Behind Bars: Maria Speaks

Behind Bars: Maria Speaks

You may have seen Maria Speaks running one of the many large-scale events at Waterline Brewing Company, the brewery under the bridge. She started as a bartender three years ago and worked her way into becoming Taproom Manager & On-Site Events Coordinator. This week we chat with Maria.

AT: Whats your favorite thing about bar tending?

MS: My favorite thing about bar tending at Waterline is talking about beer with people. I like to nerd out about it and it’s always nice to have a fellow nerd that I can converse with. The other part I enjoy is the social aspect of it. I love the demographic here so socializing with regulars and people who come in is always pretty enjoyable.

AT: Do you have any advice for current or future craft beer bartenders?

MS: Always be open. Be open to try new beers, to try new product period. I love ordering new ciders and wine. I also love that the brewery I work at is all-inclusive when it comes to the beverage of choice. Also, know your beer. Part of the appeal of a brewery for customers is for them to be able to ask you questions about your product or even other craft beer products and for you to have the answers.

AT: If you were a beer which one would you be?

MS: If I was a beer I’d like to be a Gruit. I’d be a Gruit because it’s an OG style of beer. Traditional and original but can taste and look like anything!

Weekly Mixed Six October 13

Weekly Mixed Six October 13

A weekly roundup of local and craft beer that can be found around the area on tap, in bottles, or in cans. These are not beer reviews and should be used for entertainment purposes only.

Flying Machine Brewing Company

Atmospheric Pressure: 8.5% This small batch of Imperial Berliner Weisse is chock-full of blueberry and raspberry with added vanilla and lactose. Small pours only on this insanely smooth libation.

Edward Teach Brewing

Half Truth Wit: 4.7% Named after Blackbeard’s daughter Angelica who was known to be very deceiving with her words, this Belgian Wit was aged with lemon peel & has fragrant clove notes in the aroma with a balanced hint of lemon zest. The flavor profile showcases pils & wheat malt character with a crisp and easy finish.

Waterman’s Brewing

Lumina Landing Lager: 4.6% This easy drinking lager is light, crisp, and refreshing making it the perfect choice for an afternoon on the boat or an evening at the beach house. A herbal aroma accompanied by a slight hoppy finish makes this lager stand out from the crowd.

Bill’s Brewing Company

Hail the Leaf: 5.4% This modernized American Pale Ale is loaded down with Citra and Simcoe. A light haze is present with a balanced (42 IBU) bitterness from Simcoe first wort hopping. No boil hops, but a substantial whirlpool of Citra and Simcoe give the finish a citrus and fresh fruit aroma and flavor.

Flytrap Brewing

Black & Blueberry Berliner Weisse: 4.3% This German style sour was fermented with tons of whole blackberries & blueberries. Now pouring!

Salty Turtle Beer Company

Big Shakey: 6.5% Bright, fruity IPA meets bitter, dark roast coffee for a unique combination of flavors perfect for the hop head or stout lover. This brew finishes with firm bitterness from roasted malts and fruit notes of pear and fuji apple.

Brews & Clues

Brews & Clues

When I heard about Port City Escape teaming up with Waterline Brewing Company for a monthly “portable escape room” I knew I had to see it for myself. I attended the September portable escape with my husband and two friends, and we all had a blast. The hour-long “rooms” are presented in a neat package that are more of a puzzle box. And y’all, it was challenging! I got to talk to Kris from Port City Escape and Maria from Waterline and here’s what they had to say:

Ale Trail (AT): Whose idea was it? How did the partnership start?

Kris Testori (KT): We (Port City Escape) had just started building tabletop portable escape adventures in response to customers asking us to bring the escape experience to them. At the time we knew we there was a huge demand but we didn’t have a clear picture of a full plan. I met with Maria from Waterline regarding a charity event we were donating tickets to and we hit it off. We got to talking about our portables and decided that Waterline would make a great place to host these. As our buildout of the portables progressed we decided to meet up and plan our next steps.

AT: Without giving too much away, can you walk me through the evening?

KT: Sure. First book online or come to Waterline and register. When you get there you are given a ticket for your first drink and you choose a table. Five tables have a large portable escape on it. (Each of these portables is played by up to five players.) The Escape Adventure starts at 6:30 pm with an actor telling the story behind the adventure. Similar to an escape room, our portables have a different theme and a different story. The groups then get to work and will last for up to one hour. Similar to an escape room when you get stuck, you are provided with a clue. In this instance it’s a self contained adventure that fits on top of the table so you will be able to sit with people you know, enjoy a cold beer, and figure out a mystery together.

AT: Do people arrive with their own teams? Is it a team activity?

KT: We have had teams, couples, groups of friends and singles. We have had a few work groups come out as teams.

Maria Speaks (MS): One person could also do it by themselves, but it probably wouldn’t be as much fun.

AT: Can people drink during the event?

KT: Yes, absolutely. The first beer is included in the price.

