The Perfect Day

The Capital Wheel at National Harbor

Most beer releases no longer require an explanation. That’s generally the nature of releasing beers in 2020, isn’t it? Merely being hazy, T H I C C or sour is reason enough for a new beer to be brought screaming into this world. And in fact, release culture is a huge driver of the creation of new beers in the first place. It’s essentially an expectation that creativity and innovation never stop. So much of this industry is driven off of what’s next and what’s new. You HAVE to keep dropping new heat if you want to stay relevant.

At True Respite, despite the constant churn of new labels and new products, we focus heavily on keeping our brand personal. We take inspiration from the people, places, and events around us. We infuse a little bit of each of us into the releases we create, piecing together a story and a vibe that encompasses our brand and all the people within it. These projects have deep, personal meanings that tie the creator’s sense of self so tightly into the project that it sometimes takes on a completely unique personality of its own.

“Balance: Tangerine Gose” (3.9%)

That’s why we created the Balance series. Our Co-Founder, Bailey, yearned for a guilt-free beer option that would complement her healthy lifestyle. She wanted something that didn’t compromise on flavor but that didn’t inhibit her ability to train for a marathon or leave her feeling dehydrated and groggy after a pint. She poured countless hours into research of how to design the perfect beer to meet these needs and developed recipes and a brand that reflected her values.

It’s why we honor pop culture references that have influenced us. (“Fast Limes At Respite High” Berliner Weisse and “They All Become Blueberries” Fruited Sour, for instance.) It’s why we re-imagine nostalgic childhood memories that formed us. (Hello, “Fruit Crushers”!)

And it’s why we created the Inner Circle Series of hazies. Each release within the series ties deeply into a different friend, family, or team member’s life. What do they care about? Who are they, really? What brings them joy? We have the ability to honor the things that make each of our friends, family, and team members unique in very specific and personal ways.

“The Perfect Day” Hazy Double IPA (8.2%)

That brings us to this week. Our Inner Circle Series is getting a new release! We’re absolutely thrilled to announce the arrival of “The Perfect Day” Hazy Double IPA (8.2%). Whirlpooled with Centennial and double dry hopped with BRU-1 and Strata, this big ol’ hazy beast was fermented with our house Conan yeast. Our strain of Conan brings big, creamy mouthfeel with a hint of vanilla that only enhances the juicy nature of the hops. The BRU-1 contributes a pineapple and subtle spice character, enhanced by Strata’s passionfruit & cannabis-like punch. Centennial’s sensible citrusy IPA character balances the modern fruit character of Strata & BRU-1 and reminds us that this beer is still, in fact, an IPA like we know and love.

The origin of this beer started around Father’s Day 2019 when Co-Founders Brendan and Bailey took their kids, Aidan (4, now 5) and Aislinn (2, now 3) to the Capital Wheel at National Harbor. Unfortunately, when they arrived they found the harbor was far too foggy to warrant a ride on the wheel. Aislinn in particular was devastated that they couldn’t ride the wheel and took it pretty hard.

From then on, each time Brendan or Bailey said “no” to something she wanted, she kept muttering to herself that “it’s too foggy.” That phrase came to represent her unique experiences dealing with disappointment and searching for understanding. It was also too dang cute, so we named an Inner Circle Series beer after her and released it in Fall 2019…

“It’s Too Foggy” Hazy Double IPA (8.0%)

“It’s Too Foggy” Hazy Double IPA (8.0%) was an instant hit that was even picked up by prestigious national shipping retailer, Tavour, in Seattle, WA. In a stroke of luck, the Marketing Director at National Harbor, Jackie Saunders, stumbled across “It’s Too Foggy” on a visit to the True Respite tap room. When she learned about the story behind the beer, she reached out to Brendan and Bailey straight away and offered to let Aidan and Aislinn ride the wheel and finally fulfill their wish.

It was then that we realized we had an unusually golden opportunity to tell the story of the Capital Wheel and what a memorable bonding experience a family trip to National Harbor can be. Thus, a collab was born.

