PATRIOT ACRES FARM BREWERY

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SUDLERSVILLE, MARYLAND

A snack-sized shack smack dab in a rural animal farm on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, PATRIOT ACRES became the region’s first farm brewery around 2017. Entrepreneurial married brewers, Brian and Shauna Truitt, craft some of the best soft-toned suds you’ll ever experience. Brian Truitt, an Army vet first compelled to unwind by basement brewing, soon expanded his scope and opened this ambitious family-owned 100-acre nanobrewery thereafter.

Enjoying a wide variety of beers gave the Truitt’s a keen sense for Patriot Acre’s stylishly traditional recipes. Adjoining the rustic pub (with eight draught handles and back-roomed brewtanks) is an enclosed deck with heaters. There’s also outside seating amongst the free range chickens, sheep, goat, alpacas and guardian sheepdogs.

A few ducks sit at the table behind the swivel-seated wood-topped serving station alongside several happy patrons while I sample seven tidily crisp handcrafted beers and one fine cider during a beautifully sunny seventy-degree January ’20 afternoon.

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For starters, sweet champagne yeast fortified Fastcar Hard Pear Cider, lacing its candied apple tartness with syrupy Bosc pear splendor.

Casual light-bodied pilsner, Thunderbird Light, contrasted wispy maize-dried barnyard astringency with corn-sugared pale malting in a delicate herbal hop setting.

Mildly caramel-toasted graining subtly sweetened the herbal hop stead of easygoing lager, Olivers Amber.

Dewy peat moss saddled bi-coastal Goffer English IPA, a muskily mineral grained British styling with sweet Maris Otter malts securing Americanized citric-piney hop bittering (a la brisk lemon, grapefruit and orange peel zesting).

Even better, ultra-smooth fruit juiced IPA, Mugatu’s Mosaic, brought peachy mango, grapefruit, orange, pineapple and tangerine tanginess to the dry-hopped ‘Mosaic’ above sugary pale malts.

Earning the title of ‘first beer brewed onsite,’ tantalizingly sweet Stormy Stout let dark chocolate syruping drape maple molasses oats and subsidiary vanilla, espresso, fudge and cocoa niceties with confectionary precision.

Using Stormy Stout as its base, peanut butter-oiled nitro stout, Brian’s Peanut Butter Delight, brought mild chocolate-vanilla creaming and wispy black cherry/ black grape nuances to its PB&J likability.

For a solid sendoff, light-roast coffee tones engaged delightful java alternative, One Eyed Penny Coffee Porter, leaving milky espresso and café au lait undertones upon the soily earthen bottom.

patriotacresfarmbrewery.com

THOMPSON ISLAND BREWING COMPANY

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REHOBOTH BEACH, DELAWARE

Celebrating Coastal Delaware lifestyle, Rehoboth Beach-bound THOMPSON ISLAND BREWING COMPANY is a fantastic fun adventure for family, friends and beer lovers alike. Specializing not only in a fine selection of well-balanced rotating beers, but also award-winning fried chicken and wood-grilled steaks, this copious grain-siloed Route 1 landmark (one mile off the beach) features a turf-floored partially covered front deck and barn-walled back deck beer garden (with 10-seat fire pit, bocce board and ping pong tables) that surround a spacious high ceiling interior.

Inside Thompson Island Brewing, a U-shaped bar centers the large dining space that includes an open kitchen partly covered by a center-walled US flag, enormous right side aluminum brew tanks and extra back dining area.

My wife and I get warmed by the heated and enclosed back deck patio next to the beer garden on this mild January ’20 evening.

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The fried chicken dish went well with the five rangy beers I imbibed.

Lemony mandarin orange and coriander brightened Wave Check, a snazzy light-bodied witbier with lemongrass herbage, light vanilla creaming and white wheat spine.

Ambitious New England IPA, Fresh: Passionfruit, Mango, Tangerine regaled pulpy mango, grapefruit and tangerine juicing for its lactose-aided passionfruit yogurt souring and mild oats base, sporting latent orange-peeled nectarine, peach, pineapple and papaya sweetness.

Perfumed floral fruiting contrasted dankly resinous piney hops for copper-hued Maximum Effort Triple IPA, leaving grapefruit rind, orange peel, pineapple and peach tones upon the spiced-up pale malt bottom.

Mildly creamed dark chocolate syruping drapes milk-sugared coffee and toffee-candied sweetness for Cosmic Cow Milk Stout, but its tarry wood-charred dried fruiting goes beyond stylish resolve in a good way.

Lovely digestif, Canyons Imperial Stout, brought Blackstrap molasses sapping to milked coffee and dark cocoa tones over its maple oats bottom.

Crisply clean Little Friday Helles Lager, easy drinkin’ Loblolly Blonde Ale and two sour ales were also available this calm winter night.

thompsonislandbrewing.com

 

BACKSHORE BREWING COMPANY

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OCEAN CITY, MARYLAND

Right on the boardwalk in the heart of Ocean City, tiny 10th Street shanty saloon, BACKSHORE BREWING COMPANY, came into existence during 2015. Relying on a small-batch nano system to pump out six draughts at a time for thirsty beachcombers, this cozily rustic shingled shack features eight interior seats and a small wood patio (with surf board-topped tables, small community benches and vintage Volkswagen bus).

