TWIB: Unexpected Encounters in Line for the Men’s Room

This Week in Beer (TWIB) is a feature where I’ll highlight some craft beers I had during this past week mixed with some related (and unrelated) thoughts. Yes, it’s a play on the name of the show This Week in Baseball which I grew up on and loved.

I’m ignoring the Super Bowl. My dog is named Peyton. Needless-to-say, yesterday was far from fun save the teasers for 24. Saturday on the other hand had one of the biggest, most surprising unexpected encounters of my life. Imagine the movie Crash taking place in line for a men’s room at a brewery.

Halfway to Philly

My wife and I have some friends in Philadelphia. Philly is 3-3.5 hours away from where we live so we have a hard time seeing them a lot. One of the ladies had the brilliant idea to meet halfway – Baltimore. It’s about a 2-hour drive for them and 1.5 for us. Perfect!

After making our way through some questionable downtown areas we turn up at one of our favorite spots – Woodberry Kitchen. Woodberry Kitchen is where I first heard of Union Craft Brewing last year. With a solid brunch consisting of Buttermilk Fried Pork Skirt and a Sly Fox Pale Ale in me we walked over to Union Craft Brewing which is less than a hundred yards away.

Union Craft Brewing

We get to Union Craft and it is packed. I’m able to sneak close enough to the bar to grab four beers for our group. Their Rye IPA is out-of-this-world good. Even better than their Duckpin Pale Ale.

My day would have been complete right then. I could have packed up, gone home and been content writing a post highlighting Woodberry Kitchen’s food and Union Craft’s beers. But that’s probably not why you clicked on the headline and there’s a much cooler twist fate brought to this day.


Conversations with Beer Bloggers is changing my life in ways never imaginable. I’ve only had seven published episodes and it’s already lead me to two different in-person meetups where I’ve had the time of my life (event #1, event #2).

The eighth episode of CBB has already been recorded and is waiting for me to find a free afternoon to edit. This is with Jake Scholan of Before recording our episode I knew nothing of what Jake looked like except his Twitter icon of him drinking a beer that covers most of his face. Zero knowledge. So last week we had our interview over Google Hangouts, which I can’t wait to share with you guys, and I finally got to see and meet him. We hit it off and even talked about trying to get together for a beer at some point since he’s relatively local.

Cue fate.

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April Dirty Thirty Day 2 – Heavy Seas Powder Monkey Pale Ale

We made it to day two. What do we have today…

Heavy Seas Powder Monkey Pale Ale

Heavy Seas Powder Monkey Pale Ale

Heavy Seas Powder Monkey Pale Ale

Critical Information:

  • 4.75% ABV
  • 28.5 IBU
  • Hops: UK Fuggles, Cascade, UK Goldings
  • Malts: 2-row, Munich, Crystal, Caramalt

My Experience:

– Pour

Poured from bottle into mug. Only cooled in fridge for about an hour before serving. Has a reddish-straw color. It is very see-through with minimal carbonation. Most bubbles disappeared in the first couple minutes along with the head. Continue reading

April Dirty Thirty Schedule 4/2-4/6

Here is what’s on tap this week for the April Dirty Thirty:

Tuesday 4/2Heavy Seas Powder Monkey Pale Ale

Wednesday 4/3RJ Rockers Bald Eagle Brown

Thursday 4/4Yards IPA

Friday 4/5Legend Maibock

Saturday 4/6Atwater Vanilla Java Porter

Hope you can participate. Try these out if you can. If not, try something new. Review it. Talk about it. Grow your beer knowledge!

Will this theory help you enjoy new beers?

Unless you’re brand new to beer (nothing wrong with that though) you know that hops are measured on a scale of bitterness. IBUs, International Bitterness Units, measure the bitter alpha acids from hops that are isomerized and dissolved during the boil.

Some beers, like Hefeweizens, have IBUs of 10-15 while Double IPAs will go to 80+ IBUs.

Randy Mosher’s Tasting Beer: An Insider’s Guide to the World’s Greatest Drink has a great graph in chapter four that shows the relationship of IBUs to Original Gravity (think the amount of alcohol in a beer. Yes, it’s more complicated than that but now’s not the time.). What I noticed that was generally the hoppier the beer, the more Original Gravity, OG, is has. Mosher describes why a lot better than I am able to.

So looking at the chart I came to this hypothesis: if you enjoy a certain beer, wouldn’t you enjoy a beer with a similar hoppiness-to-OG?

I challenge you to try this experiment. Ladies Hefeweizen lovers – try a Doppelbock. Pale Ale fans (like myself) – try a Maibock. And IPA buffs – try an Irish Dry Stout.

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Short Notes: Tasting Beer Chapter Three

Tasting Beer Cover

Brewing and the Vocabulary of Beer Flavor

As my studying to become a beer expert continues, here are the main points I took from Chapter Three of Randy Mosher’s Tasting Beer: An Insider’s Guide to the World’s Greatest Drink.

Chapter Three – Brewing and the Vocabulary of Beer Flavor

  • The difference between wine and beer is that wine mostly depends on nature to do the work while beer rests on man to assemble and nurture it
  • The ions in water effect brewing
  • Harder water is wanted for pale ales and softer water for pilsners
  • Enzymes in barley make brewing possible because they reduce the energy needed in the chemical reaction
  • Protein is a major difference between two-row and six-row barley
  • Most beers that aren’t Bud, Miller or Coors are brewed with two-row barley Continue reading