Milkhouse Brewery at Stillpoint Farm

by Chris Sands. 0 Comments

Milkhouse Brewery, Stillpoint Farm's farmhouse brewery, holds the distinction of being the first farmhouse brewery in Maryland, and we believe it will quickly be known as a place to get amazing beer. Tom Barse, the brain, brawn, and creative force behind the operation started home brewing 41 years ago. After Maryland passed a law allowing Class 8 Farm Brewery Licenses Milkhouse installed a 10 barrel system and started brewing in December, mostly pilots for their launch beers Stairway to Hoppiness ... read more


Happy Birthday to an old friend

by Chris Sands. 0 Comments

  Last week (July 31st), Brewer’s Alley celebrated its 17th birthday.  I have been “friends” with Brewer’s Alley since before I could drink legally.  Brewer’s, Frederick’s first working Brew Pub, first opened my eyes to local independent restaurants, the concept of a brewpub, and, once I turned 21, craft beer.  In fact, I think a lot of Fredericktonians, myself included, were first introduced to real beer in the form of Brewer’s Alley’s Oatmeal Stout.  Even GIRLS liked it ... read more


Man, I want to Visit Asheville, NC

by William Randall. 0 Comments

  One of the exciting things about being a craft beer enthusiast is traveling to places that carry vastly different beers than what I am used to seeing at my local beer store.  "Beer Tourism" is big in Belgium, but I make sure I integrate it into all of my travels.  Last week was no exception.  On the way to the Smoky Mountains in North Carolina for a family reunion with the in-laws we stopped by The Bearden Beer Market.  We were going to swing by the Casual Pint, but they were not open ... read more


“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” Gonzofest 2013

by Chris Sands. 0 Comments

Flying Dog's 5th annual Gonzofest did not disappoint.  The weather reports threatened to ruin the yearly celebration of the late Hunter S. Thompson, however the rain stayed away and the great beer helped to keep everyone cool from the heat. Gonzofest featured two bands this year, We Are Hex and The Jon Spenser Blues Explosion.   The crowd definitely seemed to enjoy both bands.  Jon Spenser had several people up and dancing. As usual Flying Dog had an array of beers available.  The highlights ... read more


Red All Over Taking shape

by William Randall. 0 Comments

Chris and I met with the fine folks from Monocacy Brewing Company this past Wednesday to build the identity of the FNP's upcoming Anniversary Beer, tentatively called Red All Over.  We tasted a number of different red ales:  Bear Republic's Red Rocket, Lagunitas' Censored, Oskar Blues G'Knight (quite possibly my favorite beer), and Ithaca's Cascazilla to get our thinking caps working.  Here are some notes: 

Red IPA Roughly 7 to 8% abv The chosen color should be closest to the Bear Republic Red Rocket Ale, with slightly less intensity (meaning a little less dark). Hop character should offer a piney/resinous aroma. Glacier and Chinook stood out specifically. Chris and I especially liked Glacier due to its herby/woody/citrisy characteristics. The malt character should be similar to the Ithaca Beer Co. CascaZilla. Hop-forward but with less of an emphasis with the bitterness, but with a punch you in the face aroma and a good strong piney/resiny flavor. The jury is still out with regard to bottling.  We may decide to do it, and are working on the label art.  We may come out with specific glassware for the beer.  I think this would be a great giveaway for the anniversary. 

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Farmers and Beer (Stillpoint Preview Weekend)

by William Randall. 0 Comments

We love farmers and beer so Chris and I are really excited to try out Maryland’s newest Farmhouse Brewery this weekend!

Milkhouse Brewery at Stillpoint Farm in Mount Airy is having a preview opening this weekend.  They will open their doors Friday June 28th from 3pm - 7pm and on Saturday and Sunday from Noon until 7pm.  They will be serving up beer made with ingredients grown locally on the farm, as well as a few guest beers.  Chris and I will be there; will we see you there?

Frederick Beer Week gives back.

by Chris Sands. 0 Comments

One of the things I love about the craft beer industry is their philanthropic nature.  Breweries and craft beer centric events almost always give a portion of the proceeds to one or multiple non-profit organizations.  The Frederick Beer Week board of directors is no exception. While they are responsible for coordinating and planning the great events attended during Frederick Beer Week, they also raise a lot of money for non-profits.  In fact, they have raised more than $13,000 to date.

