• Brew Master Interview – Fordham/Old Dominion – Daniel Louder

    During the Good Beer Festival I was fortunate enough to talk to one of the brew masters for Fordham and Old Dominion beers, Daniel Louder.  Below is the transcript of that interview.


    Q: So what’s your name, for the record?
    A:Daniel Louder.

    Q: And you have a shirt on that says “brewer”.  Are you indeed a brewer?
    A: Absolutely.

    Q: For who do you brew?
    A: I brew Fordham and Old Dominion products.

    Q: How long have you been doing that for?
    A: I’ve been doing that for probably a year and half now.

    Q: What did you prior to brewing for them?
    A: Prior to brewing for them I was actually a construction supervisor for 7 years, and i did probably about 8 years of home brewing also on the side.  I’ve always been big into craft beers and just into making beers and the whole aspect and the science behind it.

    Q: So what was it that led you from home brewing to working for Fordham and Old Dominion?
    A: Actually I’m fortunate enough to know somebody inside of the company.  That got my foot in the door.  I started off kegging…worked on the bottling line for a while…then was in the cellar and brewing, all within one year.  I worked my way up the ladder.

    Q: Now your statement about who you worked for lumped these 2 brewing companies together and you said you worked in the bottling line.  Are they indeed bottled on the same bottling line or do they keep separate factories for brewing the beer?
    A: No, Fordham and Old Dominion are both brewed out of the same exact roof.  Its a total of 17 to 18 different beers between the 2 companies.  They’re still 2 completely different companies brewed underneath the same roof.

    Q: What is it about those 2 companies that keeps them brewed under the same roof?  What allegiance do they have to each other?
    A: They really don’t have an allegiance to one another.  Fordham was sent to Dover in 2003, where it started being brewed.  And in 2007 Fordham Brewing Company bought Old Dominion Brewing Company out of Ashburn, Virginia and moved it to Dover in 2009.

    Q: Did they buy that with their own funds or was there external backing behind that purchase?
    A: That I’m not 100% sure on.

    Q: And out of the beers that you brew, what is your personal favorite beer to drink?
    A: My personal favorite from the Old Dominion side would have to be Hop Mountain, and my favorite from the Fordham side would have to be Copperhead.

    Q: And if you had to go–by the way, for the record, those are my 2 favorites (laughter)–but if you had to go toe to toe between the 2 of those, which would you prefer?
    A: I would definitely have to go with Hop Mountain, because I’m a big IPA (or pale ale) fan.  I love hops!  I’m a hop head, but I’m also different than everybody else in the way that I’m a malt head.  I also….a  lot of people are into hops these days but nobody really looks at the true aspect of what makes a beer.  And that is the actual malt that is derived from the beginning throughout the whole process.

    Q: So those are your 2 favorite beers out of the (suite???) of products offered by the 2 companies, but what is your most favorite beer to brew?
    A: My most favorite beer to actually brew would honestly…i would have to say Scotch Ale, which is a fall seasonal which will be out next month if I am correct and that is actually my favorite brew to actually–or beer–to actually brew.

    Q: What beer out of the seasonal ales that you offer do you think gets the best reception from the public?
    A:  Ooohhh that’s a tough one.  I would have to say our Octoberfest.

    Q: Octoberfest?  Is it simply the season that makes it popular?
    A: I believe it is the season and also the basis that’s already been established for your Octoberfest beers.  A lot of people are already familiar with them and they look forward to the actual fall season when the Octoberfests come out and a lot of people try a different style Octoberfest.

    Q: What’s your personal favorite seasonal beer?
    A: My personal favorite seasonal beer would actually have to be our newly released Fordham Spiced Harvest Ale.

    Q: Do you have anything coming up soon that hasn’t been released yet that’s–
    A: Yes we actually have a couple coming up soon that hasn’t been released yet.  We have our Baltic(??) Porter which will actually probably be packaged this month.  We also have….and that is from our Fordham side I believe…we have so many different beers its hard to keep track.  And we also have from our…Dopplebock, which is Fordham, which will be coming out in the wintertime.  And we also have our Millennium by Old Dominion which is our barleywine which comes in at about 10, 10 and a half percent which is one of my favorite beers to sip on during the winter.

