For years my favorite beer has been Yuengling. I love that stuff especially after a hard day at work. Or when you pull up a bar stool at a pub and the bartender pulls you a cold Yuengling. Ahhh nothing better! Or so I thought.
Then I met Hophead. He has brewed his own beer and he is what I, lovingly, call a “Beer Snob”.
At first he would gently scoff at me about my “WEAK” beer. His favorite is Flying Dog’s Raging Bitch. But the Bitch was too much for me… It bit me!
Slowly I would try new and interesting beers. I tried Lagunitas’s Hop Stoopid, at Pizzeria Paradiso in Old Town Alexandria, primarily because I liked the name. It had some hoppiness to it but I was digging it.
My friend Alia, from Alia Said…, may be young but she is well versed on beer and she introduced me to Rustico, also in Alexandria, VA. Rustico has so many different beers on tap and you can get a “Taste” for a fraction of the price of a glass. You can do your own beer tasting and their menu is always changing so you could do your own tasting every month. This is where I started exploring more and more.
One of Hophead’s favorite places is Dogfish Head in Gaithersburg. Except for Winter this is where you will find he and his friends after their Weekly rides. They are mountain bikers and Dogfish Head is well familiar with them. Hophead has made me a Dogfish Head groupie. I’m partial to the 60 min IPA as well as the Aprihop. Don’t even get me started on the food. Hophead and I are hooked on going Cajun there with the Cajun Egg Rolls and the Cajun Alfredo Pizza. If you aren’t into Cajun be sure to try the Grouper sandwich. Either way their pizza’s are to die for.
One night Hophead and I went to Agrodolce in Germantown. At first glance it’s more of a wine place and you would think the prices might be outrageous but look a little deeper. They have awesome pizza and a wide range of beers at great prices. The waiter suggested I try La Rossa and I became a fan. While we were there a group of kids were brought in for pizza. This place looks super nice and I took it for being a little stuffy but it’s not at all. It’s a family kind of place and seems to have something for everyone including great beer prices.
Speaking of great pizza, Brewer’s Alley in Frederick is a brewery that has some fantastic pizza. It’s a bit of a hike from DC but not as bad as you think since 270 North is much easier on the weekends. Brewer’s Alley’s is located in the heart of Frederick on Market Street and was once the Town Hall. You can have formal dining here, a night out with the family, or even as low key as sitting in the bar area with friends. When the weather is nice there is outdoor seating and live music on the weekends.
Hophead and I were in Frederick just this past weekend and met up with friends. After Brewer’s Alley we stopped over at Mick’s, on West Patrick Street. This was previously owned by the former Mayor of Frederick. The place has a great feel to it and the staff is very friendly. I even found an Alia doppelganger, young cute girl that has a finer taste for beer. Don’t offer her a Bud Light. Mick’s found a new place in Hophead’s heart when he saw Guiness as well as Dogfish Head 90 min IPA on tap. It didn’t hurt that the bartender, John, is a fellow mountain biker.
I am constantly on the lookout for good beer in Maryland, especially in the Montgomery County area. I wish Rustico was on this side of the river. Matchbox opened up on Rockville Pike and we were happy to see their beer selection. They even have Delirium Tremens on tap! HopHead was really happy to find out that Growlers, in Old Town Gaithersburg, re-opened. Oh and Olney Ale House is on our list of places to go.
If you can’t find great beer at a restaurant then the next best thing is to buy it and have it at home. In Montgomery County when you buy from the county stores it’s very limited. You may find Flying Dog in their stores but not Raging Bitch. Maybe it’s because of the name, I don’t know, but it has been banned in several states because of the name. Even though the County stores don’t have a wide range of beers we have found a few stores, with great prices, where we have become regulars: Elbe’s in Wheaton, Rodman’s in Kensington and Gilly’s in Rockville.
We are always on the lookout for restaurants and bars with a good selection of beers. I recently found the website DCBeer.com and I’m a fan but they are limited to DC and Northern Virginia.