Category Archives: United States Brewpubs

HAIRY GUYS BREWING

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JIM THORPE, PENNSYLVANIA

Occupying a rustic red brick Victorian rowhouse near the center of Jim Thorpe, HAIRY GUYS BREWING started slinging suds December ’23. Co-owning brewers Tom Whitehead and Tim Benyo craft mostly approachable dry-bodied beers at the wood plank-floored pub.

Whitehead and Benyo, two husky bearded brewhounds, began brewing in a garage during 2014, gaining respect from local beer lovers. They finally got a break and decided to open their brewery in Jim Thorpe, a former coal mining town boasting several vintage 19th century architectural designs.

The small two-room nanobrewery features a brick-based wood-topped serving station with 12-plus tap handles, art deco black walls and ceiling, and a few front room tables plus a lounge-chaired ‘parlor’ where this Sunday afternoon’s musical entertainment happened.

John Prine’s antiestablishment anthem, “Illegal Smile,” and the Grateful Dead’s awakening “Eyes Of The World” got righteously rendered by two acoustic locals while my wife and I grabbed two trays with eight beers (plus one) and headed to the grassy community-tabled side space (with tiled fountain) to hang out with some Phillies fans and a few barkin’ chihuahuas the first of June ’24.

Hairy Guys most popular beer, lo-cal Premium Light Lager, suited less discriminating dry thirsts with its spritzy lemon fizz and musty orange daub bubbling over grassy hop astringency and maize-flaked pilsner malting.

Gluten-free Impale Ale plied flattish green hop musk to waxy crayon fruiting, arid sorghum flouring and pasty cardboard malting, bettering similar stylistic moderations but lacking verve.

Toasted barley-grained snack knockoff, Pretzel Amber Lager, retained uniquely definitive hot-buttered doughy pretzel resonance.

The second most popular Hairy Guys elixir, lightly golden clouded New England-styled Hazy Pale Ale, remitted sugared lemony grapefruit-seeded mandarin orange tanginess for its herbal hop restraint, attaining a tart candied citrus edge.

Briskly tropical golden hazed NEIPA, Juicy IPA, stayed dry as lightly embittered lemony grapefruit tanginess reached herbal white peppering above musty pale malts.

Dry bronze-hued IPA, Old Skook, matched perfume-hopped orange desiccation and musky lemon spoilage to gluey pale malts, sometimes recalling a dewy Brit-styled India Pale Ale.

Caramelized Vienna malted sweet breading soaked up mild red-orange fruiting for Clouds Of Maibock, leaving tart lollipop dollops.

Soft-toned dark ale, Porter, rallied dried coffee and powdered cocoa past lightly hop-roasted black chocolate malts.

Equally soft and fuzzy, Nitro Stout regaled nutty dark-roast coffee and dark chocolate bittering and mild ashen hop char, staying mocha-dry.

ROUND TABLE BREWERY

ROUND TABLE BREWERY - Updated May 2024 - 51 Photos - 55 W Railroad Ave,  Garnerville, New York - Breweries - Phone Number - Yelp

GARNERVILLE, NEW YORK

Inhabiting the old Civil War-era textile warehouse Industrial Arts Brewing resided at prior to upscaling, Garnerville’s ROUND TABLE BREWERY was established in 2023. Part of the bourgeoning  Garner Art Center, the spacious brick pub includes La Redonda Tavern, antique living room couches, rustic community-tabled covered deck, expansive brewing operation and hidden kitchen.

A “cozy gathering place,” Round Table wants to do its part cultivating the local craft beer community. Specializing in varied mixed culture sour ales, hazy IPA’s and dazzling stouts, co-owning brewmasters, Ricardo Petroni and Javier Laurini, show great originality blending ambitious concoctions.

Brewtanks are stationed in a large right side glass-fronted room, wooden beams spread across the vaulted ceiling and the timber-cut wood paneled backdrop at the bar fits the rustic gray concrete-floored interior.

Parking our butts at the corner of Round Table’s L-shaped, 30-seat, crosscut bark-topped La Redonda Tavern (with four tap stations featuring four draughts handles each), my wife and I ate the cheeseboard, bruschetta and hummus while consuming a few previously untried brews on a warm Thursday eve, June ’24.

Tonight’s lightest, easygoing offering, Pampa, a sessionable summertime wheat ale, misted spritzy lemon zest upon freshly baked breading and sight Saaz hop herbage.

Getting into a few brettanomyces-funked wild ales, Mangia Frutta Apricot And Peaches let salty lemon juicing embitter its sour apricot and tart white peach adjuncts as moderately vinous green grape esters puckered the tongue. Also part of the Mangia Frutta series were the Raspberry and Passion Fruit versions.