Delays and restrictions born of the pandemic have made it tough to bring this collab to life. This week, we are finally making it a reality. We’re canning “The Perfect Day” Hazy DIPA (8.2%) on Tuesday. We’ll grab a few cans and head for National Harbor on Wednesday, letting the kids finally get the ride they’ve been waiting for! The weather looks to be a perfect 81 degrees with little chance of rain (nor fog!)

After our joy ride, we’ll round off our perfect day with a perfect dinner at a local restaurant and take the moment to show appreciation for one another and for the experience we’ll have shared at the Capital Wheel and at National Harbor.

The best news, though, is that the Capital Wheel is putting together a package where you can share this same experience! They’re creating an experience bundle that includes a ride on the wheel, a pint of The Perfect Day, and a souvenir mug to take home. You can soon grab a ticket for your own perfect day at the Capital Wheel here:

Plan your own perfect day at the Capital Wheel and National Harbor with these bundled experiences!

We can’t say thank you enough to Jackie and the whole National Harbor and Capital Wheel teams for helping put this together. Aidan and Aislinn are both giddy with excitement for our big adventure and the beer is shaping up to be one of our best yet.


The True Respite Team

Balance Beverage Project

Live with intent. Live with balance.

Balance is about living a life that incorporates all the things that bring you joy. We believe that you shouldn’t have to give up one love for another. Balance isn’t about perfection; it’s not black and white. It’s taking life as it comes and finding happiness alongside all of life’s inherent challenges and imperfections. Be you. Live a life you love. Chase your hobbies. Live with intent. Live with balance.

Born of the desire for balance, I’m thrilled to introduce you to our Balance Beverage Project. Balance Beverage Project is a side project that we started at True Respite late in 2019 with the goal of bringing our customers an alcoholic product that fits within a truly balanced lifestyle. We recognize that everyone’s balance looks different. We want to design a product that complements (rather than hinders) your ability to do the all the things you love.

The inspiration for Balance Beverage Project came last summer when I was training for the Marine Corps Marathon. I love running. I ran my first race when I was 9 years old and have been hooked ever since. However, while logging high weekly mileage during the hot summer months I found it extremely challenging to stay hydrated. I found that when I drank a beer in the evening I would feel the effects of dehydration the next morning during my run. As the summer went on I virtually stopped drinking beer because the frequent dehydration had become too prohibitive for my training.

After a while, foregoing beer started to make me feel sad. Beer is something I love so much that I left my engineering career to open a brewery. I feel strongly about the bonding and communal aspects of sharing a beer with friends, family, and strangers. I love the artistry found in craft beer. I didn’t want to have to give this all up because of my additional love of running. I figured there had to be a way to balance these two loves of mine so that I could enjoy a fulfilling lifestyle that included both.

Thus, Balance Beverage Project was born. I started researching how alcohol affects hydration and recovery from athletic performance. I learned that the diuretic effect from alcohol does not kick in until on has consumed a certain volume of alcohol, roughly the equivalent found in a 16oz can of a 4% ABV beer. I also considered a study that showed adding salt to low ABV beers has a net hydrating effect on the body (while determining that if you add salt to a high ABV beer it’s still going to dehydrate you). Another aspect of recovery I focused on was glycogen replenishment. My research indicated that alcohol does not inhibit glycogen replenishment if one continues to eat the same as one would without drinking the alcoholic beverage (so don’t replace your food with beer!).

We decided that beers under our Balance Beverage Project would be 4% ABV or below, would have an added electrolyte like salt, and would have another commonly accepted nutritious ingredient to add antioxidants or vitamins to the beverage.

You may have seen our Balance: Salted Acai Blonde Ale that we released earlier this year on draft. This was the first iteration in our Balance Beverage lineup. We decided to use acai because it is a low sugar and high antioxidant fruit. It turned out to be quite challenging to source aseptic acai without added sugar. I eventually found a local provider and drove out to Hagerstown to pick it up myself. We brewed a low ABV, salted, acai blonde ale to fit the template for our Balance Beverages.

We’ve got some exciting ideas for the next beers under our Balance Beverage Project! The current crisis has changed our release dates but the ideas are still brewing in our minds and you’ll see more Balance Beverages coming as we get closer to the summer months. It’s also important to note that Balance may extend beyond beer in the future but for now we’re sticking to beer.

