Getting To Know Heavy Seas Brewing
On a recent trip to Baltimore, I made my way over to Heavy Seas for their beer and chocolate pairing event and a private tour. Formerly Clipper City, this 15 year old brewery wowed me with their fantastic brews, friendly staff, and hospitality.
At an average of 20,000 barrels a year, Heavy Seas is one of the largest small beer producers in the country with distribution to 19 east coast states. Director of Marketing Kelly Zimmerman met with me directly and walked me through a tour of their operations where she excitedly told me of their recent growth and their current plans to expand. In the past year, they have doubled their capacity and are still on the look-out to acquire even more tanks and space. They have also doubled the number of employees they have to 30, for when they begin brewing 24 hours a day, four days a week.
After the tour we went back to the tasting room and gift shop where I tasted my way through some of their most popular beers. Their Loose Cannon IPA was definitely a heavy-hitter at 7.25% ABV, comprising of 45% of their total sales. Loose Cannon was a delightful surprise. Coming from California, where our version of the IPA continues to push the envelope and constantly evolve, I had forgotten about the simple IPA that is incredibly drinkable yet still big in flavor. This triple-hopped IPA was well-balanced and had a cleaner finish than I had expected.
Their Peg Leg Imperial Stout and Marzen beers also caught my attention. At 8% ABV, Peg Leg was actually quite mellow and smooth without being too over-powering. Its roasted coffee and cocoa notes, along with subtle hops made for a lighter stout which was great considering it was 80+ degrees outside before noon. The Marzen with its deep amber hues was slightly malty, sweet, and delicate to the finish.
Particular favorites of mine included their newly bottled Davy Jones Lager, which was created by brewer Kevin Ashford. This Imperial Cream Ale is the first of Kevin’s beers to make it into their Mutiny Fleet and is a wonderfully clean and unique lager as it was fermented with lager yeast at “ale” temperatures before dropping back down to lager territory. I was also given a taste of their 2009 Yuletide which was a beautiful holiday brew with delicate nuances of of honey and spice. Carefully bottle-aged, this was definitely a beer I wish was available everywhere at all times.
Heavy Seas beers were not the only stars in this show as local chocolatier Parfections were on site with their delectable handmade truffles. Parfections provided high-quality chocolates in the most unique way. Proprietor and chocolatier Kimberley Rigby infused Heavy Seas brews into her creations resulting in delicate, flavorful, and mouth-watering morsels. While pairing chocolate with stouts and porters may seem like a no-brainer, Parfections also utilized the Loose Canon IPA in an amazing truffle featuring white and dark chocolate and fresh orange zest. I loved these so much, I ended bringing a box home for myself.
Overall, our trip to Heavy Seas was a great experience filled with laughs, new friends, tons of Heavy Seas stuff to take home, and of course, a newfound love of their quality beers and down-to-earth mentality.
Submitted by our pal Frances Lopez with photos provided by Mor Ghermezi