Another brett-soured wild ale, O Jeito (lightly barrel aged in bourbon), linked lemon-limed bittering to ultra-dry white wining, oaken vanilla earthiness and mild balsamic vinegaring.

Balsamic vinegary foeder aged Flanders Red Ale, Rood, allowed dry oaken cherry tartness and mild plum-raspberry respite to soak up subtle pinot noir acidity.

Sprightly sunshiny tropical fruited hazy IPA, Unga Munga, plied semi-sharp grapefruit-peeled orange pith bittering, zesty lemon souring and juniper-tipped pine needling to crystal-sugared pale malts.

On to the stouts. Rich coffee roasted nuttiness anchored magnificent Natural Necessities: The Natural, a robust stout with precise espresso, macchiato and dry latte reminders and latent dark cocoa powdering.

Milk-sugared coffee, black chocolate and espresso tones led Natural Necessities: The Cup Of Excellence, a more complex dark ale than The Natural, gaining a mild roasted hop char plus tertiary ‘red berry and black currant’ illusions and a sweet red wine reminder.

 

AQUATIC BREWING CO.

Mass Brew Bros

FALMOUTH, MASSACHUSETTS

Inside a beige professional building at the coastal Cape Cod town of Falmouth on Main Street, AQUATIC BREWING CO. opened November ’20. The casually intimate brewpub was started by local MIT-grad residents Greg Horning and Alex Bergman, two homebrew hobbyists serious enough to take their ambitions to a higher level of prosperity.

A sterling operation, Aquatic Brewing’s porcelain-floored brewroom features an oak top serving station, five community tables, hanging pendant lights and rear brew tanks. A wood-boarded Aquatic insignia hangs above the silver tap handles.

My wife and I showed up on a Thursday eve in April ’24 for trivia night, downing five of Aquatic’s well-rounded offerings.

A fine yeast-lagered steam beer, Highly Common California Common gave its honeyed amber grain toastiness, lightly smoked peat malting and rustic hop earthiness a spritzy lemon pep as gluey paper pasting ensued.

Tart lemon souring overrode herbal hibiscus adjunct and light black peppering for muskily leathered saison, Hibiscus Shrewd, leaving a candied lemon peel bittering on the waxy crayon-like citrus finish.

A Northeast/West Coast IPA-styled pale ale, Defendable Draft placed dry grapefruit-peeled orange rind bittering across spruce-tipped pine resin as candied papaya-mango-pineapple tropicalia seeped below.

Dark chocolatey light roast coffee and Madagascar vanilla headed rich Imperial Oatmeal Stout, Faint Glimmer, picking up ancillary espresso, mochaccino, caramel latte and burnt marshmallow banter over Black patent malt(?) bittering.

Cold-brewed milk-sugared coffee overtones ruled debonair Oatmeal Stout, Pie In The Sky, sweetened by toffee-candied burnt caramel malting.

BAD MARTHA FARMER’S BREWERY

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MARTHA’S VINEYARD, MASSACHUSETTS

Occupying a weathered shingled shack in the Martha’s Vineyard town of Edgartown, BAD MARTHA FARMER’S BREWERY opened in 2014 as the flagship site (with a Falmouth location in Cape Cod since September 2019). An inconspicuous Bad Martha sign at Donaroma’s Nursery leads patrons to the flower-bound pub originally built by Amish settlers years hence.

A rustic back patio and wood furnished side patio surround the cement-floored, pitched-ceilinged, wood-walled barnhouse. Bad Martha’s beautiful bronze bar top and huge windowed copper kettle add to the antiquated homespun elegance. Each tap handle features a sexy blue mermaid. Artisan pizza ovens are stored in the mezzanine.

“All Bad Martha Beer is uniquely brewed with hand-picked wild grape leaves grown on Martha’s Vineyard, so there is a piece of the Island’s soul infused in every sip,” goes the brewery’s organic motto.

My wife and I enjoyed the Beer Bacon Pizza alongside all eight available brews on our sunny Saturday afternoon stopover, April ’24.

Flagship Extra Special Bitter, Martha’s Vineyard Ale, maintained a soft buttery caramel spread for sedate floral-daubed dark honey, desiccated orange and dried grape illusions above its moist earthen peat moss bed.

Wild vineyard grape leaf crisping, mildly floral Bartlett pear sweetness and mineral grained pilsner malting gave mild blonde ale, Vineyard Summer, its casual dry splendor.

Festive mulling-spiced amber lager, Spiced (Yule), retained a lightly smoked Vienna malt sweetness and dried orange-apricot respite but its cinnamon-clove-cardamom pinch lacked resilience.

