AUG/SEP 2005 | REGIONAL | EAST
||Homebrewers Invade Baltimore
By Chuck Cook
On June 16–18, the American Homebrewers Association
(AHA) had its annual National Homebrewers Conference in beery
Baltimore. With over 850 homebrewers in attendance, this was
one of the most popular conferences yet. There were talks
by such noted beer personalities as Vinnie Cilurzo, Lew Bryson,
Phil Markowski, Sam Calagione and Jeff Sparrow. Sparrow spoke
about brewing with wild yeasts and his new book, Wild Brews,
which was just released by the Brewers Association.
After the serious focus of seminars and talks during the
day, there was plenty of time for fun and beer tasting in
the evenings for the thirsty crowds. Friday was club night,
where homebrew clubs dressed in costume and served many a
delicious brew. Of note was the BURP (Brewers United for Real
Potables) club, located in the Washington, D.C., area, pouring
excellent rauchbier, altbier, kellerbier and others. BURP
won the “Best Club Night” award for top homebrew
The Cincinnati Malt Infusers also had a very good beer selection
at club night, including a dry-hopped IPA, a bock and a barley
wine. CMI displayed a pirate theme, with specially made black
golf shirts and red bandanas. With Susan and Jen serving tasty
brews, it was a very popular booth. There were many other
clubs in attendance as well, offering brews with enthusiasm.
Food was in abundance at club night as well, a real smorgasbord,
which never ran out even though the event ran until midnight.
This is a great night to attend, whether or not you are a
homebrewer; there must have been at least 100 beers pouring
in the room!
“Unbound by such
trivial matters as market share and production cost,
these guys really cut loose and make amazing beers.”
On Saturday, Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head hosted a tasting
of a new beer based on another ancient recipe to which he
has access. The always-engaging Calagione wowed the crowd
with tales of Midas Touch, tomb discoveries and visits from
black-suited federal agents. It is quite a life Sam leads.
Around Baltimore, events were held and special beers rolled
out all week. A Unibroue beer dinner at Max’s on Broadway
with many a special brew was put on by cellar man Casey Hard.
There was a beer breakfast at Sean Bolan’s and a whole
year’s worth of seasonal beers on tap at The Brewer’s
Art. The two locations of the Wharf Rat were in fine form,
with cask-conditioned British-style real ales flowing, along
with excellent food all around. The new DuClaw in Fells Point
was shining as well.
Jim Parker, editor of New Brewer and Zymurgy,
commented, “The most striking thing to me about the
Homebrewers Conference is always the quality of the beer available.
Unbound by such trivial matters as market share and production
cost, these guys really cut loose and make amazing beers.”
Agreed, Jim. The quality of homebrewed beer here was very
high. On that note, I give you the champions: BURP members
Dave and Becky Pyle were awarded the AHA National Homebrewers
of the Year award. Congrats!
The AHA Conference will be held in Orlando next year, June
22–24, 2006. Enjoy!
Chuck Cook is a freelance writer living in
Richmond, Va. His passions are beer and travel, and he has
written for various beer publications. He can be reached via
e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.