2014 Club Officers Needed


Brent MacAloney’s last day on the job

At the November 12th club meeting we will be voting on who will consist of the 2014 set of club officers.  Being an officer allows you some say in the future of the club and gives you an opportunity to improve the club.  In particular this year is an exciting year to be an officer as it is the 25th anniversary of the club.  The positions up for grabs include:

  • President – Runs overall club operations.  Responsible for running meetings, organizing club activities, monthly notes and announcements, and whatever other important club business pops up.
  • Vice President – Assists the President with the tasks listed above.
  • Competition Administrator – Runs the monthly homebrew competitions.
  • Treasurer – Oversees club finances.
  • Webmaster – Works with other officers to post information on the club’s website and Facebook page.  Includes monthly meeting announcements on Facebook, updating website with next meeting information and competition results.
  • Guild Representative – Attends monthly Free State Homebrew Club Guild meetings on behalf of CSI and reports back to the club on decisions being made.

The current set of officers encourage current members to please consider running for one of these positions.  It is a lot of fun and you have your chance to play a role in the storied history of Baltimore’s oldest homebrew club.

If you are interested in running for a position, regardless of if you can make it to the November 12th meeting, or have any questions about any of the positions, please email the current club president, Brent MacAloney.  Deadline for nominations is:  11:59pm on Sunday, November 10th.

Made in Baltimore: Beer Tap Handles, Beer, and Homebrew


Click image to see the flyer.

As part of Baltimore Beer Week, the Cross Street Irregulars (CSI) are teaming up with Mark Supik and Company, Maryland Homebrew and Raven Beer to hold a “Made in Baltimore” beer tap handles and homebrew demonstration.  At this event you can see how custom beer tap handles are made by one of the premier woodturning shops in the USA, learn how you can brew your own batch of homebrew, and tour Baltimore’s very own Beer Tap Handle Museum.  You can do all this while enjoy delicious samples of beers brewed by CSI members and the folks at Raven Beer.

This event will take place on Sunday, October 20th, 2013 from Noon to 4pm at Mark Supik and Company (1 N. Haven Street, Baltimore, MD 21224).  The best part about this event is that is FREE!

If you wish to print up a flyer for the event to share with fellow homebrewers or your homebrew club, you can find the flyer here.

The members of CSI hope you can enjoy us in this fun, yet educational homebrewing event.

If you have any questions, please contact CSI President, Brent MacAloney.

Designing Beer with Dr. Brad Smith (aka the BeerSmith guy!)


Click image to see the flyer

As part of Baltimore Beer Week, CSI has lined up an awesome opportunity for all homebrewers in the area.  On Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013, we will be hosting Dr. Brad Smith, author of the highly acclaimed BeerSmith brewing software, brewer with 23 years experience, host of the BeerSmith podcast, and founder of BrewWiki.com for a talk on designing beer.  The event will take place at Maryland Homebrew at 6770 Oak Hall Ln #108, Columbia, MD 21045 from 6:30pm to 9:00pm.

If you are looking to bring your brewing game to the next level, especially those of you looking to get your beers into competitions, this is a great opportunity to bring some homebrew, share it with other homebrewers, get quality feedback, and learn about what you can do to design better homebrew recipes.  Members from CSI will be on hand to talk about homebrew clubs in the area and why joining a homebrew club will also result in brewers crafting better beers.

The event will begin at 6:30pm with a social hour.  Here you can share your homebrew, enjoy samples of beer from other homebrewers in a social forum, talk about brewing technique, recipe design, or whatever you want.

At 7:30pm we will all take our seats and Dr. Smith will give us a presentation on designing beer.  Similar to his presentation at the 2013 National Homebrewers Conference in Philadelphia, PA, he will offer a structured approach to beer recipe design, starting with a target style and walking through research, selection of ingredients and application of brewing techniques to create a great beer recipe. He will review examples of recipe design, as well as cover some of the newer techniques brewers are using to enhance their beer. This presentation is oriented towards all-grain beer design, though most of the techniques could also be used by extract brewers, which he would be happy to explain.  Before he finishes, we have asked him to give a quick demonstration of how all this can be done in the BeerSmith software.  He will wrap up the evening by holding a questions and answers session with those in attendance.

