Maryland Craft Beer Festival – May 12


On Saturday, May 12th from noon – 6:00pm, visit the Eventplex at the Frederick Fairgrounds to kick-off American Craft Beer Week and Frederick Beer Week with this celebration of Maryland Craft Beer, produced by the Brewer’s Association of Maryland (BAM), a non-profit comprised of the brewers of Maryland.  Up to 20 Maryland breweries will be present with over 80 different beers. The event includes on-site brewing demonstrations, rare bottles and kegs, one of a kind casks and VIP craft beer gifts that will blow your mind! This family-friendly festival features live music, fresh foods, kid’s activities, and local exhibitors.

Tickets to the festival are on sale now.  Admission price: Adults: $17 Advance / $25 at the door; VIP: Advance $32 / $40 at the door; Designated Driver and Youth ages 12-20 $10; Kids under 12 FREE. Regular adult admission includes six tasting tokens and souvenir glass. VIP admission includes ten tasting tokens, a souvenir glass, early entrance for access to rare beers and unique casks, as well as a list of gifts that will make your craft beer friends totally envious!

BREAKING RUMOR: One extremely lucky VIP winner will receive a tasting of a Maryland Brewery Collaboration Beer by Heavy Seas and Barley and Hops brewed solely for this event.  The winner will also receive plenty more awesome prizes – from home-brew classes and supplies to exclusive entry into ACBWeek events, glassware and all sorts of brewery swag.

The last day to purchase tickets at the advance ticket price is May 11th at 9:00pm.  This is not your average beer festival, because it’s put on by the brewers themselves – and we’re breaking out the good stuff!  For more information about the Maryland Craft Beer Festival, visit

Leave a comment to let us know if you’re going. I expect to be there helping man the Frederick Beer Week booth, so stop by and say hello.

Local-local beer in Maryland

I try to support local businesses. It’s hard to do in our society, especially when huge mega-corporations keep getting bigger and pricing smaller businesses out of the market. I do this with beer by buying most of my beer from brewers within about 100 miles or so of where I live. The trouble is that almost all of their ingredients come from a long ways away.

When thinking of Maryland, “amber waves of grain” doesn’t generally come to mind. Maybe we can get some “amber ripples”.

Tom Flores, the head brewer at Brewer’s Alley, has been working with a local dairy farmer, Greg Clabaugh, to produce a barley malt for brewing, and the fruits of their labor have just come online. And this apparently the first time this has happened in a century.

The Washington Post says:

“As a brewer, I’m really excited that we can develop flavor straight from the field, pick what variety we want, how it’s planted, harvested and how it’s germinated and turned into malt itself and how it’s dried,” Flores said. “That’s a lot of fun for the brewer. We like to have control over our raw materials.”

Clabaugh said beer produced from the farm is a perfect example of value-added agriculture — a process of increasing the economic value and consumer appeal of an agricultural commodity.

It’s called “Amber Fields” and the style is a best bitter and weighs in at 4.4% ABV. I can’t wait to try it.


Frederick Beer Week Events

Frederick Beer Week is fast approaching. As you may have heard on episode 2 of our nascent podcast, there are five days/nights worth of events planned. Some require that you book ahead of time, so don’t delay. (The Brew Fest in particular is expected to sell out.)

Sadly, the laws of physics prevent me from attending all the events being as they are the same time in different places, but I’m going to attend as many as I can.

Here’s the list of events with information updated as of today:

Tuesday, May 10

Flying Dog Kick-Off with Chef Bryan Voltaggio

VOLT Restaurant in downtown Frederick, Maryland
6 to 9 pm
$45 per person, includes 4 beer samples and small-plate pairings
Reservation through VOLT required

Battle of the Bubbles Homebrew Competition Judging

Barley and Hops in Frederick, Maryland
7:30 pm
$5 per person

Heavy Seas Loose Cannon Cask Night

Bushwaller’s Irish Pub in downtown Frederick, Maryland
6 to 8 pm
Free Heavy Seas pint glass with your first beer!

