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On the Road Again – Smoketown Brewing Station

It was time to get out on the road again and see what treats are offered on our nation’s countryside. So I looked up and down the Virginia/Maryland border and ventured to find the town of Brunswick, MD. The town of Brunswick is pretty small and is pock-marked with homes and railroads from around the turn of the century. After making a number of plunges down to the bottom of ravines cleverly shaped as streets, I came out on a street that was barely wide enough to hold two vehicles. This street, Potomac Street, (is divided into an east and west) is where I found Smoketown Brewing Station.

Smoketown Brewing Station (223 West Potomac Street, Brunswick, MD, 21716 V: 301-834-4828; http://smoketownbrewing.com) is a recently remodeled fire house. The architecture and the design really bring it to bear, but you have to step back across the street to be hit with fact. As it was constructed, the fire house is in sections and there are some rather odd decorations, such as the men’s room being on the outside of the building, and the depth of the building which is impressive. I went to the second level of doors to order my beer and to take up a seat. (The front and the outdoor seating were completely taken with patrons.) I got my beer (more on that in a moment) and then got up to stroll around a take pictures.

Because of the time of day, I went to the front of the building first to capture it, and the people in the outdoor seating area starting calling to me about the fact that I had a camera. When I responded to them, it turned out that they were there to celebrate someone’s passing – it was a wake! These people were giving up there Saturday night to dedicate it to a 72 year old woman, who as it turned out, had been involved in several charities and boards in the town and had never told anyone. Not a soul. So, this celebration was a part to recognize all of this woman’s contributions as well as her warm smile. I took photos of the group and have posted them here and hope that the group will recognize this small point of recognition.

Now, onto the beer. First though, recognize, that in a small

Smoketown Brewing Station Raspberry Mother Puckers

town such as Brunswick, MD, craft made beer is a treat because it is going to be put up against the macro brew beer. So, by a matter of cause, this is going to be better than the macro brew beer in some quarters. So, I asked for a Raspberry Mother Pucker. This beer came with a 6.2% ABV, color was a dark copper, the aroma was light raspberries and a mild hop. The taste however, was light and a bit on the flavorless side. It couldn’t quite pull it off, either as a raspberry fruit beer or as a witbier. It was a good attempt, and pretty good for craft beer, but on the grand scale, it just couldn’t quite cut it. I gave it 3 stars on Untappd.

After a plate of chicken taquitos and basic wings, I ventured again into the world of American Hefeweizen. Even though this one was titled “German Crossing Hefeweizen,” I have gone on before about the difference between American and German Hefeweizen, and this is American Hefeweizen. It is a 5.2% ABV and 17 IBU with a color of murky gold. It has an aroma that is lightly hopped and a really weak flavor of bananas. The taste is unfortunately weak and the bananas (or banana flavoring)  doesn’t really come to its help in any form. For American Hefeweizen, it is OK, but not much beyond that. The whole mess needs to be re-thought if it is going to be German Hefeweizen. I gave it 2 1/2 stars on Untappd.

The whole experience at Smoketown Brewing Station was an eye opener – people take their craft beer seriously and will defend their outlets. But more importantly, they take each other comically, laughingly, tenderly and seriously all in one and there in lies the beauty of small towns.

World of Beer Becomes CraftHouse in Northern Virginia

The World of Beer is undergoing a reinvention in Northern Virginia this week.  The three franchises – Reston, Arlington, and Fairfax – have transitioned from World of Beer and will be known as  CraftHouse.

The replacement for World of Beers, the CraftHouse.

The locations, owned by Eban Metz, have been laboring under the World of Beer logo since they opened, paying for the menus and supporting the computer systems. Metz believes that he could do so much more with an expanded beer selection and an updated menu without the World of Beer fees.  The Fairfax location has already made the transition, and it is safe to say that the Reston and Arlington locations have likewise done the same.

The Fairfax location, because of it abundant outdoor area, is one of the top 10 locations for World of Beer, headquartered in Florida. The Reston location was within the top 10 until Fairfax opened, so two of its top flight locations will be leaving the fold, a fact not to be missed by World of Beer.

On the Road – Frederick H. by The Bruery Terreux

OK, I know that is a little bit strange to have two brews from the same brewery in a one-two ordering, but I am feeling a little bit wiggy at the moment. Now the last beer, Rueuze from The Bruery, was a combination of sour and blond ale and it overcame all of my trepidations about blond ale. Now I have another beer from The Bruery Terreux again and it literal has blown my mind regarding sours and Berliner Weiss.

Frederick H. is a mix between sour and Berliner Weiss beer and it is excellent!

Now Berliner Weiss has a number of the same issues as blond ale, but it also has a couple that are special to it. One is that is supposed to be light with grapefruit and orange flavor and a light little bit of sour added to it. This can be tricky because unless it is a lot of sour, the sour actually become lost in the mix and it kind of comes out as a something of a fruit beer. The second one is that it is to be served with syrup, which I don’t take akin to because that is making it a sundae. It is beer, for heaven sake, not ice cream!

The Bruery (737 Dunn Way, Placentia, CA 92870
Email: info@thebruery.com Voice: 714-996-MALT(6258) Hours: 830am-5pm Mon-Fri; www.thebruery.com) is an established setting. It has a 4.4% ABV but don’t let it fool you for a minute. Frederick H. is set up as follows:

So, having all of this in mind, I order it. When it comes, it has a nice deep rich color to it, a rich hue, that says all kinds of good things about what will be in the glass. I lean over the glass, get my nose into it and I get a real sharp tart smell. This thing is loaded for bear! And now for the taste…

Tart! Really tart! But it is part of a carefully crafted flavor palette because they the tart entry is carefully matched with a Berliner Weiss that is without match. The tart entry is really what you taste, but the Berliner Weiss begins about 1/3 of the way through the taste and ends up with the flavor you have at the end.