This year's beneficiaries are Goodwill Industries of Monocacy Valley and Team Rubicon.  Each organization will recieve a $3,000 donation during a ceremony at JoJo’s Restaurant this Wednesday, June 19, 2013 starting at 5:30 PM.

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Frederick, MD - The Frederick Beer Week board of directors proudly announces that this year’s Beer Week raised $3000.00 for each of this year’s co-beneficiaries; Goodwill Industries of Monocacy Valley and Team Rubicon. These non-profit organizations will be presented with their checks at a public ceremony at JoJo’s Restaurant and Taphouse in downtown Frederick on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 starting at 5:30 PM. Founded in the autumn of 2010, Frederick Beer Week was designed to be a celebration of local craft beer. Each year, the Frederick Beer Week board of directors contributes proceeds from premier, beer-centric events to at least one organization striving to make a positive impact on our community. To date, Frederick Beer Week events have raised more than $13,000 for local nonprofits. For the first time in Frederick Beer Week’s history, the board has selected two beneficiaries. Goodwill Industries of Monocacy Valley is a non-profit organization that believes in giving people “a hand up, not a hand out.” Since 1969, Goodwill’s mission has been to “create hope, jobs and futures in our community” by providing free job training and placement programs for individuals with disabilities and vocational disadvantages. Used goods donations play a pivotal role in Goodwill’s ability to fulfill their mission. Goodwill collects donated clothing and household goods, and then sells those items in their Retail Store & Donation Centers throughout Frederick and Carroll Counties. Created in January 2010, Team Rubicon has impacted thousands of lives – in Haiti, Chile, Burma, Pakistan, Sudan, and here at home, in Vermont, Maryland, Missouri, and Alabama. TR reaches victims outside the scope of where traditional aid organizations venture; victims on the fringe. TR is a disaster relief organization and a veteran-focused enterprise. It is a new paradigm in disaster response while redefining the meaning of veteran reintegration into society. Hundreds of US military veterans, many returning home after fighting ten years of war, find a renewed sense of purpose for their skills and experiences through TR. For more information about next year’s Frederick Beer Week events, or the organization, please visit www.frederickbeerweek.com or contact Kevin Smith, president emeritus of Frederick Beer Week

Black and White and Red All Over (Coming this October)

by William Randall. 0 Comments

Good news, everyone!  We are getting our very own beer commissioned!  It's the 130th Anniversary of our own Frederick News-Post this October, and to celebrate we are taking a page (get it???) from The Coloradoan as reported by Editor and Publisher and getting our very own beer made to celebrate!  Chris and I are representing the FNP and are partnering with the fine folks at Monocacy Brewing Company to develop a hoppy red ale.  We are still in the early phases of planning, but here's what we have sketched out so far:

We like the name "Red All Over." There will be lots of hops; possibly even wet hops from a local hop farmer.  It will include locally grown and malted barley and possibly rye.  It will be a fairly limited release at first, probably 15 barrels, but if folks like it Monocacy will consider making it a harvest seasonal. It will be served at various FNP Anniversary events and at various places in Frederick. 

We are very excited for this opportunity for a lot of reasons: 

Monocacy makes one of our favorite beers, Riot Rye.  We, but especially I, love red IPAs.  We feel that it is a underrepresented style that deserves more respect.  The FNP will be documenting that heck out of the process, with a photo journalist snapping photos at every step, various news articles, and of course blog posts. by yours truly.  We get to be a part of creating a new commercial beer.

So keep your eyes peeled for more info.   And this October be ready to answer the age old riddle, "What's black and white and red all over?"

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FBW Wrap Up: Maryland Craft Beer Festival

by William Randall. 0 Comments

Frederick Beer Week wrapped up with The Brewer's Association of Maryland's Craft Beer Festival.  I always look forward to seeing (and drinking) what Maryland craft brewers have to offer.  It was held at Carrol Creek this year.  Chris thought it would be a poor venue, but I was excited about it because other festivals on the creek usually turn out well.

