Keeping track of the brewing scene in this country is tough these days. If there's not some ridiculous calendar of events and festivals, there is a constant stream of new beers hitting your neighborhood stores and pubs at an incredible pace. If you don't keep your eyes and ears open (or constantly refresh your Twitter feed), you might miss something (to paraphrase Ferris Bueller). It's tough enough just to stay on top of the local stuff, but every now and then I feel the need to send a shout out to the peeps in Maryland who are pushing the industry forward.
The lucky recipients of my much-coveted attention this week is the team at DuClaw Brewing Company, based in Bel Air. Admittedly, they put in some hard work to earn my affection, but they haven't slowed down to listen to the accolades. Instead, they continue to move ahead and take the Maryland beer scene by storm. Here are just a few of the changes taking place there right now...
First, there is, of course, new beer. And their recently released HellRazer IPA is one quality beverage. Having tasted it on tap and in cask, I can definitely say that it has won me over. The rare hops (Motueka hops from New Zealand) give HellRazer an unusual flavor, but one that separates it from the bitter, piney hops found in many American IPA's lately. The result is just what you would hope for... a tasty, well-balanced beer. (Bonus: 7.5% abv!)
Then, you have to look at how they're getting their brews to the people. To this end, they have recently added 12 oz. bottles to their repertoire. In addition to some of their flagship products (Venom, Black Lightning, etc.), you can now procure the latest goods - the aforementioned HellRazer and the re-engineered Euforia, a toffee nut brown ale - in 6-packs at liquor stores all over the state. Not a bad Valentine's Day gift, am I right? (Just askin'...)
Finally, I wanted to share the latest competition from these creative kids. That would be their annual H.E.R.O. homebrew contest, where amateur brewers from all over will compete to have their original beer recipe brewed by DuClaw! Not only will you have bragging right over your fellow homebrewers, but your beer will be sold at DuClaw locations and beer stores throughout the area! Simply brew an interesting and innovative beer (preferably not in a style already made by DuClaw) and submit three 12 oz. bottles to the brewery by April 18th. Of course, there are additional rules, but you can read about them at the H.E.R.O. page on their website. Definitely a great opportunity to get your name out there in the brewing community.
So yeah, that's a pretty big plate o' brewing news. But I'm just scratching the surface, and at just one local brewery at that! If you think you can keep up with the whole big world of beer, let me know and I'll hire you to take over MY job. (FYI: My job involves drinking lots of beer, with little responsibility. Who would want that!?)
Otherwise, just keep reading, or checking up on my tweets, and I'll keep dropping knowledge. If you need anything else, feel free to donate to: