Mid Atlantic Brewing News December 2014/January 2015 : Page 1

THE ALL ABOARD BREW BUS: Adam Benesch, co-founder of Union Craft Brewing Co. in Baltimore, dramatically explains the brewing process for All Grain Brew Tours on Oct. 25. PHOTO BY ALEXANDER D. MITCHELL IV By MABN Staff “We’re strangers now, but we’re going to be drinking buddies by the end of this tour,” laughs Luke Porter, as he collects his passengers a block from DC’s Metro Center subway station. The cozy DC Brew Tours van can accommodate a dozen people; on this blustery Sunday morning, seven board the vehicle, including Porter, tour guide-in-training Max Moline and an MABN reporter. The excursion takes us first to Capitol City Brewing Co. in Arlington, where a five-beer sampler awaits us. It concludes about five hours later at Bardo, where owner Bill Stewart’s Australian sheep dog herds us to the outdoor bar for a glass of ginger beer (the alcoholic kind) as fortification against the raw weather. In between there are stops at Port City Brewing Co. and Atlas Brew Works, along with a lunch break at City Tap House, whose duck-fat fries might be the best west of Belgium. ILLUSTRATIONS BY: HANS GRANHEIM INSIDE ou can joke that there are worse ways to die than to be sucked under a maelstrom of ale, but there was nothing funny about the Great Porter Flood that coursed through the streets of London two hundred years ago last Oct. 17. The deluge began when an immense aging tank burst at Henry Meux’s Horse Show Brewery on Tottenham Court Road. The flood destroyed other vessels in a domino effect, unleashing almost 8,000 barrels of beer. The tidal wave broke through the brewery walls and leveled buildings in the surrounding neighborhood, a slum populated by poor Irish laborers. Eight people died, all women and children. Y By Greg Kitsock Although some contemporary accounts tell of people scooping up buckets of ale and dying of intoxication, most bystanders were too busy with rescue efforts—or too busy gawking at the devastation—to take advantage of the free beer. According to British beer historian Martyn Cornell’s blog Zythophile , the menfolk, who did most of the drinking, were still at work when the dam burst at 5:30 in the evening. Otherwise the death toll would have risen significantly. The size of the vessels at the Horse Shoe Brewery reflected the demand for porter, the first great beer style of the Industrial Revolution. The vat that split open towered 22 feet high and held over 3,500 barrels of ale. It was by no means the largest. One vessel, built in 1790, had a capacity of 12,000 bbl and could hold DC Brew Tours offers excursions twice a day, Thursday through Sunday. “I started these tours in Burlington, Vt. in 2008 when I was just 21,” comments Chad Brodsky. “It’s not like we’re just dropping people off at the breweries,” he adds. Besides being a designated driver, our guide has undergone a crash course in local beer history and can regale us with facts like, “So many kölsches were being brewed in Washington in the late 1800s that it became known as the Cologne on the Potomac.” DC Brew Tours will compete with Reston Limousine (check out the June-July MABN ), which offers a variety of excursions to DC and northern Virginia breweries. Both companies are willing to set up customized tours as well. Indeed, throughout the Mid-Atlantic entrepreneurs are arranging junkets for beer connoisseurs who don’t want to risk drinking and driving, or have trouble finding a designated driver willing to sip soft drinks while his buddies toss back the brewskis. See Brew Bus p.3 State by State News Virginia ...........12 Maryland ........26 W. Virginia ......15 Baltimore ........28 C. Penn ............20 D.C. ..................29 Philadelphia ...22 New Jersey .....30 E. Penn ............24 Delaware ........32 See Porter p. 2 Strength Matters .......................... 5 Book Review.................................. 6 Fairy Hopmother .......................... 8 Homebrew ...................................10 Maps ...................................... 16-19 Event Calendar ............................35

Porter : Unleashing The Floodgates

Greg Kitsock

You can joke that there are worse ways to die than to be sucked under a maelstrom of ale, but there was nothing funny about the Great Porter Flood that coursed through the streets of London two hundred years ago last Oct. 17.

