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Releasing his inner beer geek

September 17, 2008|By CHRIS COPLEY

Jamie Wainwright is a man with a mission. He wants beer drinkers in the Hagerstown area to know that there's a big, wide world of flavor out there beyond the pale pilsners and lagers made by Budweiser, Michelob and the like.

"There are so many specific different kinds of beers," he said. "You can find a beer for any mood, any activity, it's just incredible."

Wainwright has an amazing collection of beers at home - more than 700 different varieties, he said. He has ales, lagers, pilsners, porters, stouts and barleywines. He has beer that's red, yellow, pink, brown, amber and black. He has beer from America and from across the world.

But the beers in his collection are not for drinking. They're for blowing visitors' minds. The drinking beers are elsewhere in the house.

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"I've got a fridge in the garage with 50 different beers," Wainwright said. "I ask people, 'What are you in the mood for? Fruity? Hoppy? Light? Dark? Strong?' I've got it."

Wainwright is more than a good host. He is also the bar manager for Barefoot Bernie's Bar & Grill in Hagerstown. And he has brought his enthusiasm for beer to his job.

Once a month, Wainwright hosts a beer tasting at Barefoot Bernie's. To share his passion.

"I want everyone to try everything," he said. "I want everyone to be as enthusiastic as beer as I am. It's exciting."

On the third Wednesday of every month, Wainwright brings six different beers by a featured small brewer to Bernie's. He calls the event Pint Night. Distributors and sometimes representatives from the brewery attend to talk to customers and answer questions.

On Pint Night, Bernie's offers free samples of any or all the featured beers. Customers may buy a pint to go with dinner, but there's no requirement to purchase anything at the tasting. Customer who buy a pint can keep the glass, which is printed with the brewer's logo.

There are two featured brewers for September, Wainwright said - Fordham Brewing Company and Old Dominion Brewhouse. Each will bring three beers.

Wainwright is happy with his success so far. He's selling beer, but mostly, he's seeing beer-drinker try new things.

"We started with a Miller Lite crowd. Now I've got guys here trying other beer," he said. "People who come, they love it because we're not snooty. I want to make sure people can try different syles without having to pay."

For October's Pint Night, Wainwright will push the envelope. He's lining up seasonal beers - Sam Adams Octoberfest, several pumpkin ales, a Belgian pale ale called Lucifer, Blue Moon Harvest Ale, even Dead Guy Ale by Rogue Brewery.




If you go ...



WHAT: Pint Night

WHERE: Barefoot Bernie's Bar & Grill, 901 Dual Highway, Hagerstown

WHEN: 6 to 8 p.m. today

COST: Free 2-ounce samples; pints of beer available for purchase.

CONTACT: Call 301-797-4422 or go to www.barefootberniesusa.com

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