dark beer on bar_63902653

Zip up your coozie and grab a pint glass; ShoreBread is going on a beer tour. After stopping at the local beer festivals in Cambridge and Salisbury, we decided to go around the Eastern Shore and visit all of the local breweries. The Shore is a hot bed for breweries, hosting six in Maryland alone and four more in Delaware; our home is a very hoppy place to be. Our first stop was in Salisbury at Evolution Craft Brewing Company (better known as Evo) to take a behind the scenes look at how their craft brew works.

Evolution Craft Brewing Company got its start when brothers Tom and John Knorr owned a crab house, Red Roost, where beer was an integral part of their business. The brothers soon began experimenting with their own brew creations and selling it to customers as a way to make some extra money. They eventually teamed up with brew master Geoff DeBisschop and started their journey down the craft brewing trail.

The team first opened a restaurant in Delmar, Delaware in 2009 before moving to their current location in Salisbury, which was once used as an ice factory. The facility contains the Public House restaurant, a tasting room, and the microbrewery all under one roof. The location also houses plenty of room for events and parties.

The Public House incorporates local and fresh choices into their menu by buying products from local farmers. Evo has a special relationship with one farmer in particular who they with provide mash, a byproduct of beer production that has the consistency of oatmeal. This is fed to the pigs on the farm who in turn are given back to Evo to use in their dishes. This creates a sustainable circle that keeps both customers and pigs well fed.

The menu has a range of options including special cheese selections, seafood, and yummy burgers. The kitchen even has a Charcuterie display where anyone can take a peek at how their fresh meal is prepared. Staying true to their ideology that “our passion for our beer is equal to our passion for our food,” diners who sit down for a quality meal will not be disappointed.

For the tour, participants walk through the factory where the craft beer magic takes place. For those who don’t know about the brewing process, production begins with heating malt or other grains in a kiln. Here they are baked at different temperatures, similar to how coffee is roasted. The grains are then sent to a “mash turn,” where they are broken down and mixed with water at high temperatures.

The liquid result of this stage is called wort, which is similar to beer before the yeast is added. The wort is put in a lauter tun which separates the liquid from the leftover grain pieces, which are fed to the pigs. The wort is then transported through specially made tubes to help continue the filtration process and is then moved to a boiler.

Here the liquid becomes sterilized and flavored with the addition of hops, fruit, or other ingredients. For example, Evo’s Rise Up Stout is flavored with coffee, as most stouts are, but with beans from Salisbury’s Rise Up Coffee. Their autumn themed Jacques Au Lantern has roasted pumpkin and traditional pumpkin pie spices added during the brew’s boiling stage as well.

After boiling, the brew is then cooled and allowed to ferment when yeast or other bacteria is added. This kind of bacteria is similar to bacteria found in yogurt or cheese that simply add flavor and are not harmful. At Evo some beers are fermented in barrels, which are also for sale once they have been emptied of beer.

These barrels can be seen lining walls in the tasting room and other locations allowing them to be separated from other brews to prevent cross contamination of the bacterium. The barrels provide special flavoring to the beers because they have already held alcohol such as wines and bourbons. The flavors from these barrels give the beers their special taste.

Evo sticks to their mantra of “evolving” common beers into their own work of art through their creativity and experimentation with different tastes. While we left with a newfangled appreciation of beer, we can’t wait to see what other interesting beer related information we’ll pick up at our next stop at Burley Oak Brewing Company in Berlin.