MS: That’s part of the reason Kris & her husband partnered with us. We here at Waterline think most things are more enjoyable with one of our brews in your hand…and we also have plenty of space for activities.

AT: Why should someone who’s an Escape Room skeptic give this a try?

KT: We have found that most people who are skeptical about escape rooms are concerned about being locked in a room, and the open atmosphere at the brewery takes that fear away.

I would also love to invite anyone who is an escape room skeptic to come visit Port City Escape and let me show them around. We are always working hard to dispel the myth that it’s scary or you will be claustrophobic. And all of the rooms have a door that remains unlocked throughout the adventure.

MS: It’s just a nice way to dip your toes in. It’s a bit easier and also cheaper than an escape room. It’s also really non-committal. I feel like you could do anything for an hour and probably not regret it even if it’s not your cup of tea.

The next Brews & Clues is Tuesday October 15th at Waterline.

Weekly Mixed Six October 13

Weekly Mixed Six October 6

Skytown Beer Company

What’s This?: 4.3% One of Skytown’s fall releases, this sour wheat ale features pumpkin & fall spices.

Front Street Brewery

Barrel Aged Sour Tomb Rocker: 8.7% This incredible barrel-aged sour creation bursts with tart flavor reminiscent of pie cherries. Similar to a Flanders Sour Red/Brown ale, but brewed with heather and honey for a subtle twist and extra depth. It even brought home a Gold Medal at the NC Brewer’s Cup at the North Carolina State Fair this year in the Wood Aged category!

Broomtail Craft Brewery

Oktoberfest: 5.4% BTCB’s Oktoberfest is a traditional German-style Märzenbier (und es ist sehr lecker) made with traditional German malts/lager yeast, a Bavarian water profile, and a good amount of Spalt and Hallertau Mittelfrüh hops! Available Friday at 12pm at The Sour Barn and 4pm at Broomtail.

Wrightsville Beach Brewery

Peach Brandy BA Peach Berliner Weisse: 3.4% Tangy, sweet peach Berliner marries with warmth from oak and brandy in this barrel-aged sour creation.

Wilmington Brewing Company

Pretty Pumpkin: 5% An annual collaboration with their neighbor Apple Annie’s, WBC tosses 100 delicious pumpkin pies into this brew to give it soft notes of spice with a malty finish.

New Anthem Beer Project

Kill the Headlights: 7% A Citra double dry-hopped IPA brewed with lots of Centennial with Citra and Mosaic to round it out.

Behind Bars: Amy Walker

Behind Bars: Amy Walker

Everyone say “hi!” to Amy Walker, Taproom Manager extraordinaire at Edward Teach Brewing on North 4th. Ed Teach is located in the old fire house in the Brooklyn Arts District, but if you haven’t been in you might be surprised to find that the build out leans a bit more nautical. Their brew Teach’s Peaches just took first place at the NC Brewers’ Cup in the fruit beer category.

AT: What is your favorite thing about bartending?

AW: Meeting new people and seeing regulars, plus the beer is a huge high point! ; )

AT: Do you have any advice for current or future craft beer bartenders?

AW: Learn your beer! Know all different styles, and visit as many breweries as you can! Best Job Ever!

AT: If you were a beer, which one would you be?

AW: I would be a Lager, even those who don’t like craft beer still like a good lager! They’re fresh, crisp and easy to sip!

Weekly Mixed Six October 13

Weekly Mixed Six September 29

A weekly roundup of local and craft beer that can be found around the area on tap, in bottles, or in cans. These are not beer reviews and should be used for entertainment purposes only.

Bill’s Brewing Company

New-Age: 6% A light and fluffy pale ale made with oats, flaked wheat, and pilsner malts. Exhibits strong citrus and mango notes in both flavor and aroma from Citra and Simcoe hops.

Ironclad Brewery

Guava Lager: 5.3% This lager gets its pizazz from guava puree and cold brewed coffee for a fruity brew with a zip!

Waterline Brewing Company

Kurt Vienn-ugget: 6.4% Made with Vienna malt and 100% Nugget wet hops. With notes of fresh melon, orange marmalade and toasted bread. Brewer Dani says, “I could have called it Breakfast of Champions, but where’s the pun in that?”

Flytrap Brewing

Sour Papaya Pomegranate Saison: 6.1% Another fruity, tart spin on their house saison, this new brew presents bright, zippy sour notes accompanied by delicate notes of sweet pomegranate and papaya.

Salty Turtle Beer Company

Bourbon Barrel-Aged Barnacle Bill’s: 8% Bourbon & brown ale lovers unite! This boozey companion of the OG brown ale has all of the characteristics of a first-use barrel–sharp whiskey and smooth, oaky barrel with a firm, malty backbone. Finishes warm, like a hefty pour of bourbon.

Mad Mole Brewing

Ledermolesen: 4.8% This Bavarian style pilsner is light, crisp and clean with a welcomed bitterness to round out the bready finish.