Tuesday, July 4, 2017

New While I Was Out: Beer! Hysteria Joins Jailbeak, Black Flag, Manor HIll And Others

Raising a toddler impeded my ability to write, but it has done wonders for the amount of alcohol that I'm drinking.

The tequila post will come in time, but my recent adoption has been an old school option -- cans of beer.

Picnics, neighborhood cookouts, many, many evenings watching kids ride bikes, play light sabers and shoot arrows in our alley.  Beer cans make much more sense, especially after I felt really self-conscious bringing a bottle of beer onto a playground.

A question in one of my final posts had been "Where can I find local beer in cans?"  And the answer now is "Way more places."

Hysteria Brewing opened Saturday on Berger Road in Columbia and joined a brewery scene that has all opened in recent years.   Black Flag in ColumbiaJailbreak in LaurelManor Hill in Ellicott City.  Along with the brewing at Frisco Tap Room and Columbia Ale House.

Hysteria opened with a great-looking party.  By which I mean that there were no open parking spaces when I tried to sneak a visit before taking Lil' Chow to a movie on Saturday.  I just looked.  Beer, food trucks.  I had hoped we could each relax -- me with a beer, him with a Dragons: Race To The Edge show on my iPad.  But I didn't have the window to find parking across the road and walk him through the heat.

Luckily, we went to dinner at Frisco, which the waitress told us was the former home of one of the Hysteria brewers.  They served up a Trash Panda IPA.  It tasted like a good, hoppy IPA.   But I ended up picking a crisp alternative because my taste buds have turned against bitter after a multi-year fling with Flying Dog's Raging Bitch.  I'll be excited to try the stouts, sours and other barrel-aged beers that Jess Mayhugh wrote up in a Baltimore Mag profile of Hysteria.  I have my eye on the Farm Truck saison.

I'd love advice.  What do people recommend from the local breweries?  I have heard little bits of styles -- "culinary" ingredients at Jailbreak, this barrel-aging at Hysteria -- but I'd love to hear what people think when they think of the local lines.  And what liquor stores carry the local beer?  I saw that the new Maple Lawn liquor store bulked up in comparison to its i.m. Wine predecessor.  Prior comments talked up Perfect Pour, Allview, Richburn and others.

You know what I'd really love?  A sampler six-pack.  I'll buy new beers, but I'm always torn about buying six of something that I've never tried where there are always old standards in the cooler.  Oftne, I get introduced to new local beers at a friend's house.  I'd love a sampler -- for example, six (or three in pairs) of Jailbreak's varieties aimed at a local who wants find his favorite.

My curiosity is really up about Lost Ark Distilling.  They're making corn whiskey and other spirits right down from Hysteria on Berger Road.  Bed time makes it difficult, but I want to get there to taste their stuff.  On that note, does anyone know if Bulk Head Brewing Company will be around?  There is Twitter from April, but I don't see anything current.


  1. Bulk Head Brewing never made it to opening. Apparently there is a story but I don't know it. Perfect Pour and Total Wine (? I think that's what it's called now) allow you to create your own six packs along with a myriad of other places I'm sure.

  2. Bulk Head isn't going to happen. Was told a tale of woe one day at Black Flag by one person claiming to be an investor, but I can't verify the details. This comes up with the right google-fu: https://sites.google.com/site/rrwwcustommashpaddles/ask-me-about-shaka-bulk-head

    Can also recommend Perfect Pour for mixed six packs. While many offer it for a limited selection, at PP they happily help you break any pack in the store to customize yours.

    Jailbreak cans are available in most area stores. As are Manor Hill. Black Flag just did their first canning/distribution run recently. In all cases you can get a few of their beers in the stores but going to the brewery for a tasting and growler fill is the way to get their new and weird stuff. Hysteria has a crowler machine to can theirs to go, once they are fully up and running, they haven't yet established their regular days and hours. Frisco Tap House has also jumped on the crowler bandwagon for their Push brand and others they have on tap.

