Darker 48- Visit the Upside Down in Hernando Co, Florida

Do you live in Hernando County, Florida?
Do you live near Hernando County, Florida?
Are you going to be in the Hernando County area between Oct 18th and  31st?
If the answer to any of these questions is “yes”, there’s something you need to do.

Marker 48 Brewing, Hernando County’s first and only full production Craft Brewery is bringing back their infamous Haunted house this year and it’s going to be bigger and better then ever before!

They  are transforming Marker 48 into Darker 48 and bringing The Upside Down to town! The last two weekends in October and Halloween night they will host the SCARIEST HAUNTED HOUSE IN TOWN!

This haunted house is NOT for the faint hearted- in fact it is 18 and up due to adult content AND they require a waiver to be signed before entering. This is an interactive haunt meaning their actors can touch you (but you can NOT touch the actors back). They are pulling out all the stops for this house and are go big- so if you are looking for the best scare in town look no further then Darker 48.

ALL PROCEEDS from this haunted house will go to four local charities in Hernando County including The ARC Nature Coast, NAMI Hernando, United Way Hernando and Children’s Advocacy Hernando. General admission nights are pay at the door cash only.

The dates, times and price for the haunted house are:

– Thursday October 18th: VIP night (see description below) 8:30-11:30pm $25pp
– Friday October 19th: General Admission 8:30-12pm $10pp
– Saturday October 20th: General Admission 8:30-12pm $10pp

– Thursday October 25th: VIP night 8:30-11:30pm $25pp
– Friday October 26th: General Admission 8:30-12pm $10pp
– Saturday October 27th: General Admission 8:30-12pm $10pp

– Wednesday October 31st: FAMILY FRIENDLY all ages welcome 6-10pm
10 and under free, All others $5pp

VIP nights are $25 pp. which include less line wait time, a Darker 48 pint glass, 1 drink token, and a Darker 48 shirt. A limited number of guests will be allowed for each VIP night and sign up and payment in advance is required through Eventbrite.

To purchase tickets for either VIP night please click here:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/darker-48-haunted-house-vip-tickets-50361355169

Important! General Admission and VIP nights are 18 and up WITH WAIVER SIGNED, except for HALLOWEEN NIGHT, which is a family friendly night and all ages are welcome.

There will be live music, costume contests and food trucks available in the taproom during several nights of the haunted house.

For more information, stop by the brewery at 12147 Cortez Blvd, Brooksville, FL,  or visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/marker48

Don’t miss it!

Pawpaw beer boosts Ohio festival • Brilliant Stream (via Brilliant Stream)

Pawpaw beer has come a long way since the first one appeared at the Ohio Pawpaw Festival in 2002.

The world showcase for pawpaw beer happens right here in Appalachia. Last weekend, the 20th Annual Ohio Pawpaw Festival featured nine pawpaw flavored brews from eight Ohio breweries. It’s certainly come a long way since Kelly Sauber, then Marietta Brewing Company’s head brewer, made the first pawpaw beer for the festival 16 years ago.

Read more: Brilliant Stream

Vanish Farmwoods Brewing in Loudoun, VA

Jonathan Staples loves craft beer. He started Black Hops Farm in 2014 with the intent of providing local hops to Virginia’s fast-growing craft beer industry.

Hops have a very short shelf life and need to be either used or processed within days of being picked, and there was no place to process hops locally (the closest being in Ohio) which meant they had to ship their fresh hops to Ohio where they could be processed, then shipped back to the farm to be sold.

Realizing the need, they purchased a hop processer and began to not only process and preserve the hops grown on their farm, but making this service available to other growers in the region as well.

However, it wasn’t long before Jonathan made the leap from growing and processing hops to using hops to brew his own beer. Thus, Vanish Farmwoods Brewery was born.

They grow hops and other ingredients right there on the farm then brew their beer using those fresh ingredients, creating a ‘field-to-fermentation’ process that can be tasted in the products of their labors.

The campus is huge, and very family friendly.  There are the extensive hop yards, multiple bars, live music in the tap room, a large outdoor seating area that includes a spacious covered area, a kid’s play place, a beautiful view, and what is arguably the most important thing of all, some fantastic handcrafted beer. If you dont know which beers to get, I recommend the 12 beer ‘mega flight’.

In addition to good friends, good food also pairs well with craft beer, so Vanish also serves BBQ that is smoked on site and available Saturdays and Sundays, the Burger Time food truck is there Friday through Sunday, and wood-fired pizzas are available Thursday through Sunday.

