Max’s 2018 Belgian Beer Fest Line-Up.

– once again with no plan.

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It’s that time of year again for our annual pilgrimage down to Max’s Taphouse in Fell’s Point, Maryland to part take in their annual Belgian Beer Festival.

This three-day event brings people from all over to experience the best in Belgian Beerassery that one bar can manage to pull together. But with something like 140 taps, casks, plus more bottles than you can hold a tasting glass under, Max’s Taphouse is no ordinary bar.

We’ll be heading down on Thursday night as usual, to enjoy some of the other places the Point has to offer, plus enjoying a few beers a Max’s for what we’ve dubbed “the calm before the storm”, that time Thursday night when Max’s is switching over for the next day’s event and only has maybe 10-12 taps open for that night’s customers.

Friday will be the big day for us however, as we enjoy a little “line life” then (hopefully) get are normal seats at the back bar to drink our fill of beers that not only can’t we pronounce, but we’re not likely to see again anyways. Well until next year. And since you don’t know when a certain beer will be tapped, running down the list before hand looking for standouts can be hit or miss as well.

No, with Max’s the usual beer festival scheming just doesn’t seem to work for me. In fact, when it comes to the massive beer list at one of Max’s Belgian Festivals I believe Leonard Snart (AKA Captain Cold) from The Flash, has the best approach….

make the plan

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Below is all the info you need for the event. Some things to stress: There is no charge to get into the event, beers are pay as you go. It used to be that if you opened a tab (they will keep your card) at any bar it was good anywhere within the establishment. Last year they changed it so that you had to open a tab at each bar you bought a beer at. This was kind of inconvenient.

Also, the young man watching the stairs that lead to the upstairs bar was doing his job a little too well last year. When tDoB co-founder Chuck came down stairs to check things out, he was told he wasn’t allowed back upstairs until someone else came down. Since his party (including his wife) and all his things were upstairs, Chuck found this, in true DoB words – vexing.

Below is the general beer list. For more info including special offerings and tastings, head on over to Max’s website.

Feb 16th-19th

Feb 16-18, 2018
11am-2am each day
No Entrance Fee
Over 200 Beers on draft and over 250 bottles
Plus a full Belgian Inspired food menu

SOUR DAY 2018
Feb 19, 2018
11am-2am
Over 60 drafts and over 60 bottles
No Entrance Fee

SPECIAL POP UP BAR

Friday Feb 16-Sun Feb 18

Blackberry Farms & Friends

ON DRAFT
Blackberry farms Super Saison
Blackberry farms Classic
Blackberry farms Hoppy Wheat
Blackberry farms Steps to Nowhere
RAR-TBA
Cantillon Kriek

BOTTLES/CAN FOR SALE
RAR-TBA
Blackberry farms Brett Saison 18 2017
Blackberry farms Flanders 2017
Blackberry farms Brett Saison 2016
Blackberry farms Brett Saison 2017
Blackberry farms Triple 2016
Blackberry farms Brett Fruited Blend 2017
Blackberry farms Wild Classic
Blackberry farms/Stillwater Sensibility
Blackberry farms Blackberry Rye
Blackberry farms Noble Cuvee Dry Hopped Saison
Blackberry farms Peel Your face
Crooked Stave Surette Reserve raspberry
Crooked Stave Surette Reserve Blueberry
Crooked Stave L’Brett O’Blueberry
Crooked Stave L’Brett D’Sour Cherry
Crooked Stave Petite Sour Merionberry
Cantillon Gueuze 1.5 Liter- 1 per person
3 Fonteinen Armand & Gaston 1.5 Liter- 1 per person

—————————————————————————————————————

BELGIAN DRAFT LIST

ON CASK
Brewers Art ground Ling w/ Kumquat
Brewers Art Ground Ling w/ Yuzu & Meyer Lemon
Brewers Art Ground Ling w/ Mosaic & Idaho 7
Brewers Art Ground Ling w/ Halltertau