Be The Key

Thanksgiving is a perfect day for reflection; not only on what we’re thankful for but where we feel we can offer more to our customers. After some overdue self-reflection, we feel we haven’t been absolutely crystal clear with you in our social mission and how we are pursuing it. Today, we change that.

Our social mission is simple: to spread as much joy as possible and to empower you to do the same.

We opened this brewery because the passion we have for beer and the joy we seek in serving you are unparalleled avenues for spreading joy. Beer is the great uniter. It brings friends and family together to share ideas, experiences, and a collective moment. It’s easy to understand why our love of the craft beer community and the welcoming atmosphere it creates drove us to open True Respite. We wanted to create our own center for spreading as much of that joy as we possibly can.

But that’s the key—there is only so much joy we can spread through providing great beer in a great spot with great people. Your engagement in the pursuit of your own joy is critical for achieving the level of happiness we’re seeking to spread. In fact, our very name, True Respite, emphasizes the role that each of you individually play in your own pursuit of moments that soothe your soul and rejuvenate your spirit.

That’s why we recognize a critical part of our job is to inspire you to create moments of mindful bliss by providing a forum in which you can build them.

You must BE THE KEY.

Practice gratitude. Pursue hobbies. Show love. Make time for friends. Focus on community. Prioritizing these activities can be a sincere challenge in our increasingly busy lives but they’ve never been so critical. It is our hope that every time you see the name True Respite or our iconic keyhole, you’re reminded that you must be the key to experiencing and sharing joy.

Sometimes, a simple reminder that happiness requires effort is all it takes to set a person in motion towards achieving their own happy moment. Once again—that’s why we’re here, and that’s why you’re reading this joy-filled Thanksgiving blog post. We just want to remind you to be the key to your own True Respite.

The support we’ve gotten from you, our customers and our community, has been tremendous. We can’t say thank you enough for the joy you bring us in running this labor of love and we hope we’ve been able to share that with you. We’re now recommitting ourselves to making that goal a more prominent part of experiencing True Respite.

Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for supporting us in our mission to support you.


#bethekey #mytruerespite

On Brewing w/ Gushers (& Other Wacky Ingredients)

The flavor profiles of Gushers and citrus fruited sour ales are a match made in heaven. Tart and tangy, they tease us with sweet, ripe fruit flavors but linger with a defined acidity.

There’s a certain romantic allure associated with plundering the depths of the millennia-old history of beer and wanting to precisely recreate a historical style that, for a moment, might whisk you to another time and place where life was simpler, mugs were clankier, and a person could belly up to a dimly lit wooden bar draped in handmade chainmail or fresh beaver pelts (or something all cool and historical like that.)

Tavern Interior

The downside to a strict stylistic approach to beer is that style guidelines might at best serve to define what one specific historical beer may have tasted like… And often only approximate the average of a variety of beers that were brewed guideline-free around roughly one time in roughly one place. My biggest gripe is that pure stylistic traditionalism inhibits the one driving force that has kept this industry relevant for quite literally thousands of years: evolution through innovation.

To us, that means recognizing and perfecting what has worked and what’s currently working while simultaneously doing our best to progress them. We do this by attempting to design and produce beers that tap into something deeper than just hitting a specific SRM or ABV target. Instead, we want to offer something that truly taps into the spirits and minds of our customers in new and interesting ways. To do this, we most often design beers with the “MAYA” concept in mind:





This concept recognizes that if progress is the goal, brewing strictly traditional styles does nothing to advance consumer preferences and challenges no norms; but also recognizes that pushing the boundaries too far threatens to lose sight of what makes beer (and beer culture) so appealing in the first place.

MAYA is about balancing these two forces to find that perfect tipping point where something familiar is tweaked just far enough to become interesting and exciting while still offering a foundation of familiarity and comfort. Finding this balance opens our minds up to exploration because we have that foundation of familiarity to ground us while our palate explores new and exciting territory.

Fruit Crushers
True Respite Fruit Crushers Fruited Sour Ale w/ Gushers & Lactose

This brings us to Fruit Crushers, our new Gushers-infused fruited kettle soured ale. It’s no secret at this point that fruited kettle sours are incredibly popular in Maryland. Our collective palates have advanced to the point where absolutely burying a kettle sour in fruit is no longer enough to stand out in a crowd. Letting MAYA be our guide, we aim to offer something that grounds us with familiarity yet pushes the boundaries just far enough to be exciting and new.

