Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Beer Lover's Mid-Atlantic book -- More to Come

If you've looked closely enough at my book, you likely discovered the Appendix entitled "More To Come". In all the 416 pages, this is secretly one of my favorite sections. At the time, no other installment in the Beer Lover's series of books across the country had a section like this.

I added it in a nod to the rapidly expanding number of breweries in the region and my admission that there would be no way I'd ever be able to keep up with the current state of affairs. Not that the book ever pretended to be an exhaustive, complete snapshot of the industry, but by adding this appendix, it gave notice to either the quality places that would already be open by the time the book finally hit bookshelves or that stood a very good chance of opening in 2015. Keeping in mind that I completed the manuscript in August 2014, this appendix required no small amount of research, a bit of prognostication, and a dose of good luck as well.

Even though a few more dozen have either opened or been put on the drawing board since then, here are a few from the appendix that I'm looking forward to tracking in the next year as I ramp up to a potential second edition.

  Blue Earl - these guys became Blue Earl after a trademark dispute over the name Warlock and are doing good things in Smyrna according to locals. I heard their name again in December when I did a book event in Dover and Smyrna-based The Drunken Baker was in attendance too. They mentioned the town's Painted Stave Distilling in addition to the brewery. They had good things to say about Blue Earl's operation, which opened in May 2015. My appendix had them listed as "projected early 2015" (got that part right) and being run by two guys with "45+ years of combined homebrewing experience" and "old-world style with an American twist". I need to see for myself.

  Denizens - These guys opened in July 2014 just as I was putting the bow on my book's content, so I listed them in the "Open Now" category of the appendix. At that point there was no time to make a well-informed visit and find space for them in the body of the book. But knowing that one of the founders/brewers was Jeff Ramirez, whose resume includes Iron Hill, told me that I should be keeping them on my radar. I still haven't found my way back to Silver Spring since researching the book. What I'd like to do is visit again once Quarry House Tavern re-opens since the devastating fire last year. It should be a visit of highs and lows between the subterranean visit to QHT and a first-time visit to the brewpub's outdoor, and dog-friendly, rooftop beer garden.

New Jersey
  Screamin' Hill - I was really enamored with the farm-based breweries of Maryland that I discovered in my research travels. Now, New Jersey has one of its own. Screamin' Hill opened in July 2015, after being listed in my book as "early 2015". Not too far off and good things, apparently, come to those who wait. The idea is that they'd be a "7-barrel brewery on a 100-acre family farm" in Upper Freehold Township, Monmouth County. Tasting beers in the brewery field with these guys is on a very short list of new places for me to visit and things to do in the coming months.

  Spoonwood - I hear from family that Spoonwood, in suburban Pittsburgh's Bethel Park community, is extremely popular. In a conversation with them, they convinced me that they were well enough on a path to opening that I included them in the appendix as "Open Now". They opened one year ago in January 2015. A "15-barrel brewhouse, fully complemented by an authentic wood-fired oven and premium wines on tap" (meads, ciders, and local distilled spirits, too) sounds like a kind of place that I'd be comfortable hanging out at. Maybe my April trip to western Pennsylvania will find me there.

What about you? Been to any of these four places and have an experience that meets my expectations? Any others you've found along the way that are interesting to note? It's a big beer world out there; hope you're enjoying the trip!

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