ON DRAFT-80% complete
Achouffe La Chouffe
Abbaye De Rocs Brune
Abbaye De Rocs Grand Cru
Alvinne Berliner Framboos Weisse
Alvinne Cuvee De Mortagne
Alvinne Cuvee Freddy
Alvinne Gentleman’s Sour
Alvinne Kriek De Mortagne
Alvinne Kweeper
Alvinne Omega
Alvinne Sour’ire De Mortagne
Alvinne Wild West Cherry & Raspberry
Alvinne Wild West French Plum
Alvinne Wild West Primitivo Grapes
Bastogne Ardenne Saison
Bastogne Ardenne Stout
Blaugies Saison Epeature
Blaugies/Hill Farmstead- Le Vermontoise
BOM Bling Bling
BOM Wild & Funky
Boon Lambic
Brugse Zot Blonde
Cantillon Kriek
Cantillon Rose De Grambrinus
Cantillon St Lamvinus Grand Cru
Cantillon Vignerionne
Cantillon Gueuze
Chimay Blue
Chimay White
Chimay Red
De Brabandere Me’Lange
De Brabandere Petrus 40/40/20
De Brabandere Petrus 80/20
De Brabandere Petrus Quad Nitro
De Brabandere Petrus Sour Apricot
De Brabandere Sour Mango
De Brabandere Petrus Sour Quad
De Dolle Dulle Teve
De Dolle Special Export Stout
De Dolle Stille nacht
De Glazen Toren Canaster
De Glazen Toren Jan De Lichte
De Glazen Toren Saison De Epre mere
De La Senne Jambe De Bois
De La Senne Taras Boulba
De La Senne Zinnebier
De Leite Cuvee Mam’Selle
De Leite Cuvee Soeur’ise
De Leite Fils A Papa V
De Leite Ma Mere Speciale
De Meester Dubbel
De Meester Quadrupel
De Proef/New Glarus Abtsolution
De Ranke Hop Harvest
De Ranke Pere Noel
De Ranke Simplex
Den Hopperd Kameleon Saison Bio
Den Hopperd Kameleon Special Tripel Bio
Drie Fonteinen Beersel Blonde
Drie Fonteinen Beersel Lager
Dupont Saison
Duvel Single
Fantome Pissenlit
Fantome Saison
Hanssens Oudbeitje
Hanssens Experimental Cassis
Hanssens Oude Lambic
Het Anker Gouden Carolus Ambrio
Het Anker Gouden Carolus Classic
Het Anker Lucifer
Het Anker Lucifer Black
Het Nest BA Dead Mans Hand (Cognac)
Het Nest BA Dead Mans Hand (Whiskey)
Het Nest Schuppenbier Grand Cru (Cognac)
Huyghe Delirium Tremens
Huyghe Delirium Guillotine
Hof Ten Dormaal Dads Tea
Kerkom Adelardus Dubbel
Kerkom Adelardus Tripel
Kerkom Bink Bloesem
Kerlom Bink Blonde
Kerkom Bink Bruin
La Rulles Brune
La Rulles Cuvee Meilleurs Vouex
La Rulles Estivale
La Rulles Grand 10
La Rulles Triple
Oud Beersel Bersalis Sour Blend
Oud Beersel Still Lambic
Prearis BA Grand Cru
Rodenbach Alexander
Rodenbach Foederbier
Rodenbach Vintage 2015
Silly Barrel aged Scotch De Silly
Slaapmutske Flemish Old Style
Slaapmurtske Triple Night Cap
St Bernardus Abt 12
St Bernardus Wit
St Bernardus Baksteen Winkel
St Bernardus Prior 8
St Bernardus Tripel
St Feulillen Saison
St Louis Gueuze Fond Tradition
St Louis Gueuze Fond Tradition Kriek
Straffe Hendrick Heritage 2013 Cognac
Straffe Hendrick Heritage 2014 Brandy
Tilquin Gueuze
Tilquin Questche
Tilquin Rullquin
Troubadour Magma Hop Twist
Val Dieu Blonde
Val Dieu Brune
Van Eecke Kapittel Blonde
Van Honsebrouck Kasteel Raspberry Bartista
Van Honsebrouck Kasteel Rouge
Van Honsebrouck Kasteel Triple
Van Steenberge Blonde
Van Steenberge Ertvelds Wit
Van Steenberge Gulden Draak Calavados
Van Steenberge Gulden Draak Nitro
Van Steenberge Monks Cafe Grand Cru
Van Steenberge Piraat
Verhaeghe Barbe Ruby
Verhaeghe Duchesse De Bourgogne
Verzet Oud Bruin Vineyard
Verzet Golden Tricky
Verzet Moose Blues
Verzet Oud Bruin Cherry
Verzet Oud Bruin Oak Leaf
Verzet Super Noah
Viven IPA
Wittekerke Wit

SOUR DAY DRAFTS 90% Complete
Anchorage The Ghosts in their Eyes
Anchorage Easy Evil
Arcadia 21st Anniversary
Bells Wild One
Brooklyn Bel Air
Brewers Art Charb
Bullfrog Le Roar Grrrz Kriek
Bullfrog Le Roar Cocoa Framboise
Bullfrog Jong Bruin Kriek
Burley Oak Blackberry Mango JREAM
Burley Oak Blueberry Cobbler JREAM
Burley oak Double Berry Cherry JREAM
Burley oak Grape Quish Cabernet
Burley oak Grape Quish Chardonnay
Burley Oak Level
Burley oak Tangerine Cherry JREAM
Captain Lawrence Rosso Marron
Captain Lawrence Viola
Cascade Bourbonic Plague
Cascade Midnight Bramble
Council Broken Wand Boysenberry
Council Woofle Dust Apricot
Council/Modern Times-Modern Magic
Epic Oak & Orchard Pinot
Epic Oak & Orchard Syrah
Fegleys Gueuze
Firestone Walker Bretta Weisse 2016
Firestone Walker Krieky Bones
Free Will Saison Rose
Free Will Whit
Grimm Cherry raspberry Pop
Grimm Galaxy Pop
Grimm Pychokinesis
Grimm Rainbow Dome
Highway Manor Funky Prowler
Highway Manor Mr Strawberry
Highway Manor Mr Tea
Jester King Nocturn Chysalis
Jester King Viking Metal
Lost Rhino Exesus Sanctum Peach Sour
Manor Hill Oud Bruin w/ Figs
Monument City –TBA
New Belgium Felix Apple Whiskey $33
New Belgium Oscar Blackberry Whiskey $17
New Belgium Single Foeder Felix #61
New Belgium Single Foeder Oscar #1
New Belgium Oscar Worthy Coffee (Nitro)
OEC Pasca 2016
OEC Vetus
OEC Vindemia Blanc
OEC Brunneis
OEC Clavis Purpura
OEC Stramboolzed
Prairie Vous Francais
The Bruery Terreaux Train to Beersel
The Bruery Terreaux Melange #9
The Bruery Terreaux/Jester King-Bouffon
The Bruery Terreaux Filmishmish
The Bruery Terreaux Summa Vitis
Union Older Pro Apricot
Union Older Pro Gin BA
Union Older Pro Red raspberry
Union BA Midnight Maurder