Pinched in next door to Hammerheads Bar & Grill (whose cozy seating gets utilized by Backshore during winter months), the moderately ranged traditional brews available on this sunny Saturday in January ’20 never disappointed. Shandys and ‘Moonshine Cocktails’ were also available.

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Lightly creamed light-bodied softy, Boardwalk Blonde, left mild lemon zest upon delicate herbal hop astringency and celery-watered vegetalia.

Mild dried-fruited nuttiness engaged Shoot The Glass Doppelbock, leaving tobacco-roasted fig, date, pecan and brown bread illusions above its dank earthen bottom.

Pleasant dry-hopped IPA, Maclunkey, brought wispily spiced grapefruit, orange and peach tones to mild pine resin and salty herbal wisps, contrasting its softly creamy vanilla sweetness.

Subtle brown-sugared pecan glaze contrasted sour fig above tobacco-roasted cereal graining for dewy Downtown Sugar Brown, a  moderate English-styled ale with golden brown toasting.

Chocolatey peanut butter-oiled molasses porter, Anybody Want A Peanut?, gained sweet molasses breading and spiced toffee daubs.

Mellow caramelized bourbon warmth and Scotch whiskey tones permeated Admiral Jackbar Barleywine, a lusciously sedate 11.6% ABV barrel-aged elixir with wispy toffee, rum, pecan and vanilla undertones.

As I was about to leave, Backshore tapped brisk piney grapefruit-peeled medium body, The Professor , a juicy-fruited IPA relegating its dry wood tones and gentle caramel malting.

www.backshorebrew.com

SAGE ALLEY BREWERY & GRILLE

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COOPERSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA

Just seven miles Southeast of Allentown in the tiny town of Coopersburg, SAGE ALLEY BREWERY & GRILLE opened during October ’18 and expanded to include the separate Corner Tap Room a few doors down a year hence. Inspired by the small town charm of Germany’s historic breweries, Sage Alley delivers a well rounded selection of mostly traditional beer styles.

A cozy English-styled pub residing in a restored white-walled Victorian house with low ceiling and 14-seat central bar, the lacquer wood-floored brewery and grille featured a large tile-floored back patio with all-weather furniture and heated enclosure. A loungy alcove sits across the red brick hearth just behind the bar and brew tanks were located in the rear.

The blue stucco corner pub refined Sage Alley’s overall quaint elegance. Its comfortable front room offered a ten-draught shiplap wooded serving station with cafeteria tables, a blackboard beer list and ten draught handles. But it’s the private backroom that really  captivates. A carpeted living room with plush carpeting, upholstered furnishing, a right side hearth and large-screen TV, my wife and I settled into the round table before getting dinner at the grille.

 

 

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At the cornered blue stucco pub, I grabbed these five offerings while watching Army-Navy football game in the carpeted lounge during December ’19.

Muskily grained Crack Of Dawn Light Lager gained fizzy lemon briskness above placid corn-dried pale malting and acrid hop herbage.

Vivacious amber-cleared Wise Crack West Coast IPA draped floral citrus sweetness above grassy hop astringency, light peppered herbage and spicy pale malting as its lemony orange-grapefruit tanginess strengthens.

Dry-hopped yellow-hazed New England IPA, Freyburg, brought sunny Mosaic-hopped orange and grapefruit juicing plus tingly lemon lime souring to lactose-infused oats.

Brisk lemony grapefruit juicing boosted perfumed honeysuckle sweetness for lactose-aided Making Beer Great Again Imperial IPA, leaving cantaloupe, peach and pineapple illusions above its mild oats-flaked base.

Creamily soft-toned Cattle Drive Milk Stout let cocoa-dried black malt roastedness settle beside dark chocolate chalking.

Afterwards, settled into the yellow domicile-like gastropub two doors down to soak up six more sassy suds.

Light grain musk saddled Sage Alley Pilsner, letting grassy hay-dried earthiness sink into perfume-hopped pilsner malting.

Stylishly dryer Coopers Citrus Wit merged lemony banana-clove tartness with chamomile, coriander and salted popcorn illusions above bready oats-flaked corn malts.

Champagned dry hops and desiccated orange souring suited Brut Mimosa IPA, countering grassy astringency with sugary malt spicing.

There was also an unexpected champagne lilt to enigmatic Chardonnay-wined Belgian tripel, Monk Juice, a weirdly designed elixir with murky white grape esters, depleted banana-clove tartness and cidery sharpness.

Aged on vanilla, lactic Coffee Vanilla Pumpkin Ale let milked coffee, dry cocoa and roasted tobacco outdo its mild pumpkin spicing (and bittersweet vanilla bid).

Black coffee bittering overloaded acrid Irish-styled dark ale Blackout Imperial Stout, leaving sea-salted toffee, dark cocoa and Bakers chocolate illusions upon the back end.