This looks to be a great event and best of all, it is FREE!  In order to attend, registration is required as seating is limited.  Registration can be done at the following URL:  http://goo.gl/DlsRcV

If you wish to print up a flyer for the event to share with fellow homebrewers or your homebrew club, you can find the flyer here.

The members of CSI hope you can enjoy us in this fun, yet educational homebrewing event.

If you have any questions, please contact CSI President, Brent MacAloney.

Group Brew Project Showcasing Unique and Exotic Hops

NHC LogoWith the 2013 National Homebrewers Conference (NHC) being held right up I-95 from Baltimore in Philadelphia, it provided CSI club members who have never been to a national conference with an excellent opportunity to attend one.  In fact, CSI had around 20 members register to attend the event.

In the months leading up to the NHC, as we met to discuss CSI’s presence at the NHC, it became apparent that it would be both fun and educational to come up with a series of single hopped beers featuring rare and exotic hops to serve at club night.  The goal was to allow those tasting the beers the opportunity to really pick up on the characteristics of each hop variety.  It also provided a chance to those in the club who primarily brew with malt extract, to team up with an all-grain brewer, giving them the chance to try out the process.

First, we wanted to come up with a malt bill that provided for a solid drinking base, but did not overpower the hops.  So we went to the club’s resident IPA expert, Matt Barra, for a recommendation.  He brought a very simple, but enjoyable malt bill that he had used several times before.  The malt bill for a 5 gallon batch was:

  • 8 pounds of Pale Malt (UK)
  • 4 pounds of Vienna
  • 8 ounces of Victory
  • 8 ounces of Crystal 80L

Next we needed to find some hops.  We remembered back to the January 2013 club meeting when CSI member Mike Pietropaoli brought an IPA to the meeting that featured Caliente hops.  Prior to that meeting, no one in the club had ever heard of Caliente hops, let alone used them.  The hop profile in the beer was so unique and enjoyable, members immediately started asking where he found this variety.  Mike pointed us all to YakimaValleyHops.com.

Yakima Valley HopsFor those brewers who have not been to YakimaValleyHops.com, you are severely missing out.  YVH is a legit hops super store.  In fact, I’d argue that there isn’t a shop out there with a larger variety.  At any given time, they probably have around 40 varieties of domestic hops and around 30 varieties of imported hops to choose from.  This provided us with an amazing selection of hop varieties to choose from for our project.  After printing up the current stock and reviewing the hop profiles with the club members, we ended up settling on buying a half pound of each of the following varieties for our group brew project:

  • Bravo
  • Caliente
  • Calypso
  • Comet
  • Falconer’s Flight
  • Millenium
  • Sorachi Ace
  • Super Galena

Note:  I was late on putting the hops orders in and the good folks at YVH were more than accommodating in making sure the hops were in my hand in time for the brew session.  Thanks sooooo much to the staff there.  Talk about tip top customer service!!!

Additionally, we had some brewers with Simcoe and homebrown Cascade hops on hand, so they used those for the group brew.

Members of the club got together on Saturday, April 6th in the parking lot behind Maryland Homebrew in Columbia, MD to take part in a group brew.  The rules were simple.  Everyone uses the same malt bill (along with some help from the MDHB staff, we measured the portions out and milled the grains the night before) but we left it up to the brewer to decide how to best use their half pound of hops.  No other hop varieties other than the single hop could be used.  Brewers could use as much of the half pound as they wanted and make their hop additions whenever they wanted during the brew session.  For example, I ended up adding an ounce at 60 minutes, half an ounce every 10 minutes during the boil, and then another ounce at flameout.

In order to serve all of these beers at the Club Night, I built a 9-tap draft box for the club out of spare wood that I had left over from previous woodworking projects.  That way attendees could go down the line and try up to 9 of these beers in a row, allowing them to compare and contrast the characteristics of each hop.  The draft box turned out awesome and is a nice piece for the club to have and use for years to come.