Enter Gushers. Gushers remind us of the care-free days of childhood. They remind us of weekends and freedom and Saturday morning cartoons. You yourself probably have specific memories of Gushers-laden lazy days, like Bailey remembers herself and her brother sprawled out in front of the TV surrounded by empty Gushers packages and without a single other care in the world.

The flavor profiles of Gushers and citrus fruited sour ales are a match made in heaven. Tart and tangy, they tease us with sweet, ripe fruit flavors but linger with a defined acidity. Combined, you have an incredibly delicious MAYA fruited kettle sour ready-made to provide a nostalgia bomb in a glass of something new yet familiar. It’s honestly a match made in heaven and you shouldn’t knock it until you try it.

Speaking of those who have knocked it, we can’t talk about our decision to brew with Gushers without addressing those who profess that brewing with Gushers is a sure sign that beer is dead. If you’ve been paying attention at all over the last few years, it’s crystal clear: Beer is anything but dead, despite Old Bay Summer Ales, Beaver anal gland juice (castoreum) raspberry vanilla chocolate stouts, and… yes… Gushers sours.

Small breweries are growing like crazy and continue to sprout up everywhere while cutting into the depleting market share of the macro brands that once dominated, even in the face of a shrinking beer market overall. Beer lovers are showing that they value the exciting new twists small locals can offer and that they crave the local connections small independent breweries make with our communities. So as long as small independents continue to innovate and connect with their neighbors, changing consumer preferences will continue to advance the industry to new and exciting heights.

Lastly, for those of you who are still not sold on the idea of your local brewery infusing a perfectly good Fruited American Sour with *shudder* more adjuncts, we can promise you this: You can count on True Respite to respectfully and lovingly continue to brew the traditional styles we’ve all come to love while also using the ample space in our fermentation cellar and on our taps to curate evolution and experimentation. We are fortunate to have up to 16 taps to fill with all kinds of different stuff, traditional and experimental included. And while the nature of experimentation means we won’t always enjoy the outcome, you can be assured that if we brew something that truly doesn’t work, we’re willing to dispose of it, learn from our mistakes, and move forward.

Construction Progress – 2017-12-27

On December 4th, 2017, it finally happened. We started construction on the True Respite brewery and tap room. Progress felt painfully slow for the first week as our concrete floors were saw-cut to open up access to our sewer and drain piping:

At one point, we had our very own Stonehenge made of concrete slab:

Once saw-cutting was complete, things started to really pick up speed. We got an excavator in to dig out the trenches and open up the pits for our plumbers to lay pipe while the drywall team started framing out our walls:

It wasn’t long before we received approval from the WSSC plumbing inspectors so we filled in all the trenches with dirt and rocks and continued to build our interior walls. This wall in particular may have a very interesting future as a 14′ x 28′ art piece:

The concrete crew then came out and began prepping the tank farm sump curbs and the concrete sublayer for rebar supports:

Meanwhile, the drywall guys have gotten to work closing up one side of each wall while the electricians pull wires for our brewery lighting and power outlets:

Every day it looks more and more like the brewery we’ve dreamed up over the years. It’s a warm, happy feeling to watch this all come together exactly like we’d imagined it!

We look forward to offering more exciting updates in the near future. Stay tuned!


The True Respite Team

Brendan, Bailey, and Kenny

On Maryland’s Changing Beer Laws

(Brendan speaking:) Let me start by saying that if any of you caught my brief interview on Fox 5 DC last night, you may have been confused by my response regarding Montgomery County having “the best beer laws in the country when it comes to self-distribution.” When I went back and watched the interview, I was confused, too. Not to make excuses, but I was a bit surprised to find myself suddenly on camera during a live news feed and in my frantic effort to mentally orient myself, I scrambled two separate thoughts into one statement. I meant to say that I believe Montgomery County is the best place in the country to be opening a brewery and that self-distribution laws under the Class 7 state license are what enticed us to come here in the first place.

