• Brew at the Zoo in Baltimore MD

    I love how the animals and beer glasses have been incorporated together into the logo.

    Kelli and I headed out to the Brew at the Zoo over Memorial Day weekend in Baltimore.  The entire event was a lot of fun and I would recommend to anyone who loves craft beer and is in the Baltimore area.  I didn’t get to try all the beers, but I had my fair share.  I’ll be trying to make this event next year, too, as it is too much fun to pass up.

  • Review Hop Heads Alehouse – Middle River, MD

    Kelli and I recently went out for food and drinks at a new bar in the Baltimore area called Hop Heads Alehouse.  We had a great time as the bar is quintessential Baltimore at its roots.  There was very much a home town feel and a general comradery among patrons.  There are nightly specials listed on their website, so check it out before you go and see which night is the night for you.

    If you go:
    9611 Pulaski Highway
    Baltimore, MD.

    Arriving at Hop Heads in Middle River, MD.


    Kelli had a Bear Republic Racer 5, I had a Flying Dog Classic Pale Ale.

    The menu was mainly comprised of your standard bar items of easy to make and easy to consume food.  Nothing really stood out to me on the menu, but keep in mind I don’t eat meat.

    For food I ordered the blackened tuna bites.


    Good, but highly seasoned.

    Their beer selection was really good if you are into craft beers.  I was blown away by the amount of beers they have available, over 200!!  While they are a lot of the standard craft beers you will find in the craft beer scene, that fact that the vast majority of the beers are from independent breweries is a welcome change in any bar.

    Plenty of great craft beers from which to choose.


    Craft beers were on tap, too.

    Make no mistake, this is not some stuck up, hoity-toity bar full of beer snobs.  This is a place where people come to have fun, meet new friends, and drink!!!

    Being a bar, and energy drinks on special at $4 each, we did a round of shots with the bartender.


    Not being full yet I went for a pizza.


    My pizza with half olives.

    There was a lot of room in the bar, and I could see the empty floor quickly becoming a dance floor when the music and crowd were just right.  Our early arrival found us in a mostly empty bar, but in the hour or two we were there the bar quickly began to fill.  I could easily see this bar being shoulder to shoulder by the end of the night.

    It was early on Friday, but you can see the potential.

    The event calendar on the website always lists any entertainment, and the DJ’s that were there the night we went were fantastic.  These guys had a nice grove going that made me want to stay longer.

    DJ’s Tony Stylez and Supreme were setting the mood.


    Some old school Baltimore action.

    The owner Mike Roser was a really down to earth guy that was enjoyable to talk with during my time in the bar.  He had some big ideas on what he wanted to do in the future, and I’m glad to see that his vision is off to a great start.  More bars like his would be a welcome addition to any city.

    Owner, Mike Roser.


    Beer selection 4/5
    Food: 3.5/5
    Atmosphere: 3.5/5
    Overall: 3.5/5


  • Drinking craft beer during The Birthday Massacre

    Kelli and I headed to Sonar in Baltimore, MD to see one of her favorite bands, The Birthday Massacre.  The show was a great time, but I was concerned going in about what beers were going to be available.  Upon first look of the beer list:


    I wasn’t too happy with the beers available.  I glanced at the cooler to make sure I wasn’t missing anything, and found that the list was a clear reflection of the beers I could see.


    So, sure enough, the selection was limited.  This isn’t to say, however, that I didn’t find a fantastic Maryland craft beer.  In the middle left of the above picture you can see the dent I was putting in the Raging Bitch by Flying Dog.  A great IPA worth a try by anyone who likes the hoppy style beer.  With My beer in hand, I made a quick post to IndyBeers.com.

    Afterwards, I kicked back and enjoyed the great sounds of The Birthday Massacre  at Sonar  in Baltimore, MD.  By the way, if you happen to be a Birthday Massacre fan, you can check the rest of the pictures at http://www.talonphotography.com/album.php?albumid=5684952762119496737


  • Enjoying Flying Dog The Fear Imperial Pumpkin Ale


    Get them while you can, pumpkins won’t be here much longer.

  • Oktoberfest – Berlin, MD

    Berlin, Md hosted its first ever Oktoberfest, and IndyBeers was on hand for the event.  Overall it was a great time.   There was a good size crowd on hand for the event with the downtown Main Street area being well packed.  We headed from the north end of town down past the center towards the beer garden, as that was the only place one could procure a fine malted beverage.  Entrance to the beer garden was free, but tickets were $3 each, which is a great price for drinking a delicious craft beer.

