I have, of late, been pondering penning a book on beer in Maryland – history, growth, flagship beers, the evolution of the beer bar in the state, the relationship with local agriculture concerns – but with the current industry growth, it might actually be a phenomenally difficult thing to keep up with. To wit: in the last couple of years, new Maryland breweries have included Union, Full Tilt, Public Works, Ruhlman, Mully’s, Burley Oak, Fin City, Milkhouse, Frey’s, Push, ReAleRevival, Shorebilly, and in the pipeline are Jailbreak, Denizens, Black-Eyed Suzan, Scorpion, Chester River, and Mad Science. And this is just what’s off the top of my head.
It’s not that I’m not going to try to do this, I just have to spend some time figuring out how to frame the book in such a way as to make it easily updateable for when the draft is done, because Maryland’s growth has been robust.
So…those of you who know my other social media feeds away from Frederick Beer Week know that I’m on Untappd, or as I like to call it, the Beer Scouts of America. I mean, why not? You work towards beer-based merit badges, after all. It seems appropriate.
I’m very proud of our local homebrew club. It is a group of very talented homebrewers, and it might very well be the largest club in the state. To give you all a good sense of how talented the group is, members who have won competitions in the last year have seen, or will see their beers produced by; Barley and Hops, Brewer’s Alley, and Pub Dog (right now there’s a double IPA on at our local Buffalo Wild Wings from FOAM’s Derick McElhaney, which won Best of Show at the Microbreweries Festival in Union Mills in the fall). Brewer’s also recently tapped one, and the next big tapping is the winner of last year’s Battle of the Bubbles.
In the meantime…
Some of you might have noticed that I went on a little road trip out to Laurel last week. If you didn’t, let me fill you in – I stopped in at Jailbreak Brewing. They’re still undergoing their build-out, but that should be done soon. I was assured by Justin Bonner, the CEO, that they have their TTB approvals and will be ready to hit the market by the beginning of April. I, for one, am looking forward to more good Maryland beer, and am hoping we can entice them to come out to the Beerfest at the Farm.
My next pimping moment: There are a lot of great beer stores around Frederick County. Franklin’s in Urbana, Tri-State in Brunswick, Old Farm, Westview, Ye Old, and Riverside are all great places to find beer in the County seat. Last Friday I stopped in at DJ Liquors out on the Golden Mile. The West Patrick liquor store is a little hard to find – it is tucked around the side of the Carrabbas (in the same building) by the Home Depot.
If you find your way out there, definitely check them out – not only do they have a decent selection of craft and import beers, but they are a big supporter of local. Their selection includes beers not only from our Frederick breweries, but also from around Maryland and the other Mid-Atlantic states. Haven’t sampled Fin City, or Public Works? A favorite from Flying Dog? Brewer’s Alley? Troeg’s? Swing by and get yourself some.
Actually, this week’s recommendation was picked up at DJ Liquors; I figure with the weather looking like Polar Vortex, Part Deux, that I would go with a winter ale, and this week’s winter ale comes to you from the folks at Elysian in Seattle. Yes, this week I am recommending that you go out and pick yourself up some Bifrost Winter Ale.
The Elysian winter warmer pours a golden with a thick, rich head and is a full bodied malty beer that finishes with just a hint of hoppy bitterness. If you like well-balanced malty beers, this is definitely one to add to the list.
Until next week, stay warm, be well and drink good beer.