You have to check this place out. Good food good beer and good friends equals a great time. And that is what you’ll find at Vanish Farmwoods Brewery.

Cheers!

Steins Vines and Moonshine Trail in Prince William and Manassas VA

Prince William and Manassas VA, have created their own trail to showcase there thriving craft beverage industry. With more than 20 craft breweries, wineries, distilleries, and tasting rooms, as well as a number of artisanal and farm to table restaurants, the trail should be on your “Must Do” list.

The Steins Vines and Moonshine Trail is close to 17 miles long and beginning in Broad Run, works its way through Manassas before ending in Yorkshire VA. There are, however, several breweries and wineries that are a bit “off” the trail, but are still considered part of the trail. Here is just a suggestion on a rout to take to do the trail. Keep in mind not only your own limits, and the kindness and patience of your designated driver.

The Farm Brewery at Broad Run– As they say at The Farm Brewery, “Come for the beer, enjoy the music, and stay for the bucolic setting” because “Life is Brewtiful!” Over 10 beers and cider on tap, as well as wine and wine slushies. The brewery also features a BrewBarn & Pavilion Beer Garden, and a hop yard. They grow their own fruit, berries, heirloom varieties of tomatoes and squash, melons and peppers, and even have chickens to harvest fresh eggs, and use these farm fresh ingredients in their seasonal food creations.

Tin Cannon Brewing has 9-12 craft beers and their own non-alcoholic root beer on tap. They don’t serve food but periodically host food trucks, and encourage visitors to bring their own food if they’d like, or order from neighboring restaurants who deliver directly to the taproom. Trust me when I say, these guys know good beer! Flights, pints, or growler fills, you are going to love what they are doing at Tin Cannon.

BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse has a variety of handcrafted, award-winning beers on tap, created by passionate and very talented brewers. They have 11 award-winning signature beers and cider, as well as over 10 limited-time seasonal beers that are released throughout the year. And if you get hungry, they have over 120 items on their menu so there’s a good chance they’ll have something you’ll like.

MurLarkey Distilled Spirits makes handcrafted, small batch, and award-winning spirits. They distill an array of spirits including gin, vodka, several whiskeys, and even a variety of infuse whiskeys such as cinnamon, orange, coffee, and cocoa infusions.  All their spirits are handcrafted and small batch, using raw, all-natural, locally-sourced ingredients and 100% natural fruit and botanical flavoring for infusions.

Farm Brew LIVE– An 8-acre campus that features 2 Silos Brewing, craft food from The Pit BBQ and Beer Garden and La Gringa Food Truck, and live, local music on a huge outdoor stage! There are also bocce courts, cornhole, firepits, and lots of outdoor seating! Soon it will also include The Black Sheep whiskey + wine + noshery located in the historic Thomasson Barn that will feature 2 bars, ample seating both inside and out, and a menu locally sourced from local farms.

KO Distilling– This craft distillery prides itself on producing high quality, handcraft whiskey’s and gins. They also produce a double-distilled, unaged whiskey they call Virginia Moon White Whiskey. It’s made with 60% wheat, 30% rye, and 10% malted barley. And the taste? Well, you’ll want to try it for yourself.

Heritage Brewing– Their mission is to not only brew the best beer possible, but also; live for one another, serve our fellow countrymen, craft with pride, and wherever possible, give back to those in need, especially those who have given everything for their country.

​Through this mission we brew flavorful and bold beers that showcase our pride and embolden our customers to share in our dream. With this in mind, they have partnered with The Unquiet Professional to help give back to those who have paid the ultimate price for our country, and provide opportunities for their gold star families.

They have a wide variety of handcrafted beers that include a barrel aged series with beers such as a brandy barrel aged IPA, a tequila barrel aged wheat ale, and a Scotch ale that was aged in a barrel that was previously used to age gin, whiskey and red wine!

BadWolf  Brewing takes great pride in crafting unfiltered and unpasteurized beer with all natural ingredients and a taste that is second to none. Six carefully crafted beers on tap that are constantly changing. You could have a new favorite every time you stop in.

Aroma Wine Tasting is a tasting bar run by Morais Vineyards & Winery. They serve the same wines that are served at the winery with a slightly different atmosphere. With 9 different wines available for sampling, if you enjoy a good wine, you should stop by.

