Frederick Brewing Company - Blue Ridge Hop Fest

Frederick Brewing Company - Blue Ridge Hop Fest

Beer Club featured in U.S. Microbrewed Beer Club


United States

Alcohol by Volume:


Frederick Brewing Company - Blue Ridge Hop Fest

  • ABV:

  • Int’l Bittering Units (IBUs):

  • Serving Temperature:

    40-45° F
Hopfest comes with a number of prestigious accolades including BarleyCorn’s 1995 and 1997 Editor's Choice National New Craft Beer of the Year. Every Fall, in celebration of the hop harvest, Frederick brews the Hopfest. As the name implies, the beer has an uncommonly high hop content. It is brewed with three times as much hops per barrel as an average beer. Each year, a different hop is used exclusively throughout the brewing of the Hopfest and this year German Spalt hops dominate this tasty brew.

"We try to capture every essence of that hop in liquid form," boasts vice president Steve Nordahl. "We accentuate the hop aroma so that you can actually taste the hop. That's what makes the Hopfest Ale so unique. Whenever people ask me what [food] the Hopfest goes with, I say, 'Another Hopfest, followed by another and another and another.' We love it."

Hopfest is brewed with a combination of two-row pale, Munich, Caramel, Carapils, and Chocolate malts. This unfiltered, naturally conditioned, deep brown ale is hopped aggressively 5 times during the boil, once again in the whirlpool and then dry-hopped as well! Look a spicy European hop character dominating the nose with traces of caramel malt evident. We found this medium-bodied brown ale to be smooth and creamy, starting with pleasant malty tones and moving over nicely to a spicy hop finish. It’s surprisingly well balanced for as many hops that are used to brew it. Brewmaster Tim Keck stated that, "It’s even better when you burp it up!" Overall, a very non-traditional brown ale, but thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish. We really liked it. Great concept.

This month, we’re breaking tradition a bit by featuring beer selections from two different breweries that are owned by the same entity. It’s the first time we’ve done it in over 5 years and the driving factor behind our decision to highlight this stellar brewing organization is that they make damn good beer. The Frederick Brewing Company, founded in 1993 in Frederick, MD, currently owns and operates both the Wild Goose Brewery of Cambridge, MA and the Brimstone Brewing Co. located in Baltimore, MD. The three breweries combined have taken no less than 41 awards and accolades over the last decade, including 12 World Beer Championship honors and 4 medals at the Great American Beer Festival.

Last year Frederick Brewing Company was named one of America’s Top 20 Breweries by Food & Wine magazine. In selecting the winners, the editors of the magazine said they relied upon the "informed opinions of bartenders, beer writers and editors and industry analysts." The editors also researched the results of ten years' worth of beer festival contests to see which breweries performed the most consistently.

Founded just 6 years ago with it’s flagship Blue Ridge collection of micros, the brewery is recognized as one of the fastest growing craft breweries in the country. By 1995 the demand for their products exceeded capacity which prompted a expansion the following year when an entirely new 57,000 square foot brewery was constructed. Housed in one of only two purpose-built craft breweries on the East Coast, Frederick Brewing Co. now has an annual capacity of 80,000 barrels. The expansion was financed with an initial public offering. The company’s stock trades on the NASDAQ stock market under the symbol "BLUE."

Our panel enjoyed the Blue Ridge line across the board and that’s why you’ll have the opportunity to sample three of its beers. The line also includes a Golden Ale, an Amber Lager, a Porter, Doppelbock, and Spiced Winter Ale. Additionally, the panel gave Wild Goose’s Amber Ale high marks so you’ll have the chance to try that one as well. Wild Goose also brews an IPA, Oatmeal Stout, Spring Wheat Ale, Nut Brown Ale, and Winter Ale. Unfortunately, there’s only so much room in the box so you’ll just have to wait to try the Brimstone beers! Enjoy!

For more information about the brewery and scheduled tours, call (301) 694-7899
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