Manor Hill Katherine’s Kolsch

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a kolsch, especially one that I can’t get in Jersey. Let’s get to it.

ABV: 5.1%

Style: Kolsch

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Like most roads on the journey of life, this adventure has been full of twists and turns. Mary and Randy Marriner, with their two daughters, Rachael and Tori, own Victoria Restaurant Group. They opened Victoria Gastro Pub in November 2007. It would remain the only restaurant operated by the Victoria Restaurant Group until 2017. Manor Hill Tavern in Old Ellicott City would become their second restaurant in February 2017 and will be followed by the third concept, Food Plenty, later in 2017. The journey toward brewing beer started in earnest in late 2011 when the Marriners sold their home in western Howard County and purchased, a 54 acre working farm in Ellicott City. At the time, there was no home on the new site, just an old block barn and a single wide trailer that housed the farm hand. The farm was half field crops and half beef cattle. After taking possession, Mary began designing the house and fixing the barn: evicting the raccoon tenants, replacing the leaky roof, putting a new skin of stone and stucco to the grey block building, pouring concrete floors where there had been just dirt, adding wooden garage doors, and re-grading the surrounding land with berms and retaining walls. Construction of their house began shortly thereafter. The Marriners were seemingly content to maintain the farm and operate Victoria Gastro Pub as they had been, until Mary read an article in Food Arts magazine. The article featured Oskar Blues Brewery in Denver, CO and its owner, Dale Katechis. They learned that he also has a 50 acre farm, half in field crops and half in beef cattle. And his farm is located in between two restaurants. As Mary read on, she kept saying, ‘This is us, this is us’. Randy responded, ‘What? We have one restaurant, a 50 acre farm, but no brewery!’ Soon after that conversation, Randy discovered that the 2012 Maryland General Assembly recently passed legislation that established ‘Farm Breweries’ who by definition would feature home-grown barley, hops, and/or fruits in their beer. So, in September of 2012, Randy filed for a Farm Brewery license. Following nearly 18 months of legislative hurdles and permitting obstacles, Manor Hill Brewing became official, making it Howard County’s first farm brewery on February 1, 2014. Brewing began in small test batches in early 2015, with full-scale production launched in May, 2015. In addition to the beef cattle and fields of planted feed corn, wheat, and soy, Mary has a garden that produces tomatoes, herbs, squash and squash blossoms, zucchini, asparagus, blackberries, blueberries, and much more. The crops from Mary’s garden are used at Victoria Gastro Pub, Manor Hill Tavern, as well as ingredients for Manor Hill beers.”

Random: This beer is listed in the “Special Release, Limited and Retired” section, so I’m not sure if they are still making it.

The beer poured with a huge, four finger white head and it took forever to dissipate. Lots of lacing was left behind on the glass. The body was hazy and bright yellow with light carbonation visible. The nose was filled with lemon zest and lemon balm. It had a powdered lemonade note to it as well. I’m not used to a kolsch having this much lemon. The taste had just as much lemon and was bordering on tart. It had grass and leaves and finished with some yeast. The body was heavy for style with light carbonation. It had a lengthy finish with yeast. This was another beer that I bought in DC and I forgot how much it was, but this beer was a complete miss for me.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Pipeworks Glaucus

I’m not sure when Pipeworks started distributing to New Jersey, but their cans started popping up and I saw this one and needed to give it a try.

ABV: 6.2%

Style: Belgian IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Pipeworks Brewery was established in Chicago in 2012 by two friends with a shared dream of crafting quality and creative beers. Since putting the first cap on the first bottle, the brewery has garnered accolades for its distinctive beers and original artwork thanks to a growing and enthusiastic team. Pipeworks self-distributes in Illinois, but can be found in New York and Connecticut through Sarene Distribution, in Colorado through Tivoli Distribution, and in Boston through Nightshift Distribution. The Dojo, our Bottle Shop, is located within our production facility at 3912 W Mclean Ave in Chicago. Pipeworks is located at 3912 W. McLean Ave Chicago IL 60647”

Random: There is no information about this beer on the website.

