As of the time I write this there is a bill waiting to be signed by the Governor that would allow Maryland’s breweries to allow customers who come for tours to purchase beer at the brewery. It is my understanding that this would include growlers. To be more specific this new law, which if signed, goes into effect July 1st would allow holders of Class 5 brewer licenses to sell beer for on-site consumption. As the law stands now these licensees can only offer six 3-ounce samples to tour participants. They can also currently sell beer for off-site drinking.
This is a great development and sure to help the craft brewing industry in Maryland. I knew if I waited long enough the legislature would finally pass something good. After this session I need a drink.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
I have to admit that I am such a geek that I regularly read the liquor board minutes. Having attended a few hearings in my other capacity I am always stunned by how antiquated the laws and procedures are. It offends the libertarian in me how controlled the process is (and that other owners can get up there and protest the issuance of a new license because there are already other stores in the area). However as an avid beer wine and liquor consumer you can find some interesting tidbits in the minutes. From the most recent hearing on February 11th, 2013 besides the usual transfer requests I did note the following items:
A store called Spin the Bottle was granted a conditional license for 220 East Patrick Street. Another store called Viniculture put their license application on hold because they could not come to terms with the landlord at their proposed 57 East Patrick Street location. If memory serves that was the location of the old Deli?
Lastly a conditional license was issued for a new store down in Urbana in the Fingerboard Plaza shopping center (same place where Mangie e Bevi is located). The name on the application is Orion Wine and Spirits.
Filed under Beer, Booze, Stores
A few odds and ends:
An nice article about Maryland’s own Robert Parker in WSJ Market Watch. I especially like the description of his wine cellar and the factoid that his daughter prefers tequila over wine. I am available for adoption.
An article in a Pennsylvania paper about Knob Hall winery. I had no idea there is a new winery in Washington County: Red Heifer Winery that has recently opened.
And lastly Amazon is reentering the wine selling business. They had some issues the first time they did it. Of course no shipping to Maryland. Bear that in mind when the legislative session starts in January! Here is the official press release.
Unintentionally it seems to have become beer week here at the blog. Continuing in the theme the Beer Institute released some new data that indicates Marylander’s of legal age consumed 23.3 gallons of beer per year. This puts us 47th in the country. You think with all the quality breweries we have it would be higher. It makes you wonder if Marylander’s are more temperate or if there is some other alcoholic beverage of choice. Bringing up the rear was New Jersey, New York and last, Connecticut. The highest in the nation? New Hampshire with 44.2 gallons per capita.
You can see the data HERE.
A few weeks ago I commented on how well our local wineries fared at the 2012 Governor’s Cup awards. Well they have a Governor’s Cup for beer as well and Frederick Counties breweries acquitted themselves quite well. Out of 31 medals Frederick County breweries came home with 12! Brewer’s Alley led the haul with their Kolsch (Gold Ale- 1st place), Pilsner (Lager- 1st place), Nut Brown (Porter/Brown- 3rd place), Kerzen (Wheat 2nd place), 1634 Ale (Specialty/Experimental- 3rd place). Flying Dog got medals for Flying Dog Brewery Woody Creek White (Belgian-1st place), Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout (Stout 3rd place), Snake Dog (IPA 1st place), and Horn Dog (Barleywine 1st place). Barley and Hops received a medal for their Hoptopsy ESB (IPA-3rd place) and Weizen Heimer Hefe Weizen (Wheat- 3rd place). Rounding out the showing for our county was the newcomer Monocacy Brewing Company who got a medal for their Riot Rye Pale Ale (Pale Ale- 1st place). Considering that is the only beer I believe they currently have available that is an impressive start!
Congratulations to all!
A nice front page article in today’s Frederick News Post about Monocacy Brewing Company’s release of the first in a series of nine beers commemorating the Civil War. Antietam Ale is an English-style bitter. The article says besides being sold a Brewer Alley it will be available in bottles. Anyone seen it yet?
UPDATE: I also saw that WHAG did a feature on Antietam Ale. It had the interesting factoid that “the label is only the second U.S. beer bottle in history to feature a picture of the American flag.”
The festival season seems to be upon us. Brunswick’s second annual Wine and Chocolate Walk is set for September 22nd. I poked around their website and it looks like a lot of fun. Check out the wine list here.
Some recent odds and ends of note:
An article in the Baltimore Sun about the rise in Maryland’s Farm breweries. In passing it notes that Frederick County has five “in the works.” I am aware of two. Anyone know of the others?
In Sunday’s Washington Post magazine there was a review of Family Meal by lead critic Toms Sietsema. The review was very favorable, but he gave them 2/4 stars. He raved about the fried chicken and the miniature chicken pot pie appetizer. Review can be found HERE.
