Posts Tagged ‘breweries’

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!

Frederick Beer Week is Back!

For more information about Frederick Beer Week, visit www.

It’s that time again!  May 12-19, Frederick, Maryland is all about beer (as it should be) as our fare city celebrates our 2nd Annual Frederick Beer Week.

If you’re not familiar with Frederick, we are home to:

Last year’s Frederick Beer Week started this annual event off with a boom, and this year’s events prove to be bigger and better with two beer festivals, beer dinners, beer happy hours, brewery tours, great music (some of it about beer), the Battle of the Bubbles 2 home brew competition, and so much more.  Check out what’s going on….



So if you’re if you’re in the Frederick area this coming week (we’re just a 30 minute drive from DC and Baltimore), come join us for some great beer and tons of fun for big kids and for the little kiddies too.   We’ll see you there!

Cheers beers!

Cheers Beers’ Favorites from 2011

December 31, 2011 2 comments

2011 has been an amazing year of beer!  Every beer store visit offers new introductions to breweries and beers we’d never seen before.  Some are easily forgotten, but others have managed to chisel a permanent residence in my adult ADD brain.  And that’s saying’ something!  So in honor of 2011, I’ve created a list of my personal stand out favorites. Some were newly introduced in 2011 and others were just newly introduced to me.  Don’t get caught up in numbers – the order doesn’t reflect any preferences, just keeping count.

So without further adieu, here are 12 favorite Cheers Beers’ discoveries from 2011….

1.  Franklin’s Highland Hugh – a Wee Heavy that puts me in Wee Heaven.  I love scotch ales, and this one is sublime.  Available only at the brewpub in Hyattsville, Maryland – if you’re ever in the College Park area, don’t miss out on a trek to Franklin’s Restaurant and Brewery.

2.  Monk’s Cafe Flemish Sour  – a seriously orgasmic sour beer (see great review from the Booze Dancers).  Monk’s Cafe has pushed Philly even higher up on our beer bucket list.

3.  Bell’s Wild One Sour Brown Ale  – A Bell’s brewpub exclusive and one of the best sour beers I’ve ever had.  I can only hope they keep this one around for our next visit to Kalamazoo, MI.

4.  Roy Pitz’ Watermelon Lager  – I LOVE watermelon, and man do these guys know how to make a fantastic fresh off the vine flavorful watermelon beer. Roy Pitz has just expanded the size of their brewery and they are now bottling.  Access is currently granted to the lucky residents of PA, but they’re working to expand in MD and surrounding states, so just give ’em time to work their way into your neck of the woods.  My best of show brewery discovery for 2011.

5.  Dogfish Head’s Hellhound – a really delicious, unique, not heavy but full flavored hoppy beer finished with lots of lemon citrus flavor – one of my favorite hoppy beers ever with a great story behind the label.

6.  Founders Back Woods Bastard – delicious sipper that packs an amazing bourbon punch – well done Founders!  Am also a big fan of it’s sibling…the Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale.  Definitely a favorite brewery discovery of 2011.

7.  New Glarus’ Wisconsin Belgian Red – Not your traditional malty hoppy beer, but it has earned a reputation (and awards) as one of the world’s best fruit beers for a reason. Imagine tart cherry pie in a glass…so good!

8.  Firestone Walker’s Union Jack IPA – my favorite IPA discovery in 2011.  A WOW beer for sure, and a very welcome new comer to the MD beer scene.

9.  Brooklyn’s Sorachi Ale – a delicious surprise from Brooklyn Brewery.  A zesty belgian saison with a mild hoppy bite.  A gourmet beer for a gourmet meal!

10. and 11.  Dogfish Head’s Death Metal and Black & Red – Both are dark, thick, rich, decadent imperial style beers.  For espresso lovers, Death Metal is your beer – so full of delicious sweet dark dense chocolate and coffee flavor. The Black & Red is a sinful chocolate stout loaded with raspberry and mint.  Dessert anyone?

12.  Lagunitas’ (Bavarian Style) Doppel Weizen – It would be sad to forget this one since I just tried it last night.  But after one hearty sip, I knew it had to be on the list.  Lagunitas makes some of the most delicious and flavorful beers on the market, and this one is no exception.  I love how they’re branching out and introducing some new styles this past year.  And even though the styles are different, Lagunitas has branded the taste of their beers.  Truly, there’s no mistaking a beer that’s been brewed by Lagunitas.

