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Firkin Fest Closes Out Frederick Beer Week

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Last Saturday, Frederick Beer Week came to a close. I can’t think of a better way to end an exciting week of nonstop beer activity than with an easy, fun day on a hop farm.

You may recall my post last year about the Frederick Beer Festival at StillPoint Hop Farm. This year was every bit as much fun. All the great Maryland breweries were represented, but this year, the festival featured a different twist. The beers were tapped from firkins – and so this year’s festival was dubbed Firkin Fest!

Amazing Maryland Beers were served by Barley and Hops, Brewer’s Alley, Flying Dog, Heavy Seas, Evolution, DuClaw, and Brewer’s Art.   Some unique brews included belgian beers brewed with currants and peppercorns; some great IPAs – including last year’s Battle of the Bubbles competition winner, which was expertly brewed by Larry Pomerantz at Barley and Hops; Oatmeal Stouts; refreshing light lagers; german style bocks and dunkers; and more.  And then there was the homebrew tent, hosted by Frederick’s Original Ale Makers. Lucky attendees sampled from over 20 different styles of homebrew throughout the day.

The festival also brought back all of the great attractions from last year, only bigger and better with a larger and wider variety of vendors, more great folk style music, the ever-popular Hayride to Hoppiness, and hoola hoops!

Imagine plopping down on a hillside with a quality Maryland beer, on a beautiful day, in a gorgeous country setting, listening to live music and watching the little ones (and a few not so little ones) dance around with hoola hoops. It’s easy to see why Firkin Fest has become a fast local favorite for Frederick beer fans!

So once again we bid farewell to Frederick Beer Week – til next year!   In the meantime, plan your next visit to the Mid-Atlantic around some of our great breweries and pubs.  You won’t be disappointed.  Maryland has indeed become a great state for beer!

Cheers beers!

Cheers Beers’ First Beer Dinner

What better time to experience our first ever beer dinner than during Frederick Beer Week at our favorite hometown brewpub – Barley and Hops.  The Barley and Hops Spring Beer Tasting and Dinner not only featured their stellar house brews, but the event and the menu were all organized by head brewer and culinary creator Larry Pomerantz.  Each item on the menu, shown below, was designed to pair with one of Larry’s exceptional beers.

If you find yourself in Frederick, Maryland, stop by Barley and Hops for a quality pint or two and a great menu!  http://www.barleyandhops.net.

This was Barley and Hops’ premiere beer dinner  – hopefully the first of many to come (we’ve heard rumors that various themed beer dinners may be held quarterly!).  They seated 20 or more of us at a long family style table.  When beer and food are involved, it doesn’t take long for new friendships to form. We were all chatting and laughing and oohing and ahhing over the meal items as Larry explained his thought process behind the pairings and sought our reactions to tastes and flavor combinations.

Dinner is Served

We were so absorbed in the dinner that we missed most of our photo moments. Take my word for it…the cheese course was delicious!

Celery Heart Salad with Bacon Wrapped Jumbo Shrimp served with Larry’s fabulous Sugerloaf Saison and a Saison Vinaigrette.

Stout ice cream…a great way to top off any meal!

1st Course

A cheese course consisting of local goat cheeses that included a soft tangy baby swiss paired with his flavorful sweet and malty Highway to Helles;  a tangy cheddar that brought out delicious notes in the Tuscarora Red Ale; a spicy tangy jalapeño cheddar paired with the Hoptopsy ESB; and a magnificent soft zesty gouda paired with the Annapolis Rocks Pale.

2nd Course

A unique celery heart salad served with bacon wrapped shrimp, topped with a zesty saison mustard dressing, and paired with the Sugarloaf Saison.  The Saison is amazing by itself, but this course brought out the tangy citrus flavors in the beer.

3rd Course

A fork tender Cocoa and Ancho Chili Crusted Pork Tenderloin paired with his 80 Schilling Scotch Ale.  Wow, lots of smoky and chocolate flavors from the beer.  I would never have thought of matching a Scotch Ale with southwest flavors, but boy did it work.

4th Course

Stout Ice Cream with chocolate sauce – I keep telling you all that beer ice cream rocks!  By the end of this course, 20 people practically had their faces planted in their bowls trying to salvage every last bit.

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A Few Pairing Tips 

  • When pairing foods, match stronger flavored foods with stronger flavored beers….and visa versa.  Lighter foods with lighter flavored beers.
  • Hoppy beers pair well with hot and spicy foods.
  • Malty beers pair well with grilled and smoky foods

But the most important tip of all is slow down, stop guzzling, and pay more attention to how your beer and your food complement one another.  You might find that your meal is even more interesting and enjoyable.

Beer dinners are happening all over, so check out your local brewpubs and beer bars and find one near you.  They’re tasty, they’re fun, and you’ll learn how to get the most from two of life’s greatest pleasures – beer and food!

