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October 25, 2010

Stillwater Artisanal Ales' Brian Strumke gets national attention, last keg of new brew now at Pratt Street Ale House

During Baltimore Beer Week, Brian Strumke unveiled a new "imperialistic" stout at Max's Taphouse that was only available for that night and only at that bar.

Stillwater Artisanal Ale's "Requisite" has long been gone. But, Strumke also unveiled another new ale that same week.

Called The Channel Crossing, Volume 2, it was a collaboration with Pratt Street Ale House's Steven Jones. And that, it turns out, is still on tap. On its last keg, in fact, the Ale House says.

Strumke has been getting a lot of attention lately, and for good reason. He's part of a growing number of "gypsy brewers," beer-makers who eschew big start-up capital and instead rent equipment, space, and manpower to make their product.

In August, Strumke was profiled by NPR. And last week, Clay Risen at The Atlantic blogged about the new trend, listing Stillwater and Cambridge's Pretty Things as examples.

In its beer issue, Washington City Paper also placed Stillwater among an existing group of metro breweries that are making the area a mecca for the craft beer industry.

Four new craft breweries are coming to DC next year, joining established area ones like Heavy Sees Beer, Oliver Breweries, Flying Dog in Frederick and Ladder in Silver Spring.

For Baltimore Beer Week, Jones, who brews Oliver Ales for Pratt House, combined his English brewing style with Strumke's Belgian brewing style to come up with a hybrid ale, the second volume of The Channel Crossing. It was a follow-up to their first collaboration, which was released in May.

"We wanted to do something special for beer week," Jones told Midnight Sun then. 

Originally, 13 kegs of the new brew were made. Two weeks later, the Ale House is down to its last keg. 

Photo: AP

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Posted by Erik Maza at 1:52 PM | | Comments (10)
Categories: Brewing News



there are 17 craft breweries and brewpubs in Maryland, many of which have been around for quite some time, and at least three "contract breweries" like Raven, Hook and Ladder, and Stillwater. I would invite you to check them out individually.

Channel Crossing 2 is on tap at Max's.

Maza, not to be another nitpicker (but I'm going to be anyway), but I think you mean an "imperial" stout. That is the style anyway, unless the brewer named it something different.

The devil is still in the details, said the copy editor.

Brian is a nice guy, but Stillwater = Overrated

Imperialistic is Strumke's description of the ale; he used it in the The Atlantic, and again over e-mail when I asked him about it.

Frankie, that's the point - it is in the imperial style, but it's not. After tasting it Sunday, I would agree.
Most of BStill's brews loosely follow the styles, but in the end, they ultimately don't.

BJCP is full of guidelines, dogmatic "you must be!" hard & fast rules, If you happen to be at a beer competition and stray from the rules, and the judges might condemn you to death.

More or less, BJCP is a bunch of well meaning ideas that no one follows in real life.

Hey Dave the Wave, is there anything that isn't overrated?

A great article about Brian and Stillwater can be found here:

You can find these mentioned and every other craft brewery in the U.S. and Canada at Cheers!

I was just at a gastro-pub in Burlington recently and they told me how they were about to start service Stillwater there as well. Looks like this native brew is making a name for itself.

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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 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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