Wednesday, May 11

Beer Judging Certification Program Tasting Class

Location: TBD
Time: TBD

Cocktail Beer Pairings

Brewer’s Alley in downtown Frederick, Maryland
Time: 7:30
Price: TBD

Enjoy cocktail-style beer pairings with locally-sourced food from Dorsey’s Meats, Palmyra Cheese, and The Perfect Truffle

Thursday, May 12

Alive @ Five Happy Hour

Carroll Creek Amphitheater in downtown Frederick, Maryland
5 to 8 pm
$5 cover, featuring Brewer’s Alley beer (added cost)

Heavy Seas Firkin Night

Mt. Airy Inn in Mt. Airy, Maryland
Time: 6 to 8 pm
Free Heavy Seas pint glass with your first beer!

Alive @ Five After-Party with Flying Dog

Greene Turtle in downtown Frederick, Maryland
7 pm to close
Flying Dog on draft and on cask
Featuring an in-bar scavenger hunt with prizes

Friday, May 13

Flying Dog Sampling

Ye Old Spirit Shop
5 to 7 pm

Frederick Tap Takeover

Bushwaller’s Irish Pub in downtown Frederick, Maryland
5 pm to close
Only Flying Dog, Brewer’s Alley, Barley and Hops, and Heavy Seas beer on tap!

Friday the FIRKteenth

Hollow Creek Golf Club in Middletown, Maryland
6 pm to close
Heavy Seas firkin and live music from Paul Pfau

Saturday, May 14

Beer Brunch

Mt. Airy Inn in Mt. Airy, Maryland
11 am to 2 pm

FBW Brew Fest

Stillpoint Farm in Mt. Airy, Maryland
Noon to 6 pm

Admission: $20 for 21+ (includes 4 beer tokens), $10 for designated drivers and 21-, Children under 13 free
Beer from Flying Dog, Brewer’s Alley, Barley and Hops, and Heavy Seas
Featuring live music by The Jug Band, The Polka Dots, and The Fieldhands; artisanal vendors; food; hay rides and more.

Proceeds benefit HandsOnFrederick.


Hop Talk Podcast #2 – The other Kevin Smith

What?! We did it again?

Yeah. Sorry. Well, not really. We had a great time. We might be getting the hang of this.

Download it here: Hop Talk Podcast ep. 2

…or subscribe with iTunes

Show notes:

Frederick Beer Week:

May 10-14, 2011 in and around Frederick, Maryland

For a complete list of events, visit (@fredbeerwk on Twitter, Frederick Beer Week on Facebook)

“Battle of the Bubbles”, the official homebrewing competition of Frederick Beer Week. For more information: (Hurry! Entries must be submitted by April 30)

We talked to Kevin Smith, beer journalist and driving force behind Frederick Beer Week

Kevin covers Maryland for Mid-Atlantic Brewing News as well as a craft beer column for the Frederick based

Companies/products mentioned in the podcast:

Flying Dog Brewing
Brewer’s Alley
Barley and Hops
Volt and Bryan Voltaggio
Heavy Seas
Stillpoint Farm
Distillery Lane Ciderworks
Orchid Cellar

What we drank:

Ron: Lagunitas Brown Shugga
Max: McSorley’s Irish Black Lager
Don: Sierra Nevada Torpedo
Al: Flying Dog Raging Bitch
Special guest, Kevin Smith: Flying Dog Snake Dog IPA

Spot a discrepancy? Something missing? Let us know.

Follow us on Twitter: @hoptalk and @hoptalkron

Brewer’s Alley BBQ Beer Dinner – July 21

Brewer's Alley logo

Brewer’s Alley (Frederick, Maryland)


Barbeque Beer Dinner

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

1st Seating 5:30 pm, 2nd Seating 7:30 pm


Welcome Beer: Nut Brown Ale

Pete’s Pulled Pork on Corn Polenta

Smoked Pulled Pork and Hickory Barbeque Sauce on Polenta Cake


1634 ALE

Grilled Ratatouille Vegetable Salad

Grilled Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Eggplant, Red Pepper and Tomato

With Grilled Tomato Vinaigrette and Angel Hair Potatoes



Shrimp and Grits

Skewered Jumbo Shrimp with Corn and Cheese Grits, Chili-Barbeque Sauce



Sweet and Spicy Pork tenderloin

Dorsey’s Grilled Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Chili-Apple Barbeque Sauce,

