Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Our Newest Neighbor: Jailbreak Brewing

Last year Howard County changed its zoning laws to allow commercial ("Class 5") microbreweries producing up to 22,500 barrels of beer and the first of these new breweries, Jailbreak Brewing, opened up on Route 1 only a few miles from us with an emphasis on their own unique recipes for beer.

(Blackeyed Susan Brewing is also looking to open in Columbia, and the owners of Victoria Gastro Pub plan to start another new variation, Manor Hill Farm Brewery in Ellicott City.)

Jailbreak Brewing's industrial exterior hides a spacious, tasteful Tap Room clad in stainless steel, wood and stone, with a large plexiglass window providing a view into the brewing operations.

Customers can sample the beers in the Tap Room or take them home in growlers, and brewery tours are offered most Saturdays at 1 PM, 3 PM, and 5 PM. A rotating schedule of food trucks handily overcomes the lack of a kitchen. They also recently had an "Ales and Tails" event where they welcomed dogs on leashes, and are starting Trivia Nights and Live Music performances as well.

An Orange Hefeweissen poses on the bartop

Kloby's BBQ was the food truck on a recent Saturday

Jailbreak Brewing is focusing on delivering unique and distinctive craft brews, such as a JalapeƱo IPA infused with cilantro, a Blackberry Wheat Ale, a Basil Witbier with three kinds of basil, and an Orange Hefeweissen. The line-up changes continually.

The tour costs $10, with four beer samples and a pint glass at the end (plus some tastings of the experimental beers under development -- in the case of a recent tour, a pale ale, a new IPA, and a rye beer with cardamom and pepper).

Samples from L to R: Basil Witbier; Black Cherry Porter;
Barleywine; Nitro Berry'd

Some tidbits from a recent Saturday tour given by one of the co-owners, which provided good insight into the process of making beer:
  • Beermaking is both an art and a science, with adjustments made not only on subjective matters such as the perceived character of the malt or hops but also on the basis of measurable chemistry factors such as pH and temperature to deliver a consistent product
  • Once the labels are approved by regulators they plan to start canning (hopefully by August), which will allow them to sell in locations that don't have taps
  • They don't plan to expand beyond Maryland (not even DC or NoVA). Their beer has a shelf-life of about 2-3 weeks. 
  • They have started creating Bourbon Imperial Coffee Stout beers, aged in old Bourbon casks. Next Friday is when they will probably have a new batch in the Tap Room and they expect it to sell out quickly!
  • Howard County sees craft breweries and food trucks as part of the necessary amenities to continue attracting the kinds of high-tech jobs (and workers) that are moving here from Silicon Valley

Fermentation tanks with a new batch of Made Wit Basil venting
CO2 into the pail

Small tanks used for the pilot beers

Go check out our newest neighbor, sample a beer or two, and wish them luck!

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