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October Guide of the Month: Michael Schram

Check out our Guide of the Month for October, Michael Schram! This Baltimore beer brewing guide might be part time, but is a full time metalhead! Read more about it, from Ke$ha to karate!


Before you worked at City Brew Tours, what was the most interesting or unusual job you’ve ever had?

I was an Audio Visual Tech and assisted in event coordination at my college – University of Maryland: Baltimore County.  We set up and ran all the sound mixing and lighting for on-campus performances and events.  Lots of late night setup and breakdowns, large outdoor stages, indoor concerts, and the like.  We even assisted with some of the larger traveling acts that visited campus – Snoop Dogg and Ke$ha  were some of the biggest events during my time there.


What interested you in City Brew Tours, how has the company changed since you started? 

The ability to travel to more than 1 or 2 breweries in a day is an interesting novelty in and of itself!  I think that a fully catered experience with driving, information, and sampling is the best way to dive in to a city’s unique craft beer culture and City Brew Tours is the best in the business at providing that experience!  I’m a fairly new guide so I haven’t been around long enough to see gigantic changes, but I can tell in our 10 year history there has been lot’s of positive change and growth all while offering unrivaled tour experiences week after week!


Hands down, best tour you’ve ever done?

It’s hard to pick one favorite (that seems to be a theme with me…) but I’ve had a few bachelor party tours go so well, I’ve been invited to join them after the tour!  I love touring with enthusiastic and interested guests, so those are usually the tours that end up being my best naturally.


If you could have a beer with anybody in history, who? What would the beer be?

Probably Dave Mustaine from Megadeth.  I’ve been a lifelong metalhead, and I think he’d be great to drink with.  He also happens to have a beer partnership with UNIBROUE, so I suppose we’d have to drink his flagship Saison, “À TOUT LE MONDE”


What words of wisdom do you have for anybody taking a tour?

Take in all the sights and sounds, it’s not often you’ll get to visit multiple breweries in a single day!  Also be sure to bring home some extras from all the stops – if you don’t you’ll regret it the next day when you’re craving a taste of that killer brew you had the day before!


Last book you read?

The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin, chess prodigy and world champion martial artist.  Part autobiography and part lifestyle guide, Josh explains the methods and techniques he employs to optimize his training and performance for Chess and Martial Arts competition.  Highly recommend read for anyone looking to improve at any competitive aspect of their life, be it work, sport, or something else.

Are you a home brewer? If so, what’s your favorite recipe? Do you have one of your own you’d like to share?

Absolutely – It’s the greatest hobby in the world.  Too many recipes that I love to pick just one, but I’m very partial to dark malt-forward beers.  Below is the skeleton for a Baltic Porter I love making – a style I think is underrepresented in the craft beer world.

  • 60% Vienna Malt
  • 25% Munich Malt
  • 10% Caramel/Crystal Malt (80L) – This can be substituted for more base malt, different lovibond crystal, or pretty much whatever you want.
  • 5 % Black Patent Malt
  • Mash is flexible, but I shoot for 153-155 degrees F for single infusion mashes.  If you have temperature control here, feel free to modify as you like, but I aim to keep within style (BJCP 2015, 9C)
  • Balanced Hop Scheduled of Czech Saaz Hops (Around 3%-4% Alpha) yielding roughly 30IBU.  I tend to do 60/45/30/15 minute additions, depending on the batch size.
  • German Lager Yeast WLP830 (Can be substituted for any standard lager variety.  Haven’t tried it with any Kolsch or Ale strains yet – somebody try it and let me know!)
  • 45-60 Day Lager Schedule with a Diaceytl Rest just prior to reaching final gravity.
  • I tend to do a medium low carbonation for high abv malty styles (~8 to 10 PSI)
  • All the strong malt/roast character of a robust porter with the drinkability of a Schwarzbier – You can’t go wrong with that!
What beer is in your fridge/cellar right now?

I tend to load up on beer from our Baltimore Partners when I’m touring, but I’ve been trying to get more into the DC scene as well.  I have Ghost IPA from 3 Stars Brewing, and The Citizen by DC Brau in my fridge at the moment.  I live right next to Heavy Seas so I always keep Loose Cannons on deck as well.  I think I have a few stray Guinness Blondes and some Kolsch from Diamondback Brewing.  I stay as stocked up as I can!

What is your current favorite beer? Beer-drinking activity?

Current favorite is probably Oliver Brewing Company’s 3 Lions Brown Ale.  We’re getting into the fall and I can finally settle into my happy-place and enjoy all the dark, rich, malty beers that I want without being melted by the Baltimore Summer heat.


It’s your day off, what are you doing?

Spending time with my fiancee Shannon and my dog Stella. When I’m not with them, I’m home brewing, but I’m a huge PC gamer and love playing poker in my free time as well. You might catch me in the gym sometimes too, but only so I can make room for more beer!


What are you binge watching right now?

Shameless, on Netflix.  Got through Stranger Things recently as well and loved it.  Super excited for Game of Thrones’ last season next year!

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