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

Manor Hill IPA

Tonight’s selection is a beer that Val brought me back last time she went to DC. I haven’t heard much about it, so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect.


ABV: 6.8%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “This aroma forward IPA showcases the versatile Mosaic hop. Tropical fruit and pine aromas completely dominate the nose. El Dorado and Centennial hops combine to round out the hop bill and provide a firm hoppy flavor profile accompanied by American 2-Row and Belgian Special Aromatic malts for balance. A heavy dose of Mosaic in the dry hopping provides you with a juicy hop punch that finishes slightly dry.”

Random: “Fuller House” is slightly ridiculous, but I do enjoy watching it.

The beer poured with a huge, four finger, cream-colored head. It took awhile for it to go away and didn’t leave much in terms of lacing. The body was a clear, mahogany color with moderate carbonation visible. The nose was pretty astringent and really grassy. I didn’t pick up any malt to counter the hop notes. The taste was more towards lemony. I got lemon juice and lemon zest. Freshly cut grass came through too. The malt came through at the end and was lightly toasted. The body was medium thickness with high carbonation, making it really drinkable. The finish was swift and grassy. A can of this set me back $2.00, which broke down to $.17 per ounce. This was a solid beer, but didn’t wow me. If you see it, I’d still give it a shot.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0