The deluge began when an immense aging tank burst at Henry Meux’s Horse Show Brewery on Tottenham Court Road. The flood destroyed other vessels in a domino effect, unleashing almost 8,000 barrels of beer. The tidal wave broke through the brewery walls and leveled buildings in the surrounding neighborhood, a slum populated by poor Irish laborers. Eight people died, all women and children.

Although some contemporary accounts tell of people scooping up buckets of ale and dying of intoxication, most bystanders were too busy with rescue efforts—or too busy gawking at the devastation—to take advantage of the free beer. According to British beer historian Martyn Cornell’s blog Zythophile, the menfolk, who did most of the drinking, were still at work when the dam burst at 5:30 in the evening. Otherwise the death toll would have risen significantly.

The size of the vessels at the Horse Shoe Brewery reflected the demand for porter, the first great beer style of the Industrial Revolution. The vat that split open towered 22 feet high and held over 3,500 barrels of ale. It was by no means the largest. One vessel, built in 1790, had a capacity of 12,000 bbl and could hold a dinner party for 200 people within its circumference.

The Fall and Rise of Porter

As techniques were developed for making lighter-colored malts, pale ale and pilsner gained ascendency and porter’s star nearly set. The style almost disappeared from its native England, surviving in outposts like Ireland and the coal regions of eastern Pennsylvania. The craft brewing revolution has given it a new shot in the arm.

Although there are probably hundreds of porters on the market nowadays— more than ever before—they play second fiddle to more hop-forward styles. “Craft beer fans like to think of themselves as loud and brash. An IPA is loud and brash,” explained one brewer. Porter is like an comfortable old sweater or easy chair, nice to have around but hardly a source of excitement.

Yet dark malts provide as varied a palette as hops when it comes to crafting beer.

Porter, Brown and Robust

No porter brewer has the pedigree of D.G. Yuengling & Son in Pottsville, Pa. Jennifer Yuengling, plant coordinator for the brewery, says Yuengling Dark Brewed Porter dates back to the company’s origins in the early nineteenth century. It draws its character from caramel and roasted malt and a cereal extract called “porterine,” which Yuengling calls “more of a coloring agent than anything else.” It’s fermented with a lager yeast, but the shorter, warmer fermentation and choice of hops give it a more ale-like flavor profile.

It’s lager, however, that rules the roost at Yuengling. The porter is “a small part of our business,” admits Yuengling; most is blended with Yuengling Premium to make Black and Tan. Kegs and bottles of the unadulterated porter account for maybe 1% of annual production. Since Yuengling will likely pass the 3 million barrel mark this year, that translates into about 30,000 barrels. “We know that we’re one of the largest producers of porter but we don’t know exactly where we rank,” says Yuengling.

Yuengling’s dark-brewed ale is an example of a brown porter, a lighter, more quaffable version of the style with light roast and a smooth chocolate-caramel flavor. Higher in alcohol and fuller-bodied is robust porter, exemplified by Port City Porter from Port City Brewing Co. In Alexandria, Va. “Chewy” is the word that best describes this year-round offering, full of roasty and mocha flavors, with an earthy touch to the finish.

I suspected that brewer Jonathan Reeves might use some oatmeal in the grist, but that seems to be the one grain he leaves out. He ticks off a long list of specialty malts in the recipe, including cara-malt, aromatic, melanoidin, chocolate and black. “It’s a kitchen sink beer; we put everything into it.”

Reeves’ major beef is a lack of recognition. “Every time we send this of to the GABF or the World Beer Cup, it’s judged as being out of style.” Indeed, at 7.5% abv, Port City Porter does veer into the next sub-category: Baltic porter.

Baltic porter is a descendant of the supersized imperial porters and stouts that Britain once shipped to Russia and surrounding nations populated by vodka and spirits drinkers.

Eventually, those countries began producing their own versions, using ingredients and techniques typical of brewing on mainland Europe.

