You know the craft beer movement is firmly taking hold when you can find locally brewed beer in unexpected places, like the Eastern Shore of Maryland. I grew up on the Shore in a little town called Pocomoke, where most of my hometown friends still restrict their beer menu to domestic light lagers and beer talk is limited to Bud Light vs Miller Lite vs Coors Light.
So I was thrilled to hear about Burley Oak Brewing Company, which opened in Berlin, MD late last summer as the first brewery in Worcester County. On our first trip to the Shore this year, a visit to Burley Oak was at the top of my to-do list.
We spent Memorial Day weekend on the Eastern Shore camping among the tall pine trees at Pocomoke River State Park. On Saturday morning, we drove to Ocean City and spent a fun day on the Boardwalk. The highlight of OC was lunch with my buddy John at his pool bar, The Blue Fin Bar and Grill, where he’s got Fat Tire and Kona Longboard Lager in the can. On our way back to the campground, we pulled off Rt 113 into Burley Oak with two growlers in hand.
There were 11 beers on the beer menu. Taster glasses were $2 each, or 3 for $5. Beth and I shared three 3-beer flights – necessary research so we could make informed decisions on our growler fills.
The Burley Oak Brewing chalkboard menu:
My favorites were Hugs & Nugs, a strong and tasty IPA with a delicious hop flavor that made me stand up and take notice, and Wing Nut, a hoppy Nut Brown Ale. But Beth doesn’t like hoppy beer, so I compromised on our growler selections: Rob’s Wife, a sessionable Belgian Ale, and Port d’ Orange, a refreshing Belgian Wit.
Every beer we tasted was solid and I would have loved to enjoy a pint or two of several others, like Assawoman Amber or Pale Ryeder. I’ll bring more growlers next time because I loved drinking fresh craft beer at our camp site.
Additional random comments:
- My growlers caught some attention from the folks enjoying pints at the bar. I brought in flip tops with labels from Growlers of Gaithersburg and Mad Fox Brewing Company. I don’t think the locals had seen many well-traveled growlers and I enjoyed chatting about my local brewpubs.
- Burley Oak doesn’t serve food but I saw that someone had pizzas delivered so bringing in your own food isn’t a problem.
- I loved the names of the Burley Oak brews, especially Assawoman Amber, as I’ve always dreamed of opening a brewpub in Pocomoke and naming the beers after the colorful local geographical names (Assawoman Bay seperates OC from the mainland). Pocomoke River Brown Ale would definitely be on my beer menu – local lore has it that Pocomoke is a native word for dark water.