Today was a blast! Just to refresh your memory, here were my plans for today (and how they panned out):
1) Tour Clipper City Brewing Company (Heavy Seas Beers). More on this later in this post.
2) I wanted to tour Stillwater Artisanal Ales. Obviously, I wasn’t paying close enough attention to this one–the Stillwater brewer is what’s called a “Gypsy Brewer.” He uses other folks’ breweries (and routinely collaborates with different brewers). To substitute, I decided to sample some of his beers while in Baltimore (and did so at Max’s Taphouse — more on this place in another post). I also bought a couple of the Stillwater beers at a place called “The Wine Source” (and a few more beers as well … <smile>). If you need a beer/wine/spirit, this is the place to visit in Baltimore!
3. I had a couple of the Stillwater collaboration beers at Max’s (Stillwater/Max’s 25 to one, Stillwater/Mikkeller Our Side (cask conditioned! WOW!), and Stillwater/Struise Outblack – yum, too!) I will have another post about the Stillwater beers.
4. Finally, I went to The Brewer’s Art for dinner–plus had a couple of their beers. This will be another post (they are #71 on the All About Beer Growler list).
Ok, back to the Heavy Seas tour … one word: Great! My friend Brian and I showed up for the 1100 tour … of course we got there at 1015 and they don’t open until 1030 (could you tell we were excited?) We almost missed the place … very low-key entrance.
They unlocked the doors at 1030 and when we walked in … score! They had a nice bar area set up to sample their beers. You paid $5 for the tour–that bought you a glass and 5 tokens. Each token could be used for a 4oz pour. We sampled their Gold Ale, Pale Ale, Maerzen, Dubbel Cannon (Belgian-style IPA), and the Hang Ten (Weizen Dopplebock — 2oz pour). They were all very solid beers, right to style, and were a nice kickoff to the morning. They also have one called “Plank I (Old Ale)” which is a new beer for them … had a little sample of that (bought one–think it will definitely get better after some cellaring).
After our tour, we met the owner (Hugh Sisson). His office space is right where the tasting room is … that’s the kind of brewery I like! He was kind enough to take a picture with us, but he must have been distracted …
As far as the tour goes, it was excellent. Our tour guide was enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and gave us the grand tour. Here are a few random pics!
You can see my friend Brian in this last picture leaning over their Hopback. Their brewery is in one giant warehouse — so you can tell from the pictures that all their operations are crammed in there together. They just worked a deal to expand another 10,000 square feet. You can tell that all the people we interacted with really liked working there. They also do a lot of specialty brews (a lot). All the kegs in the picture below are specialty brews — the close up is a “6 Hop Double IPA.”
Finally, one of the cool things touring an active brewery–you get to see the fermentors kicking stuff up! I will post the link to one of the videos soon. They only have one brew kettle so they are running their facility 24 hours a day, 5 days a week. Sure seems like people like their beer! And I can see why …