SOUR DAY BOTTLES 90% Complete
Anchorage/Jolly Pumpkin-Matame Aherta
Avery Certatio Equestris 2016
Avery Lunctis Viribus 2016
Bullfrog Le Roar Grrrz Arandei
Bullfrog Le Roar Grrrz Blackberry
Bullfrog Le Roar Grrrz Blueberry
Bullfrog Le Roar Framboise
Bullfrog Oud Bruin
Bullfrog Rood Bruin Kriek
Captain Lawrence Hops & Roses
Cascade Vitis Noble
Cascade/The Bruery One Way or Another
Council Behind The Curtain
Council Vienne
Epic/The Commons-Common Interests
Draai Laag Black Briar
Draai Laag Razmata
Draai Laag Red Brair
Firestone Walker Sour Opal
Epic Brainless on Pineapple
Grassroots Artic Soiree
Green Bench Parallax
Green Bench/Brewski-Tiki Tack
Grimm Cherry Pop
Grimm Apricot Pop
Grimm Passionfruit Pop
Grimm Sunshine Pop
Grimm Super Spruce
Highway Manor Mr Blueberry
Jester King Das Wunderkind
Jester King Figlet
Jester King No Whalez Here
Jester King Buddha Brew
Jester King Simple Means
Jester King Mad Meg
Jolly Pumpkin la Vida Improvisacion
Jolly Pumpkin/Monkish Apocolocynposis
Jolly Pumpkin/Anchorage No Ka Ol
Libertine Board room #3
Libertine Framboise
Libertine Heard it through the Grapevine
Libertine Under My Plum
Libertine Pepe Le Pluot
New Belgium Geisha Grand Reserve
Prairie 4th Anniversary
Prairie Brett C
Prairie Apricot funk
Right Proper Astral Weeks
The Bruery Terreux Frucht: Raspberry
The Bruery Terreux/Garage Project-Ngongo
Victory Wisdom Hour

IN BOTTLES/SERVED BY THE GLASS
Cascade Sang Rouge
Cascade Noyaux
Cascade Strawberry
Cascade The Vibne
Cascade Kriek
Cascade Sang Noir
Cascade Figaro
Cascade Elderberry
Cascade Crazy navel
Cascade Tangerine Dream
Cascade Sang Du Chene

 

Rex Pilsner and the Case of The Shattered Glass.

Rex-Door2The day hadn’t quite hit afternoon yet, but already you could tell it was going to be another scorcher. July had decided to turn brutal with hot days and steamy nights, both of which seemed to always put the citizens that call the city their home slightly on edge.

I’d spent most of the morning leaning back in my chair with my feet on my desk looking over tomorrow’s races for a couple of bangtails that might bring in a little scratch while only stopping now and then to occasionally read my name backwards on the closed door.

ren sliP xeR

I decided nothing was going to come my way today and sat up while pulling a bottle of cheap corn from the lower draw. You could always tell how biz was shaking by the quality of booze in the drawer and by the bottle of cheap rot gut I held in my hand, you could tell it hadn’t been very good.

I was just about to pull the cork out when the side door swung open and she walked in, “Kind of early to be calling it a day, huh Rexy?”

Janine was a good doll and an excellent secretary, way better than this job required. She had a look about her as well, all legs and lipstick, and I often wondered why she didn’t put those looks to use to get herself a better job.

I glanced down and was reminded of the nice chunk of ice she wore. Yeah, finance probably wouldn’t be happy with her in a big office surround by eager men. What was his name again? Eddie? There’s always an Eddie in these stories, isn’t there?

I pour a half a glass of brown liquid and downed it in one fluid motion, “Good a time as any I suppose.”

I went to pour another when Janine snatched the glass from under the lip of the bottle, “Uh huh, Rexy. Not so fast, Dix is coming over. Says he wants to talk with you.”

Detective Dixon? Now there’s a name I hadn’t heard in a while. Started out as a flattie running down the numbers boys over in the 2nd. Never seemed like anything special, but he must have impressed someone because he was promoted into the clubhouse fairly quick.

Dix used to call on me often back then. Usually to have me check on one of my stoolies or pound the street for some info. But I heard he’d gotten a gig in some special Homicide Division and since then he seemed to have forgotten my phone number and address.

“What about?”

“He didn’t say and I didn’t ask. You know I don’t like to get caught up in all the details of what you do, Rexy.”

I put the bottle back in drawer and pulled out a small white envelope, “Here,” I said as I tossed it to Janine, “then you might as well take off. I doubt Dix is coming over here after all this time for a social call.”