As it turns out Chris was right.  Not because of the venue itself but because of poor planning, layout, and execution. Don't get me wrong, I had a nice time and we tried a number of excellent brews from Maryland breweries, young and old.  But our good time was reduced somewhat by the following:

The Planning

I think that when most people hear that an event is on the Creek, they usually assume you enter by the Community Bridge.  At least I do.  Well, I started by the Bridge and had no idea where the entrance was.  There were no signs and nobody directing, so I wandered around for about 10 minutes until I realized that the entrance was down on Market St. near La Paz..  Then I found a line that was over a block long to get in.

The Layout

The event had access to approximately a quarter mile stretch of the creek but only utilized the last 500 feet or so.  The reason I heard was that the organizers wanted to keep the brewers close together and close to the music so they would not complain that they were not close to the action.  I say, if they were spread along the creek evenly, so too would be the action.  During the VIP Hour this was a near perfect event (especially since my kids were not there yet), great beer, nice chill-and-not-too-loud music, and reasonable lines.  But after the gates were flung open to the rest of the world things got really (really) crowded thanks to the limited layout.

The Execution

Last year we brought our kids, and there was a inflatable "jumpy thing" as my daughters call it, and "The Fun Bus" for kids, which is way less creepy than it sounds.  This year, the marketing materials touted the event's family friendly environment, so we brought them again this year.  Apparently this year family friendly means folk music, huge crowds, and a couple of teetering blow up couches right next to a drop-off into the creek.  And oh right, a face painter.  Also, the VIP porta-potties were not really enforced, the VIP tent was hidden away, and the line for food was 3,000 miles long.


That's enough bitching, now onto the beers!  I tried:

The Brewer's Art:  Haymarket Belgian Pale Ale Ruddy Duck (ew) Brewery:  Cask conditioned ESB Brewer's Alley:  Whiskey Barrel Aged Oatmeal Stout Union Craft Brewery:  Clawhammer Cream Ale Heavy Seas:  Cask conditioned Loose Cannon IPA Pub Dog:  Red Rye IPA Heavy Seas:  The big DIPA Double IPA Barley and Hops Oak Aged Hoptopsy on Cask Push Brewing:  Hebrew Knievel Red IPA DuClaw Brewing Company:  Oz "fractional" IPA Franklin's Restaurant:  97 lb weakling Wheat Wine Flying Dog:  Snake Dog IPA in a firkin with local hops DuClaw Brewing:  Chai Retribution Imperial Stout Barley and Hops:  The Black Plague Sour Stout


My two favorites:  Brewer's Alley's Whiskey barrel-aged stout and Union's Clawhammer.  The stout reminded me of a melted root beer float.  It was sweet, thick, and luscious.  The Clawhammer both had an awesome name, and it had a great and surprising hop aroma and taste.

My least favorite:  The Ruddy Duck ESB.  The wooden cask they used must have been too new or something, but honest-to-God wood shavings came out in the beer when they poured it.  It tasted like a used hamster cage.

I wish I had tried:  Flying Dog's Bloodline Blood Orange IPA.  Luckily I had tried it before, but that actually made me more upset when I realized I was too late and the keg was kicked.

Ultimately, there were a lot of things that could have been implemented to improve the event, but it was well worth it, especially the VIP access.

Frederick Beer Week rapidly coming to a close.

by Chris Sands. 0 Comments

Well, my intentions of making daily blog posts about FBW events that I attended didn't quite come to fruition.  

I wasn't able to make it to the Stillpoint Festival, but everyone I spoke to said it was a great time.  Bethany Rodgers wrote a good story about it for the FNP.

Monday I went to the Devil's Backbone pint night at Madrones.  While I didn't get a pint glass (they had run out), I did get to try Beggars and Thieves.

Tuesday I stopped by Flying Dog for the release of Easy IPA.  There were quite a few people there, and I was told it was the largest attendance for a Brewhouse Rarity release.

Wednesday I went to JoJo's for the Evolution Brewing pint night.  I was very impressed with Incubator (a Belgian inspired, slightly hoppy brew with a very peppery finish), and as always their Lot 3 IPA was delicious.  I had a great time learning about the brewery from one of their reps.

Tonight it is back to JoJo's for Frederick beer night, then the Maryland Craft Beer Festival Tomorrow.