On a warm, late Spring day last June, I pulled my old, vintage roadster out of storage, dropped the top, and took a bunch of backroads that eventually led me to Antietam Brewery outside of Hagerstown, MD.
I was already familiar with their beer, mostly because Erika, their long-time sales rep, always made sure I got a taste of every one of their beers at festival tents. However, I’d never made the trek to the brewery, and the car needed some miles, so off I went on the adventure.
Not long after I arrived, Erika met me at the door, flashed that great smile of hers, and introduced me to Daniel Maerzluft, the co-owner and brewmaster. “There’s no way this guy’s the brewmaster,” I thought. “He doesn’t have a beard. Heck he’s got blue hair!”
As it turns out, Daniel has an impressive resume to his credit (including a stint as supervisor over Kevin Blodger of Union Craft Brewing), and is one of most mellow, kind souls you’ll ever meet.
And DAMN does he make some good beer! That day, I was introduced to a Belgian Tripel that had been aged in two different wine barrels, and what might possibly be my favorite Hefeweizen.
So after watching the rise of the NEIPA craze over the last year or so, he decided to give it a try – the aptly named Fashionably Late.
You definitely get a fruity aroma from it which, being made with Azacca (citrus, tropical fruit), Vic secret (fruit, pine) and El Dorado (tropical fruit) hops, shouldn’t be a big surprise.
The fact that this tastes like a very fruity beer shouldn’t be a surprise, either. It’s full of tropical flavors (maybe mango or pineapple?) along with orange, a little lemony grapefruit and just a mild bit of pine. There’s also a sweet finish from the malt that helps keep the bitterness to a minimum and balances out the flavors without it tasting like a syrupy can of Dole fruit salad.
And while it’s not Daniel’s typical style, this one’s really good. It’s very drinkable (I had two) and is definitely one I’d recommend to anyone who likes more mild, sweeter beers. It’s really not over-the-top with any of its ingredients – it’s just a nice, easy-drinking beer.
With Antietam’s large in-house canning line, you should be able to find Fashionably Late all over western and central Maryland.
Bottom line? Fashionably Late was definitely worth the wait.