I attended Max’s Third Annual Sour/Wild Ale Festival on Presidents Day. They had over 60 sours on tap and 70 in bottles. Crazy! I shared about 9 samples with friends. My mouth is still puckered from all the delicious beers.
Max’s is one of the premier craft beer bars in Maryland. So, as expected, when it’s a beautiful sunny holiday and they throw a party, the place is mobbed. They were smart and provided cards to fill out for flight requests. These cards helped streamline the chaos of ordering.
While there, I saw my friend from Jailbreak, Jennifer. She introduced me to Clay, their lead brewer, who suggested a few sour ales to taste. With Clay’s help and the table, I picked 5 beers to share:
- Jester King Vernal Dichotomous (2015) — I’ve actually been to Austin and visited the brewery. I spent the afternoon there loving all the beers. This one was a little too wild for me.
- Burley Oak Tart Attack – Intensely sour!
- 4 Hands Cuvee Ange – Listed as a Farmhouse/Saison. Subtly sour with a nice Belgian funk. Very complex
- OEC Oudilis – lost in the maze of sours.
- Burley Oak Fruits of our Labor Cherry — nicely sweet and sour. Of these, the table favorite.
Our table was filled with many of the Burley Oak Brewery team. I met their graphics designer, Joie. Originally from Delaware, she is a recent Salisbury State University graduate. She interned at Burley Oak and now works full-time designing for them. A picture of her with one of her designs is shown. Also at our table was Jensen. As he puts it, he does everything in the brewery but brew. Things like cleaning and filling kegs, bottling, canning, and fixing stuff. Joie and Jensen raved about their J.R.E.A.M. heavily fruited sours and offered us tastes of:
- Berry Cherry J.R.E.A.M. – Very berry.
- Blueberry Peach J.R.E.A.M. – I normally do not like blueberry beers, but this was outstanding. More peachy than blueberry with a nice tartness. It might be my favorite of the three J.R.E.A.M.
- Mango Blood Orange J.R.E.A.M. – wonderful Mango taste. The tartness envelopes the tongue.
- XII – This is a blend of many barrel-aged beers. Smelled of stone fruit. Lots of alcohol and complex flavors. An awesome beer.
I also met the red-bearded Matt, who is in charge of Burley’s distribution. This Sunday, we plan to attend another sour festival at Victoria Gastro Pub. According to Matt, Burley Oak is not participating in that one. I guess I’ll have to try some different sour beers Sunday.
Brian suggested we eat the “best burgers in Canton” at Hudson Street Stackhouse. My Black and Blue Burger was fantastic, although I can’t vouch for “top burger in town”. Besides the tasty food, they have an extensive beer list where several Chimays are regularly on tap. Draught beers tasted were:
- Rodenbach Grand Cru by Brouwerij Rodenbach – maybe the best sour we had all day.
- La Chouffe by Brasserie d’Achouffe – a wonderful, creamy Belgian
- Vanilla Porter by Breckenridge Brewery on nitro – a delicious chocolate, roasted malt taste with a hint of vanilla. The nitro makes it extra creamy.