Monday, August 10, 2009
A Pleasant Surprise: Ruddy Duck Brewery
The wife and I were looking for a day trip on Sunday and decided on a jaunt down to Solomons Island, MD. Before we left the house we did a quick check on the Solomons Chamber of Commerce website and noticed that there was a local winery, aptly named the Solomons Island Winery. Now, we aren't big wine drinkers, but it sounded like a nice thing for us to do together. The winery was located about 10 miles outside of Solomons. Now the website reads, "Located on 15 acres just north of Solomons Island in southern Calvert County Maryland..." This quote led me to believe that the winery actually grew grapes on premises. After carefully plotting our way there, we pulled onto Monticello Road off Rt. 4 and wound our way back into the woods following signs to the winery. At one point as we were driving through the woody lot Meg said, "I hate these little wineries that are hard to find, at least breweries are located right on the road." Which ended up being a foreshadowing comment. Well we found the "winery", which was actually someone's house. We walked around to the backyard and found the entrance to the "winery." There was 6 of us there for the tasting and that was probably two too many people to fit in the sampling room. We tried several things, both white and red, sweet and dry and really did not enjoy any of the wines. The lady running the tasting informed us that they buy grape juice just ferment it on premises. We politely purchased a bottle of white and peeled wheel out of there throw rocks all the way to Rt.4.
Now, here is where it gets good. As we were waiting for a break in the traffic in order to pull onto Rt. 4, Meg and I saw across the road a grain silo sticking out the top of a building and we were pretty certain that we just spotted a brewpub and noted it for the return trip. We then proceeded to spend some time in Solomons touring around and eating lunch.
On the return trip we pulled into where we thought we spotted a brewpub and sure enough we sat there staring at the Ruddy Duck Brewery. We managed a pair of seats at the bar and were approached by Jay the barkeep. He informed us that they had six of there own house brewed beers and I another six guest beers on tap as well. We asked for the flight of six sampler, in order to taste their full spectrum of beers and I'm glad we did. Most were really great, the six included a wit, a pale ale, an IPA, a porter, a trippel, and a golden ale. Probably the only one that was unremarkable was the golden ale, but I feel that is pretty typical for the style. After making short work of our flight, we each moved onto a pint. I went with the IPA which was very bright with citrus hop flavor. Meg choose the Wit, which is saying quite a lot, because she has a general aversion to anything brewed with wheat. We talked more with the barkeep and he informed us that the Ruddy Duck just opened in June and that in the last few weeks the place was really coming into its own. I inquired about the brewer and he said it was a guy named Jonathan who had 15 years of experience brewing in the DC area including brewing at Sweetwater Tavern.
We paid the bill and headed back to the big City, but we both agreed that another trip down to the duck for dinner might be in our near future.
Gotta love a pleasant surprise,