  3. I just saw a sign for this go up next to perfect pour: https://ocbrewingcompany.com/pages/elkridge-columbia-location-tap-house-restaurant. Don't know anything about them not being an OC fan.

  4. Across from Costco next to Massage Envy.

  5. Lost Ark is usually at the Farmers Market at the Oakland Mills town center on Sunday mornings. Nice folks though 9am may be a bit early to sample rum....

  6. There is a new Tap Room (can't remember which brewery) going in at Troy Hill Square. A new site at the corner of Rt. 1 & Troy Hill Dr. in Elkridge.

    1. Heard a mutiny pirate bar and grille opening on troy hill drive. Could this be the same thing?

  7. I get my mixed six packs from Market Tavern in Sykesville (formerly Salazon, but now in their third location on Main Street). They have a small reach-in fridge in the back full of a nice variety of local cans and bottles. I think it's 11 bucks for the six pack, which for a lot of the offerings is a better deal than if I were to buy a full-fledged non-mixed six pack from a liquor store.

  8. Mutiny Pirate Bar is supposed to open in Elkridge/Troy Hill this fall. This is instead of old EC.


  9. Welcome back HowChow! Missed ya.

    Add Petite Cellars in the Turf Valley Town Square to the list of stores that offer mixed six-packs and excellent selection. I am told the ownership is the one who opened Perfect Pour, and subsequently sold. Second the Market Tavern as a pub as well. Lost Ark is young as distilleries go, but seemingly on the right track. Very nice team of people.

    Breweries are freshening, and hopefully Franchot's Task Force will get things on track legislatively to make Maryland more welcoming. Black Flag and Manor Hill (Tap Room by reservation, Tavern in EC, and Victoria's) lead my list in HowCo.

    I'm in a wait and see with Hysteria, as they are working to overcome challenges with their brewing operation/physical plant. Frisco/Push, has a new brewer, and am hoping this gets them back on track. OC Brewing, IMHO will have much to do to overcome their mediocre offering elsewhere. For me, Jailbreak has good beer, but is a bit more hit & miss with their variety of flavor and style efforts.

    Just across the county line into Montgomery County, you'll find both Brookeville Beer Farm and Waredaca Farm Brewery offering very good beer, in beautiful, family friendly surroundings. Go a little further, and you'll find a quickly growing scene in Frederick/Hagerstown (Attaboy, Smoketown, Barley & Hops, Cushwa, Milkhouse (the original MD farm brewery), Monocacy, Red Shedman, Olde Mother, Mad Science). If willing to fight the traffic into Charm City and beyond, and there are an even greater volume.

  10. One more note I forgot to add. Frisco/Push is in process of building out a new production brewing facility in the space next door, so hoping they get on track with consistently good to great beer.

  11. Howard County is lucky to have many fine breweries. There are six in Columbia. Three actually make beer on the premises: Push at Frisco Tap House, Black Flag, and the newly opened Hysteria. Also, the Columbia Ale House serves their English-style house beers from Oliver's, which is brewed in Baltimore. Pub Dog's craft beer is made in Westminster, MD. The large chain BJ's Restaurant & Brewery makes their beer in 5 other states.

    Ellicott City has 3 breweries: Ellicott Mills brews German-style lagers in the historic district, Bare Bones offers English-style beers along with their great barbecue, and the farm brewery, Manor Hill, makes great craft beer.

    Also, Rams Head serves their Fordham and Old Dominion beers, made in Dover Delaware.

  12. So glad to have you back! Your blog was my go-to for all things Howard County when I moved here 6 years ago, and I missed you, though having 2 young kids of my own, I understand. The community you have created here surpasses any online group on Facebook or search on Google. This post's comments section alone has shed light on items I have been wanting to know for 6+ months (what happened to Bulk Head and Mutiny). Fingers crossed that the posts keep coming and thank you!


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