Over the summer, I wrote a 7-part series about my summer 2011 tour of Maryland brewpubs. In that same spirit, I offer my Winter 2011-12 DC Brewpub Tour, another multi-part series featuring even more local places to get great beer. I hope these posts encourage you to support the awesome DC-area brewing community and visit more of our local breweries and brewpubs.
Part 5: Growlers of Gaithersburg, Gaithersburg, Maryland
When Visited: December 28, 2011
Occasion: Ben’s birthday party. My son celebrated his 10th birthday with friends at Shadowland, an indoor laser tag arena in Gaithersburg. After the party, we drove across town to Growlers for a late lunch and growler fill.
Growlers has always been one of our favorite stops in the local beer scene, dating back to the days when it was Old Town Tavern and Summit Station. We’ve been coming to the old brick building beside the train tracks in Old Town Gaithersburg for many years. But on our last visit, we were a bit underwhelmed by the beers being poured. I heard that there were new brewers on the job and was encouraged to return to see what was on the beer menu.
I’m so glad I did! The beer menu was all new since my last visit during my summer 2011 tour of Maryland brewpubs. There were 6 house beers on tap along with 2 guest taps. I ordered a sampler rack so I could decide which brew was worthy of a growler fill.
Beers Sampled: Growlers serves a 6-beer flight of 6 oz. pours.
- Batch 500, this milestone beer celebrates the brewer’s 500th batch, a classic Belgian-style Tripel (7.5%)
- Alley Way Amber, this Strong Ale is described as “an old school amber brewed in a traditional French style” (7.5%)
- Roof Razor IPA, a nod to the August 2010 summer storm that tore off the roof and forced Growlers to close for about six months, brewed in the U.K. tradition (7.0%)
- Seneca Pale Ale, a hoppy Pale Ale that is brewed with locally grown hops (6.2%)
- Loose Caboose Barleywine, “a big, smooth, warming sipper” if I ever had one (8.5%)
- PB & J Ale, a malty Amber Ale flavored with sunflower seed butter and organic blackberry preserves (5.5%)
Best Beer: PB & J Ale. This brew had complex flavors, but was an easy drinker. The flavors worked really well together, just like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The brew started with a bready, nutty flavor and then finished with sweet blackberries. We brought home a growler of this unique beer.
I was most impressed with: The creative big beer menu. Four of the six house brews were stronger than 7.0%, including the Tripel, Strong Ale, IPA, and Barleywine. And I loved the creativity of the PB & J Ale.
This is Bret, the Growlers brewmaster. Thank you very much for coming back! When you came in June we were working our way through some massive mechanical failures in the brewhouse and hadn’t been able to brew in weeks. Being shut down for 6 months really took a toll on our old equipment and, consequently, our beer menu. Since then the brewery has been repaired and we are hitting on all 8 cylinders. I am really glad you enjoyed your last visit and hope you will be back soon. Take care.
Thanks for reading the blog and for leaving a comment. We’ll be back to Growlers again soon!
I go to Growlers at least once a week. They have simplified the food menu, removing my favorite dish, two chicken breasts over a mound of very tasty hummous, but the burgers and pizza are uniformly quite good. I have tried nearly all of their brews. The dark beers are excellent, and the Alley Way Amber is amazing.
I didn’t mention the food menu in my blog post but we really like the food at Growlers. Nice variety of traditional pub fare. Thanks for reading the blog and for leaving a comment.