I did not mean to say that Maryland (nor Montgomery County) has the best beer laws–though that may soon change…


Yesterday, Maryland State Comptroller Peter Franchot had his “Reform On Tap” task force unveil their recommended legislative changes for Maryland’s beer laws. This was a critical step in the path to bringing fairness to the craft beer market. To catch you up on how we got here, consider this laymen’s summary of recent significant events:

The Maryland State Assembly (the people who make Maryland’s laws) voted through House Bill 1283 which was full of bad rules that really hurt most of Maryland’s breweries. The passing of this terrible law turned into a national news story that severely damaged the nation’s perception of Maryland as a business-friendly state. This is no shock considering that a state’s treatment of its breweries has come to be viewed as a symbol of its business-friendliness in general. Therefore, this bill was quickly recognized as an embarrassment for the entire state and it threatened to hurt the growth rate of Maryland businesses irrespective of industry.

To get to the bottom of what the heck has been going on, the guy in charge of Maryland’s money (Comptroller Peter Franchot) put together a group (the “Reform On Tap Task Force”) to study the size of the impact of Maryland’s breweries on the state’s economy and also to understand how the state’s existing beer laws affect its breweries’ abilities to grow and, in turn, generate revenue for the state.

The Reform On Tap Task Force released its findings two weeks ago. To summarize, they found that Maryland’s craft beer laws are exceptionally restrictive for no discernible purpose. (In truth, it is well understood that these bizarre laws came from big money special interest groups and lobbyists who pushed through legislation to protect their own rears regardless of what’s good for the state and its people.)

After allowing two weeks to digest the findings, the Task Force announced yesterday a full suite of recommended legislative changes that they’re going to introduce to the State Assembly, including:

Reform On Tap 2018 Proposed Law Changes

While each of these issues is important for creating a fair and competition-driven market, two in particular stand head and shoulders above the rest: elimination of self-distribution limits and franchise laws for brewers brewing less than 300,000 BBL/year.

Self-distribution is the right for a brewery to sell and deliver its own beer to its own customers. Those customers include retail establishments like bars, restaurants, and bottle shops, and they also include end consumers like you. Currently, there are three brewery license classes and each has its own self-distribution volume limit. Once a brewery has reached its limit, it has to sell its beer to a distributor regardless of whether or not it wants to simply because the law requires it. This is not a market-based decision. It is a legal requirement.

This is bad because it forces breweries to relinquish control of their own product and brand. To help you understand how this works, let’s use an example where you are the owner of a business that makes peanut butter:

In this example, you walk into Safeway and discuss the sale of peanut butter with the store’s stock manager. They agree to buy 5 cases to sell at their store. Since you have the right to self-distribute, you simply call up your truck driver and have him slap 5 cases on the back of the truck to deliver it today. Meanwhile, you get to keep all of the profit made from the sale and you are sure that the peanut butter delivered is of the highest quality when it arrives.

Now imagine you do not have the right to self-distribute. Instead, you are required by law to use a distributor. You make the sale and you call the distributor to schedule the delivery. The distributor lets you know that although the customer needs it today, it will be delivered on a regularly scheduled day sometime in the future because they have so many other deliveries to make and so many other manufacturers to keep happy… unless, of course, you’re wiling to pay an expediting fee to get your own product on the shelf today when the customer needs it.

Eventually, the peanut butter is delivered and the sale is completed. And even though the distributor takes a cut of the sale price, you couldn’t charge the customer more for peanut butter than the competition because the acceptable price of a case of peanut butter is set by the market. So you just take the loss on the distributor’s cut.

Finally, you receive an angry phone call from the customer: the peanut butter was spoiled. The distributor was not following best practices when it came to storage and transport of your product. Now the customer is upset and no longer trusts your brand. In fact, they want their money back and make it clear that they won’t be buying your peanut butter again. You’re angry yourself because this is relatively commonplace and you’ve mentioned your dissatisfaction to your distributor several times with no significant improvement.

Perhaps at this point you’d be looking to terminate your relationship with your distributor. Ah, but you can’t… you see, franchise laws dictate the terms by which a manufacturer/distributor relationship can be terminated and by law, you are required to give the distributor 6 months to rectify their mistake upon notice of intent to terminate even though this has been a constant and repeating issue. And if, after those 6 months, you can legally prove in court that the distributor was delinquent on delivering service of an acceptable quality, you still have to pay dramatic fees to finally break the agreement.

