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Note: Top photo of DC Brau’s Brandon Skall and DRY 85’s Brian Bolter is courtesy of DRY 85’s Facebook page. The other three photos are courtesy of my phone. I could have used a real camera, but I don’t love you enough.

I do not excel at photographing parties. Mostly because I hate being That Guy — which I get would be impossible since I’m a girl, but still. That guy who insists on everyone posing together, or taking those awkward “crowd scene” shots in a dark bar, where everyone tries to give you the stink eye, but they can’t because you’ve blinded them with your flash.

Also, I don’t photograph well. I tend to look like a serial killer or like I need to go to the bathroom. Or a serial killer who has to go to the bathroom. (That’s really me, you guys. Not a meme. I wish it was a meme. Maybe I should pretend it’s a meme? Like this.)

I bring this up because DC Brau’s Maryland launch party at DRY 85 last night — which I teased here and wrote about here — was a lot of fun. But of course, the only photos you’re getting from me are an artsy shot of the State Capitol reflected in DRY 85’s logo, a photo of beer on sassy DC Brau mustache coasters and the beer menu… the last of which admittedly employed that awkward flash I mentioned. Oops.

Anyway, it was an epic throwdown. (And if you were a sad soul who decided to stay in and watch bad reality TV instead, you made the wrong choice.) By the time I arrived at 7 p.m., the place was bursting at the seams with people — industry types and local beer drinkers alike. And I think that’s what made it such a special evening.

As Brandon said to me when I interviewed him, “One of the best parts of any event is talking with people who drink our beer.”

That spirit seemed to resonate throughout DRY 85. Store owners, beer managers, bar owners, brewers (obviously) and patrons from all over spent the whole night talking with each other. And, as more beers were consumed, hugging each other. That’s what beer drinkers do. We hug. Or maybe that’s just me.

Okay, so that last paragraph is kind of hokey, but it’s true. I can’t recount to you every conversation I had or overheard, because I don’t remember it all, and it would be really boring. (Although talking with Brian Bolter about the challenges of running a restaurant and cultivating a great bar staff was fascinating.) What I can say, however, is, as competitive as the beer and restaurant industry can be, last night was all about exchanging ideas, celebrating a milestone for our town and having a good time.

Oh, eff. It was about beer, too. Right.

The standout of the evening was, hands down, On the Wings of Armageddon, DC Brau’s Imperial IPA. Since I constantly preach that beer reviews with eight paragraphs dedicated to mouthfeel are awful and snooze-inducing, I’ll keep my review of OTWOA to my usual haiku-style:

Lives up to the hype
It’s like a punch in the face
That you wanna drink

Overall, hop heads are going to be very happy with their lineup. OTWOA is phenomenal and backed up nicely by The Public and The Corruption. The Citizen is also solid, but I noticed a more love-it-or-hate-it reaction last night. Oddly enough, this used to be my favorite, but I would probably pick The Corruption over The Citizen now. Even though I know that tastes change over time, it feels like I don’t even know myself with my new love of IPAs. I spent so long avoiding them!

Unfortunately the Penn Quarter Porter — DC Brau’s nice diversion from the hoppy pales — was not ready in time for the launch. But it should be here in about a week, so we should start seeing it pop up around town soon. Hopefully.

So yes. Last night was another shining example of how I tell Patrick I’ll be home an in an hour — “I don’t intend to stay long — I’ve got work in the morning, and I’m an adult!” — and then I don’t get home until close to midnight, because I was having too much fun. And because I’m terrible at being a wife. Thankfully I’m married to a saint.

All marital failures aside, DC Brau bringing their Maryland launch to Annapolis instead of Baltimore first was a nice change of pace. It’s another step toward Annapolis’ beer scene evolving the way it needs to.

Listen up, all of you beer industry folks: Us Annapolitans not only want good beer, we want to celebrate it. And as we showed last night, we know how to party too. So keep it comin’.

P.S. If you ever have a chance to sit at a table with James from Fishpaws and Rob from Whitey’s at the same time, do it. You won’t regret it.

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