I hope this gives you some ideas for new beers to try in 2012.  Best wishes to all of you for many new and exciting discoveries and beer ventures in 2012, and on behalf of Cheers Beers, have a very happy, safe and prosperous new year!

Cheers beers!

Roy Pitz Brewing Co. – Chambersburg, PA’s Hidden Gem

Since reading an article in the paper about this small time operation, the hubster and I have been itching to visit the Roy Pitz Brewing Company.  Two years later, we finally ventured to Chambersburg, PA to check them out.  Our initial thoughts?  Wow!  Roy Pitz is a name to watch out for.

The Roy Pitz Story

The Brewery is owned and operated by Jesse and Ryan, two grade school friends who grew up in Chambersburg and have since continued their friendship and cultivated a shared passion for craft beer and brewing.  They experimented heavily with homebrewing in college, and their training in professional brewing began with jobs at Victory Brewing Company and Twin Lakes Brewing Company. Upon graduating with business degrees, the duo attended the Siebel Institute of Brewing Technology in Chicago, and Ryan continued on to study at the Doemens Institute in Germany.   He earned an International Degree in Brewing Science and returned to Chambersburg to join forces and open Roy Pitz Brewing Company with Jesse.

Who’s Roy Pitz?

According to an article from Hagerstown Magazine, “the brewery takes its name from the legend of a pair of quarreling conjoined twins local to Chambersburg named Roy and Pitz.”  The two brewers and longtime friends aren’t twins, but metaphorically speaking, they are attached at the hip, personally and professionally.  And so this relationship is conveyed by the conjoined twins represented in their logo.

The Brewery

The Roy Pitz Brewing Company was opened in 2008, has since tripled production and is currently looking to expand distribution into Maryland.  The brewery is housed in an old warehouse located off a remote alley on the edge of downtown Chambersburg.  If you’re not looking for it, you won’t find it.

They currently distribute kegs to about 30+ locations across Pennsylvania, and they only fill growlers at their Chambersburg location.  These guys are small potatoes…for now.  But the word is out in Chambersburg, as parades of locals crossed the parking lot and entered the small tasting room with empty growlers in tote.

Don’t expect sparkle and polish, the tasting room is a small, rustic, cellar-like setup.  It has character and foosball!   Wooden barrels emerge from the walls supporting plain wooden tap handles, and the small room is surrounded by a collection of growlers, memorabelia and merchandise.  Behind a glass wall lies the modest brewing operations filled with stainless steel tanks and a volunteer or two hard at work keeping the place well sanitized.

Liquid Art

One taste and you’ll agree, Roy Pitz’ beer is an art form.  Roy Pitz has coined themselves as “America’s Freshest Brewery”.  These guys brew using the highest quality ingredients, and they keep it local as much as possible, from the water to the produce to the hops produced from their own local hop farm.  There aren’t many breweries that offer customers the opportunity to taste and take home beers that were kegged from their fermenters that very same day.  That’s fresh!

Available beers are displayed in chalk on the overhead board, and the brewery is free and generous with their samples.  But many patrons are regulars who know exactly what they want, and some visit weekly to stock up for the weekend and ensure they don’t miss out on anything new.

Our server/jack-of-all for the day told us that the seasonals are outstanding and worth the trip.  After tasting the lot, I can assure you that the year round brews are every bit as outstanding as the seasonals, and yes, it was worth the trip.

Five beers were available on tap, four of which sold for $10 per growler, and one that sold for $15.  Most are available year round with one or two seasonals thrown in.

Our Two Growler Picks

Lovitz Lager (Watermelon Lager, Seasonal).  This has gotta be one of the best fruit beers I’ve ever had.  The aroma of fresh watermelon is intoxicating, and the fruit flavor permeates the beer.  The warmer the beer, the more fragrant, fresh, and apparent the watermelon flavor.  It’s clearly a well brewed lager, unfiltered, clean, and balanced.  I didn’t even feel compelled to add more watermelon to the beer.  It’s perfect as is.

Our server mentioned that Jesse and Ryan were at a beer festival in Philly pushing the Watermelon Lager as a contender for Best Summer Beer.  Best of luck guys!  It has my vote!

