[dlayphoto dot com]

An Afternoon at Heavy Seas Beer

A post-tour drink: Heavy Seas Greater Pumpkin on Cask.

A few weeks ago, I entered a Twitter contest from The Greene Turtle to win VIP brewery tour passes to Heavy Seas Beer. I had forgotten about it when I got this tweet:

Needless to say, I was excited. Being a newly minted Maryland transplant, I had heard of Heavy Seas Beer, but had not tried it. I knew of the storied history of the company, with founder Hugh Sisson as the owner of Maryland’s first Brewpub:

The brewpub movement on the East Coast was in its infancy in the mid ’80s, and Hugh was in the first wave of pioneers. Hugh, his father, and former Senator George Della, Jr., lobbied for a bill that legalized brewpubs in Maryland. In 1988, the bill was signed into law, and in ’89, Sisson’s became a Maryland’s first brewpub, with Hugh at the helm as brewer. — Hugh & the Heavy Seas Story

Siren Noire in Bourbon Barrels
Siren Noire, aging in Bourbon Barrels. To be tapped January 14!

Sunday was Tour Day, and Jennifer & I headed down I-695, to Exit 9: Hollins Ferry Road. There was a Ravens game that day, so we weren’t expecting that large of a crowd. We walked into the Taproom to a small group of 10 people at the bar, drinking beer and watching the game. We turned in our VIP Tour Passes and got pint glasses and chips in return, good for sampling beers. I saw there was Great’ER Pumpkin available on Cask, and went immediately for it.

Sorry Southern Tier Pumking, you’ve been dethroned as Best Pumpkin Beer. Great’ER Pumpkin had a lot more flavor, and a boozier punch to match.

Chad, Our Tour Guide
Chad, our tour guide, describes himself as a ‘beer janitor.’

We sampled beers for a few minutes until it was time for the tour. Chad, our tour guide and self-described ‘Beer Janitor,’ led us through the Taproom and into the Warehouse and showed us their brand-spanking-new facility. We were a fairly small tour group of beer enthusiasts, but there was a group of 3 gentlemen from The Netherlands on our tour…proof that people all over the world appreciate beer done right.

 

Beer Tanks
Each of these tanks holds 150 Barrels of beer!

Chad was extremely friendly, knowledgeable and really funny. He explained the entire processing of making beer, and shared a tidbit with us for the Cask aficionados: Heavy Seas is the largest maker and distributor of Cask Ales in the US.

He also took us into a large cooler room, where they keep boxes upon boxes of Hops. It was fun to see and smell hops in their natural, pre-beer state…even in pellet form!

Moving on, Chad led us into a huge cooler area, where there were huge pallets of cases and kegs, ready to be shipped.

Hop Pellets!
Hop Pellets!

Our tour ended there, but Chad was happy to stick around and answer any questions we had about beer making, or Heavy Seas in general. We walked back to the Taproom where we continued to sample the beers available on tap while we watched the rest of the Ravens game.

If you’re ever in the Baltimore area, book yourself a tour, as they give them most weekends. However, this Saturday is their annual Pints & Panic event, which they describe as a Holiday Mini-Mall…with Beer! Admission is FREE.

Thanks to Chad & crew for a wonderful time! We’ll see you again soon.

Heavy Seas Beer
4615 Hollins Ferry Road (I-695, Exit 9: Hollins Ferry Rd.)
Halethorpe, MD 21227
(410) 247-7822 | Website | Facebook | @HeavySeasBeer

Related Articles

Since Jennifer & shop frequently at Harris Teeter in Ellicott City’s Turf Valley Towne Square, we always passed by Pinot’s Palette down the street thinking, “Wine and Painting? That would be so much fun!” I followed them on Facebook and checked out the upcoming classes. I may be a Creative[…]

Read More »