Not long after Janine left there was a knock on the door. I adjusted myself in my chair and slightly pulled open the drawer where I kept my trusty roscoe. I was sure it was Dix, but after that whole Joel Cairo mess, I wasn’t taking chances anymore.

“Come in.”

It was Dix alright. Same old, same old. Sure, he had put on a little weight, but Dix was never a small man to begin with what with his stout figure and huge hands. Time seemed to do him good for the most part although I couldn’t help but notice he was still dressing in the same ratty fedora and flogger he always wore. You’d have thought moving up in the company would’ve afforded him a better wardrobe.

“So, what brings you here after all this time, Dix?” I motioned to a chair, deciding to skip the usual pleasantries.

“Business I’m afraid,” he replied tossing a large envelope on my desk. “I hope you haven’t eaten yet.”

I couldn’t imagine why Dix had a case of the squirms, I’d seen plenty of chop scenes before. Once opened, I pulled out twenty-seven eight-by-ten black-and-white grainy photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was.

BrokeGlass Both

I flipped through the pile slowly, studying each photo and taking in the carnage displayed in each one. I wasn’t sure what I was looking at, but it certainly was a mess. “Where did this happen?”

“The Glass Cabinet, around 10pm give or take. Know the place?”

I nodded as I continued to scan through the photos, everyone in the city knew the Glass Cabinet, anyone who ran beer hung out there.

“Check out number 5.”

I flipped over the pile and shuffled through until I found the photo labeled “#5” and pulled it from the pile tossing the rest onto the desk. There was so much going on that it was hard to tell where one body ended and another began. “OK, I give. Who’s the stiff?”

“That? That is, or was, Amsterdam Zeiss.”

It takes a lot to catch this street hardened peeper by surprise, but even I gave out a low whistle from between my teeth when Dix said the name. Zeiss had come to the city with five other siblings and it didn’t take them long to rise to the top of the beer world. Events, tastings, more photo ops than you can count, the whole family was big players, and not above flaunting it.

“Was” being the important word here. The family turned out to be the unluckiest bunch of plugs there ever was. Not long after beginning to hang out at the Glass Cabinet one of them wound up dead from mysterious circumstances that never did get righted by the cops. Two others met their fate in separate accidents involving children and one was later taken out by a dog. Zeiss’ last remaining sibling died when a bunch of large, heavy objects shifted and crushed him at some seedy dive called The Drying Rack.

Many said these were simple accidents, but the buzz in the gutters was that the pint glass gang had been hiring droppers to slowly eliminate their competition. Whatever the case, Zeiss always took precautions anytime he stepped out of the Glass Cabinet. Probably thought he was safe in there though, the Glass Cabinet was known for red-lighting anyone stupid enough to get in the dutch within the establishment. Looks like he was wrong.

“The others?”

“So far we’ve only got a handle on two of them. One was some daisy Tulip visiting over from Max’s, the other’s an as yet un-IDed member of the pint glass gang.”

“Witnesses?”

“You know how the game is played, Rex. Thirty, thirty-five glasses in the Cabinet at least and yet no one saw nothin’

“Nawww,” Dix replied crinkling the corner of his mouth up in a smirk of contempt. “You know how the game is played, Rex. Thirty, thirty-five glasses in the Cabinet at least and yet no one saw nothin’. Door opens and closes a few times, screams, cursin’, and when it’s all done,” Dix leaned forward and put his fat finger on the pile of photos, “just a pile of meat in the wagon for some poor croaker to sort out.”

I tossed the photo on my desk and leaned back in my chair. “So, what’s so important about this case that caused your shadow to fall on my door after all these years?”

“I need your help, Rex,” Dix sighed as he removed his hat and ran his thick fingers through his thinning hair. “You know the cops have never done right when it comes to everything that’s happened to Zeiss’ family. The higher ups are really keen that we solve this one to everyone’s satisfaction.”

“And let me guess, Dix. By we they mean you.”

“Yeah,” he nodded. “We’re stretched at the crime scene. Investigation still isn’t done with the taggin’ and baggin’. But I’ve got a lead that I need tracked down before it goes cold, and since we used to drink from the same bottle, I thought maybe….” The last word trailed off as he pulled a smaller photo from his pocket and handed it to me.

“Who’s the sap?” I asked studying the picture.

“Some butter and eggs man by the name of Morgan. Eddie Morgan”

I couldn’t help but let out a chuckle. Like I said. Always.

“He apparently also did part time as Zeiss’ shutter man. He’s been seen hangin’ around the Glass Cabinet a lot, and I’ve got a couple of people on the outside that put him near there around the time the chill went down. I figured with your connections you can at least put a tag on this bloke before he decides to wander off. What do you say, Rex? I’ll pay the usual. Twenty-five a day, one day in advance.”

I pushed closed the drawer containing the gun and opened the bottom drawer pulling out a bottle and then two glasses. “Two days in advance.”

“Two? Come on, Rex. We used to be pals.”

“Yeah, well your pal just sent his secretary home with a pay envelope that’s light a few Lincolns. and she’s going to pretty heated unless I have the rest when she bursts through that door tomorrow morning.”

