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 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:

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

Yakima Valley HopsFor those brewers who have not been to, 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!


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

National Homebrewers Conference Registration Date Announced

Talk to any of your fellow CSIers who went to the American Homebrewer’s Association (AHA) National Homebrewers Conference (NHC) in San Diego earlier in the year and they will tell you they had the time of their lives.  This year the action heads around 1,300 miles north up Interstate 5 to the city of Seattle, WA for “Brewing with Bigfoot.”  The NHC will be held from June 21-23, 2012.

AHA has sent an email letting members know that registration will open on February 1st, 2012.  This year registration for the whole shebang is $235.  This is quite a bargain considering how much beer they give you.  You will literally be drinking beer from 9am – 2am every day and maybe even later.  This is in addition to the commercial brewing and homebrewing legends you will be able to interact with and learn from.

Registration is only open to AHA members.  So if you are seriously considering attending this epic event and you are not an AHA member, you may wish to consider joining prior to the registration date.  Also, this event will sell out.  So if you think you might be interested in going, start planning according now.  If you wait around more than a few weeks after the registration opens, you will be left out.

As an FYI, the NHC in 2013 will be headed to the east coast and will be held in Philadelphia, PA.  More to come later in 2012 on how CSI will be participating in this effort.

For more information on registration pricing be sure to visit the NHC Registration website.

For more information about joining AHA and the many benefits to being a member, please visit the AHA Membership website.


Turkey Shoot 2011 Information Announced

Jeez how time flies.  Thanksgiving is right around the corner and that means it is Turkey Shoot time again.  Turkey Shoot is an annual competition put on by our friends in MALT around Thanksgiving time.  Winners can receive cash prizes –$100 for Best of Shoot, and lots of good prizes that were donated by their generous sponsors.

The competition is open to all homebrewers and submissions must come in the form of three (3) 10-14 oz. crown cap bottles without labels, or raised or embossed lettering.  Styles are open to BJCP beer categories 1-23 (no meads or ciders).  All entries must be accompanied with an entry form and each bottle must have a bottle ID form attached with a rubber band.  The registration fee is $6 for first entry and $5 for each additional entry. Please make checks payable to: Maryland Ale & Lager Technicians or simply MALT.

Entries must be received by October 29th, 2011 and can be dropped off at Maryland Homebrew (6770 Oak Hall Lane, Suite 108, Columbia, MD), The Thirsty Brewer (13522 Long Green Pike, Baldwin, MD), or The Flying Barrel (103 S. Carroll St., Frederick, MD).

For more information, an entry form, or rules, please visit the Turkey Shoot 2011 website.

Charitably Charmin’ ChiliBrew Competition is Back!

Our friends in the BaltiBrew homebrew club are once again holding their ChiliBrew homebrew competition and chili cookoff as part of Baltimore Beer Week.  This time it is sponsored by Liam Flynn’s Ale House.

ChiliBrew is a charity homebrew competition and chili cookoff with all proceeds benefiting the Velocipede Bike Project and Baltimore Free School.  This event is being held on Friday, October 14th, 2011 from 7 to 10pm at The Loads of Fun Gallery (120 W. North Ave, Baltimore, MD 21201), one block away from Liam Flynn’s Ale House.

The $10-20 suggested donation at the door will get you a commemorative glass and a ballot to vote on any or all of the competitions (chili con carne, veggie chili, and homebrew, though you must be 21 or older for homebrew).

Are you interested in submitting a homebrew and/or chili creation for this event?  Well please go on over to the ChiliBrew website and take a look at the event rules and homebrew/chili entry submission form.  They ask that you please fill out an entry form by October 5th if you plan on competing.

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

All CSI members are encouraged to participate in this competition and support our friends from BaltiBrew in this awesome activity benefiting Baltimore.

T-Bonz Homebrew Beer Dinner Featuring CSI Beers

Look out Howard County!!!  T-Bonz Grille and Pub in Ellicott City, Maryland is teaming up with Maryland Homebrew on Tuesday, October 11th, 2011 to put on a very special beer dinner as part of Baltimore Beer Week.

What is so special about this beer dinner?  Well I’m glad you asked.  This is no ordinary beer dinner because it will feature beers brewed by members of the CSI Homebrew Club.  That is right folks…Baltimore’s best homebrew club will be supplying all of the beers for this dinner.  What an excellent way to share our beers with the masses!

Tickets for the event are $40 and will feature 5 beers with a 4-course dinner.  The menu is currently in the works (we will update this post as soon as we get it), but will be centered around a local theme with fresh, local products.  The style of beers that will be featured are:  Porter, Black IPA, Pale Ale, Belgian Strong Ale, and a Pumpkin Ale.

Tickets can be purchased at Maryland Homebrew (6770 Oak Hall Lane, Suite 108, Columbia, MD) or T-Bonz Grille and Pub (4910 Waterloo Road, Ellicott City, MD) between now and Saturday, October 8th.  A limited number of tickets will be sold (~60), so if you plan on going, please don’t wait until the last minute.  We hope to see you all there!