Showing posts with label Maryland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Maryland. Show all posts

April 29, 2012

Chow.com: The Best Brewpub in America

Right now on Chow.com, you have an opportunity to vote for the best brewpub in America.  I've been to three of the eight still in the running: the Wrecking Bar in Atlanta, Cambridge Brewing Company in Massachusetts, Revolution Brewing in Chicago.

These are some tough choices!

Vote every day through the final round May 8 - 15.

August 4, 2011

It's IPA Day - Starr Hill's Northern Lights

After a long first day at my new job, I'm happy to finally be able to indulge in this holiest of beer holidays. OK - I had no idea an IPA Day even existed until I saw it on Twitter the other day, but I'm not going to let that stop me.

To celebrate, I'm reviewing Northern Lights - an IPA from Starr Hill Brewery, which was founded in 1999 in Charlottesville, VA. Today, the brewery is located just down the road in Crozet, VA, which I just found out is not a town but a census-designated place. Odd.

Back to the beer.

Northern Lights pours a nice reddish-amber color, with a substantial head. The smell is hoppy for sure, mostly a sweeter citrus and floral character. The taste compliments the aroma very well. It's not overwhelmingly bitter. The floral and citrus notes give way to a slight malty sweetness that you might expect from an amber or red ale.

I think some hop-heads might want a little more bitterness, but in my book, Northern Lights gets very high marks.

Look for it in Virginia, Washington, DC, Maryland, Tennessee, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida.

July 13, 2011

DC Day 3: Dogfish Head Alehouse

OK.  Now I know what all the hype is about -- and why the line for Dogfish Head at the American Craft Beer Fest was out of control the whole time. With a brewery based in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, Dogfish Head also has three restaurants in the DC area: two in northern Virginia, one in Gaithersburg, Maryland. I walked in, went straight for the bar, and ordered up a glass of their 90-Minute IPA.  The Dogfish IPAs are pretty well known among IPA fans, aka 'hopheads'. Dogfish does a 60-Minute, a 90-Minute, and a 120-Minute IPA, the 'minutes' referring to how long the beer spends boiling with hops. But rather than listen to me tell you about it, why don't you let the Dogfish Head founder, Sam Calagione, tell you himself?


And it was extremely delicious. I followed the IPA with a tasty Alehouse BBQ Burger - two beef patties cooked over a wood fire, bacon, onion rings, and cheese - and spent the next hour or so deliberating which beer to get next. This is where I was just about knocked off my barstool. The beer selection at Dogfish Head was truly mind-blowing. 'Standard' simply isn't part of their vocabulary. Nearly every single beer was made with ingredients that don't typically find their way into commercial beer. I sampled one called Theobroma, derived from a 3,200-year-old Aztec recipe and made with cocoa powder, honey, chili peppers, and annatto (a seed from a tree found in Latin America). I was shocked how light it was - none of those ingredients was overwhelming at all. I tried another beer called Black & Red, which was a strong, dark, fruity beer made with mint - lots of mint. After several samples, I finally decided on the Raison d'Etre, a Belgian Ale made with raisins and beet sugar.  As you might expect, it smelled and tasted somewhat sweet and somewhat fruity -- definitely a unique combination.  At 8% ABV, it also packed a pretty good punch on the alcohol scale.

I would have loved to hang out and try all the beers on the menu, but I figured I'd save some for when I visit DC again next week.  So -- stay tuned...

June 28, 2011

NOVA Brew Fest

A beautiful day, beautiful people, and lots of delicious beer.  Not a bad way to spend a weekend.


The Northern Virginia Brew Fest was held this past Saturday and Sunday in Leesburg, VA, about an hour west of Washington, DC.  Roughly 50 breweries were in attendance, plus arts & crafts vendors and some local bands.  I went up to volunteer, but had plenty of time to sample brews before, during, and after the event.

May 30, 2011

Williamsburg, VA: Williamsburg Alewerk's Coffeehouse Stout

There's no place like home and there's no beer quite like a stout.  Finding my parent's house completely devoid of any kind of beer (save for 3 Coors Lights leftover from my brothers' 21st birthday - not drinkable), I ventured to the nearest grocery store and picked up a sixer of my hometown brewery's Coffeehouse Stout.  Having brewed a batch like this myself, I was curious to see how it would go down.  To make things even more interesting, this beer was made with coffee from Antigua, Guatemala, one of the places I'd been to on my recent travels and where I'd had a fair amount of the local coffee.

As it is, a stout is a pretty heavy beer.  For some, it may just be too much to handle.  This dark stout has so much coffee flavor, I think that someone who wasn't a big beer drinker, but liked coffee, could really get along with it.  And as someone who likes coffee almost as much as they like beer, I see this six-pack going down pretty quick.

While the coffee flavor is somewhat overpowering, this beer is surprisingly sweet.  It lacks the complexity and creamy texture of Guinness, but it might be a good place to start if you want to start exploring some brews on the darker end of the spectrum.

This and other Alewerks brews can be found in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and Washington, DC.