Heavy Seas (Baltimore, Md.) AmeriCannon American Pale Ale
Date: Sept. 29 , 2018
The Story— Hugh Sisson served featured great beer when he managed his dad’s “Sisson’s” restaurant near Federal Hill in Baltimore. He took the next step in 1989 when he opened and brewed at Maryland’s first brew pub.
We’ve known Hugh for many years. He’s a fine brewer, a great guy and an impressive Shakespearean actor. The stage skill made him a rock star at the long-running tasting series at the Brickskeller. Hugh left Sissons in 2005 to open Clipper City brewery which now brews under the Heavy Seas label.
Hugh intended Clipper City to be a refuge of drinkable smooth beers in an age of increasingly aggressive craft beer flavors. As the brewery shifted to Heavy Seas, the sails shifted and now the brewery produces a remarkable range of beers with rich, complex and even occasionally challenging flavors. Some soft spoke beers remain, but the headliners are full flavored and even brash.
AmeriCannon is a play on Heavy Seas’s Loose Cannon — a big, bold IPA. This one, the brewery assures us, won’t leave you a loose cannon if you drink a few. A combination of double-dry-hopping of Centennial with Lupolin powder Simcoe hops gives much of the aroma and flavor, but you have to go to the website to find out that the Warrior, Cascade, and Palasade hops are the ones that are broadening and deepening the flavor.
We first found the AmeriCannon in a bottle earlier in the year and liked it. To get the full flavor, though, try to find this gem on tap. We found it at Lock 72, a local-oriented restaurant and bar in Potomac, Maryland. Lock 72’s half dozen draft beers seem kind of skimpy in these days of dazzling arrays, but the six are nicely chosen to blend a range of locals with styles that can pair well with their very impressive menu.
The Beer— Rich blend of double dry hopped Centennial hops and Simcoe lupulin powder gives a big rich and ranging fruit flavors of citrus, tropical pine & spice riding on top of a firm but very clean malt foundation. The hop powder here seems to play more of a supporting role than it did in the bottle.
Value — Good. The bottle at $2.50 would be a bargain if it tasted better. The “pint” at Lock 72 sets you back $7 which is fair enough for a beer this good and in this good condition, but it does fall short of a bargain.
COMING UP – Tomorrow we return to HIGHLIGHTS OF EUROPE 2018– Surprisingly good beer in “bad beer cities.” The best we’ve found in researching our next book – a guide to great beer in European tourist cities. (Planned publication 2019.) We’ll shift back to great American beer finds next week.
About these posts: We taste and evaluate over a thousand beers every year. The beers posted here rank in the top quarter of those tastings. Values: “fair” is a good beer at an above market price, “good” is worth the money, “very good” is a bargain, and “excellent” is a steal.