    Q: For this particular event, were you guys contacted by the event coordinators, or did you seek out this event to present your beer to the public?
    A: We were actually contacted by our distributors. The coordinators contacted our distributors.  This is our 2nd year here.  The distributors and the event coordinator have both done a great job with just keeping us updated and then having a great presentation for our overall product and our area where the beers are actually being poured.

    Q: So do you feel like this event gets a good turnout for the Maryland area compared to other events, or do you think this is on par with what you’ve seen elsewhere?
    A: I would say this is actually a great turn out.  Last year was their first year that I was here and on the first day of the first year here they had almost 2000 people  show up from what I was told and it looks like today I would say there’s at least a thousand people here today and I think its a great turn out.  I haven’t been to many other Maryland events but, as opposed to some of the other beer events that I do, this is one of the largest turnouts and well planned events that I’ve been to.

    Q: Where is the beer truck and where are you based out of?
    A: The beer truck is actually based out of Eastern Shore Distributing, is who provided the beer truck.  That is our distributor.  We’re based out of Dover.  Eastern Shore Distributor is our Maryland distributing company, so if you wanted to buy any of our products it would basically be whoever Eastern Shore distributes to.


    A big Thank you to Dan for the interview and Kelli for transcribing it.

  • 2011 Fell’s Point Fun Festival

    On a cold and wet day Kelli and I headed to Fell’s Point for the 45th annual Fell’s Point Fun Festival.  The festival took place Saturday and Sunday Oct 1 & 2 from 11am-7pm, with us arriving on Sunday around 2pm.  While the street vendor section of the festival was partially crowded, the 98rock/Budweiser Beer Garden was nearly empty.  There were a total of 6 beer booths, with 3 of them shut down and not even serving beer.  The beer that was available was limited to Anheuser-Busch InBev brands.  There was Bud Light, Budweiser, Stella Artois, and Dominion Hop Mountain Pale Ale.

    I was curious how a craft beer like Dominion Hop Mountain Pale Ale of Old Dominion made it onto the taps of the Bud Light truck, so when I got home I did some quick research.  It turns out that Anheuser-Busch owns a stake in the company.  From the wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Dominion_Brewing_Company the following is stated:

    “Anheuser-Busch’s purchase stake gave them no control of either of the two breweries, nor any input or influence on brewery recipes, nor oversight of any day-to-day management — AB’s interest solely resides in the distribution side of the two breweries’ business using AB-favored distributors, entirely focused on competing with SABMillerCoors “craft brand” Blue Moon.”

    So there you have it, another ruse from big beer to make you think you’re getting an independent product when in fact you putting more money in their coffers.  Of course, with no other options (no outside beer allowed and all beer had to be purchased in the Beer Garden), I went with the Hop Mountain Pale Ale.  It was a heavy attempt an an IPA that I otherwise wouldn’t bother with outside of no other options.  I won’t do a full review, but I will give the beer a 3.5/5 stars.  It’s an OK craft beer, but tasted like the flavor was injected into the beer.

    To accompany the beer there was plenty of live music.  We arrived just in time to see The Niki Barr Band.  She did her best to entertain the 50 or so people in the Beer Garden.  It was tough, however, as the beer vendors were on the opposite side of the parking lot from the stage, and most seemed intent on staying closer to the beer than the stage.

    In between bands I found an odd sight of no lines for the spot-a-pots.  I think the cold and rain really spoiled the day and kept many of the festival goers away.

    Next up on stage was Can’t Hang.  They managed to get most of the crowd to come to the stage, and celebrated at the end by bringing as many people as they could on stage.

    After seeing The Niki Barr Band and Can’t Hang we left the Beer Garden to see the rest of the Festival.  There weren’t too many people left, or maybe there never were too many people to begin with, but there were plenty of vendors selling their goods.  We ended our Festival experience with a few orders of mussels from Bertha’s Mussels.