3

I’m not a fan of being wrong. But there are two recent incidents in which I’ve been wrong, and I’m kind of okay with it:

  • Keeping Roethlisberger in my fantasy lineup this week was not a mistake.
  • My post about growler fill laws is woefully inaccurate. And the parts that are right aren’t right for good reasons.

Nathan of The Beer Spy — who you should be reading, by the way — just wrote this great post: Why Stores Won’t Fill Your Growler in Anne Arundel County (Spoiler: someone forgot to tell the county it’s now legal).

If you’re a lazy schmo who can’t take two seconds to click on that link and be informed (for shame), and/or the term “license holder” makes you want to rip your hair out, here’s the Cliff’s Notes version: The new law does not state that you can only fill a Fishpaws growler at Fishpaws. It actually states that you can fill an Annebeth’s growler at Fishpaws, and vice versa. The law does in fact promote the free-flowing of awesome beer with the use of a growler from any “license holder.”

But here’s the part where you shake your head and go LOLGOVERNMENT: The Liquor Board wasn’t told about the changes so they kept charging ahead, rule-making while using the language with old growler limits.

Because communication is a top priority.

Thankfully Nathan also had good news for us beer drinkers:

But don’t worry, Senator Reilly told me that he and some of his colleagues will be meeting with the Liquor Board soon to workout changes to the regulations so that growler usage is implemented in AA County as intended. I will stay on top of this an keep all two of my readers updated.

This is obviously fantastic news, because I really don’t want our apartment to turn into a dope, but also dangerous, fort made of thousands of growlers that I’ve been forced to buy to be a compliant, law-abiding beer lover.

But when I met with Lindsey and Keith for drinks at 1747 Pub last week, we talked at length at how frustrated we feel as beer lovers by the confusing, often-conflicting rules and regulations that govern counties across the state.

Admittedly, I am new to the area, and historically I’m used to fewer restrictions when it comes to my beer purchasing behavior, particularly as it pertains to growlers. But I’m amazed at how confusing things are here, leaving people understandably feeling like they’re fighting an uphill battle just to be able to drink good beer.

It shouldn’t take so much effort to figure out what all of these laws mean. Because right now it feels like a game of Where’s Waldo? where everyone is dressed up like Waldo. For example, why can’t I buy beer in a grocery store, but I can promote a healthy lifestyle at the freaking Rite Aid next to Naval Bagels by picking up some trash bags and oh, some Jameson, because that location has a FULL SERVICE LIQUOR STORE INSIDE OF IT?

Also? Apparently this Rite Aid has the lowest Flying Dog prices in town. True story.

I know there are laws upon laws out there that explain how something this illogical makes “perfect sense,” but I don’t care. It’s dumb to the point where it feels like I’m getting dumber the more I think about it.

Does the state of Maryland think we’re one legislative clause away from turning from reasonable, responsible beer drinkers into Drunk Hulk, hulk-smashing our way down West Street, swinging a growler in the air? Newsflash, Maryland: I can buy beer at the Whole Foods in Alexandria, Va. They even have a bar inside where you can sit and drink really good beer. And guess what? The citizens of Alexandria are just fine — the lax laws there have not resulted in the streets running red with blood. No soccer moms are beating each other to death with yoga mats.

Anyway, I digress. Basically reading that post today made me incredibly happy.

We should be more pro-beer in Annapolis and Anne Arundel County, and this is a step in the right direction. Don’t make those of us who really love beer feel like we’re being forced to wear a chest leash and a helmet every time we want to go out and fill up a growler. We’re not children. Without these ridiculous restrictions, I’d absolutely buy more beer, as I wouldn’t be constantly fretting over whether or not I had a growler from the right license holder — and this would support small businesses and craft breweries alike.

And isn’t that really what we all want? I mean, aside from more tasty beer in our bellies of course.

2

Chilling and Hiding my Herpes Symplex 778.5

I got sunburned this weekend. My lips are jacked up. I look like I’ve been kissing a dirty tail pipe all day.