Dried fruited spicing and mild herbal pining sparked appeasing moderation, Patio IPA, utilizing locally grown hops and sugary pale-crystal malts.

Dry Mosaic/Centennial-hopped 508 IPA secured its pine lacquered grapefruit rind bittering and shifty orange-tangerine tang with baked breaded caramelized malts.

Plummy beet-sugared Belgian ale, Beach Plum Dubbel, gained subtle cherry, banana and fig snips to engage mild fruited hop esters and caramelized pilsner malts.

Soft-tongued brown ale, Bad Bad Pecan Brown, relegated its smoked candied pecan adjunct as charred walnut, buttery chestnut and dark cocoa subtleties merged above slightly burnt caramel base.

Dark-roast coffee nuttiness and chicory root earthiness combined for Woodford Reserve-aged Bourbon Street Coffee Porter, a semi-rich dark ale with only subtle bourbon hints.

OFFSHORE ALE CO.

Offshore Ale Company – Martha's ...

MARTHA’S VINEYARD, MASSACHUSETTS

One block from the center of town in Martha’s Vineyard village, Oak Bluffs, OFFSHORE ALE CO. opened in ’97 and remains the island’s only year-round brewery.

Inside a rustic barnhouse built by the Amish, this sizable one-room pub features a half-covered front patio leading into the tile-floored high-ceilinged interior. Brewtanks are stored in the balcony and several local nautical items (steering wheels, buoys, lanterns, rowers) line the walls.

I sat at the oak-topped bar where twelve draught handles reside. A large stone fireplace to the left adds warmth to the booths and tables across from the bar. An open kitchen serves wood-fire pizzas, burgers and casual pub grub.

Long-time head brewer, Neil Atkins, crafts some fine, mostly dry, beers for the local islanders and visiting landlubbers. I sojourned late April ’24 on a crowded Friday evening to down a few previously untried suds.

Lemon-peeled ruby red grapefruit grappled Islander Double IPA, leaving slight grassy astringency upon its dank pine resin.

Blending candi-sugared Belgian ale sweetness with sharp West Coast-styled IPA fruiting, Hop Goddess Belgian IPA let lemony grapefruit and orange rind dryness slip into the mild tea-like midst.

A bold West Coast IPA, Lazy Frog retained a fruitier profile than Hop Goddess as grapefruit peeled orange and tangerine tanginess plus pineapple-guava tropicalia settled alongside juniper-tipped blueberry bittering.

Daintily figgy plum-spiced winter warmer, Miss Behavin,’ let dry ginger, birch and sarsaparilla niceties reach its chalky cocoa bottom.

Dry Irish stout, Steeprock, melded its dark chocolate bittering to milk-sugared coffee plus walnut, cola and Brazil nut snips.

Dark chocolate penetrated Inkwell Imperial Stout, picking up hop-charred black coffee and Blackstrap molasses bittering.

FORT NONSENSE BREWING COMPANY

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DENVILLE, NEW JERSEY

Named after an unused Revolutionary War hideaway, FORT NONSENSE BREWING COMPANY opened in Denville, January 2018. Initially Inside an inconspicuous red brick shelter along Route 10, this cozy nanobrewery offered intriguingly indeterminate flagships and stylishly varied one-off brews.

Ensconced in their new digs since October ’21, Fort Nonsense now occupies a sizable warehouse space in nearby Randolph. Its spacious, high ceilinged open area features a central formica-topped 10-stooled bar serving sixteen draughts emulating from the stage left stainless steel brewtanks. At the far right corner is a cozy couched lounge area and in between are several windowed chaired tables. Exposed metal pipes hang from above.

During my April ’24 sojourn with friend Dan Smith, settled into several previously untried suds, including and a sweet potato and chocolate cake stout, plus one Crescent City-styled coffee porter, a Mountain Dew sour, a lager and two hazy IPA’s.

Easygoing clear yellowed light lager, Lightning Strike, let sour lemon fizz prickle its lightly spiced hop perfuming and maize-dried straw wheat bottom.

Tart soda knockoff, Fort Loco Sour with Mountain Dew, gave its beery soft drink a lemony 7Up spritz and salted lime cologne wiff.

Juicy hazy beige yellowed IPA, Misty Morning, utilized floral pined Zythos hops, zestful Idaho 7 hops and limey Moteuka hops to evoke salty guava-mango tropicalia and lemon-candied yellow grapefruit tartness over mildly oated wheat creaming.

Dry yellow orange hazed NEIPA, Cosmic Cloud, allowed semi-sharp orange, pineapple and grapefruit bittering and grassy hop astringency to contrast its richly creamed oated wheat spine.