Not to mention that during the 6-month dispute, the bad will generated caused the distributor to decide to stop stocking your product in large volumes so your customers are experiencing even longer delivery times. In fact, your customers may not even want to deal with the hassle of waiting for your peanut butter and risking quality issues when there are a million other brands on the market whose peanut butter shows up on time and with sufficient quality.

And there’s not a damn thing you, the peanut butter manufacturer, can do about the delivery timeline nor the state your peanut butter arrives in because the law requires that you use this distributor and the law requires that you stay with them for at least 6 months even if they continue damaging your brand.

These examples may sound extreme but they happen to real breweries. This is a huge reason why small breweries fail. Take a moment to sincerely ask yourself how many small businesses you know that could survive a bad relationship with a sub-par distributor they’re legally required to use during a minimum of a 6-month quarrel, culminating in a huge contract termination check being written to the distributor for terminating a relationship that was bad in the first place.

It’s obscene.

That’s why these changes are nothing short of essential for allowing Maryland’s craft breweries to compete in a fair and balanced environment. Currently, the cards are stacked in such dramatic fashion against local breweries that in 2016, Maryland’s economic impact per capita generated by breweries was 47th in the nation ahead of only:

  1. Mississippi
  2. Alabama
  3. South Carolina
  4. Oklahoma

These are not states that we should be comparing ourselves to because together, they represent some of the most restrictive and craft beer-negative legislative environments in the nation. (This is to say nothing of the wonderful craft beer fans who inhabit those states! I mourn for their parched throats needlessly being deprived of the vast array of local options they should have access to.)

Still, as common sense as these changes are, the fight is going to be gnarly. The special interest groups who helped form these backwards laws are well-funded and very experienced in the state’s legislative process. We need this conversation to be had and had often. We need the truth of how unfairly things operate to spread like wildfire so that you, the Maryland beer drinking public, can see an explosion in the growth of local craft beer and reap the benefits; both economic and cultural.

Lastly, please call your state representative and tell them you support the Reform On Tap 2018 initiative and let them know you feel particularly strongly about the elimination of self-distribution limits and franchise laws for small, local brewers.


The True Respite Team


He’s a wonderful teammate, a highly accomplished brewer, and a humble family man.

The wait is over. Today, we can finally introduce you to the man whose experience and technical brewing excellence will be a differentiator for True Respite. We’re very proud to announce that Kenny Allen will be joining the team full time as Head Brewer and Director of Brewing Operations.

Meet Kenny Allen

Kenny’s 17+ years of professional brewing experience started in Ashburn, VA, at Old Dominion Brewing Company. His first day was a last-minute bottling gig he landed after walking in and asking for a job on a whim. It didn’t take long for him to realize that he’d stumbled into a special place full of uniquely talented people. He put his nose to the grind and did whatever odd jobs needed to be done while continuing to put in regular work on the bottling line.

Through the high caliber tutelage of the cast and crew around him, he learned the ropes of running a brewing line. He soaked in as much as his peers and mentors could offer, eventually earning his way to becoming a shift brewer. He continued to learn feverishly and climbed the ranks through lab manager and packaging manager until finally earning Old Dominio’s esteemed title of Brewmaster.

OD brewed no less than six GABF medal-winning beers under his direction as Brewmaster. Some were original OD recipes (like the GABF Gold Medal the OD team earned for their IPA) and others were beers contract brewed for other brands. Regardless, the brewery thrived, putting out quality beer after quality beer.

After 13 proud years at Old Dominion, Kenny ventured out to pursue professional knowledge in a larger and more structured manufacturing environment. He spent six years as a production coach and quality manager for Nestle, learning and perfecting lean manufacturing practices. By the time he left, he was armed with all the tools necessary to dominate quality control and to maximize production while minimizing waste.

Six years was long enough to reinvigorate Kenny’s thirst for brewing great beer and a golden opportunity soon presented itself: Kenny was offered the role of Brewmaster at Ashburn, VA, startup Old Ox Brewing Company. Kenny joined up early enough to help oversee construction. He was there for the critical early life of the brewery and helped make it the esteemed beer lover’s destination it is today.

