Friday, September 26, 2008

From the Dregs of the Sea to the Dregs of Oktoberfest

And so it came to pass that the International Talk Like A Pirate Day event at the Clipper City Brewery was attended, and ended up being quite good.
  • The front office area contained a small but well-stocked bar serving all of their main brews, including the just-in-season Winter Storm. The stated requirement to be served this latter brew was to wear "pirate garb," for which patrons were screened by the serving wench. Due to time constraints and a broken toe, I chose not to come in costume, and instead wore a Pirates of the Caribbean shirt. Sadly, this didn't pass muster. However, everyone did receive an eyepatch at the door, which did count... when worn properly and uttering an appropriate piratical phrase.
  • The back warehouse was set up with taps, tables, not too ridiculously priced brisket and sausage-based food. Portable latrines were set up on the back loading platform, leading to it being affectionately referred to as... wait for it... the "poop deck." Pirate filk band The Salty Dogs, as well as founder Hugh Sisson, made the rounds and encouraged the joviality. The event was advertised as having an upper limit of 200 people, and it appears that roughly that number were in attendance, many of whom had a nigh-Rennfest level of detail to there costumery.
  • My and Laura’s evening was most pleasantly spent with Tom, Carrie, and Greg. Plans were made on how to appropriate NASA technology to suck a stack of cases of Loose Cannon back to our respective homes, but sadly the time and engineering constraints were too much to overcome.
  • Overall, I’d call this a success, especially given the Heavy Seas pint glass I walked away with. On the basis of this, I definitely will make time for future Clipper City on-site events.
I am currently in Munich, taking a week of vacation while Laura is at a JWST conference. Sadly (or perhaps not), we have missed Oktoberfest’s official ending by a week. I suspect there may still be some beer left in this country, however...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Talking Like a Pirate Tonight in the Clipper City

Today is International Talk Like A Pirate Day, and to celebrate, the local Clipper City Brewery is having an event this evening from 19:00 - 22:00 EST that will include food, beer tasting, and live music. Laura and I will be stopping by, both because it sounds like fun, and I'm quite the fan of their Heavy Seas line of beers.

If you are near the Baltimore area at all this evening, I encourage you to check it out. Details are here.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Harpoon Tasting at the Perfect Pour - 09.12.08

As previously mentioned, I was recently turned on the The Perfect Pour (by Melanie, to whom I owe great thanks!), a new local beer and wine establishment. It is my new Beer Mecca (TM cmdln). They have, hands down, the best selection of domestic and international microbrews that I have seen yet, at the very least in my area. Another pleasant discovery is that they host regular beer samplings.

Tonight I stopped by for the Harpoon beer tasting. I had the pleasure of chatting with Nick from Harpoon about their current and upcoming offerings, as well as tasting the following brews, none of which I have had previously:
  • UFO (UnFiltered Offering) Hefeweizen - A solid example of hefeweizen style, and worthy future exploration.
  • Octoberfest - I'm not a big fan of the Marzen/Octoberfest lager style, and this struck me as being par for the course, but quite drinkable.
  • IPA - Very good, and compared favorably to similar brews like the Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA. Then again, I am biased towards this style. :)
The conversation was as good as the beer, and I was interested to hear of Harpoon's upcoming Leviathan Series. The Triticus, a 14.3% wheat-wine ale aged in bourbon casks, sounds particularly intriguing, and will be the first release under that label.

I ended up walking away with a six-pack of the IPA and a Harpoon IPA pint glass, which made for a lovely cap on the event. I plan on attending other tastings there, a schedule of which can be found on The Perfect Pour's website.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Southern Tier Creme Brulee Imperial Milk Stout

I was recently turned on to a new local beverage store, the Perfect Pour, and I am insanely happy to have found it - they have the single best beer selection I have yet seen in my area. This particular brew came highly recommended from the staff, and I was not disappointed.


  • Alcohol: 10.0%

Scoring (in solidarity with Charlie the Beer Guy):

  • Appearance: 9 - Pours a totally opaque brown-black, with no light penetration. The head is brown and foamy, fading slowly to a thin lace.
  • Aroma: 10 - Simply amazing. A powerful slug of vanilla, with butterscotch-caramel notes and a slight alcoholic undercurrent.
  • Taste: 9 - Very sweet, with a strong mix of vanilla and chocolate notes upfront. Roasty butterscotch and coffee flavors come out in the middle, with a pleasant bitter roastiness in the finish that persists. Little evidence of its high alcohol content.
  • Mouthfeel: 9 - Thick and rich, with little carbonation evident. Very smooth and silky.
  • Holistic: 9 - This mad hybrid of a dessert, a coffee drink, and a beer just blew me away. Wow.
Overall: 46 - Very impressive. While not for swift consumption or for all occasions, this is a serious treat that seems best at home complimenting dessert after a large meal. I definitely intend to pick this up again, perhaps to go along with a holiday dinner or two.