Serenading its milk-sugared chicory coffee entry with roasted dark chocolate, New Orleans-styled Cafe Du Nonde Cold Brewed Porter retained a doughy fried beignet pastry caking.

Sugared yam adjunct received lactose vanilla creaming, bittersweet black chocolate spunk and mild cinnamon sweetness for 12% ABV pastry stout, So Many Friggin’ Sweet Potatoes, leaving wispy black cherry, hazelnut paste and toffee illusions on the backend.

For dessert, chocolate cake stout, Did You Say Chocolate?, heaped dark chocolate syrup upon creamy cake battered vanilla richness and mild cola nut, toffee and espresso snips.

The following are my notes at previous Fort Nonsense Denville spot.Fort Nonsense Brewing Company (Denville) - 2020 All You Need to Know BEFORE  You Go (with Photos) - Tripadvisor

Run by three beer lovin’ brothers, including head brewer Andrew Aslanian, the ambitious pint-sized pub (with small back patio beer garden) crafts mostly easygoing fare meant to melt on the tongue.

I take a seat at the oaken wood-barred tap room to sample seven satisfyingly soft-toned suds listed on the blackboard menu.

It’s mid-September ’20, so I tried placid Octoberfest, Unsinn Machen (defined as ‘fooling around’) first. Its cheerfully refreshing red-orange-yellow fruiting stayed subtle engaging autumnal leafy hop foliage and mild roasted tobacco crisping over dainty Vienna malt sugaring.

Soft-watered Farmhouse Funk with Strawberry (an offshoot of tropical Golden Berry Farmhouse Funk) plied lemondrop-candied strawberry tartness to white wined whims and grassy hop herbage.

Then came the entourage of stylishly differentiated India Pale Ales.

Delicate Cascade-hopped Harvest IPA brought honey-spiced lemony orange zest to mild wet-hopped pining.

Tart green grape esters, orange-peeled grapefruit rind bittering and pine-lacquered restraint sat atop creamy crystal-pale malts for dry-hopped West Coast-styled Great Falls IPA.

Juicy NEIPA, Regolith: Tranquility Base, retained a candied grapefruit, peach and tangerine tartness and light wood-toned hop bittering above mildly creamed pale-sugared malts.

Best bet: Fully concentrated fruit juicing intensified Lacto By Nonsense. Conditioned on mango and tangerine, its lactic fructose-loaded front end amps up the lemon-juiced salted mango and pureed tangerine density, pineapple-like lulu tanginess, sour-candied Sweet-Tart pucker and vinous white wining. Though its sweaty sox aromatics seems off-putting, the highly acidic tropical fruiting makes a powerful statement.

For a late afternoon sendoff, traditional porter, Arnold’s Tavern, allowed light roast coffee pleasantries to ride above dark chocolate, walnut and hazelnut illusions.

Revisited Fort Nonsense March ’21 to try one trusty salted sour and a yellow-bellied java stout.

Sea-salted La Vie En Gose allowed tartly sour-candied strawberry/ raspberry adjuncts to gain bubbly Seltzer-like fizz (picking up mild passionfruit, cranberry and gooseberry wisps).

Mellow cocoa-nibbed Peruvian/ Costa Rican coffee tones subtly joined brown-sugared maple syruping and light vanilla creaming for You Think You Know Me Golden Stout, an understated pastry treat with cinnamon-spiced Horchata, toasted marshmallow and spiced rum licks contrasting phenol hop astringency.

ECLIPSE BREWING COMPANY

Eclipse Brewing - Philly Brew Tours - All-Inclusive, Guided Brewery Tours &  Craft Beer Events in Philadelphia & Southern New Jersey

MERCHANTVILLE, NEW JERSEY

Eight miles east of Philly on the Jersey side in the borough of Merchantville at a black-fenced tan Victorian hideaway just off the main drag, ECLIPSE BREWING COMPANY was opened for biz October 2016 by two acclaimed local birders. One of the finest nanobreweries in the area, entrepreneurial couple Chris and Beth Mattern regale a wide variety of beers with significant attention to detail, having the moxie to churn out a bunch of spiffy small-batch suds from their tiny backroom brew space.

Eclipse’s cozy cement-floored white walled interior features a six-seat oak top bar (with 20 draughts and central TV) plus two wood tables and several barreled tables. A picnic-benched front area and three covered deck benches line the grassy perimeter. Vinyl records spin as I delve into a dozen elixirs at the bar with wife.

An impressive array of thirst quenchers crowd the right wall blackboard menu. A spectrum of dazzlingly kaleidoscopic cream ales are featured during my February ’24 excursion – alongside an English mild, dry pale ale, Belgian blonde, porter, two stouts and an intoxicating fruited barleywine.

