Heavy Seas Beer

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Clipper City Brewing Company
Industry Alcoholic beverage
Founded 1995
Founder Hugh Sisson
Headquarters Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Products Beer
Production output
34,000 barrels/year
Owner Hugh Sisson
Website www.hsbeer.com

Heavy Seas Beer is brewed by Clipper City Brewing Company, in Baltimore, Maryland. The brewery was established by Hugh Sisson in 1995. Previously, Sisson operated Maryland's first brewpub, Sisson's.[1] In 2010, the brewery rebranded. While the name of the company remains Clipper City Brewing Company, all of its beer falls under the Heavy Seas brand. Heavy Seas hosts tours on most weekends.[2] It is located at 4615 Hollins Ferry Road, Suite B, in the Halethorpe section of Baltimore.[3] Heavy Seas currently offers a variety of beer styles in approx. 18 states within the United States. Several Heavy Seas beers have been awarded and include the following: Cutlass Amber Lager (a repeat medal winner at the Great American Beer Festival from 2006-2010, bronze medal winner at the 2010 World Beer Cup and silver medal winner at the 2012 World Beer Cup as Heavy Seas Märzen), Powder Monkey Pale Ale (silver medal winner at the 2008 Great American Beer Festival and bronze medal winner at the 2010 World Beer Cup as Heavy Seas Pale Ale), Small Craft Warning Uber Pils (bronze medal winner at the 2004 Great American Beer Festival), Gold Ale (gold medal winner at the 2010 World Beer Cup, bronze medal winner at the 2010 Great American Beer Festival and bronze medal winner at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival as Heavy Seas Gold Ale) and Winter Storm Imperial ESB (gold medal winner at the 2008 World Beer Cup).


In 1994, Hugh Sisson left his family-owned and -operated brewpub, Sisson's, to focus on brewing beer at a larger scale. Sisson, who is responsible for the legalization of brewpubs in the state of Maryland, originally targeted Baltimoreans as his main consumer base; he intended to fill the niche left open by the relocation of the National Bohemian brand. Clipper City was named after the clipper ship, which was first constructed in Baltimore.

When the craft brewing industry experienced a contraction in the late '90s,[4] Clipper City resorted to contract brewing to stay afloat financially. In 2003, Clipper City started its Heavy Seas brand—intended for higher gravity beers. The new brand took off; the beers under the Heavy Seas line could sell in more states than could Clipper City beers, limited as they were by insular branding. Due to the steady success of the Heavy Seas brand, Sisson and his crew decided to rebrand Clipper City beers in 2010; the beers under the Clipper City brand now sell as Heavy Seas Gold Ale, Heavy Seas Powder Monkey Pale Ale and Heavy Seas Cutlass Amber Lager.

In 2011, the brewery tacked on 10,000 square foot addition to its 15,000 sq. ft. brewery. Heavy Seas beers sell in 18 states, from Florida to Maine and as far west as Michigan.[1]


Year Round Offerings[edit]

  • Gold Ale, Approx. 4.5% ABV
  • Powder Monkey Pale Ale, Approx. 4.75% ABV
  • Cutlass Amber Lager, Approx. 5.25% ABV
  • Loose Cannon American Hop³ IPA, Approx. 7.25% ABV
  • Peg Leg Imperial Stout, Approx. 8% ABV
  • Small Craft Warning Uber Pils, Approx. 7% ABV

Seasonal Offerings[edit]

Name Availability Style ABV%
Black Cannon Jan–Mar (Retired?) Black IPA 7.25
Deep Six[5] Jan–Mar Robust English-Style Porter 6.8
Double Cannon[6] Apr-Jun Double IPA 9.5
Riptide[7] Apr–Jun White IPA 7.25
Red Sky At Night Jul–Sep (Retired?) Belgian Style Saison Ale 7.5
Winter Storm[8] Oct–Dec "Category 5 Ale" Extra Special/Strong Bitter (ESB) 7.5

Uncharted Waters[edit]

Heavy Seas' most creative offerings influenced by the addition of wood.

Name Availability Style ABV%
Siren Noire[9] January Imperial Chocolate Stout aged in bourbon barrels 9.5
Big DIPA March (Retired?) Double IPA aged on oak 10.5
Phantom Ship[10] Mar-Apr Tripel aged in bourbon barrels 9.5
Holy Sheet May (Retired?) Uber Abbey Ale aged in brandy barrels 9
Blackbeard's Breakfast[11] May-June Imperial Coffee Porter aged in Bourbon Barrels 10
Plank III July (Retired?) Belgian-style Ale aged on Jamaican Allspice wood 8
Red Sky at Morning[12] Jul-Aug Belgian Style Saison aged in Chardonnay Barrels 10
Great'ER Pumpkin[13] Sep-Oct Bourbon Barrel-aged Pumpkin Ale 10
Yule Tide[14] Dec-Jan Weizen Dopplebock aged in Jamaican rum barrels 9

Now in Cans[edit]

  • Loose CANnon (American IPA), 7.25% ABV


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°13′50″N 76°40′31″W / 39.23056°N 76.67528°W / 39.23056; -76.67528