On a more national note, but one that could have local implications, a Federal Judge found that Kentucky’s law keeping wine and liquor sales out of grocery stores in unconstitutional. Article HERE
Lastly it is apparently National Rum Month. How in the world I could let it get halfway through the month without realizing it? Here is post from 2009 detailing one of my favorite rum cocktails.
For those of you coming northbound on I270 yesterday morning you know what I am talking about. A beer truck overturned spilling 77,000 pounds of beer and had traffic snarled for hours. It took my secretary 2 1/2 hours extra to get in yesterday!
The good news? It was Budweiser. More details with pictures HERE.
Why is it that I find bad wine undrinkable, yet I can tolerate bad beer? I was pondering this the other steamy day by the pool. Now I have to be clear: for a bad beer to be palatable it has to be (a) drunk ice-cold outside on a hot day or (b) free. Bonus points if it is both. Yet I find lousy wine to be undrinkable under any circumstances. Why is this? My working theory is that there is a greater spread between bad and excellent in wine than in beer. What I mean by this is that the top end of beer is really good but the top end of wine is stunning to sublime. I’ve never had that ‘a-ha’ epiphany moment with beer that I’ve had many times with wine. So maybe when you are drinking bad wine consciously or unconsciously you realize all the wasted potential. I guess beer doesn’t have as much potential to waste? It’s like your stupid friend: you just don’t expect as much out of him so he rarely disappoints you.
The Worst Rated Beer on BeerAdvocate
Monocacy Brewing Company announced that its going to have its grand opening celebration from 2-5 pm on August 4th at their location at 1781 North Market Street in Frederick. Frederick is really becoming THE craft beer destination of Maryland. In no particular order: Flying Dog, Barley and Hops, Brewer’s Alley, and coming soon; Frey’s Brewing Company and Milkhouse Brewery.
Did I leave any out?
Flying Dog is having its annual GonzoFest this Saturday with live music and of course beer. Tickets are still available. I have to admit that I’m not familiar with the bands but apparently the line up is so good that Fred’s brother was strongly considering flying down from Boston to attend.
The site Aleheads combed the rating sites (BeerAdvocate and RateBeer) and came up with their ranking of each state’s best beer. The winner for Maryland: Evolution Rise Up Stout. I have to admit I was not familiar with Evolution Craft Brewing Company before this article. They are a Salisbury based operation. I don’t think I’ve ever seen their wares here in Frederick County. Anyone know if/where they can be bought locally?
Saturday night I had occasion to try (several times over!) DuClaw Brewing Company’s Euforia Toffee Nut Brown Ale. DuClaw Brewing Company is a Maryland craft brewer based out of Abingdon. They have four locations around the Baltimore area but I have never had a chance to sample their wares. I was aware that they have a great reputation for quality beers and were pioneers in selling growlers- large take home bottles that patrons could get to go. Up until Friday I believed that was the only way to sample their beers, so I was pleasantly surprised when I walked into the Frederick Wine House and saw a large display of their bottles. Having nothing to go on I just selected one six-pack at random mainly because I love nut brown ales. I guess I was overcome with joy and not thinking clearly because if I had I would have made up a mixed six-pack of their offerings. However no complaints with what I selected. In fact I would have been disappointed if I had only one of these to drink. It turned out to be a dark beer with delightful caramel and maple aromas. On tasting it was medium bodied with a wonderful malty, creamy mouthfeel. Not heavy at all it had flavors of toffee (duh!) and hints of nuts and dark unsweetened cocoa. Not sweet at all though.
VERDICT: An easy drinking and flavorful beer that I really enjoyed. 5% ABV
Well actually some of them already do. But they are anomalies or grandfathered in. The vast majority cannot. Most people really do not give this much of a thought, but the application for a liquor store above the new Columbia Wegmans has really brought this issue to the forefront lately. Marylanders for Better Beer and Wine Laws does a great job of summarizing the controversy here. The money quote “Why do package good stores have any greater right to have their business protected than a five and dime? We have a capitalist marketplace. In every other industry, they have to deal with the competition. The booksellers have to deal with Amazon, Blockbuster has to deal with Netflix. Why do customers have to lose out?”
I believe that any store should be able to get a liquor license. Heck I should be able to get it shipped on the internet to my home. What do you think? I know a lot of people, especially in the southwestern part of our county, go to the Leesburg Wegmans or Costco. Wouldn’t Maryland rather have those tax dollars as well?
The Maryland Craft Beer Festival is tomorrow at the Frederick Fairgrounds. Weather forecast looks beautiful. Some of those VIP beers look fascinating; Green peppercorn trippel or wild sour cherry porter? Here is a guide to the festival from the Gazette. You can still buy the discounted tickets at their site as of this morning. I wonder if I qualify for a press pass?