Growlers hops on local scene with new brew -- Gazette.Net


Gaithersburg’s award-winning microbrewery is working with Montgomery County farmers to bring local tastes to the table.

Now approaching its third year, Growlers is turning out dozens of new brews annually, with names like “Rawktoberfest Oktoberfest,” “Your Mom’s Apple Pie Ale” and “Broken Shovel Stout.”

Growlers’ brewmaster, Eric Gleason, said Growlers has released more than 75 different beers that have brewed on-site over the past year, and average one or two new releases per week across its 12 draft lines.

Scheduling the production and releases of the beers has been a “daunting task” for Gleason and the staff, Growlers General Manager Chuck Blessing, Jr. said.

The microbrewery uses a variety of local hops, and has already incorporated hops from Poolesville, Thurmont and Derwood in its beers.

On Nov. 14, Growlers re-introduced an India pale ale of its own, called “Hop Blastard.” When it was first unveiled last fall, Gleason said it wasn’t brewed with local hops. Now, the ale incorporates hops from Poolesville’s The Owl Farm.

Growlers’ award-winning Yorkshire Porter was released Monday , with an Imperial Pumpkin beer to come on Thursday.

“Growlers Yorkshire Porter” was entered in the first-ever Maryland Comptroller’s Cup competition, and won “Best of Show - Best Overall Maryland Beer” at the Nov. 4 event.

Growler’s Yorkshire Porter “rose to the occasion,” eliminating 15 other beers in the Porter/Brown category, then 12 more beers in other categories, according to Brewers Association of Maryland Executive Director J.T. Smith.

“Growlers can confidently and officially state they have brewed the best beer in Maryland in 2013 and the Comptroller’s Cup has officially found its home for the next 365 days,” Smith said in an email.

Almost 200 varieties of the alcoholic beverage were entered in the comptroller’s statewide contest.

“We’ve been working really hard to put out quality food and brew, and we’re getting recognition for that,” Blessing said.

Growlers was up against stiff competition from local brewers Gordon Biersch in Rockville and Frederick’s Flying Dog, which took home awards of their own. In the spirit of collaboration, Gleason is working with the brewmaster at Rockville’s Gordon Biersch on an unnamed new beer to be released early next year.