The beer poured with a finger and a half of slightly off white head. It went away slowly and left some lacing on the glass. The body was very cloudy and a bright yellow. There was some carbonation visible. The nose had a lot of hops to it with honeydew as well. I also picked up black and white peppercorns and grass. The taste had a lot more Belgian influence than the nose implied. It still started with a lot of hops that manifested as grass, pine and honeydew melon. There was also some yeast that came through, along with white peppercorns. The body was on the thicker side with generous carbonation. It had a lengthy finish with peppercorns and Belgian yeast. This beer was $3.25 a can, which came to $.20 per ounce, which is on the pricier side, but definitely worth it. I will be searching this beer out again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Jailbreak Feed The Monkey

Tonight’s selection is a beer that I picked up during our last trip to DC. I always look forward to going to DC because the food down there is awesome. We went to brunch last time at Izakaya and it was really good. Food is served tapas style, so you can get a bunch of different things and try them. My favorite thing was the grilled avocado with ponzu sauce. I could have eaten about 10 of those and they probably would have gone well with this beer.

ABV: 5.6%

Style: Hefeweizen

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “A german style hefeweizen that combines traditional notes of clove and banana with subtle citrus aromas and flavors to provide balance and complexity. With this hefeweizen, there’s no fruit required — we’ve got that covered.”

Random: This beer comes in at 14 IBUs.

The beer poured with a generous three finger, pure white head. It took a long time to dissipate and left significant lacing on the glass. The body was mildly cloudy and bright yellow with some carbonation visible. The nose was mild for the style. It started with banana and some grain and had a note of white grapes as well. The taste was like a normal hefeweizen with banana and bubble gum. It had a touch of Mandarin orange segments, but also some green apple and white grapes. The beer had moderate carbonation and was a decent thickness. The finish was lengthy with the banana and white grape. This beer was $1.83 a can, which came to $.15 per ounce. I thought this was a good example of a domestic hefeweizen and would have it again for sure.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Muskoka Moonlight Kettle Series: Cool As A Cuke

Whenever Val and I go for a massage, I always try the flavored water they have at the spa. I’m especially excited if I see that it’s cucumber water. Let’s see how a cucumber beer is.

ABV: 4.7%

Style: American Pale Ale

Trivia: According to, “Muskoka Brewery (the word cottage has been dropped) is a craft brewing company (Microbrewery) founded in June, 1996 as a very small operation by Gary McMullen and (the late) Kirk Evans. By 2016, it had increased to 130 employees in a facility that is over 70,000 square feet in size. The company manufactures a line of beers, including Cream Ale, Mad Tom IPA, Dark, Craft Lager, Detour and the new Muskoka Shinnicked Stout. Their products are sold at the brewery at 1964 Muskoka Beach Road, Bracebridge, Ontario, at select pubs and restaurants (in Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and Nova Scotia) and at the LCBO outlets and The Beer Store. According to Gary McMullen, ‘They’re almost entirely unfiltered … made with natural ingredients, no preservatives and handcrafted to final perfection.’ Their product have won many awards, most recently (2016) from The World Beer Championships, the Canadian Brewing Awards, and the US Open Beer Championship. In early 2017, Muskoka Brewery was named one of Canada’s 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures of 2016 by Waterstone Human Capital. Muskoka Brewery is a member of the Ontario Craft Brewers Association.”

Random: This is the first beer that I’ve tried from the brewery.

The beer poured with half a finger of white head that dissipated quickly, but left no lacing on the glass. It did leave a small crown on top of the body. The body was clear and straw yellow with moderate carbonation. The nose was mild with cucumber water and not much else. The taste started with light grain and cucumber. It then went into lemongrass and a touch of citrus hops. The body was light and didn’t have enough carbonation. It had a clean finish with fresh cucumbers. This beer was $2 a bottle, which came to $.17 per ounce. I had no problem drinking this beer, I just wish it had more depth and more carbonation.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Demented Gallows Hill

One of the weirder things about getting married is being the center of attention. It’s something that I’ve never been used to, and is definitely out of my comfort zone. I’m definitely a bit reserved and still pretty introverted, but as long as Val is there with me, everything will be fine.