First up, sweet dewy peat and honeyed brown tea graced English Mild, a lightly creamed moderation with buttered rye base.

Dry pale malted 7th anniversary pale ale, Eclipse 7, got muskier as its dry wood tones and  lemon rind bittering gradually ascended.

Ground coffee-steeped Coffee Cream Ale retained mild vanilla creaming for its milk-sugared coffee continuance, snagging a spritzy lemon twist.

For same-based Coconut Cream Ale, toasted coconut sweetness and zippy pineapple zesting rode atop sedate pilsner-malted corn flaking and grassy hop astringency.

Yogurt-soured peach puree sweetness picked up creamy vanilla snap and tart-candied edge as tertiary apricot, nectarine and dried fig snips wavered for Peaches N Cream Ale.

Lingered habanero peppering heated up the salty mango tang of Spicy Mango Cream Ale, relegating limey guava-kiwi snips.

Fluffily creamed cocoa-dried raspberry tartness regaled Chocolate Razz Cream Ale, a Neapolitan-styled soft ice cream alternative.

Honeysuckled raspberry puree tartness guided Raz Hi Honey!, an unassumingly 10% ABV Belgian blonde ale with spritzy lemon spree and beet-sugared wheat base.

Another raspberry treat, stupendous Raspberry Drizzle reached an incredible 18% ABV as syrupy raspberry tartness stuck to treacly caramelized sugaring, gaining luxurious barleywine, sweet whiskey and cognac warmth. Highly recommended.

Creamily brown chocolatey HACC Porter let cacao nibs-roasted almond, honey and flaked coconut blend into affluent bourbon vanilla serenity.

Softly frothed espresso creaming and mild dark chocolate bittering placated Irish Stout – Nitro, relegating its black cherry bruised dried fruiting.

Sweet brown chocolate contrasted java-roasted dry cocoa influence of luscious Russian Imperial Stout, picking up hazelnut coffee, chocolate cake and fudged brownie illusions.

ASPIRE BREWING

Aspire Brewing

MIDDLETOWN, NEW YORK

Inside a mammoth freestanding 30,000 square-foot multifaceted facility in the Orange County city of Middletown (an hour outside Manhattan), ASPIRE BREWING opened its formidable doors at Crystal Run’s Galleria during June ’24. Head brewer Rick Hatch honed his skills at Denver Beer Company and Sparge Brewing in Colorado before heading east to New York’s Finger Lakes at Auburn’s Prison City. Now manning the tanks at Aspire, Hatch promises more barrel aged fare in the near future.

A veritable brewery-restaurant multiplex, Aspire’s epoxy-floored, pipe-exposed, high black ceilinged interior features a rectangular 40-draught Mosaic-tiled beer wall across the left side dining space. A full kitchen with elevated pub fare complements the beers emanating from massive windowed brewtanks servicing the expansive 25-seat right side bar.

There are several two-seat tables, metal-chaired community tables, middle lounge area, hanging basket seats and an overhead door (leading to a front patio). Adding to the eccentric sportsbar atmosphere are axe throwing competition, game room fodder, indoor corhhole court and golf simulation. My wife and I perused the jumbo pub on a crowded Saturday evening and quiet Friday at noon during late January ’24.

Let’s start with five German styled elixirs before moving on to the shitload of IPA’s, handful of heady dark ales and sundry remainders.

Crisp Bavarian-styled moderation, Widmen Pilsner, let musky lemon souring reach herbal hop astringency and muted floral spicing above musty pilsner malting.

Easygoing pinkish amber-cleared Keen Cranberry Kolsch snuck dry lemony cranberry souring into its pilsner-malted salted cracker base.

Lightly roasted caramel malting and muted spiced toffee contrast herbal Perle hop respite of Munich dunkel lager, Admire, leaving a gluey paper finish.

Oaken foeder aging provided musty cellared fungi to offbeat Rollick Doppelbock, permeating dry whiskey tones and black-purple-red grape tannins above distant pumpernickel breading.

Unassuming German-styled smoked lager, Flamme Rauchbier, lacked the cured meat resonance of better Bavarian imports (like fabulous Aecht Schlenkerla lineup), plying its delicate beechwood-smoked barley to mild cocoa tease, fatty bacon whim and soapy finish.

Maize-dried musk and mash tun-wafted sourdough breading guided lemon-twisted American lager, Striver, as celery-watered cucumber crisping reached its wet papered malt graining.

Pithy amber lager, Allay, countered caraway-seeded rye breading and caramelized cereal grain minerality with astringent hop herbage.