Mid-2016 saw another opportunity to help grow a fledgling brewery arise. Mustang Sally Brewing Company had just opened in Chantilly, VA, and Kenny got word that they were looking for a seasoned pro to take the reins on their young brewing operation. Kenny, now experienced at growing a successful craft brewery from the ground up, jumped at the opportunity to leave his mark on another great Virginia craft brand. A short year and change later, MS is growing at breakneck pace and earning a reputation for consistently brewing high quality, approachable beers. (If you haven’t tried their Amber Lager yet, we suggest you do!)

Still, one thing has been missing at each of Kenny’s stops: true ownership. It’s one thing to love brewing and to love the excitement of growing a young business into a flourishing industry leader. It’s something entirely different for that business to be yours.

Early on, we [Brendan & Bailey] decided that we were never going to hire True Respite’s first brewer. It just didn’t feel right. We wanted a partner in this process. We wanted our brewer to have the same level of energy and devotion that we were bringing ourselves. In regards to managing the business, we wanted an equal who would challenge us to find newer and better ways of accomplishing our goals–especially if those challenges came from a voice of experience.

We’re so lucky to have Kenny joining our team as he has all that we’ve been looking for and more. He’s a wonderful teammate, a highly accomplished brewer, and a humble family man. He’ll be the perfect torch bearer for this movement we’ve been building. We can’t say enough how proud we are to have gotten where we are and to have built the team we have. This is truly the start of something great!


Brendan, Bailey, and Kenny

[P.S. We start construction in two weeks!]

Missing The Mundane

Let us first start by saying we are very much looking forward to one day writing about emotionally mundane things like cutting concrete and passivating steel. We continue to feel a bit like that bitcoin guy:

Bitcoin - Up
Good day.

Bitcoin - Down
Bad day.

Bitcoin - Roller Coaster
Pretty much every day.

It’s a good thing motion sickness only applies to the physical world; we’d never hold down a lunch. Anyway… We’ve crossed another major milestone: We’ve finalized our brewery and tap room design and secured the funding we need to build it! (Stop us if you’ve heard this before.) Still, we have to admit that we’re feeling pretty great about managing to squeeze a little blood from this stone just one more time. (We’ll save you the horror of posting a .gif for this one!) Let’s take a moment to reflect on what has happened since we last wrote:

  1. We designed two breweries: Best Case and Worst Case. This let us determine how much blood must be squeezed from the stone.
  2. We requested a loan increase through the SBA.
  3. Our request was approved by the SBA.
  4. Our request was approved by the banks using the SBA guarantee.
  5. We secured additional private funding from a few key people.
  6. We finalized the brewery & tap room design. (It’s a very happy medium between Best & Worst Case.)
  7. We got a new tap room rendering to finally share with the world (and we’ve featured it on this blog post!)
  8. We received our pilot brewhouse and our pilot cellar tanks.
  9. One of those cellar tanks was badly dented upon arrival.
  10. We received a few of our production cellar tanks.
  11. We received our glycol chiller, air compressor, and keg washer.
  12. We got our online merch store up and running.
  13. We passed the Montgomery County Liquor Board hearing.
  14. We received our Montgomery County Building Permit and had our Forest Conservation Plan approved.
  15. We’ve applied for our plumbing permits through WSSC.
  16. We’ve put in progress cool things like tap handle, flight carrier, and glassware design.
  17. We brewed a great NE IPA and an absolutely delicious Grisette.

Here are a few photos to offer a little imagery for some of the bullet points above:

Bailey defending our request for a liquor license

Denton the dented fermenter

The pilot cellar tanks

The first batch of production cellar tanks still strapped in the shipping container

Hauling the first production fermenter into the space

Our first three production cellar tanks

Our semi-automatic keg washer

Things are still in progress that may end up delaying this process yet again–but we’ve learned to roll with those punches. This thing is happening and we’re very, very proud of what we’re building. Hopefully the next time you hear from us we’ll be droning on about trench safety, p-traps, and low point drains. Until then…


The True Respite Team

Squeezing Blood From A Stone

We have a new challenge on our hands

Things have turned from uncertain to absolutely crazy around these parts. We’ve finished our first brewery design, selected a general contractor, and had the county issue a first round of comments on our construction permit applications. Unfortunately, we’ve learned that the project costs for the brewery we’d like to build grossly outpace the budget we have available. This blog post is all about looking forward to what happens from here.

