Justin Trawick & The Common Good perform at Love Thy Beer 2023 on Feb. 10, 2023. (Photo by Dan Rozman)
Love Thy Beer’s 2023 Winter Warmers
By Dan Rozman
For the seventh year, the Brewers Association of Maryland (BAM) recently hosted the Love Thy Beer 2023 Maryland Beer Festival in Silver Spring, Maryland, to celebrate craft beer and its rich culture heritage. There were 27 breweries pouring at least 55 unique beers at the Feb. 10 gathering.
According to Abby Casarella, Director of Events at Grow & Fortify, “This is the premier event for FeBREWary. A true celebration of Maryland’s love of craft brewers and beer!”
FeBREWary is the official month-long celebration of Maryland craft beer. Love Thy Beer (LTB) is BAM’s annual showcase of locally crafted winter ales and lagers. In this world of IPAs, fans of malt-forward, winter beers were in heaven. Part of what makes this event special is that some of the beers are small batch, and this might have been the only opportunity to enjoy them.
Light fare was provided by Silver Spring’s McGinty’s Public House. Additionally, we were treated to an evening of music by Justin Trawick and The Common Good. Trawick said, “My mom grew up down the street. It’s awesome to be playing for this crowd in Silver Spring. As a beer lover, I’m really excited to try all these beers in between songs.” (Trawick can be seen next at Bright Box Theater in Winchester, Virginia, on April 21.)
Each brewery entered a special beer for the Cupid’s Curse award. The attendees got to vote for their favorite. This year’s Cupid’s Curse winner was Streetcar 82 Brewing Co. with their Red Velvet Golden Stout called “The Velvet Lounge.” Jon Cetrano, Mark Burke, and Sam Costner are the three guys behind Streetcar 82 Brewing Co. They are graduates of Gallaudet University and live along the old 82 Streetcar line that is the brewery’s namesake.
While many brewery names are easy to understand, some need to be explained. According to Matthew Evans from family-owned 1623 Brewing Company, “The name comes from the mileage that connects our families in Maryland and Colorado.” For Love Thy Beer, they were “pouring our Cupid’s Curse beer, which is a french toast, and coffee white stout and we also have Syrupstitious, a maple Doppelbock and Just the Tap, a pale ale that we’re releasing soon.”
One of the unique things about Love Thy Beer is that the people pouring the beers are very involved in the process. This gives folks an opportunity to discuss the beers, learn about the process and hear the backstories for some of the more unique offerings.
Aaron Blessing, Director of Brewing for Antietam Brewery, echoed those feelings. “It’s really nice to go to a beer festival and have brewers pouring the beers. I think that’s what the Brewers Association Maryland has really cultivated with this event. As far as the beer that I’m pouring, we have Nemo’s Table Beer, which is a saison brewed with agave nectar and pink peppercorn, which is then conditioned on dried figs. We also brought a red ale that is super flavorful. This is a 10-gallon batch, I did it on my pilot system.”
Typically breweries bring high-alcohol beers to Love Thy Beer. Silver Branch Brewing Co. head brewer Chris Broome brought “a couple big beers as is the kind of a tradition at Love Thy Beer, but we did it in the Silver Branch way. We brought our biggest lagers, Train to Midnight, which is a Baltic Porter, big rich but still a lager, and Branchinator, our doppelbock. We hope you like it.” He explained that Doppelbock is the “liquid bread” enjoyed in Bavaria during Lent.
Steve Moore told the history of True Respite Brewing Company‘s valentine’s beer, Certified Banger. “Our Cupid’s Curse beer for the night is a 10.5% Aphrodisiac Stout w/ oysters, chocolate, raspberries, strawberries, coffee, vanilla, and honey that’s been in the head of our brewer for four or five years. They came to us with it and we said let’s do it. We’re really excited to be here at Love Thy Beer again this year and want to give a big thank you to BAM for setting us up.”
Steinhardt Brewing in Frederick, Maryland, specializes in European — German and Belgian-style — beers. Jim Steinhardt said, “We brought a Belgian Quad with cherries today as well as a Czech dark lager. We recently expanded our tasting room in Frederick. So now we have almost 8,000 square feet of beautiful space. We’re glad to be here at this event showcasing a lot of heavier, richer winter-style beers. Come on out to our brewery, we’d love to see you.”
Robbie with Monocacy Brewing Company and Brewer’s Alley summed up the evening perfectly: “This event is great because it highlights local Maryland quality beers made with quality ingredients.”
FeBREWary is the perfect time to visit and explore Maryland’s breweries.
The next BAM beer festival is the Maryland Craft Beer Festival on May 13 in Frederick, Maryland. If you are a local beer lover, this is a must-attend event.
Author Dan Rozman is an investor in several breweries and a member of Brewers United for Real Potables (BURP).
Here are some photos of the Love Thy Beer festival in Silver Spring, Maryland, on Feb. 10, 2023. All photo by Dan Roman.