Antietam Brewery, Hagerstown

Well, it took us long enough to make it to our first local taproom–but I’d sampled the Hager-Weiss Hefeweissen from Antietam Brewery in Hagerstown, Maryland, in six-pack form in December, so I knew we had a winner on our doorstep.

The brewery used to be in town, but grew beyond its meagre space a couple of years ago, so the owners built a new taproom adjacent to the brewing space in a warehouse just off of I-81. Like many such installations, you have to go beyond the industrial park surroundings and get yourself inside, where they’d done a nice job making a homey and comfortable–yet brewery-appropriate–gathering place.

My partner in crime ordered up the Little Mac IPA, their flagship West-Coast-style India Pale Ale, and he sipped through that happily while I took a flight–and then some.

My first flight came on a historically accurate (sort-of) representation of one of the bridges across Antietam Creek, which winds past Hagerstown, Maryland, and the Civil War battlefield that bears its name. A nice touch, with five solid introductions to the brewery’s range.

First off, the Whiteout White IPA, at 8,2% abv, a double white IPA brewed with Belgian yeast, toasted coriander, and orange peel, and hopped with Australian Helga, Czech Celeia, and Amarillo hops from the U.S.

Next, the Blind Ambition Hazy Pale Ale, an NEIPA at 6,8% abv, brewed with Mosaic, Amarillo, and Cascade hops. Tropical fruity aromas with a slightly bitter back.

Then came L’il Bens Milk Stout, at 5% abv. It’s deep chocolate color previewed what was inside: roasted coffee, dark chocolate and a touch of smoke on the palate.

Stephen the Brit’s favorite was the Witness Tree Brown Ale, at 5,2% abv. Smooth, with low carbonation, it reminded him of a good English bitter, with roasted aromas and a bit of hazelnut on the back end.

Finally in the flight, the Generals Golden Ale, at 5,4% abv. A refreshing and light brew with nothing too distinguishing, this was a little bit of a let down after so many good flavors proceeded it.

So, to rectify that, I had two more tasting pours from the brewery’s strong line-up of sours. Because I can’t resist cranberries, I tried the Cranboi, at 5,5% abv, brewed with lactose though I didn’t register the creaminess. But it had a bright and lively cranberry color and tastes with an herbal undertone I enjoyed. Yum.

Last, I had a Berliner Roggen with a Blueberry streak, at 4,2% abv, a rye version of a Berliner Weisse. It’s fresh blueberry aromas came from an add of syrup, which also rendered it less sour than a true BW. But nice to end with, all the same.

We look forward to their next release, an IPA debuting in February–and we’re only a few minutes away. We also have our eyes on that patio, too, as the brewery is dog-friendly.

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