Dominion Baltic Porter, the winter seasonal from Fordham & Dominion Brewing Co. In Dover, Del., is typical of this style. It contains “a lot of Munich and Vienna malts” in addition to darker specialty varieties, says vice president for sales and marketing Casey Hollingsworth. The hops are 100% Saaz. Fermentation takes place with a lager yeast, the same strain used by Munich’s Augustiner brewery.

Dominion Baltic Porter melds licorice and dark fruit flavors with the smoothness of a German doppelbock. “There really are a lot of similarities between the styles,” notes Hollingsworth. At 6.8% abv, it’s probably on the low end for Baltic porters.

Coffee, Coconut and Hops

Flavored porters are a modern American contribution. Shelves nowadays are replete with vanilla, coffee and coconut porters, as well as porters dosed with pumpkin and assorted holiday spices. This year, Capitol City Brewing Co. In Arlington, Va. Ditched its customary golden pumpkin ale in favor of Dr. Punkinstein, a porter brewed with pumpkin, butternut squash, vanilla, brown sugar, and an assortment of condiments. “I don’t like pumpkin beers myself,” comments brewmaster Kristi Griner. “They get to be too sweet unless you have something roasty to cut them with.”

Stone Brewing Co. In Escondido, Calif. Has spiked its Stone Smoked Porter with chipotle peppers, vanilla beans and—most recently— chocolate and orange peel. Stone brewmaster Mitch Steele explains, “Porter isn’t a very hop-forward beer. Hops are harder to add other ingredients to. You can get clashing flavors if you’re not careful.”

Occasionally, the hops will poke through. Black Butte Porter from Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Ore. Has a hint of flowery West Coast hops in the aroma, but it mixes well with the soft cocoa notes from two types of chocolate malt. Deschutes has established an East Coast beachhead in Pennsylvania, and had just entered the greater Washington, DC market at press time.

If you check the brewery website, you’ll find that Deschutes lists Black Butte Porter as “its first and flagship brand.” Finally, porter gets its turn in the limelight!

Brewmaster Brian Faivre admits that Deschutes’ Mirror Pond Pale Ale is their biggest beer in terms of volume, but adds, “The porter really defines a lot about what we do as a company. We do not necessarily go with the trend.”

And Deschutes does brew a lot of porter; Faivre estimates they’ll turn out 51,000 bbl of the ebony-colored ale in 2014.

Maybe it’s time to look into flood insurance?

Read the full article at http://mabnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Porter+%3A+Unleashing+The+Floodgates/1884702/238798/article.html.

All Aboard The Brew Bus

Mabn Staff

Adam Benesch, co-founder of Union Craft Brewing Co. In Baltimore, dramatically explains the brewing process for All Grain Brew Tours on Oct. 25.

PHOTO BY ALEXANDER D. MITCHELL IV

“We’re strangers now, but we’re going to be drinking buddies by the end of this tour,” laughs Luke Porter, as he collects his passengers a block from DC’s Metro Center subway station.

The cozy DC Brew Tours van can accommodate a dozen people; on this blustery Sunday morning, seven board the vehicle, including Porter, tour guide-in-training Max Moline and an MABN reporter. The excursion takes us first to Capitol City Brewing Co. In Arlington, where a five-beer sampler awaits us.

It concludes about five hours later at Bardo, where owner Bill Stewart’s Australian sheep dog herds us to the outdoor bar for a glass of ginger beer (the alcoholic kind) as fortification against the raw weather.

In between there are stops at Port City Brewing Co. And Atlas Brew Works, along with a lunch break at City Tap House, whose duck-fat fries might be the best west of Belgium.

DC Brew Tours offers excursions twice a day, Thursday through Sunday. “I started these tours in Burlington, Vt. In 2008 when I was just 21,” comments Chad Brodsky.

“It’s not like we’re just dropping people off at the breweries,” he adds. Besides being a designated driver, our guide has undergone a crash course in local beer history and can regale us with facts like, “So many kölsches were being brewed in Washington in the late 1800s that it became known as the Cologne on the Potomac.” DC Brew Tours will compete with Reston Limousine (check out the June-July MABN), which offers a variety of excursions to DC and northern Virginia breweries. Both companies are willing to set up customized tours as well.

