July 29, 2009

Tasting Room Question

Are there any "tasting room" type places for local breweries besides Flying Dog, Clipper City and Eastern Shore Brewing? We're looking at you, Clay Pipe, Dog Brewing, etc.

I absolutely love tasting rooms -- you can interact with brewery folk at their facility, have a low-cost range of tasting options, maybe get a snack, maybe buy some merchandise, maybe take home a growler if available, and maybe get a tour. During my most recent travels we hit up several tasting rooms and had a great time.

So far I've experienced Flying Dog's tasting room which is a blast, and hopefully can get into Clipper City's (as part of their brewery tour) before college football season starts and my Saturdays become booked solid through December.

I'm sure there's all kinds of legal hurdles to them here in Maryland, but in my mind its a great thing for breweries to do.

Obviously some breweries have attached restaurants and bars (Pratt Street Ale House, Brewer's Art, Ellicott Mills, Red Brick Station) so this is less of a concern, but even with that I've seen such places open a satellite tasting room or used their brewery as the tasting room facility and opened separate bars/restaurants.

Hopefully that becomes more of a trend here in lovely Maryland.


Brandon Miller - Milhouse44 said...

I do like the direct from the brewery growler fills. I normaly only get to do that out of state. Wiliamsburg Ale Werks (Williamsburg Va)and Roy Pitz (Chambersburg, PA) are good for that.
You will have no luck with Clay Pipe since Dog Brewing bought the Clay Pipe brewery when it became contract brewed by Wild Goose/Flying Dog....so actually you have already been to that one.
Tasting rooms would be nice but other than Clipper City and "Wild- Flying Dog", Hook and Ladder (contract brewed by High Falls Brewing Co in New York...a Local Beer?!?!)and Baltimore-Washington Beer Works (Contract Brewed by Clipper City) all the other breweries in Maryland are attached to restaurants to distribute their beer and swag.

Alexander D. Mitchell IV said...

The days where brewers could just take a break and crack open a short-filled bottle with an unexpected guest are long gone. I was at a major brewery in the nation's second smallest state the other day doing an interview and photos for Mid-Atlantic Brewing News, and it took THREE MONTHS for us to mutually fit our schedules, and the brewers I was talking with had to dart in and out from brewing, unloading trucks, driving forklifts, etc. Breweries that take the effort to have weekend tours (Clipper City, Wild Goose/Flying Dog, etc.) are usually paying someone overtime or flex time to host the tour, pour some beers, etc.

The popularity of "Tasting rooms" almost always comes down to precisely one thing: free beer. For every serious beer aficionado on a tour asking about technical brewing questions, yeast, etc., there are 2-3 others itching to get back to the open taps. It's embarrassing, many times.

bcharlow said...

Red Brick Station fills growlers, and they've just released a watermelon beer that will knock your sox off. Pure summer!

BeerGuy said...

I almost went for that watermelon beer at Max's this weekend but had to leave for other obligations before getting to it.

Yeh I don't do enough direct from brewery fills. I've done it at Brewers Art but not Flying Dog (yet).

Obviously free (or cheap) beer is part of the popularity but I like the social part of it, I always meet interesting people at Flying Dog's tasting room and get to try some of their experimental stuff that isn't at stores or the various bars.

Randy said...

I just wanted to add a brewery to your radar that has a tap room, if you don't know of it yet. Evolution Brewing in Delaware is like inches from the Maryland line, north of Salisbury. That makes it a perfect place to stop in for a pint and growler fill, and guess what? Hardly anyone knows about it, so no crowd.