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Craft Beer, Here: Real Ale Fest, Ballast Point Coming Soon

An occasional column, bringing you the best in craft beer news from Parkville and beyond.

Craft Beer, Here: Real Ale Fest, Ballast Point Coming Soon

DuClaw's Real Ale Festival

Tickets are still available for what's quickly become one of my favorite festivals in the Maryland beer scene: the DuClaw Real Ale Fest.

The festival takes place at the Bel Air DuClaw location this Saturday from 12-4 p.m. and a ticket gets you unlimited access to all the beer plus a whole lot of food including three whole pigs.

In total the festival will feature over 40 firkins from 22 breweries. What's a firkin? Glad you asked. A firkin is an 11-gallon keg that holds cask-conditioned beer; "real ale" means the beer is unfiltered and served at cellar temperature (between 50 and 55 degrees) and is only lightly carbonated.

A sampling of beers to be featured include:

  • Heavy Seas Loose Cannon IPA Loose Cannon IPA "Red White & Birch" with Red Oak, White Oak and Birch Chips and added Cascade Hops
  • Heavy Seas The Great Pumpkin with added hops and toasted vanilla bean
  • Pub Dog Sour Cherry Cordial
  • Double Dry-Hopped Duckpin Pale Ale with added grapefruit zest
  • DuClaw Purple Reign, a blonde ale with raspberry puree
  • DuClaw Thunder Struck, a blend of 60 percent 2011 Devil's Milk barleywine ale and 40 percent barrel aged double Black Lightning
  • DuClaw Blonde Gin & Tonic, a blonde ale made with juniper berries and elderflowers, primed with honey from the brewer's own beekeeping operation

And that's just what they have in so far. DuClaw's Brad Klipner said that tickets are available online at the festival website through the end of Friday; a limited number of tickets might be available at the door, but nothing is guaranteed.

Ballast Point Coming to Maryland

Exciting news:  Maryland distributor Legends Limited will carry the San Diego, CA-based Ballast Point Brewing Company which should hit shelves around Maryland soon.

In fact, we could see the beers in stores early next month.

"Most likely it will be around October, we are in the process of hammering out all the details right now," said Mike Kulnich, a sales manager for Legends.

Kulnich said that Legends is planning to carry both six-packs and 22-ounce bombers, which is great news since the brewery makes some beers that are only packaged one way or the other.

If you've never had a chance to try any of Ballast Point's offerings, I had a chance to visit Ballast Point on a trip out west last October, and let me say they make one of my favorite imperial porters ( Victory at Sea), and a great IPA called Sculpin.

Welcome to Maryland, Ballast Point.

Honeygo Craft Beer Festival

Honeygo Wines and Spirits in Perry Hall is putting on a craft beer festival of their own for the second year running.

The festival will be held on September 30 from 1-4 p.m. in the parking lot at Honeygo Shopping Center. 

Featured breweries include New Belgium, Boulevard, Harpoon, Yards, DuClaw, Dogfish Head, Woodchuck Ciders, Saranac, Sierra Nevada, Sixpoint, Oskar Blues, Troegs, and Heavy Seas.

Tickets are available at the shop, the festival will feature live music and food by Baltimore's Bad Decisions will be available.

What's New

Finally, it's getting to be that time of year when fall seasonal beers start to appear on the shelves. On the pumpkin beer front we have Southern Tier Pumking, Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin, Schlafly Pumpkin Ale and Heavy Seas The Great Pumpkin to look forward to.

What's your favorite fall beer? Is there one you look forward to all year long? Tell us in the comments.

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