what seemed like miles of giant lagering barrels. We got to drink some unfiltered Pilsner Urquell on a few occasions, and it was definitely packed with flavor.
Open fermentation at Pilsner Urquell.
The town of Pilsen, however, was packed with weirdos. I felt uneasy in that town from the minute I stepped off the bus. It is a very blue-collar town, but in an Eastern European kind of way. The people, you could tell right away, have seen some hardships in their lives. Almost as if their whole lives had been as cold, damp and dreary as the day itself. It seemed like every building had some sort of seedy activity going on, and sure, I don't speak the language, so I had virtually no basis for thinking that except that seedy activity is kind of an international language. It's the looks on the people faces and their body language that oozes no good. You don't have to speak the language to identify creepy. You also don't have to speak the language to knowingly walk into a creepy looking place late at night in a foreign city, which is exactly what I did. This, folks, is a "casino" called Non Stop in Pilsen. I did not realize it at the time, but I think the translation to English is actually, "No Really, Do Not Stop Here. This Place Sucks, And You Might Get Stabbed."
This is technically called a "casino". No kidding.
In a nutshell, very shady looking people chain smoking their asses off in front of electronic gambling machines. And it appeared as though the only light in the room was coming from those machines. Next to the front door was a cooler with beer bottles in it, and there was a counter with a very small and devious looking, dark complected man with a pencil thin mustache. Oh yeah, creep city. This guy's English was non-existent, as is my Czech, but we managed to negotiate the sale of the beer and a shot from some bottle he had behind the counter. I may have gotten ripped off, but I can't complain about that. I was the one who walked into a seedy looking building on a dark corner of a foreign city in the middle of the night. I would expect to get ripped off in a place like that. Once I surveyed the room and realized that I had absolutely no business being there and should leave right away, I couldn't. I had a full beer. So I sat down at one of these slot machines and fed some money into it. I pressed the button and the things whirred around and the machine made what I thought were positive noises. Ding, ding ding! I couldn't read what it was telling me, but ding, ding, ding sounded good, so I pressed the button again. Same thing happened. I figured I was cleaning up. This went on a few more times and then it stopped. Didn't print out a voucher for cash. Didn't do anything at all. Apparently ding, ding, ding means you get diddly squat. That was OK, because the locals were starting to eye me suspiciously by then, so it was time to leave anyway. 

In defense of this town, others in my group claim to have found some very charming places to get local beer. That's all fine and dandy, but it's not exactly the same experience I got by wandering off from the group. Sometimes you just need to explore on your own. And sometimes you get stabbed by a bunch of foreigners and have a kidney stolen. Luckily that didn't happen to me.

We spent two days in Prague, which is reputed to be the most beautiful city in Europe. Having not been in all of them, I can't say that is 100% true. But I can say that it is the most beautiful city that I have ever visited, and I would go back in an instant. The world's oldest brew pub is there, called U Flecku, and has been since 1499. They make one kind of beer, and it is outstanding. The black lager they make is so flavorful, yet light on the palate. Black lagers have a way of doing that, and it is one reason why I love them so much. I keep thinking that more American breweries will catch on to this style, but so far it remains pretty scarce here. Moonlight Death And Taxes out of northern California is the best I have had from an American brewery. It is the first tap handle I look for when I am in the Bay Area. But in Prague at U Flecku, they have an accompaniment that I will remember fondly for as long as I possibly can. They serve this stinky cheese with dense brown bread, whipped butter and raw garlic. Yes, totally raw cloves of peeled garlic. Spread the butter on the bread, stick a hunk of stinky cheese on there, slice off a chunk of garlic and eat it all. Wash it down with the black beer, and let me tell you something, it does not get much better than that. And they serve the beers to you until you tell them to stop, which I have encountered before in northern Germany. You don't order beer. When you sit down, they just bring it to you. And they keep bringing it to you until you tell them to stop, which is difficult, because they move quick and don't ask a lot of questions. You just might find yourself with a serious attitude adjustment and an afternoon of raw garlic burps after a few hours in this place. I did. And I would do it again tomorrow if I could.