ABV: 7%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “We are a relatively new craft brewery in New Jersey. We are located in Middlesex, NJ and our production brewery consists of a custom 10 BBL brewing system with 2 10 BBL fermenters, 4 30 BBL fermenters, 1 15 BBL bright beer tank, and 1 30 BBL bright beer tank. Hunterdon distributes our beers to over 600 bars and restaurants throughout the state. We produce a number of core beers, but our focus is on producing a variety of seasonally inspired ‘insanely flavorful ales’ that are on tap mainly in our tasting room. Thanks for checking in and please check back soon.”

Random: I think the New England IPA style is going to go strong for another year and then get left behind by another new style.

The beer poured with a huge, three finger, ecru colored head. It dissipated very slowly and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was incredibly cloudy and bright orange and had some visible carbonation. The nose was bright with a lot of tropical fruit and pine along with some grapefruit as well. The taste was also quite bright. The flavor was filled with pine sap, pineapple and mango. It also had passion fruit as well. The body was on the thicker side with high carbonation. The finish was lengthy with sticky pine sap. A pounder can was $4, which came to $.25 per ounce. I thought this was a solid beer and had really nice flavor.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Heavy Seas The Partner Ships: Old Ale

The wedding is coming up really quickly. My parents threw us an engagement party in November, which was at Rats in Princeton and was incredibly nice. A lot of our family was able to attend and the wedding is going to an even bigger party. Anyways, let’s get to the beer.

ABV: 8.5%

Style: Old Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “We paired up with one of our favorite local breweries, Union Craft Brewing, for our first Partner Ships collaboration of 2017. Hints of nuts, cocoa, molasses and dried fruits float over a chewy, luscious body of English malt goodness. Inspired by the rich, warming brews of a by…”

Random: This beer is listed as highly limited on the brewery website. This is also a collaboration with Union Craft Brewers.

The beer poured with a half a finger of tan head. The head dissipated instantly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a dark brown color, but clear, with a lot of carbonation visible. The nose was filled with hazelnuts, leather, oak chips and ash. I didn’t get any of the dried fruits that were advertised. The taste started very ashy. It transition into booze with some hazelnuts and cocoa, but again, the fruit character was missing. It would have helped to have them to break up some of the intense ash taste. The body was medium thickness for the style with light carbonation. It had a quick finish with ash. A bomber of this was $7.99, which broke down to $.36 per ounce. I was interested in trying this one because I don’t get that many old ales, but this just missed the mark for me.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Straffe Hendrik Quadrupel

I haven’t had a beer from this brewery in years, so when I saw this sitting on the shelf, I gave it a shot.

ABV: 11%

Style: Quadrupel (Quad)

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Straffe Hendrik Quadrupel, launched in 2010, is an intense beer, dark in colour and full in taste. The aroma is elegant, spicy and slightly roasted. The sophisticated blend of special kinds of malt give the beer a complex character, combining a delicate dryness with hints of coriander, dark fruits, anise and roasted chestnuts. The palate finishes in a syrupy taste. The refermentation in the bottle creates a living beer that will evolve over the years. Straffe Hendrik Quadrupel finds an excellent partner in chocolate when it comes to foodpairing.”

Random: The brewery website says that this has a 3 year shelf life.

The beer poured with a huge, four finger, tan head. It was fluffy and dissipated slowly, while leaving some lacing on the glass. The body was dark brown with no visible carbonation. The nose was filled with tobacco, old books, anise and roasted nuts. There wasn’t a lot of fruit on the nose. The taste had more of a fruit presence, but it felt significantly faded. I picked up currants and figs along with booze and old books. It had some vanilla as well and reminded me slightly of a brandy. The beer needed a bit more sweetness. The body was thick with minimal carbonation. The finish was long with booze and paper. A bomber of this set me back $10.49, which came to $.41 per ounce. I think the bottle may have been too old, so I would give this one a shot again.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Trappistes Rochefort 8

Tonight’s selection is a Belgian classic that I haven’t reviewed before, but was really excited to try. Let’s see how it was.