I poured a couple of stiff ones and slid one to Dix. Besides, I thought to myself, if I’m going to help you look good for the Johns then the least you can do is buy me a better bottle of booze.

Zeiss
The last known photo taken of Amsterdam Zeiss before his untimely demise – RIP.

 

2018 Dogfish Head Releases – What’s In, What’s Out, What’s Changed

– Plus a couple of new labels!

Well, since we are now firmly on the path to 2019 I thought it would be a nice time to take a few minutes and look at Dogfish Head’s release calendar for 2018.

Granted, this information has been out for a while, mid- November for the most part, but I didn’t want to get to in front of the game. But now that 2018 is here (and apparently staying) let’s take a look.

Not much has changed in the Year-Round offerings with perennials such as 60 Minute, 90 Minute, Indian Brown, and Midas Touch returning, along with newer offerings Flesh & Blood IPA and SeaQuench Ale. However, 2018 does see the inclusion of two newbies to this category – Lupu Luau IPA graduates off of the 2017 occasional team to full-time status hitting the shelves in 12oz cans. Along with Luau, DFH will be offering their very popular Bitches Brew (well, I don’t know how popular it is, but it’s popular with me) in 12oz bottles but with the added twist of the beer being wood aged.

The Seasonal team, this year described as the ‘Off-Centered Art Series’ stays pretty much in tacked with Punkin Ale and Liquid Truth Serum holding down the fall and winter (I’m using seasonal terms like spring and fall pretty loosely here, check the calendar below for exact months and don’t kill me) slots respectively. Romantic Chemistry however, shifts to 2018 spring leaving 2018 summer open for:

Dragons and Yum Yums

DFH’s latest music collaboration gives a nod to The Flaming Lips, and is a tart pale ale is brewed with dragonfruit, yumberry, passionfruit, pear juice and black carrot juice. Wow.

Next, we have that total wild-card group that DFH refers to as the “Occasionals”. Bad news first, fans of Olde School, Saison du Buff and Oak-aged Vanilla WWS will find their beers missing from the shelves in 2018. Pennsylvania Tuxedo, 120 Minute and Festina Peche will be making returns however, look for them about the same times they were released last year.

Siracusa Nera does some Chris Angel type magic considering that (I believe) it was on the shelves recently although it was not on the 2017 release calendar. Well, unless something changes, it IS on the 2018 release calendar, so if you’ve found it and liked it, you will again this year.

Their holiday IPA 12-pack will make an appearance again, the brewery stating that included beers will be announced later. I wouldn’t be surprised if an IPA that’s not on their release calendar makes an “holiday pack only” appearance.

Two new entries join the ones above, first Fruit-Full Fort, a Belgian-style ale fermented with four different types of beer juices including boysenberry, blackberry, raspberry and elderberry, which the brewery describes as “ageable”. And finally:

Mixed Media

A beer that’s splitting its fermentables bill between 50.1% grain and 49.9% grapes. And if you think that 0.1% isn’t important, well it’s apparently what is keeping this beverage firmly in the “beer” category.

And there you have it. Dogfish Head’s 2018 release calendar. If you’re more of a visual person, my quick and dirty graphic can be found below. For a more comprehensive (complete with packaging options for each beer) and agreeably much prettier version, you can go on over to the DFH site, here.

Happy 2018 everyone, and as always, it’s time for another beer!

DFH 2018

 

 

What Does Your Christmas Village Say About You?

– We Know What Ours Says About Us.

Considering how all out I go for Halloween, some people must think, “man, he must crush Christmas!” Well, the simple truth is – no I don’t.

Oh, when the kids were young I decorated with lights, both traditional and fancy, and even jumped on a few of what I call “fad” decorations, you know the ones that will be around for a season or two and then never be seen again.

But the yard never blossomed into the extensive scene for Christmas as it did for Halloween, probably because for one thing, there’s only X amount of storage space in the house, and I already had to build the closet that houses my Halloween stuff 11 months out of the year.

So as time passed and the kids grew, the Christmas decorations became fewer and fewer. But that doesn’t mean I totally abandoned my decorating spirit – no, I just moved it inside.

I love outside decorations (as long as they follow the rules), especially the fancy, complicated light and music shows that people are doing now, but I’ve always enjoyed a well decorated interior more.

Amazing trees, lights, decorations and flowers really make a house feel festive around the holidays, especially when you have friends and family over, and one element of Christmas décor that I’ve always found myself drawn to is the Christmas Village.

I remember being a young boy, waiting for that December day when my dad would haul down THAT piece of plywood from the attic. I know plywood doesn’t reek of “festive” but this plywood was special, this plywood not only functioned as the carpet cover for where the tree stood, but it also had one distinct feature – it had train tracks attached to it.

Yeah, my dad enjoyed that train set, even though it was nothing more than probably 15ft of track laid in an oval, but he’d had it for years and it had circled many a Christmas tree for the Morgan family. Of course, no Christmas train set is complete without a village to run through and we had ours, a basic collection of houses and shops scattered around the tracks with the requisite train station at the very front of the display.

I spent a lot of time playing with that train set, and maybe that’s where I get my affection for Christmas villages from. Still, I never really imagined owning one due to lack of space and no driving interest as an adult to start collecting one, until one fateful trip to Kohl’s and a knee jerk purchase.