We saw some other great places in Prague, including spending a few hours at the Prague Castle. It is definitely worth the trip to visit the castle, but be warned: This structure was built to defend the city from attackers, like most castles. So naturally it is on the highest point in the city, and there are no escalators folks. Stairs. A seemingly endless sequence of stairs going up and up and up. When you finally reach the top, you are almost there. The castle itself is on a hill at the top of a hill, so keep climbing. But it is worth it. The castle, cathedral and views of the city are spectacular. At the bottom of the stairs you can buy some fun street food, including a Czech favorite, corn on the cob. It's true, there's corn for sale all over that country. Not sure where they are getting fresh corn in February, but they've got a ton of it. Nothing soothes your aching joints after a vigorous hike up and down a mountain like a piece of corn, that's what I always say. What I needed was a wheelchair, not a piece of corn.

We sampled a lot of local beer at a few small breweries and a beer bar owned by an American. In addition to serving a bunch of Czech beers from 30 taps in his "Prague Beer Museum", he has his own beer called Two Tales. It is the same black lager style I love, with a ton of American hops. So basically a super hoppy black lager, or a black IPL if you want to go that direction. It was delicious whatever you want to call it. We found a bar off the beaten path--WAY off--that specialized in high-end European beers and a few American craft beers. Think lots of Mikkeller and Brew Dog stuff. Those folks were very cool, and our group of 28 people filled up the entire place. Prague was a very cool town, and I feel like two days was good, but I could have used at least one more there. Plus, if I had three days there, I could go to U Flecku three times.
Tale 1: Open; Tale 2: Enjoy. The End.

Our last day began on the bus early, and like all of these trips, we realized how much beer was left to be drank in a short period of time. The guys at Hofstetten had apparently loaded us up with a sizable amount of beer, and we had one last day to drink it. So by the time we arrived at the Weltenburg abbey in Kelheim, Germany for a brewery visit, everybody had to pee. You know how many bathrooms they have in a monastery? One. You know how long it takes over 20 people to go to the bathroom one at a time? Depending where you are at in that line, it can feel like an eternity, that much I know firsthand. We had a bathroom in the bus, but no one thought to use it because we were about to stop. You only use the bus bathroom when you really need it. Try peeing in a moving, bouncing, turning vehicle. It's not easy. Now drink a bunch of beer and try it. Doesn't get any easier. But anyway, once we got all of that squared away, we toured the beautiful monastery and the brewery on the grounds. We sampled their beers, and they were terrific. The brewery is a separate entity from the monastery, with the monks having nothing to do with the brewing. One notable thing that I saw on the road leading out of Weltenburg was a marker of remembrance to the American soldiers who lost their lives in World War II. I have seen a few of those in my travels through Europe, and it is nice to see that these folks put up permanent stone markers to thank the United States for sacrificing a lot of people to liberate Europe in the 1940's. We also saw one in Vienna for the Russian soldiers that liberated their city. Let's hope that none of those markers need to be erected in any more countries in our lifetimes.

After a nice lunch at the Schneider brewery (also in Kelheim), we arrived back in Munich. We had time for a few beer halls before a big dinner at Ayinger. The beer and food were so good, we almost lost Eddie. In a combination of eating, drinking and breathing, something went down the wrong way. Eddie made a series of noises and turned a series of colors that no human should make. Anyone nearby was immediately and seriously concerned. Like, "Is this guy going to die right in front of me?". Thankfully, after about fifteen minutes in the bathroom, he managed to get over or around or through whatever it was, and he did not, in fact, die that day in Munich. In fact, after a round of Underbergs, he was back to his old self. There was a moment when I thought, "This night is going to end in a hospital," or, "How do you tell his wife that her husband was killed by beer and sausages?" and, "Well, at least he died doing what he loves". But we were able to bring everyone home alive yet again.

That wraps up the short version of my trip. If you have been reading this blog for any considerable amount of time you know that I will have a slide show of many pictures posted from this trip. You will also know that this might take me a month or so to do. It's time consuming, and I get distracted. Please be patient. 

Have a great week everyone. Sorry for the long delay in posts. Things got in the way, like work and stuff. I am back now and totally caught up. Stay tuned for more adventures in beer. Bye for now.
Take me to the bridge.

