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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

But Casey Hard is even more insane

Max's on Broadway debuts their new 102 tap draft system tomorrow, and, well...Capone's is cool and all, but this is just nuts:

Abita Purple Haze
Abita Select Weizenbock
Aecht Schlenkerla Lentbier
Allagash Confluence
Allagash White
Amager Imperial Stout
Avery Maharaja
Bear Republic Nor Cal
Bear Republic Rebellion
BFM Abbaye De Saint Bon Chien 2007
Troll Stella Natalia
Blue Moon
Brewers Art Resurrection
Brooklyn Dark Matter
Contreras Valeir Divers
De Hoevebrouwers Toria
De Hoevebrouwers Toria Triple
Del Borgo Genziana
Delirium Tremens
Dogfish Head 60 Minute
Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron
Dogfish Head Midas Touch
Dupont Biere De Miel
Duvel Green
Emelisse Barleywine
Emelisse Espresso Stout
Emelisse Rauchbier
Evolution Sprung
Flying Dog Double Dog(Nitro)
Flying Dog Raging Bitch
Fransizkaner Hefeweizen
Fritz Briem 1809 Berliner Weisse
Fruili Strawberry
Great Divide Oak Aged Espresso Yeti
Haandbryggeriet Nissefar
Heavy Seas Letter of Marque
Heavy Seas Loose Cannon
Het Alternatief Ambetanterik
Het Alternatief Bitter Truth
Het Alternatief Hik Blonde
Hitachino Espresso Stout
Hitachino XH
Hoegaarden Wit
Hopfenstark Lou Lou Porter
Hopfenstark Ostalgia Blonde
Hopfenstark Post Colonial IPA
Hopfenstark Saison 16
Hopfenstark Saison 55
Italiano Tipo Pils
JW Lees Harvest Ale
Le Trou Diable La Buteuse
Le Trou Diable La Chose
Le Trou Diable La Grivoise
Le Trou Diable L' Imperatrice
Le Trou Diable Weizgripp
Leipziger Gose
Lindemans Framboise
Magic Hat #9
Malhuer 10
Malhuer 12
Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast Stout
Mikkeller Black
Mikkeller Single Hop Amarillo
Mikkeller Single Hop Cascade
Mikkeller Single Hop Chinook
Mikkeller Single Hop East Kent Golding
Mikkeller Single Hop Nelson Sauvin
Mikkeller Single Hop Nugget
Mikkeller Single Hop Simcoe
Mikkeller Single Hop Tomohawk
Mikkeller Single Hop Warrior
Olivers Bishop Breakfast Stout (Nitro)
Olivers Strongman
Olivers Hot Monkey Love
Ommegang Rare Vos
Ommegang Three Philosophers
Pausa Cafe Chicca
RJ Rockers Fish Paralyzer
Sam Adams Boston Lager
Sam Adams Summer Ale
Schnieder Brooklyner Hopfen
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Sint Canarus Potteloereke
Southern Tier Jah Va
Stella Artois
Stone Sublimely Self Righteous
The Bruery Rogbrod
The Bruery Saison De Lente
Victory Hop Devil
Victory Prima Pils
Weyerbacher Quad
Woodchuck Amber
Yuengling Lager


De Regenboog Catherine The Great
Alvinne Podge
Stillwater Stateside Sasion-dry Hopped in French Oak
Olivers Cherry Blosom
Victory Uncle Teddys Bitter

See all those Mikellers? But the best part? The head beer guy at Max's, Casey Hard, is an insane gearhead when it comes to draft systems. So this stuff is not just great, it's served great. Whew. I'm really kind of sorry I'm headed to Chicago tomorrow, because it sure looks like Baltimore is the place to be.


Alexander D. Mitchell IV said...

Oh, you're just jealous because it's MY "local." <:-)

Bill Night said...

Nine Mikkeller single-hops on tap at once?!? I wish I wasn't three time zones from that.

sam k said...

Sounds unreal, and Max's IS a destination, but can he keep them all fresh, truly?

Lew Bryson said...

Casey is a draft genius, and runs a very tight ship on cleanliness and freshness. And if a beer is on tap for more than three weeks, he discounts to move it.

And Max's is a BIG place, in the middle of a busy drinking area in a big city. I hear what you're saying, but I feel pretty good about it.

Brad said...

Max's, my true heaven.

And Casey IS insane. Thank God.

JP said...

sounds neat and would be cool to see and try I wonder how long somethign like that would last.The novelty of it has to be worth something for a while and gets people in the door. I mean I'd like to choose from a 100 different drafts sounds like fun, but eventually it wears off and becomes like anything else requireing a huge eferot to maintain all those lines and stuff. Is there any other huge tap system like that has lasted for along tiem Lew?