There are hundreds of manufactures out there who create seasonal villages, and Kohl’s just happens to carry a collection manufactured under the brand St Nicholas Square Village. Like many such manufactures SNSV makes houses, shops and other buildings in a uniform size and style, creating new pieces for their collection every year, and retiring pieces after a couple of seasons.

Village-5319

I was looking around Kohl’s Christmas section one year when I stumbled onto them. I thought they were nice looking, and certainly looked good together, but there wasn’t anything that particularly made me want t……HOLY SHIT!!! THEY HAVE AN IRISH PUB!!! AN HONEST TO GOD BLEEDING IRISH PUB!!!!!

Stop. Calm. Yes, it’s an Irish Pub, but do you really need a single…BUT YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND IT’S AN IRISH FREAKING PUB!! AND IT LOOKS COOL AND I KNOW JUST THE PERFECT SPOT….sigh…..breathe. If you buy just one building and display it by itself it will look stup….THEN I’LL BUY SOMETHING ELSE!!! THREE! FOUR!!! I DON’T CARE! I NEED TO HAVE AN IRISH PUB FOR THE CHRISTMAS VILLAGE I DON’T HAVE AND AM NOT REALLY SURE I WANT!!!

It seems I always lose these battles with my inner me, especially when he goes all “caps mode” on me. So, against my better judgement I left Kohls a little beaten down and the proud possessor of one Christmas village styled Irish Pub. As soon as I got home, I opened the box and displayed it proudly on the sideboard that is in my living room.

And I was happy. And I was done…or so I thought.

The following seasons are a blur for me, but my single building has somehow turned into a small, humble village. It’s nowhere near the size of many villages people out there have collected, but it is bigger than anything I had imagined when my inner self yelled me into buying that initial piece, having grown from a “one piece on the sideboard” to a “one full sideboard and one coffee table” sized town.

Not a season can pass now without a visit to Kohl’s to see what new pieces SNSV have produced and to make matters worse, Tracey, who works the Kohl’s shopping system of percent off flyers and Kohl’s cash with the precision and artistry of a symphony musician, has now gotten into the act.

A few weeks ago, she returned from a shopping trip proudly carrying the newest addition to our village – the Biergarten, which not only is a very nice piece, but made me laugh.

Village-5309

A quick survey of what we now owned showed that an overall theme had infused its way into our wintry village. Not only did we have a Pub and a Biergarten but over the years we’d added a brewery, a winery, and a wine cellar.

In fact, a quick scan of the list of pieces SNSV has offered throughout the years showed that we’d purchased every alcohol related piece that they’ve released, and passed up on many nice, although more normal, pieces like the bowling alley, clock tower, post office, Santa’s workshop, and yes, even a Kohl’s store.

Oh sure, there are a few non-alcohol establishments on our “streets”. We have a pet shop (very important, I’m also eying their Animal Rescue piece that retires this year) and a coffee shop (not so important for us as we’re not coffee drinkers, but it is a very nice-looking piece and a village with all this booze probably could use the caffeine), and Tracey has added accessories like Christmas trees, street lights and even a fountain.

However, it seems that without really thinking about it, our village has grown into a representation of the things we enjoy in life. That’s not surprising however, I would imagine most people construct their villages based on aspects of their lives. After all, what fireman wouldn’t have the Firestation as part of his village, or someone who lives near the sea the Lighthouse piece?

And it wasn’t really apparent to me until Tracey walked in the house with the Biergarten that our Christmas village has grown into a collection that says something about who we are. What does your Christmas village say about you?

Village-3679
We here at the Dogs of Beer wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. See you in 2018!

 

 

Looking at the Connoisseur’s Tasting for the 20th Kennett Square Brewfest – Map Included

– I’ll totally judge your brewery by just your porter!

KSBFWhen Jeff Norman visualized 20 years ago the event that would become the Kennett Square Brewfest, beer festivals at that time were like Wawa’s and cellphone towers – you could drive for miles and miles without running into one.

Fast forward today, and just like my examples above, brewfests have become something that you only have to drive over the next hill before you come across the next one.

But although brewfests have become more common, I always maintain that not all brewfests are created equal and to that point, I’ve never made any apologies that I consider the Kennett Square Brewfest to be the yardstick against which I measure all other beer festivals.

And, to drill down even closer, the Kennett Square’s Connoisseur’s tasting is – if I may be so blunt – the total shit.

Every year beer festivals offer patrons VIP tickets, which usually get the holders into the festival for an hour or two earlier then the general admission  ticket holders, but Kennett has always done something different. Their tickets for their Connoisseur’s tasting gets you advanced entry to the event, but only for a select number of the breweries pouring for the festival. The trade off for this smaller selection of breweries is that they pour beers that will not be featured during the normal festival.  So in other words, it’s really a tasting unto itself – and unlike some festival’s VIP tickets, worth the extra money.

With the whole festival at 110+ brewers strong, and although I’ve attempted to do so in the past, doing any kind of pre-event run down is a daunting task to say the least. So  instead, I want to turn my focus to only the Connoisseur’s tasting and a handful of beers that I’m looking forward to trying, and for the sake of keeping it interesting, let’s keep IPAs out of this….you’re OK with that right?  Good!

