This past Saturday, Z and I spent a solid amount of time at the Maryland Craft Beer Festival. To cut down on driving time before and after, we stayed at an Airbnb just outside of Frederick — a farm residence that didn’t lack in floral decorations, pastel drawings of random children, and witch dolls that hung from the ceiling. If that’s your thing, I recommend it.
The festival was held at Carrol Creek Park, a long pathway along the creek with a good amount of grass for sitting. With 30 participating breweries, a few food trucks, and other various vendor tents the venue got very crowded, very fast as the some thousands of people poured in. However, with that said, the wait time for a brew was never a problem. With your entry ticket, you received a small glass and tokens for six 4 oz pours (the line for more tokens was a decent wait).
After basking in the sun while waiting for the doors to open, our first stop was a Baltimore favorite, the Brewer’s Art. While this event is meant for one to sample and savor new beers, I adversely downed the Birdhouse pale ale in search of food. I remember enjoying it though.
This was my first MdCBF experience, so I didn’t know what to expect food wise. I envisioned eclectic food trucks that offered various meats on sticks or taco-like items served with specialty sauces and fresh salsas. Unfortunately, the food game was lacking. It was ungodly humid (as a Californian, I will never get used to it) and our options included hot traditional fair food (gyros, deep-fried Oreos, chicken tenders, etc.) and a local BBQ truck with a line too long for my hunger level.
Once food was found and had, it was time for pairing.
As long as there is plenty of dressing, a falafel is always a safe bet. Union Craft’s salty and tart Old Pro unfortunately was not. I thought the citrus would have make it a good pairing, but the salt was overwhelming and after a few sips the grass got the rest.
We were victims of the classic ‘fresh kettle corn’ smell that lofted through the venue.
It wouldn’t have made sense not to pair Heavy Seas truffles with a Heavy Seas pour. Admittedly, the imperial stout is not the best drink for summer day.
My favorites from the event included:
With all said and tasted, the festival was a good time. Music was everywhere, water was accessible, and everyone just seemed to want to get their beer and chill on the grass. My only hopes for next year is that the food is more exciting.
Lastly, I am very much looking forward to getting to know these breweries and their beers during my Maryland stay.
Drink Better Beer.