Draft Box

Feedback on the beers and the project from attendees at the NHC was awesome!  On top of many people just swinging by to try all the different beers and enjoying learning about hops they’ve never tried or heard of, in talking about our project with attendees, I had more than one person come up to me and say they wanted to try something like this with their homebrew club.  It is so exciting that our project inspired other clubs to try something similar.

Pouring Beer at NHC

The point of this post is to encourage CSI members and members of other clubs to organize and try a group project like this or something similar.  Below you will find a few other ideas that may be worth trying with your friends or you club, but however, I encourage you to think outside the box, and experiment on an aspect of homebrew that interests you or that you would like to know more about.

  • Large batch of homebrew using the same malt, hops, and yeast, portioned off and fermented at different temperatures.
  • Large batch of homebrew using the same malt and hops, but using different yeasts.
  • Several separate batches of homebrew using different base malts, but the same specialty malts, hops and yeast.
  • Several separate batches of homebrew using the same malt, hops, and yeast, but using different mashing temperatures.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me and I’ll be glad to talk to you about setting up a project like this for you and your friends.  The sky is the limit here and the end result is a lot of fun and extremely educational.  Cheers!


How To Build a Keezer or Freezer Kegerator

This is a video link that I’ve been meaning to put up on the website for a while and just haven’t gotten around to it. It is a video from Northern Brewer on how to build a keezer or freezer kegerator.


The video is approximately 14 minutes long, but having helped people build a keezer before, I think it does a very good job at explaining the process in pretty good detail.

Now if you are going to embark on the journey of building a keezer, the first place I would look for a bargain on a freezer is over at Homebrew Finds. It seems as if they are posting a deal every week or two on freezers that can be used to convert to a keezer.

Finally, I would recommend asking around in the club. There are several members that I know of that have made some pretty sophisticated and beautiful looking keezers. Just show up at a meeting and ask around, or head over to our Facebook page and make a post.

T-Bonz Grille & Taphouse and Maryland Homebrew Beer Dinner

As part of Baltimore Beer Week, T-Bonz Grille and Taphouse, Maryland Homebrew, and CSI Homebrew Club members are holding a homebrew beer dinner on Tuesday, October 23rd at 6:00pm.  The four-course meal will pair foods with homebrews, brewed by members of CSI.  Here is the food-beer pairings:

Greeting Course – Salted Sweet Potato Chips paired with Chris Gough’s Pale Ale

1st Course – Spinach and Lola Rosa Salad with Cranberries, Walnuts, and Goat Cheese tossed in a Peach Vinaigrette paired with Chris Anderson’s Peach Wheat Ale

2nd Course – Cheddar Cheese and Dunkel Soup topped with Fresh Popcorn paired with Ben Sugerman’s Dunkel

3rd Course – Meat Option:  Short Ribs Braised in Chocolate Stout  served with a Seared Pumpkin Cake and Roasted Corn OR Fish Option:  Grilled Rockfish with a Mole Sauce over Rice and Roasted Corn paired with Dave Hume’s Chocolate Stout

4th Course – Pumpkin Pudding Pie paired with Jill Legault and Trevor Fontes’ Pumpkin Ale

Tickets for this event are $50 per person (includes tax and gratuity) or $45 for T-Bonz Beer Club Members.  Tickets may be purchased at Maryland Homebrew (6770 Oak Hall Lane #108, Columbia, MD)or T-Bonz Grille and Taphouse (4910 Waterloo Road, Ellicott City, MD).  Limited seating is available, so please purchase these tickets well in advance.  A printable flyer can be found here.

Heat up the Spring with ChiliBrew!

ChiliBrew Logo

Our friends in BaltiBrew are brewing up version 5 of their wildly popular ChiliBrew event.  For those who haven’t been before, this is a rock em sock em good time with both a homebrew competition and chili cookoff where the money raised goes to local charities.  This rendition of ChiliBrew will benefit Baltimore Free School, Bnote, and Bearings Bike Project.  The event takes place on Sunday, April 22nd from 1pm – 5pm at the Baltimore Free Farm (3510 Ash St., Baltimore MD 21211).  Is there a better way to spend Earth Day than with homebrew, chili, charity, and learning about some local organizations?