Monday, February 3, 2014

It Was A Cluster-Shuck

I have been telling you about these events here at Heavy Seas for a while now, and now I have one under
my belt to help deliver first-hand details. If you had been here on Saturday at noon, here is what you would have found:
  • Three bars pouring a combined 16 Heavy Seas beers (unlimited sampling!)
  • A cask table pouring five different cask beers, all special in some way, including some cellar releases
  • Table upon table of oyster shuckers popping open a seemingly endless variety of raw Chesapeake Bay oysters, with tables of lemons and horseradish and all of the fixings
  • Three tables of grilled oysters
  • Tables serving pit beef sandwiches, oyster stew, crab dip, cheeses, chocolates and more
You would have gotten all of that for four solid hours for just $60.00. And there was a live band. Talk about a deal. Everyone I talked to was in a great mood, and with the weather cooperating at a balmy mid-forties, it was a pretty awesome day. All of these amenities were spread out through the brewery, bottling department, warehouse and hospitality areas, so you really got the feel that you were in Heavy Seas, because you were. Next up is Real Ale & BBQ on Saturday, March 8th, and this one is only $50.00. Oysters are a little more pricey than BBQ, hence the price difference. The main attraction at Real Ale & BBQ is the real ale. Heavy Seas brewers get to make all kinds of tricked-out casks specially for this event, and they really, really like doing that. Tickets are selling fast, but you can get them here if you are planning on coming.  

You folks will probably not hear from me for a while unless I think of something really important to share with you before Friday. I am catching a flight to Germany on Saturday. I will be in the beer communities of Munich, Vienna, Pilsen, and Prague until the following Sunday the 16th. Here are just a few of the highlights from this trip:
  • Hofbrauhaus and Ayinger Braustuben beer halls in Munich
  • Stift Engelszell Trappist monk brewery in Austria
  • Landbrauhaus Hofstetten farmhouse brewery (Austria)
  • 7Stern brew pub, Vienna, Austria
  • 1516 Brewing in Vienna, where Terrapin's brew master (Spike) will be brewing a collaboration beer
  • Stadtbrauerei Schwarzenberg, Vienna
  • Pilsner Urquell for brewery and lager cellar tour
  • U Flecku, Prague (world's oldest brew pub)
  • Weltenberg brewey (Germany)
  • Schneider Weisses Brauhaus, Kelheim, Germany
That doesn't even include the numerous beer pubs and historical sites we will see along the way. As you can see, there won't be much time for sitting in front of a computer writing blog posts. I will be sure to take a lot of pictures and make a snazzy slide show when I return. Until then, stay warm, stay dry, and keep thinking spring. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

And I Was Like...BAM!

Yesterday I spent the best $107.00 ever. I have had a chipped molar since October that was tolerable until recently. I was not so troubled by not being able to chew on one side of my mouth. I could still eat. What I was troubled by, however, was the increasing sensitivity to cold. More importantly, cold beverages. You see, I tend to drink a fair amount of malt-based, foamy, cold beverages, and when that became almost unbearable (I said "almost"; I never gave up), I had to see a dentist. For the first time in roughly five years. Before that, I have no recollection. Wisdom teeth, 1991...I think. You see, I was blessed with genetically perfect teeth. Never had braces, never had a retainer, and I have not had a cavity since I was a kid. In fact, I only have four fillings, which my dentist claims is remarkable for a man of my age that almost never goes to a dentist. What can I say, I am good to my mouth and my mouth is good to me. We're together like almost every day.

But once I could not chew on that side and the sensitivity to cold was really turning into some serious discomfort, I had to break down and go see the dentist. Not to mention, I am going to Europe in a few days for a beer trip, so the beer drinking apparatus in my face had to be in tip-top shape. How's this for luck? The dentist was German...and I am going to Germany next week. Where is she from? Munich. Where am I arriving on February 9th? You guessed it. This lady loved me. I love Bavaria, she's from Bavaria. I adore Dusseldorf style altbier. Her parents live in Dusseldorf. Dr. Welzel wasn't going to send me off to the motherland with a bad tooth. Hell no. Sit back and get numb. She was going to fix me up on the spot. And she did. About 24 hours after I left the chair, I had almost forgotten I had been dealing with tooth pain for the last three months. If you are ever in Baltimore and you need a dentist, this lady is a damn artist. Thank you Dr. Welzel. I can enjoy beer again. For those of you that know me, you know how much weight that last statement carries. Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic, here I come.

