photoHere we are in the final days of the summer…well, at least here in Frederick County. Those of us with kids already know, school begins on the other side of this coming weekend. That leaves us with the weekends to do things. And, heading into September and October, there is plenty to do on the weekends – Barley and Hops’ Brews-a-Palooza on September 1 kicks it off. There’s the Carroll County Craft Beer Fest in October, there are a variety of Oktoberfests, there’s the Maryland Microbreweries Festival, the Brunswick Wine & Chocolate Walk’s BBQ & Beergarden…and so many other things happening in the fall.

If you’re not looking to fight the crowds and lines at the festivals, there are plenty of nice day and part day trips that you can make around the area that bring you to a variety of craft beer locales.

Washington, DC – Of course Washington has a lot to offer  for the day tripper heading down from Frederick; the Smithsonian, the Newseum, the Spy Museum, the Library of Congress, a variety of monuments and historical sites, the National Zoo, the Nationals, and a number of other attractions in and around the beltway. Best of all, there’s a growing craft beer scene inside of the beltway. Inside the beltway, look for the likes of Franklin’s (Hyattstown), Rock Bottom (Bethesda), Port City (Alexandria) while in city limits DC Brau, Chocolate City, Bluejacket, and other breweries are popping up. A couple of favorite destinations in town for me include Church Key and Meridian Pint. But there are a whole slew of others down there now, including RFD, Birch and Barley, Gordon Biersch, Cap City Brewing Company, and a slew of others.

Purcellville, VA – Right up the road is the Round Hill Center for the Arts, to get there you go through beautiful farm-land filled with vineyard after vineyard, and on your way out there you can stop at the Corcoran Winery, home to Corcoran Brewing Company. Good beer, some food, pet friendly. And then you can continue on down to Purcellville, just fifteen minutes on the other side of Corcoran, you’ll arrive at the charming little town that’s home to Adroit Theory Brewing Company and Magnolia’s at the Mill. Magnolia’s is a place worth heading to. Ambitious menu with good food, something in the neighborhood of thirty craft beers on tap (rotating taps), and a slew of other craft bottles. Go and get yourself a nice meal, get your craft on, then go take a tour of the small Adroit Theory.

Leesburg, VA – Leesburg has been coming along as a beer town. It truly has. Home to a Fireworks Pizza, the McDowell Brew Kitchen, the Vintage 50 brewpub, Mud Hound Brewing, and the Crooked Run nano-brewery (and on your way there you can stop in at the Barnhouse nano-brewery in Lucketts). On top off all of that, Leesburg hosts several brewfests each year, including the NoVa Brewfest at Leesburg’s Movern Park. And, as an aside, if you were a fan of Growler’s of Gaithersburg’s beers over the last couple of years, their former brewmaster, Brett Kimbrough is now the brewmaster at Vintage 50.

Coming next week; Harrisburg, Lancaster, Baltimore.

Tapped and Uncapped

This week’s recommendation comes out of the brewkettles of Crown Vallley Brewing out of Missouri. The Gunslinger double IPA is a lovely hop-bomb with a noticeable malt back-bone.  An unusually well balanced for a double IPA, this beer should satisfy even the most ardent hop-head. That said, it’s certainly no Black Diamond Rampage (a personal favorite).

Until next week, be well and drink good beer.