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December 9, 2009

Max's to expand beer selection

max's baltimoreThe already massive selection of draft beer at Max's could get even bigger.

The Fells Point bar plans to increase its tap selection from 78 to 100 in 2010, according to manager Casey Hard.

"More is better," Hard said. "The new year will be very big for us."

Max's is also adding two more hand pumps behind the bar, which will let them serve five cask beers. Right now, they only offer three.

Instead of waiting for micro-breweries to ship out cask beers, Max's bought seven of their own casks and sent them to the breweries. That way, Hard said, Max's will be able to serve casks of more exclusive suds. ...

"Some breweries don't have enough [casks]," he said. "This is the only way to get some of the far away breweries," he said.

About 10 years ago, Max's made most of its money by selling domestic standards such as Budweiser and Miller Lite. That has since changed, Hard said.

These days, Max's makes more money from local drafts such as Clipper City Loose Cannon and Brewer's Art Resurrection and specialty bottles than it does from the big-name domestics. Hard calls Miller Lite and Budweiser "TV beers," because you always see them advertised on television.

"The customer is a little more educated, with the whole craft beer boom," he said. "We do still sell a lot of TV beers, but the ratio is definitely a lot different than it used to be."

(Photo by me)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:57 AM | | Comments (21)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Comments

Mmm mmm mmm.

That is all.

Bring us Fat Tire!!!

I like how it says that Max's "only" has 3 hand pumps for cask beer. Like it's such a small number compared to all the other bars in the area that have casks.

Good news all around. I don't get over to Max's as much as I should, so maybe a New Year's resolution is on order.

As far as Fat Tire goes, unless something's changed in the last year or two, I didn't the New Belgium was interested in shipping outside of the midwestern region. The farthest east I think I've ever seen it is St. Louis.


Fat Tire is now available in the Carolinas as well as Indiana and Tennessee, it's just a matter of time before we have it in Baltimore.

I had a few Fat Tires in S. Carolina (Charleston) last weekend and Indianapolis over the summer.

Sorry, guys, but New Belgium Fat Tire is absolutely, positively THE most over-rated "can't get it here" beer this region's beer aficionados lust for. You would be bored of it after two bottles or pints, take my word for it. I had ready access to it in trips to Arizona, and it's regarded as "dismissively" out there as we presumably rate Clipper City Pale Ale, Oliver Pale Ale, Wild Goose ESB, or Flying Dog Old Scratch: excellent beer, but ya had it, been there, done that, much more interesting other stuff coming out of the same place (Loose Cannon, Bishop's Breakfast, Snow Goose, and Gonzo, for examples).

The ONLY reason you want it is because you can't get it yet. Why aren't y'all clamoring for Goose Island, New Glarus, Three Floyds, Hale's, Bridgeport, AleSmith, Lost Abbey, Port, Long Trail, Highland, or other beers that are equally good or better that you also can't get here yet? Sheesh, why don't y'all just send The Bandit and his trucker out to Colorado to run ya a trailerful of Fat Tire if you're so hot for it--huh?

"Right now, they only offer three." Only. Hahaha. Man, I remember 10 years ago when you had to go all over town to find anyone who had ONE hand pump! These are good times for beer lovers, indeed!!!

"Sorry, guys, but New Belgium Fat Tire is absolutely, positively THE most over-rated "can't get it here" beer this region's beer aficionados lust for."

Who said anything about it being the best beer ever? I certainly don't think it is but that doesn't mean I wouldn't mind having one now and again.

"You would be bored of it after two bottles or pints, take my word for it."

I don't need to, I can take my own word for it since I've had Fat Tire before.

"The ONLY reason you want it is because you can't get it yet."

Actually I wouldn't mind having some because I like it. Sure, there are tons of other beers that I'd like to see out this way too, but we weren't talking about those.

Man, untwist the panties before posting next time.

I don't care if I look like an idiot, what is a hand pump?

Alexander: What do you have against Fat Tire? I travel to the midwest every week and have it, not to mention the couple of cases brought to me over Thanksgiving. I'm not saying it's the best beer out there either - I actually prefer Dogfish 60 Min, which I can buy anytime I want to. But it is a very good beer that would be nice to be able to buy around here. New Belgium also makes a number of other quality brews, some even say that Fat Tire is their least favorite, so it would be nice to have the choice.

I don't care if I look like an idiot, what is a hand pump?

[insert lewd comment here followed by rimshot]

It's kind of like the pump that you get with a keg. It uses air instead of CO2 to push the beer out of the cask. The beer that comes out is usually cellar temperature and flatter than regular beer, like Guinness. Since air gets into the cask the beer will spoil faster. Most hand pump beer is cask-conditioned, meaning it undergoes some secondary fermentation in the cask.

I'm with Sandy on this one.
Fat Tire is good, but there are so many better regionals that we can't get.

Hair of the Dog from Washington State comes to mind first.