    After getting our handful of tickets we stood in line for about 10 minutes to get our first sample of the newly released Burley Oak Oktoberfest.  As it was, however, we only managed to get 1 beer each of this earthy toned beverage, as the keg ran out while I was interviewing brew master Brian Carl.  From that point we switched to the Flying Dog Marzen.  That worked out well because we had been drinking the same beer earlier in the day before coming to the festival.  While we were standing around drinking we spotted Bryan Brushmiller, the owner of Burley Oak Brewery.  I quickly introduced myself and jumped right into asking about his beer.

    After talking with Bryan for a while, he introduced me to his brew master, Brian.  Brian and I discussed his passion for brewing and why he decided to come to Burley Oak Brewing.  It was during this time the the keg went dry, and he half jokingly said, “I gotta go to the brewery and fill kegs now.”  While he went back to business, Chris and I took some time to survey the scene.  There was a place serving big barbequed pieces of meat, so Chris purchased one to try out.  He said it was really good.

    After a few more beers we decided to head back to the brewery and see what was going on there, as well as sample some of the other beers that might be available.  As we walked back North through town we passed the live music which was offering up some traditional Oktoberfest style melodies.

    After about a 15 minute walk from the downtown area we found ourselves at the brewery.  The brewery was very modest and unassuming in looks from the outside.  Except for the small sign in the front, you wouldn’t know that there was a brewery inside.  They have only been open for about 2 months, since August of 2011.

    Inside the brewery was a sizable bar area.  There were plenty of places to stand and or sit and enjoy some of the beers they currently had on tap.  I went with a Pale Ryeder (which was full of a great rye flavor) and Chris went with the September Fest.  Both were high in alcohol content, and after a day at the Oktoberfest everyone was beginning to notice the effects.

    I continued talking about beer with Bryan and he explained why he had decided to brew beer, and why Berlin was the location for him.  I was hoping to get a tour of the brewery, which could be seen through a large window behind the bar, but something had spilled in the back, and it wasn’t a good time to bring people through the area.  Oh well, I guess I’ll have to come back again!!!

    The end of the day final came for us and it was time to head back home.  Bryan was happy to step outside with us for a couple more pictures.  It was pretty funny, actually,  as he was prone to goofing off while the pictures were being taken and there are more than a few that made me laugh looking at them later.

    Notable Quotes for the day:

    -Pete Arslanian
    Q: You had a beer called the 7 finger farmer?
    A: The farmer only had 7 fingers, lost in a machine accident, so [Bryan] named the beer after him for growing the hops.

    -Dennis Krembel
    Q: So what do you think you’re gonna get here.  You’ve got the Flying Dog, the Ocktoberfest…?
    A: I’ll take a Flying Dog. 2 of ’em.

    -Mark Jersey Cerbo
    Q: In terms of the beers that you’re distributing, how many of them were part of Anheuser Busch, Miller, or Coors…what percentage?
    A: Our portfolio when I was with Carry Distributors at the time Unibev was buying everybody up, they owned a large percent because at that point Miller and Coors had merged together.  We had a strong portfolio.  I mean we had Yuengling, we had Heinekin and Corona,  I mean we had pretty much all the big hitters but Anheuser Busch.
    Q: How difficult did you find it to distribute your beer not having Anheuser Busch in your portfolio?
    A: Not hard.  ‘Cause we had, you know, percentage-wise if you looked into say, a package store we were probably anywhere from 65 to 70% of the door space.
    Q: Outside of distributing the Anheuser Busch, Miller, Coors products how difficult was it to push craft beers into the market?
    A: In the beginning it was a little difficult, but once Dogfish opened up in Delaware in our back yard, you know, Dogfish was an easy swing into the craft beer industry for us down here, you know.  And they have quality products and they expanded, you know, in the right point of time.  They didn’t try to grow too fast, they came along at a good pace that, you know eventually they’re world wide now.
    Q: Do you feel that because of the fact that Dogfish Head made a presence in the Delmarva scene that it made it easier to push craft beers locally?
    A: Absolutely.  Good question.
    Q: So you feel that because of Dogfish Head, craft beers are better appreciated in this area.
    A: Well, in this area down here I think they really were the first stepping stone in the craft beer industry, so with their success grew craft beer in our area, so.  With Burley Oak opening up here in Berlin, I mean I think they’ll do well.