But first, I have to tell you about yet another great reason to visit Maryland and Heavy Seas. I already told you about the hotel deal you can get near the brewery. I told you about the free shuttle to and from the brewery and hotel. I just showed you (above) merely one of the incredible specialty drafts you can get only at the brewery. But now I am going to tell you about...BAM! That stands for the Brewer's Association of Maryland. I am part of the events board for BAM, as a representative of Heavy Seas. We met today in the quaint, historic, not-so-small town of Frederick. First off, you don't get much better names for a city than that, let's all agree to that. Secondly, on May 31st, the breweries of Maryland take over a downtown park along a meandering stream for a full-on beer festival. How, you may be wondering, are you going to get from Baltimore to Frederick and back safely after a beer festival? What if there was a bus that took you from Heavy Seas to Frederick and back for $15.00? That is a one hour drive each way, for cheaper than a ten minute cab ride in most cities. Plus, this event is about MD beer and MD beer only, so every brewery is instructed to bring out the best of the best from their cellars and stashes. So maybe that bus idea is a wise choice for a beer drinker like you....Just sayin'.

Before I go, I want to make sure that you read the text on that firkin of Heavy Seas Gold. The hop additions are going to be very nice for sure, and the fruit additions are going to really make this one special, but the kind words from our brewers are really the icing on this cake. Thanks guys. We feel the love, and it's coming right back at you. Plus, they used correct grammar on "you're". If one more person texts or e-mails me "Your Welcome", I am going to scream. Please people, try to remember how to use the language that we speak in most of this country. It's not hard, so stop being lazy. Henry and Dave weren't lazy. They took the extra time to let the world know that this beer was loved and cared for by them personally. Can't wait to drink it, especially now that this tooth is all fixed!

Have a great weekend everyone. Bye.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Once You Go Black...Cannon

Sorry about that title. I couldn't resist. But depending on where you live, Heavy Seas Black Cannon should be showing up pretty soon, and it is delicious. The first loads went out to local distributors yesterday and more followed today. We are in the midst of a snowstorm though, so that is going to cause some delays for you folks that are farther away from the brewery. This storm is supposed to bring more snow than the area has seen "in years", to quote a local news source. I have not been to the grocery store yet, but I am relatively sure that panic has most likely set in, and the forecast for six inches of snow has caused hysteria. Now that it is affecting beer shipments, that hysteria might spread. Maybe I should have kept my mouth shut.
I had a really fun weekend. Hope you did too. I had a friend from out of town visit, and it's always nice to see old friends. We managed to find a whole bunch of cool spots here in Baltimore. We went to a shack on the outskirts of town for pit beef sandwiches slathered in tiger sauce (horseradish and mayo). Read more about pit beef and other Baltimore foods here. We found a ton of great beer bars with beers from all over the region and the country. Plenty of Belgian beers to drink in these parts too. I found out that I have an innate talent for shuffleboard (who knew?), or at least some serious beginner's luck. I discovered an upscale cocktail bar in an old house in a bad part of town with no signage. While there I learned what a pamplemousse is, and thereby learned my first word of Luxembourgian, which, in turn taught me what in the hell they call the language of Luxembourg. What did you learn the last time you went out drinking? I also met a young couple that paint in the nude on a very large canvas, using "unconventional techniques", as they put it. I'll let your imagination wander on that one. It won't take you long to figure out what they do. They said they started it as a joke, but people keep buying their paintings, so they keep making them. Hey, you need a hobby together to really make a relationship work. They found one.

This snowstorm actually did kind of ruin my day though. We were supposed to take a field trip to the Troeg's brewery in PA today, but the snow killed that idea. Nobody felt like getting trapped in a van down some ravine in Pennsylvania, eventually deciding which one of us we would have to eat to stay alive. We were all excited to go to Troeg's, but we decided to choose a time where the survival rate was closer to 100%. Stay tuned for those pictures and stories once we reschedule the field trip.

