By DCBeer contributor Bruce Webster
Name: Heavy Seas Beer
Location: Halethorpe, MD (just outside the southwest corner of the Baltimore beltway)
Type: Production brewery
Available in DC Market: Yes
What you need to know: Founded in 1994 (as Clipper City Brewing), Heavy Seas has grown to be one of the cornerstones of Maryland craft beer. Their year-round offerings are a collection of traditional English and German styles, with seasonal and special offerings that expand their portfolio. They also specialize in cask-ales, with close to 600 casks in their inventory. In 2013, the brewery enacted major expansion plans, with a new bottling line, new brewhouse, and an expanded cask-ale program. In addition, they opened an alehouse in Arlington about a year ago, so locals have even more ways to become familiar with this brewery.
Beer #1: Loose Cannon (IPA / 7.25% ABV)
Beer Description: This is the flagship beer of the Heavy Seas brand. The Simcoe, Palisades, and Centennial hops give this IPA an aroma of grapefruit, herbs and pine. Floral notes in the flavor provide a counter to the bitterness in the finish. The beer’s nickname, Hop3 comes from the brewing process – Loose Cannon is hopped in the boil, the hopback, and the fermenter. Loose Cannon won a 2nd place CAMRA award at the 2010 Great British Beer Festival.
Food Pairing: Broccoli Rabe and Pancetta Stuffed Mushrooms (Oven roasted mushrooms stuffed with a mixture of broccoli rabe, pancetta, mushrooms and shallot)
Our Thoughts: This is an excellent IPA, with a malty backbone that supports the hop flavor, so it is nice to see a pairing that should accentuate both the malt and the hops. Even though this beer is readily available in the DC area, its quality and the pairing deserve serious consideration when making your SAVOR plans.
Beer #2: Riptide (White IPA / 7.25% ABV)
In Their Own Words: Heavy Seas’ spring seasonal has a malt bill like a Belgian witbier, with plenty of torrified wheat. It has plenty of Saaz, Strisselspalt, Calypso, Cascade, and Centennial hops, to give it a floral punch and plenty of citrus aroma. It also has Spanish sweet orange peel, Curacao bitter orange peel, and coriander added, along with a fermentation with a classic Belgian wit yeast, to give the beer more wit-style character.
Food Pairing: Hamachi Crudo (Thin slices of Hamachi with finely diced cucumber, radish and bok choy. Finished with a black pepper vinaigrette.)
Our Thoughts: This hybrid beer style isn’t a personal favorite of mine, and the Heavy Seas version doesn’t change my opinion. However, it is a perfectly good beer, and if you like the description of the beer, you will not be disappointed. The pairing makes sense to me, and reviews are generally positive, so if the style appeals to you, I suspect this will be worth your time.
This profile is a part of the DCBeer.com SAVOR Brewery Profile series. For more information, follow the link to see profiles of all 2014 SAVOR participants.