I remember being amazed when, a couple years ago, a beer industry insider told me that new craft beer breweries in the United States were opening at an average rate of more than one per day.
Being a beer blogger, I typically get invited to a number of new breweries, and the amazing guys at Hysteria Brewing (Columbia, MD) reached out to me early on. Unfortunately, for a myriad of reasons that were out of my control, I wasn’t able to get there until a month or so after they opened.
For weeks, I’d been hearing chatter throughout the Maryland brewing community about their hoppy beers. Even brewers from other local breweries told me, “You need to try their Trash Panda IPA.”
So at the first opportunity, I got to the brewery and immediately ordered up a Trash Panda IPA. It was fruity deliciousness. However, I noticed there were a few dark beers on the list, too. And I think they’re even better.
One of them is Darkest Hour stout, which pours an opaque black with good carbonation and an alcohol content of 5.6% ABV, which puts it right where it should be for a stout.
You get lots of coffee in the aroma, but the flavors end up being a nice, toasty maltiness along with some mild, bitter dark chocolate. It skews a bit English in its style, as you get some hoppy bitterness along with a slightly dry finish.
For a brewery that was established by some great, hoppy IPAs, it really wasn’t something I expected. I mean, if you come across Trash Panda sometime, definitely try it, but if you see one of Hysteria’s porters or stouts, give it a consideration because they’re pretty good – and I think they’ll only get better in future batches.
After all, a brewery like this doesn’t open every day. Well, maybe every couple days, according to industry reports.