Category Archives: Booze

Odds and Ends & Validation!

Grocery stores seeking way around alcohol sales ban.  I have mixed feelings about this.  Comments anyone?  I do admit that I stop at the Leesburg Costco from time to time to get wine.

Good op-ed piece in the Sun on this issue by Adam Borden president of MBBWL.

And finally on Monday I posted about the best rose I have had in ages.  Well it seems that I am not the only one who feels this way.  In today’s wine column in the Washington Post Dave McIntyre gives the Alexander Valley Vineyards Dry Rose of Sangiovese the highest rating out of all the rose he reviewed.  Refined palate or just plebeian tastes?  I know which theory I’m going with.

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Shout Out- Marylanders for Better Beer & Wine Laws

This blog got a mention in the Marylander’s for Better Beer & Wine Laws 2012 Alcohol Legislative Roundup for my April 23rd post on some of the changes to Maryland’s alcohol laws.  This is a good time to reaffirm what a great organization MBBWL is, and not just because they gave me a shout out.  I’ve been plugging them on this blog from as far back as October 2009.  They are the only organization in this state that fights for the consumer on these issues and they have been instrumental in the incremental progress that has been made in bringing a measure of sanity to Maryland’s alcohol laws.  They  wage a  David versus Goliath battle against the beverage wholesalers lobby.   Send them some love by liking them on facebook, following them on twitter and most importantly giving them a little money by going to their home page and clicking the please donate button on the right.

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Farm Breweries

      In anticipation of the impending changes (on July 1st  I believe?) to the alcohol laws  two new “farm breweries” in Frederick County  are slated to open soon:  Frey’s Brewing Company and Milkhouse Brewery.  Exciting times.  Ever so often the legislature actually does something good.  I look forward to their opening and as soon as possible I shall visit them and report back here.  Maybe I can get a sneak preview on one:  Milkhouse Brewery is on Stillpoint Farm which is where FirkinFest, the grand finale to Frederick Beer Week , is being held.

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Maryland Law Changes

This past legislative session saw some changes in the laws which will be of interest to readers:

Corkage:  The practice of bringing your own bottle of wine to a restaurant to drink is commonly known as corkage.  Up until now this has been illegal in Maryland (in fact I believe that Volt got into a bit of trouble last year for allowing this).   As of July 1st,  2012 patrons of Maryland restaurants will now be permitted to bring that special bottle when they dine with a couple of conditions:  the restaurant must allow it and have a permit to do so from the local liquor board, the wine must be consumed with a meal, and the wine is not available for sale on the restaurant’s wine list.  As an aside the last condition should  be honored simply as a matter of proper etiquette law or no law.

Middletown Wine Festival:  A bill passed the legislature that allows a wine festival to be held within the municipal boundaries of the town for no more than two, one-day festivals per year.

Packing Heat:  Lastly I’m sure you will all feel better and safer that the Legislature will now allow Frederick County’s alcoholic beverage inspector(s) to carry firearms in the course of their duties.  I predict that a SWAT team will not be far behind.

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Upcoming Events

There are all sorts of boozy events coming up:

Toast to Frederick wine festival- April 21st and 22nd at the Frederick fairgrounds

The Maryland Craft Beer Festival at the Frederick fairgrounds.  May 12th from noon to six.

Frederick Beer Week– May 12-19th.  Events all over the Frederick area.

Wine in The Woods– May 19 and 20th at Merriweather Post Pavillion.

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Filed under Booze, The Good Life, Wine

Oops!

Just goes to show you how stupid the State’s liquor laws are:  Comptroller Blasts County For Illegal Liquor Purchase

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Frederick’s Beer Trail

Did you know that Frederick had beer trail?  I didn’t.  Here is the article from the Downtown Frederick Partnership.  With the exception of Roast House Pub I’ve hiked the whole trail, however I’m not sure I agree with all the listings.  Certainly Flying Dog, Barley & Hops and Brewer’s Alley deserve to be on there.  What about the others?  Does simply serving good beer warrant inclusion? Let me know.

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Alcohol To Save The Postal Service?

The Senate’s bipartisan plan to shore up the postal service’s shaky finances includes a provision to allow the USPS to ship wine and beer.  Currently only UPS and FedEx do so.  Sen. Lieberman is quoted as saying  the plan would pull the mail service  “back from the brink of bankruptcy.”  Alcohol has certainly saved me from the brink a few times so why not the mail?

Full article here.

Is this the future of the USPS?

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Flying Dog Brewery Tour- The Best $5 You Can Spend!

This past summer the Flying Dog Brewery restarted their brewery tour which had been on hiatus for something like 18 months. Rumor had it that the brewery had run afoul (or come close to running afoul of) the old law which limited the size of the samples that a brewery could give on a tour to only six (6!?!) ounces.  During the hiatus Flying Dog worked with legislators and other interested parties to get the law changed to six 3 ounce samples.  This new law went into effect July 1st and the tours resumed that day.  Signing up for a tour is easy.  Click here to make your reservation, pay your $5 per person and show up.  It’s absolutely the best $5 you can spend in Frederick.

The tour starts in their tasting room.  You are given six wooden tokens, each one good for one three ounce sample of their beer, and let loose in the bar area.

Hard decisions to make with only six tokens!

They have pretty much everything they make on draft including all the specials and seasonals.  Two knowledgable servers were pouring and on hand to answer all your questions.  Following a good while in the tasting room the tour began.  I wont bore you with a blow by blow- just go.  The people I went with ranged from home brewing beer geeks (yours truly) to casual drinkers and everyone loved it.  We saw the mash areas, the fermentation vats, the labs, the bottling line (which was running full tilt and very impressive) and finally the warehouse, which was like a Stonehenge of beer.  Interspersed we learned about the founder and how Ralph Steadman got involved.

The warehouse. Can you lock me in for a night?

All questions were welcomed and the guide was knowledgeable and friendly.  We learned some interesting trivia.  For example: all the sample packs have to be made up by hand so there is some poor schlub who spends all day mixing the bottles and placing them in the boxes.  Think of that next time you buy one!  At the end we went back to the tasting room where you could ‘spend’ any unused tokens.  There is also a Flying Dog gift shop where you can purchase their beer and other merchandise.  As a lovely parting gift you get to keep the tasting glass.  I plan to go back until I have a complete set!

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Filed under Booze, The Good Life

Beer- Breckenridge Brewery

Had a Breckenridge Brewery  Vanilla Porter this weekend.  I thought it was awesome.  Not really a food beer, too distinctive in its flavor, and probably too heavy for the weather we are having around here now, but in front of a campfire in the highlands of West Virginia it was magical.  I think during the cooler months it will become a regular in my rotation.  Anyone know where I can get this in Frederick?

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Filed under Booze, The Good Life