Cushwa Brewing Company, Williamsport

While preparing for the latest marathon–another story to be sure, during covid times–I passed by Cushwa Brewing Company in Williamsport, Maryland, on my way back and forth to the Potomac River and the C&O Canal Tow Path that snakes alongside it. While their taproom remained partially closed through the spring, they opened up in the summer in accordance with local stipulations–but I scored my first cans of their goodness through curbside pickup.

Those initial choices? The dry-hopped saison, French Fog, and the brewery’s iteration of the collaboration beer, Black Is Beautiful, an imperial stout recipe shared by its creator, Weathered Souls Brewing Company, in San Antonio, Texas. Turned out to be two excellent choices! The French Fog gave off an intense floral aroma, like frangipani, and papayas, with more papaya on the palate–6,4% abv.

The intense Black Is Beautiful impy stout played off cocoa powder aroma, with cardamom and more cocoa dust, plus melted chocolate on the palate. There was an even bitter thread throughout, with only a hint of the 10% abv booze level.

On our first real visit to the taproom after things opened up a bit, we went in for a Rad Pizza (excellent) and I had two of the DIPAs on tap: Mental Drift, at 8% abv, and Stuck in the Sky, also at 8% abv. With Mental Drift, I found lovely grapefruit aromas with some earth, and a creamy mouthfeel with more grapefruit juice on the palate. Stuck in the Sky was a beautifully layered DIPA with lots of juice… peel aromas with lime and spice plus more stone fruit juice on the palate.

I love a good festbier, and I saw a four-pack on offer in a local liquor store in Hagerstown, Old Hundreds, and I’ve enjoyed two of the four cans at this writing. With hoppy malts on the nose, and white flowers on the palate, it’s a great expression of the style, and awesome for autumn.

Last weekend, before the lockdown restricted dining yet again in Maryland (and for good reason, I might add), we took in another pizza and a couple of New England IPAs to wash it down with. The Cush NEIPA comes in at 6,7% abv, with a juicy, hazy, bitter back end that’s refreshing. The Computed Emotion DIPA clocks in a 8,7% abv, and it features a piney nose with grapefruit on the palate, and an evenly bitter finish.

We’re looking forward to more from this local star–and we’re fortunate to be able to support their efforts during this time in a responsible way.