ABV: 9.2%

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Trivia: According to, “Originally called ‘Spécial,’ Rochefort 8 dates to the mid-1950s. The name comes from the original gravity in ‘Belgian degrees.’ Deep brown color; the flavor is vigorous and complex, with firm body to support the strength. The aroma has elusive notes of fresh fruit, spice, leather, and figs. Great with full-flavored dishes like pate, duck, or wild game; shows well with strong-flavored cheeses. Also wonderful alone as an aperitif. Serve in traditional Rochefort stemmed goblet.”

Random: I usually get a craving for true Belgian beers in Winter.

This beer poured with a three finger, light brown head. It dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. There was a small crown left on top of the cloudy mahogany body with some floaties visible. There was no visible carbonation due to the cloudiness. The nose was intense. It was filled with sweet dark fruit, specifically currants, figs and dates. There was a brown sugar sweetness as well, but the alcohol was well-hidden. The taste had flavors more towards leather and tobacco but there was still a significant fruit presence. Oak, vanilla and brown sugar came through next. The body was thick and chewy with moderate carbonation. It had a quick finish with vanilla. A single bottle was $7, which came to $.63 per ounce. This beer was outstanding and I will definitely be searching it out again to buy a few bottles to age.

Untappd Rating: 4.5/5.0

Victory Longwood Oro Blanco

Val and I took my family to Longwood Gardens awhile back to see a Josh Ritter concert. Since we were starving when we got there, we stopped at the Victory Brewpub. Everyone really liked the food and they even said that the wine they got was decent. This was the second beer that I had there.

ABV: 5.3%

Style: American Pale Wheat Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Quench your summer thirst with this German wheat beer that features a refreshing, tart taste of the juices and peel from Longwood Gardens grown oroblanco grapefruits. This signature beer was developed by Victory Brewing Company for Longwood Gardens.”

Random: I put together the new cat tree for the cats and they have been going crazy for it. It’s the same one we had when they were kittens, so it doesn’t seem as big as it used to.

The brew poured with a half a finger of pure white head. It was thick, but dissipated at a moderate pace and left some lacing on the glass. The body was cloudy and bright orange. I couldn’t see the carbonation due to the haziness. The nose had notes of wheat and lots of nutmeg and allspice. The taste had a large amount of spice as well. I picked out the same notes of allspice and nutmeg as in the nose, along with some wheat and orange segments. The body was on the lighter side with lots of carbonation. The finish was lengthy with a lot of spice. I enjoyed this beer, but the spice took over all of the other flavors.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Victory KSQ Kiwi Gose

Awhile back, Val and I took my parents to Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square for a concert. Before we went there, we stopped at Victory for a late lunch and this was the first beer that I had.

ABV: 5.2%

Style: Gose

Trivia: According to, “Kiwifruit (often abbreviated as kiwi) or Chinese gooseberry is the edible berries of several species of woody vines in the genus Actinidia. The most common cultivar group of kiwifruit (‘Hayward’) is oval, about the size of a large hen’s egg (5–8 cm or 2.0–3.1 in) in length and 4.5–5.5 cm (1.8–2.2 in or in diameter). It has a fibrous, dull greenish-brown skin and bright green or golden flesh with rows of tiny, black, edible seeds. The fruit has a soft texture and a sweet but unique flavor. It is a commercial crop in several countries, such as China, Italy, New Zealand, Chile, Greece, and France.”

Random: The Kennett Square brewpub is perfectly done and the food is amazing.

The beer poured with a finger and a half of very thick, pure white head. It took awhile to dissipate and left limited lacing on the glass. The body was very clear and yellow in color. There was a lot of carbonation visible. The nose was filled with lime juice and brine. I didn’t pick up any kiwi in the nose. The taste had a significant amount of salinity, along with lemon and lime juice, which made for a nice balance between sour and salty. There was some kiwi to it, but it was in the background. The body was on the lighter side and the carbonation was significant, but pleasant. It had a quick and citrusy finish. I enjoyed this beer a lot and it paired well with wings.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0