The Session, a.k.a. Beer Blogging Friday, is an opportunity once a month for beer bloggers from around the world to get together and write from their own unique perspective on a single topic. Each month, a different beer blogger hosts the Session, chooses a topic and creates a round-up listing all of the participants, along with a short pithy critique of each entry. You can find more information on The Session on Brookston Beer Bulletin.
So the topic for The Session #97 is where are the next up-and-coming beer locations? I have two responses to that question — the first leads to the second.
Point #1 : Greener Grass
Sometimes the obvious is looking you right in the face and you don't even recognize it. I can think about all the 17 Of The Most Sought After Beers in America that I don't have easy access to. Founders KBS and Bell's Black Note Stout, Three Floyd's Dark Lord from Michigan, Russian River Pliny The Younger in California, Oregon's Deschutes, or Vermont's The Alchemist's Heady Topper. The list could go on and on. Some of these I've already enjoyed and others remain on the beer-bucket-list.
Wherever you are you will have limited access to many of the great beers that are emerging from this modern beer movement. That's plane logistics. Of course you can sometimes go across the state line to find great beers that aren't shipping to your local. Still there will be some that you need to be there to get — the right place at the right time — since the release is limited. Or you could participate in an online beer exchange to trade your great beers with another beer geek across the country.
Point #2 : The Backyard
In the March issue of All About Beer, Rany Mosher wrote an excellent article entitled "The Best Beer in the World". Here he discusses among other things, the beer rating systems and how we need to generally ignore them and judge beers for ourselves. One statement I thought was particularly pertinent to my treatice was, "Yeah, I used to love this beer when I couldn't get it."
One biblical episode in the book of Mark tells us that Jesus traveled back to his hometown and one Sunday was teaching in the synagogue. The locals were amazed at his knowledge. "Where did the man get these things?" Isn't this the boy that grew right around the corner? Jesus responded, telling them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown." Risking taking scripture out of context, if we apply this lesson to our modern beer culture this could read, "If its a familar beer, we don't appreciate it as much as we might otherwise."
I live in Maryland USA, and have access to a lot of good beer — take a look inside my beer fridge. Just the same, I never really thought of Maryland as an up-and-coming beer location. You must mean Oregon with all the great hops or Maine with Maine Beer Co and Allagash or Colorado. Then I discovered an article titled Maryland Is Fast Becoming A Place To Watch For Beer And Spirits on Food Republic. Reading this reminded me to look up and appreciate what is around me.
Yea, here in Maryland in Baltimore we have Heavy Seas, The Brewers Art, Stillwater Artisanal Ales. In Frederick you'll find the states largest brewery Flying Dog which distributes to 27 states. Still there are many fine up and coming breweries such as Union Craft Brewing, Evolution Brewing, RAR and Burley Oak among others.
Wikipedia lists thirty-four Maryland breweries. Come to think of it, when I take in a local beer festival it is a bit overwhelming.
The lesson here is that while Maryland is a great place for beer, we all need to look around and be aware of all the great beer locations that are around us. I know where ever I travel on business or pleasure, I've found good beer from good local breweries. We need to appreciate the beer — and prophets — in our backyard.