"I’m not falling for the banana in the tail pipe trick"

My growler filled with Mammoth Epic IPA is almost empty. That makes me sad and also makes me wonder about my beer drinking skills. That thing should have been emptied on Saturday.

"Mmmmm….beer."

My legs are so dead. So tired. So sore. The last few nights I have woken up in the middle of night with cramps in my calves and hamstrings. Please rub my legs, I will put on clothes….maybe.

"She’s got legs. And she knows how to use them."

The bugs have chewed me up like a Friday night seafood buffet. I itch all over. I have these stupid bumps in weird places. I’m constantly scratching myself like a ball player. If you are rubbing my legs will you rub cream on me too….remember clothes on….maybe.

"We are going to need a bigger boat."

3

A friend and I were plotting and scheming yesterday regarding an upcoming growler release of Crown Valley’s nearly impossible to get Imperial Pumpkin Smash at Fishpaws Marketplace in Arnold, Md. This is a big deal because I consider myself to be in a deeply emotional and fully-committed relationship with this beer. Like, if this were the 50s, I’d absolutely give this beer my letter jacket and ask it to go steady.

Anyway, while we were chatting, my friend asked: “Can I bring my own growler to get filled, or do I need to buy a growler at Fishpaws?”

This is a great question, especially since I have spent the majority of my beer-drinking career in Washington, D.C., and Alexandria, Virginia, where many places will fill up any growler I bring, as long as it meets certain requirements — having a screw-top, as an example.

Well, this question prompted me to do some research on the topic, because I had absolutely no clue what the answer was. So I queued up the Unsolved Mysteries theme song, rolled up my sleeves and got ready for some serious investigative journalism… by opening up Google.

Here’s what I found out:

As some of you may or may not know, the answer in Anne Arundel County is pretty simple: No, you may not bring your own growlers in to be filled. The law says that retailers who have a “Refillable Container License” must provide containers that are not only sealable and between 32 and 182 ounces, but also “branded with the identifying mark of the license holder.” Meaning Fishpaws can only fill and refill Fishpaws growlers.

I heard some speculation that, because Annapolis has its own liquor board, it’d be different here… but still no. Maryland’s state capital also passed law basically saying the same thing.

So there you have it, folks! The more you know, etc.

Update: Apparently, there might be a widespread case of misinterpretation regarding this issue — brought to my attention by the fabulous Nathan of the Annapolis Homebrew Club. Look for an update soon, as I do a bit more research and chat with the bill sponsor in Annapolis. I may have some good news for you all!

3

Sierra Nevada “Breakfast at Chico’s” Scotch Ale brewed with Almonds and Lactose, “Beer Camp Earl’s IPA” brewed with Earl Gray tea, “Narwhal” Imperial Stout, “Ovila Saison” Rye Whiskey Barrel Aged, “Audition: Salted Caramel Scotch Ale” and “Raincheck” Spiced Stout: Made another trip out to the Torpedo Room. It’s probably my favorite place to visit. I always like trying the limited release beers they have. The tap list wasn’t great this visit, mostly filled with Beer Camp Tour releases so I got mostly beers I’ve tried before. The only new ones for me were the Breakfast at Chico’s and Ovila Saison Rye. Got a bottle of Audition: English-Style Barleywine for my cellar and a growler fill of Breakfast at Chico’s for my girlfriend.

Breakfast at Chico’s: Moderate lactose sweetness with subtle almond nuttiness; just enough to give it character. The aroma was really faint. Mild to moderate cocoa and caramel notes on the palate. Medium-minus body and carbonation with a semi-sweet finish. Underwhelming, but palatable.

Ovila Siason Rye: Sweet bourbon aroma with subtle rye / grain character. Vanilla and toasted coconut. Little to no carbonation. Medium body with ample fusel notes and a subtle sweetness. Any characteristic of a saison has been stripped away in the barrel. Palatable, but I wouldn’t call this a Saison anymore.

