We just arrived at my aunt and uncle’s weekend getaway (soon to be retirement) home in St Michaels, Maryland situated in an area known as the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. A sleepy town on the surface but all around there is a quiet bustle of boutique shoppers and vacationers. The area is beautiful, my aunt and uncle’s place an exemplar of subdued extravagance.
They live on Mt. Misery Road – something of a misnomer as the area couldn’t be less mountainous or miserable, unless you count their neighbors: Donald Rumsfield and Dick Cheney own houses nearby. The back of the property, where the house sits, looks out over an arm of the bay. It is quiet, picturesque, one of my favorite places to spend time. Down on the dock the crab pots are out of the water and the tide is too high to harvest the oysters just off shore. Yesterday’s crab haul waits in the fridge.
Ron greets us and shortly pulls out a local beer by Fordham Brewing, handing me a glass. The label says “Est. 1703” on one side and “Re-Est. 1995” opposite. Looks like they have been in business for a long time. Although the beer is brewed & bottled by Southern Beverages Inc in Dover, Delaware, the recipe is from the Fordham family.
Simply labeled “Lager”, it pours a clear, rich golden color. I am able to coax a little white head to the top of my beer, but it quickly fades. Bringing the glass to my nose there is a noticeable sweet aroma. Honey flower lurks in the background giving the impression of noble hops. Like the aroma, the draught is grainy and sweet. As it rolls around a low hop bitterness comes out hanging on to the carbonation crispness. The only fault I can point to is an insufficient carbonation. Medium bodied, the finish is pleasantly bitter leaving the memory of initial sweetness.
It occurs to me that this is not simply a “lager”. Thinking for a moment, I peg it at Munich Helles. A read of the BJCP guidelines for category 1D confirms my suspicion. Not surprising that Fordham picked the simpler moniker for wider appeal, but they should be proud of the fine Helles. I might make room in my suitcase for this (with the Old Dominion barleywine).