Friday, March 13, 2009

Meeting Mr. Maier

As Philly Beer Week 2009 has unfolded, I have had the pleasure of tasting beers from several new breweries (some better than others), gone to events that highlight some of the best brewers in the nation, and have mingled with other "hopheads" that enjoy craft brewing as much as I do. It has truly been a pinnacle event for Philadelphia beer, and I encourage others who have not been, to mark their calendar's for next year's Beer Week.

This past Wednesday (3/11), a pub down the street from work was having an event highlighting Rogue Ales, having something called "Steal the Pint" where if you bought a Pint of Rogue on tap, you were allowed to keep the glass. It certainly seemed like an awesome event, so I rode down on my bike after work to check it out.

The place was mobbed. My co-workers Josh and Jason and I were able to find a small standing area (with no elbow room) to enjoy our first pint of Double Dead Guy Ale. And, as we were finishing, a table of guys settled their tab, and were getting up to head out. Josh jumped into action. Dipping, jumping, and diving past other happy hour socialites, Josh was able to make his way to the vacant table, and secure a pair of chairs. At the same time another group of people were also trying to score a few seats, so Josh offered to share the table.

Now sitting, and enjoying the rest of our pints, a man with a full beard. I thought he seemed familiar, but I wasn't all too sure. Donning a Rogue button-up, I just assumed I had seen him at some other beer fest, working for Rogue. So I asked him if he worked for them. With a chuckle, he answered, "Why yes! I'm the brewmaster. John Maier." So, I talked with him for a bit, asking him some questions about brewing and Philly Beer Week:

Q: What varieties of hops do you guys generally use?
A: "Most of our brews use a mix of hops like Crystal, Cascade, Centennial, among others" (He also went on to say that they use a hop that is only made close to them in Oregon)

Q: Which beer would you call the favorite child?
A: "I really think the Brutal Bitter. Although, I would say that I worked the hardest on the Mocha Porter".

Q: So what do you think of the Philly Beer week?
A: "Phenomenal. It's really a great event. I've been here the last couple years for it, and it keeps getting better."

Q: How would you rate Philadelphia as a Beer city?
A: "It's definitely near the top. One of the biggest things I notice is how cheap it is to get a good pint around here! As opposed to NY or Boston, or even Oregon, it's very reasonable."

Q: Would you say it's a hotbed for Craft Brewing?
A: "Oh yeah, definitely"

Q: Which brewery from Philly would you say is your favorite?
A: "I would say I am most impressed with Tröegs. Their wet hopped seasonal was a very nice brew"

Q: Nugget Nectar?
A: "Yup, that was it."

Q: I have a two Double Dead Guy bombers at home, and I was wondering how long you'd recommend to age one?
A: "OH! I'd make sure you drank it within the year. You won't gain much from it by letting it age."

Unfortunately, I already owned the pint glass they were giving out (and they were out of them by the time we got there anyway). But having talked with Mr. Maier was a great enough reward for stopping in for a few pints of Rogue Double Dead Guy on tap.


mi said...

Cool .. i haven't met John yet but i enjoy his beers


Jimmy said...

Lucky man you getting to meet the master of the brews from Rogue! Wish I could have been at Philly beer week all WEEK long. I think that Rogue Brutal Bitter is an amazing session beer that you can just keep drinking forever and that is awesome that John gave a shout out to Nugget Nectar. I may dislike the Philadelphia Eagles, but damn, Philly has amazing beer selections. Cheers.

ps - Drink up that Double Dead Guy!!

Mike said...

You are the freakin man, Ryan. Also, props to Philly for an amazing week, I think I will definitely try to make it next time.