First, some details. This year Kennett joined up with Untappt to keep a running list of the breweries attending and the beers they’ll be pouring for both the regular and the Connoisseur’s sessions. So if you’re an IPA fan and are dying to know, click here. The links to switch between the two can be found just under the Kennett Brewfest logo. Tickets are still available for the regular session. You can purchase them here.  And finally, the Connoisseur’s tasting has moved! But don’t worry, they just moved it to the other side of the building, in the back section of the festival (see map below).

And that is just about all you need to know, so let’s look at some beer. My thoughts are in normal type, descriptions from the breweries (if there are any) are in italics.

Allagash Brewing Co. – St. Klippenstein

A Belgian strong ale from Allagash that I haven’t had before?? Yeah, I’ll have two, please. OK, maybe three. See you at the tent!

This full bodied beer is brewed with an array of dark roasted malts: dark chocolate malt, roasted barley, chocolate malt, and brown malt. After being hopped with Chinook and Northern Brewer, and fermented with a trappist-style yeast for a month in stainless, the beer spends three months aging in bourbon barrels. At the brewery, we celebrate St. Klippenstein day to commemorate our love of free ham, pot lucks, and big stouts. In honor, we brewed this Belgian-style stout aged in bourbon barrels. Rich cocoa brown in color, the first sip of this beer opens with a complex chocolate and roasted aroma. Notes of vanilla, coconut and oak infuse the palate and lead to a smooth, warm finish.

Conshohoken Brewing Co. – Viking Funeral

Who doesn’t like a smoked beer? OK, many people, but my love for BBQ means that although I might not enjoy it, if you put smoke in your beer I absolutely need to try it. This will be one of my first go-tos.

Viking Funeral is a Rye Whiskey Barrel Aged Smoked Honey Ale. This beer defies description. We brewed it with pale, munich, light crystal and smoked malts, then added 60lbs of local wildflower honey. Deep, smokey and incredibly hard to define, Viking Funeral is smooth and incredibly easy to drink, even at 10.9% ABV. Sharpen your axe and groom your beard, Vahalla waits.

Merchant du Vin bringing – Yorkshire Stingo

An English Strong Ale? Yes, please! Admittedly this probably won’t be the most remarkable beer I’ll try this day, but try it I will, and like it I probably will.

Some of the oak casks at Samuel Smith’s date back more than a century with the individual oak staves being replaced by the Old Brewery coopers over the years. Gradually the casks soak in more & more of the character of the ale fermented in stone Yorkshire squares. Yorkshire Stingo is aged for at least a year, matured in these well-used oak casks in the brewery’s underground cellars deriving fruit, raisin, treacle toffee, Christmas pudding and slight oaky flavours, before being further naturally conditioned in bottle.

Mispillion River Brewing – Pound Town

One of my favorite breweries in Delaware is bringing one my my favorite styles, an imperial porter!!! I’ll see you at the tent! I’m going to have more than one of these.

Ship Bottom Brewery – Barnacle Bottom W/ Peanut Butter

A stout with peanut butter? I know it’s not everyone’s glass of beer but I’m definitely in for a taste.

St. Boniface Brewing – Chocolate Porter Firken

I’m not a fan of what firkens have become here in America, but if done with restraint, and admittedly, chocolate, well, I’m willing to give it a try. But I’ll admit, I’m a little dubious with the “hints of coffee”. Hopefully it’s just a hint.

Firkin – Rich chocolate notes with hints of coffee & vanilla beans

ZeroDay Brewing Co. -Midnight Angel

I’ve had a love for ZeroDay after I named them one of my five breweries to look to at a previous Kennett Brewfest and I was not disappointed. This year for the Connoisseur tasting, they’re bringing a Russian Imperial Stout. I’ll admit I’m not normally a fan of beers aged in bourbon barrels, but with this brewery, I’m willing to give them at least a taste.

Aged for a year in Kentucky bourbon and rye barrels blended to perfection Hobbies: Sexy Mother Russia, Submarines, Making snow angels

And that’s the run down. We’re looking forward to this event as we do every year. I’ll be wearing my usual festival clothes, a Monty Python and the Holy Grail “Killer Rabbit” shirt and a black fedora and Tracey will be wearing her festival straw hat, so if you see us, come up and say hello, and point us to the best beer you’ve tried so far. After all, that’s a large part of the fun of tastings – seeing what everyone else is enjoying..

See you Saturday!

To print the map click on it and then right click and either “save image” or “copy image” and paste it into your favorite picture program. It will be larger than it appears here.

Conn Map 2017

 

 

River Town Ride and Festival, Jessop’s Oktoberfest Dinner, and 2SP Dinner

Clearing out the email and thought you might be interested in the following press release and email notifications.

****** Press Release ******

River Towns

Two Historic Towns Team Together

For One Amazing Festival!

RIVER TOWNS RIDE & Festival

The 3nd Annual River Towns Ride & Festival is a one-day joint festival held between the two waterfront towns of New Castle and Delaware City.  This year’s event will be held on Saturday, September 16, 2017 from 11:30-5:00 p.m.

The two towns are 10 miles apart and connected by the bike-friendly corridor of Route 9. The event will feature 9:00 a.m. competitive bicycling time trials component for cash and prizes AND a recreational ride where cyclists can pick their distance and ride for fun or earn a medal.

