Inaugural Hops & Harvest Festival

October 16, 2016

This is a guest post written by Josh Hall over at Swill and Swine VA.  

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I was given an opportunity last weekend to attend the Hops and Harvest Festival held in Columbia, MD. Despite a little rain during the day, more than 2000 people showed up for the inaugural event held by CoFestCo, Columbia Downtown Partnership, The Maryland Brewer’s Association and Howard County. There were two sessions for the event, an afternoon and an evening. My wife and I attended the evening session which was a little drier than the afternoon.

This was my first Maryland Beerfest and I was pretty excited to check it out. The event featured more than 20 local Maryland Breweries, Wineries and Distilleries along with different food trucks to try. It was held on the Columbia Lakefront near the Merriweather Post Pavilion. The venue was really cool, very wide open and had a great stage for the entertainment. When we arrived we picked up our cups and green bracelets, which enabled us to have unlimited pours of the beers which I like a lot more than beer tickets.

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The first thing we did was head straight to the food. We chose the Farm to Charm food truck which incorporates fresh local ingredients into all their dishes. I had the cheeseburger and my wife had the Bahn Mi tacos, and we both shared hand cut fries with a house made ketchup. It was all extremely delicious. My wife also had to have Crème Brulee from Bmore Brulee food truck. It was really the only reason she came. She ended up getting two, a pumpkin spice brulee and a vanilla topped with bacon. Both were really good.

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Once we got our food, it was time for me to try the beer. The first place I tried was Jailbreak Brewing Company, I had their Feed the Monkey (6% ABV) which is an Orange Hefewiezen. It had subtle notes of banana and orange. It was very smooth. It paired really well with the cheeseburger. Next up was an IPA from RAR Brewing called Nanticoke Nectar (7.4%). This is one of their flagship beers. It was very light with the Citra and Cascade hops definitely coming through, but not to the point of being overpowering. Mad Science Brewing was up next. I had the Helles Belles (5.2%), which had a nice malty flavor with just enough hops. They use 4 different malts and locally sourced cascade hops for this summer beer.  I also tried Calvert Brewing Company’s Good Company Pale Ale (6.2% ABV). Very nice citrus flavor coming from the grapefruit and pine notes. Next up was Smoketown Brewing Station’s Berlin Brown Ale (5.2%). Lastly was the Grissette Farmhouse Ale (4.7% ABV) from Manor Hill Brewing. A very well done farmhouse ale, with nice fruity notes and subtle hop flavor and aroma.

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For my first Maryland event and CoFestCo’s inaugural beer event, I was very pleased. It was very well organized, very open, and I liked the two different time slots which made it nice to come from Virginia. I wish them best of luck with the event and hope they continue for many years. I may even try and come back again next year.  

Josh is a land surveyor by day and beer drinker by night. He enjoys sports, craft beer and grilling large amounts of meat. In the past year, he has started traveling around the great state of Virginia with his friends to find great craft beer and delicious food.   So he decided to write about where he goes and what he eats and drinks!  Check him out at Swill and Swine VA.

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