Sweet-Tart lemon-candied powdering, peachy cara cara orange tanginess and dry lime brining gathered for wheat-based Wallkill Summer Ale, a ‘smooth easygoer.’

Crisp caramel toasting and mild citrus spicing banked Noble hop herbage for Exult California Common, a lagered yeast-bound steam beer.

Tartly fruited sour, Fruticulture: Blood Orange Cranberry, plugged lightly acidic lemon-limed blood orange and cranberry adjuncts into dextrose white wheat starching.

Sessionable India Pale Ale, Kokua, gently serenaded spicy grapefruit-peeled orange rind bittering, tangy pineapple zesting and tart passionfruit whims with light herbage and mild pining over dry pale malts.

Highly engaging IPA, Aspirations V3, maintained sugary bubblegum waft for Citra-Mosaic-El Dorado-hopped fruit cocktail splendor, advancing yellow grapefruit, navel orange, mandarin orange, tangerine and peach tanginess atop light vanilla-creamed crystal/caramel malts.

Soft-toned Imperial IPA, Favor, placated New Zealand-based Riwaka hop tropicalia with dank pine resin and dry rye malting, unfurling peachy pineapple-candied orange peel tanginess and lemony yellow grapefruit rind bittering.

One more soft-toned Imperial IPA, Delight, delicately coalesced peachy pineapple tanginess, grapefruit-peeled orange pith bittering and redcurrant tartness, deferring its ascending vodka-licked 8.7 % ABV booziness.

Double dry-hopped Imperial IPA, Devote, merged spicily orange-peeled Citra hop zesting with pungent Simcoe hop pining, picking up subtle grapefruit, pineapple, peach and tangerine tanginess.

Dry bronzed West Coast-styled Imperial IPA, Exhilarate, rushed lemon-peeled yellow grapefruit Citra hop bittering, hard-candied El Dorado hop tartness and orange rind desiccation across wispy pine tones for vodka-whirred 9.8% ABV medium body.

Another West Coast Imperial IPA, Courage, let its zesty Citra-Cascade-hopped grapefruit, orange and lemon spicing graze woodsy pine-needled Centennial-Simcoe-hopped herbage and dark floral snips topping dry pale malts.

Staying on the ‘Left Coast,’ Appetition IPA retained ultra-dry lemony grapefruit-orange-pineapple tanginess for resinous pine dankness and light herbal notions contrasting mildly creamed caramel malting.

Dry New England-styled IPA, Enthusiasm, combined Huell Melon-hopped white grape, guava and melon tartness with Citra/Idaho 7-hopped grapefruit, tangerine and orange salting and Cashmere-hopped lemon liming over mild spelt- dried oats creaming.

Brisk Citra-hopped NEIPA, Envisage, lightly embittered its lemony grapefruit tanginess with musky coniferous juniper tips above mild oated wheat creaming.

Muskier NEIPA, Seek, let lightly pungent pine tones delve into mild guava, mango and passionfruit tropicalia and subtle floral spicing over oaty cereal graining.

Down Under hops (Nelson Sauvin/Galaxy/Strata) engaged dry NEIPA, Burgeon, providing floral-perfumed grapefruit peel and orange rind bittering as well as residual passionfruit-guava tartness to earthen bark-dried herbal musk.

A bright NEIPA collab with Newburgh Brewery, AspireBoss, brought Citra-Mosaic-hopped lemony orange sunshine to musky Simcoe-hopped pine bittering countering honeyed oats breading.

Dark-roast Brazilian coffee anchored robustly sumptuous Baltic Porter, Caturra, picking up creamy cappuccino, espresso and chocolate latte illusions alongside latent burgundy licks.

Velvety coca-nibbed dark chocolate creaming enriched fudgy pastry stout, Enchant, picking up hazelnut coffee, chocolate cake and vanilla cupcake illusions.

Even more decadent, Enchant – Cordial Cherry, allowed candied cherry cordial confection to penetrate creamy brown chocolate syruping, intense Madagascar vanilla caramelization and fudged toffee sugaring before snagging bruised cherry sweetness at the lovely mocha-drenched finish.

BLACK FLAG BREWING COMPANY

Black Flag Brewing Co. - Bates Architects - Bates Architects

COLUMBIA, MARYLAND

Established in 2015 with a second location now in nearby Marriotsville, BLACK FLAG BREWING COMPANY’s flagship at Columbia gave founder Brian Gaylor his footprint in the Maryland brew scene. Despite borrowing its moniker from anarchic punk band, Black Flag, the sterling wood-ensconced pub features a ‘warm color palette’ leading to the ‘boulevard of brewtanks’ in the rear.