 Homebrew competition winners will receive brewshop gift cards: $75 1st-place, $50 2nd-, $25 3rd-, $10 each 4th- & 5th-place.  Chili cookoff winners (Vegetarian, Con Carne) will each receive prizes yet to be determined of approximate value as follows: $40 1st-place, $25 2nd-, $10 3rd-place.

Admission price is a $10 – $20 donation and I’ve been told that bringing a homebrew or chili for the competition may get you in for free, but please feel free to donate as well to these organizations as the money goes to a good cause.

Rules and an entry form for the chili cookoff and homebrew competition can be found on the ChiliBrew website.  Although there is no deadline to declare your participation, it is highly recommended that you email organizers to let them know you plan on coming.  That way they can ensure there’s a spot for you.

Hope to see you all there!!!

The Clone Wars are Back!!!

Our friends at the Pratt Street Ale House and C.R.A.B.S. are running their highly successful Clone Wars Homebrew Competition again.  Last year it was the 3 Lions that homebrewers were asked to clone.  This year it is the Dark Horse mild ale.

First place will receive the coveted tap handle, a $50 gift card to Pratt Street Ale House or Meridian Pint (winners choice), a sixtal of Dark Horse, and the winning brewer will get to brew a batch of Dark Horse with Steve Jones at the brewery.  The runner up will receive a growler filled with Dark Horse and a $25 gift card.

Deadline for submission is April 1st, 2012 and must come in the form of 2 – 12oz bottles.  They may be dropped off at the Pratt Street Ale House, Maryland Homebrew or Meridian Pint in DC.  Although the timetable is tight, we are assured that this is a beer that can be turned around in about 7 days, if kegging.

For more information including the Dark Horse recipe and submissions labels, please visit the Clone Wars page C.R.A.B.S. website

Max’s 72-hours of Belgian Beer Fest

CSI Members at the Belgian Beer Fest in 2011

It’s that time of year.  We are just a week away from the annual 72-hours of Belgian Beer Festival at Max’s in Baltimore (737 South Broadway, Baltimore, MD).

For those who have gone to this beer festival in the past, you know how legendary this event actually is and no matter what I say, you probably plan on attending.  For those of you who haven’t gone to this beer festival before, do yourself a favor and make it down to Max’s  for this epic event.  There will be Belgian beers and Belgian-style beers served at this event on draft and in bottle that you probably haven’t seen served in the US or will never see served in the US again.  For a review on the 2011 event, please see the write up Belgian Ben wrote.

The event is held from February 17-19, 2012.  Entry to this event is free and you pay by the beer.  You have the option of purchasing sample or full sized beers.  Doors open daily at 11am and it is highly recommended that you get there early if you want to get a seat or some of the more rare beers.

A large group of CSI members will be attending for the opening on Friday, February 17th.  The morning will start off with breakfast a Jimmy’s Restaurant at 8:30am and then we will head over to wait in line immediately afterwards.  If you plan on going and want to attend the breakfast, please go over to the CSI Facebook page and RSVP for the breakfast.

Finally, the draft beer list for this event is 90% complete and we have the latest version.  It is highly recommended that you do some research on the beers that will be available prior to attending.  You can find the latest version of the list here (Note:  List subject to change without notice):


Abbey Des Rocs Grand Cru

Achilles Serafijn Grand Cru

Achouffee Chouffe Biere Du Soleil

Achouffe La Chouffe

Achouffe Mc Chouffe

Alvinne Gaspar

Alvinne kerasus

Alvinne Morpheus Wild Undressed

Alvinne Morpheus Wild Undressed Monbazillac

Alvinne Morpheus Wild Undressed w/ Blue Boskoop Grapes agedin Bourgogne Wine barrels