This is the part where I say it is good but not a whole lot different from the Rueuze, but I can’t because it is a whole different calling. Yep, two beers, one brewer, and they are equally good. Just a bit wiggy.

Skal!

On The Road: Pirogue Black Tripel by Warped Wing Brewery

Last week I was on the road again visiting a friend (Hey, Steve!) in Dayton, Ohio. The purpose of the trip was simple – see the location where the Wright Brother’s worked on the discovery of flight (yes, I know, Kitty Hawk, NC is the place where they flew) by visiting their bicycle parts business.  (Really interesting link between bicycles and airplanes.)

Visiting the Wright Brothers also meant going to see the public viewing space of the US Air Force base at Wright-Patterson. (Spoiler alert: They have a B-2 Spirit!) Finally, you have to wrap up visiting the breweries that have popped up around town and as a bonus, cover the Packard car museum. Its a lot to cover in just a couple of days, so lets get started!

Not so Warped but still really good!

Out of the wide range of beers, I am going to focus on the Pirogue Black Tripel by Warped Wing Brewery. (26 Wyandot Street, Dayton, OH, 45402 – www.warpedwing.com) The night I walked into Warped Wing Brewery, the staff was rolling out the first night of Pirogue Black Tripel. The brewery is in a large building (large by brewery standards) in an industrial/commercial area and has parking across the street. The bar is against the right side (the brewery is behind the wall but out of site) of the building and it has a large set of wooden tables and chairs going out to the left. It is pretty impressive and has wide range of male and female drinkers. There is room for even the kids and there are plenty of them!

Pirogue Black Tripel comes in draft with an ABV of 9.0% and IBU of 24. This beer is tightly put together so that it drinks smooth and with a lot of flavor. The aroma has a few hops in it, but not too many that you will walk away from it. The taste is what really sells this as a black tripel. The hops and the other flavors in the beer really work well together and with a barley malt, they just sing out with black tripel flavor. Overall, it is a really solid beer.

I gave it an Untapped rating of 4 stars.

Skal!

Yeah, its real!
One of five shops used by the Wright Brothers.
For a few million, you too can own a Packard collection!

Yagan Dark by Cerveza Austral

Here comes Yadar Dark from Cerveza Austral in Patagonia (Chile)

Just when I thought that we had received gold from Rich and Carol Kitchens (I am considering making them our traveling reporters), I received another missive from the pair coming from the Chilean side of Patagonia.

This one concerned Yagan Dark (https://www.cervezaaustral.cl/producto/#yagan-dark) by Cerveza Austral (www.cervezaaustral.cl) which has a “with very subtle hints of chocolate, eminently drinkable, with the vicious weather of Chilean Patagonia bristling in the chilly background.” With an ABV of 6.1% and a serving temperature of about 44 degrees (approximate), this is a beer has you chortling at the rough weather in Patagonia.

So, we will be kept abreast of the Kitchens travel plans by the next beer they send back for us to take a gander at and marvel.

Skal!

 

World Wide Stout – Dogfish Head Brewing Company

Nothing says winter like a nice warm stout. The basic stout is a great remedy to everything that is wrong with winter. The blistering cold, wind whipping, storm intensity…you have the idea.

Stouts have a way of saving the day on so many occasions, and a really good stout is always a fine treat. So, when I walked into the Dogfish Head Brewing Company to face the mob and decided to check out their World Wide Stout, I thought I would have a nice warm brew on a chilly night. Wrong. But not for the reasons you think.

World Wide Stout by Dogfish Head Brewing Company (www.dogfish.com/front) seeks to become the firm’s numero uno stout. Though the keep it refrigerated, you hardly notice the cold when you pick it up. When I looked to find its ABV, it listed it as between 15-20%. That’s right, even they don’t know what it is supposed to be – they have a range! It has to be one of the only profession brews to do that! Its aroma is of a really strong stout, but it has alcohol bubbling up through the center of it.  Make no bones about it, it is alcohol friendly. This beer is close to sizzling. In terms of taste, it is really simple – alcohol with strong stout – in that order. The alcohol is only for the first few minutes. As you get to drinking it, it simmers down and you can taste a bit of the stout, tempered by some of the additional flavors. A tempest of dark fruit comes to mind.

A wickedly wild stout that reaches for the stars – and matches a few of them!

So, when the weather turns cold and its getting bitter, turn to World Wide Stout. It could be the last thing you will do, but it will be memorable.

Skal!

Four Corners – Easter Island

OK, I come from the Left Coast. Specifically, Piedmont, CA, which you won’t find on anything but a detailed map of the San Francisco Bay Area. We like our anonymity because it is a small town and we like to keep it that way.

But people in Piedmont like to travel. If there is a corner of the world, someone from Piedmont or associated with Piedmont has been there.

So, in the midst of my beer blogging, I get a message from Mr. Rich Kitchen. Mr. Kitchens served as one of the gatekeepers coming out of Piedmont High School. For a lot of us, if you didn’t pass Kitchens class, you weren’t going to be leaving Piedmont.

Mr. Kitchens, and his beautiful wife Carol, who also taught for a while at Piedmont (still trying to figure that one out – nice going Mr. K!) send a note from Easter Island in the South Pacific that they are visiting. And then a second note with a picture of a beer from Easter Island! Yeah, Easter Island, addressed to me and for incorporation into the blog.

Mahina Pale Ale is bottled at Cerveceria Rapa Nui at Hanga Roa which is on Easter Island and it under the administration of Republic of Chile. It has a rich peach and apple taste taste combined hop flavor.

So, here is the beer shot:

A little Mahina Beer from Easter Island.

Thanks a lot, Mr. Kitchens!