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....