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Lift your Spirits in Mid-Atlantic Brew Pubs

Lift your Spirits in Mid-Atlantic Brew Pubs

Until a few years ago, I didn’t realize that beer can have subtle nuances, just like wine, especially those crafted at microbreweries. Cara O’Donnell of Tierney/Pennsylvania Tourism recently sent us a long list of award-winning microbreweries in the Mid-Atlantic region. Dan and I are looking forward to tipping a few pints during an upcoming trip to the area.

We savor the memories of the adventurous years we spent in England where a wide variety of beers are available at local pubs. We tasted many of these, most served at cellar temperature which brings out the flavor.  Dan’s favorite was Swing Low, a classic English bitter brewed by the George Gale Co. in Hampshire. For me, the most memorable was a Cain’s mild ale that’s been brewed in Liverpool since 1850. I’m no beer connoisseur, and usually prefer wine, but this brew’s smoky chocolate flavor was so smooth – and no aftertaste!Our favorite English pub, Langtoft

But you don’t have to travel to Europe to enjoy “the adventure of a delicious pint,” according to Cara. Cheers to her tempting list of Mid-Atlantic breweries, below, which offers numerous world-class beers and some pretty unique brew pubs. So if you’re in the area, grab a pint, or two. After all, it’s good for what ales you!

Delaware - Imported German Malts are the base of Fordham Brewery’s ales and lagers. Cooperhead their flagship a Düsseldorf Altbier, Helles Lager a Bavarian, Tavern Ale an American pale, and Light Lager a crisp light with a real beer flavor are fresh packed weekly. Or, try a pour of Dover Delaware beer. For more information, contact Kent County Delaware Convention & Visitors Bureau at 302/734-7511 www.visitdover.com

Off-centered beer for off-centered people! The world-famous Dogfish Head offers free, award-winning (and year round!) tours of their Milton brewery. In addition to the brewery tours, Dogfish’s tasting room is open year-round and welcomes visitors to stop by to sample their on-tap brews. For more information, contact Southern Delaware Tourism, 302/856-1818, www.visitsoutherndelaware.com

Combine history, technology and great beer at Twin Lakes Brewing Company. Last year, this micro-brewery in Greenville produced 200,000 cases of beer using solar energy on the family-owned farm where General George Washington planned the Battle of Brandywine. It’s open for tastings on Wednesday, 4-7, and Saturday, 12-4. For more information, contact Greater Wilmington Convention & Visitors Bureau, 302/295-2212, www.VisitWilmingtonDE.com

Maryland - In 1703, Benjamin Fordham established a brewery in what became Annapolis. Home of the Fordham Brewing Company until October 2003, Rams Head Tavern proudly serves four year-round Fordham brews – all bearing the Maryland State House image. Stop by for a Fordham sampler or a seasonal brew from the Fordham family. For more information, contact Annapolis & Anne Arundel County Conference and Visitors Bureau, 410/263-0511, www.VisitAnnapolis.org

Featured inHugh Sisson the movie “He’s Just Not That Into You,” Clipper City Brewing Company (www.ccbeer.com) is Baltimore County’s largest wholesale distribution brewery. Known for its fourteen award-winning beers, Clipper City’s portfolio also includes the recently released 100% organic line, Oxford Organic Ales. The brewery offers free tours on Saturdays. For more information, contact Baltimore County Conference and Tourism, 410/296-4866 ext. 3, www.visitbacomd.com

Baltimore’s Clipper City Brewing Company produces over 14 styles of ales and lagers distributed in over 18 states. Learn about the beers, food pairings and more during a fun tour of the brewery. Tours are offered most Saturday’s and includes samples for a nominal fee. For more information, contact Visit Baltimore, 410-659-7301, www.baltimore.org

Celebrating the marriage of great food and freshly brewed beer, The Ruddy Duck Brewery & Grill in Solomons, Maryland, offers a great selection of brews including Breezy Point American Wheat, Ruddy Duck Solomons Lager, Saint Leonard’s Cream Ale, and Oyster Cove Barley Wine. For more information, contact Calvert County Department of Economic Development, 800/331-9771, www.ecalvert.com

An impressive three-level granite building, a former lumber yard, is now Ellicott Mills Brewing, an eclectic colonial tavern with local art wall décor. The brewers of Alpenhof create their beers by using only the most authentic ingredients and employing the specific historical and regional techniques required by each style. For more information, contact Howard County Tourism, 410/313-1900, www.VisitHowardCounty.com

Pennsylvania - The German immigrants who settled Pennsylvania in the 1700s and 1800s brought along many old-world traditions, including the love of great beer. The commonwealth boasts six breweries that pre-date prohibition – more than any other state – and today, more than 50 brew pubs and breweries continue Pennsylvania’s brewing history. For more information, contact Pennsylvania Tourism Office, 717/231-5342, www.visitpa.com