Earl’s IPA
Narwhal
Audition: Salted Caramel
Raincheck

5

They gave everyone at work one of the new growlers.  Wahoo!  So what does one do with a brand new growler you might ask?  Fill it, of course!  I put the growler in the fridge (rinsed out, natch) and the ice packs from my lunch pail in the freezer.  The growler fits perfectly in my insulated lunch bag. Low and behold I had a growler coozie (with ice packs no less).   Does life get better then that?

On the way home I stopped at Mountain Toad Brewery and fill my ice cold growler up with yummy beer for the weekend.  What did I get for the inaugural growler brew you  might ask?  Well let me tell you… 

Ryrish Stout - Mountain Toad Brewing

This one pours out coffee black with a short tannish head that dissipated slowly leaving nice lacing.  It has notes of coffee, chocolate, dark fruit, black pepper and mountain pine.  It has a thin creamy mouth feel with mild carbonation and a clean somewhat bitter finish.  This has quite a bit of hop for a stout and the bitter blends well with the sweet malts.  The rye seems to come out in the creamy texture and peppery spice.  

This is a very nice example of an Irish Stout and one that any brewery would be proud of.  That it has come from a brewery open less then two years is very impressive.  I am pretty sure my growler is going to have to get filled with this one again.

Irish Dry Stout | 5.90% ABV

Revolt against Big Brewery Domination

I get more and more into supporting the local micro-breweries.  I have a couple of growlers that I’m filling on a regular basis to drink the best, freshest beer available from my local neighborhood brewer.  I’m finding that there is much resentment among brewers and craft brew drinkers towards the Coors and Anheuser-Busch dominated market.  This near-monopoly has been chipped at for years by brewers like Samuel Adams and in the Pacific Northwest, Red Hook Ale, and many others.  But now it seems to have turned into a full-fledged revolt.

My opinion is that this is happening because American domestic beers are boring.  To me, they are the Purina Dog Chow of beers.  I really enjoy listening to my snobby micro-brew buddies talk about domestic beer domination and politics.  About the big money spent to create and enforce oppressive laws against the small-time brewer.  Some of the stories I’ve heard amaze me, but I’m too lazy to do my own research, I’d rather just listen and enjoy the brew.  

I am joining the revolt based on one fact:  I prefer good beer.

Still Not Bad For A Tuesday

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Four of the last five Tuesdays, I have had fellow beer geeks over to my apartment to crack some bottles.  While this week only featured 1.5 - one friend + one friend here half of the time - it was still not bad for a Tuesday.  The North Brewery growler was filled with Inspirational Beer Breakfast, which went over quite favorably, and the delicious Headstash next to it is brewed by In’Finiti.

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As a self-professed Stone fanboy, these last four beers were a great way to end the night - and (unintentionally) have my 50th Stone beer in the process!  Crime and Punishment were indeed too hot for my taste - and I order wings as hot as they come, mind you - but Southern Charred was a step or seven in my direction.  stonebrewingco hinted about an upcoming release in their Bastard series earlier in the day, prompting Tumblr folks to guess on what that might be… I guessed and hope for Double Barrel Double Bastard!

Growler fill from Tommy’s Pizza in Gettysburg, PA. Starr Hill / Terrapin GAVA Joe Belgian Espresso Stout #beer #beerporn #beernerd #beergasm #brewhead #craftbeer #craftbeerporn #craftbeernerd #craftnotcrap #craftbeernotcrapbeer #instabeer #untappd #stoutseason #craftgeer #growlersfordays #growlerfill #32ozofgoodness #starrhillbrewery #terrapinbeercompany #collaboration #gavajoe #belgianespressostout #virginiacraftbeer #georgiacraftbeer by fatjesus78 http://ift.tt/Y6woVk

Sunday specials today in the tap room on pints and growler/howler fills! We are open from 12-7 pm. 

Enjoy this #VABeer pic by hungryasianrke - The first growler filled @biglickbrewingco! #beer #vabeer #microbrew #craftbeer #nanobrew #nanobrewery #newbrewery #saison #growler #biglick #swva #va #virginia #vais4lovers #loveva #roa #roanoke #chewdoin

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