Thursday, July 31, 2014

Weekend Beerventures from Baltimore Part 3: Monocacy Brewing and Brewers Alley

Part 1 of our Fourth of July Beerventure can be viewed here.
Part 2 of our Fourth of July Beerventure can be viewed here.

We approached the end our Frederick Beerventure with a trip to Monocacy Brewing. Earlier in the spring, while attending the Cask Ale Fest at Pratt Street Alehouse, Deana and I were both quite impressed with the Brewtus Stout Monocacy sent over and we couldn't wait to find out what the rest of their beer portfolio offered.

While seeking out the brewery we ended up driving pastonce or twice due to a lack of signage. Learn from my mistake and trust your GPS. You will end up exactly where you should.  After confirming that we had arrived at the correct destination we entered the tasting room  to a cheerful greeting from the friendly bartender. Being that we arrived shortly after a brewery tour began we were one of only 4 tasters in the room which afforded us the privilege of getting a little more time to pick our bartenders brain for details about the beer.  One thing I learned of particular interest was the fact that Monocacy Brewing and Brewers Alley are one in the same. Apparently, they had to change their name due to some weird legal issues involving moving a brewery more than 1 square mile from the original location.

I wish I would have gotten confirmation while I was there, but from the outside looking in it appears as though Monocacy brand is steered more to “craft beer” offerings whereas the beers brewed under the Brewers Alley  label are much more traditional in style. With that said, all of the beers offered in the taproom are from Monocacy.  The highlights of the day was (not surprisingly) Brewtus, an Imperial Coffee Stout that’s flavored with coffee beans Monocacy gets from a business right across the street from their location. If you like your morning coffee black you'll be happy because that’s exactly how Brewtus comes across. With its bold earthy coffee tones Brewtus leaves no doubt what the star of the show is supposed to be with.

After our tour we thought about killing a little more time with a round of cornhole outside the brewery, but we decided one more trip was in order and headed over to the Brewers Alley Restaurant and Brewpub for an early dinner. Not to pat myself on the back, but I couldn't have asked for a better way to end the day. After all of the hopping around we relished the chance to finally sit down and relax. So, you’ll have to bear with me as I couldn't be bothered to take many pictures of the food at this point.

We started off with Bacon wrapped smoked jalapenos. Dude. This was the best jalapeno focused dish I’ve had in ages. The pepper was fresh, the bacon smokey and crispy, and the chicken and cheese mixture inside added a nice change of pace to the typical jalapeno popper goo usually found on menus.  A cooling cream sauce drizzled on top played the perfect counterpoint to the fairly spicy jalapeno heat.

For our main course we both kept it simple and ordered burgers. Deana went with the house burger known as the Alley Burger and I selected a Weizen Burger. Both were top notch burgers with great grill flavor.  I think I preferred the Weizen burger out of the two but only because the tangy kraut and ham it was topped with made for a somewhat unfamiliar bite when it comes to burgers.

By this point you would think we would've been ready to throw in the towel but when a fresh strawberry pie is available you don’t have a choice but to make room. No description would do justice to the pie, and really, good strawberry shouldn't need one. Flaky crust, fresh berries, whipped cream and your done.

As far as beer was concerned we didn't really go out of our way to try much at the restaurant, but I couldn't help myself when I saw they had a Gose on offer known as Bad Old Man.  It reminded me a lot of a Gose I homebrewed once upon a time as the recipe is much more traditional and not the tart lacto pucker bomb a lot of American interpretations are turning into. If you've found other Gose’s a little off-putting in the past (I love both interpretations) give this one a try. It reminded me much more of a mildly tart and salty Belgian wheat beer and is very approachable for all types of beer drinkers.

With our stomachs full and our minds tired from a full day of touring Frederick we came to the end of our Fourth of July Weekend Beerventure. If you haven’t been to Frederick I highly recommend making a trip. It’s close enough to Baltimore, beautiful and scenic, and full of a wide variety of food and drinking options. Don’t feel like you have to focus only on beer while you’re there because there are also wineries and cideries nearby to help fill your day and keep everyone happy. Frederick, you’re a heck of a place! I’ll be seeing you soon.

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