Mt. Airy, MD
Apparently, Mt. Airy is a beer wonderland. After kicking off this blog with the Farmer’s Daughter from Red Shedman Farm Brewery, I am moving onto Milkhouse Brewery’s Homestead Hefeweizen. What I really need to do is drive out to Mt. Airy, which is a scant 40 minutes from my house and has all the beers.
This one right here, this Homestead Hefeweizen, has a sweet, yeasty aroma. The first sip has a slightly orange, slightly cardamom flavor is apparently what I think yeast tastes like. That gives way to a strong wheat finish. The body is rich and creamy. It is basically everything you want from this classic German-style beer. It’s gorgeous.
Now I need to find something from Frey’s Brewing Company, and my tour of Mt. Airy will be complete.
Oliver Brewing Company
Balls to the Wall American Pale Ale
I have some affection for Oliver Brewing Company, which proclaims its love of heavy metal on its website. As an old metalhead myself, I can appreciate any beer named after Accept’s Balls to the Wall. (I am assuming…)
Balls to the Wall has a hoppy, bitter aroma. It has that grapefruit flavor that comes from American-style pale ales, but it also has a surprisingly smooth finish. The bitter aftertaste on the back of the throat lingers. It’s not too shabby.
Of course, Oliver Brewing Company was founded to do English-style ales, so I probably should have started with that. But come on, everyone: UDO.
DuClaw Brewing Co.
Bel Air, MD
Mysterium Belgian Spiced Ale
I will admit that I was prompted to snag a bottle of Mysterium by the fact that I am a huge fan of the board game Mysterium. Yet I didn’t drink Mysterium while playing Mysterium. I make no sense sometimes.
Anyway, the spices in this spiced ale are cardamom and chamomile. I definitely smelled the chamomile when I poured Mysterium into my glass. However, the taste was all cardamom.
To be honest, as much as I like cardamom as a spice, I probably wouldn’t have guessed that it flavored the ale. I am not some sort of spice savant. My point is, the cardamom wasn’t just an aromatic: I definitely tasted it in the beer.
Although the body was fizzy and wispy, overall Mysterium is a flavorful beer, and it lingered in a pleasant way after each gulp. It wouldn’t be a beer I would buy on a regular basis, but it is something I enjoyed for a lark.
Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyards
2015 Pinot Grigio
I feel like I’ve been remiss in exploring Maryland’s wineries because I’ve spent so much time gallivanting around Virginia. To rectify the situation, I went to Belby Discount Beer & Wine to pick up a bottle of Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard’s 2015 Pinot Grigio.
I got a citrusy, grassy aroma with the initial pour. The first taste is of tart grape. That tartness goes away a bit when it decants, and a little sweetness creeps in. I thought the body was a bit thin, but not detrimentally so. Altogether, a perfectly drinkable glass of wine. I’m looking forward to heading up to Sugarloaf Mountain and trying some more.
Union Craft Brewing
I am normally not a fan of altbier, a Westphalian style of beer popular in Düsseldorf. The ones I’ve had were a little too bitter and a little too syrupy in texture for my tastes.
But hey, maybe the ones I’ve had before just sucked. Maybe Union Craft Brewing is just better at making beer and its Balt Altbier would win me over.
How about, “Yeah?”
Balt has a rich, gorgeous brown color (yes, brown can be gorgeous) and a strong, malty aroma. It has a taste of bitter chocolate, but it does not have a bitter taste. In fact, it is pretty mild. Its body is smooth and creamy, not syrupy. I thought it was a thoroughly delightful beer.
I wish I bought more…
G. Heileman Brewing
National Bohemian is Baltimore’s beloved beer. Unfortunately, it is now brewed by G. Heileman, which is part of the Milwaukee-based Pabst Brewing empire. But as of 2011, 90% of its sales are still in Baltimore.
I am not a native Marylander, and moreover, I am a D.C. Metro Area Marylander, not a Baltimore Marylander. But I felt like I could not consider myself a true resident of my adopted state without drinking some Natty Boh.
It is pale yellow and very fizzy. It has a very faint sweet aroma that I associate with… well, mass-produced suds. Having sampled other regionally beloved brewskis (like Old Style), I was expecting it to be swill (like Old Style). But it has a smooth and gentle sweetness that puts it in more in line with its distant relatives in the European Pilsner family. It’s pretty good.
And it goes really well with Käsespätzle, which makes it a keeper in my book.
Monocacy Brewing Company
H.L. Rex Session Pale Ale
I have been in a bitter mood lately, so I’ve been spending a lot of time drinking Lowest Lord. But I thought I would mix it up a bit and try the H.L. Rex from Monocacy.
It gives off a bitter hop aroma when I poured it into my glass. Sure enough, the first taste is bitter grapefruit. But it mellowed out to a faint wheat taste on the back. I thought it had a sharply bitter aftertaste, but that quickly dissipates. Overall, a little too tart for my tastes, but not bad. I may want to go up to Frederick and hang out at Monocacy for awhile.
Evolution Craft Brewing Co.
Lot No. 3 India Pale Ale
I am not a fan of overly hopped ales, so this whole India Pale Ale thing where you are drinking simulated grapefruit juice is not my thing. So I approached Lot No.3 the way I approach a bed of nails.
And my first whiff was so hoppy, I feared the worst. Fortunately, Lot No.3 is a well-balanced ale. It has a lovely bitterness more in line with an English bitters than an American style IPA. It also has a rich, velvety texture that made it an altogether enjoyable drink. I’d buy it again.
Denizens Brewing Co.
Silver Spring, MD
I love English ale and wish there was a hole in the wall pub that allowed dogs so I could walk the dog that I don’t have yet to the pub and have a pint every day.
God, I miss Baying Hound.
It is too far to walk a theoretical dog from Rockville to Silver Spring, but at least I can buy Lowest Lord at Gilly’s. Denizens has got the bitters thing down pat. Lowest Lord has a rich golden brown color and a lovely hops aroma. It has a hoppy tang to it without being, you know, stupidly hoppy. It tickles the back of my throat and leaves a pleasantly bitter aftertaste. I wish I still worked at NOAA so I could go to Denizens all the time. I also wish I had some fish and chips right now or a full English breakfast or some toast and Marmite or something.
God, I miss the Red Lion.
I made two New Year’s resolutions this year.
- Drink more local beer
- Write more
I’m combining these resolutions into blog posts about beer made in Maryland. I may expand this into wine and liquor made in Maryland too, but for now, I just want to down a pint or two.
(Also, Natty Boh doesn’t technically count anymore, but I may try it anyway…)
Red Shedman Farm Brewery
Mt. Airy, MD
Farmer’s Daughter Blonde
The can has a picture of a pretty blonde woman on it. She looks vaguely Swedish in a Malena Ernman sort of way and I would love to complain about Red Shedman using a pretty blonde woman to sell their beer except I bought it. So I took a picture of the can so that you don’t see the picture. Blame it on my innate Catholicism.
Anyway, Farmer’s Daughter Blonde has a beautiful cloudy pale gold color. The aroma is faintly sour, but there is only the slightest hint of tartness to the taste. It tastes vaguely of apricot at first before giving way to a vague wheat flavor at the end. The beer’s body is thin and flat. It’s better to swig it with a couple of big gulps than to sip it, but like people in the land of Oz, it comes and goes so quickly here. Not an unpleasant way to pass the time, but not something I’m going to reminisce about either.