The 10th Annual Maryland Craft Beer Festival
By Dan Rozman
On Saturday, May 13, the early rain didn’t stop the brewers and more than 2700 beer lovers from having a great time. The Brewers Association of Maryland (BAM) hosted the 10th annual Maryland Craft Beer Festival in Carroll Creek Linear Park in Frederick, Maryland. Sixty-Nine (of the over 100) Maryland breweries served more than 200 unique beers.
With so many beers, it was hard to decide on a favorite. This event is an excellent opportunity to enjoy beers from breweries you already love and ones you haven’t tried or maybe even heard of before. While there were plenty of IPAs and Stouts to enjoy, there were various other styles.
Scott Janish from Sapwood Cellars said, “We love pouring at an event that helps the Brewers Association of Maryland and gets new breweries on a lot of people’s radar. Anytime you can get so many breweries in one place, it’s also fun for the brewers to go around and talk to each other. I just had a conversation with someone about the equipment they bought. Opportunities like that make these types of events helpful to the local brewing community as well as the beer lovers in attendance. There are so many beers to choose from now, people tend to gravitate towards what they know they like. An event like this is an excellent chance for them to try beer styles they wouldn’t normally buy. Even though it’s raining, it’s still a lot of fun.”
Nine food trucks served a varied selection of foods. With six bands playing live music during the day, there was a lot to enjoy while drinking the beers, meads, ciders, and seltzers. It was almost impossible to not have a great time.
According to BAM, “Brewing beer in Maryland dates back to the American colonial period when the first brewing company in the colony opened in Annapolis in 1703. With a rich history spanning more than 300 years, BAM is committed to continuing the proud tradition of crafting world-class beer in the Old Line State. Maryland craft breweries continue to grow and support local communities, from small business owners to the family farm.”
As with other BAM events, the folks pouring were from the breweries and were knowledgeable about not only their beers but about the styles in general. Many of them had great stories about the brewery or the beers they were pouring. Rich from Midnight Run Brewing summed up the day when he said, “It is rainy as hell out here but stop by and drink some good beer.” One of the beers they were serving was The Grape. The base for The Grape is a beer called Samuel Ale Jackson (10.5%). It is named after Dave Chappelle’s skit because it’ll get you drunk. It started with a natural grapeness and then we added what we call the “grape treatment” to it, which brought out the grapeness and created this sour beer. So while it is a sour it is still 100% Vienna base beer.
One of Baltimore’s original craft brewers, Oliver Brewing Company is celebrating its 30 years of brewing beer. Jason Williams commented “We are excited to be at the Frederick Beerfest today, celebrating Maryland beer. We’re pouring a slew of double IPA, Barrel-aged Speed of Darkness, and a wonderful fruited sour.” At the other extreme, there were new breweries like Abbeywood Brewing which was started in 2018 and has beers in distribution but hasn’t settled on a location for a tasting room yet. Matt explained, “We are not your average craft brewery. You can come to see us right now in liquor stores, and restaurants. We have been feverishly looking at commercial real estate for a while now and we’re coming close.”
Frederick area-based Prospect Point Brewing is out on a farm with a country setting. According to Nick and Alex, “We’re coming up on our one-year anniversary next Saturday, May 20. We’ll be introducing several small-batch specialty beers. We also have a wide variety of seltzers, sours, and slushie machines.” In addition, They are going to have a lot of live music and food trucks. “We’re super family and dog friendly. We have a 9-acre hop yard. It’s an all-around great place to go with a lot of outside space.” Mystique Barrel Brewing and Lager House, which is still in the planning phase, was also there offering a rare chance to enjoy their beers.
The 2023 Maryland Craft Beer Festival was a tremendous success and a great time was had by all! With breweries from all over the state, everyone was able to find beers they could truly appreciate and enjoy. The festival reflects an appreciation for craft beer’s history, flavor, and the community that it was born out of.
So until next year, cheers!
Here are scenes from the 10th annual Maryland Craft Beer Festival in Carroll Creek Linear Park on May 13, 2023. All pictures by Dan Rozman.