Brewer’s Alley was established in 1996 and is marketed as the first brewpub in Maryland’s Frederick County. On a chilly March afternoon, I decided to grab some friends and take a stroll through some of their beers. They don’t give the majority of their beers funky names as has been the trend for a while now in the beer scene, instead just telling you what kind of beer it is. At first I liked this, until it lulled me in to a false sense of security…
IPA – 5.8% – Not a lot of head on the pour, pretty standard IPA hop profile, nothing too notable. In color it’s darker than a golden, and almost a little red. It’s ok, I’d do it again
Oatmeal Stout – 6.7% – This unfiltered stout came with no head, and had really big roasted malt flavors. Almost coffee and chocolate flavored, but not overly strong, it was deep deep brown to black, and I loved it. I would come back to this regularly.
Nut Brown Ale – 5.5% – Medium bodied and lighter in color than expected (but definitely still brown), crisp and session drinkable, its most notable attribute is that its not overly caramel flavored. It’s ok.
1634 Ale – 5.1% – THIS BEER IS AWFUL. Lulled into a false sense of security I wandered to the beer that had a fun name instead of sticking with their standard offerings. This weird, overly sweet, flat beer was so bad I had to pull my phone out and look up on the web wtf it was about. It’s based on a recipe from 1634, and uses ingredients that would have been available then…neat, but if I wanted weird experimental ancient molasses brews I’d call up one of those Ren-Fest types that makes sub-par basement mead and gone that way. It smells awful, it’s got a fennel/licorice flavor that overpowers every sip, it sucks, and I’m sad.
Monocacy Brewing Co. – HL rex – 3.8% – This was a guest brew spot on the Brewer’s Alley beer board, and that 1634 Ale was so bad I just let it sit and moved on. I’m not a cry baby so I didn’t ask for them to take it back, I made a poor choice, I’ll own it. I just used the experience as impetus for abandoning their side of the board, and moved into guest territory. Unfortunately, this light beer was akin to a Coors Light, and when you’re paying brewery prices…that’s not gonna fly. This place is dead to me, ITS ALL BEEN A RUSE! A RUUUUUUSE! THE JIG IS UP! I’M OUTTA HERE!
Having pulled out of the tailspin that was those last two choices, our jolly band of reveler’s went to JoJo’s, also in Frederick MD and had a final round of their fine in-house IPA to wash the sorrows of leaving a damn near full pint of 1634 Ale away. I don’t think I’ll be buying their beers in the store anytime soon, but the food was good, some of the beers were alright (the oatmeal stout ruled), and the staff was nice, so I’d revisit the bar if someone wanted a drinking buddy.