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Our panel really liked Brimstone’s Irish Stout. March brews it with a combination of two row pale and crystal malts as well as flaked and toasted barley. It’s hopped with both Horizon and East Kent Golding hops play their part of adding a dryness to the ale. We found this beer to be full and robust as the brewery boasts. It is in fact brewed true to style, not too bitter, yet still on the dry side. The nose is roasted and rich with flavor. We found it packed with roasted malt flavors. Very complex. Look for a pleasant silky, creamy and somewhat dry finish. You’ll want another! Overall, a great representation of a timeless style.
March Tewey, the owner of Brimstone, began brewing when he was a student at Loyola College, a Jesuit school in Baltimore. Too young to legally buy beer, Tewey and his college roommates bought some homebrewing books and a basic homebrewing kit to begin making their own beer. Their first batches were brewed in their dormitory at Loyola (evidently fertile ground for budding brewers since Tewey's former roommate, Dave Benfield, is now the owner of DuClaw Brewing Company in Bel Air, Maryland). After graduating from college with a degree in political science, he began looking for a way to go into business for himself. Like many young brewers he was passionate about brewing and had no shortage of recipe ideas, but the barriers to starting his own brewery seemed too large to overcome. He eventually figured out how to do it.Tewey discovered that instead of running a brewery, he could hire an existing brewery to do the brewing for him, while he concentrated on the marketing. Financially, it made a lot more sense to start off this way since it required a comparatively small investment. Doing things this way allowed him to get some cash flow while he slowly entered the market. It also allowed him some time to hone his brewing skills. "I realized that I still had an awful lot to learn," says Tewey. He enrolled in brewing courses at the Siebel Institute in Chicago to fill the gaps in his brewing knowledge.In the meantime, Tewey's amber beer was brewed by contract at the Frankenmuth Brewery (Frankenmuth, Michigan) beginning in late 1993, with later help from the Lion Brewery (Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania) as sales increased and shipping costs became more of an issue. This first beer was called Brimstone Amber in honor of Tewey's dormitory drinking days. Tewey laughs as he tells how he and his friends would often joke that the Jesuits down the hall were probably thinking of fire and brimstone, not malt and hops. The name stuck, and further inspired not only the name of the eventual brewery, but also Tewey's stone beer. The money that he made from contract brewing, meanwhile, was immediately put to work establishing his own brewery. Many contract brewers through the years have publicly proclaimed their dedication to brewing locally while continuing to contract with distant breweries, but Tewey put his money where his mouth was.Site selection and business plan development for his own brewery began almost as soon as the first cases of Brimstone Amber were loaded onto distributors' trucks. Within six months of the time Brimstone Amber went on sale, Tewey was breaking ground -- or rather, breaking down brick -- on what would become the Brimstone Brewing Company. The rest, as they say, is history.For more information about the brewery and scheduled tours, call (301) 694-7899
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