North Country Brewing Company in Slippery Rock brews great beer and does it sustainably.  The brewery’s worm bin has reduced food waste from 24 cubic yards to 12. Used brewery grains are given to farmers and the owner is raising his own cows and pigs. Locally grown foods are used. For more information, contact Butler County Tourism and Convention Bureau, 724/869-0740, www.visitbutlercounty.com North Country Brewing Co

Chester County is home to two great breweries: Iron Hill Brewery and Victory Brewing Company. Both are participating in “Barley and Vine Camp,” August 20-22, 2010. Learn to cook with beer and wine, meet the brew masters and winemakers of the Brandywine Valley and taste their vintages and brews. For more information, contact Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau, 800/566-0109, www.Brandywinevalley.com

Your gustatory adventure begins with a free tour of Tröegs Brewing Company, an award-winning family microbrewery and tasting room. Take home the brewing brothers’ whimsically named ales such as Mad Elf or Tröegenator Doublebock. Saturday afternoon tours are at 1:30, 2:00, and 2:30. Reservations are encouraged via 717/ 232-1297 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For more information, contact Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau, 717/231-2992, www.hersheyharrisburg.org

Voted “Best Brew Pub” by Philadelphia Magazine, 3 Iron Hill Brewery Restaurants offer regional American food and the best ‘suds’ you’ll find anywhere! And be sure to visit Brewer’s Outlet in Chadds Ford which features no less than 360 micro-brews and imported beers! For more information, contact Brandywine Conference and Visitors Bureau, 800/343-3983, www.brandywinecountry.org

In Lancaster’s Dutch Country, old German influences and creative personalities blend to make special microbrews you won’t find anywhere else. Follow our Ale Trail, from the unique setting and flavors of Bube’s Brewery in Mount Joy to the renowned beer festivals at Stoudt’s Brewing Company in Adamstown. For more information, contact Pennsylvania Dutch Convention & Visitors Bureau, 717/735-0311, www.padutchcountry.com

Earth Bread & Brewery, Philadelphia’s newest brewery, is one that wholeheartedly embraces the concept of green living. Besides serving regional brews along with its own selection of alts, smoked wheat ales and Belgian-style dubbels, the kitchen cooks up innovative flatbreads made from sustainable and locally sourced ingredients. For more information, contact Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, 215/599-2298, www.gophila.com

Drinking and eating in the Poconos has evolved into a culinary adventure. It’s not just the restaurants and cooking schools; the microbreweries are mixing it up with local flair. The newest is the Shawnee Craft Brewery. Beer aficionados can experience all-natural beer, made with almost 100% organic ingredients grown on-site. For more information, contact Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau, 570/421-5791, www.800poconos.com

Check out Selin’s Grove Brewing Company in downtown Selinsgrove. Visitors can sample up to one dozen homemade ales and lagers in a beautiful Federal-style stone mansion. The mansion was built in 1816 by Pennsylvania’s third and only three-term governor, Simon Snyder. For more information, contact Susquehanna River Valley Visitors Bureau, 570/524-7234, www.VisitCentralPA.org

Virginia - Brewed locally in Civil War hot spot Fredericksburg, Blue & Gray Brewing Co.’s sudsy microbrews give good reason to sample these frothy flavors – Falmouth American Pale Ale, Fred Pale Ale, Blue & Gray Classic Lager and Stonewall Stout. Even Grant and Lee would agree – this is good beer. For more information, contact Fredericksburg Department of Economic Development & Tourism, 800/260-3646, www.visitfred.com Blue and Gray Brewing Co

Birthed in 1999 in Hampton, St. George Brewing Company is Hampton Roads’ only award-winning microbrewery. Numerous awards include “Grand Champion” for its Golden Ale at the 13th annual United States Beer Tasting Championship® and Gold Medal for “Best International IPA” in the London, England Best of Hops Competition. For more information, contact Hampton Convention & Visitor Bureau, 757/728-5328, www.visithampton.com

Richmond Restaurant and brewpub Legend Brewing Company presents live bluegrass music on the deck every Sunday night. Richbrau Brewing Company in historic Shockoe Slip transforms its upstairs into Club Richbrau at night. Capital Ale House features 80 beers on tap, 2 cask conditioned "real" ales, and over 250 bottled beers. For more information, contact Richmond Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau, 804/783-7411, www.VisitRichmondVa.com.

Gordon Biersch, located at Town Center of Virginia Beach, offers authentic, hand-crafted, world class beer and a menu filled with robust, international dishes. Open 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. and Fridays until midnight, this restaurant delights any ale connoisseur. Sit inside, or enjoy relaxing on the outdoor patio. For more information, contact Virginia Beach Convention Center & Visitors Bureau, 800/VA-BEACH, http://www.vabeachtowncenter.com/dine/, www.vbfun.com.

West Virginia - Beer connoisseurs will be able to savor the complex flavors of handcrafted beers from places such as Blackwater Brewing Company in Davis, North End Tavern and Brewery in Parkersburg and Mountain State Brewing Company in Thomas. From pale ales to stouts, West Virginia offers some of the finest beers. For more information, contact West Virginia Division of Tourism, 800/CALL WVA, www.wvtourism.com.


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