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
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.”
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.
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?
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
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?
Channel 9 video on Adam Frey’s new Frederick county farm brewery. I’d card the reporter though.
Brewer’s Alley released a special wedding beer, Wedding Alt, with customizable labels. How about a divorce one? Should it be something dark and heavy or light and celebratory?
The Grateful Gourmet tries a Frederick County wine and finds he likes it.
In anticipation of the impending changes (on July 1st I believe?) in the alcohol laws are two new ”farm breweries” in Frederick County that are slated to open soon: Frey’s Brewing Company and Milkhouse Brewery. Exciting times. Ever so often the legislature actually does something good. I look forward to their opening and as soon as possible I shall visit them and report back here. Maybe I can get a sneak preview on one: Milkhouse Brewery is on Stillpoint Farm which is where FirkinFest, the grand finale to Frederick Beer Week , is being held.
There are all sorts of boozy events coming up:
Toast to Frederick wine festival- April 21st and 22nd at the Frederick fairgrounds
The Maryland Craft Beer Festival at the Frederick fairgrounds. May 12th from noon to six.
Frederick Beer Week- May 12-19th. Events all over the Frederick area.
Wine in The Woods- May 19 and 20th at Merriweather Post Pavillion.
Did you know that Frederick had beer trail? I didn’t. Here is the article from the Downtown Frederick Partnership. With the exception of Roast House Pub I’ve hiked the whole trail, however I’m not sure I agree with all the listings. Certainly Flying Dog, Barley & Hops and Brewer’s Alley deserve to be on there. What about the others? Does simply serving good beer warrant inclusion? Let me know.
Had a Breckenridge Brewery Vanilla Porter this weekend. I thought it was awesome. Not really a food beer, too distinctive in its flavor, and probably too heavy for the weather we are having around here now, but in front of a campfire in the highlands of West Virginia it was magical. I think during the cooler months it will become a regular in my rotation. Anyone know where I can get this in Frederick?
Frederick Beer Week starts today. Word is that the beer judging class is sold out, but there are still tickets for the grand finale fest on Saturday. Anyone doing anything?