Lew Bryson said...

They've been doing a lot of drafts for a long time, JP. This is just an upgrade. The Yard House is a chain that has a minimum of 100 taps; some have over 200. Baltimore's got a pretty advanced beer culture, too.

But...I can't see a place like this working in Philly. Could be wrong, but it's just not that kind of town. I could see a Hofbrau working here, though: could you send us yours? I mean, if you're not using it today?

jp said...

well I am not using it but I am t sure there are a couple hundred people or so who might mind. Philadephia would totally slam a place like that but the location would be key I would put it as close as possible to the park /museum

Anonymous said...

I'll take a yuengling

bill mc said...

dat's ok, they're opening a second Mahar's closer to my house in the Albany, NY area.

John M. said...

Couple of thoughts JP (from someone who currently lives in Baltimore, but not so long ago lived in Portland, Or.).

First, Max's has been around for some time now, and it's not as if moving to 102 tap lines is that much of major upgrade for them. Prior to the upgrade they had roughly 70 tap handles, and appear to have been able to do just fine with that. So I don't think it was that big a risk to move to 102 tap handles. Also, as Lew pointed out, if a beer is slow moving Casey will put it on house special, which means you can buy it at a substantial discount. I've even seen some rare Belgian, German and Italian beer go on house special, so you have more then just "frat boy" types ordering those beers. That being said, certainly there are plenty of people who walk in and want to know if anything is on special that night. The result is that it's very rare for any beer to go bad or get stale (though I can't say it's never happened).

Also, while I don't want to suggest that Max's is the only game in town, there is nothing like the plethora of fantastic beer bars in Baltimore that you'll find in the SEPA/Philly area. Places like Mahaffey's, Frisco's and Judge's Bench have a decent enough selection, but it's nothing like what you'll find at Max's. I live over on the West side, and it's a lot closer drive for me to just head over to the Judge's Bench (which I do on occasion), but the selection at Max's is just to tremendous... more times then not I'd rather drive the extra 15 minutes to go there. My point being that in Baltimore, for what Max's has an offer, they're really the only place you can go in town to find it.

Last but not least, Portland has a 100 tap ale house called Henry's. It's been there for a while and seems to be doing pretty well, though they get a different sort of crowd then what you'll find at Max's (they go for more of an after work, yuppy crowd at Henry's), and there's more of an emphasis on local and regional beers. That works very well for them (given the very loyal beer culture of Portland), and frankly is why I tend to disagree with Lew's suggestion that a place like Max's would not do well in Philly. Just my impression, but the two most sophisticated beer consuming areas I have ever seen are Portland and SEPA/Philly, and so my feeling is that a place like Max's would do very well indeed in Philly.

Alexander D. Mitchell IV said...

One other thing to add to this discussion: Max's caters to all comers. For all the beer snobs there during the week and summer days, their weekend liquor and cheap-beer sales are huge, especially during major sports events on the TVs. The profits from "frat boy" drinking carry the place well enough that they can stay in business selling tons of low-profit-margin, expensive craft beers. It's a destination bar in a neighborhood full of bars that almost all have a better selection than most bars in America.

That said, I'm embarrassed by the number of times I've walked in and been surrounded by such goodness and wonderful selection that I can't decide what to have. If you want to have fun, ask them to pour you a beer and not tell you what it is, and then try to pick it off the list of 72 (now 102) drafts! (Obviously they're not going to pour you either an uber-expensive beer or a Blue Moon or Bud Light.....) You'll never get a better training exercise for beer tasting than that routine practiced weekly or so!

jp said...

I guess with sixtels it makes a bit more manageable than with quarters I am sure it is a blast and I will be sure to visit. with a 100 taps how many of the same varietals do they keep on?

John M. said...


Had a chance to take a look at the new tap system, as well as talk to Casey a bit.

He mentioned that with the increased number of taps, he increasingly tries to order sixtels rather then half kegs. Even without the increased number of taps, he acknowledged that this is a freshness issue, and so he'll order multiple sixtels if he can of a particular beer, even though it's a bit more expensive then buying a corresponding number of half kegs. However, he noted that a lot of beers coming into Baltimore aren't available in sixtels, so he's still buying quite a few half kegs (some of the imports are contained in liter designations, and so are all shapes and sizes). My guess is that at at present, no more then a quarter of the beers on tap are in sixtel format.

According to Casey, everything is going well so far (he admitted he was a bit concerned there would be sufficient demand to make this worthwhile), and apparently they are not having any stale beer or freshness issues.