The next frontier of the craft beer movement? It’s in the lush Maryland greenbelt. That’s where you’ll find farmhouse breweries creating specialty suds using hops, grains and produce grown on their property. “We’re not mass-producing,” says Randy Marriner, president of Manor Hill Brewing in Columbia, Md. “It’s hands-on, which helps create a flavor profile that’s off the charts.” Commandeer a designated driver for a daytrip to these four bucolic breweries giving hopheads a buzzy taste of the country.
Manor Hill Brewing
Available at Victoria Gastro Pub, 8201 Snowden River Pkwy., Columbia, Md.; 410-750-1880
Marriner opened a microbrewery on his 54-acre farm in March. He grows hops as well as herbs and berries, which he intends to incorporate into future brews. For the first test run this year, the team brewed 10 different beers and debuted them at Victoria Gastro Pub in Columbia, which Marriner also owns. They sold out in 90 minutes. “It was fricking awesome,” he says. The hoppy startup plans to make 2,000 barrels a year, including Farm Fuzz, a Belgian white with peach notes.
What to drink: Hazy brown, lightly roasty Manor Hill Coffee Brown ($6.75).
13601 Glissans Mill Road, Mount Airy, Md.; 301-831-5889
For nearly four decades, the Aellen family’s Linganore Winecellars has been at the forefront of Maryland’s vino scene. Last November, the three brothers in charge got in the beer business, too. A small hopyard growing five types of hops, a tasting room and a suds operation overseen by brewmaster Victor Aellen now complement their sprawling 70-acre vineyard. Currently, only some of their homegrown hops go into each batch of beer. “We’re hoping to produce one with only our own products in the next few years,” partner Eric Aellen says. “That’s our ultimate goal.”
What to drink: Bourbon barrel-aged Belgian white IPA Neurotic Blonde ($10 pint, $29 growler).
8253 Dollyhyde Road, Mount Airy, Md.; 301-829-6950
After decades as a passionate home brewer, Tom Barse went public with his efforts in the summer of 2012 when he opened Milkhouse Brewery. The facility is housed on Stillpoint Farm, his sustainably run property in Frederick County. The boutique brewery usually has half a dozen brews on tap, featuring hops, grains, honey, vegetables and fruit grown just steps away on the farm. “Our beers have grassier, floral and earthier notes,” Barse says. Call it the Free State terroir.
What to drink: Belgian-style Patersbier Dollyhyde Farmhouse Ale sweetened with the farm’s honey ($5 pint, $15 growler).
2300 Harvey Gummel Road, Hampstead, Md.; 410-259-4166
Growing up on a farm, Henry Ruhlman was in charge of feeding the pigs their daily mash, which once fermented to create a Budweiser-like scent. “After that, I couldn’t get beer past my nose,” he says. Later in life, he discovered craft beer and home-brewing, which helped him get over his aversion. Now he grows seven hops varietals and produces more than half a dozen beers inside a modest brewhouse he hand-built on his 36-acre farm, Creeping Creek. He recently planted a crop of barley, which will ultimately be malted for future beers.
What to drink: Rich, chocolaty Milk Stout ($9 six-pack, $9.25 growler).