Maryland Spotlight - Spirits Of Maryland
Savor the fall season
with Maryland’s spirit and spirits
Craft beer, Oktoberfests, ghost tours, autumn festivals
offer lively experiences for travelers
BALTIMORE (Oct. 11) – Let the spirits guide you in October, says the Maryland Office of Tourism. This is the season for Oktoberfest events, pub crawls (especially, haunted ones), ghost tours and autumn festivities. It’s also a good time to visit local brewpubs and microbreweries, as the new season ushers in new selections on tap.
Baltimore Beer Week, Oct. 19-28 – an annual event that promotes the city and region’s beer-making heritage – is a good introduction to Maryland beer culture, says Margot Amelia, executive director of the tourism office. “Approximately 70 beer bars, restaurants and other beer-related enterprises plan to host 300-plus happenings during Beer Week.”
"Maryland Beer is alive and kicking,” says J.T. Smith, executive director of the Brewers Association of Maryland. “New production breweries, farm breweries, and brewpubs are opening every month. We also have brewing companies that are renowned the world over. Our community of small, independently-owned businesses continues to make fresh, innovative and delicious American craft beer.”
Amelia says visitors also have plenty of options for seasonal festivals, noting that this time of year, “Maryland’s magnificent fall foliage reflects a resurgence of spirit that accompanies a wide range of outdoor activities and seasonal events throughout the state.”
The 45th annual Autumn Glory Festival, Oct. 10-14, in Western Maryland and the Autumn Wine Festival, Oct. 20-21, at Salisbury’s Pemberton Historical Park on the Eastern Shore, are two such examples.
Here is a spirited sampling of what visitors can find in Maryland during October.
Brewpubs and microbreweries
- Brewer’s Alley Restaurant, Frederick (Frederick County) – This is the former site of a town hall and opera house, built in 1873. Brewer’s Alley opening in 1996 resurrected a local tradition of beer-makers producing their brews in the neighborhood. The selection of more than a dozen beers includes 1634 Ale, a rye-based brew that uses colonial Maryland ingredients. Antietam Ale is the first of a series of commemorative beers inspired by Civil War-era recipes; proceeds benefit the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick.
- The Brewer’s Art, Baltimore – In 2008, Esquire magazine named this establishment the best bar in America. Located in a Mt. Vernon townhouse, it’s both an upscale restaurant and brewpub that serves up a selection of house beers that varies according to season. Resurrection Ale is one of its better known beers.
- Burley Oak Brewing Co., Berlin (Worcester County) – Burley Oak occupies a building that during the early 1900s was a cooperage – a place where oak barrels were made. Those barrels were used for shipping local produce and seafood to Baltimore. Today, the barrels here hold beer. Pale Ryeder – one of the beers on tap – is made with local rye from Clayville farm in nearby Snow Hill.
- Eastern Shore Brewing, St. Michaels (Talbot County) – St. Michaels Ale (a silver-medal winner in Maryland’s 2010 Governor’s Cup competition) and Knot So Pale Ale are year-round beers available at the brewery, which is housed in an old mill. Seasonal beers include Duck Duck Goose Porter, Magic Hefeweizen and Dunkelweisen. Tours are available by request.
- Evolution Craft Brewing Co., Salisbury (Wicomico County) – The tasting room at this small-batch brewery is open daily. Tours are also available. Evo beers are distributed regionally. Mainline beers include Primale Pale Ale, Exile ESB and Lucky 7 Porter. Jacques Au Lantern, a pumpkin ale, is one of the brewery’s seasonal beers, and Lot No. 6 Double IPA is part of the Big Draft Series.
- Flying Dog Brewery, Frederick (Frederick County) – The Flying Dog Brewpub in Aspen, Colo., opened in 1990. The operation soon became a full brewery. In 1994, the brewery moved to Frederick. Tours run Thursdays and Fridays, at 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Saturday tours are noon and 2:30 p.m. Reservations accepted online. The New York Times, in 2010, named one of Flying Dog’s year-round pale ales as the nation’s top ale. Dogtoberfest Marzen and The Fear (a pumpkin-infused ale) are two seasonal selections.
- Growlers Brew Pub, Gaithersburg (Montgomery County) – In addition to a traditionally made selection of craft beers, Growlers operates a small pilot-brewery that produces a steady stream of new concoctions. Past choices in this experimental line have included Holy Mole, Blackbeard Oyster Stout, and Hull and Oats. New menu, starting in October, features gastro-pub dishes.
- Heavy Seas Beer, Halethorpe (Baltimore County) – Established in 1995, the brewery makes more than 20 styles of beer, producing 40,000 barrels of beer each year. Heavy Seas distributes its beer in 18 states and Washington, D.C. Its line-up includes a Clipper Fleet, Pyrate Fleet and Mutiny Fleet. The brewery hosts tours most Saturdays; reservations accepted online. Among its special events, Heavy Seas has a Haunted Pub Crawl through Fell’s Point in Baltimore, Oct. 21.