Inside a tan stone professional building with gleaming cement lacquered floor, Black Flag’s 12-seat, 15-draught oak top bar services several pristine metal-seated community tables. Exposed pipes at the black ceiling offer dramatic contrast to the yellow wooded splendor.

My wife and I grabbed a few core brews and one-offs, some slightly beyond the ‘established norm,’ on our February ’24 Baltimore-Columbia excursion.

Toffee-sugared banana, cherry and fig guided creamily caramelized Dubbel Doug, a sweet spiced Belgian styler.

Waxy tropical fruiting gained vanilla-creamed oated wheat density for Stupid Sexy Wizard NEIPA, coalescing mild lemon-limed grapefruit bittering with yogurt-like pineapple tartness and tangy mandarin orange sweetness.

Terpene-infused hop oiling lent dank cannabis gunk to the salted mango, lemon meringue and buttery Chardonnay influences of Maui Waui, a hazy NEIPA with a boozy gin flourish.

Yet another tropical NEIPA, Sun Run, let softly billowing oated wheat creaming froth its lightly pined Citra-Mosaic hop fruitiness as yellow grapefruit, white peach, navel orange, mandarin orange and pineapple tanginess glimmers.

White peach and Bosc pear combined for Crumble: Peach & Pear, a cinnamon-spiced fruited sour.

Mild chocolate nuttiness reached oats-sugared malts for Suede Shoes Brown Ale, using English ale yeast to invite wispy fruity esters.

Black chocolate and mild coffee roast merged for Dark Arts Imperial Stout, picking up latent hop charred nuttiness.

Blending Dark Arts with Fuzzy Whitaker Raspberry Wheat Sour created Dark & Fuzzy, a delightful combo securing its tart raspberry souring with lemony white grape tannins to contrast ascendingly sweet Black Forest caking.

Then came two exquisite barleywines for dessert. First, ‘unaged’ Uncut Diamonds retained smooth caramelized toffee spicing, buttery whiskey serenity and dried fruited plum-fig conflux as well as heady 11.3% ABV.

An even more complex nightcap, luxurious barleywine, Sunken Diamonds, sank fruitful cuvee-like Madeira wining into lovely bourbon, rum and brandy aged whiskey caramelization, garnering tertiary medicinal cherry, bruised orange and sherry illusions.

CUSHWA BREWING COMPANY – COLUMBIA

Cushwa Brewing Company · Arium|AE · Architecture, Engineering, & Planning

COLUMBIA, MARYLAND

Gaining high acclaim amongst the entire Maryland brewing community, CUSHWA BREWING COMPANY’s second location inside a maroon-edged white brick building at Columbia opened in 2023 and serves “Rad Pies” as well as Mocktails to complement their sturdy array of home brews. Cushwa’s original Williamsport brewhouse along the Potomac River also continues to thrive since 2016.

A half-mile from Reckless Shepherd, Cushwa features 40-plus taps, multiple community tables, an art deco black ceiling and windowed frontage. An illuminating white Cushwa sign overlooking the white-tiled bar captures attention.

I visited Cushwa February ’24 to quaff nine beers on site and another two canned afterwards (reviewed in Beer Index).

Year-round light bodied fave, Pura Pils, let fizzy lemon spritz prickle grassy hop astringency over musty pilsner malts.

Designed to pair with pepperoni pizza, pithy red and orange fruiting and light caramel spicing reached sugary cereal grained pale malting for Rad Beer Lager.

Tidy straw gold kolsch, Kolschwa, brought semi-sharp IPA-like citrus perfuming and Hallertau Blanc white wine esters to the fore as buttery Easter bread flouring sweetened the dry pale malt base.

Dryer than most hefeweizens, Never Say Hefe maintained politer banana-clove sweetness and blanched honeyed wheat bottom, letting herbal whims skim the surface.

Valentine’s Day fruited wheat, Cupid’s Boldt, let its subtle strawberry adjunct pick up tart rhubarb tanginess and blood orange snips above raw-honeyed wheat.

Lighter than a Belgian pale ale, pilsner-malted patersbier, Father Time Enkel, let fungi Abbey yeast infiltrate delicate champagne bubbling, subtle banana sweetness and white peppered herbal spicing.

Easygoing New England IPA flagship, Cush NEIPA, plied lemony grapefruit and orange tanginess to dry hemp-oiled pine resin and mellow floral daubs.

Dry West Coast-styled Imperial IPA, Like A Million Elephants, merged piney citrus glitz with mild herbage, dainty florality and pale crystal malt sugaring in an unassuming 8% ABV whirl.

Resounding Mexican coffee stout, Seven Caves, coalesced dark-roast coffee, dry espresso and vanilla-creamed cinnamon spicing.

