Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Baying Hound Brewery

Rockville, my current city, suffers from what a former roommate called "Instant Life".  The city center was inflated overnight, snapped into place, and is ready with its veneer of character for People! Bustle! Business!  It looks as if it could be interesting -- and I do love the library -- but somehow my eyes just pass over it without stopping.  Nothing pulls me in.

There are many good things about the city center, and other developments like it.  Rockville Town Center is walkable, close to the metro, it has a market (albeit an exceedingly pricey one) and a library and clothing shops and restaurants...  I can't judge it too harshly, but it fails to inspire.

Character overfloweth, however, on the other side of the Rockville Pike, at the Baying Hound Brewery.  It sits amid autobody shops and storage sheds, and looks mostly like your friend's garage who happens to make (a lot of) beer.  A current roommate and I walked over after dinner, and each ordered a flight.

The six-beer flight included:
  • Darwin: a sour beer -- or, American Wild Ale, as they called it -- pretty decent, not eye-openingly sour, rather fruity in fact.  Almost like a mix between a saison and a sour.
  • Dog Breath: technically a malt liquor (no hops at all) that they infused with wormwood.  Medicinal was the best you could say about it.  The man behind the counter said, "It's the least bad it's been," -- it seems it started out undrinkable.
  • Dog Park: an IPA.  Not bad, I probably wouldn't go out and purchase a six-pack, but then a California girl is picky about her hops.
  • Hrotgarmr: a Viking ale (that is, as close as modern health codes allow them to get to a Viking ale)
  • Lord Wimsey Pale Ale: I enjoyed this one.  Flowery, light, drinkable.
  • Originators Belgian: My favorite by far.  Very drinkable, especially on a warm spring evening.
It is fortunate that the Originators was such a success - it is the beer they made in honor of a local ska band, and the only one they have been canning so far.  In general, I still find this brewery a bit unreliable.  They seem to have no problem serving beer that they do not think highly of (and we buy it, so I understand the motive from a business perspective), and a particular beer can vary a great deal (in quality and flavor) from one batch to the next.  You never quite know what you will get.

On the other hand, that is in a way part of the charm of the place.  The bartender wears dragon rings, the TV runs through a series of local trivia questions, there's a popcorn machine, and Celtic punk plays in the background.  The crowd is small, but solid -- other citizens interested in exploring the successes (and failures) of the slow, organic growth on the other side of the Rockville Pike.

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