Public House Kitchen & Brewery. The Chef and Master Brewer work closely together and their passion for great food and great beer could not be more obvious.  They go to great lengths to pair their fresh farm-to-table food offerings with their in-house, hand craft beer in a way that gives their customers truly exceptional flavor pairings.

Sinistral Brewing Co is a seven-barrel brewery located in Historic Downtown Manassas that describe their beers as having personalities inspired by their extraordinary children. If the source of their inspiration is anything like the product of the inspiration, they must be truly exceptional children.

Have a seat in the bar, patio or lounge, order one of their hand-crafted beers, use the free wi-fi, play board games, or watch TV and relax. If you get hungry, you can bring your own food, or order food from several local eateries that deliver to the taproom.

Eavesdrop Brewery has partnerships with local chefs, farms, and brewers from across the nation. These partnerships allow us to bring food, farm, and beer together in one location that’s easy to get to, but hard to leave. At Eavesdrop they boast the largest urban hop gardens in the Mid-Atlantic, and also grow apple trees, berry bushes, and other ingredients, which they use in their beer and food projects. Their tasting room was at one time a loft for racing pigeons! They also have a rooftop bar with a marvelous view of the gardens.

A little ways off the trail to the north, The Winery at Bull Run is located next to the Manassas National Battlefield Park, and is a working farm vineyard that not only crafts some fine Virginia wines, but pays homage to the history and preservation of 19th century rural Virginia.

A short distance to the south of the trail, Effingham Manor Winery has a wide variety of wines. Located in a historic Effingham Manor in a national historic district of Prince William County, VA, with the main house dating all the way back to 1767. You can tour this idealistic setting, sample some exceptional wines, and feel the history.

There are even more places to visit, but I think you should now have a pretty good idea of what you’ll find when you get here.

There is entirely too much to see, do, and sample on the Steins, Vines, and Moonshine Trail in one day, or even in one weekend. Although it might be possible to do it all in a day, you probably won’t remember half of what you did, and probably won’t enjoy the next day. For this reason, I would recommend several day trips, or a couple of long weekends, so you can truly experience all Price William, Manassas, and the trail has to offer.

It has been my experience that people often don’t know about half of what is practically in their back yard, and sometimes visitors know more about the places we live than people who have spent their whole lives there. You don’t have to travel across the country to have a world class experience. Check out the Steins Vines and Moonshine Trail. You’ll be glad you did.

Cheers!

Guinness Open Gate Brewing and Barrel House does NOT brew Guinness!

Just a few weeks ago, Guinness finally opened the Open Gate Brewing and Barrel House (OGBBH) just outside of Baltimore Maryland, and yes, they do not, nor do they have plans to brew the iconic beverage known as Guinness Extra Stout. But they are brewing beer, and lots of it!

Guinness has been brewing beer since 1759 when its founder Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000 year lease for a whopping 45 pounds a year!  And while Guinness has been brewing beer for nearly 260 years, it didn’t start brewing the stout for which they are now famous until just 60 yars ago.

According to Ryan Wagner, the official Guinness Brewery Ambassador, the purpose of OGBBH in Maryland is to research, develop, and brew new beers, using the latest brewing innovations, with local ingredients, and by American brewers, to create beers with American flavors and style. The tap room provides visitors with the chance to sample these new beers, and provide valuable feedback to the brewery.

When you visit OGBBH, you will find a taproom with a wide variety of beer brewed right there. Now don’t get me wrong. They do have Guinness Stout on tap, but it is brewed in Ireland and shipped there. And as Ryan points out, “Guinness is a brewery- not a stout”. Currently they have 16 beers on tap in their taproom, but only 3 are brewed in Dublin, Ireland. So if you walk into their taproom and order a Guinness, you will likely be met with a puzzled look, and the question, “Which one?”

Bringing this iconic brand back to the U.S. has also lead to some interesting confusion. For instance, in 1930, Guinness hired artist John Gilroy to create his now famous advertising campaign featuring zoo animals and a hapless zoo keeper who can’t seem to hold on to his pint of Guinness.

One of these drawings from a 1935 add shows a crab trying to grab a pint of Guinness. This artwork, which is on display in the brewery and on some of the t-shirts in the gift shop, has cause a bit of criticism from some Maryland residents because it is not the blue crab for which Maryland is known far and wide. Some people mistakenly think this historic artwork is actually an attempt to incorporate Maryland with the Guinness brand. This has prompted some locals to complain about the ‘inaccurate’ portrayal of the local icon, when in fact it is a depiction of an Irish brown crab that was originally created for the Irish market 80 years ago!

