By Sandra Zunino
For those who equate an ice-cold frothy mug of beer with heaven, Adrian Moritz is right there with you. Adrian got a taste of home brewing in college 18 years ago and that hobby quickly fermented into a passion.
While perfecting his recipes over the years, the idea of opening a craft brewery somewhere in an east coast town began to form. When Adrian’s parents settled in St. Michaels, the building blocks of his dream started falling into place.
Last year that dream became a reality with the opening of Eastern Shore Brewing. Through enjoying the sport of log canoeing, Adrian met Ted DuPont, owner of the history Old Mill complex in St. Michaels.
“His vision of what he wanted to do here with the mill was congruent with what we wanted to do,” says Adrian. Originally a flour mill built in 1890, the mill now houses several businesses including a bakery, sail maker, woodworker, winery and Eastern Shore Brewing. Fortunately, the property was already zoned for a microbrewery.
The next step was converting Adrian’s recipes for the larger system. “You have to be an armchair chemist,” says Adrian. Making beer requires mixing malted barley with hot water thus activating enzymes that convert the starch to sugars. The sugar is drained off, boiled and hops are added. Once the mixture cools to 70 degrees, yeast is added creating Co2 and alcohol.
An instrument called a hydrometer helps ensure consistency in each batch. Constant tasting during all phases of the process are critical as well. Eastern Shore Brewery now cranks out three ales: Lighthouse Ale, Knot So Pale Ale and St. Michaels Ale. Adrian’s wife and partner, Lori, created the recipe for the St. Michaels Ale.
“She started coming in and brewing with me and wound up creating the St. Michaels Ale,” says Adrian. “We call her the Brew Mistress.” Those who know him have dubbed Adrian the “Brew Master”.
Adrian’s newest addition to the ale line is a Hefeweizen, an unfiltered German ale that is light and fruity. Ales take 10 days to two weeks to ferment, opposed to lagers, which require six weeks for the fermentation process. Eastern Shore Brewing concentrates on ales. “I am an ale fan,” says Adrian. “Ales are generally bigger bodied, bigger beers.”
With the help of local icon, Bird Dog Wheeler at Kelly Distributing, the Moritzs began marketing their beer to bars and restaurants across the Eastern Shore. They now have almost 40 accounts from Kent Island to Cambridge.
A seven-barrel brewery, Eastern Shore Brewing can produce 700 barrels per year. One barrel is 31 gallons, equivalent to two half kegs. Soon the brewery will be bottling the ales in 12-oz. long necks for further distribution in area liquor stores.
In an effort to reduce waste, Eastern Shore Brewing donates the spent grain to Dogwood Farms, a local organic farm. “Typically, a batch of beer creates about 800 pounds of wet grain,” says Adrian. “They can feed it to livestock and use it for compost.”
You can sample any of Eastern Shore Brewing ales in the tasting room at 605 S. Talbot Street. Thursdays are Open Jam Nights when patrons can enjoy live music and ale samples from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
For more information about Eastern Shore Brewing, visit www.easternshorebrewing.com or call 410-745-8010.