TWIB: Unexpected Encounters in Line for the Men’s Room

This Week in Beer (TWIB) is a feature where I’ll highlight some craft beers I had during this past week mixed with some related (and unrelated) thoughts. Yes, it’s a play on the name of the show This Week in Baseball which I grew up on and loved.

I’m ignoring the Super Bowl. My dog is named Peyton. Needless-to-say, yesterday was far from fun save the teasers for 24. Saturday on the other hand had one of the biggest, most surprising unexpected encounters of my life. Imagine the movie Crash taking place in line for a men’s room at a brewery.

Halfway to Philly

My wife and I have some friends in Philadelphia. Philly is 3-3.5 hours away from where we live so we have a hard time seeing them a lot. One of the ladies had the brilliant idea to meet halfway – Baltimore. It’s about a 2-hour drive for them and 1.5 for us. Perfect!

After making our way through some questionable downtown areas we turn up at one of our favorite spots – Woodberry Kitchen. Woodberry Kitchen is where I first heard of Union Craft Brewing last year. With a solid brunch consisting of Buttermilk Fried Pork Skirt and a Sly Fox Pale Ale in me we walked over to Union Craft Brewing which is less than a hundred yards away.

Union Craft Brewing

We get to Union Craft and it is packed. I’m able to sneak close enough to the bar to grab four beers for our group. Their Rye IPA is out-of-this-world good. Even better than their Duckpin Pale Ale.

My day would have been complete right then. I could have packed up, gone home and been content writing a post highlighting Woodberry Kitchen’s food and Union Craft’s beers. But that’s probably not why you clicked on the headline and there’s a much cooler twist fate brought to this day.

Fate

Conversations with Beer Bloggers is changing my life in ways never imaginable. I’ve only had seven published episodes and it’s already lead me to two different in-person meetups where I’ve had the time of my life (event #1, event #2).

The eighth episode of CBB has already been recorded and is waiting for me to find a free afternoon to edit. This is with Jake Scholan of Hipsterbrewfus.com. Before recording our episode I knew nothing of what Jake looked like except his Twitter icon of him drinking a beer that covers most of his face. Zero knowledge. So last week we had our interview over Google Hangouts, which I can’t wait to share with you guys, and I finally got to see and meet him. We hit it off and even talked about trying to get together for a beer at some point since he’s relatively local.

Cue fate.

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Beergrimage

Every year fellow beer blogger Bryan Roth and his friend Justin take a roadtrip to Dogfish Head in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware affectionately called, “Beergrimage.” This year their wolfpack grew by one – me.

You can find Bryan’s write-up on our adventure here

The Mission

Take a roadtrip from our meeting point in Washington, DC hitting up four breweries on our way to the Atlantic. These breweries are DuClaw Brewing Company, Eastern Shore Brewing, 16 Mile Brewery and lastly Dogfish Head Brewpub. Mission accepted.

**Note: Justin manned up and was our responsible designated driver for the whole trip. Don’t drink and drive.**

DuClaw Brewing Company

We climbed into Justin’s Mazda and left DC around 9:30am making our way up to Bowie, MD to DuClaw Brewing Company. We were those guys knocking on the door to let us in at 10:59am when they open at 11:00am (hey, it was cold out). You can’t drink all day if you don’t start in the morning. Here’s what I ordered (from left to right in the picture):

  • Sweet Baby Jesus (of course), which is their famous Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter
  • Anti-Venom Pale Ale
  • Bad Moon Porter, a Robust Porter on Nitro
  • eXile 7 (X7) Imperial Amber Ale
  • Hellrazer IPA
  • Naked Fish, a Chocolate Raspberry Stout
DuClaw Brewing Flight

DuClaw Brewing Flight

Each was a delicious 4-ounce pour. I can’t complain about any of them. The dark beers were all superb making it really difficult to choose my favorite. You can’t go wrong with Sweet Baby Jesus, Bad Moon Porter or Naked Fish. Their Cuban sandwich was spot on and gigantic especially for only $11.

Outside of DuClaw

Outside of DuClaw — Me (left) and Bryan (right)

Eastern Shore Brewing

With full stomachs and some beer in our systems we headed to our next stop about an hour away in St Michaels, MD – Eastern Shore Brewing. The tasting room looks like a well-lit hunter’s cigar lounge. Comfy chairs and couches surround the wooden walls with animal heads and guns held by deer hooves on them. There was a small L-shaped bar to the right of the entrance where we pulled up at.

Eastern Shore Brewing

Eastern Shore Brewing

Byran and I each got a flight of their 5 beers. The kinda weird, super optimistic bartender explained that they brew based on the season meaning we’re going to get darker beers. Cool – right up my alley, right? Well not so much. We each had a scotch ale, black IPA, amber ale, a porter and the same porter on cask infused with coco nibs. The beers were all very thin-bodied and felt watered-down. They weren’t filled any with off-flavors or a ton of flavor of any kind. Only the cask porter with coco nibs had distinction to it. Too bad. But we weren’t about to let some watered-down beers ruin our trip.

Aside – The brewery is adjacent to a winery AND a distillery. This might make for a fun afternoon if you’re in the area. Just hit up the brewery last and maybe the beer will taste better.

16 Mile Brewery

I wish that I had seen the movie 8 Mile so I could make some joke about how 16 Mile is twice as good as it. I digress.

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