Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Beer Drinking Bonanza

Over the Memorial Day weekend my husband and I attended the Maryland Brewers Spring Fest with our friends Dave and Laura.  The four of us had a great time in Frederick, Maryland enjoying locally brewed craft beer.  We were all grateful we elected to buy VIP tickets to take advantage of early access to the cask conditioned brews.  It gave us a chance to taste them before they ran out and before the stadium became too crowded.  In addition to the early access, our tickets entitled us to 10 4-oz tastings of beer, and we could purchase additional tastings for $1 each.  We found 4 ounces to be just perfect for tasting a variety of brews, but not getting too full of yeast and hops, especially on a warm, sunny day.

The festival was held in the Frederick Keys minor league baseball stadium.  They have a seating area known as the family section where no drinking is allowed.  I found the signs amusing to see in the midst of a beer festival, but of course, I find humor in a number of things.

My husband and I both enjoyed a barrel-aged brew from Clipper City Brewing Company.  A part of the brewery's Heavy Seas line, the oak barrel was not charred, but definitely imparted an interesting woody flavor to the beer.  We also both really liked the Raging Bitch IPA from Flying Dog Brewery.  It was wonderfully hoppy and had a crisp taste that was perfect to eat with a smoked turkey leg.

Laura really enjoyed Repent by DuClaw, a strong, dark-colored Belgian Ale.  I must admit I found it much too sweet, but we all got a kick out of her giggles after she sampled the 14.6% ABV ale.  Instead, I found the ESB from Barley & Hops to be quite interesting and refreshing as the day got warmer.

This event was considered part of DC's Unofficial Beer Week.  I strongly encourage those of you in the Washington, DC area to help kick-off your summer by checking out some of the cool events at bars and restaurants around town.  You can have the chance to taste unusual beers and even meet the brewers and  learn about their products and process.  Who knows, maybe you'll find the perfect beer to impress folks at your next barbeque.  Cheers!

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