Indeed, throughout the Mid-Atlantic entrepreneurs are arranging junkets for beer connoisseurs who don’t want to risk drinking and driving, or have trouble finding a designated driver willing to sip soft drinks while his buddies toss back the brewskis.

Where Strangers Become Friends

Malcolm Johnson of Columbia, Md. Is the man behind All Grain Brew Tours, Maryland's first entry into the brewery tour business. All Grain’s minibus embarked on its first tour through Baltimore on Oct. 25. Additional excursions were scheduled for Nov. 22 and Dec. 21. Johnson is seeking partnerships with other breweries, notably in Howard County and possibly the Eastern Shore.

Grain Brew Tours offer more than just transportation from point A to point B, emphasizes Johnson. “We have brewing discussions on board the bus and really foster conversations with the passengers to explore what they know and don't know about brewing. Beer is such a social instrument, and we hope that over the course of our tour folks who were complete strangers at the beginning of the tour might develop some new friendships by the end."

Ditto for Craft Beer Bus, one of at least three transportation companies ferrying thirsty customers to Pennsylvania’s finest craft breweries. Dave Sauls and his wife Marcia have operated out of the Limerick/ Trappe/Pottstown area west of Philadelphia for over four years. Most of their patrons, they explain, hail from the exurbs and don’t have the opportunity to take in the urban beer scene. Snacks, water and coolers for growlers are provided on the bus, and Dave and Marcia sometimes emcee beer trivia contests en route.

Make It Fun, But Safe

Safety is an important consideration on these trips. Stepping into the brewhouse area at Capitol City, Porter cautions his group against accidentally leaning on the emergency cutoff button: “The brewers will come in Monday morning and they’ll wonder why there’s no heat.”

Tour guides must also guard against riders becoming intoxicated. That’s a rarity, Porter assures. “I generally don’t have annoying groups.” But guides are instructed to play it safe, like taking the keys with them when they leave the van. Porter recalls one Boston tour where the guide walked into a brewery to round up stragglers, then emerged to find that one of his passengers had commandeered the van and was tooling around the parking lot.

“We offer Craft Brew 101, we are not a party bus,” comments Lisa Hamaker of virginia’s Taste Tidewater, which organizes brewery and winery tours to the Virginia Beach, Norfolk and Williamsburg areas. “They have a lot of fun, but it’s more entertainment.

We go over history, styles and production of beer … the back story on each location.” When Lisa and her husband Rex launched the brewery tours in June 2013, Virginia law required that customers order and pay for the beer they consume at each stop. The Hamakers contacted State Senator Jeff McWaters, who sponsored a change to state law that went into effect on July 1, 2014. SB 178 allows tour operators to collect tasting fees in advance, giving them more control over the timing, amount and size of samples … all the better to encourage moderation.

Making sure participants have enough in their bellies is a vital consideration. Roanoke Craft Beer Tours, which kicked off in October 2014, include a pit stop at the city’s iconic Texas Tavern (founded 1930) for a cheeseburger. Taste Tidewater Tours was set to launch a local oyster-and-craft-beer tour in mid-November showcasing the newly established Virginia Oyster Trail.

What’s in it for the breweries? Bus tours are a great marketing tool and a way of winning converts. Larry Landolt, who runs Roanoke Craft Beer Tours, says that 70% of his customers are “moderate to novice in their experience of craft beer.” The advanced drinkers, he adds, “go on their own.”

Taste Tidewater ran a Groupon promotion that’s produced over 2,000 customers. Lisa Hamaker says, “Invariably, on every single tour, they say they didn’t even know there were breweries in the region until they saw the Groupon. There is a large demographic that is being missed.”

Steve Deason, Greg Kitsock, Alexander D. Mitchell IV and Jim Weber contributed to this article.

Read the full article at http://mabnonline.brewingnews.com/article/All+Aboard+The+Brew+Bus/1884703/238798/article.html.

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