Top of the World

Last update 2020-05-15

Story of this Beer

I think I'm the first man to sit on top of the world. -- Matthew Henson

Since I re-newed my dedication to home brewing in 2015, I had an idea to make a few beers with local ingredients. I don't think hops are grown around here but I was aware of craft maltsters starting up elsewhere in the US. At the time, I think there was one down in Virginia but focused on distilling malt, a different ingredient from brewing malt.

Late in 2016 I met the founders of Dark Cloud Malthouse, the first independent maltster in Maryland. I saw them tweeting with Eastern Shore, a brewery I discovered during a family vacation in St. Michaels. I mentioned my interest in local malt, which led to a couple of conversations and an offer of some of their malted barley on condition that I give them feedback on how the ingredient worked in any beers I made with it.

For these beers, I wanted to come up with names that were directly tied to Maryland. There are some local beer and spirits related business that have adopted some interesting place names like Twin Valley and Owen's Ordinary, the name of the historic tavern around which the town I live in grew up.

After some fruitless brain storming and researching of my usual sources, like Maryland signers of the Declaration and Constitution, I decided to look much more locally, like Twin Valley or Owen's Ordinary. It turns out that a park right near where I live is commemorated to a local hero, Matthew Henson.

Henson was part of Peary's polar expedition and was the first person actually to reach the north pole from that party. Unfortunately, he was not really recognized until many years later. Regardless, he led an interesting life and I was glad to learn some fascinating history related to my neighborhood.

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