Brewery: Cushwa Brewing Company
Date of Visit: Saturday, February 18th
Beers to Try: Collapsible False Bottom, Chocolate Love, The People’s Champagne, TyPA Workflow Disruption.
Thoughts: A third and final stop on the notorious February 18th brew tour that already included GearHouse Brewing Co and Roy Pitz of Chambersburg PA is Cushwa Brewing of Williamsport, Maryland. To continue the trend of newly opened breweries, Cushwa opened in January 2017 as a 3.5 bbl brewhouse with the mission of bringing new beer styles to Western Maryland. We arrived after a short drive from Chambersburg and were eager for a tasty brew.
The menu on the walk was a chalk-written list of a handful of beers that sounded interesting, but I immediately jumped for the Collapsible False Bottom coffee porter at 7.2% abv. I’m a huge supporter of the trend of putting coffee with beer – it’s the two greatest liquids on earth combined in one scrumptious drink. I’ll save my breath on giving my thoughts on this beer, and simply show my Untappd checkin:
Yep, that’s about it. This beer was amazing. The beer had a great porter backbone that added a perfectly balanced coffee aspect – delicious. To continue testing their dark beer offerings, I went with the Chocolate Love chocolate stout at a more mild 4.6%. Perhaps it was that CFB set the bar so high, but I found Chocolate Love to be a bit of a letdown. With CFB, the coffee was pronounced and forward, while in Chocolate Love the chocolate was much more content to be a bystander. The stout was mild in terms of roasted character, but even this was not enough to allow the chocolate to really shine. I hope the next batch of this ups the dose of the chocolate, but we will see.
I went on to sample The People’s Champagne – a very good representation of Berliner-Weiss, which is a style that has recently really grown on me. They also appropriately had the raspberry syrup for addition if you are so inclined – I sampled with and without, and found it unnecessary, but not a bad addition. I finished with the TyPA Workflow Disruption IPA – a self-described small batch IPA. It was a solid IPA that was well hopped and unique enough for me to remember. I’d highly recommend grabbing a glass of this if you find it on tap during your visit.
The Area: Williamsport is a smaller suburb section of Hagerstown Maryland, which is becoming a cooler area in recent years. Locally, there is at least one other brewery I’d recommend you check out – Antietam Brewing, a part of Benny’s Pub, brews delicious beer of all styles that pairs well with their collection of homemade food. They also feature a pool hall and ‘to go’ liquor store to round out the offering. You can find a minor league affiliate of the Washington Nationals – the Suns playing locally during the Spring and Summer, which are always fun games. Go on a Thursday for drink specials as well! The area also features Antietam National Battlefield for history buffs and novices alike, which has a great visitor center and tours of the grounds.
Closing Thoughts: Cushwa is a welcome addition to the Hagerstown area that has lacked entertainment options for a while, and lacked breweries up until late. Now, with Cushwa and Benny’s around good beer is becoming more available. Especially if you expand the area to include Chambersburg (or even Frederick), this area is definitely worth visiting for a day. A note worth mentioning – Cushwa tends to get fairly busy, and even had to shut down for a few weeks because they drank themselves out of beer. They reopened in late March 2017 and hope to avoid that problem in the future!