Festivals will be held in New Castle’s Historic Green and Delaware City’s Battery Park starting at 11:30.  Activities at both include live music, food, drink, children’s games, hay ride, face painting, sand art and kid’s crafts..

The highlight of the event will be a craft beer festival at both the New Castle Green and Delaware City Battery Park.

10 craft brews will be available.

Admission is free and food, drink and beer are available for purchase.

A free shuttle bus is provided for day-long transportation between each town.

WE NEED YOUR HELP!

A community festival like this needs the participation of the community.

 Please volunteer a few hours of your time to make this an exciting and fun event for New Castle. 

Volunteers are needed in these areas.  Time shifts are 11:15-1:00, 1:00-3:00, 3:00-5:00                                                                                  

·         Kids craft Table

·         Set Up/Take Down of Tables and Chairs

·         Aid Station-hand out water- snacks

·         Beer Ticket Sales, ID checks & Wrist Bands

·         Beer Pourers

·         Info Table- registration, program books,

Please email Cindy Snyder-  Cynthia.Snyder@state.de.us   or call 302-323-4453

Let us know which areas and what times you can help.  Thank You!

Visit our website: www.rivertownsfestival.com

******EMail Notification******

Jessops Oktoberfest******EMail Notification******

2SP Dinner

Things I Heard at Downtown Brewfest and Delaware: A Brew Story

– or those that I remember.

So, what we call “festival season” has started with a bang. August, September, October usually see a lot of activity as annual festivals grab their spot on the calendar and new festivals try to find a nice place to fit into the already crowded weekends.

Such as this year’s first annual Downtown Brewfest. The event was held right on Market Street in Wilmington (the 800 block to be exact) and attracted a nice crowd to the Saturday afternoon event.

I thought the event hit a lot of the marks you’d want from a beerfest, and I hope it becomes a permanent addition to our calendar.

Several weeks later it was time for one of our favorite annual events, Delaware: A Brew Story. Every year this event draws almost everyone who is anyone in the Delaware beer scene (including some who have not opened their doors yet) and this year was no exception.

Some pretty nice beers were available, and as always local historian John Medkeff Jr gave a fine talk on Delaware beer history. This year’s theme was the “Roaring Twenties” and so in fitting fashion, John gave a fine talk on the history (and impact) of prohibition on the breweries of Delaware.

Sadly, both events came up light from a picture standpoint, as I only took a few at Downtown, and expecting to have to deal with some rain at Brew Story, opted to take the night off and just enjoy the event.

So with no real pictures, and  you all knowing what a beer festival looks like by now, I thought I’d take this time to toss out some “news” tidbits that I picked up as I made the rounds at both events. Sadly because Downtown was over a month ago, some of the things that I was told at the event have already been posted by the breweries, but I’ll include them along with a link where you can find more information.

So here we go:

Stitch House is full of shiny tanks, and looks to be moving right along towards their much anticipated opening.

Craig Wensell said he’s been trying to incorporate some fun names into his beers but has run into a little resistance from the rest of the team. I mean, who wouldn’t want to order a “Get bent, Dover!”?

Steve from Argilla confirmed that the brewery is moving away from its spring and fall festivals due the supply demands they put on the brewery. Instead, they’ll be focusing on their brewer’s pizza night, which they just posted that the next one will be on October 21st. (Click on the banner below to learn more)

Pizza NightFile this under SEVERE rumor, but I was told by someone not connected to the brewery that Mispillion is going through some repackaging for their beers. I have no idea why, I think their packaging rocks.

Twin Lakes is continuing towards their goal of getting the brewery up to where they’d like it to be. Five beers will be making their way into cans, one of which was their previous offering, Greenville Pale Ale (a BBQ favorite of mine). Joining it will be –  Blue Water Pilsner, Tweed Tavern Stout, Caesar Rodney Golden Ale and Chesapeake Wheat. And, they just posted that the tasting room will opening today! Stop by.

TL tasting OpenA well known face in the biz who just finished opening a new brewery will be leaving that brewery to open his own concern. Keep an eye out for Wilmington Beer Works….or it might have been Wilmington Brew Works, but it’s coming. I could name him but thought I would let the parties concerned make the announcement when they’re ready.

Midnight Oil is chugging right along with their brewery and hope to be opening in the not to distant future. In the meantime, the brewery had some awesome shirts made for the Brew Story event. Proceeds help John’s Restore the King efforts. If you’d like to support the cause, some shirts are still available. Click here to find out more.

The Liquid Alchemy team is very excited for this weekend’s 3 day, first anniversary event which will feature a Franken-Cyser, special anniversary glasses while supplies last, and plus a hand-crafted anniversary chocolate bar from the fine people at Double Spiral Chocolates ($10, one per customer).

Well that’s what I remember. I really should start taking my digital recorder to these things. Hope to see you all at Odessa this Saturday!!

*********************************

Other dates of note:

The Annual Delaware Saengerbund Oktoberfest – Sept 15, 16, and 17

Brew at the Zoo – Sept 22

Brews by the Bay – Sept 23

Peco’s 2017 Great Pumpkin Debate – Sept 23