If you’re headed to Ft. Meade, you might be surprised to discover Maryland has one of the best craft beer scenes in the nation. In 2012, there were just 30 craft brewers operating in the state, according to the Maryland Brewer’s Association. By 2018 that number had soared to 94 brewers! From crisp pale ales to ambers and bocks, or the intriguing fruit-infused and spiced beers, there are dozens of local breweries near Ft. Meade creating something for every palate.
While we can’t list all 94 brewers here – the Maryland Brewers Association has that list – the following are local favorites for flavor, quality, and atmospheric taprooms. Many creations also won top awards in the 2018 Maryland Craft Beer Competition.
True Respite Brewing Company, Derwood
Best in Show – Second Runner Up, ‘Scrum and Hooker’. Winners; Specialty IPA, Gold: ‘Stokeswood’s Neon White’. Fruit Beers, Gold: ‘Guavalier’. Belgian-Style Ales, Silver: ‘Grisette Van Blanc’. Juicy/Hazy IPA, Bronze: ‘Super Jackie’.
Taproom yoga? A three-vessel brewing configuration able to produce higher gravity beers, like the Belgian Trappist-style and Double IPAs? Yes, please!
This brewery takes its namesake to heart, with a goal to create beers in an environment that provides a genuine, true respite from the “busyness” of life. With several award-winning beers across multiple styles – this is a brewery not to miss while at Ft. Meade.
The Brookeville Beer Farm, Brookeville
Winners; Pale Ale, Gold: ‘Dewpoint’. Juicy/Hazy IPA, Gold and Silver: ‘Hop Envy’ and ‘Barred Owl’. Specialty and Experimental Beers, Gold: ‘Flexible Flyer’. Pale Lager and Pilsner, Silver: ‘Philsner’.
With rustic architecture and exposed wood beam ceilings in the taproom, Brookeville offers amazing beer in an unparalleled atmosphere. Relax in the farmhouse, try a flight of award-winning beers, and take in delicious food and music in a serene setting.
Flying Dog Brewery, Frederick
Winners; Double IPA, Bronze: ‘The Truth’. Wheat Beers, Bronze: ‘In-Heat Wheat’, Amber Ales and Brown Ales, Bronze: ‘Dogtoberfest’.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a brewery that does edgy and funky better than Flying Dog. The unmistakable branding art also has an interesting creation story. After a group of friends survived a treacherous K2 climb in the Himalayas – they came back changed, deciding to open a brewery. The eccentric writer, Hunter S. Thompson frequented the fledgling taproom and ended up introducing his own illustrator to the brewery owners. And the iconic label art was born.
Now the largest craft brewery in Maryland, the funky look aptly reflects interesting concoctions like ‘Blood Orange Pale Ale’, ‘Old Bay Summer Ale’, and grapefruit radlers to name a few. Beer enthusiasts can also take specialty courses at Flying Dog University!
7 Locks Brewing, Rockville
Winners; Amber, Dark Lagers and Bocks, Gold: ‘Redland Lagers’. Specialty IPA, Silver: ‘Surrender Dorothy’. Porters and Stouts, Silver: ‘Blockhouse Oatmeal Stout’.
Featuring live music every Saturday, along with rotating food trucks, the 7 Locks motto is simple: “Create excellent craft beer, and enjoy it in good company.” Enjoy a pint or a flight in the spacious and low-key taproom, catch a local game on tv, and meet some new friends, while enjoying some nicely balanced brews.
Heavy Seas, Halethorpe
Local Ingredient Winner, Silver: ‘Blackbeard’s Breakfast’.
With a marketing plan that draws on pirates for inspiration, Heavy Seas serves up several great beers, particularly IPAs. Enjoy one of the flagship beers in the ‘Cannon Crew’, such as ‘Loose, Tropi, or Double Cannon’, or choose from one of their year-round offerings such as ‘Powder Monkey Pale Ale’, or ‘Peg Leg Imperial Stout’. Or sample a flight and find a new favorite as you relax on the outdoor patio and enjoy delicious brick oven-fired pizza, made fresh onsite.
Jailbreak Brewing Company, Laurel
Amber Ales and Brown Ales Winner, Silver: ‘The Infinite’.
One of the closest breweries to Ft. Meade, Jailbreak offers a spacious taproom that serves lunch and dinner, alongside both classic and creative specialty brews. ‘Feed the Monkey’, an orange hefeweizen, and ‘Q.Cumber’, a cucumber saison, are especially delightful summer treats.
Black Flag Brewing Co., Columbia
Smoked or Wood-Aged Beers Winner, Silver: ‘Double Barrel Black Mage’.
As the first-ever brewery to open in Columbia, Black Flag is one of the newer brewers in Maryland, turning out some truly noteworthy small-batch beers. Their stouts are crowd favorites, and the company prides itself in rotating its menu often – meaning there’s always fresh variety. Don’t miss the upcoming summer’s specialty, ‘Orange Dreamsicle’.
Hysteria Brewing Company, Columbia
Spiced Beers Winner, Bronze: ‘The Morning After’.
Another recent addition to the Columbia scene is Hysteria Brewing, offering a wide variety of barrel-aged, sours, stouts, IPAs, spiced beers and more. As an additional bonus – you can also visit the Lost Ark Distillery right next door, which offers tours and samples in their warm and inviting barrel-lined cocktail lounge.
Denizens Brewing Co., Silver Spring
Strong Ales Winner, Bronze: ‘Better Call Collette’.
Since opening in 2014, Denizens has produced over 100 different styles of beers, all with onsite production. Plentiful outdoor patio seating and a two-level taproom pairs perfectly with their gastropub dishes, making Denizens a standout summer favorite.
Rams Head Tavern, Savage Mill
Tucked away in the picturesque nook of Savage Mill – a former cotton mill – lies one of Ft. Meade’s best-hidden gems. Rams Head often slips under the radar as their production brewery is actually located in Delaware, but the tavern is a Ft. Meade staple. Usually once a month, the tavern hosts beer release parties (with specialty, keepsake pint glasses). Also featured are nine rotating taps and over 100 bottles of beer from all over the world – making Rams Head a perfect summer hang-out when at Ft. Meade.
Even if you can’t visit all of the taprooms – you now have a curated shopping list for some of the best local beer available. A perfect way to relax in your Ft. Meade Crashpad!
Written by: Kristi Adams