Sorry the column is late. Let’s call it a 12-hour snow delay.

Yup. I know. You’re sick of the winter weather. And you know what? In six months we’ll all be sick of 95 degrees with 90 percent humidity, because, well, summer here sucks too.

1606346_10202545156937640_573382204_oDon’t get me wrong. I’m tired of the winter weather, too. But for me, I don’t see the summer as being any better. What’s this have to do with beer? Not a damn thing. Why do I bring it up? Just to point out that we’re going to be doing the whole SSDD dance come August.

So, instead of complaining about the snow and ice, crack a beer, relax, and enjoy the forced family time.

A brief observation: When I started at the Mid-Atlantic Brewing News, I covered somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 breweries, all outside of 695 Beltway around Baltimore. Frederick hosted only three of them, and there were none out in Maryland’s beach communities. By the end of this summer there will be over 40 breweries in the state, with the fastest growing region that aforementioned bucolic communities along the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coasts. Frederick County will be home to seven labels, with the eighth (Brew’d Pub) and ninth (Linganore Cellars is getting into the farm brewery game) ones in the works, one producer of hard cider, and a mead cellar.

Beer By Design

I’m part of the generation that grew up with album cover art. Sometimes simple, sometimes beautiful – often times the art became something of a branding for the band; Zeppelin IV, the Yes covers by Roger Dean, Emerson Lake and Palmer’s Brain Salad Surgery cover, the list goes on. But with the advent of iTunes, and the downloadable single, recording companies have been spending less and less on album art.

In my opinion, the new album art is beer label art.

Flying Dog with the Steadman labels, the clean look of the Monocacy branding, Heavy Seas, DuClaw, EVO – all these breweries have a look, a feel, an image that they portray with their labels, with their branding. Why do I bring this up – because right now my wife and I are involved in creating the new look for Barley and Hops’ tap handles.

It’s an interesting and challenging exercise – taking diverse ideas and trying to create a uniform branding is both fun and difficult. And the different goals my wife and I are interesting – me? I just want to create a cool looking label/logo. My wife? She wants to get her design on the Oh Beautiful Beer blog.

Tapped and Uncapped

I recently dined at the Ironwood Tavern down in Leesburg – part of Leesburg’s Beermuda Triangle. While there I had the distinct pleasure of imbibing Lost Rhino’s New River Pale Ale. American Pale Ales don’t tend to be a favorite style of mine – they strike me as a style that always promises so much more, but doesn’t typically deliver.

This one I rather enjoyed. Nice malt backbone with a hop infusion that really pops with notes of lemon and pine. I can’t say one way or another whether or not the beer in the can lives up to the flavor on tap, but I did like this one.

Until next week, be well and drink good beer.