Brewing All Stars #1: Brewer’s Alley Dunkel Weizen
Date: July 14 , 2019 —
The Story— We make three or four trips to nearby Frederick to see the minor league Keys play baseball in on of the better single A parks in the country. They have fireworks almost every Friday and Saturday — and this is HUGE — they’re the only park that we’ve been to that continues to serve beer until the first pitch of the 9th on fireworks nights.
But the most remarkable feature of the park is a “Taphouse” that features 24 different beers from a dozen very local breweries. They aren’t cheap, but craft beer is rarely cheap, and they have just about any style you want. We nearly always pick off a beer or two we haven’t seen anywhere else. But we usually settle in for the game at the Brewers Alley stand in right field. Beers from the local Monacacy/Brewers Alley brewery are always fresh and in good condition and if the 6% IPA isn’t a session, it’s pretty gentle compared to some of the double IPAs you can get at other stands. If they run out, there’s a couple of Flying Dog specialty stands that offer another half dozen beers from Frederick’s largest brewery.
Today’s beer comes from the right field stand, and it is indeed a stand out. Disclaimer: beers rotate and we haven’t seen this lately. But if you’re lucky you’ll time your visit to catch it on tap. But if you don’t you have plenty of choices at the 3rd base side taps and you could stop by Brewers Alley in downtown Frederick for a wide selection of skillfully brewed beer and a very good meal.
Dunkel Weizen is one of the hardest beers to brew, and few brewers manage to do it really well on either side of the Atlantic. It has to have the characteristic hefe (yeast) that produces the estery spicy and fruity flavors and aromas, but German brewers usually muffle those bright characteristics with a muddy dark malt. US brewers sometimes do better, but few produce a beer that’s very moreish.
Brewers Alley takes the European style and actually improves upon it. The beer was brewed at their sister brewery, Monacacy, a short drive from Brewers Alley.
The Beer– Wheaty and estery with some toast in the wheat. Bubblegum and clove. Bigger than than what you’ll find in Germany, it’s what you would want in a dark hefe weizen. An American interpretation that’s better than most originals.
Value — Good, at least at the stadium. Nine bucks is steep, but shut up and be thankful you’re not drinking Bud Dark. The beer is cheaper, of course, at the brewery where the value would run from very good to excellent.
Values: “fair” is a good beer at an above market price, “good” is worth the money, “very good” is a bargain, and “excellent” is a steal.
It’s All-Star season. MLB has finished theirs, but it seems like a new sport is showcasing exceptional talent almost every day. So we’ll be presenting our own all-star brewing line up. We don’t claim to present– or even know– what the best beers in America are, but out of the hundred or so that we taste every month, some are indeed special. For the second couple of weeks in July, we’ll share some recent standouts in a very crowded craft beer field. .
We’re often asked to share our tasting notes on over 33,000 beers; this blog is in answer to those requests. Not all our notes, though. The great beer writer Michael Jackson admirably followed the Thumper Rule, and we’ll try to do the same. (“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nuthin’ at all.”) All the beers we post are from the top half of our ratings and most are from the top quarter. Of greater value, we think, are the stories behind the beers, and we try to give you enough about the brewery, the style and the places to find great beer to help you on your own beer journeys. At CulturAle Press we try to write books and publish posts that will help you “Drink Well and Travel Safely.”