On 4.18 we heralded the arrival of von Trapp Brewing, Maui Brewing Co., and Brewmaster Jack. Well, when it rains beer, it pours. Let’s welcome two more high-quality beer makers to the Ocean State!
• First up: DuClaw Brewing Company from Baltimore, MD. We were going to do a thumbnail bio, but the About statement on their website — “A History of ‘Making it Cool’ ” — is a very entertaining read [with a shoutout to Alta Vista!], so let’s do the copy/paste thang:
Dave Benfield, the grand poo-bah of DuClaw Brewing Company, began home brewing beer while in college, presumably for the only reason that guys in college do anything: to meet girls. What originally began as a way for Dave and his friends to supply themselves with beer and female admirers, soon evolved into something more.
Upon graduating, Dave accepted a position in his family’s business, but continued to hone his ninja-like brewing skills in secret. Despite his best efforts to brew on the down-low, he couldn’t hide his obsession from his parents: he was always tired, smelled of spent grain, and mumbled incessantly about “carboys” and “original gravities” in his sleep. Instead of staging an intervention, his parents asked if he was thinking about a career change. “Uhhhhh…yep,” he answered hesitantly, and once he convinced his mother to stop crying and his father to untie the noose and climb down from the stool, his golden retriever-like enthusiasm and Steve Jobsian vision won them over.
He had, he told them, a completely original idea – a restaurant with a small brewery inside that served its own original craft brewed beer. He would call it a “brewpub.” A 56k dial-up trip to Alta Vista crushed the “completely original idea” part of his plan, as dozens of craft brewpubs already existed around the country, but Dave was undeterred, as he knew that he could make his brewpub stand out from all of the rest with one simple twist on the already tried and true formula: He was going to make his “cool.”
In 1995, he dove in headfirst and by 1996, DuClaw Brewing Company of Bel Air opened its doors to an unprepared world. Within one year, DuClaw Brewing Company was dubbed “Bel Air’s hippest establishment” by the local newspaper. It was new, it was different, it was fresh, and it stayed true to the central pillar of his mission: It was cool.
Today, Dave and DuClaw Brewing Company Brewmaster Jim Wagner are the masterminds behind our amazing array of craft brewed beers. Through constant innovation and testing of new recipes, combinations and ingredients, the pair have brewed more than 35 unique beers and countless variations and blends. Some are available on tap and in bottles year round, while the others rotate in and out of our lineup depending upon available ingredients, seasonal appropriateness of the style, and what we’re in the mood to drink that week.
Having outgrown our original brewing facility in Bel Air, and our 2nd brewery in Abingdon, MD, DuClaw Brewing Company is now housed in a large, state of the art facility on the outskirts of Ball’mer, dedicated to keeping up with the growing demand for our ever-expanding lineup of beers. The rest of the DuClaw Brewing Company staff, from Creative to Distribution, works together with Dave and Jim from the conception of the name to the branding and product launch, to create a unique image and identity for each and every new beer, with Dave’s original mantra still the only guiding principal: Make it cool.
Five cool brews are in the initial shipment from DuClaw: the year-rounders Neon Gypsy [IPA, 6.5% ABV], Dirty Little Freak [coconut caramel chocolate brown ale, 5.8%; the label copy warns that “There is no safe word!”], and the seriously delicious Sweet Baby Jesus! [chocolate peanut butter porter, 6.2%; SBJ has been trade bait in these parts, and is sure to be flying off the shelves]; the seasonal Funk [blueberry citrus wheat, 5%]; and the limited release Blood Orange Neon Gypsy IPA, the first entry in their Hop Continuum Series [6.5%]. It’s a sweet ’n’ solid lineup [thanks for the samples, Sean!] which will diversify your palate’s portfolio. Look for them in stores and on tap starting next week. [FYI, Rhode Island is the first state in New England to sell DuClaw.]
We’ll let the MD crew have the last words. Their silver bottle cap declares, “Craft Be Cherished. Rules Be Damned,” and every label has this motto: “Respect the Fluid.” ’Nuff said!
• Next up: Evil Genius Beer Company, of West Grove, PA [about 45 miles west of Philly]. Co-founder Luke Bowen sent us the backstory:
Evil Genius was formed in 2011 after two friends Luke Bowen and Trevor Hayward met in college at Villanova University. Within two weeks of starting, Lehman Brothers and Bear Sterns had failed, and the depth of the financial crisis became dizzyingly apparent. Having formed a close friendship over their passion for beer, they decided to partner in creating their own company, and therefore jobs for themselves and for others.
Evil Genius brews beer in Philadelphia, PA and Bloomfeild, CT. Evil Genius sells 18 different draft and bottled beers throughout seven states. Each beer is made with all natural ingredients, European & North American Malts, and hop varieties from three continents.
Evil Genius is thrilled to launch the Rhode Island market because we have some amazing summer beers which are sure to please during the hot days by the shore.
A half-dozen brews will be hitting the Rhody market next week; the Evil Geniuses note that they boast “Very silly names for very serious beers.” The lineup: the year-rounders Stacy’s Mom Citra IPA [7.5 %]; Evil Eye PA [6%]; and Purple Monkey Dishwasher Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter [6.7%] — stage your own blind tasting with fresh bottles of PMD and DuClaw’s Sweet Baby Jesus! It’s a Mid-Atlantic Reese’s-esque battle!! Also on the way: Ma! The Meatloaf! Mango Belgian Wit [a spring release, 5.5%]; and the summer seasonals Turtle Power Grapefruit Pale Ale [6%] and I Love Lamp Pineapple Hefeweizen [5.5%].
Huzzah to this truckload of new beery goodness!
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