Sorry it’s been a couple weeks since the last column. We have entered a very busy time for the Frederick Beer Week board. We are in that stretch when so much of the work that makes FBW happen gets done.

FBWBeerFestImage_2This is when the sponsors and participants come on board, events are being planned, and homebrewers begin busting their asses on any number of events on which they will have an impact during our little beer week.

I’ve always been very proud of the way the local homebrewing community has been involved in FBW. In the past, Frederick Original Ale Makers have had a direct impact on the FBW Beerfest at the Farm, the popular Beer Judging 101 & 201 classes, the Battle of the Bubbles homebrew competition, and at least once they worked with Heavy Seas to produce a special cask conditioned IPA which was tapped at one of our local establishments during FBW. This year, our local homebrew shop, The Flying Barrel, is working with Flying Dog on a second homebrew competition for the week – a clone competition focused on Raging Bitch. Like the Battle of the Bubbles, there will be a public event during Frederick Beer Week. For the Raging Bitch competition, the public event will be held at The Roasthouse.

But there’s so much more going on behind the scenes.

We rely heavily on volunteers – on the people that enjoy Frederick Beer Week. We are of the people, by the people and for the people. And we give back to the community – having worked with a number of local non-profits for their benefit.

That stretch from May 30 through June 7 is a big deal to us. We are working hard on our celebration of local.

What’s to celebrate, some might ask. A whole lot – we have a rapidly growing craft beer scene in the county with six brewing brands already operational, a seventh due to open this year, and the eighth and ninth are in planning stages. The brewing industry here has had a trickle down effect on other industries – we have five farms definitively in county that are now producing hops, and one not just growing barley, but malting it; we have local restaurants dedicating more and more of their tap lines to craft beer; and slowly, but surely, we are seeing the state legislature pass laws that do more to encourage growth of the industry.

All of that results in more local jobs from companies that are vested in the community, companies (the breweries) that engage in practices that help support local agriculture (hops yield higher profits than most other crops, and many of the local brewers donate their spent grain back to the farmers as feed supplement, cutting down on the farmers’ costs), and, from an environmental standpoint, the beer is practically being made in your own backyard, which minimizes shipping costs.

And none of that takes into account that there’s some damn good beer being made here.

Or that a group of industry rivals comes together every year (now for our fourth) in order to celebrate not just what Flying Dog is doing, or Brewer’s Alley, or Monocacy, or Barley and Hops, or Milkhouse….no, it’s to celebrate what’s going on here in Frederick as an industry, and even around Maryland.

Because that’s worth celebrating.

Until next time, be well and drink good beer.