RECKLESS SHEPHERD BREWING COMPANY

Frisco & Reckless Shepherd Brewpub (Wednesdays) | Cap City Trivia

COLUMBIA, MARYLAND

In tandem with Frisco Taphouse restaurant, RECKLESS SHEPHERD BREWING COMPANY became Howard County’s first full-time craft brewery during 2017. A large multi-purpose gray brick venue hosting live entertainment at its high ceilinged art space, Reckless Shepherd’s pristine modern industrial setting captures an upscale sportsbar atmosphere.

Founding owner Adam Carton began brewing in 2004 and by 2012 developed Push Brewing’s 7-barrel system inside Frisco Taphouse. Renamed Reckless Shepherd in 2017, the 20-barrel Columbia, Maryland taphouse continues to gain attention with their eccentric blend of elixirs (plus Frisco’s extensive pub menu).

The 20-seat bark top main bar at Reckless Shepherd fronts several wood tables and the glass enclosed brew tanks stand impressively tall in the rear. There are multiple TV’s and a large entertainment space leading to a theatre screen. The right side restaurant has an oak-topped bar with 30-plus tile-walled draughts, several wood seats and a community table.

On my February ’24 Columbia brew trek, discovered five diverse draughts.

‘Steadfast classic ale,’ Loyally Blonde, escorted sour citrus musk, white peach stipend and dry Noble hop herbage to its mild rye wheat base.

Hopheads rejoiced the dry floral perfumed citrus sharpness and pungent bark-dried pine lacquering given extremely bitter nickel-cleared IPA, Chico & The Man Celebration, raising juniper-licked navel orange, yellow grapefruit rind and salted pineapple illusions atop sugary pale malted cookie dough base. 

Cinnamon-sticked vanilla sweetness elevated the powdered sugar cannoli pastry creaming and wintry nutmeg-ginger spicing contrasting the astringent hop phenols of Santa’s Little Helper Christmas Blonde, letting its lemony orange fizz prickle the nose in between.

A medium roast coffee overture invited debittered dark chocolate and tart cocoa powdering to Black patent malts for full-bodied porter, Working Class Hero, leaving walnut-charred burnt wood tones on the backend.

Creamy dark chocolate syruping coated milk-sugared coffee countering tarry hop char of full-bodied nightcap, Mr. Gorbachev ’24 Russian Imperial Stout.

JAILBREAK BREWING COMPANY

Jailbreak Brewing Company – Laurel, MD | so brewtal

LAUREL, MARYLAND

Starting on a small pilot system in 2013, JAILBREAK BREWING COMPANY became fully operational as Howard County’s first production brewery a year hence. Crafting “dramatic” beers midway between Baltimore and D.C. along the Patuxent River in the small town of Laurel, Jailbreak occupies a large facility inside a tannish red brick professional mall.

The corrugated aluminum-sided, silestone-topped, 15-seat bar serves 16 draughts and top shelf liquor and an earthen flat-stoned wall backdrop complements the gray and black walls. A midsection couched lounge with four pinball games leads to the porcelain wood-floored pub area.

During November 2021, Jailbreak opened a mammoth left side kitchen serving fresh meats and fish to go alongside their wide variety of homemade elixirs. Several large lacquered wood tables and four sets of stooled seats fill out the high ceilinged dining room.

Windowed brewtanks behind the bar contained the nifty suds sucked down alongside a sausage and fennel pizza on my February ’24 trek. Canned beers to-go reviewed in Beer Index.

Brisk lemon zesting picked up sharp spicing for rye dried Southern Crossed Pilsner, a New Zealand-styled lightweight with Nelson Sauvin-hopped guava and gooseberry tartness softly embedding the muskily grained backend.

Spritzy lemon-dried Boats & Hose, a sessionable Caribbean lager, picked up mild floral spicing and slightest caramel apple, red grape and tangerine daubs for its papery pilsner malt gluiness.

Moldy orange-dried autumnal leaf crisping stamped moderate Vienna Lager, Crabtown Classic, dispersing dank oily hop moisture.

Mild orange zesting caressed the balmy banana-clove-bubblegum sweetness of citric hefeweizen, Feed The Monkey, to its sourdough base.

Lovely coffee-roasted espresso bittering draped by dark chocolate syrup for oatmeal raisin cookie confection of molasses-dried oatmeal stout, Kaleidoscopic Images Of Love, underscored by caramelized Maris Otter malting.

Kentucky bourbon-barreled maple syruping engaged luxurious English-styled Barleywine Is Beer, leaving rummy chocolate, sweet burgundy, sherry, whiskey and dark cherry illusions on its caramel-burnt bourbon luster.