Currently the brewery offers both guided and self-guided tours on which you can learn not only about their brewing process and new beers being developed, but you can learn something about the history of Guinness and the history of the site the barrel house now occupies.

This brewery, which is the first Guinness brewery on American soil since 1954, sits on the site of a former whiskey distillery. In fact, the building that now holds the tap room was originally built to age whiskey barrels.  When you visit the brewery, you will notice quite a number of barrels used for decoration, and for displays. All of these barrels were found in this building. Ryan says they have worked hard to protect the character and history of the buildings during construction and renovation.

There is a story told in hushed tones around the brewery that while cleaning and removing empty barrels from one of the floors, they found a barrel that was significantly heavier than the others. The reason? It was nearly half full of whiskey.

Now for those of you who are not whiskey aficionados, I should explain that since whiskey is aged in wooden barrels, there is a certain amount of evaporation that takes place each year the whiskey is aged. This evaporation, also known as the “angels’ share” amounts to a loss of between 2 and 4 percent of the whiskey’s volume for each year it is aged, depending on temperature and humidity.  The older the whiskey, the smoother and more flavorful it gets, but that also means there’s less whiskey is in the barrel. A typical Scotch aged for 12 years will lose about 25% of its volume to thirsty angels.

With that in mind, if over half the whiskey had evaporated, how old would you guess that whiskey would be? At a loss of 2% a year, and assuming half the barrel evaporated, my guess would be about 35 years old.  Interestingly, no one seems to know what happened to that barrel. No matter who I asked the reply was always the same: A wistful smile, a shrug of the shoulders, and then they say, “I don’t know. It just disappeared.”

Crispy Sweet Jesus Oyster Agrodolce with Malt Braised Kale and Pork Belly- Baja Chesapeake Tostada with Citrus Black Bean Sofrito and Crema- Espresso Rubbed Tounedos with Bitter Chocolate Mushrooms, Sweek Yam Puree, and Tabasco Onion- Date and Raisin Bread Pudding and Fig Brulee with Sour Cherry Spoon Custard.

Although the brewery is now open to the public, it is still not quite finished, and work on the facility continues. There is a planned restaurant that is not yet open, but will hopfuly be open soon. And when it is, it will feature dishes locally sourced with the freshest ingredients, created to be paired with beers brewed on the premises that will not only complement, but enhance each other’s flavors and textures.  And if this preview of dishes is any indicator, the food there will be amazing! Until then, in addition to their fantastic beers, the tasting room offers a selection of pub grub.

There is little doubt that the people of the Guinness Open Gate Brewery and Barrel House are proud of what they have accomplished, but are excited about their future in Maryland.

If you stop by the tap room and perhaps take a little tour, I think you too will be excited about the future of Guinness in America.

Trillium Brewing in Boston

On a recent trip to Boston, I  stopped by Trillium Brewing on Congress St. I was a little surprised to find that they don’t have a tasting room at their brewery. While you can get growler fills, they can’t pour pints or offer tastings.

However, they do have a beer garden in the park at the corner of High St and Atlantic Ave, just a few blocks away from the brewery.  They even hand out maps to help you find it. 

It’s about a 15 minute to walk to the beer garden from the brewery, and the rout takes you past the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum, where replicas of the two ships are anchored whose cargo of tea was dumped into the harbor to protest the tax. If you’re coming from Quincy Market, or the Aquarium, it’s about a 10 minute walk.

The beer garden is partly shaded, with lots of picnic tables and barrels, and a large outdoor bar with 15 beers on tap and room for lots more. There were also 3 food trucks located just across the street.

I had the Permutation Series #45 Double IPA.  It had a cloudy golden brown color and a thin off white head, a citrus and tropical fruit aroma, and a sweet malt flavor with passionfruit, papaya, and a hint of grapefruit. There was not much hop bitterness, and a slightly creamy mouthfeel.

The Keytar Bear Double IPA had a hazy golden-bronze color and a light off-white head that dissipated quickly and smells of vanilla, orange, and a bit of honey. The aroma reminded me a bit of a creamsicle. The flavor was a little sweet and tasted of orange, marshmallow, and citrus, with some hop bitterness.

The beer was good, and the beer garden was great.  I look forward to trying more of their beers the next time I’m in Boston.