248768_4853401649027_1282639099_nI moved to Frederick almost ten years ago. Back then, the only bars around town that I really frequented were Bushwaller’s, Brewer’s Alley…and, on occasion, Firestones. Back then the bar on Bentz was the Raw Bar, and had a bit of a reputation. Old Town was never my sort of place, and neither was Jennifers. I did like Venutti’s (which later became Danielle’s). But choices were a bit more limited back then.

Now there’s JoJo’s, The Roasthouse, Madrone’s, Cafe Nola. Barley and Hops brought on better and better brewers. Flying Dog came to town, Monocacy opened its doors. And that’s pretty much just Frederick. Around the county and just minutes from the edges of county lines, we also have the Mount Airy Inn, a Buffalo Wild Wings with a pretty good tap selection, Dan’s Taphouse in Boonsboro, Mealey’s and Morgan’s American Grill in New Market is serving more craft, and even Brunswick’s Potomac Street Grill has only craft on tap. It’s a little harder now to make it everywhere and try everything I would like.

It’s a good problem to have.

A little follow up thought on last week’s column about the move towards Belgians. I think that unless someone comes up with a Sour IPA, what can be done with hoppy beers has been done; cascadian dark ales, IIPA’s, Belgian IPA’s, wheat beer-IPA hybrids. Maybe I’m not thinking outside of the box enough, but I really believe that the next great wave of creativity in the craft beer industry is coming from the Belgian styles, and I, for one, am looking forward to it.

That said, I will admit that there is one thing that I overlooked in last week’s column: Kitchen Beers. What, you might ask, is a kitchen beer? It’s my own little phrase for beers made with ingredients more traditionally found in your kitchen than in your brewery. Beers made with ingredients like chipotle peppers, peanut butter, blood oranges, maple syrup, or even bacon. Hell, even I’ve experimented with brewing beer with some funky ingredients (last year I made Skittle-brau; a wit in which I pitched skittles in the boil).

So…another site did a beer bucket list – the 25 beers you must try before you die. I’ve had about ten of them. Of those ten, at least three I disagree with…in regards to them being beers you must try.

However, it has me pondering the idea of what the 25 are that are on my list. And this is the 25 I have not had yet. I’ll let you all know next week what I come up with.

Tapped and Uncapped

This week I’m going with big. Big beer from a big brewery. If you like Belgian Tripels, go find yourself a bottle of the New World from Sam Adams. This is easily the best beer I’ve had from Sam Adams in a long time – complex with nice, fruity esters including banana, and berries. And while the flavors linger, it doesn’t drink harsh. Very smooth, so drink with caution, because this one comes in at 10 percent ABV.

Until next week, be well, and drink good beer.