Mid Atlantic Brewing News June/July 2015 : Page 1
By Greg Kitsock CBC Honors DC Beer Pioneers By Alexander D. Mitchell IV D Dave and Diane Alexander celebrate w winning the Brewers Association’s 2015 Recognition Award. This is his ﬁ rst sel ﬁ e, R admitted Dave. a E INSIDE very year at its annual Craft Brewers Conference ce (an event that’s part industry confab, part trade show, part city-wide beer blast), the Brewers Association hands out its highest honor, the BA Recognition Award. The recipient is “an individual or company whose inspiration, enthusiasm and support have contributed to the brewpub and microbrewery movement.” ment ” Over the last 28 years, this recognition has gone to brewers, distributors, suppliers of malt and hops, even one member of the Fifth Estate (Beer Hunter Michael Jackson received the fi award back in 1987.) first But the engraved plaque had ne never gone to a beer retailer … un this April’s conference in until Po Portland, Ore. The Brewers Association rec rectified its oversight by honoring Dav and Diane Alexander, who Dave ran the Brickskeller Restaurant in Was Washington, DC from 1982 until they sold the property in 2010. Duri During that tenure, they not only gaine gained mention in the Guinness Book of World Records for their beer selection, but they pioneered the sit-down, tutored beer tasting, hosting a who’s who of brewers on the See Portland p. 3 State by State News Virginia ...........10 Maryland ........24 W. Virginia ........9 Baltimore ........25 C. Penn ............18 D.C. ..................27 Philadelphia ...20 New Jersey .....28 E. Penn ............22 Delaware ........30 ‘‘ I Chef Chad Wells looks at the sign outside his restaurant, Alewife Baltimore, on April 29 during the curfew: “Come Drink All Night-Or Until 10.” But few took the bar, or any other downtown bars, up on such offers for over two weeks. PHOTO BY ALEXANDER D. MITCHELL Gray on April 19 did little or no physical damage to Baltimore’s bars and breweries, but the damage done by subsequent curfews—and a lasting sub-current of fear— might be incalculable. The first collateral damage predated the violence. The Baltimore City Paper had scheduled its 20th annual Brew Fest for April 25 at the Power Plant Live, adjacent to Baltimore City police headquarters and three blocks from City Hall. As major Fairy Hopmother .......................... 5 Book Review.................................. 6 Homebrew ...................................12 Maps ...................................... 14-17 Strength Matters ........................21 Event Calendar ............................29 t’s the worst disaster we’ve had in 21years— and that includes two blizzards and getting flooded in a tropical storm!” said one bar manager in Baltimore’s Fells Point. And they didn’t even get any rioting. The protests, looting and arson that followed the death of Baltimore resident Freddie See Baltimore p. 4
Portland Bubbling Over
CBC Honors DC Beer Pioneer
Every year at its annual Craft Brewers Conference (an event that’s part industry confab, part trade show, part citywide beer blast), the Brewers Association hands out its highest honor, the BA Recognition Award. The recipient is “an individual or company whose inspiration, enthusiasm and support have contributed to the brewpub and microbrewery movement.”
Over the last 28 years, this recognition has gone to brewers, distributors, suppliers of malt and hops, even one member of the Fifth Estate (Beer Hunter Michael Jackson received the first award back in 1987.)
But the engraved plaque had never gone to a beer retailer … until this April’s conference in Portland, Ore.
The Brewers Association rectified its oversight by honoring Dave and Diane Alexander, who the Brickskeller Restaurant in Washington, DC from 1982 until sold the property in 2010. During that tenure, they not only gained mention in the Guinness.
Book of World Records for their beer selection, but they pioneered the sit-down, tutored beer tasting, hosting a who’s who of brewers on the Brickskeller’s upstairs stage. The Alexanders also founded RFD Washington, still run by their son Josh.
Because Dave and Diane couldn’t make it to Portland, they tapped this writer to accept the award on their behalf. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), the BA decreed that there be no speeches in order to keep the keynote address from running overtime. That nixed plans to invite former Brickskeller guests onstage for a group photo.
