Jan 21, 2013 07:09PM
● By Anonymous
After an October campaign to be crowned the winner of Chesapeake Beer Madness, Adrian Moritz can finally breathe easy. The beer tastings, Facebooking, emails, and word-of-mouth buzz that Moritz and his wife Lori—the other half of Eastern Shore Brewing’s co-founding team—created paid off. Out of 16 regional beer entries in this past year’s Chesapeake Beer Madness competition, Eastern Shore Brewing’s St. Michaels Ale defeated Old Dominion’s Double D in the final week of voting, marking a new winner for the first time in four years of competition (Evolution Brewing won each of the previous competitions). Kudos to the Eastern Shore Brewing team, which includes brewmaster Randall Marquis. In this exclusive with Adrian, we learn the core values of his company and how best to enjoy their flagship brew.
Adrian, please introduce us to the mission and goals of Eastern Shore Brewing.
We’re a small, artisanal brewery—probably one of the smaller ones in the state. We love St. Michaels and saw a need for a brewery. Four years ago, there weren’t any on the Eastern Shore. And now, there’s going to be seven here this coming year. Our goal was to brew easy-drinking beers and offer seasonals at our tasting room, and even some out-of-the-box stuff here and there.
What is your background in brewing and how did it evolve?
I started brewing in my college dorm room at Castleton State College in Vermont. I wasn’t old enough to buy my own brews, so I said “I might as well brew my own.” And 15 years later, I looked over my shoulder and had $6,000 worth of equipment, three kegerators with nine beers on tap on my back porch. So, I finally talked it over with my wife and decided to put together a business plan. And here we are.
Today, what’s your distribution grown to?
We are from Howard County over to Cecil County, and from there all the way down to Ocean City. So the entire Eastern Shore of Maryland. And we are making a push into Annapolis and Anne Arundel County.
Please tell us about the St. Michaels Ale, which won the Chesapeake Beer Madness competition.
St. Michaels Ale is our flagship beer. It comprises about 50 percent of our sales. It’s a great, all-around, full-bodied amber with Saaz and Willamette hops, Munich and caramel malted barleys, great biscuity flavors, and holds a great head—we just love it. This was actually derived from one of my homebrew recipes from years ago and when we opened up the brewery and hired Randy Marquis to be our brewmaster, he tweaked the recipe to make it a commercially viable beer. It’s my favorite beer in the house.
How is this ale best enjoyed and what food pairing would you recommend?
It goes best with steamed crabs. It is an awesome, awesome beer that’s great with any protein, it can carry the flavor of a lot of foods. But I enjoy it with crabs. The caramel and hops shine through, the sweetness of the beer brings out some of the sweetness of the crabmeat. And it’s only 5.5 percent alcohol, so it’s a nice sessionable beer, not overpowering.
There’s nothing more Maryland than that.
What trends are you seeing in the brewing industry overall and do you foresee Eastern Shore Brewing acting on them?
Well, we try to make our own waves over here. I’ve seen a lot of Belgians come up—a lot of doubles and triples. We’re big Belgian fans here. In fact, we just finished up our last keg of our Belgian Golden Strong ale, which rang in at 8.72 [percent alcohol]. It was a phenomenal beer. We’re also seeing a lot of weizens and we do a hefe-weizen during the summer. We just hope that brewers keep pushing the envelope as we try to do here—exposing more customers to different styles of beer.