Lugwig’s Revenge (Smoked Lager, Year Round).  This is a smooth, rich, full flavored dark lager with a delicious smokiness that makes this a unique brow-raising experience.  Ludwig’s Revenge is unlike any beer I’ve had before.  Smoked beers can often be overpowering with smoke flavor (sometimes liquid smoke), or they’re watery with barely a hint of smokiness.  The primary flavors in Roy Pitz’s beers permeate without dominating, so the smoked flavor is apparent throughout the beer, but perfectly balanced with the smooth dark malts.  A rare treat of a beer.

We also had the privilege of sampling the Old Jail Ale (English Brown is delicious, mild, malty, flavorful), the Best Blonde Ale (amazingly well done Kolsch style beer with loaded with flavor and refreshingly crisp and citrusy) , and the Daddy Fat Sacks (malt and hops are incredibly well balanced, nice sweetness, full-bodied, full flavored).  Picking two to take home was not an easy task, every single beer was stellar.   Visit their website to find out what will be on tap during your visit.

Beer is Their Priority

Remember the name Roy Pitz and keep a watchful eye out for Jesse and Ryan.  The talent and skill of these two young brewers and their exacting attention to details are clearly reflected in their products.  Ignore their modest surroundings, their priority is the beer.  Our server mentioned an event where they displayed a note to customers apologizing for their lack of merchandise.  Their message read “we put our money into the beer”.   Enough said.

Cheers beers!

2011 State Capitols and BeerVentures Tour

We all have a bucket list – places we want to visit, people we want to meet, things we want to do before we kick the bucket. Right? My dad has one item on his bucket list, and it has since become an item on my bucket list too.

In the Beginning

When I was about 9 years old (just a few short decades ago), my dad decided to take on the challenge of visiting and taking a picture of every US state capitol. He has to be the one to take the picture. No one else can take it for him. That’s the rule.

As of two years ago, he had just over 20 state capitols left. Unfortunately, he’s not getting any younger, so being the dutiful daughter, and since I’ve kinda been involved in this whole thing from the start, I volunteered to help him finish his quest.

Since I cannot vacation just on state capitols alone, we started incorporating visits to brewpubs and breweries that are local to the places we visit. During our 2009 (ME and NH) and 2010 (CA, NV, ID, OR, WA) trips we been to Allagash, Redhook, Beer Valley, the Pike Brewing Company, Deschutes, Rogue, and a host of other beer bars and breweries. I’m not sure my dad bargained for that part of the trip, but he certainly had a good time, and now he keeps good beer in the fridge. So I feel gratified that my selfish endeavors have resulted in a win-win for everyone.

The Adventure Begins

Three days ago, we embarked on our 2011 State Capitols and BeerVentures Tour through the midwest, about 2,700 miles total. At the beginning of this trip, we had eleven capitols left, and when its over, we’ll have knocked out six more. In fact, at this point in our trip, we’ve already visited Columbus, OH; Indianapolis, IN; Springfield, IL; and Des Moines, IA. So that gives an idea of how far we’ve already come. Not a lot of time for beerventures…yet. But that’s about to change as we head north into Wisconsin and Michigan. So stay tuned for some exciting beerventure posts, because as of today, we’ll be knocking some of our favorite breweries off the ole beer bucket list!

Cheers beers!

Frederick Beer Week’s Brew Fest Highlights

Frederick, Maryland held Frederick Beer Week Brew Fest at Stillpoint Hop Farm in Mt. Airy yesterday, featuring everything from live music, to hayrides, hoola hoops, pit beef and hot dogs, and of course local beer. In fact, the entire focus was everything local.  The brewery lineup included DOGBrewing, DuClaw, Heavy Seas, Brewer’s Alley, Flying Dog, and our own favorite, Barley and Hops.  Even our local homebrew club, Frederick’s Original Ale Makers (FOAM), held home brewing demonstrations and shared a list of 10 or more beers made by club members.  The highlight for us though was the tapping of a collaboration sour beer brewed by Frederick breweries from all local ingredients – great stuff!  Put this event on on the calendar for next year.  It wasn’t over crowded, the location was open and scenic, and the little kids had just as much fun as the big kids.

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