I'd rather have a fat tire than a skinny one.

I'll take my 700cc over a 29'er anyday.

That's what she said.

Sorry, had to do it.

Okay, here's the truth:

If Clipper City, Flying Dog, Fordham, or Dogfish Head did a "clone" of New Belgium's Fat Tire and just gave it another name, how well would it sell? Oh, sure, it would get some sales, just like, say, Dogfish's Chicory Stout or Clipper City BaltoMarzHon does, but would everyone be asking for it where they couldn't get it?

Basically, every beer New Belgium produces--and that's a lot of them--that I've tried, with the possible exception of the filtered Sunshine Wheat, is a more interesting beer than Fat Tire. If we're going to get their beer, why not get something they do that's different and interesting, like the Mothership Wit, Biere de Mars, 1554, Skinny Dip, La Folie, or something along those lines? Did Brewers Art bottle the Beacon Pale Ale, or did they bottle the Resurrection, Le Canard, and Coup de Boule?

I'm prolly gonna be the lone contrarian on this, but I don't really dig Max's. Why? Everytime I go in there it's wall 2 wall sweaty people drinking, wait for it... Miller Lite. I'd ask the bartender his opinion for something out of the ordinary and they ALWAYS shrug. So I pick a beer I've never had. BAD IDEA or should I say BAD DECISION because, again, The bartender says, You don't want that. We haven't sold one of those in months." I guess I can thank Max's because now I know what beers around the country and the world taste like, you guessed it, Miller Lite. end of rant. good day.

"Okay, here's the truth:

If Clipper City, Flying Dog, Fordham, or Dogfish Head did a "clone" of New Belgium's Fat Tire and just gave it another name, how well would it sell? Oh, sure, it would get some sales, just like, say, Dogfish's Chicory Stout or Clipper City BaltoMarzHon does, but would everyone be asking for it where they couldn't get it?"
---

You know what? I DON'T CARE. Look, I know the difference between Great Divide's 'Titan IPA' and Miller Lite. I get the difference between Troegs' 'Nugget Nectar' and Coors. I know that pretty much ANY micro-brewed stout is better than Guinness. Where you're missing the point (and acting like every teenage music critic who ever blogged on the internet) is that you think "elite" means everything.

I love Titan IPA, I love Wolavers' 'Oatmeal stout', I love pretty much every seasonal that Troegs has ever offerered. And a ton of belgians, and a ton of every other brewery you've ever barely heard of. That doesn't change the fact that I have fond memories of Fat Tire from when I spent my summers in the southwest. Actually, I kind of relate to it as the Yuengling of the west. It's not the best beer in the world, and it's not going to win any fancy awards, but it's most definitely my first choice when I want a smooth "lite" beer instead of a bold, full-bodied micro ale. And snobby bearheads like you need to understand that there's a time and place for "elite" and there's a time and place for "plain, but subtle". Because, at the end of the day, if you're a REAL beer critic, you can't honestly compare Fat Tire to your standard macro "lite" beers. You have to take it for what it is: refreshing, crisp, and decent flavor. It's a good, if basic, Lager. And it's not pretending to be anything else.

And I want it in my local liquor store.

"I'd ask the bartender his opinion for something out of the ordinary and they ALWAYS shrug."

You know, I go to Max's maybe once a month, if that. I LOVE their beer selection. I always think, midway between visits, that I should go there more often. And then I go there and see the bartenders give somebody the same experience you described, every time.

Max's needs to realize that they're a great bar and that they've made numerous "best of" lists in articles, blogs, etc., city and nation wide. They need to realize that a businessman is going to hop into a cab by some hotel in the harbor after a ridiculous conference and say "take me to the best beer-bar in the city" and end up at Max's. And they need to realize that this guy is going to say "hey, recommend me a good IPA". And they should be expected to give the guy a straightforward, unpretentious answer. I've sat there and watched (on numerous occasions) the pony-tailed bartender argue with and scoff at people's questions and impressions. Frankly, I know my beer. And I could've easily given recommendations to customers on multiple occasions. And I should probably start interrupting, because I'm sick of that guy treating everybody like they're retarded for not knowing the difference between an IPA and an Autumn ale (which, actually, the bartender got wrong). I just think if you're going to work in a bar with as good of a selection as Max's, you should want to educate people on beer, because, frankly, I think that's what a lot of people are looking for when they go to Max's.

"I know that pretty much ANY micro-brewed stout is better than Guinness."

WTF?!?!

Dave F, I was with you on the whole Fat Tire thing, but you lost me when you made the comment above. That one line discredited everything else you said, because as the vintage Guinness ads say, THERE IS NOTHING LIKE A GUINNESS!

A friend just brought back some brews from Asheville and our favorite was Highland Brewery's Black Mocha Stout. It was delicious, but I actually told my friend (who agreed) that it was no Guinness!!

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at erik.maza@baltsun.com. Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.
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