October 1, 2009

Evolution Craft Brewing Company

DO check these guys out.

I had the pleasure of talking with Evolution Brewing founder Tommy and one of his brewers, Randy, at the Evolution pint night at Frisco Grille Wednesday night.

It was casual talk, but I think they're definitely headed in the right direction. Plus, their beer is fantastic. Right now there's a holy Trinity, if you will, of offerings --- the Lucky 7 Porter which I've seen all around town, and then the Primal Pale Ale and Exile ESB. Each has its own story worth exploring.

The key here is that they can brew the heck out of beer but are seeking something a little bit different. Look, most of us LOVE the amped up beers, the imperials, the funky Belgians, etc. but the Evolution folks are coming from a culinary background currently running several dining establishments and sought to make beers that are reliable enough to comfortably pair with a freaking meal but taste great as well.

They've nailed it. I'm not much for the whole art of food + beer pairing thing, but its not a joke either (hello, Garrett Oliver! Great book). For years wine has dominated this domain and while almost every brewer and beer expert I talk to respects the hell out of wine (unlike myself, sorry ...) most are critically aware that *good* beer can hold its own in this arena even against much more expensive vinous competition.

Count Delaware's Evolution Brewing Co. among this group.

This is not to say they can't brew the stuff most of us beer nerds crave --- they can! I had a taster Wednesday night of their 'Rise Up' coffee stout which was (insert positive adjective, perhaps four letter word) good. They also have an IPA in the works and are tinkering around with other offerings. I also heard them talking about cask offerings, so they're serious and able.

But, bottom line, their major thrust right now is to create accessible, enjoyable, well-crafted brews that make sense when you're sitting down with a burger, a steak, some seafood, or whatever.

And, it doesn't hurt they're good people.

As much as I enjoy the adventurous stuff out there, Evolution seems to have the great timing of filling a void in the craft beer world. Too many name brewers right now (this is less so with 'local' brewers who haven't hit it big regionally and nationally) have gotten so good at their craft they've left an opening with the seemingly mundane styles that can be filled with fresh, well-crafted, well-meaning beers like those being made by Evolution. This is at their own peril and I think we're going to see Evolution slowly and steadily fill up taps at both the 15+ taphouses the beer nerds frequent (Frisco Grille, Max's, Mahaffey's, The Judges Bench, Victoria Gastro Pub, Racer's, etc.) and those offering just a small number of taps next to the usual Bud/Miller/Coors offerings both here in Maryland and regionally.

So ... check them out. This is gushing stuff but in drinking their offerings (however limited right now), talking to them, there's a plan and obvious skill, and with the whole local feel they're definitely worth seeking out and supporting.


BaltimoreMan said...

I agree. Evolution makes very good, yet very basic beer. You know what you are getting, which is a good thing. Their Pale is a Pale, their ESB is an ESB, they didn't try to make it something that it isn't (which I like)- sorry haven't tried the porter yet. There are days when I want to try that far out there beer, but most other days (especially when dining out) all I want is a good beer with dinner.

Also, my guess on the four letter word- "very"

BeerGuy said...

The ESB was good, good stuff, Tommy said it had a Cascade-y nose (thus, the exile name, just a slight departure from a purely traditional ESB) but otherwise was very middle ground ESB.