A Beer Study: @DiamondBackBeer Omar’s Oatmeal Pale Ale Versus Itself
Steve Fogleman, Baltimore Beer Baron
“We were contract-brewed, so most of our beers were 5.5% ABV, Diamondback co-founder and brewmaster Tom Foster told me on Sunday during the grand opening of their new brewery and headquarters at McHenry Row in Baltimore’s Locust Point. “It’s hard to determine how well a beer will sell on the market. If you mess it up and it doesn’t sell, you’re screwed. But when you have a tasting room, you know somebody will drink it. People will come to you and drink it. You don’t have to force it down people’s throats. We can do whatever we want now.”
And doing whatever they want means making their existing beers even better.
And Omar’s O.P.A., an Oatmeal Pale Ale, is Exhibit A.
The can has one of the best designs ever, with a nod toward two great works of art: David Simon’s “The Wire” and Vincent Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night”.
Foster poured me a draft from one of the eight tap lines in the tasting room and then grabbed me a pour of the canned version, which I’d recently tried.
With the draft version right next to the contract recipe, it was like night and day.
“Aromatically and physically, they are totally different beers,” Foster said, and I agreed.
The cloudy brewery recipe on tap is full of flavor and esters that I couldn’t taste in the canned version. The canned version used a dry yeast for cost reasons. The brewery’s new version uses their signature Vermont Ale yeast.
While contract brewing has produced wonderful ales and lagers, it’s exciting to see first-hand how a brewer can take it to the next level when they have a place to call home.
The tasting room at Diamondback Brewing Company is open from 4pm-1am on Fridays, 11am-1am on Saturdays and 11am-10pm on Sundays at 1215 Fort Avenue.