There were probably quite a few Brickskeller alumni in the audience. The Portland conference attracted a record 11,500 attendees, so many that the Oregon Conference Center couldn’t accommodate them all in one room. The keynote address had to be held in a nearby hockey arena.
Sitting in the audience was Tom Flores, brewmaster for Brewer’s Alley and Monocacy Brewing Co. In Frederick, Md. Flores had been the last brewer to take the podium at the Brickskeller (at a holiday tasting in December 2010) before it closed. Appropriately, it was Flores who submitted Dave and Diane’s names for the Recognition Award.
He wrote, “I have personally thanked [Dave Alexander] for creating such a wonderful venue for my friends and I to explore so many great beers from around the world while we were still very young homebrewers in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. … I think the industry as a whole owes him a debt of gratitude, which could be expressed quite well with an industry-wide award.”
He continued, “[T]he more I think about it, the more I realize that it really should be Dave and Diane Alexander both. Dave was the ‘front man’ of the duo and Diane was very much behind the scenes, but she nevertheless worked just as hard as Dave to make the Brickskeller and RFD a reality.”
“Tom Flores let me know about the Alexanders,” commented Bob Tupper, who with his wife Ellie has hosted most of the Brickskeller and RFD events dating back to 1985. (He was preparing for a strong beer tasting at RFD on May 27.)
Noted Tupper: “Dave combines exceptional intelligence with a razor quick wit and a big heart. His contributions to the beer community are obvious, but he has been an important part of the broader community as well. The $100,000+ the Bricks and RFD have raised for Children’s Hospital is only a part of a larger picture.
“Diane is just as smart and has the patience of Job. How she raised a family—including Dave at times—and did as much as she did at the Bricks is a mystery to me.”
The Tuppers hope to have their new book, Drinking in the Culture: Tuppers’ Guide to Exploring Great Beers in Europe, in print this June. The acknowledgment page will credit the Coja family (Felix Coja, Diane’s grandfather, founded the Brickskeller in 1957), the Alexanders and son Josh with making DC “a required destination for brewers throughout the western world.”
In the early days, the Brickskeller sometimes had to scrounge to fill a beer lineup. That’s not the case anymore: according to BA director Paul Gatza, there are now 3,418 active breweries in the United States, along with 2,051 more in planning (that the BA knows about).
Next year, the annual conference will take place in Philadelphia on May 3-6. In 2017, it returns to Washington, DC. And after that? “We’re looking at the Southeast,” answers Gatza.
“I don’t know if my crybaby whining had anything to do with it, but Pete Johnson [the BA’s program manager] told me they might bring the CBC to Nashville in 2018,” laughed Dave.
Nashville is where the Alexanders are living in retirement. Odds are the beer world hasn’t seen the last of them yet.
Read the full article at http://mabnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Portland+Bubbling+Over/2027877/261449/article.html.
Alexander D. Mitchell IV
Riots, Curfew Roil Bar Scene
‘‘It’s the worst disaster we’ve had in 21years— and that includes two blizzards and getting flooded in a tropical storm!” said one bar manager in Baltimore’s Fells Point.
And they didn’t even get any rioting.
The protests, looting and arson that followed the death of Baltimore resident Freddie Gray on April 19 did little or no physical damage to Baltimore’s bars and breweries, but the damage done by subsequent curfews—and a lasting sub-current of fear— might be incalculable.
The first collateral damage predated the violence. The Baltimore City Paper had scheduled its 20th annual Brew Fest for April 25 at the Power Plant Live, adjacent to Baltimore City police headquarters and three blocks from City Hall. As major protests were planned for that date, City Paper postponed the BrewFest; it had not been rescheduled as of press time.
Violence erupted in downtown Baltimore, outside Orioles Park at Camden Yards, on the night of Saturday, April 25, then resumed on Monday, April 27. Most looting focused on chain drugstores, corner food marts and electronics stores, but a few liquor stores, including The Loading Dock in Fells Point, were also ransacked.
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake declared a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., effective Tuesday, April 28 through Sunday, May 3. The Orioles cancelled one home game and played another to a completely empty stadium. Two downtown conventions were cancelled.
The impact was instantaneous. Downtown bars dependent on tourist traffic saw sales plummet by about two-thirds. Neighborhood bars fared better, but they still reported business down 30-40%.