Bon Appetite and Cheers Beers!

BeerVenture: Franklin’s Restaurant and Brewery

Franklin’s Restaurant and Brewery is a bold neon landmark situated on Rt. 1 (5121 Baltimore Ave.) in the heart of Hyattsville, MD.   Back in the early 90’s I was a student resident in Hyattsville, but haven’t had reason to return until now.  I was happy to see the area is experiencing a facelift, and no doubt the 2002 opening of Franklin’s Restaurant and Brewery helped give the town the boost it needed.

Franklin's Restaurant and Brewery located on Rt 1 in the heart of Hyattsville, Maryland

 

The Brewpub. This colorful double decker building offers a fun casual hangout for families, friends, and individuals who just want a beer and a bite to eat.   The 1st floor dining area is large with tons of seating.  The upstairs bar area also offers seating for small and large parties, as well as individuals who want to belly up and enjoy a brew while watching the game on TV.  Franklin’s has a strong local following, and it’s far enough off campus that you don’t have to worry about a lot of wild student activity.

The Beer. The best way to acquaint yourself with any brewpub is to order a sampler.  With eleven beers on tap, Franklin’s flight demonstrates brewer Mike Roy’s undeniable talent and experience gained from a decade of working in NH and Boston brewpubs.  During that time, his beers have earned a host of medals and people’s choice awards – you’ll understand why once you’ve sampled the beers.   His styles include a pilsner, a red ale, a variety of pales, a golden belgian, an oatmeal stout, a scotch ale, a black IPA, and two seasonals – a dark malty winter ale and a spiced saison.  All were full flavored quality beers, but the stand outs for us were the Twisted Turtle English Pale, the Hop Zen Black IPA, the Old Miser Winter Ale, and (my personal best of show) the Highland Hugh Scotch Ale (so good that we brought home a growler).

Franklin's dining is open and casual, and the large menu combines traditional and unique selections.

 

The Food. Franklin’s Menu offers a nice mix of standard brewpub food and unique specialty items, like Nickel Curves (lamb sliders), Papusas, Vegetarian Cottage Pie, Muffuletta Pizza, and Fidel’s Favorite.  Their food is tasty, fun and interesting, and the menu caters to foodies of all types, including children and vegetarians.

Side Notes. Free parking in the side lot on weekends, and 1 hour meter parking on weekdays.  Franklin’s also features a huge General Store gift shop that sells pretty much everything from penny candy and toys, to Franklin’s t-shirts and an excellent selection of high end beer and wine.

If you’re in town visiting the University of Maryland at College Park, or if you’re a fan of brewpubs and want to venture out to someplace new, this one is worth the trip.  Great beer, fun vibe, and a crowd pleasing menu – you can’t go wrong with this popular Hyattsville destination.  In fact, I think I hear Highland Hugh calling us back right now!

Cheers beers!

Garrett Oliver Kicks Back

Garrett Oliver - Head Brewer at Brooklyn Brewery

At our house, its considered acceptable to watch beer videos at the dinner table.  And when Donnie finds something good, we’ll sit side by side glued to the laptop, because if nothing else, brewers are entertaining and fun!

And then there’s Garrett Oliver, head brewer at Brooklyn Brewery, who in my opinion is like the professor of beer, always golf appropriate, straight up and sober. At least that’s what I thought until we watched Cassidy Cantanzaro’s interview with Garrett on Beer Sessions’ Tapping In with Cassidy.

Kudos to Cassidy!  Not only did she maintain her sobriety, but she did a stand up job of capturing a fun spirited and informative Garrett Oliver. By the way, have you ever wondered why they put beer in a champagne bottle (aka bomber)? Me neither, but I do love his answer to this question.  So when you’re ready, grab a quality beer (in this case, a Brooklyn Beer would be appropriate), sit back and experience the fun side of Garrett Oliver.

Cheers beers!

Welcome to Cheers Beers!

If you’re a fan of quality yeasty, malty, hoppy goodness, then you like beer!  And if you don’t like beer, then you just haven’t found the right beer yet.  Beer offers something for everyone – an endless selection of styles, flavors, and colors to choose from…it’s practically a food group!

So incase you  haven’t guessed, this blog is about beer, enjoying beer, experiencing new beers, visiting beer places, meeting beer people, and even brewing beer.  Donnie, our HoppyTimes house brewer is the technical guru, and I (Paula) will provide aesthetic analysis and comments.   Ha hahh!   Who are we kidding? We just like to talk about beer and all things beer related.

Don is hard at work keeping up with public demand for quality beer at HoppyTimes

So we hope you revisit, read and comment this blog, which comes to you direct from our Maryland-based HoppyTimes home brewery.  See you soon!

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