Milkhouse Brewery at Stillpoint Farm in Mt. Airy, Maryland

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Being an adult sucks sometimes. You have to pay bills, do taxes and handle other boring responsibilities, like putting pants on each day. And even though it’s “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” things always seem to get more stressful and hectic as everyone prepares to break for the holidays.

What’s funny is that, when I was younger, I was that insufferable woo girl who wanted to live, work and play right in the middle of the busiest cities. Now, I just laugh and laugh and laugh at that ridiculous, misguided notion. After close to a decade of city-living, I’m now almost two years into living outside of Washington, D.C., in Annapolis, and I spend most of my days not missing it, while craving peace and quiet and a house in the middle of nowhere.

Admittedly this dream may be a result of watching way too much Barefoot Contessa, but I don’t care. I still wish I could wake up one morning and say, “Fuck it, it’s Tuesday. It’s time for an impromptu 100-person canape party in my Williams-Sonoma furnished barn.” Don’t you? Sigh. I want that life.

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So when I came around the bend on Timmons Road in Mount Airy, Maryland, I actually pulled my car over to the side of the road, got out of my car and stared out over the rolling hills. It was sunny and chilly – but not too chilly – and I couldn’t hear anything but the breeze. I was still about a mile out from my destination of Milkhouse Brewery at Stillpoint Farm, and I already felt relaxed.

Then I realized I was the dope in the Prius standing on the side of the road looking lost, so I got back in my car and headed up the hill to what ended up being a perfect afternoon spent with great beer and a group of amazing, awesome and hilarious chaps.

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At Milkhouse, you can sit outside, in their taproom or right in the middle of their brewhouse, among the tanks. We chose the latter, because it was the obvious choice on such a cold day. Plus, how often do you get the drink the afternoon away right next to the very vessels that brought you the happiness and joy within your glass? The beer selection was simple and classic, with their porter, English-style bitter and farmhouse being the clear favorites for me. Seriously, when was the last time a porter and a bitter were the rockstar selections at a brewery? I need more of that in this over-saturated quadruple, barrel-aged world.

By the time I got home, I realized we may still be a couple of years away from having a secluded palatial Food Network-inspired estate to call our very own. But for now, it’s comforting to know that a measly hour and 10 minutes away is a quiet little beer getaway.

Oh, and the best part? They invite volunteers for their yearly hop harvest in September – consider my calendar marked.

Which Came First? The Beer or the Blogging?

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“Beer blogging has ________ my relationship with beer.”

I’m not 100 percent sure how to fill in that blank, because I never started this blog with the intention of writing about beer. Seriously, my first post ever consisted of the following two sentences: “Flying is awesome. And I hate that I can’t jump on clouds like a moonbounce.” That was it. Soon after, I dedicated an entire post to Valentines I made from Kanye West lyrics:

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As I said then: “Go forth, Internet. Let Kanye be the voice of your heart.”

The truth is I’ve always felt more comfortable expressing myself  when I had the ability to edit, revise and rewrite my thoughts – when I talk, I’m a train wreck; when I write, things make sense – and I usually enjoy doing so from behind a computer screen, on a couch and without pants. So, I turned to blogging years ago as a platform to put a humorous and self-deprecating polish on my own social insecurities.

Then it happened. Somewhere among the LOLcats, beer emerged… and I was completely hooked. Thus, Liz as a beer blogger was born.

Finding something you’re passionate is kind of like finding someone you’re in love with: If it’s right, you don’t have to force the feelings, they’re just there. And you can’t always explain it. Now I get that equating my love for beer to my love for a human being (Hi, Patrick!) might prompt a good number of you to discreetly pass a pamphlet in my direction outlining some sort of 12-step program, but I stand by my statement. Because one day I woke up and just knew beer was it for me, the way I knew I was going to marry Patrick on our first date. But unlike that first date, I didn’t proceed to drink too much and embarrass myself out of some misguided resentment of my own feelings. (Sorry, Patrick.)

So where does blogging fit into all of this? Ultimately, blogging has done a lot of things for my relationship with beer. For example, it’s given me clarity into what drew me to beer in the first place – the stories, the people and the diversity – and a platform to explore and share those insights. But beyond the relationship itself, this blog has challenged me to ask questions, take risks and go out of my comfort zone in a way that is new for me; historically I’ve been content to stick to whatever path was the safest and didn’t require me to put too much of myself out there, while silently envying the adventurous nature of others.

All that aside, I still don’t have an adequate way to fill in that sentence, because I don’t have a complete picture of what beer blogging has done for my relationship with beer yet.

Yes, my writing has given me a proverbial sandbox in which to share stories and express ideas (sometimes through memes), but I’m still trying to figure out where all of this is going. For once, however, I’m okay with not knowing. Instead of giving into my usual control freak tendencies, I’m okay with having a direction and no concrete destination. I’m okay with letting things flow naturally here, while enjoying some wonderful outcomes of this venture – a true passion, lasting friendships, my column with The Capital, as well as scores of unforgettable memories and experiences.

So for now, I’m going to forgo trying to find that one perfect word and just say this:

“One good beer is worth a thousand bitches. Love, Liz.”

Read more in this series from my fellow Mid-Atlantic Beer Blogger Doctors: