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.

DuClaw Holds 2nd Annual H.E.R.O. Homebrew Competition

The H.E.R.O. homebrew competition run by DuClaw Brewing Company in April 2011 was so popular, they decided to make it an annual event.  That is right, our friends at DuClaw are once calling on local homebrewers to submit their finest original homebrewed beer for a chance to have it brewed by DuClaw Brewing Company.  The winning brew will be available on tap at DuClaw Brewing Company restaurants and sold at local beer merchants.  So here’s your chance to get some bragging rights with your buddies.

ENTRY DEADLINE: April 18, 2011



  1. This contest is open to all homebrewers. Three entries per person/group. Must be at least 21 years old to enter.
  2. There is no cost to enter. Entrants must submit three 12-ounce bottles (PET bottles are acceptable). NO growlers.
  3. Entries are open all styles of beer (ales and lagers) with the following exceptions: Wood-aged, Lambics, Sours and beers that utilize bacteria in the brewing process.
  4. Although you are welcome to enter styles that DuClaw currently brews or have brewed in  the past, we strongly suggest that they be unique and/or differ from our beers in some way. We highly encourage creativity, but be sure to utilize ingredients that can be easily sourced for large scale production.
  5. Entry deadline is 4/18/2012.
  6. Beers will be judged by the brewery staff and due to time constraints, judging/feedback sheets will NOT be distributed.
  7. There is no requirement to adhere to any specific style…again, we encourage creativity!


For more information, including the entry form and regulations, please go to:

Brewery Tour and Book Signing – December 17th

Brewing in Baltimore Cover

Brewing in Baltimore Cover

When I was over at Heavy Seas / Clipper City Brewing Company the other night for the Free State Homebrew Club Guild Holiday Party, I saw a sign on the wall for a new book being released outlining the history of brewing in Baltimore.  The book is part of the Images of America series and is called Brewing in Baltimore.  The book was written by Maureen O’Prey, with a forward written by Hugh Sisson, owner of Heavy Seas. describes the book like this:  “Throughout its rich and vibrant history, Baltimore has been known by a variety of names: Mobtown, the Land of Pleasant Living, or Charm City to name just a few. Perhaps “Beer Town” would have been more appropriate. Several pivotal events in Maryland’s history involved the brewing industry. Baltimore brewers were vital to building the fledgling town into the bustling city it is today. These brewers established some of the earliest churches in Baltimore. Eagle Brewery’s Harry Von der Horst helped build the Orioles into a pennant-winning team in the 1890s. Mary Pickersgill sewed the stars upon the Star Spangled Banner on the floor of Brown’s Brewery during the War of 1812.”

Anyways, there is going to be a special Brewery Tour and Book Signing event on Saturday, December 17th from 12:30pm – 2pm.   It seems like a real cool event that might interest some of the members of the club.  I would recommend RSVPing via this link if you are interested in going:


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.

Elysian Brewing Company Release – This Thursday!

I’m only posting this because I’m a super huge fan of Elysian Brewing Company from Seattle, Washington.  I had one of their beers for the first time at the legendary Humpy’s Alehouse in Anchorage, Alaska back in July of 2008.  It was the Avatar Jasmine IPA.  Nothing crazy, just a perfectly done IPA with enough Jasmine flower in it to give it a very drinkable taste and amazing floral aroma.  I was hooked.  Only problem was that they didn’t distribute outside of the states touching Washington state.  Sucks for me.  Long story short, I’ve been able to enjoy this beer on a few rare occasions such as trips to the Great American Beer Festival (their Dark O’ the Moonpumpkin stout was nothing short of epic!) and a work trip to Seattle where I got to meet the staff at the brewery and drank there just about every night.

Well starting this Thursday, Elysian Brewing Company products will now be available in Maryland.  Hell yeah!!!  Max’s on Broadway is having a huge blowout release party where they will have 19 different Elysian beers on draft, as well as 2 different kinds in bottles.  The list looks like this:

Dragon Teat(Nitro)
Idiot Sauvin
Type O
Asphalt Dunkel
White Woods
Rosemary’s Baby
AK 47
Cerise Amour
Saison Poivre
Perseus Porter
Avatar Jasmine IPA
Immortal IPA
Loser Pale
Night Owl Pumpkin

Mens Room Red
Bete Blanche

Folks, this is a larger selection than what Elysian has in their taproom in Seattle.  Talk about a special evening.  Based on this list I might as well call in sick for the next week and make a reservation for myself in rehab.  Anyways, I hope to see some of you folks there.  The event will be held on Thursday, August 18th at Max’s on Broadway (737 South Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21231) beginning at 5pm..  You can bet you’ll see me there!

Maryland Homebrew Moving to Bigger, Better Location!

Maryland HomebrewGreat news for the Baltimore homebrewing community.  We just got word from Chris at Maryland Homebrew that they are moving!  Don’t get too worried, they are staying in the same plaza, just moving a few doors down.  Here’s an excerpt from the announcement that was sent out:

The expanded facility will give us a lot more room, which means we’ll be able to offer new classes and additional items, such as cheesemaking and distillation products for your water and essential oil needs! There will be a room dedicated to everything wine, one for milling of grains with a second mill along with some other new exciting features to come.

I don’t know about you, but I love the idea of expanded classes, especially on the cheesemaking and distillation end of things.  Sounds pretty damn cool if you ask me.  The move is schedule to be completed around September 1st (no exact date yet) and the new address will be: 6770 Oak Hall Lane, Suite 108, Columbia, MD 21045.  NOTE:  The change being from Suite 115 (current location) to Suite 108 (new location).

Also, we’d like to point out that the folks at MD Homebrew have updated their website and e-mail list as of late.  So if you haven’t seen the new website, go ahead and swing over to to check it out.  It’s a huge improvement over the old site and looks great.  And while you are there, if you aren’t on their mailing list, go ahead and enter your e-mail address down in the bottom right hand corner to sign up.

West Coast vs. East Coast Brew Off Competition

There’s a new brew club on the Maryland homebrew scene and they hail from Ocean City. Their name is Ocean City Maryland Home Brew Club (OCMHBC).  Well anyways, they have jumped right into the scene with hosting an AHA-sanctioned homebrew competition called the West Coast vs. East Coast Brew Off.

It’s not apparent where the West Coast part of the competition name comes from by the information the competition’s website, but this seems like a pretty cool competition where the Best of Show gets a cool looking teardrop trophy with their name engraved on it.

Anyways, here’s the lowdown on the competition should you choose to compete.

  • There are 28 beer style categories to choose from (see website for list)
  • Each entry will consist of four (4) 10 to 12 ounce capped bottles
  • Entries must be received by November 11, 2011 and can be dropped off at Maryland Homebrew in Columbia.
  • $5.00 per entry. $4.00 per entry after 1 entries.
  • Judges will pick the 6 best beers closet to BJCP style and award prizes
  • Judging will take place on November 27, 2011 at 2pm at Burley Oaks Brewery in Berlin MD

For more information, including instructions on registering and submitting an entry, visit the West Coast vs. East Coast Brew Off website.