“In order for us to abide by the curfew, we have to do last call at 8:30 instead of 1:45,” complained manager Robert Simko at Max’s Taphouse in Fells Point. “We’ve essentially got a whole shift unemployed this week—bar staff, kitchen, and cleaners. We’re all dipping into our savings—top to bottom.”
Despite entreaties to come watch the Orioles-White Sox “lockout” game on their TV sets, downtown bars received almost no takers. The Pratt Street Ale House, close to the stadium and normally mobbed during games, attracted a scant dozen or so patrons. At Alewife Baltimore, just up Eutaw Street from the stadium, not a single customer was on hand midway through the game.
The curfew prompted Liam Flynn of Liam Flynn’s Ale House on North Avenue to start an online petition to rescind the curfew immediately. The petition garnered over 2,400 signatures, but Rawlings-Blake remained adamant.
Several bars reported that food and beverage suppliers were refusing to deliver in the city during the emergency. “Bond Distributing [based in southwest Baltimore just off I-95] and Legends [just outside the northeast corner of the city] kept up their deliveries; everyone else just cut us off,” lamented one bar owner, who requested anonymity to preserve now-strained business relationships. The same bar was hit with another costly problem: a newly-acquired refrigerator-freezer unit conked out during the first weekend of unrest, and repairmen refused to visit for well over a week. “We lost a whole week’s worth of custom-made meats overnight,” said the owner.
A Run on Plywood
Many businesses throughout the city— including Peabody Heights Brewery in Waverly—covered their storefronts with plywood, making certain areas, especially the waterfront in Fells Point, look as if they were anticipating a hurricane. “I think I was the first in the neighborhood to run out to Home Depot that morning,” laughed Max’s Taphouse owner Ron Furman, “and as soon as I put up the first board, everyone else down here ran out and did the same thing!”
At least two bar owners on Charles Street downtown, both requesting anonymity, purchased shotguns after several windows in their areas were shattered. “And I’ve never owned a gun before this,” admitted one manager as he leafed through the shotgun’s instruction manual before opening one morning.
Restaurateurs tried to adapt. The Brewers Art in Mount Vernon opened earlier during the curfew, offering a lunch menu. “We put out an offer on social media of free beer with lunch to the first 20 patrons to show up the first day. We got five total,” said a dejected Tom Creegan, co-owner.
The Pratt Street Ale House closed for several days—in part to ensure staff safety, but also for renovations that included sanding and staining the floors, installing 14 new televisions and other touch-ups in preparation for the Spring Real Ale Festival on May 9. Owner Justin Dvorkin paid many of his staff to assist during the renovation, to help make up for lost hours and tips.
Still Afraid to Come Into the City
The 2015 unrest paled in comparison to the riots that followed the assassination of Martin Luther King in April 1968, when six people were killed, over 5,500 arrested, and more than 1,000 businesses damaged or set ablaze. Once-prosperous commercial corridors like Gay St. and Pennsylvania Ave. Have remained economic wastelands to this day.
But the recent disturbances were still exerting an influence at press time. Even with curfew lifted, some destination bars were still receiving what one called “we are afraid to come into the city” cancellations. “I’ll be honest about it; I have a biweekly payroll to make next week, and I have no idea how I’m going to pay it,” said Bruce Dorsey of Federal Hill’s Metropolitan in his mostly empty tavern on the evening of May 7.
The situation was dire enough that the Restaurant Association of Maryland and the organizers of Baltimore Beer Week took to email, social media, and news media to rally support for Baltimore restaurants and bars. A fundraiser for Baltimore’s service industry was held by Washington, DC’s City Tap House and Jeff Wells on May 11, featuring Baltimorebrewed beers.
Pratt Street’s Justin Dvorkin remained confident. “Baltimore had been doing a great job with tourism the past few years with the War of 1812 Centennial, the Star Spangled celebration, the Orioles making the playoffs, and the like. We had a lot of momentum on our side before this. Hopefully, we will stay on track moving forward now.”
Read the full article at http://mabnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Baltimore+Simmering/2027883/261449/article.html.