Monday, December 4, 2017

More Spirits and Craft Beer in Ocean City, Maryland

This past Thanksgiving weekend provided an opportunity to re-visit the growing Ocean City Maryland craft beverage scene.  There are currently three breweries, two distilleries, and a winery in the surrounding area. That's not counting the wineries and breweries heading towards the beach along Route 50.

The first stop was to Seacrets Spirits, an extension to the popular resort bar. It is the first distillery built in Worcester County since 1933 and offers an array of rums, vodkas, gin, and whiskey. In order to sample their spirits you must participate in the $10 hour long tour, but for those like me lacking the time, there's an ABC store in the parking lot. Initially I was interested in purchasing the whiskeys but the labels were very suspect, displaying "bottled in Ocean City", but not indicating where the whiskey was distilled or aged. Sounds like a MGP of Indiana product - which isn't an issue unless they hide that fact on the label. Instead I purchased a bottle of their top seller Spiced Rum, but aged on a limited basis in used Bourbon Barrels. The oak seems to subdue the spices and immediately I thought of eggnog. I hope the bottle lasts until Christmas.


A dozen blocks north resides the Ocean City Brewing Company and OC Distilling Company. The later offers a Vodka whereas the former is a spacious sports bar with a game room and a plethora of craft beer options. I didn't get a chance to sample the vodka, but sampled several of the beers with mixed feelings. Some were rather uninspiring but I found success with their OC Lager, Route 50 Pale Ale, Buying the Cow Milk Stout, and Mad Scientist Pecan Pie Chocolate Stout. Fortunately there's a large enough selection for anyone to find a favorite. Isn't that the raison d'être for samplers?
A visit to the Maryland beach must include a side trip to the Hallmark friendly town of Berlin and Burley Oak Brewing Company. This has been one of my favorite Maryland breweries for what, a half dozen years now? They are always solid, have a diverse variety of beers, and are friendly and engaging in the tasting room. Plus, dogs are allowed inside. A standard sampler includes six pours which gives visitors a chance to engage several styles. Here are the highlights. The Coffee N' Creme proves again that coffee flavored cream ales and kolsches are a great pairing. For sour lovers, the Burley Oak Jream series is a major winner courtesy of both their Blueberry Peach and Apricot Raspberry imperial fruited sour ales with lactose. Yet the standard Sour Chicky dry hopped sour hour was no slouch and the beer I brought home. Finally, try the Fudgy Slipper - a dark chocolate inspired pastry stout. I probably wouldn't drink more than a pint, but in small pours, a delicious beer. Cheers to Burley Oaks, Seacrets, and OC Brewing and as always, theCompass Craft Beverage Finder will guide you to these destinations.
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