- Ruddy Duck Brewery and Grill, Solomons (Calvert County) – Eight beer selections include Biere Nouveau (a gluten-free, organic ale), Helles Lager (winner of the Best in Show award at the 2010 Brewers Association of Maryland competition) and Fuggles Brown (an English brown ale). Restaurant offers Sunday brunch. Located next to Hilton Garden Inn and near Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center.
Additional brewpubs and microbreweries are listed online.
Oktoberfests and other beer festivals
- Maryland Brewers Oktoberfest, Oct. 13, Timonium Fairgrounds (Baltimore County) – More than 80 beers from 15 Maryland breweries are in the spotlight at this 11th annual Maryland Brewers Association festival – a nonprofit trade association for Maryland breweries and brewpubs. Event features Junkyard Saints and other bands, a home-brew competition, dozens of exhibitors and a Miss Oktoberfest contest. Tickets are available online.
- Charles County Oktoberfest, Oct. 13-14, county fairgrounds, LaPlata – This Southern Maryland venue adopts a Bavarian outlook for the benefit of the Society for the Friends of Hospice. Live music and dancing, a Miss Oktoberfest contest, arts & crafts vendors, and a family-fun area are all part of this community event.
- Good Beer Festival, Oct. 13-14, Salisbury (Wicomico County) – Held at Pemberton Historical Park, this weekend event serves up 50 American craft beers, live music on two stages, a home-brewer competition, brewing classes, a chili cook-off and the Hangover 5K run (1.5 walk, also). The 262-acre park has 4.5 miles of nature trails. Pemberton Hall, built in 1741, was among the first plantation homes in the area. Tickets are available online.
- Gaithersburg Oktoberfest at the Kentlands, Oct. 14, Kentlands Village Green, Gaithersburg (Montgomery County) – Admission and parking are free at this 21st annual festival. Bavarian-style food, beer and entertainment will be in abundance. The event also offers horse-drawn wagon rides, pumpkin painting, wine tasting and free performances on the Arts Barn Theater stage.
- OktoBEARfest, Oct. 20, Maryland Zoo, Baltimore – Seasonal beers, live music – including Junkyard Saints – and Bavarian-style food make this the first fall Oktoberfest at the zoo. Tickets for this daytime event at the Waterfowl Lake Pavilion include unlimited sampling and a commemorative glass.
Ghost tours and more
- Annapolis Ghost Tours (Anne Arundel County) – Options include a 90-minute ghost walk and a two-hour haunted pub crawl through historic downtown Annapolis, the capital of Maryland since 1694. Pub tours run on weekends. Purchasing tickets in advance is recommended.
- Dare to Taste the Spirits of Ellicott City (Howard County) – Some attribute the spiritual energy here to the bed of granite upon which the town was built. Others say it’s due to the many transformers and electrical cables, the Tiber River and the numerous antiques shops. This particular ghost tour, which runs the second Thursday of each month, passes through local watering holes.
- Fright Fest at Six Flags America, weekends to Oct. 28, plus Fridays, Oct. 19 and 26, Largo (Prince George’s County) – Thrills by Day and Fright by Night! provide Halloween fun for kids and older kids (including adults). Monster Mash Bash in Looney Tunes Spooky Town is new for kids this year. Fright by Night! has Bridge of Terror, Carn-Evil and a new magic show for the season.
- Ghosts of Sotterley Plantation, Hollywood (St. Mary’s County) – See this colonial plantation home (dates back to 1703) along the Patuxent River as it was in 1918 during a period of restoration work. 1918: Influenza, War and Restless Spirits runs every 10 minutes, beginning at 7 p.m. on Oct. 19, 20, 25, 26 and 27. Advance tickets are required.
- Ghost Walks at Historic Savage Mill (Howard County) – The tour starts and ends at Ram’s Head Tavern. Savage Mill, along the edge of the Little Patuxent River, was a textile mill from 1822 to 1947, which primarily produced canvas. The canvas was used in a range of ways, including: sailcloth for clipper ships; tents and supplies for Civil War troops; and painted backdrops for Hollywood’s silent movies. Savage Mill became a shopping destination in the 1980s. Today, it houses antiques shops, craft galleries, artist studios, home-furnishing stores, specialty shops and eateries.
- Grave Matters Masquerade Ball, Oct. 27, Historic St. Mary’s City (St. Mary’s County) – Take a moonlight guided tour of Maryland’s colonial capital (established 1634) and enjoy evening festivities, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., at the State House. Event features a jazz ensemble, hors d’oeuvres and cash bar. Reservations required and costumes are encouraged. Call or e-mail the visitor center, 240-895-4990, for details.
About Maryland tourism
The Maryland Office of Tourism is an agency of the Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts within the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. Visitors to the state spent more than $13.1 billion on travel-related expenses in 2010. During 2010, the Maryland tourism industry also generated close to $1.9 billion in state and local taxes and provided 130,000 jobs to Maryland residents.