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A 2000 Bronze medal winner at the Great American Beer Festival and the Official Beer of the Baltimore Bicentennial in 1997, this brew presents sweet malt scents with bold aromatic hops revealing notes of pine and citrus. Compared to the nose, the hop presence is subdued in the flavor, with light caramel malts making up the bulk of the profile with restrained hops contributing a floral note against the graininess that steps in just before the gently bitter finish. Overall, well balanced and highly drinkable. This beer goes down so smooth and easy, yet is full of character. Highly approachable, so if you're trying to sway your friends away from the big macros that dominate restaurants and bars across the country, this would be a good one to share as a way of turning them on to better beer—and it's one you, as a beer connoisseur can enjoy right alongside them! Blonde Ale, as this style is often known, goes great with grilled chicken dishes, pizza, or even a hearty California Cobb salad. Or, try this tasty recipe from the brewery’s web site: www.hsbeer.com/recipe/beer-battered-turkey.
The history of the Clipper City Brewing Company goes back to the mid-1980s when Hugh Sisson, owner and founder of Sisson's, a local restaurant and bar, first recognized the potential for a small brewery in Baltimore. Upon attempting to get a license to brew beer at his restaurant, he quickly discovered that legislation prevented brewpubs in Maryland. So he began working with Senator George Della, Jr. to successfully lobby the Maryland General Assembly to pass legislation permitting brewpubs in Maryland. In 1989, Hugh began brewing at Sisson's, Maryland's first brewpub.
The move helped usher in the wave of craft brewing in Baltimore, and Hugh engrossed himself in the development and market recognition of both Sisson's brewpub and its beers, while simultaneously serving as this pioneering facility's first Brewmaster. After five years of brewpub brewing, Hugh took his craft brewing to a larger platform by starting a full-scale microbrewery. Three guesses as to who stepped in to say he couldn't do it… that's right, the state. It seems that "they" (a.k.a. "the man") took issue with his owning both a brewpub and brewery. The logic behind this legal blockade? Your guess is as good as ours—this is the business model used throughout Europe for hundreds of years. Fortunately, Hugh was undaunted by the legal challenge, did battle with the powers that be, yet again, and pulled out the win less than two years later. In early 1996, Clipper City Brewing, borrowing a Baltimore sobriquet as its name, officially began brewing on the scale Hugh was going for.
In 2010 the brewery placed all of its beers under the Heavy Seas name, a brand they began in 2003. Within the Heavy Seas portfolio, there’s the Clipper Fleet, composed of classic beer styles, the Pyrate Fleet, sporting more creative and unusual beers, and the Mutiny Fleet of bold brews available only in 22 oz bomber bottles. Clipper City is also one of the largest, if not the largest, producer of British-style cask-conditioned beer in the U.S. For more information about the brewery and scheduled tours, call (410) 247-7822 or check out their web site at www.hsbeer.com.
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