Bavik Petrus Winter

Bavik Wittekerke Winter

Blaugies Darbyste

Blaugies La Moneuse Saison

Blaugies La Moneuse Special Winter

Blaugies Saison De Epeature

Bosteels Pauwel Kawk

Brugse Zot Blonde

Brugse Zot Dubbel Bruin

Cazeau Saison

Cazeau Tournay Black

Chimay Cinq Cents

De Dochter Van De Korenaar Belle Fluer

De Dochter Van De Korenaar Peat Oak Aged Embrasse

De Dolle Boskuen

De Dolle Dulle Teve

De Glazen Toren Canaster

De Glazen Toren Jan De Lichte

De Glazen TorenOndinke

De Glazen Toren Saison De Epre Mere

De Glazen Toren Cuvee Angelquie Aged in Whiskey/Pinot Noir Barrels

De La Senne Taras Boulba

De La Senne Zinnebier

De Landtsheer Malhuer 10

De Landtsheer Malhuer 12

De Landtsheer Malhuer 12 Aged in Bourbon Barrels

De Proef Draeckenier

De Proef Flemish Primtive

De Proef KO

De Ranke Pere Noel

De Ranke Saison De Dottignies

Deca Westoek X

Dubussion Scladis Cuvee Des Trolls

Dubussion Scaldis Triple Blonde

Dupont Avec Les Bons Voeux

Dupont Foret Blanche

Dupont La Biere De Beloeil

Dupont Moinette Blonde

Dupont Monks Stout

Dupont Posca Rustica

Dupont Redor Pils

Dupont Saison

Duvel Single

Ellezelloise Hercule Stout

Ellezelloise Quintine Blonde

Geants Gouyasse

Geants Noel De Geants

Hof Ten Dormaal Blonde

Hof Ten Dormaal White Gold

Hofbrouwerijke Hofblues

Huyghe Delirium Tremens

Huyghe Delirium Nocturnm

Huyghe Delirium Noel

Jandrian Jandrenouille IV Saison

Jandrian Jandrenouille V Cense

Jandrian Jandrenouille VI Wheat

Kerkom Bink Bloesom

Kerkom Bink Blonde

Kerkom Bink Triple

La Rulles Grand 10

La Rulles Triple

La Rulles Cuvee

Lefebvre Hopus

Leroy Christmas

Liefmans Oud Bruin

Musketeers Troubadour Magma Special Cascade Edition

Musketeers Trounadour Special

Noel De Silenrieux

Palm Ale

Rodenbach Grand Cru

Roman Ename Cuvee

Saint Helene La Grognarde

Saint Helene Mistinguett

Scheldebrouwerij De Zeezupier

Scheldebrouwerij Lamme Goedzak

Scheldebrouwerij Oesterstout

Scheldebrouwerij Hop Ruiter

Silly Enghien Noel

Sint Canarus Triple

Slaapmutske Dry Hop Lager

Slaapmutske Hop Collection East Kent

Slaapmutske Triple Night cap

St Bernardus Christmas

St Feuillien Speciale

St Feuillen Blonde

Stillwater/Struise Outblack

Stillwater Jaded

Stillwater of Love & Regret

Stillwater Rule of Thirds

Strubbe Ichtegems Grand cru

Strubbe Keyte Dubbel Triple

Struise Pannepot Grand reserva

Struise Pannepot Reserva

Struise Svea IPA

Struise Tsjeeses

Struise Tsjeeses Reserva

T’ Gaverhopke Extra

T’ Gaverhopke Koerseklakske

T’ Gaverhopke Singing Blonde

Tilquin Gueuze

Van Steenberge Boucanier Christmas

Van Steenberge De Garre Triple

Van Steenberge Ertvelds Wit

Van Steenberge Gulden Draak 9000 Quad

Van Steenberge Monks cafe Flemish Sour

2012 National Homebrew Competition – Important Dates

National Homebrew Competition Medal

The 2012 American Homebrew Assocaition annual meeting will be held in Seattle, WA on June 21-23, 2012.  If you are planning on taking part in the National Homebrew Competition at this event, here are a list of important dates that you want to keep in mind.

Online Registration:  Available mid-February 2012
Entry Shipping:  March 19-28, 2012
First Round Competitions: March 30 – April 22, 2012
First Round Results: May 4, 2012

For more information, including submission rules, fees, shipping information or drop off locations, please visit the National Homebrew Competition website.