We have a new challenge on our hands: We have to squeeze blood from a stone. We’re in the process of finding cost savings in places they don’t appear to exist. Being engineers has been a major blessing through this phase of the process and has already paid massive dividends. We’ve managed to knock about 1/3rd of the overall project costs straight off the top by redesigning some mechanical and electrical systems. For example, we’ve moved from a three-unit HVAC system to a single unit with multiple zone control. We’ve also worked with the pilot brewhouse manufacturer to redesign its control panel and heating elements so we can eliminate major costs upgrading the building’s existing transformers and panels.

We’ve also had to step down on some long term maintainability items that we’d hoped we’d include from the start. For example, we’d have loved acid brick / dairy tile in the brewhouse and cellar sump areas. We’ve had to scale back to an epoxy floor coating with the intention to upgrade to chemical and heat resistant tile in the future.

Still–even with these money saving changes, we’re a hefty chunk of the project away from being able to release the GC to get the work completed. At this point, we’re looking at an October start to construction with the tap room opening in January. We’d love to get open sooner but we first have some major issues to solve.

On the positive side, we’ve received some incredible support from you, our community. While our own intrinsic motivation is strong, your enthusiasm for this project continues push us forward with even greater fervor. We can’t overstate how appreciative we have been for your excitement and the regular encouragement we get both from people we’ve known and people we’d never met. Ultimately, this project is about the community we’re bringing it to and you are all already showing us the love we hope to return.

Thank you for your patience and we’ll see you all in the tap room soon!

A Sneak Peek of the Brewery

In case you missed it: We signed our lease! Here’s a peek into our property at:

7301 Calhoun Place, Suite 600, Derwood, MD 20855

7301 Calhoun Pl - Interior - Towards Arrowhead
TRBC Brewery and Tap Room Interior – Before

7301 Calhoun Pl - Exterior - Front Facade
TRBC Brewery and Tap Room Exterior – Before

Finding a property to call our own was one of our largest and toughest tasks. Our list of requirements for the space was not short:

  • Located in Montgomery County, MD
  • 7,000 – 10,000 sqft
  • 16’+ clear ceiling heights
  • Properly zoned for manufacturing and retail uses
  • Affordable
  • Sufficient parking
  • Landlord is ok with a brewery

Still, this didn’t originally seem like it would be too tough of a task. Unfortunately, the word “brewery” almost seemed to be a curse word among landlords. We quickly learned that the complete lack of breweries in the county meant that the familiarity with the concept of what a brewery even is was low and therefore the level of discomfort with  breweries among landlords was extremely high. (We also found ourselves running into the same landlords over and over again across properties. That made things really complicated.)

Parking was repeatedly an issue as well. Often, if the issue wasn’t the brewery use itself, landlords felt that demand would be too great so we would likely overwhelm their available parking. It was almost as if our business was deemed either too weird or too destined for success–never in between. It started to feel like we couldn’t win.

Early on, we were even negotiating with one landlord that required a kitchen. For a while, we considered partnering with a chef. In the end, we just couldn’t get comfortable with opening a restaurant and the landlord of this space in particular would accept no other option. (In fact, Q by Peter Chang just had its soft opening in the space this past week. We’re very happy the landlord got the restaurant they wanted!)

Despite some highs and lows along the way, true success eventually struck for us at long last. Our real estate agent got wind of a space that met our requirements but which wasn’t in a traditional warehouse district. In fact, it had apparently almost become a Ninja Warrior gym before the deal fell through. We jumped at this opportunity and toured the building at Calhoun Place as quickly as we could. Negotiations started shortly thereafter.

We’ve fallen in love with the beautiful surround of windows and the interesting shape of the space. Bailey, in particular, absolutely adores the plethora of natural light and has advocated strongly for this space straight from the first day we saw it.

Now, it’s time for us to transform this neat looking space into a fully functional brewery and tap room. Our sleeves are rolled up and we’re ready to dive in head first!



The True Respite Team