• Oktoberfest – Berlin, MD

    Berlin, Md hosted its first ever Oktoberfest, and IndyBeers was on hand for the event.  Overall it was a great time.   There was a good size crowd on hand for the event with the downtown Main Street area being well packed.  We headed from the north end of town down past the center towards the beer garden, as that was the only place one could procure a fine malted beverage.  Entrance to the beer garden was free, but tickets were $3 each, which is a great price for drinking a delicious craft beer.

    After getting our handful of tickets we stood in line for about 10 minutes to get our first sample of the newly released Burley Oak Oktoberfest.  As it was, however, we only managed to get 1 beer each of this earthy toned beverage, as the keg ran out while I was interviewing brew master Brian Carl.  From that point we switched to the Flying Dog Marzen.  That worked out well because we had been drinking the same beer earlier in the day before coming to the festival.  While we were standing around drinking we spotted Bryan Brushmiller, the owner of Burley Oak Brewery.  I quickly introduced myself and jumped right into asking about his beer.

    After talking with Bryan for a while, he introduced me to his brew master, Brian.  Brian and I discussed his passion for brewing and why he decided to come to Burley Oak Brewing.  It was during this time the the keg went dry, and he half jokingly said, “I gotta go to the brewery and fill kegs now.”  While he went back to business, Chris and I took some time to survey the scene.  There was a place serving big barbequed pieces of meat, so Chris purchased one to try out.  He said it was really good.

    After a few more beers we decided to head back to the brewery and see what was going on there, as well as sample some of the other beers that might be available.  As we walked back North through town we passed the live music which was offering up some traditional Oktoberfest style melodies.

    After about a 15 minute walk from the downtown area we found ourselves at the brewery.  The brewery was very modest and unassuming in looks from the outside.  Except for the small sign in the front, you wouldn’t know that there was a brewery inside.  They have only been open for about 2 months, since August of 2011.

    Inside the brewery was a sizable bar area.  There were plenty of places to stand and or sit and enjoy some of the beers they currently had on tap.  I went with a Pale Ryeder (which was full of a great rye flavor) and Chris went with the September Fest.  Both were high in alcohol content, and after a day at the Oktoberfest everyone was beginning to notice the effects.

    I continued talking about beer with Bryan and he explained why he had decided to brew beer, and why Berlin was the location for him.  I was hoping to get a tour of the brewery, which could be seen through a large window behind the bar, but something had spilled in the back, and it wasn’t a good time to bring people through the area.  Oh well, I guess I’ll have to come back again!!!

    The end of the day final came for us and it was time to head back home.  Bryan was happy to step outside with us for a couple more pictures.  It was pretty funny, actually,  as he was prone to goofing off while the pictures were being taken and there are more than a few that made me laugh looking at them later.

    Notable Quotes for the day:

    -Pete Arslanian
    Q: You had a beer called the 7 finger farmer?
    A: The farmer only had 7 fingers, lost in a machine accident, so [Bryan] named the beer after him for growing the hops.

    -Dennis Krembel
    Q: So what do you think you’re gonna get here.  You’ve got the Flying Dog, the Ocktoberfest…?
    A: I’ll take a Flying Dog. 2 of ’em.

    -Mark Jersey Cerbo
    Q: In terms of the beers that you’re distributing, how many of them were part of Anheuser Busch, Miller, or Coors…what percentage?
    A: Our portfolio when I was with Carry Distributors at the time Unibev was buying everybody up, they owned a large percent because at that point Miller and Coors had merged together.  We had a strong portfolio.  I mean we had Yuengling, we had Heinekin and Corona,  I mean we had pretty much all the big hitters but Anheuser Busch.
    Q: How difficult did you find it to distribute your beer not having Anheuser Busch in your portfolio?
    A: Not hard.  ‘Cause we had, you know, percentage-wise if you looked into say, a package store we were probably anywhere from 65 to 70% of the door space.
    Q: Outside of distributing the Anheuser Busch, Miller, Coors products how difficult was it to push craft beers into the market?
    A: In the beginning it was a little difficult, but once Dogfish opened up in Delaware in our back yard, you know, Dogfish was an easy swing into the craft beer industry for us down here, you know.  And they have quality products and they expanded, you know, in the right point of time.  They didn’t try to grow too fast, they came along at a good pace that, you know eventually they’re world wide now.
    Q: Do you feel that because of the fact that Dogfish Head made a presence in the Delmarva scene that it made it easier to push craft beers locally?
    A: Absolutely.  Good question.
    Q: So you feel that because of Dogfish Head, craft beers are better appreciated in this area.
    A: Well, in this area down here I think they really were the first stepping stone in the craft beer industry, so with their success grew craft beer in our area, so.  With Burley Oak opening up here in Berlin, I mean I think they’ll do well.

  • 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.