When the Best Beer From @MDBrewers Comes To Baltimore, Drink It
Steve Fogleman, Baltimore Beer Baron
When I first heard about the Baltimore Craft Beer Festival last year, I thought it might not be the best idea ever.
Why would they schedule a craft beer festival right after Baltimore Beer Week?
Would this market support it, straight off of 10 days of the annual imbibing marathon?
Would they be able to differentiate themselves in some way?
The answers: Yes they could. Yes they did, and October is a great festival month. The Germans figured that out before anyone else. Thousands of craft beer enthusiasts agreed by plunking down their hard-earned beer money to show up in Canton on Saturday and sample some stunning one-off creations.
And when Maryland’s best beer comes to your front yard, you’d be best advised to go out and drink it.
Saturday’s second annual installment of the Baltimore Craft Beer Festival was held under sunny skies on the Canton waterfront. Despite testy winds, the conditions were perfect to check out some of Maryland’s delicious and often harder-to-get-to brews in a speed round of sampling. This is not your Baltimore Beer Week. There was a cornucopia of offerings from places City drinkers consider far-flung, like Carroll County and Frederick County farms to Eastern Shore breweries. I made a point to try the beers from outside of my local beer bar comfort zone and go with names I’d never even heard of before Saturday.
Consider it the cruise ship approach to destination drinking. Before jumping in the car and making a day out of a visit to one of these breweries and brew pubs, beer untasted, all of them come to you for your survey and sampling. The brewers whose brews you admire will be the breweries you visit on future road trips.
Getting some local favorites out of the way first, 83 North IPA by Waverly Brewing is a beautiful beer and Union Craft‘s offering of a different beer every hour brought great enjoyment to the thirty masses.
As far as my mind’s road trip went, I started in Hagerstown with the Cushwa Brewing Funk ‘n’ Fuzz Peach Saison. This was a delicate, elegant beer, with Chardonnay soaked oak and fresh peaches with a slight bubblegum note.
Down the road a bit in Adamstown was Mad Science Brewing and its Hemophiliac Stout and Antidote American Pale. Brewmaster Brian Roberts is a full-time scientist and a part-time brewer, so the beer names run toward the medical side.
Frederick was the delicious next stop, with Barley & Hops Brewpub’s Barbarian DIPA, dry-hopped with Jaryllo, Simcoe and Soriachi Ace.
Now it was time to head for Laytonsville. The little beer truck that looked like a food truck (a horse trailer?) was another personal favorite, and their Haymaker Rye Pale Session packed a hop wallop while delivering only 4.4% ABV. It’s from Waredaca Brewing Company in Laytonsville, a farm brewery conveniently located between Baltimore, D.C. and Frederick.
Let’s be clear: This is a marketing event–and it delivers. Of the festival goers with whom I spoke, they purchased lots of beer to go, including growler fills. Not only that, they told me that they were definitely planning to visit the breweries they liked. And that’s a win-win for brewers and craft beer lovers.