That is about all I have for you right now. Beer news, weather report, a kinky suggestion for a couples' night, some food research, foreign linguistics, and narrowly avoided cannibalism. Not bad for three paragraphs. One last thing though before I go please. I mentioned recently some great reasons to visit the brewery, and Baltimore in general. I will leave you with one more. Wood firkins. Real ones. Available at the brewery for special events only. This is what the brewers get excited to make at Heavy Seas, and they nail it. Have a good week everyone. Bye.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Thank God For Tacos

During the recent polar vortex, giant abominable snowpeople came with it and have taken up residence at
Heavy Seas. Pictured here is one of them holding a growler to give you some perspective on how massive these creatures actually are. Alert readers may notice that this particular yeti has shaved the white fur from his hand and has put on what appears to be a blue shirt. The yeti are an immensely adaptive species it turns out. It's true. They've only been here a week and they are already completely immersed into our culture. Just yesterday they finally stopped eating us. Now they mostly eat tacos, which, I am told, are quite scarce in their homelands. So when people ask, "How'd you survive the polar vortex?", I just say, "Tacos. Thank god for tacos."

What is crazy about the way a growler looks in the newly-shaven hand of a domesticated yeti is that it looks just like a 32 oz. growler in the hand of a normal sized (handsome) man. If I didn't know any better, I would swear that it was my hand holding a baby growler in that picture, which it is not. But if it was, how cool is a baby growler? It is like a single serving growler. Just fill it up, and when you're ready, twist off the top and...presto...quart of fresh draft beer in your hand. Fill a cooler full of those for your next tailgate party. Be cooler than anyone else. Ever.    

In other news, life in Baltimore is great. I am not getting a whole lot of exploration done because, well, it's January, and it's cold outside. But that is all about to change this weekend. It will still be January, and it will still be cold outside, but I will get a whole lot of exploring done. My friend who owns The Square Pub in Decatur, GA is coming to the brewery to make some casks on Friday. He is staying with me Thursday through Sunday, so this is a great chance to shake this town around and see what falls out. I have lists of places to check out, so stay tuned for some adventure details in the near future. If you are an Atlanta area reader, then get excited for The Square Pub to have some tasty, one-of-a-kind casks in a month or so. I am not sure what he is going to make, but they will be tricked out for sure. Maybe a bourbon-aged Peg Leg, which is outstanding by the way.

On another note, if you are a reader from outside the Baltimore area who loves Heavy Seas, I have some great news for you. There is a Hyatt hotel near the brewery that is offering reduced rates, free Heavy Seas beer and free shuttle rides to and from the brewery. There's free breakfast too, but after the free beer and free shuttle, you weren't going to get to pumped about that, so I mention it anyway just as a formality. There are a ton of things to do in this tow in 2014. Here's a very short and abbreviated list:

  1. Make a visit to Heavy Seas.
  2. 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. You've heard of the "Star Spangled Banner"? Well then get your red, white and blue on for this thing then. Ft. McHenry is only 8 miles from the brewery.
  3. The 2014 NCAA Lacrosse Championships are 6 miles from the brewery.
  4. The Preakness Stakes is run just north of the city, about 20 minutes from the brewery.
  5. Orioles baseball games at Camden Yards. The park is 6 miles from the brewery.
  6. Baltimore Beer Week is in October. Big fun all over town.
  7. Ride the MARC train for $6 one-way to DC to see the monuments. Halethorpe train station is 1.5 miles from Heavy Seas.
  8. Six huge events at the brewery, including the Real Ale & BBQ Fest in March, Burgers & Brews in April, and everyone's favorite, Beer & Bacon Fest in September.
  9. Since I already told you about the Night Of 100 Elvises a month ago, let me share this little gem: The HampdenFest Toilet Races. Picture a soap box derby, except that instead of boy scouts, there are beer drinking adults in crazy costumes. And the seats of all the race craft are...toilets. Imagine deranged, costumed beer drinkers racing downhill in rickety wagons, while sitting on a toilet. What's not to love? 
  10. Don't forget to visit the Heavy Seas brewery on your way out of town. BWI airport is 6 miles from the brewery. 
Those are just a few of the educational, entertaining, and beer/toilet-related activities that one might enjoy here in Baltimore. There are the usual: museums, aquarium, historical sights of all kinds, not to mention the Chesapeake Bay, the great seafood, farmer's markets, etc. that make this a great place to visit. If you like to gamble, they are building a big new casino right on the edge of downtown. It will have a Heavy Seas restaurant inside of it. That's right kids, your very own place to drink great beer and get quality burgers, inside a casino.

There are a ton more things to mention, but that is all the time I have for now. Have a great week everyone. And just to prove that you can find just about anything on the internet, I leave you with this: a picture of a yeti eating a taco. They love those damn things....