Cucumber Salad, Parsnip Puree and Balsamic Syrup



Beer Braised Beef Short Ribs

Oatmeal Stout Braised Hereford Beef Short Ribs,

Brussel Sprouts and Oven Roasted Red Bliss Potatoes



Golden Raisin Bread Pudding


Call 301-51-0089 for Reservations

$45 per person plus tax and gratuity

Seats still available for Brewer’s Alley Valentine’s Day Beer Dinner

Brewer's Alley logo

Brewer’s Alley


Valentine’s Beer Dinner Menu

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

1st Seating 5:30-7:30 pm

2nd Seating 7:30-9:30 pm

Welcome Beer

Carrot Ginger Shooters
Puree of Sweet Carrots and Ginger with a Creamy Vegetable Soup


Roasted Organic Beet Tower
Organic Beets, Goat’s Cheese Mousse, Red Beet Reduction, Frisee, Truffle Oil and Stacked Lavash Crisp


House Cured Organic Salmon
Layers of Duck Trap Cured Salmon and Caper Dill Cream Sauce with French Beans


Smoked Diver Scallops
Dry Packed Scallops Lightly Smoked with Beechwood Chips and Served with a Micro Arugula Salad


Dorsey’s Pork Tenderloin
Slow Cooked and Stuffed Pork Tenderloin, Creamy Thyme Polenta and Cherry Glaze


Chocolate Marquis Cake
Layers of Flourless Chocolate Cake and Chocolate Ganache With Fresh Raspberries and Crème Anglaise

$45 per person plus (6% tax and 18% gratuity)

Reservations Required 301-631-0089

124 N. Market St. Frederick, MD, 21701 (map)

Flying Dog Dog Schwarz

Flying Dog logoBeer-a-Day #33

As usually happens once a year or so, my FOAM meeting this month was held at the Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick, Maryland. For the trivial cost of $5 for a glass, I could sample everything they had on tap.

They had a couple of Wild Goose offerings on tap, as well as a large portion of Flying Dog’s “The Pack”, “Canis Major” and the spring seasonal: Garde Dog Biere de Garde. Three offerings caught my eye today:

First was the Wild Goose Pumpkin Patch Ale. Pumpkin ale is a bit out of season, but it is a guilty pleasure of mine so I decided to have that first.

Then I found out that on the hand pump was the Wild Goose Oatmeal Stout. Not only was it on cask, which was unusual enough, but this batch had been further dry-hopped. The silky-smooth hand-pumped oatmeal stout combined with the spice of dry hops made for an interesting combination.

But what made the biggest impression on my was Dog Schwarz, part of their Wild Dog series. I don’t usually like smoke beers, but this one was nicely balanced. Frankly, from the first sip I was craving bratwurst.

You don’t need to join a Maryland homebrew club. Flying Dog offers tours and tastings every Saturday.

Dos Equis at Fajita Grande

Dos Equis logoBeer-a-Day #26

Today’s beer is the fairly ubiquitous Dos Equis from Cervecería Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma. When I go beer shopping, it’s not generally a brand I’ll pick up. However, when I’m in the mood for Mexican food it’s my libation of choice. (I much prefer the Amber over the Lager.)

Essentially, this is an excuse to tell you about my new favorite restaurant: Fajita Grande.

This is a little, unassuming storefront restaurant on the Golden Mile in Frederick, Maryland, nestled in behind KFC in the Willowtree Plaza shopping center. The lighting is a little too bright and the floorplan a little too open, killing any romantic ambience. While some of the wall decorations seem like they might be genuine, it’s mostly the same sort of tchotchkes and marketing posters and such any restaurant would get.

Fajita GrandeBut, it has several things going for it.

For one thing, the staff there is very friendly and attentive. We never fail to feel welcomed. Multiple people stop to say hello and to check if there’s anything we need.

Secondly, the food is delicious. The salsa is fresh. From some acquaintences we have from south of the border, the food is also authentic. (We’re told that the rice is the best there is in a wide radius.)

Thirdly, the prices are more than reasonable. I can feed myself, my wife, and my two kids for under $20. Add in a couple of cervezas and we’re still looking at under $35. And they’re not skimpy portions, either. Did I mention it’s delicious? Sadly, they seem to have discontinued their “Kids eat for 99¢ Mondays”. Still, at $3.95, the kids’ meals are quite reasonable.

I highly recommend it. Be sure to stop in when you’re in Central Maryland.

Fajita Grande
Mexican Restaurant Bar & Grill

Rt. 40 West in the Willowtree Plaza (3 Willowdale Drive)
Frederick, MD 21702